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Comments

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Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

linuxwrangler Re:Phones yeah (227 comments)

For cars any fast-charge battery doesn't remove the *ahem* "current" stumbling block but rather *moves* it.

Tesla's fast-charger claims a 4-hour recharge on a charger pulling 16.8kW and a charge will get you rougly halfway from San Francisco to LA - a trip easily made on a tank of gas.

To match a gas-station fillup you would need to transfer that amount of energy in about 5 minutes requiring a supply of a touch over 800kW. At 600VDC - the voltage used by BART - your cables would *only* need to carry about 1,300A to the car. By my reading, this means approximately six "strands" of 0000 wire per conductor or a dozen for a two-conductor cable. That cable will weigh approximately 6-pounds/foot plus an undoubtedly hefty plug and it will still get pretty warm during charging as well as being enormously attractive to copper thieves.

But since the fuel-powered vehicle gets 2-3 times the range on that refueling a more realistic comparison requires you to at least double the above numbers to reach refuel-time/driving-range parity. If they don't double the range on the electric vehicles then you need double the refuling stops with the attendent increase in number of "pumps" or stations. The required energy needs to get to the vehicle somehow.

When I pulled into Costco to fill up there were 20 pumps all with cars at them. Even if only half were actually fueling, the station would need an 8,000kW feed before even factoring in burst and safety-factor requirements.

To make matters worse, most people refuel in the daytime when electric loads are highest. Of course this is offset somewhat by the fact that daytime is when solar is available.

Overall, high-speed recharge for cars may bring as many or more problems than it solves, especially when the battery-swap alternative allows for load-leveling, for leveraging the ability to purchase at the cheapest or most environmentally friendly times, for eliminating the need for an owner to worry about large battery-replacement costs and potentially even for returning power to the utilities at peak-demand times.

about two weeks ago
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IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share

linuxwrangler Serious sample bias (390 comments)

The statistics are "collected from W3Schools' log-files..." So an English-language site for people interested in web development is now considered an accurate proxy for browser usage? I think not. Predictably, the results are way out of line with, well, pretty much everyone:

http://www.netmarketshare.com/...
http://gs.statcounter.com/
http://www.w3counter.com/globa...
http://browsermarketshare.com/
http://clicky.com/marketshare/...

about 3 months ago
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EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet

linuxwrangler The law is vague (1010 comments)

At least the current law in California. Most of section 498 deals with diverting from "utilities" though it may be considered "personal property" and fall under another theft section.

I remember a couple decades back the University Police in Berkeley were beset by complaints about loud late-night music constantly blairing from a boom-box operated by a homeless guy in one of the parking structures. "Disturbing the peace" is a tough sell and he didn't ever get the clue till they started arresting him for stealing electricty from the university since he was plugged into an outlet there.

I've always thought back to that case and wondered if I'm at risk when I charge my laptop from a wall outlet at an airport or coffee shop.

about 5 months ago
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NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

linuxwrangler Re:Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (241 comments)

Works for Switch in Las Vegas. Cold in winter and cools off at night so 70% of annual hours they can pull in ambient air through filters. Evaporative cooling, whether direct or to cool the hot-side of a refrigerated system, works best in dry climates but it's only used to improve efficiency as they can run fine with air-cooling albeit at much higher power costs.

I'm still surprised at the number of places that think cooling is optional. We had equipment in a Sacramento data-center that had plenty of backup electricity for servers but couldn't run the AC in a power outage. The SLA only had provisions for exceeding 80-degrees for more than something like 90 or 120 minutes. *Ahem*, cold-comfort when a dense data-center can blow through 100 in minutes without AC.

UC Berkeley had a widespread power outage about a week ago. The main campus data center had power but, you guessed it, couldn't run cooling and had to "gracefully" shut down most of the core systems while watching the center breach 100F.

But I agree with your base assumption - really bad planning and/or execution on the power systems.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Time To Regulate Domestic Drones?

linuxwrangler Responsible use (190 comments)

As with many activities, people who break the already existing rules mess things up for everyone.

