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Comments

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Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

sjbe Larger bladder needed (109 comments)

I'd love to have an 800+ mile range but no car I've ever owned has ever even teased that (best tank ever 436miles).

Doesn't really matter since you don't have an 800 mile bladder. Unless you plan on wearing diapers while you drive you're going to pull over sometime for, umm... well, you know... and may as well refuel while you do.

7 hours ago
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Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

sjbe Start waking up (109 comments)

Wake me when it has a 500 mile range, can be fully charged in 5 minutes, and will last more than 5 years. Oh, and it has to work in a non-streamlined vehicle like a loaded F-150 pickup.

The only bit of that specification that would be difficult right now in pure electric form would be the 5 minute recharge unless we are talking about battery pack swaps. Nobody has done it yet but it's not actually impossible judging by the range achieved with the Tesla and some others.

Furthermore those specs could easily be done today albeit in hybrid form with better fuel economy, more torque/hp, equal refueling time and it certainly would last more than 5 years baring unexpected malfunction. Might not be cheaper but it is certainly technologically feasible. Honestly I think trucks should be diesel-electric hybrids like trains. Electric motors drive the wheels and get charged by a diesel engine.

8 hours ago
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Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

sjbe Different country. Different rules. (88 comments)

If you can see it from public property and tell what it is, it's (effectively) in the public domain, isn't it?

Not necessarily. This isn't the United States. Different laws and customs applied differently. Your normal expectations regarding the law may not apply.

I'd say Google's doing them a favour. If any of their secret installations turn up on it, you know it's time to shut them down or move them.

Yeah... I'm sure that's exactly how they will see it too... [/sarcasm]

8 hours ago
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World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

sjbe Why amphibious planes are useful (82 comments)

Why are they building giant amphibious cargo planes today? Who has that need?

Isn't that sort of a self answering question? Let's break it down. 3/4 of the earth's surface is water and there aren't nice paved roads everywhere there is a need for cargo. Ships are slow, planes are not. Planes that can land on water do not need a prepared runway as any sufficiently large, reasonably calm body of water will suffice if there isn't a traditional runway available. Planes that can land/takeoff from water can be refueled there too meaning they do not have to worry about ditching when over water except in rough weather.

So basically anyone who needs relatively fast long distance transport of cargo to a remote area where there is water but possibly not runways. Describes more than a few places on earth.

10 hours ago
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Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

sjbe Real life is complicated (422 comments)

Why did they "have" to start taking drugs in the first place?

Depends on the situation. Some people take them out of pure pleasure seeking. Others get addicted to chemicals like opiates as a result of circumstances well beyond their control like surgeries.

Furthermore just because someone made a bad decision doesn't mean we simply abandon them. Maybe you are the one person who has never made a bad choice in life but I doubt it. Sometimes people make bad choices and a civilized society tries to a reasonable degree to help them through it. We're going to pay for it one way or another anyway so why not do the humane thing and help those who are willing to be helped?

If you take drugs and get addicted, that's your responsibility. Not anyone else's.

Think so? I can introduce you to some former surgery patients and war veterans among others who were introduced to opiates to control pain by their physicians for very real pain problems and as a result were unable to avoid addiction. I can point you to some suffering from PTSD (not their fault) who are trying to find some way to cope who sometimes turn to chemicals because they don't understand what has happened and it is the only relief they can find before they understand what has happened. Some addictions are not the solely the fault of the person taking the drugs.

It's easy and wrong to paint every drug addict with the same broad brush. Some, like the sort you are thinking of, are simply idiots seeking pleasure or escape. If you are snorting cocaine on your yacht for fun, yeah that's on you and if you die I'm not going to cry a river for you. Others are decent people trying to cope with a real problem not of their own making. You really think that a wounded veteran who gets unintentionally addicted to opiates while trying to control pain is solely responsible for his situation? If so you are a very cold hearted person.

10 hours ago
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Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

sjbe Taking responsibility? Ha! (422 comments)

Yes, it is, takes some fucking responsibility for your own actions.

That's delightfully naive of you. You think someone who is taking drugs to get high is somehow going to be interested in increasing their level of responsibility?

