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The flying car I'd like in my garage first:

pspahn Re:DeLorean (151 comments)

I suspect most who voted the last option did so because the other options are meaningless.

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

pspahn Re:1996 called (263 comments)

Are you that incapable of original thought? Sounds like you could use a big-boy talk from Mr. Sagan.

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

pspahn Re:Prove him right some more (263 comments)

Precisely this. The difference between known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

An ant walks around in the dirt with a sense of the hive and all that, but what if you could ask an ant what it thought about nuclear fusion? Of course, the ant has no concept of nuclear fusion and cannot even come up with a response worthy of note.

Humans have an understanding of nuclear fusion. It's not something we always had, but we do now. I can go to the dumbest 12 year old on the street and ask about nuclear fusion and there will be some acknowledgement of what it sort of is - unless they are freak-like and have studied these things in-depth at the age of 12 - even though the child doesn't *really* know what nuclear fusion is.

The most interesting aspect, though, is that whatever God or *it* is, us humans have the same knowledge of *it* as the ant does of nuclear fusion. The difference is that we wonder if *it* exists whereas the ant hasn't ever bothered to ponder such things.

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

pspahn Re:1996 called (263 comments)

What's even worse is that a story like this is still even news.

I was a senior in high school in 1997 when I did my own research and found the evidence that marijuana prohibition has cost our society dearly. I knew it as truth back then; my paper was called "Be Wise, Legalize".

It's taken over 15 years since then for us humble folks from the cowtown that is Denver to change things. If you've been here even for just the last 3-4 years, you've seen the amazing economic benefits of legalizing cannabis.

How did it take this long to realize this, and why is a 40+ year old quip from a smart person regarding cannabis reform still fucking newsworthy? Has nobody been paying attention?

about two weeks ago
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Chimpanzee "Personhood" Is Back In Court

pspahn Re:They'll have rights (385 comments)

You might just wait a few months then.

Amendment 67 in Colorado is a personhood bill that actually has some support this year. I remember when they were collecting signatures and I saw loads of people signing it that had no idea of the ramifications.

Ask the average nitwit if, "a pregnant woman is hit by a drunk driver, should there be two counts of manslaughter?" The knee-jerk response is "well that at least seems reasonable". That is how they worded it to people. Only by reading the proposal will you see how transparently they're trying to make abortion illegal.

about two weeks ago
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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

pspahn Re:If yes then what ? (389 comments)

Why would you only have an interaction of two people?

How would you go about identifying students with C grades that maybe never even took the SAT or ACT, yet would do incredibly well in college due to their creativity?

Personally, I would ask the student's teachers. Most high school students will have 10-12 teachers in a single school year. That's on top of counselors, class secretaries, administrators, etc. The question is simple, "Do you have any highly creative, intelligent, but unchallenged students for which the traditional college path is not the best choice?"

Believe it or not, high school teachers can be pretty adept at identifying these things. For two semesters in my senior year, my Econ/Am.Gov't teacher gave me a B each time even though I had a high F or a low D going into the final. The reason for my low grade was that I never did homework. I didn't need to. I paid attention and participated in class. I asked questions. I aced the quizzes. I would even stay after class sometimes to have something clarified. After acing the finals, the teacher recognized my ability and gave me the grade he felt I deserved.

Of course, other teachers might be the opposite. I had a math teacher that once challenged me to a fist fight because I didn't show my work.

about two weeks ago
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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

pspahn Re:If yes then what ? (389 comments)

... since the creative people have to all go get jobs since they were turned down when they applied to become professional students.

Speaking as someone who considers himself a "creative", I was never "turned down" applying to school. Schools (save some of the elite institutions) aren't in the business of turning down customers. If you show up the folks send the tuition check on time, they don't care if you're creative or not.

Rather, the difference is that a "creative" is likely to not want to go to school but is more interested in discovering their own path to their career goals. That might include school, but not necessarily.

I have interviewed at places where they discriminate *against* folks that went to school and also the other way around. What this says to me is that there are plenty of opportunities for people of varying abilities out there. There is no "brain-dead" workforce, only one that is misled.

