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Comment Re:A bridge construction group announced... (Score 1) 243

That's different, the mechanic gets money from you directly (the physician analogy is not relevant in many countries). The people writing these reports are NOT getting a direct benefit from th reports. It's a lazy statement of someone unaware of their function. Most likely it's a group of people from academia, public works and yes industry that make the point. While the guys from the industry may have some monetary interest, it doesn't affect the other groups.

Actually, if you bother reading those reports, you'll find out that what they advocate is not waiting until things are about to crumble to make the investment because the work is so close to being a rebuild that it's much more expensive over any given period of time to do so than quickly making a little patchwork early on. The reports actually advocate spending less money on repairs... by doing them in a timely manner. So the entire analogy is flawed.

You don't even need to be a civil engineer to understand it either. If you've ever lived in a house whose owner decided to not spend the money to fix a little leak in pipes, or in the roof only to have to dish out an order of magnitude larger amount of money to fix the damages resulting from the neglect, then you have a healthy appreciation for the soundness of the advice.

But Infrastructure spending is not sexy, as John Oliver would no doubt agree.


Comment Re:Basic ettiquette pays I guess (Score 1) 113

How is "No problem" less polite than "You are welcome"? To me, you are welcome has a connotation that I was expecting thanks from you (which is really kind of impolite), while "no problem" or "don't mention it" imply that you are really diminishing the effort that it caused you so that the thanker should not feel in too much of a debt. I think either of those two are actually more polite than "you are welcome".

Comment Re:Well, was it stronger than steel? (Score 1) 74

What the article I read described was that the glass had a high modulus of elasticity. There was absolutely no reference to strength, or ductility, both properties that would make me call the glass "strong" or "impact resistant". It's just stiff glass. Period. By the way, almost all grades of steel have about the same modulus of elasticity, even when their strength is vastly different, so the one does not imply the other.

Comment Re:Pretty standard procedure on a large campus (Score 1) 284

Exactly. In my university it's the same. It's not with nefarious intent. But I can call campus security and report an accident in building so, and so in room such. It means something for campus security who can get someone there quickly both because of close location and because of their familiarity with the location. They are in a better position to contact and guide emergency personnel to the proper location. It avoids confusion and can save lives.

Comment Re:GOOD GRIEF! (Score 1) 570

The next question is: why would you filter tap water after it's already been treated? I'd be more concerned about the microbial population of my home filter than about the quality of the tap water in most places that have water treatment plants.

As for the juices, unlike sodas, you do get vitamins unfortunately, even without added sugar, fruits that you don't have to chew or digest to assimilate, means that you get all those extra fruit servings, without feeling satiated and without the solids slowing down the assimilation rate. It's only a small step up from sodas to juices.

My beverage of choice: unfiltered tap water.

Comment Seems like a no-brainer (Score 1) 194

It seems to me that the logical step before establishing a permanent base anywhere else in the solar system we need to have a permanent presence on the Moon. It is the logical step to develop the knowledge and experience needed for such an endeavour. It is close enough to earth that "relief missions" can be contemplated, yet hard enough to reach that you better had a solid plan in place requiring it to be self-sustaining. Once the bugs are out of the system on the Moon is the time to take on Mars. And yes, permanent settlements are needed to make it worth doing, otherwise they are nothing but very expensive vacations for a little bunch of people. The resource commitment needed to reach it, means that from the start, the manned mission should aim to be a permanent settlement.

Now that I have added my little bit of uninformed opinion to the general Slashdot noise, I consider my day complete.

Comment Re:Ah, no lessons learned from Windows 8 (Score 4, Interesting) 170

I use Gnome on a Desktop exclusively. I haven't tried 3.18, but in general, GNOME 3 made my desktop experience more enjoyable. In particular, dynamic virtual desktop allocation, mouse swipe the the corner to reveal the dash etc, are actually very productivity enhancing for me. I don't know how good the interface would be on a tablet, but to me, it is definitely a superior desktop paradigm for the desktop. Gnome shell applets and various settings can be tweaked to improve on the overall experience (like a mounted volume indicator on the task bar etc.). The only issue I have with Gnome, is that Gnome Tweaks should not be an optional additional application to install, but should be integrated in the default settings of Gnome. Personally, I wouldn't go back to the antiquated hierarchical menu, as my apps are much easier to find now (this I think is definitely more oriented towards the desktop, as typing in search terms in a touch screen sucks).

Comment Re:With those figures ? (Score 1) 131

I'm sorry. The journals do not have "staff" that peer review the journals. The peers of the authors, i.e. other authors do all the peer review. The only job of the journals is managing those lists of reviewers and assign reviews. With electronic publishing reducing costs, and software to do most of that "managing" there is very little value to those journals. Sincerely, libraries should pitch into a "common" pool. On a national basis perhaps, they should create a number of peer reviewed journals for the various topics.. and instead of spending that 20000$ per journal, they could contribute to the administrative infrastructure of those new journals which could then offer their content openly. I consider that my university's library funds would be better spent that way than paying the indecent fees for minimal contribution from the journals. I certainly know that as I reviewer I don't receive a dime from any of the publications that I review articles for. I think that is OK, but I don't think the indecent cost of subscribing to journals or publishing in open access is justified given that the vast majority of the potential cost of the peer review process is already being externalized by the journals.

Comment Re:If it happens... (Score 2) 109

Unfortunately, most economists subscribe to fallacy of infinite growth. If limiting factors were understood, then a stable economy at its capacity (and healthy) would be more clearly differentiated from a stagnating economy (stable, but below capacity), and you would not have to suffer these collapses. Collapses are a sign of an unhealthy ecosystem, and the same is true of the economy. Until the economy is treated as a subcomponent of the ecosystems it depends on, unfortunately, this is not likely to stop.

Comment Re:What's the point ? (Score 4, Insightful) 185

It hasn't much to do with rational thinking. Mental health is not something that we are conditionned to think about. Among other things, it relies heavily on a fine balance of chemicals in the brain. You have been able to think of your circumcstances rationally, and your are better for it. However, stress can easily lead to despair for various poeople, even if their circumstances are not as dire as those of others. Just as some people may be consumed by rage for no good reason.

Mental health is tricky, and I am certainly not an expert on the subject or on how to maintain it. Hopefully as a society we can move on from it being a taboo subject to people being able to routinely seeking help or just evaluation. How many tragedies could be avoided then?

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Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau