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Comment: I still don't get it. (Score 1) 157

by Ralph Spoilsport (#47526187) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists
Why is everyone so uncomfortable with the idea that something can be lost forever? How is that a problem? I'm perfectly sanguine with the idea that information can be lost or irretrievable. I'm perfectly sanguine with the idea that the universe will die of heat death. I'm also down with the idea that the Big Rip will swallow everything up in several billion years - talk about information loss... It just strikes me as fatuous and arrogant that humans think the universe has to work a certain rational, logical, way - like the universe gives a shit one way or the other.

Comment: Elective surgery on a critical organ (Score 5, Interesting) 392

by SuperBanana (#47524837) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

That's how a friend's father, an eye surgeon, put it.

It doesn't always go right, and (yes, rarely) it goes very wrong. There are no take-backs with the laser surgeries.

If you must, do the surgery that is reversible - they insert a small piece of plastic that corrects the lens shape.

Privacy

Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA 101

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the convenient-loophole dept.
jfruh (300774) writes Dutch law makes it illegal for the Dutch intelligence services to conduct mass data interception programs. But, according to a court in the Hague, it's perfectly all right for the Dutch government to request that data from the U.S.'s National Security Agency, and doing so doesn't violate any treaties or international law.

Comment: Re:College is useful for most ... (Score 2) 214

by TheGratefulNet (#47519481) Attached to: VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

count me in as one of those rare ones. I never finished college (transferred a bunch of times and lost credits so at grad time, I thought I had enough but actually didn't; got a job offer, took it and never finished school). but I've been working in the industry since the early 80's and consider myself to be completely competitive with actual degree-holders.

its hard to get experience without a degree; but one short-cut is to go to a co-op or intern-based school (for me, it was northeastern in boston) and that got me enough starter experience to bootstrap me into the workforce. after that, no one ever really cared about my lack of a sheepskin.

Comment: Re:Who is stopping him? (Score 2) 353

by TheGratefulNet (#47518321) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

I fully understand what he's saying and he's right.

I started doing software work in the early 80's and it was easy, fast and fun.

now, its about 'scrum' and 'agile' and all that stupid shit (sorry if that offends). we had a simple life with makefiles and cvs, but now the librarians are complex and not intuitive, the build systems are uber complex and the CI (cont. integr.) stuff is a big change (and a whole system in itself) compared to the nightly build idea. code reviews, enforced coding standards add more slowness to the dev cycle. bug reporting systems are also complex.

in short, its no fun anymore for us old guys. I fully see what he's saying. he's not talking about tiny snippets but getting shipping code out the door - its more process than it really needs to be, and the quality is STILL NOT THERE, so I don't think we made any real progress. and add in java where even idiots are allowed to write code (no need to free, whoopee!) and you have people who get lazy and if they ever have to write in C, they are totally lost.

lastly, there are too many fad languages and this wastes everyone's time and since you can't be good at so many things, it spreads you too thin if a project has 5+ languages in it.

Comment: Re:a question.... (Score 1) 61

by Rei (#47516505) Attached to: Oso Disaster Had Its Roots In Earlier Landslides

That's not what everything I've read about the disaster has said. The mountain has gone through cycles - whenever it collapses, the river gets moved away, and the slides stop for a time, but eventually it wears away the footings enough that it falls again. They'd even tried to prevent landslides there by manually shoring up the base back in the 1960s, but it just flowed over their reinforcements.

The waterlogging of the soil is also a necessary factor too, mind you - not saying otherwise. :)

Comment: Re:a question.... (Score 1) 61

by Rei (#47516433) Attached to: Oso Disaster Had Its Roots In Earlier Landslides

I had paperbark birch seeds, which are also pretty water tolerant (though not as much as river birch), but none sprouted - ironically I think the seeds were too wet when I stratified them (same with my maples). Isn't river birch (B. nigra) a warm-weather birch species? I've got some cuttings of random local birches from a neighbor but I have no clue whether any of them are water tolerant enough to take swampy ground. Also birches don't usually get that tall so I don't know how expansive of a root system they'll put down. The abundant local species B. nana (dwarf birch) grows (nay, volunteers) readily here almost anywhere that sheep don't graze, but it's just a shrub, I doubt it'd do the trick (though it's probably better than just grass). It can take wet soil, although not totally swampy conditions.

For the wetter areas I also have about a dozen or so western redcedar seedlings - they're not as swamp-tolerant as dawn redwood and western recedar, but they're still reportedly quite tolerant of wet or even waterlogged soils, and they should be more cold/wind hardy than those two (wind is actually the big issue, it doesn't really get that cold here). I've also got a number of other pacific northwest trees with varying degrees of standing water tolerance. Oh, and a species or two of tasmanian mountain eucalyptus (don't remember which ones) that tolerate fairly swampy ground and should at least stand a fighting chance against our winds.

Basically, I'm just going to plant a ton of stuff and see what survives. ;)

One plus is that where the ground is persistently wet and at landslide risk, it is slowly flowing water, it's not standing. It's constantly replaced by fresh, cold ground-filtered water, so there's probably not as much risk of root rot as might be common otherwise. But there's still the oxygen issue. That and the damned sheep, but I'm working to fix that issue once and for all...

Comment: Re:a question.... (Score 1) 61

by Rei (#47514829) Attached to: Oso Disaster Had Its Roots In Earlier Landslides

To be fair, if you look at the scale of that thing, what fell is far deeper than tree roots are going to go.

There was a landslide on my land a few years ago... actually just 50-100 meters from where I'm getting ready to build my house (but the terrain is different, that's a groundwater-infiltrated glacial till-underlain marsh while my house site is basalt bedrock). It's weird looking at pictures of this giant slide, how much it looks like a 20x bigger version of my little one, from the smooth, rimmed conchoidal scarp to the river-damming piles of debris at the bottom. In my case, there were no trees, but there was grass. The grass managed to hold it for a while... but not forever. The roots just don't run deep enough. In my case, the solution (in progress) is surely just to plant water-tolerant trees (here's to hoping that dawn redwood and swamp cypress can survive in Iceland...). But what sort of trees could anchor such a massive slope as the Oso one? I know a lot of desert trees like mesquite can have super-deep root systems, but they wouldn't grow in Washington.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission

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