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Comments

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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe Re:One small way I try to help. (256 comments)

I don't get why more people don't do this.

The answer to that question is simple: gardening can be a chore. The benefits have to outweigh the effort, and I think for a lot of people the effort is too much. I used to keep a garden, but I found that I did not get that much enjoyment out of tending one. It was great to have the fresh tomatoes, eggplant and chiles, but not THAT great. Even though it wasn't for me, I think you will see more people starting to do this as the effort/benefits ratio begins to tilt. If I ever do it again, I think I'll try just putting out a few plants in pots, rather than lots of plants in beds.

yesterday
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe One small way I try to help. (256 comments)

Personally, I take a very darwinian approach to my lawn. That is, so long as it grows, and can put up with the lawn mower, it can stay. I don't water. I don't spread chemicals. The result is that I have all kinds of fauna in my yard, some of which I am not sure are even native to this solar system.

yesterday
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

wcrowe Re:FUD filled.... (198 comments)

You make a good point. However, just playing devil's advocate here, your generators will only run so long as you can keep them supplied with diesel fuel. If the transportation and distribution system that the pipelines and trucks rely on to get the fuel from point a to point b is disrupted, you may have trouble keeping those generators running.

Most disaster preparedness is built on the assumption that help will arrive from the outside. But when EVERYWHERE is affected, help may not be available.

Nevertheless, the article is indeed a bit FUDdy.

yesterday
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For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

wcrowe Even higher for other degree fields. (169 comments)

That has always been true. The share is even higher for other degrees. Probably 70 percent with degrees in Liberal Arts lead to other jobs -- waiting on tables, for instance.

2 days ago
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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

wcrowe Meep! Meep! (238 comments)

Finally! Portable holes, like in the old Warners Brothers cartoons!

about two weeks ago
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Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

wcrowe Filter bubble (109 comments)

The filter bubble is bringing 1984 to realization in ways that no one ever imagined.

about two weeks ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe Re:What might have happened. (205 comments)

I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or if you're serious. But if you're serious, obviously the paper records from the 19th century were transcribed to digital form at some point.

about two weeks ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe Re:What might have happened. (205 comments)

Why do I think that? Because I've been programming for over thirty years and I've seen it done. No one today would probably design a table like that, but this is a government system, and some of those government databases are pretty old.

about two weeks ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe What might have happened. (205 comments)

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century. Whoever wrote the query, sql statement, or whatever, left out the century, and there you have it. Probably not a Y2K problem, but more like a dumbass programmer problem.

about two weeks ago
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The World's Best Living Programmers

wcrowe Bill Brasky! (285 comments)

Everyone knows the best programmer alive is Bill Brasky!.

about two weeks ago
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Employees Staying Away From Internal Corporate Social Networks

wcrowe Utility is the least of the problems. (131 comments)

Why would I want everyone in the entire corporation to know everything about me? It's just like when my company invited everyone to "like" them on FB a few years ago. Yeah, right, so they can keep tabs on everything I do outside of work. Outside of payroll, or my boss, all anyone needs to know about me at work is my name, my title, and perhaps a photograph.

about three weeks ago
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30% of Americans Aren't Ready For the Next Generation of Technology

wcrowe You can lead a horse to water... (191 comments)

I am skeptical of claims that people suffer from "digital readiness". I guarantee you they are perfectly capable of using the internet when it comes to porn. It's not like it requires years of schooling. Once someone has access to the internet there is no excuse for not becoming "digitally literate", other than a lack of motivation.

about three weeks ago
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The Internet of Things Comes To Your Garden

wcrowe Re:Waste of Tech (66 comments)

Good point. I don't so much want something that will regulate my water. Watering is not a problem. But show me something that will pull weeds and tie up tomatoes, and I'm all in.

about three weeks ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

wcrowe Windows? Nein! (681 comments)

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. :-)

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

wcrowe Re:And good riddance! (273 comments)

I agree we're at a turning. I'm not sure I'm convinced that democracy necessarily has to follow oligarchy, but that would be the best possibility. The bad thing is that there will be a period of instability in between, and that is worrisome.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

wcrowe Re:And good riddance! (273 comments)

That's along the lines of just what I was thinking. I feel like Hari Seldon in Asimov's Foundation series. You can see little signs that things are falling apart all over the place. For instance, I was in Lowes yesterday and I noticed they now sell booklets on how to raise chickens and goats. Apparently there are so many suburbanites doing this that they rate their own book sections. Last month I set a recliner and couch out at the curb for the monthly bulk-trash pickup. I left home for a few hours, and when I returned, I discovered two guys with an old pickup parked in front of my house tearing into the furniture to get the metal out of it (the springs, recliner base, etc). They didn't want the furniture, they just wanted the metal. They promised me they would not leave a mess, and they were good on their promise. They worked pretty hard to get the metal out, and I tried to imagine any situation whereby the metal would be worth more than earning wages at a minimum wage job. But then, there probably aren't as many minimum wage jobs to go around as I was thinking. I drive around at night and I see a lot of streetlamps out, and business signs that are only partially lit. Little signs of decay everywhere. And I live in a state that is "booming" with (supposedly) only 4% unemployment.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

wcrowe I'll take a regular cab, thank you. (273 comments)

I don't know why anyone would want to hop in a car with someone of dubious character, who may or may not have proper insurance, who may or may not have a proper driver's licence, who might be driving a jalopy in any sort of condition, but hey, people hitchhike all the time so to each his own.

