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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

hcpxvi Re:Moo (469 comments)

>> You've never been down to Georgia, I take it.
>> I'd bet it against your soul, because I think I'm better than you.
> What does that even mean?
You might be trolling, phantomfive, but just in case you are not, I'm New Around Here is quoting a song called "The devil came down to Georgia" by the Charley Daniels Band.

about 5 months ago

German Brewers Warn Fracking Could Hurt Beer

hcpxvi Re:Beer saved the World! (325 comments)

It was mostly what the British called "short beer". It was pretty watery and had just enough alcohol to kill much of the bacteria.
Nearly. ISTR it was called "small beer" not "short beer". Even modern beer doesn't contain enough alcohol to kill bacteria; the important thing is that to make beer you had to boil it, which kills off any waterborne bacteria that were in your water supply. So up until the advent of treated water supplies you might well get cholera or dysentry from your water supply, but not from your beer.

about a year ago

Microsoft Says Google Trying To Undermine Windows Phone

hcpxvi Re:Skype doesn't work on Android (476 comments)

Support for (traditional, non-Android) Linux is also dodgy in Skype, with the Linux versions of the software being a long way behind the Windows version. I am not naive enough to think that Google are non-evil, but if MS can get away with using Skype as a lock-in lever for Windows, I don't have much sympathy with their whine that Google are doing the same thing with YouTube.

about a year and a half ago

New DRM-Free Label Announced

hcpxvi Re:Ugly (90 comments)

That logo is hideous. Who's going to be putting that on their packaging?
At least it doesn't look like two people performing an act unsuitable for discussion on a family website ( See here for the canonical example). You can pay graphic designers a LOT more money than was spent on the DRM Free logo and still get something that is astonishingly bad.

more than 2 years ago

GUI nostalgia draws me back to ...

hcpxvi TWM: The others are just copies (654 comments)

FVWM is nice, but it is a relative latecomer. TWM is THE window manager for old gits. Honestly, the stuff kids want today. Where are my pipe and slippers, dammit?

more than 2 years ago

Most Useful Scripting Language To Learn?

hcpxvi Re:MATLAB (477 comments)

I'd go for R --- it's free, it can be used as a generic scripting language (#!!/usr/bin/Rscript) and it can do all your data analysis, plotting and stuff too.

more than 2 years ago

Julia Language Seeks To Be the C For Numerical Computing

hcpxvi Re:Missing Plotting Tools (204 comments)

But the biggest pluses of Matlab is being able to plot your results, and work interactively from the command line
This. Precisely this. If Julia can reasonably rapidly acquire plotting capabilities that approach those of R (and hence are much better than those of MATLAB) then it may have some traction. If it remains the case that you have to dump your results out of Julia and use another tool to plot them, then you are better off using R/MATLAB/Octave/IDL/SciLab/Yorick for everything except the most number-crunchingly intense tasks. And you would probably do _those_ in a traditional compiled language anyway.

more than 2 years ago

Leaked Heartland Institute Documents Reveal Opposition To Science

hcpxvi it's the film that is at 11 (615 comments)

Apparently, in the distant past, TV announcers in the USA would use the phrase "Film at 11" to mean that the film that was normally on at 10pm, after the 9pm news, would be an hour later tonight, as momentous events required an extra hour of news coverage. Hence the non-sarcastic use of "Film at 11" to mean "That's big news" and the sarcastic use meaning "That is not really news at all."

more than 2 years ago

Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

hcpxvi Re:C? (422 comments)

C-film: a new spermicidal contraceptive.
New? I remember it being new in the 1980s. I also remember it being demonstrated to be jolly unreliable, before (I hasten to add) I had any reason to be involved in the use of such a product. Keep wearing those condoms, kids!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?

hcpxvi Re:Summer is Over in North America (363 comments)

