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Comment: Re:They needed research for this? (Score 1) 288

by Bluesman (#43386865) Attached to: Researcher Evan Booth: How To Weaponize Tax-Free Airport Goods

You can put alcohol or chemicals from aerosol cans on you or your clothes and light it without injury. The chemical will likely burn off before it heats your skin enough to burn you. A simple wipe or pat down would kill the flame.

If you try this at home, please have a fire extinguisher or bathtub full of water to jump into. It's possible to let the fire burn too long and have your clothes start to burn.

Comment: Start trading DVD's. (Score 1) 547

by Bluesman (#42023719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

Don't focus on renting DVD's. A lot of people own a few hundred DVD's that they don't watch. Offer to buy those, and sell used DVD's cheap enough so that it amounts to a rental that you don't have to return. You can make money over and over on the same DVD that way.

Allow people to do this by mailing in DVD's. Make it as easy as Netflix.

Otherwise, make him watch the latest Halloween South Park and pour him two or three shots of a good single malt scotch.

Comment: Re:DO WANT! (Score 1) 1026

by Bluesman (#35159680) Attached to: Obama Calling For $53B For High Speed Rail

We pretty much know that the economy runs better with a slight amount of inflation. What that means is that the government has to "print" money each year to increase the amount in circulation. Even with zero inflation, if the economy is growing (people do more stuff, make more stuff, etc.) then more money has to be printed to prevent deflation. So we print more money. The important question remains: how does that money get into circulation?

A good way to inject the money is to spend it on infrastructure projects. This does, in fact, create jobs, either directly or indirectly.

A bad way to inject the money is the way the government currently does it, which is through manipulations by the Fed to increase money lent by banks, which is the primary means of commercial money creation in the U.S. This has the drawback of creating a massive amount of debt, shared by you, me, the government, etc. We've seen recently how this can lead to massive irrational lending and bubbles and crashes. Not really a good thing.

Check out this video for a more interesting and comprehensive take on money creation: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2550156453790090544

United Kingdom

Dogs Can Be Pessimistic 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the dog-in-black dept.
Not that it will change anything, but researchers at Bristol University say that your dog might be a gloom-monger. In addition to the downer dogs, the study also found a few that seemed happy no matter how uncaring the world around them was. "We know that people's emotional states affect their judgments and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively. What our study has shown is that this applies similarly to dogs," said professor Mike Mendl, an author of the study and head of animal welfare and behavior at Bristol University.

Comment: Re:Perverting the course of justice. (Score 2, Insightful) 448

>and ignoring that order would still escalate the matter to criminal levels

There you go. Possession isn't illegal, ignoring the court order not to delete it is. Simply having a picture on your computer where the model failed to sign a release won't ever land you in prison. This is a workable system that avoids the complications of ruining innocent people's lives.

I've been falsely accused of things although never had to fight the justice system for my freedom, and I've known plenty of people whose lives have been turned upside down after they were falsely accused by overzealous child protective service workers. I've known plenty of law enforcement people who I wouldn't trust to do the right thing in any of these cases. This is scary shit.

Comment: HTML, Notepad (Score 2, Insightful) 346

by Bluesman (#33091032) Attached to: How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming?

Odds are you'll never have enough time to learn programming at the depth that someone who is very good at it knows it.

Start small. Learn how to write a static web page using nothing but Notepad in Windows. Then, when you've mastered that, try using CSS to change the way it looks.

At this point, you can get into Javascript, which is a fantastic language for learning. Try to make something on the web page change when you mouse over it. Experiment with changing text fields in Javascript.

Then, write a simple "desktop" calculator as a web page.

This will likely take you a few months or weeks if you spend a lot of time at it. Remember, use Notepad only. Don't worry about making it work in anything but Internet Explorer (or your browser of choice) because that will make you insane.

When you can write Tetris, then you're ready to work with databases and servers.

Don't use MySQL, it's an abomination. If you have Microsoft Access, start with that. Make a project in that that real people will use. If maintaining it becomes difficult, it's because you don't know enough database theory. Figure out on your own why you want data to be fully normalized and only flattened with many saved SELECT queries. Try to figure out how to write the queries in SQL using the (excellent) query editor. Write UNION queries.

Now you're ready for a server and web site.

Comment: Re:11,000 times on 700 volunteers (Score 1) 299

by Bluesman (#33048028) Attached to: Heat Ray Gun Fails Final Test; Nixed From War

You're assuming they tested it on one person at a time. More realistically, they would fire it on a much larger group to test its crowd control capability.

So really, this paints the picture of a group of 100 people getting hit with the ray, standing up and cheering, "FUCK YEAH! Hit us AGAIN! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" about 1000 times.

I'm thinking they tested it on drunk frat boys.

Image

Education Official Says Bad Teachers Can Be Good For Students 279

Posted by samzenpus
from the hiring-on-a-curve dept.
Zenna Atkins, the chairman of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), has raised some eyebrows by saying that, "every school should have a useless teacher." She stresses that schools shouldn't seek out or tolerate bad teaching, but thinks bad teachers provide a valuable life-lesson. From the article: "... on Sunday Ms Atkins told the BBC that schools needed to reflect society, especially at primary level. 'In society there are people you don't like, there are people who are incompetent and there are often people above you in authority who you think are incompetent, and learning that ability to deal with that and, actually surviving that environment can be an advantage.'"

Comment: Re:Perspective vs. Tunnel Vision (Score 4, Interesting) 284

by Bluesman (#32767482) Attached to: Stop the Math Press's Presses — Knuth Announces iTex

I did my thesis in LaTeX; in fact I learned LaTeX to do the thesis so I wouldn't have to use MS Word. I probably didn't save any time since I was starting from scratch with LaTeX and had to update the school's age-old LaTeX template to work with the newer versions, but man, when I saw everyone else struggling with Word and whatever awful math plugin they had to use, I was glad I took the extra time.

Now I use LaTeX whenever I can since the output is so beautiful and I can type lists and tables a lot faster than I can mouse them in in Word.

I highly recommend it.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown

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