If this were not the case, we wouldn't have movies such as Dead Poet's Society, Kill Your Darlings, A Beautiful Mind, and on and on. These movies are interesting because they introduce scenarios where the creatives that have ended up on a path of little creativity are allowed to learn in ways contradictory to the traditional methods.

What improved creativity testing gives us is the ability to identify individuals that test highly in other areas but also test as highly creative. Traditionally, that creativity might not get noticed and they go on to college and flunk out because it's nowhere near stimulating enough. Some of them may still go on to do great things (see the list of college dropout billionaires), but had that creativity been noticed in the first place, they might have chosen a more appropriate path to begin with.

I 100% regret trying (twice) to go back to school after high school. I would have been much better served by jumping into the workforce instead. Literally, the most valuable thing I learned was how to apply for a loan. Everything else was remedial.

about two weeks ago
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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

pspahn Re:If yes then what ? (389 comments)

WTF does being an engineer have to do with his statement? Only an engineer can afford a $2.5M home?

Very, very little in this world matters beyond two digits of precision.

So the engineer bit is part of the "very very little". Everything else has nothing to do with engineering.

about two weeks ago
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Diners Tend To Eat More If Their Companions Are Overweight

pspahn Re:That's odd. (126 comments)

I'm not quite sure.

I'm guessing that some aspect of why people are choosing to eat more is simply because food is life and we are wired to feel like we need to "compete" for food. If we see a spread of food that we are going to eat, and then see fat people near it, we might want to eat more for fear of not getting any. The same could be true for, say, the youngest child of six. Not because of the weight, but because they see their odds of getting food dwindle and they will try and eat as much as they can.

Alcohol is sort of the same, but I don't think for the same reasons. In the presence of someone who is an alcoholic, I don't think you start drinking a lot because you're worried they're going to drink everything, but instead you're drinking more simply to "keep up" in a social sense.

about two weeks ago
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GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

pspahn Re:Why not LA? (209 comments)

Ha ha. As if LA has rivers.

about three weeks ago
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Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

pspahn Re:Anticipating next year (399 comments)

Why stop there?

Windows 5000 sounds awfully kick ass. Certainly more so than Windows 11. Maybe after that they could go with Windows 21 Jump Street followed by Windows 42.

Really, it all comes down to the number that sounds like it wants to kick some ass.

about three weeks ago
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World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

pspahn Re:BOYCOTT SLASHDOT!!! (118 comments)

Dude, why the hell would you RTFA? This is /. not some kind of news aggregation site. Comments or GTFO.

about three weeks ago
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World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

pspahn Re: Why? (118 comments)

Never underestimate the deception of an unmarried woman. This poor bastard had no idea she would turn into this. Hell, he probably still doesn't know.

about three weeks ago
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World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

pspahn Re:Fuck them sideways with a rusty chainsaw! (118 comments)

What they are sorting for is people stupid enough to give an insurance company another excuse.

I'd wager that what they are after is a treasure trove of data on what kind of people are driving where at what times. That is valuable data that will fetch a snappy price from the highest bidder.

about three weeks ago
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World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

pspahn Re:IOT (118 comments)

Most of the potential I see involves anything that generates data which can later be sold. It's not about making our lives better, it's about making money.

These things will probably end up in a pair of shoes so that citizens can be tracked ... er ... ahem ... so that people who like running can have their data visualized into a useful format.

about three weeks ago
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Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

pspahn Re:Yeah sorry, no (299 comments)

because 99.9% of the tourists (including you, it sounds)

Honestly, and with few exceptions (Black Canyon being one, but that's a permit that can take years to get), I prefer to stay out of the National Parks, as they tend to be exactly the type of place I am looking to avoid when I visit nature. Yes, you can avoid the crowds and go hike in somewhere. Even then you're dealing with a bunch of weekend warriors (including you, it sounds) that get territorial about camp sites and cock-sure with all that fancy gear that gets used twice ... maybe three times before it sits in the garage for six years collecting dust.

Go on a single day hike (several days in a row, of course) up and down a Western river canyon. If you know what you're doing, you can time the bug hatch with the off-peak Mondays and Tuesdays following holidays so as to also avoid all that weekend warrior traffic to and from the cities as a bonus.

