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AirAsia QZ8501 Black Box Found

supernova87a Re:Disgusting (95 comments)

We should count this fact as one of the greatest gifts that modern aviation, science, and policy has given us. The idea that those who died can save others in the future by figuring out what went wrong -- and that their loss is not squandered without doing something about it.

It fights the normal state of being helpless and clueless, and helps us advance. Screw those who say, "oh, this accident was God's will." No, it was not just some random/unknowable event -- it's something that we can fix and make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

about two weeks ago

Uber Must Submit CEO Emails

supernova87a oops (183 comments)

Hopefully they used Snapchat to exchange photos of them fucking over customers.

Just kidding, hah. All in all, I think Uber is the greatest gift to us customers in the history of taxis. I've had enough of taxi drivers lying, cheating, and just plain driving badly. Regulators might do well to acknowledge that Uber provides more accountability of drivers and power to the customer than any taxi regualtion has yet.

about three weeks ago

US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

supernova87a Re:Why Sony (231 comments)

Yeah, exactly. Human rights abuses (no, atrocities), mass starvation, nuclear weapons development, money laundering, military posturing -- that's all fine. But mess with our entertainment industry?? Sanctions!

about three weeks ago

United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

supernova87a Re:Cheaper (349 comments)

No. The core problem of the airline industry in the US is that there are too many airlines serving each origin destination pair. Such that no airline is able to maintain a reliably profitable margin before others try to horn in and lower the price for fares.

In an industry where airplanes are very capital intensive and inflexible to acquire/get rid of, and there is very low cost to supplying additional seats to a market, any market participant will be tempted to make marginal costs by putting more availability out there. This depresses ticket prices (to the benefit of the public), but drives their industry into the ground.

Air travel is a great business for everyone except the airlines. If we want to have stable airlines, reasonable prices (which may not mean low prices), and quality service, the harsh truth is that the US will have to let a few airlines die, and not let new entrants take their place. You cannot have all of these things without doing that.

On the topic of this fare exploit, airlines have these rules so they can offer different prices to different markets. If their mechanisms for keeping people from exploiting these differences are disallowed or defeated, I think one predictable outcome is that fares rise for everyone instead.

about three weeks ago

Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

supernova87a daytime crash? (132 comments)

What I find somewhat puzzling is how this happened in daylight. In AF447 and others where pilots lost control or were confused by conflicting instrument readings, it was during night or poor visibility and they lost reference to the horizon. This was at 7am Singapore time, and although there were storm clouds, I would have thought that at least for some portion of the incident, the horizon would have been visible?

This of course assumes that the problem was a loss of attitude control due to instruments.

about three weeks ago

Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

supernova87a Re:why Facebook? (218 comments)

Why do you have a fucking Slashdot account, by the same logic?

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

supernova87a it might be too late (280 comments)

I think to be fair to this person, we should seriously discuss the idea that it may be too late to get into a hard science field after an English major.

The reason might not be so much that he/she is unable to learn (although that is a possibility -- many people find that after years of being out of college and hard science, they no longer have the patience/drive to sit through those classes). It is also a matter of having done this switch, he/she will be behind by years, and possibly sending bad signals to employers.

Just think about it, if you have a candidate for a job who has switched fields late in life, regardless of the explanation, you may question their committment or attention span to be in the field. And on top of that, they will be years behind the person who has been doing it since day 1 of college. Side by side, the comparison to job candidates who stuck with it earlier will never be favorable. And the truth of that will manifest in frustrating job searches, failed attempts at getting top jobs, etc.

You may have to admit the unpleasant truth that going back to start over again is a losing proposition and you should make the best of what you have done so far, and continue down that path.

Perhaps a more productive way of making a partial switch is to get into the field of science writing, or journalism, or some other pursuit where your lack of years in science research and preparation is not such a handicap.

about a month ago

EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

supernova87a not a problem (172 comments)

WIth the way that European country economies are shrinking, we'll get to 40% carbon reduction with no trouble at all.

about 2 months ago

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

supernova87a be less willing to put up with inefficiency (342 comments)

The thing I hate the most in the world is stupid lines making people physically wait and waste their time for something. Especially when there don't need to be lines, and the problem is caused by dumb behavior, not genuine lack of resources (aside from intelligence).

Have a look at this video, which shows how Toyota helped apply pretty simple principles to reduce the wait for food after disaster hit with Hurricane Sandy in NYC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

You start understanding that the average person in charge of group processes generally have no idea how much of people's time they're wasting. Which could be avoided with some simple steps, and very little additional cost.

about 3 months ago

FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

supernova87a goes two ways (284 comments)

When the people and organizations in government demonstrate trustworthiness, we will trust them to keep the keys.

about 3 months ago

Antiperspirants Could Contribute to Particulate Pollution

supernova87a wrong crowd (70 comments)

The Slashdot audience is probably contributing less than average to the environmental problem of antiperspirants being used.

about 3 months ago

Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

supernova87a then fund the study (336 comments)

Not to say that there isn't lots of money and influence-making behind the scenes, but a key problem with policies that are desired by corporations but disliked by individuals is that the corporation can and will pay for evidence to be created supporting their position.

Evidence has a loose definition, of course, and a responsible regulator will do their homework to tell the difference between shoddy evidence and strong evidence. But when evidence is submitted that explains how a policy decision plausibly leads to [xyz] effects, that wins real points.