12 hours ago
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

sjbe PEDs don't exist just because of money (173 comments)

When there's money in it, people will cheat.

I have news for you. People cheat even when there isn't money in it. Money makes the problem worse but it isn't the root of the problem. Some people just want to win, no matter what. Money alone really isn't enough to explain the cheating in high level athletics. It's a factor but not as big as you might assume.

I've competed at the Division 1 college level of athletics for a top tier program in my sport of choice (not cycling). Nobody gets into sport at that level because of money though it might help keep them in it. People compete because they want to win. They want to be the best. That is most of what drives them. Money is just added incentive for those at the very top in select sports. You'll see people get popped for PEDs in sports where there is no money almost as often as in sports where there is money. Few people appreciate just how hard and how much work it is to compete at that level. There are very few people for whom money alone is sufficient motivation to compete at that level. You basically have to torture yourself for years on a daily basis and most people cannot do it.

Drugs can make a difference but only a few percent improvement at best. You could throw a whole pharmacy at me or 99.9999% of people on Earth and we still don't have the physiology to win the Tour de France. You have to be able to get near the top without drugs for the drugs to be able to push you to the top. I've competed and coached my sport for well over 30 years. There is close to no money in the sport but you'll see at least 1 or 2 athletes get popped for PEDs at world level competitions each year. I have good reason to believe most athletes in my sport are clean (PEDs provide a relatively modest performance benefit) but I'm quite certain a few aren't and like I said, money is not really a factor.

12 hours ago
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

sjbe I want to see the best (173 comments)

Ever since the Olympics went professional, it's been boring.

Maybe to you. Personally I disagree. I want to see the best of the best competing on the most level playing field we can devise. Whether they get paid for it or not is irrelevant to me.

yesterday
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

sjbe It's a game. Grow up. (173 comments)

I don't care. Sports is (are?) stupid.

Why? Because you don't play them? I'm sure whatever hobbies you prefer are clearly superior... [/sarcasm]

They are, by default, exclusionary.

Pretty much anyone can play sports so they are by definition not exclusionary. You might not be the best at a given sport but absent an insurmountable physical deficit there is nothing prohibiting your from participation. We even have special competitions like the Special Olympics for those who need a little extra help to participate.

Call me a jerk for not feeling sympathy for the rich, steroid ladened, kids whose parents gave them every advantage in the world suddenly feel disadvantaged.

Ok, you're a jerk. "Rich, steroid ladened kids whose parents give them every advantage"? Seriously? You sound like a pathetic bitter little person with an inferiority complex who needs to denigrate others to make yourself feel superior. Sports are nothing more than games. You don't have to like sports nor do you have to participate but it takes a real asshole to think that because others enjoy a game that those who participate are somehow bad people. The entire point of a game is to have people compete under the same rules as everyone else. Sometimes technology creates advantages that break the game balance and we have to consider whether or not to allow that technology. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Having that discussion does not make you one a jerk but people who criticize the need for the discussion (like you) are jerks.

yesterday
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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

sjbe It has multiple spellings (124 comments)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

If it is used often enough it DOES make it correct, particularly when it is used that way within a trade. That is how languages are formed in the real world. Not from ivory tower dictates of grammar nazis like yourself.

"Buss" is not a word

Except that it is. It means Kiss according to Webster. It is also a fairly common shortened spelling of a Busbar. Bus is a contraction of the latin word "omnibus", meaning "for all".

This holds true within the electrical trade, as many old-timers frequently write (not type!) "buss" -- I often see it on equipment labels, one-line drawings, etc.,

Then you have contradicted your own argument and it is de-facto correct if it is used that way commonly within the relevant trade.

2 days ago
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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

sjbe 1% is big in retail (168 comments)

Let's imagine Amazon runs a script and raises all their prices, every single one of them, by 1% Would anyone notice?

Short answer? Yes they would.

Long answer? 1% is not a trivial price increase when what you are selling is commodities at cutthroat retail prices. Walmart's entire profit margin is just a hair over 3% and nobody thinks they are a failure. Their cost advantage over competitors like Target is whisper thin. Less than 1%. If they raise prices by just 1% they would no longer be the cost leader anymore.

Is 1% even enough to justify looking elsewhere for a product?

On individual items? Mostly not. But over a large enough basket of items and customers? Absolutely yes. They would without question lose some amount of business.

3 days ago
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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

sjbe Didn't cost Amazon a dime (168 comments)

In contrast, the skittish investors yesterday cost the company about $12B compared to the $126M business loss. The skittish investors who cause huge overnight drops like this create opportunities.

Skittish investors didn't cost the company a penny. You will not find the stock price in any profit or loss statement for the company. The day to day fluctuations of the stock market have only a very indirect effect on Amazon's finances. The main thing it matters for is if Amazon were to issue additional stock to the market in the future, they wouldn't raise as much money. It also has a mild effect on their cost of capital.

What this means is that skittish investors cost all Amazon investors $12B in value over a $126M loss for the current period. Probably a bit of an over reaction as you pointed out. The profit or loss here is frankly immaterial. What matters is what investors think of Amazon's prospects going forward. Personally I think Amazon is in a very strong position and they could be profitable tomorrow if they felt the need. I see it as a buying opportunity if anything.

3 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

sjbe Re:Discrimination against atheists (198 comments)

Who's requiring you to be honest? It's politics.

Nobody. But speaking for myself, I'm not about to hide the fact that I think overly devout theists are mentally ill. So I guess I'll never get elected.

if religious nuts would just keep it as their business, instead of always making it everyone else's business, religion wouldn't be such a fucking problem

But they gain power by spreading their religion. That's why they fight against contraception, push for school prayer and other youth indoctrination, fight any science that points out how ridiculous their mythology is, have missionaries, etc.

3 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

sjbe 14th Amendment (198 comments)

Indeed. In fact, they've not been enforceable for over 145 years per the Fourteenth Amendment and Marbury v. Madison (Anything repugnant to the Constitution is void from it's beginnings...)

Bullshit they haven't been enforceable. The Fourteenth didn't eliminate state sponsored discrimination upon its passage. Issues like Jim Crow laws persisted for another hundred years after that and was supported by the Supreme Court in rulings. The 14th Amendment is one of the most heavily litigated parts of the US Constitution.

3 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

sjbe Discrimination against atheists (198 comments)

I believe that contravenes the US Constitution's ban on religious tests to hold office (Article VI, paragraph 3).

Which matters not one bit in actual practice. There are 7 states (Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas) where the state constitution effectively prohibits atheists from holding public office. Arkansas furthermore prohibits atheists from serving as a witness in court. While this technically hasn't been enforced in a long time, the law hasn't been changed either.

Plus good luck getting elected if you are honest about being an atheist. It's basically considered political suicide in most of the country.

3 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

sjbe Night vision (535 comments)

I'd just as rather have good night vision with glasses at this stage.

That's fine but lasik doesn't necessarily hurt your night vision. I had good night vision both before and after the procedure. Some have different results but most people have night vision pretty similar to what they had afterwards post recovery. I had a bit of haloing for about 2 years afterwards but it went away.

Lasik does not cure the need most people have as they get older for reading glasses. (Called presbyopia - caused by a hardening of the lenses) Chances are I'll need reading glasses someday but after wearing glasses for 17 years I couldn't be more glad to be rid of them.

4 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

sjbe Not about the cost (535 comments)

I can get glasses that last for 5+ years for a couple hundred dollars, vs. lots more for surgery with its inherent risks. My glasses are generally only annoying when I work outside & get sweaty.

Cost isn't really a meaningful comparison here. I wore glasses for 17 years before having lasik. Best money I ever spent but I didn't do it because of the cost and I would have paid double or more of what I did especially in hindsight. I did it for quality of life. Having to wear glasses is an annoying, albeit usually minor handicap. I'm very glad to not have to wear them anymore. This may not describe you of course and that is ok too.

4 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

sjbe Caution is appropriate (535 comments)

Maybe it's just silly, but I'm really scared of someone shooting a laser into my eye. I don't want to be that 0.01% of cases that has something horrible happen.

