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Comments

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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

overshoot Re:Maybe driver vs passenger doesn't matter (363 comments)

Text messages aren't reliable enough for any life saving use

That must be why 911 systems are adding text capability.

about two weeks ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

overshoot Wavefunction collapse (770 comments)

This whole discussion is distorted by the framing around "belief." As long as the result of a scientific inquiry is "belief" it's reasonable (in the "sound reason" sense) to hold the issue open and speculate that Einstein's General Theory (or the current version of Darwin's) might in fact be totally wrong.

But that's where the denialists play word games. They talk about open minds, and how consensus isn't dispositive, etc. and then use that as an argument against teaching evolution in schools or taking steps agains AGW. Or, for that matter, against teaching heliocentrism or plate tectonics.

The "scientific consensus" may not be dispositive in any epistemological sense, but when it comes time to collapse the waveform and make a decision it's certainly the way to bet.

about two weeks ago
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Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

overshoot And what happens if ... (502 comments)

a European court issues an injunction under the European privacy laws against MS handing over the bits?

about a month and a half ago
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"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

overshoot The human touch (102 comments)

Thanks to a prosthetic knee, I get the "human touch" every time I fly. That's after a trip through the pornscanner and taking out all of my electronics and startingt them up, of course.

As for the kiosks -- if you know what you're doing, the last thing that you need is the kind of condescending "help" that gets in the way of getting your freaking boarding pass.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

overshoot Reading Piketty (509 comments)

I'd say "marry someone wealthy."

about 2 months ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

overshoot Re:Buses do not operate on Sundays (230 comments)

Yes I know they probably don't....but they "should"

I've been fired for taking off a weekend day that I'd told people about for years (first weekend every November) that suddenly became a "be there" -- announced after I'd already gone out of data reception.

So, yeah -- we might as well laugh.

about 2 months ago
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Fighting Climate Change With Trade

overshoot Re:Gross or net? (155 comments)

No source -- more of a complaint on TFA. The difference between gross exports and net exports is definitional, so I would hope no source required.

about 2 months ago
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Fighting Climate Change With Trade

overshoot Gross or net? (155 comments)

The United States exported about $106 billion worth of such goods last year.

It's one thing to export $106 billion more than you import and quite another to export $106 billion while importing $250 billion.

A good rule of thumb is that if an article doesn't explicitly tell you that it's a net export, it's because it's a puff piece with a bias and the truth would harsh the whole slant.

about 2 months ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

overshoot Chicken or egg? (230 comments)

Yes, lots of educated (and wealthy) citizens create markets for better services in cities. But decades of surveys of companies planning locations and of educated workers considering relocation tell us it works the other way around, too.

States like Arizona and Texas that base their plans for attracting high-wage (lots of educated employees) employers on cutting taxes usually do it by also slicing schools and other services.

That seems to be working in places like Austin, where the city makes up for the lack of State support for education (or actual hostility to it) by cranking up local sales taxes -- which fall more on the poor than on the affluent. Which is a sweet deal if you're making serious money as a twenty-something in technology there, but might not look so good when you have kids and you're looking for daycare and primary schools.

We're doing the experiment. Check in again in ten or twenty years to see which way the arrow of cauality runs.

about 2 months ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

overshoot Re:But you can still (702 comments)

Ask yourself: what does the TSA do to detect iron oxide and aluminum? (Much less magnesium! MacBooks, anyone?)

They've known about this for years. They have quite competent "red team" people who think up possible threats, and they're not remotely so stupid as to believe that the Bad Guys can't think up this kind of thing themselves. Ask a classroom of sophomore-level engineering students to come up with ways to get plane-killers aboard and this is one of the first ones -- although it's a very, very long list.

However, stopping thermite from getting onboard is going to be way more of a public inconvenience than their mission statement allows.

about 2 months ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

overshoot But you can still (702 comments)

... bring all the thermite, magnesium tape, and calcium carbide you want to on in carry-on luggage.

about 2 months ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

overshoot Re:It's the politics (725 comments)

Most of the AGW activists are pursuing political agendas that have a limited connection to AGW. Here are some questions to ask yourself - Why are AGW activists not actively pursuing increased hydroelectric power? Why are AGW activists not actively pursuing increased nuclear power?

Mostly because they're not interested in mandating specific aproaches. Instead of the old-fashioned approach of Nixon's EPA, they're going for market-based solutions: putting a price on carbon emissions, for instance. Or a conservative variant on that, George H. W. Bush's cap-and-trade mechanism updated by John McCain for carbon dioxide.

Or the most recent study's proposal: just eliminating taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels would get us halfway to the 2-degree target.

about 2 months ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

overshoot Who is this "we?" (725 comments)

we need to try to break the association between identity and factual beliefs on high-profile issues

I suspect that there are more than a few groups and people with influence who disagree. And from the evidence, they're likely to continue to get their way.

about 2 months ago
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Autonomous Trucking

overshoot Re:Might as well go back to rail (142 comments)

The main reason that trucks replaced rail was because of the

.. enormous subsidy that the USA put into highways starting in the 1950s. It was ostensibly to create a transportation system that would not fold up following a nuclear attack, but like all such things it took on a life of its own.

about 2 months ago
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Autonomous Trucking

overshoot Re:Highway Only to Speed Deployment (142 comments)

First off, the ping rate for auto traffic is an enormous number of pulse durations or return times -- the radar will ignore returns coming back more than a couple of microseconds after it sends its last ping, and only needs to ping every few tens of milliseconds. That's a window of less than 0.1%.

If a car detects a return in a "forbidden" time slot, it can just switch to not using that frequency. Or use the kind of random backoff that Ethernet has been using now for forty years.

And that's just two solutions.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

overshoot Why put the smarts in the watch? (427 comments)

We already grant that the person wearing the watch has a phone, so why not just keep the watch simple (and thus power-stingy) and slave it to the phone?

That way, if there's a feature you want on the watch, get the phone app to do it.

about 3 months ago
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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

overshoot Re:Strangely enough (150 comments)

Give the money to the lawyers, burn it in the street, line it with birdcages, give it to a Colombian drug lord - it's money out of the hands of the entity that screwed over their employees, customers, etc, in the absence of any other action.

If all you want from the case is to punish the conspirators (presumably to discourage them from doing it again) then it would be a good ideat to hit them for at least what they got from screwing the employees. Which, apparently, was something like an order of magnitude larger. $324 million is, like the drug lords put it, just the cost of doing business.

If, on the other hand, there is some remote notion of compensating the people who actually got screwed, a settlement that got them, like, some money might be better. And as other commenters have pointed out, hiring your own lawyer to play Don Quixote against multiple giant corporations is not a winning proposition.

And "Junior" is so cute. I'll have to show that to the grandkids.

about 3 months ago
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Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

overshoot Re:When you can't measure (370 comments)

The trouble with this analysis (and no argument on most of it) is that the CEO is the one who decides that since the Company needs to put another 70 engineers on the new hot project, the place to do it is in Ghana because engineers in Ghana are cheaper than the ones in Prague or Mumbai.

The details, such as Ghana having no engineers who are up to speed with the technology of the new hot project? That kind of thing is, as you say, below his level of concern. But the total price of the new team? That's his. So you get the top-level decision to move the project to Ghana.

Seen it happen too many times. As the old saying goes, "they know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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PICing Arduino

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 3 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "At the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend, Digilent showed a couple of new Arduino family boards — but these are based on 32-bit PIC micros. The IDE is the standard Arduino one, GPL, but with support for both AVR and the PIC devices. The performance is nice, but the thing that got my attention is all of the serial I/O of the Max32."
Link to Original Source
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There really is a "stupid" gene

overshoot overshoot writes  |  about 4 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "Researchers have discovered a gene in mice that reduces the ability to learn and remember. When researchers produced mice without the RGS14 gene, they were better able to remember objects they'd previously encountered and were quicker to learn mazes. Humans also have RGS14, so science has confirmed what we've always joked about: there really is a "stupid gene.""
Link to Original Source
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Speech gets (slightly) freer in UK

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 4 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "Simon Singh, the science writer sued by chiropractors in the UK for daring to call their claims "bogus," just won an appellate decision that his writings are "fair comment." Best of all, the Court was extremely critical of British libel laws and compared the standards Singh faced in the lower court as an "Orwellian ministry of Truth" and held that scientific disputes should not be fought in the courtroom."
Link to Original Source
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Jury rules in SCO v Novell

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 4 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "Looks like the obese lady in Utah is at least warming up: the jury in SCO v. Novell has returned their decision. It would seem that like Judge Kimball, they don't believe Novell transferred its Unix copyrights (whatever they may be, not that anyone knows by now) to CalderaThe SCO Group."
Link to Original Source
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LED wiring for new construction?

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 4 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "With any luck I'll be building a new house in the next year. Rather than wire it for 19th century lighting, I figured it was about time to plan ahead for LED illumination, complete with designed-in addressable color controls and all that. Which is all well and good, but the current house was preplanned for LAN, too — and I totally missed the boat on LAN wiring standards. I'd rather not repeat that little bit of history, but I haven't found any standards in the pipeline for 21st century home lighting connections.

Anyone have suggestions?"
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Mindwipe: we has it

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 5 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "How often have we all read science fiction stories where someone has the ability to "wipe" memory, perhaps down to tabula rasa? It's a pretty stock plot device, often used as a threat against a framed protagonist. Well, peeps, it might be closer to fact than we'd like. Apparently long-term memory is dynamic, and interfering with the "refresh" process just makes the past ... disappear. So far the experiments involve injections into specific regions of mouse brains — but we all know how technology advances, right?"
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First it was voting machines

overshoot overshoot writes  |  about 6 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "Now it's breath sniffers. An Arizona Court has ruled that the manufacturers of a popular portable breath sniffer have to turn over the source code to the machine to defense attorneys in 23 criminal DUI cases. The decision was based on Constitutional grounds, and the Pima County Sherriff's department (not, please note, Maricopa County's comedy case) will be appealing. IANAL, but this looks like one to go the distance unless the manufacturer caves."
Link to Original Source
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Landshark Cage Match

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "From the "it couldn't happen to nicer people" division of the "a plague on both your houses" department: The Church of Scientology's premier Cruise ship seems to have an asbestos problem — that they've been literally sweeping under the carpet for more than 20 years. Asbestos lawyers all over the place must be cranking out class-action boilerplate at this moment for everyone who's been aboard since the ship was renovated two decades ago.

Popcorn, anyone?"

Link to Original Source
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What happened to OpenMoko?

overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "Does anyone know what happened to OpenMoko? First they were going to have development hardware last December, then it slipped to February, with commercial availability in June, then the development units showed up in the summer but the consumer devices were going to be available in October. Well, my calendar says October was two months ago, the website hasn't been updated since July, and I'm still lusting after that phool fone."
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overshoot overshoot writes  |  more than 7 years ago

overshoot (39700) writes "I hate to break the news, but the /. readership isn't all that important politically. The people who really count are the over-65 set, who have money and (more important) actually vote. Which is why I was totally floored last week.

I was chatting with my (over 80) mother on the way to a University graduation party for two of my kids when, in response to a rather innocuous comment, she let loose with a rant about how patents and copyright have to change before they ruin the country. Now, this is a woman who has been a Republican for her entire adult life and for years was a loyal party worker — by no means a child of the 60s (that's me, actually.)

So, I'll ask: how many of us have actually talked about the IP wars with our past-retirement-age family? Is there a profound public perception change happening that the noisy (as in, you and me) /. set haven't noticed because we're making too much noise ourselves?"

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