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Comment: Re:so? (Score 1) 83

by Penguinisto (#46783531) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

They don't pay as much for for preferential treatment as the other guys. Their only need for lobbying is to ensure farm subsidies are as high as possible to force down the market price for grain.

Actually, the best way to force prices for grain downwards is to *remove* government subsidies, since most of them go towards paying farmers to limit their harvest output, thereby keeping per-bushel prices high.

Same with any other non-processed food item - dump the subsidies, and farmers will have to increase production to make up for it. This in turn will force prices down for those food items.

Comment: Re:Better leave now (Score 1) 143

by Penguinisto (#46783225) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

I suspect things work a bit more linearly than you might surmise. Maybe I just read your post wrong, but let me re-word it to see if I got it right, with a few changes:

Right now, we (as a human civilization) have pumped out radio signals that currently are racing out past the 100+ light year mark. This is stuff we sent long ago (e.g. Titanic's SOS call has reached the 102-light-year-mark, other early Marconi radio broadcasts in Morse code, stuff like that.)

The initial contact is the bitch - you send something out to a planet 50 ly away, hope someone is there and is capable of listening at that moment, along the frequency band you sent, has his antenna pointed at the same vector from which your signal is originating, has sufficient technology and skill to discern it as a intelligent/sentient message created intentionally. Oh, and you'd better hope something in-between doesn't obliterate the signal on its way there, and that it was powerful enough to not be diffused too much.

Meanwhile, your alien recipient not only has to receive it, but he needs to be capable of sending something in return. If he can decode what you sent and then send a suitable reply - bonus! If he sends something with the same pattern back, okay.

Now we get to wait another 50 years before the reply gets back here, we still have to be around as a civilization (with the right equipment!) to hear it, have someone interested in listening for it (what, 100 years after his grandpappy sent the original signal?), and again, hope the alien dude didn't decide that maybe a different and random (to you) frequency band would have been better to send the reply with... and toss in the same hazards experienced when sending the original request signal.

(...and you thought postal service was slow...)

Comment: Re:What now? 1 billion! (Score 2) 219

by Penguinisto (#46781095) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

The sad part is, MS Access barely qualifies as a database, but most of the "techies" I spoke to at a ghost-hunting conference last weekend** heaped praise on building a "database" with MS Access - they intended to put it on their website for collaboration between ghost-hunting groups, much to the cheers of those various groups who were present.

I stood up and quietly began asking questions of the guy who announced it. 30 minutes later, after realizing to his horror just how insecure and craptastic Access is for Internet use (I had to explain the risks and hazards in layman's terms, which made things slow-going), I gently introduced them to MySQL (which should be more than sufficient for their needs). I offered to help construct a basic setup for them to use once they sorted out how they would introduce privilege separation and suchlike. Next up (if they haven't abandoned the idea completely), I'll introduce them to the concept of a CMS. The guy leading the effort nodded blankly when I walked up to the podium afterwards, gave him my business card, and told him to call me when he was ready.

By the time I got done talking, I was surrounded by a bunch of people (various new-age and definitely non-IT types) who just stared at me slack-jawed and soaked it all in. The one and only other human being in the room who knew what I was talking about was doing his level best not to giggle (he's on my wife's local team, and his day job is web development). I should mention that most of these folks can be wizards at basic EE concepts (with lots of gaps), and can make a sound file do anything just shy of your laundry... but IT is a great big blank to most, and the deepest most of them go is to, say, use wordpress.

As a side-note, I now know fully how Bruce Campbell felt when he shouted at the villagers about his "boom stick!"

So yeah - Access would probably be about it for most folks.

** Why was I there? My wife is really big into this sort of thing, and as any married man knows, you either go along with her or you're a dead man.

Comment: Re:I hate personal definitions (Score 1) 151

by ShieldW0lf (#46780259) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

As far as the difference between deflagration and detonation, you may find this helpful:

Why do I say it's hoped that they will replace scramjets? Because aerospace and military engineers are spending millions of dollars working on trying to engineer them as a replacement for scramjets and hoping they succeed:

I was apparently mistaken about there not having ever been a PDE powered flight... looks like researchers flew one for 10 seconds at an altitude of 100 feet with engines that create detonations at a frequency of 80 Hz.

I imagine a power station that could harness the power of nitroglycerin. Nitro is cheap as hell to make and releases incredible power... I'd love to try and build a plant that's buried deep in bracing rock and uses a very dense inert metallic alloy as a hydraulic fluid to harness the incredible power of cheap organic explosives.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 5

by mcgrew (#46778449) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

However, if there is anything in which I have confidence, it is this administration's commitment to slow, methodical, blame-laden screwings of the lower- and middle-class.

In what way has the lower and middle class been screwed by the present administration? I'll agree that the previous administration was great for the rich and crappy for everyone else, but I posit it's slowly improving.

The lower and middle classes have been getting royally screwed for at least half my life, and I retired earlier this year. The screwings started with Reagan's Capital Gains cuts, which caused an orgy of hostile corporate takeovers leading to layoffs and lowered hours. I was hurt badly when my employer staved off an attempted corporate pirate raid.

No, that suppository arrives with the Clinton Administration. I reckon she's wreckin'.

I certainly hope so, it would be nice for the US to raise to the level of the rest of the industrialized world from our historically barbaric health care "system". American health care is far from #1 in any measure except cost; ours is the most expensive. It's neither logical nor rational.

As to Clinton, if she's elected and half as good as her husband the country will be in fine shape. It would be incredibly hard for her to be anywhere as bad as George Junior, the worst President in my lifetime (AFAIC we've really only had two good Presidents in my lifetime, Eisenhower and Clinton, and as I was very young I could be wrong about Eisenhower but love that interstate highway system, as well as his cautions about a military industrial complex).

I'm more worried about Illinois. Dillard was Chief of Staff under Thompson and Edgar, and Illinois did pretty good until Ryan got in, and it deteriorated worse under Blago. It hasn't gotten much better under Quinn, but unfortunately Dillard lost the primary and the stupid Republicans nominated the only one of the four candidates that would get me to vote for Quinn.

Comment: Well said. (Score 1) 1

by mcgrew (#46778141) Attached to: Lies, damned lies, and ... oh no, you're going there.

Liars always lie. I think people mistrust statistics because they don't understand statistics, or worse, understand a little, just enough to be dangerous.

I worked with data and statisticians my whole career. I'm not a statistician, but learned a lot about the discipline from working with them. One of my co-workers had written a textbook on the subject that was used in colleges. Very interesting discipline.

Comment: Re:ask yourself *why* and do the right thing (Score 2) 267

by sjames (#46777661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

What you needed was a CAB CAB to maintain the change procedure process document. And then, of course the CAB CAB CAB to maintain the change procedure document change procedure process document.

They might need to lay off their production people to afford another layer of CAB or two, but that's OK, with the constant change in the change procedure change procedure, none of them knew what they were supposed to be doing anymore anyway,.

Comment: Re:Are you still partying like its 1999, or what? (Score 4, Insightful) 267

by sjames (#46777617) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

That's not the big leagues, that's the short bus.

yes, changes need to be documented. They should be deployed on a test server before going into production. The rest is just people who were presumably traumatized by falling out of a tree as a child seeking revenge.

Take the people in the CAB and replace them with extra admins who are bright enough to know what I said in the 2nd paragraph.

Comment: Re:WTF?? (Score 1) 772

The lawful means to address the issue is to tell a teacher. The recording itself showed that the teacher already knew and was entirely ineffective in dealing with the problem (even to the point you could argue that the teacher was being bullied a bit).

I sincerely doubt that could be the very first time a teacher or administrator saw the problem.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose