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Comment: Re:10Mbps is still slow (Score 1) 326

by Diss Champ (#47935425) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

Actually, given that the Fed's main purpose these days seems to be to inflate bubbles, I'd be happier if they chose a fiber rollout to everyone as their target bubble instead of current targets of banks & house values. At least at the end of the day my quality of life might improve in a small way, and our infrastructure would get a boost.

Similarly, I would have been happier if the Fed has decided to funnel all that money into our physical transport infrastructure.

The devil is in the details though. The big players have proven that they are perfectly willing to pocket money to build out infrastructure and then not do it. The money should have appropriate strings attached.

Comment: Re:Something worth reading in CACM? (Score 1) 213

by Diss Champ (#47574641) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

The "research highlights" section contains selections from the journals that are sometimes pretty good. I also like the pieces they pulled from Queue like Kode Vicious with is usually entertaining (granted, that's free through Queue). Armour's column is often excellent and occasionally when passed to a manager will lead to an improvement in scheduling sanity. The column Legally Speaking does a good job of digesting things to my non-expert level of comprehension on what's going with how the law affects computing, IP, etc.

I'll grant however that the signal to noise ratio for the headliner articles is often not so great. That's why I say one or two things an article rather than reading the whole thing through:). Then again, that's better than Spectrum, which I sometimes flip through without reading anything all the way through.

The trick with mags like Spectrum and CACM is that the deep stuff does tend to go to the more specific journals. That's probably why most of the things I noted as often useful to me aren't actually deep technical but more how technical intersects with other areas.

Comment: Member of IEEE & ACM (Score 1) 213

by Diss Champ (#47573293) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

I'm a member of IEEE (Computer Society) & ACM. My employer pays for the first, I pay for the second (although being in each gives a small discount to being in the other). I'm not an academic, but I usually find an article or two worth reading each month in both Computer & in Communications of the ACM.

Of course, since I primarily design hardware rather than software, this might not count as a programmer joining the ACM:).

The prices for each don't seem out of range for the quality of the publications, and for a working professional they are certainly not hard to afford even if your employer doesn't cover them. IIRC those not working can get student or hardship discounts as appropriate.

Of course, I'm not buying a bunch of Journals in each. In the past knowing people who get each of the Journals I might need worked OK. Now the corporate library serves that need with subscriptions to the digital libraries.

Comment: Re:So does this mean... (Score 1) 169

by Diss Champ (#46562523) Attached to: Titanium-Headed Golf Clubs Create Brush Fire Hazard In California


The summary says that the fairways are still irrigated. It is when the ball lands off the irrigated fairway that the problem is being reported. According to the summary, golfers are being asked to bring the ball back to the fairway to avoid starting fires if they hit the ball into the rough.

Comment: New York is NOT where I want to be (Score 1) 285

Being able to avoid California's brand of crazy and New York's brand of crazy is a bonus to living in Austin, not a problem. Granted, we have our own issues, but they pale in comparison to the aforementioned places. If we didn't have so many Californians fleeing here and pushing up costs it would be even better- after all, most of the issues we do have are related to outgrowing our infrastructure.

Comment: Re:How about BO care.. (Score 1) 304

by Diss Champ (#46334967) Attached to: Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

This would create another perverse incentive to dumb down education- as much as the complexity of current law is bad, the inability to pass laws preventing any bad behavior that requires some knowledge (i.e. limits on pollution levels) would allow tragedy of the commons abuses by the powerful to be much worse.

Another approach that might achieve the benefits you seek would be to require that every piece of legislation must be read allowed in its entirety before being voted on- and that any congress-critter who is at any point outside the room during the reading is considered to have voted "no".

One could still write something that was confusing- but at least it would be short enough enough to be read between bathroom breaks.

Comment: Re:Then Why No Hack Job? (Score 2) 351

You are making an rather huge assumption when you state it hasn't been cracked by a Black Hat. You expect press releases from someone who has taken all the information for their own uses?
You are also assuming that anyone incompetent enough to create that abomination is competent enough to notice if they have been hacked.

Comment: Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (Score 1) 325

by Diss Champ (#46013949) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

I didn't take the HS classes for all the AP exams I took, but since I went to high school inside the beltway, I certainly agree that I was not an example of a rural student. Living in a densely populated area certainly helped to be close to where they gave the exams.

As to BWM count, I have no idea- it's not something I cared about. I got my 70s toyota for $50 and fixed it up (little things like being to see the road through the floor were disconcerting and I fixed- overall appearance not so much). It was reliable and that's what mattered.

Comment: Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (Score 1) 325

by Diss Champ (#46013441) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

I was an undergrad in the 90s. I got almost a year worth of college credit from AP exams, including 10 hours of engineering calculus, and the full freshman year of CS classes (I just did CS as a minor, so that got me almost half way there). Things may have changed since then. At the time, it was true that being able to pass the exam required somewhat different skills than passing the classes, but neither was a great measure of ones ability to write quality code, much less step back and put together a quality project.

Comment: Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 2) 539

You are missing the fatboy's point- at least as I understand it.

The REASON that a simple doctor visit is a major expense is because of how we have things structured. If doctors were paid by their patients, there would be plenty of doctors with reasonable advertised costs for a simple doctors visit. A large portion of the decrease in price would come from not having to pay as many middle-men.

The inability of so many people to budget for occasional $100 surprises is a different (and very real) problem. Not that the current approach to "insurance" doesn't leave less money in the consumer's pockets, but consumers are happy to overspend in a variety of arenas.


Mars Rock Older Than Thought 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-don't-look-a-day-over-3-billion dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC reports on a finding, reported in Nature, (abstract), that the so-called 'Black Beauty' rock, discovered in the Sahara, is over twice as old as previously thought. The meteorite is now thought to be 4.4 billion years old, dating from a time in a nascent Mars' history that scientists are eager to know more about."

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project