Meanwhile, Uber will do fine until the first woman gets raped by an Uber driver, or until the first few Uber drivers get robbed or killed.

about three weeks ago
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Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

wcrowe Too bad. (236 comments)

This is not a surprise. Detroit makes it's money from marketing cars that are: a)"fun to drive" b)"tough" c)"stylish" d)"pretentious or class-conscious" e)some combination of the above. Safety, functionality, and reliability are boring (didn't Lee Iacocca once say, "safety doesn't sell"?).

This is unfortunate, because I think Detroit is missing out on a great opportunity. Somebody, somewhere is going to start making autonomous cars, and people will start buying them. Detroit will find itself playing catch-up, or get relegated to irrelevancy.

Personally, I think if autonomous cars can be proven to be safe and reliable, there will be a virtual tsunami of adoption by the buying public.

about three weeks ago
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Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

wcrowe Shrewd Google (548 comments)

The only reason Google is doing this is they're about to get hammered for having a nearly all-male workforce. Truly, Google could care less whether this program actually accomplishes anything or whether more women get into coding. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, well, they can always say they've poured a few million dollars into the effort and they tried.

Frankly, I could care less whether the program works or not, or even the fact that it is aimed squarely at women. This is because a lot of coders out there today have no clue how computers work, and barely understand what they're doing. The whole idea that all we need to do is encourage people to code and we'll magically get more coders is ludicrous. Steinway could start a program to get more kids interested in playing the piano, and the result would be a million kids who could play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", and little else, and perhaps a handful of Harry Connick Jrs. Like surgery, or music, or higher math, or prose, it takes a certain amount of talent to be really good at programming, and there are only so many people who have that talent.

For a few million dollars Google has bought themselves a lot of good will, and probably staved off a lawsuit or two, without changing much of anything.

about a month ago

Submissions

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What Tech Journalists Were Writing About in 1876

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wcrowe writes ""On this day in 1876, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Graham Bell a patent for his "improvement in telegraphy," or, as we now know it, the telephone (above). This anniversary seems like as good a day as any — well, perhaps even a bit better than the other 365 days this year (leap year!) — to dip into the media frenzy that surrounded its arrival, a 19th century tech event evocative of today's Apple circus. Just kidding. It was nothing like that at all — the telephone, and the reaction to it, rolled out over the course of years, not minutes.""
Link to Original Source
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USGS Updates Magnitude of Japan Earthquake to 9.0

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe writes "The USGS has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago."
Link to Original Source
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Stanford Solar Breakthrough

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Quantum dot solar cells are cheaper to produce than traditional silicon cells, but they haven't caught on due to their relative inefficiency. For Stacey Bent, a chemical engineering professor at Stanford, this represented something of a challenge. She knew that solar cells made of a single material have a maximum efficiency of about 31 percent, a limitation of the fixed energy level they can absorb, and that quantum dot solar cells didn't share this limitation. "Quantum dots can be tuned to absorb a certain wavelength of light just by changing their size," the Stanford report on her research says. "And they can be used to build more complex solar cells that have more than one size of quantum dot, allowing them to absorb multiple wavelengths of light.""
Link to Original Source
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Dell to power OKC campus with 100% wind energy

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Dell announced plans today to power its 240,000 square-foot Oklahoma City campus with 100 percent wind energy. The move is expected to significantly reduce the facility's CO2 emissions. Dell is among the first large businesses in the area to be powered entirely with renewable energy."
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Iran in possession of new weapon: Photoshop

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  about 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Iran now has the ability to wipe out Israel — with Photoshop. The Guardian reports:

'A photograph of four missiles being fired by Iran ratcheted up the tensions between the Islamic state and the US and Israel. But now it appears that Tehran may have enhanced the pictures.'

Here's a link to the story."

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"Uncontacted" Amazon Tribe story a hoax

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "The story about an "uncontacted" Amazon Tribe discuss last month appears to be a hoax. The Guardian reports, "They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful of warriors from an 'undiscovered tribe' in the rainforest on the Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that photographed them. Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe's existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that 'uncontacted' tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.""

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