Even beyond that, "camping" should not involve a 3-4 day hike to get somewhere to avoid crowds. That's called backpacking. The camping I refer to in my previous comment is done on gravel lots with a parking space adjacent and a number on a post and some over-zealous retiree driving around in a golf cart. This fact alone makes your entire post redundant.

about three weeks ago
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My toy collection is ...

pspahn Re:Do boats count? (209 comments)

He uses an RC raft boat you insensitive clod! After all, what better image of a "toy" than a guy standing on the side of a river with an RC raft boat driving his wife down that tricky class IV!

about three weeks ago
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Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

pspahn Re:Yeah sorry, no (299 comments)

I was also not talking libre not gratis when I wrote free.

Either way, National Parks are among the most restricted places in the country. You can't have dogs. You pay to get in. You have to stay on the trails. Any kind of fishing/hunting is highly restricted. Camping involves setting up a tent in what amounts to a parking lot.

National Parks have a lot of beauty and I appreciate some of these rules, but they are definitely not places where you are free to do as you wish.

about a month ago
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Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

pspahn Re:Should we jump to conclusions? (299 comments)

Sure, let's find out. I was heading up to Indian Peaks Wilderness this weekend to take some fall color photos. I have a tripod that looks and acts more like a hiking staff. My girlfriend was going to wear a nice dress, so I guess she's going to be a model.

And in the event I actually see anyone else up there, I'll be sure to let them know where to find my permit.

about a month ago
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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

pspahn Re:Book Bans (410 comments)

Couple days late, so yeah ...

I didn't mean to offend with my comment, I was simply trying to think of a book that would be worthy of banning based on my own moral views. I honestly couldn't think of one, but the Book of Mormon was as close as I got.

about a month ago

Submissions

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I'm Quittin' the Life, Vincent.

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Let's say you had 12 hours to get up and leave your current life. No transportation, no cash, and only stuff around your house that you could carry (you can sell stuff). What makes the cut? Where do you go to, "walk the Earth"? What do you do?

Without any sensible regard for what you are leaving, how do you just up one night and start over the next day?"
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One incident exemplifying why Linux is not ready

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Preface: I am typically a fan of Linux and what makes it great. That said... So I had decided to make a short video to submit to the next Survivor casting call. It's only 30-60 seconds, so I came up with an idea and started recording. I used my EeePc netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 simply because it has worked well for me before when recording short videos. Had I known the problems I would encounter, I would be sleeping by now. Yes, this is a bit of a rant, but the point remains, things should simply not be this difficult and time consuming.

Upon loading up Cheese, I am finding that it, for some strange reason, is no longer working as it used to. Choppy video, poor recording, all around strange. It had worked perfectly fine last time I needed it. I think maybe it's some memory thing, or my hard disk is going wacky, but after some looking around, I find out that a lot of things broke between 9.04 and 10.04. Ugh. Ok. I spend a couple hours getting things working adequately.

Now I have some video that I want to move over to my main machine running Win 7 to edit and polish. I assume at first that the .ogv files from my netbook will import into something (I had done it before, somehow). I find out I assumed wrong. I spend another hour or so looking around for software to convert it into something usable. Try a couple things, and end up trying to simply use VLC to convert it (on both ends, Ubuntu and Win 7). Movie doesn't play. I try other web cam programs, all had problems.

It's now about six hours later, and I have yet to record a video on my netbook and get that video loaded and ready to edit on my Windows machine (and play correctly). This is just ridiculous. I'm not saying that it can't be done, I know it can be done, I've done it before. The problem is that this is a task I don't do on a regular basis (at least on Linux), so just getting things to a point where I can function has taken hours. I'm sorry, but this is such a slap in the face that shows how primitive and unusable Linux is for a majority of end users. A similar situation in a commercial OS would have taken minutes to get going. I have to say, Linux can often be nothing but an endless search through forums, wikis, docs, etc. just looking to find the answer to why something isn't working, only to find out there's another problem that will occur subsequently."
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Ask Slashdot: Your online education experience

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "I am currently enrolled at a very well-known online school. I was hesitant when I enrolled. It is now more than a year later, and I am regretting my decision (not surprisingly, huh?) The main problem I have is that I am not learning anything. I have several years experience with web design, yet I was not allowed to bypass Intro to Web Design 1. Similarly, there are other classes on my list that will teach me very little I don't already know, yet will cost me money all the same.