It's not silly, just very unlikely. I've had the surgery and I won't kid you that the idea of someone cutting my eye still makes me a bit squeamish even today. That said I still consider my lasik procedure to be the best money I've ever spent. One of the partners in our company had it too and feels similarly.

As with any surgery it is 100% appropriate to be cautious and ask a lot of questions. If you still are uncomfortable with the idea it's ok not to get the surgery. I'm fairly active and it helps with sports I play but if you aren't bothered by glasses and they don't cause you problems then there is no need to get the procedure.

4 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

sjbe Best money I ever spent (535 comments)

I had Lasik back in 1999 in my late 20s. Best money I ever spent. Wore glasses for 17 years prior to the surgery. Pre-surgery my vision was about 4 diopters in each eye with some mild astigmatism in one eye. My correct vision remains better than 20/20 15 years later. It's not for everyone and it doesn't mean I eventually won't need glasses again but I'm very glad I got it done. I've never benefited more from anything I've ever bought.

I did have some mild haloing at night for about 2-3 years afterwards but it went away. Took me about 6 months to stop reflexively trying to push my glasses back up my nose even though they weren't there anymore. Eyes were a little dry for a few weeks afterwards but nothing serious. They tell you to keep your eyes closed for a day or so afterwards and they mean it so follow the post operative procedures carefully.

It's not for everyone. Statistically the outcomes are very positive if you are a candidate but there is some risk as with any surgery. If you are comfortable wearing glasses and don't need improved vision then I'd say don't worry about it. I play a lot of sports and it helped a lot for me but some people would benefit less.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

sjbe Windows key (322 comments)

Actually, all decent ones do, but the key might be labeled "Meta" or "Cmd" or a funky icon something.

Demonstrably not true though I'll freely concede that the majority of keyboards sold have one or something that could serve as one. I know it's not true because I own several better than decent keyboards which lack a Windows key or any equivalent. That said, it's still not a good idea for Windows to presume or depend on the existence of a Windows key. It's fine to use but honestly I don't know anyone who actually uses it, myself included. I'm aware of what it can do and have tried using it a bit but I can honestly say I've never once seen anyone I know closely use the Windows key. Ever. Not kidding even a little bit.

4 days ago

Submissions

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Creationists Editing Darwin's Origin of Species

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "Proponents of intelligent design have been distributing an edited version of Darwin's "Origin of Species". The edited version reportedly contains a 50 page introduction written by Ray Comfort favoring creationism. The full original text of the book is included with the new version. Over 1000 copies were allegedly handed out near Washington University in Saint Louis without any notice to or approval from the university. The author reportedly draw connections between Hitler and Darwin so Godwin's Law may need to be invoked."
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XM Sirius Merger approved by DOJ

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "A year after announcing the merger the Justice Department has given the thumbs up to the proposed merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius. The FCC still has to give their approval but historically the two organizations rarely contradict each other on proposed mergers. It will be interested to watch if the merger can stop all the red ink from these two money losing companies."
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Ziff Davis Files For Bankruptcy

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "Ziff Davis Media Inc., publisher of PC Magazine has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing is reportedly to reorganize the company's capital structure, particularly with regard to subordinated debt. Papers were filed in the US Bankruptcy court in Manhattan. The company's parent Ziff Davis Holdings Inc. also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Full details are available from Bloomberg."
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Lax TSA Website Exposes Traveller's Information

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "According to a January 2008 report from the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, from October 2006 through February 2007 traveller's who utilized the TSA website to attempt to remove their name from the No-Fly list risked having sensitive data, including social security numbers, exposed due to poor security practices. The contractor responsible, Desyne Web Services was awarded a no-bid contract to design the website. The TSA's technical lead on the project reportedly had a conflict of interest having been a former employee of Desyne. The security vulnerabilities were pointed out by Chris Soghoian, a Ph.D. student at the University of Indiana's School of Informatics. The TSA has since taken action to remedy the vulnerabilities but no action was taken to sanction the responsible parties for the vulnerabilities."
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