I was at the exciting finale of the America's Cup out on the pier with something like 10,000+ people watching the boats race to the finish line shadowed by three helicopters providing video coverage. So what does some dope do? Launches his quadcopter from the middle of an outdoor crowd and flys it out over the finish area. What part of "away from populated areas" and "away from aircraft operations" did this idiot not understand?

about 7 months ago
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It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body

linuxwrangler Suspiciously accurate (272 comments)

It is ridiculous to use "roughly" and "2.99" in the same measurement. Seriously?!? A professor informed my engineering class that adding extra decimal places implied that that level of precision was known and/or required. It is at all plausible that the variability in the "average" human body is less than a one part per thousand?

Sounds a lot like Karl Marx when he took material costs in "round numbers", "assumed" costs for spindles and rates of waste, arbitrarily "put" wear and tear at 10% and "supposed" a value for rent then somehow, miraculously, calculated that surplus value equaled 153-11/13%

Kudos to Scientific American for being sensible enough to say "about three."

about 7 months ago
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Team Oracle Penalized For America's Cup Rules Violations

linuxwrangler Excessive penalty for the team (190 comments)

I've been watching almost every race and photographing them as well (http://www.flickr.com/photos/97903173@N03/collections/72157634780455306/).

The technology is amazing. Not only the boats but also the stuff that Stan Honey has cooked up for the live-view on TV (http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/the-augmented-reality-americas-cup)

Banning/penalizing the actual participants in the cheating is fine. But the America's Cup World Series was a warm-up for the real events and designed primarily to give the crews experience and to promote the sport throughout the world so the 2-race penalty makes no sense to me. It's sort of like finding a couple baseball players used a corked bat in the pre-season so you nullify the teams first 20 wins in the regular season.

about 8 months ago
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San Francisco Fire Chief Bans Helmet-Mounted Cameras For Firefighters

linuxwrangler It's not so simple... (209 comments)

As others have pointed out, the original story is very out-of-date and ignores the fact that the policy has been in-place for a long time.

Privacy vs. public access is not completely black and white. Just a few issues that could be reasonably debated (not on the Interwebs, of course, where no reasonable debate occurs) are:

Should firefighters be rescuing people and fighting fires or d*cking around with their GoPro to get cool Youtube videos?

As medical responders, what about HIPPA? Does a person have the right to call for help secure in the knowledge that the rescuer won't be spreading helmet-cam footage of their nude mangled body across the Internet or news?

I see some similar issues with radio traffic and release of 911 recordings. While I enjoy checking the local goings-on with a scanner I wonder if "...respond to 1234 Main Apartment 3 for a 34 year old female suicide attempt via overdose..." is broadcasting just a bit too much personal medical info.

And don't get me started on search-warrants. The cops *love* to issue press-releases about all the stuff they have recovered even though nobody has been charged or convicted. A couple bricks of .22, a Playboy and the pills from your doctor are "drugs, pornography and thousands of rounds of ammunition" by the time it hits the blotter. It just a bit too much power to smear someone's reputation without trial for my taste.

about 8 months ago
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As AOL Prepares To Downsize Patch, CEO Fires Employee During Meeting

linuxwrangler Patch is already dead (248 comments)

They killed it months ago. Now they are just dragging the corpse through the streets instead of giving it a proper burial.

Last year there was an actual reporter posting actual news relevant to and about our town. Readers posted comments - sometimes hundreds on a single article. There were lively discussions about school issues, traffic safety and other local issues with generally one to three new articles every day.

Then they announced "exciting upgrades." The look and feel of the site went from OK to awful. Our local reporter has been "reassigned to a regional area." The local news is an irregularly updated mish-mash of cut 'n' paste police blotter info posted well after it has already been available on Nixle, reposts from other news sources (and not very local), and "reporting" consisting of things like a brief listing of the city-council agenda followed by an "article" saying "Were you at the meeting? What are your comments?" And still they sometimes can't get any news posted for days. Really?

They have added lots of "sponsored" Patch localities advertising Planes, Smurfs and the like.

The "local" reporters are now, if you look at their profiles, all over the country and making errors in articles that just make them look like idiots to anyone actually living here. Reviews and articles about places that closed a year or two ago do not make for credibility.