Now, I do have a great desire to learn and to further myself academically, but I just don't see much value in continuing to take classes I could have aced in 9th grade. It is also difficult when fellow classmates clearly have very little intelligence and our online discussions remind me of an AOL chat room. What online education programs have /. readers been happy and successful with? I am interested specifically in Information Security programs, and while it is possible to simply attend a local school in person, I would much prefer an online environment as it seems like a more natural medium considering the content of my studies."
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Ask Slashdot: General Macro Recorder for Windows?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "While I've never really needed a way to quickly change windows states, I was recently inspired by the thought. What methods can I use to quickly record and store the different states my desktop is in while doing different tasks? Between work, school, and life I find that I am often using several different "desktops" depending on what I am working on. At one point I might be writing a paper in OpenOffice, along with several browsers open to common research sites, my grading rubric, etc. At other times I will have Notepad++, Firebug, Inkscape, Aptana, etc. open. Then there's the chill out mode, where I have some music playing, a browser, or other meaningless things just to waste time.

I think it would be terrific if I could set my desktop to one state, take a snapshot, and then have a single icon to double-click that will restore that state when needed. Why I have never really thought of this earlier is beyond me, but I would imagine there are a bunch of ways /. readers accomplish this seemingly simple task."
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What is wrong with SSD servers?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "As the process of launching our "best web site makeover, 2010" continues, I am now looking at who to host our new best digital friend. The development guys that are building our custom theme, in some discussions, recommend their own SSD hosting because of its lightning quick ability to perform transactions. At the same time, other discussions lean towards, "I don't know, there's something wrong with those SSD servers, they keep crashing."

Another hosting company tells me that they discontinued their SSD package because it was crashing too often.

Is there something fundamentally wrong with SSD drives in a server environment? It's not like these companies are using anything less than the best SSD drives money can buy. Are they simply wearing out or becoming unreliable too quickly in lighting fast environments?"
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Where is the academic Wikipedia?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Over the past year of my belated higher-education experience, one thing has frustrated me significantly more than any of the classes I have taken. Citing sources and the availability of credible information online. Yes, I do online school. Yes, they have an online library full of great articles. However, there is an exceptional lack of organized information available covering basic concepts. Wikipedia is often my jumping off point even when I have access to the same information in my class' text.

We have not yet arrived at the point when Wikipedia is appropriate to cite simply because there is fear in the academic community that the information is incorrect. In my experience, Wikipedia is nearly always accurate when dealing with non-political topics. If I want some basic information about the function of potassium in the body or a listing of selection control structures, why should I doubt what Wikipedia has to offer?

So I suppose I'm wondering, where is the academic version of Wikipedia? Okay, you might say it's at my local library, but is that acceptable in this day and age? I like to study at home most of the time, which is the primary reason I chose online classes. I routinely spend a disproportionate amount of time searching far and wide for a credible source of information (even basic facts) versus the time I spend actually learning and writing a paper. For example, a paper I just finished (and that inspired me to ask /.) took me about 3-4 hours to write, and roughly half of that time was spent simply searching for a source of credible text. I completely understand the need to have credible sources, but should it take that much time, especially when I already have the facts needed?"
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Ask Slashdot: How to Counter a Domain Squatter?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Recently, our small business has decided to finally put the "our website sucks" reality to bed. We are working hard on getting a modern, polished, and effective web site up and running. Today, however, it came to my attention that one of our local competitors (who has a history of stealing our innovations) has registered a domain name identical to ours except for "the" at the beginning. When arriving at their squatted domain, it implies to the user that we have gone out of business and then redirects them to their website (which is equally as crappy as ours).