Presumably "this summer" means the next summer to occur, i.e. summer 2012. But if they are taking a road trip across the States, then maybe they are not wussies. Such a trip is perfectly possible in the winter. The wife and I drove from Mississippi to California and back over Christmas 1987, in our '76 Dodge dart, taking in the Hoover dam, Carlsbad, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco etc. Meteor crater was officially closed when we visited it, so we drove down the snowy road and hiked up to the rim. Never mind the museum, it is worth just looking at the big hole in the ground.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?

hcpxvi Observatories, caves ... (363 comments)

If you are in LA, drive up the mountain to the Mount Wilson Observatory in honour of Edwin Hubble. If you like observatories you can do the one in Griffith Park in the same day (if it isn't closed for refurbishment). It has appeared in at least one Star Trek episode. If in the southern deserts, visit the Hoover dam and Carlsbad Caverns. In San Francisco, I thought the exploratorium wasn't bad as science museums go.

more than 2 years ago

Jaguar Recalls 18,000 Cars Over Major Software Fault

hcpxvi Re:hardware solutions & dumbing down the world (356 comments)

I also don't think that driving without power steering is a hazard.
Indeed. My Ford focus dumped its power steering fluid during a long drive. I was able to keep going; the only hard part was parking at the end of the trip. Once you are up to about 20mph you hardly even notice that the power steering is b0rked.

more than 2 years ago

Jaguar Recalls 18,000 Cars Over Major Software Fault

hcpxvi Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (356 comments)

Not only that, but manual transmission cars sold in the US often have the bizzare feature that the headlights go off if you put the handbrake on. How are you supposed to do a hill start in the dark, for goodness' sake?

more than 2 years ago

Epic Geomagnetic Storm Erupts

hcpxvi Re:A little late (80 comments)

Not an Android app, nor for Canada. But UK readers might like to know that they can get email alerts from Not that they are a lot of use if it is cloudy, as it was last night.

more than 2 years ago

British CS Majors Doing Badly In the Jobs Market

hcpxvi Re:Perspectives from a British CS graduate (349 comments)

In Britain this is what is known as bollocks.
I don't think so. My experience suggests that Sosigenes' post is rather perceptive and that the AC parent has (a) not had much contact with the higher education system since he graduated and (b) has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. AC may be right to whinge about clueless recent graduates who know nothing. But Sosigenes correctly identifies why there are so many bad graduates around. it is all down to the belief that the Blair-era govenments had that just because it was a good idea in the 1970s to increase University participation from 8% to 20% [1] it must necessarily follow that it is a good idea to increase it again from 40% to 50%. As a result, we are now wasting large amounts of money (taxpayers' and the students' own) sending people to bottom of the barrel universities to get meaningless qualifications. Just recently I have noticed people asking what a University degree is actually for, what sort of person can benefit from it and what other career paths exist. And about bloody time.
Of course, AC is right that snobbery needs to be beaten out of people ASAP. No-one is impressed per se by the fact that you went to Oxbridgeperialstolchesterburgh rather than an ex-polytechnic. But the fact remains that if you went to one of those places and did well there then a lot was expected of you and you achieved it. If you went to City University of Scuzzborough (formerly Scuzzborough Poly) you may well have excelled and be a good job candidate. But you will be a very different person from the majority of your classmates.

[1] All statistics and dates are made up. But they give a general impression of what actually happened

about 3 years ago

The Quest For an EV Fast-Charge Standard

hcpxvi Re:Just like laptops! (248 comments)

They didn't all agree, just ask Monsieur Diesel.
I think you will find that he was Herr Diesel (although he was born in Paris).

about 3 years ago

Google's Amazon River Street View Project

hcpxvi Your canal next? (45 comments)

I look forward to the day when the floating googlemobiles have been all round the canal system of England and I can work my way up Foxton staircase ( without leaving my desk.

about 3 years ago

DARPA To Sponsor R&D For Interstellar Travel

hcpxvi Golga-frincham-tastic (364 comments)

At last we will be able to get rid of all of those useless hairdressers, telephone sanitisers and middle management types.

about 3 years ago


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