Much of the supposedly local news is just repackaged national stats. "How is unemployment in YourLocalTown compared to the rest of the country?" and the like. Other stuff is somewhat local looking blog stuff that turns out to be identical on all the sites.

It's sad. The site used to be fun and interesting. Too bad they couldn't make it a successful business.

about 8 months ago
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Compared to my 1st computer's memory ...

linuxwrangler Video card (587 comments)

This could have as easily been phased as "my current video card has X times the RAM of my first computer" (about 10000) or "my current computer has X times the RAM of my first hard drive" (about 1000).

about 9 months ago
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UnGrounded: British Airways Attempts to Bottle Some Startup Spirit

linuxwrangler The B-Ark? (128 comments)

Obligatory Hitchhiker's reference aside, who thinks it's a good idea to stick a bunch of the professed best and brightest together on the same trans-Atlantic plane? Apparantly they are ignoring the lessons learned by corporations that have had their entire leadership killed in a single crash and therefore forbid members of upper management from taking the same flight.

about 10 months ago
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Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51

linuxwrangler Your quote (39 comments)

Is my new sig. RIP Atul.

about a year ago
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Questioning Google's Disclosure Timeline Motivations

linuxwrangler I smell a flack (73 comments)

It's no wonder this article was posted anonymously. The whole tone and writing style is exactly what one would expect in a position statement cranked out by a corporate PR flack. I wonder whose flack it is.

about a year ago
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NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Threshold Nationwide: 0.05 BAC

linuxwrangler How about enforcing what we have? (996 comments)

Before lowering the standard how about seriously enforcing what we have. It seems like when I read about a car into a house, through a storefront or killing a kid the story also mentions how many prior arrests and convictions the person has.

The local papers have run several articles about people having their licenses suspended or revoked and then walking out of court, hopping in their cars and driving away.

I occasionally listen to the police scanner and an astonishing number of people they pull over and run come back "suspended or revoked" yet I almost never hear that followed by "send the tow truck."

Moving the numbers around is meaningless if someone is driving with 10 prior convictions.

about a year ago
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Will Renewable Energy Ever Meet All Our Energy Needs?

linuxwrangler Stein's Law (626 comments)

"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop," -Herbert Stein

The absurd comment about ...with an annual energy growth rate of only 2.3%... reminds me of the population growth people a couple decades back who claimed that if the population keeps growing at this rate, by blah-blah-blah date the population of earth will be expanding at the speed of light.

Conclusion, population will not continue to grow at that rate, energy growth will not continue perpetually at 2.3%.

Of course we may want to influence *how* things stop. Stopping a car by applying the breaks is generally preferred over accelerating full-speed into a cliff.

about a year ago
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Book Review: Super Scratch Programming Adventure!

linuxwrangler Pretty cool book for kids (74 comments)

My daughter first played with Scratch a year or so ago. She is now eight and enjoyed the book when I got it for her a few months back.

It should be a good companion for a Raspberry Pi as Scratch is one of the front-and-center educational apps on the default Raspberri Ubuntu distro (though running it definitely shows the speed limitations of the Pi).

One advantage of a non-Internet-connected Pi, however, is that Sratch doesn't have to compete with the myriad distractions from Cool-math-games-for-kids to Barbie.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Which OSS Database Project To Help?

linuxwrangler Most popular?? (287 comments)

What do you mean by "most popular."

I'm tired of hearing that "everyone uses..." No, they don't. MySQL is pretty popular with the open-source web-crowd but this is the same crowd that respects the engineering behind PHP. I've encountered plenty of people in that arena who would rather roll their own data-checks and treat the database as barely more than a key-value store than use the capabilities of the database and have to deal with handling exceptions. Bring up transactions, ACID compliance, data-integrity and the like at a PHP users group and you get blank-stares. The get-rich-quick-with-a-cute-kitten-website crowd cares not for such things (as an overgeneralization - there are plenty of high-traffic sites such as Instagram, hi5, Etsy and MyYearbook that run on PostgreSQL).

So where do you find PostgreSQL? Salesforce, National Weather Service, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, Federal Aviation Administration, Sony Online Entertainment, TD Ameritrade, State of Wisconsin Courts, Afilias, BASF, Flightaware, Skype (a contributor of many PG utilities), Fujitsu, Launchpad (Ubuntu)...