After some brief research, it appears that there are two "legal" paths to follow. Hiring a lawyer or going through Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy. Both are somewhat cost prohibitive at this point, and it seems silly to have to fork over thousands of dollars to resolve something that has likely cost us plenty of business as it is. What alternative options do we have for resolving this? Can we send them a generic cease-and-desist? DMCA? Anonymous? Chinese flesh searchers? I'm hoping that we can employ some type of Barbara Streisand spin on this, as we have a long history of being an honest business that doesn't use these kind of deceptive practices to lure customers."
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Making sense of web development

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "I am working on getting a new website built for our small retail/wholesale tree nursery. I have spent time discussing our project with several local development firms, and am a bit surprised to find that every single one of them uses a different platform for building sites. One is developing their own CMS based on rails. One uses Expression Engine and Magento. One uses a proprietary CMS that incurs annual licensing fees (which includes other stuff like a sign package and plant photo database).

While any ecommerce aspects will not be used immediately, we want to plan ahead and make sure we will be able to turn that on once the time comes. We will be working with an existing .csv database (exported from an ancient HP-UX box) that we want to incorporate into a web product catalog. Blogging and news updates are also necessary.

I am adamant that we are allowed full control over what we pay for, and any type of licensing that will restrict our ability to take our site elsewhere in the future is not acceptable. I will also be taking over (more or less) full-time management of the site at some point once the groundwork is built.

Our budget, while not completely inadequate, should be sufficient enough to get us what we want or at least on the right track (about $5000). I am also willing and able to do much of the menial tasks like entering all the products, uploading new images, changing banners, etc.

Here's the big question. If for whatever reason the design firm we choose isn't around in five years, or we decide to choose someone else, how can we avoid being stuck with a website that isn't portable? Aside from that, what are some other things we should be concerned with when deciding on a CMS we want to incorporate?"
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Educational PCs - C7, Atom, Nano?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Another school year has arrived, and with it more disappointing news about our budget. Our small special ed treatment facility barely has enough cash laying around to pay for new books and supplies, so forget about equipping our classrooms with computers and internet access. I have been looking into ultra low cost PCs for some time now, out of personal interest as well as professional necessity. With the emergence of sleek Linux distros and low power CPUs, I feel the time is nearing for a move to be made. I am planning on forking out a chunk of my modest salary on a new desktop for my class. My hope is that it will draw some attention, and that a cheap PC in every class would follow. I was planning on buying a gPC, but have noticed that there are some new options incorporating Intel Atom as well as some soon to be offered options utilizing the VIA Nano. Which of these CPUs fits best into our educational environment? Low cost is obviously the biggest concern here, though nobody wants to invest in computers that are poorly built and prone to malfunction. Are there any other options I haven't considered?"
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MMO educational opportunites

pspahn pspahn writes  |  about 7 years ago

pspahn writes "I felt this was worth it's own thread, even though it's an idea I generated in a nearby thread. This is also a post meant more for CCP bigwigs to read, hopefully they do. I have spent a few years on Eve, on and off (which explains my terrible SP/month ratio), and in that time I have realized (along with everyone else) that Eve has a few very noteworthy life lessons to teach. How can an 'experience' like Eve NOT teach kids that trust is one of the most important aspects of life. Working in a facility that tries to teach these wayward kids, I have learned that trust is the main fundamental issue when it comes down to it. Kids don't trust their parents, who they see as purely authoritative, which they associate with teacher, and cops, and anyone else higher up on the food chain for that matter. If they were to become involved with a legitimate corp in Eve, with legitimate goals, don't you think that would help prepare them for the real world in more than a few ways? The fact is, Eve is a harsh reality in most aspects. There are people left and right trying to rip you off. There are people left and right who are genuinely good people. Then there are those (like myself), who are both. I honestly think that exposing some of these kids would be a true benefit to their life lesson plan. Not to mention, there would be a great excuse to keep them afterschool, teaching them about computers (which very few of them have). So, I suppose the question is, would CCP be interested in donating half a dozen accounts to some kids? It's as simple as that. I can worry about how to get them a decent computer and internet access. I'm sure there are many who disagree with this sort of 'method' of expanding the knowledge of our youth, but I can tell you, I work with them every day, and I think it could do a lot of good. I'm going to submit this to slashdot as well, because this really is a question/topic worth investigating."

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