What is sure is that on the other side, even millions of people getting together won't produce hard evidence that a court/rule-making body can rely on. In the end, even millions people's opinions will only amount to a few soft statistics.

Filling this gap on the "people's side" is somewhat the role of academia/thinktanks/non-profits to fill, but in a fast moving industry they are unlikely to move faster than a corporation that wants to back something.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is There an Ethical Way Facebook Can Experiment With Their Users?

supernova87a Re:what "rights"? (141 comments)

Oh, so you mean they weren't actively deciding which 20 out of possible 100 stories to show you, before the experiment?

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is There an Ethical Way Facebook Can Experiment With Their Users?

supernova87a what "rights"? (141 comments)

Forgive me for raising a stupid question, but what expectation / right do we have to expect that Facebook is a certain way, or behaves in a certain way? Or shows you content without adulteration? It's not a fundamental government service, or anything we even paid for, after all.

For all we know if could be designed as a parody website, and shows us things that our friends looked at, modulated by some sarcasm filter.

Everything that Facebook shows us is an experiment. And you object because they adjusted the experiment slightly? You don't have to approve every time when your homepage feed loads up, showing you stories that were determined by some algorithm,so why should Facebook seek your approval when something slightly different is shown? Because they adjusted the thresholds for displaying stories by 5%?

Stop trusting other people's websites so much, and expecting anything from them, for that matter. When Facebook is declared to have a public service obligation, maybe then you can demand these things.

about 4 months ago

Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

supernova87a um... (481 comments)

I think the line is: "what has an octopus ever done for you?" Not much, by most reckoning.

about 4 months ago

Code.org: Blame Tech Diversity On Education Pipeline, Not Hiring Discrimination

supernova87a Re:I'm glad SOMEBODY finally said this (227 comments)

In the name of equality and giving people the opportunities they deserve, I think that we should also be crusading to improve the balance and representation of Asians, whites, and Northern Europeans in the NBA and NFL.

Also, females make up an unacceptably low proportion of prison inmates. That needs to increase.

about 4 months ago

Facebook Apologizes To Drag Queens Over "Real Name" Rule

supernova87a yeah, the integrity of Facebook is at stake (280 comments)

Kind of hard to believe Facebook really is trying to protect the integrity and reputability of its users, and applying rules to people equally. Mark Zuckerberg's dog has a fucking account -- tell me how that's ok?

about 4 months ago

Factory IoT Saves Intel $9 Million

supernova87a umm. details? (50 comments)

"...CPU tester modules in a semiconductor manufacturing line at the plant were retrofitted with sensors. They then sent data to Mitsubishi Electric C Controller gateway devices powered by Intel Atom chips. After some filtering, the data were then processed using software from Revolution Analytics. Putting the data results into practice resulted in a reduction in component failures, increased equipment uptime and productivity, according to Intel....."

Could someone who actually knows something about what they did write the fucking article please? I have no idea what was improved using this technique by reading these sentences which are the only concrete part of the entire story linked.

about 4 months ago

Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

supernova87a oh, for another golden era of public transport (111 comments)

It is rather pathetic that in the first year of operation, 1967, the shinkansen achieved speeds of 137 mph while here in the US 45+ years later, we have yet to approach this average speed on our fastest line (Northeast corridor).

Admittedly, Japan benefited from a dedicated, grade-separated track, and new-build greenfield infrastructure that made efficiency and continuous improvement possible. As well as concentrated population centers with good local feeder public transport systems that could support expensive high speed rail. And ownership of the rails that allowed them to route and sequence traffic in a predictable and orderly way.

Ok, I admit that's a lot of favorable conditions that helped.

But still, you come back home to the US and wonder how we are still #1 with such shitty, shitty public transport systems, and public policymakers who care so little / are clueless about what it takes.

You take the shinkansen in Japan, or even a suburban line in Munich for that matter, and you have such a fast, quiet, vibration-free ride that you come back embarrassed about USA infrastructure. Try to take public transport to your flight at La Guardia, or the Amtrak Coast Starlight (SFO-LAX, which sometimes involves a bus), or the Boston Green Line squealing like a pig under Park Street like it's being tortured, or run away from the Chicago CTA crashing into O'Hare, and you get a sense of what it's like to be in last place among first world countries. Or for that matter, Chicago selling off it's public street parking infrastructure for 99 fucking years to the highest bidder. What moron was in charge of that one? I would hardly bet on what 5 years from now looks like, and they sold it off for 99 years.

It makes you disappointed in how dim is our current shadow of the earlier greatness that built this country.

about 4 months ago

Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

supernova87a Re:actually Australia does have some sanity (217 comments)

I didn't think it was. Interisland/commuter terminal has similar levels of security, despite the fact that the planes couldn't do damage to anything of importance if they wanted to...

about 4 months ago



Cat has uncanny ability to fortell patients' death

supernova87a supernova87a writes  |  more than 7 years ago

supernova87a writes "The New England Journal of Medicine has reported on a cat with an uncanny (and perhaps disturbing) ability — the ability to predict within a few hours when a person is going to die. Oscar the cat, has been correct in 25 consecutive cases so far on the geriatric dementia ward where he resides in Rhode Island. The sight of him curled up next to a patient signals the nursing staff to call family to accompany their loved one, as death is imminent. Is it biochemical, feline alertness, or just warm blankets? BBC, local sources, and others have picked up the story."


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