And PostGIS is *the* go-to open-source geospatial database.

I've found the PostgreSQL community to be wonderful with opportunities to contribute at all levels. Answer questions on the mailing-lists, contribute to documentation, help at users-groups, give a talk at a conference. One always welcome contribution is doing testing and submitting results/patches during commitfests - and this gets you more involved with the code.

As to employment, it sounds like you prefer PostgreSQL. As such, PostgreSQL is by definition the most popular database among places you are interested in working. Do what you love.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Linux Game For Young Kids?

linuxwrangler Re:Tux Paint (338 comments)

My daughter loved tux paint and still occasionally uses it to make a card, poster or board for a game she is making up. I mentioned it to a friend and his son now loves it. Definitely worth a try.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Failed software upgrade halts transit service

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  about 5 months ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "San Francisco Bay Area commuters awoke this morning to the news that BART, the major regional transit system which carries hundreds of thousands of daily riders, was entirely shut down due to a computer failure. Commuters stood stranded at stations and traffic backed up as residents took to the roads. The system has returned to service and BART says the outage resulted from a botched software upgrade."
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NSA's new Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  about 6 months ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "NSA's new Utah data-center has been sufferering numerous power-surges that have caused as much as $100,000 damage per event. The root cause is "not yet sufficiently understood" but may is suspected to relate to the site's "inability to simultaneously run computers and keep them cool." Frustrating the analysis and repair are "incomplete information about the design of the electrical system" and the fact that "regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to fast track the Utah project.""
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Woman sued for texting driver

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  about 2 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "After mowing down a motorcycling couple while distracted by texting, Kyle Best received a slap on the wrist. The couple's attorney then sued girlfriend Shannon Colonna for sending him messages when he was driving arguing that while she was not physically present, she was "electronically present." In good news for anyone who sends server-status, account-alerts or originates a call, text or email of any type that could be received by a mobile device the judge dismissed the plantiff's claims against the woman."
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Dick "Danger Will Robinson" Tufeld Dead at 85

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Actor Dick Tufeld died this week at age 85. Tufeld started as the announcer in "Space Patrol" and voiced characters in several "Simpsons" episodes but was best known as the voice of The Robot in "Lost in Space" making "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" a household phrase."
Link to Original Source
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Mythbusters misses target, hits house with cannonb

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "A Mythbusters experiment went seriously wrong today when the team missed the intended target and fired a cannonball through a nearby home. After missing the target, the projectile took some "unfortunate bounces", ripped through the front door of and out the opposite wall of an East Dublin home waking the sleeping residents then bounced across a 4-lane road before smashing into a minivan that had just been parked."
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Nobel winning physicist Norman Ramsey dies at age

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Nobel winning physicist Norman Ramsey died Saturday at age 96. It was Ramsey's research that led to the atomic clock which moved mankind beyond astronomical observations and mechanical timepieces and provided the accuracy necessary for physicists to test the theory of relativity and engineers to develop the global positioning system. The same research led to development of magnetic-resonance imaging.

Ramsey also helped create Brookhaven National Laboratory where he served as the first Chairman of its Physics Department and was instrumental in the founding of Fermilab."
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Timezone Maintainer Retiring

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 3 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "It's used in Java. It's used in nearly every flavor of UNIX/Linux. In PostgreSQL, Oracle and other databases. Several RFCs refer to it. But where does the timezone database come from? I never gave it much thought but would have assumed that it was under the purview of some standards body somewhere. It's not. Since the inception of the database Arthur David Olson has maintained the database, coordinated the mailing list and volunteers and provided a release platform and now he is retiring. IANA is developing a transition strategy. Jon Udell has an interesting literary appreciation of the timezone database."
Link to Original Source
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Apple store refuses payment by cash

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 3 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Diane Campbell, who is disabled, on a fixed income, and has no credit-cards saved enough to buy an iPad. But when she took her cash to the local Apple store they refused to sell one to her. It turns out that Apple policies prohibit cash purchases of iPads. Even the involvement of the media consumer advocates hasn't swayed Apple."
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AT&T seeks termination of plain old phone serv

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 4 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "In a filing (PDF) with the FCC, AT&T seeks to unburden itself of continued support of the public switch telephone network by recommending that, as it did with analog TV, the FCC also set a firm date to terminate POTS. In the document they recommend that "...perhaps the single most important feature of Commission action at this time is the establishment of a firm deadline at which point the transition will be complete..." They also claim that, "Phaseout of circuit-switched POTS service and the PSTN is essential to achieving universal access to broadband"."
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Francis Rogallo dead at 97

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 4 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Francis Rogallo, inventor of the flexible wing that spawned sports from hang-gliding to kite-boarding died September 1 at age 97. Rogallo is considered the father of popular personal flight and flew hang-gliders himself until he was 80. I remember building and flying my first Rogallo wing out of irrigation pipe, conduit, plastic sheeting and double-stick tape back in the mid 1970s. It is amazing both that the high-school hang-gliding club allowed this and that I'm still alive afterward suffering only a hairline arm fracture during my time flying."
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Twitter post leads to libel suit

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 4 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "In the latest example of the Streisand Effect, Chicago apartment management company Horizon Realty Group has sued a Twitter user for a post regarding alleged mold in her apartment. Predictably, this has generated publicity reaching far beyond the poster's original 15 followers. Explaining their actions, Horizon spokesman Jeffrey Michael stated, "We're a sue-first, ask-questions-later kind of an organization." Later, in an official press release (PDF) regarding the "Twitter Controversy", Horizon apologized for what they claim was a "tongue in cheek" statement."
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Two century old cipher solved

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 4 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "In 1801, Robert Patterson, a mathematics professor at the University of Pennsylvania sent President Jefferson a letter containing a message coded in what he called a nearly flawless cipher. The puzzle intrigued mathematician and cryptanalyst Lawren Smithline who has now solved the cipher and published his results over 200 years after the letter was originally sent."
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Google Latitude helps catch robber

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  about 5 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Janina Valiente was robbed by a purse snatcher while waiting for a bus in San Francisco. But she remembered that she had recently downloaded Google Latitude as a joke so she and her sisters could "stalk each other". Using a bystander's phone, she called her sister who told her the phone was at Fell and Ashbury which is exactly where police located and arrested the robber."
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Researcher's death hampers TCP flaw fix

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  about 5 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Security researcher Jack Loius, who had discovered several serious security flaws in TCP software was killed in a fire on the ides of March dealing a blow to efforts to repair the problem. Although he kept good notes and had communicated with a number of vendors, he died before fixes could be created and prior to completing research on a number of additional vulnerabilities. Much of the work has been taken over by Louis' friend and long-time colleague Robert E. Lee. The flaws have been around for a long time and would allow a low-bandwidth "sockstress" attack to knock large machines off the net."
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Is your Gmail anti-spam failing?

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 5 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "From the beginning, Gmail has done a spectacular job of correctly filtering spam. Of the tens of thousands of unwanted messages I receive, Gmail typically only lets the occasional message through to my inbox. A couple weeks ago that changed. For several hours Gmail stopped filtering at all and routed dozens of spam messages to the inbox. All went back to normal for a while but today I've received well over 100 spam messages in the inbox with none filtered to the spam folder. I didn't see anything mentioned in known issues and my Gmail-using co-workers are having no problems but perusing the Gmail spam forums I see I'm not alone. So, Slashdot users, what experiences have you been having with your Gmail spam filtering?"
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UC Can Deny Credit From Christian Classes

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 5 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "A federal judge has sided with the University of California allowing the state university system to deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks declare the Bible infallible and reject evolution. Dismissing claims of religious discrimination, the judge agreed with the university that rejection of credit for the courses was legitimate not because the courses contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking. Texts are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and there is no requirement to eliminate religion. "Chemistry for Christian Schools" has been approved but "Biology for Christian Schools," which declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong," has not."
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Chinese Restaurant Suffers Large Translation Error

linuxwrangler linuxwrangler writes  |  more than 5 years ago

linuxwrangler (582055) writes "Preparing for English-speaking visitors, a restaurant in China recently ran its name through an online translator, took the result, then purchased and mounted a large sign displaying the English version of their name: Translate Server Error."

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