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Comment Re:Becasue... the children! (Score 1) 190 190

As a frequent hiker, I couldn't leave this one alone. The linked paper is about sterilization in health-care, but it quickly comes to (emphasis mine):

Chemical Disinfectants


Overview. In the healthcare setting, "alcohol" refers to two water-soluble chemical compounds—ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol—that have generally underrated germicidal characteristics 482. FDA has not cleared any liquid chemical sterilant or high-level disinfectant with alcohol as the main active ingredient. These alcohols are rapidly bactericidal rather than bacteriostatic against vegetative forms of bacteria; they also are tuberculocidal, fungicidal, and virucidal but do not destroy bacterial spores. Their -cidal activity drops sharply when diluted below 50% concentration, and the optimum bactericidal concentration is 60%–90% solutions in water (volume/volume)

Keep in mind that alcohol is a disinfectant however it is not an effective sterilizing agent as some things can survive. Alcohol is not very effective against bacterial spores. Sterilization implies that there is no living organism left whereas disinfection eliminates or reduces the harmful organisms present.

Comment Re:The water wars are coming (Score 1) 151 151

I see your point, but it makes me think... how do you propose to "fix the canals"? Cement the bottom better, or close-over the top? I ask, because I truly don't know the sources of the loss, but....

...if the loss is mostly into the air (evaporation), I agree, that sucks (unless the rain stays somewhat local). I wonder though how many acres of land are "accidentally" watered by seepage/waste/runoff/spillover/outward-gradual-soil-moistening. I'd imagine lots of creatures are making new homes along the shore in previously scrappy (from your description) land. Granted (to play devil's advocate against myself), my gut tells me that (a) it's likely opportunists (weeds and annoying creatures) moving in along the canal, (b) some nice native creatures are being pushed out of their "desert paradise" and (c) it's probably still more net harm than good... I just think it's worth thinking about the upsides of "inefficient water transport" ;-)

Sorry, just in that kind of mood today.

Comment Re:Read Slashdot (Score 1) 479 479

It seems I'm somewhat agreeing with the other replies to your post here, with a "we had useful PhD's at my highly-specialized niche company". We build bespoke data management systems within the financial realm, and one of our best tool/product builders was a PhD (Physics, I think). He was of course "a bit goofy", but very easy to work with, willing to put in long hours and wear a suit if needed on-site. Sad to have lost him, frankly, but the new owners have a hard time seeing salaries that high...

Comment Re:Untested? (Score 1) 357 357

I can guarantee you, from years of overseas consulting, that this is not a US phenomenon.

Just this month, we found out at a non-US client recently that a new build of our server made it from Dev to Prod *untested* by the bank who was implementing it. A sub-beta-build, at that (spot/hot-fix). It treated a certain type of function call differently (almost unarguably better) than before, however we have to defend why the old version "worked"; while on the new server, this causes a "bug" due to a consultant's *cough cough sorry* poor coding.

I'm all for trashing on the US (though shooting fish in a barrel is generally not recognized as sportsmanlike), as I think it's only being intellectually honest to treat all downward-sloping-gradients equally; but please don't believe that we're exceptional in this regard.

Comment Re: Bullshit we won't notice (Score 1) 466 466

Most of the non-bottom-of-the-barrel airlines offer this, for United at least it's called economy plus.

I've flown US->Brazil 6 times in the last year. I've kept an eye open for business class at an affordable price each time, but the difference tends to be $1400 vs $6000 (sometimes 8). Economy plus is an extra ~$115 each way, and gets you 'up to' 5" extra legroom. As an added bonus, you generally get to board early, so the overhead bins will be nice and empty.

Still, I feel your pain. Try to shop around and see if you can find a similar-priced flight on an airline with this option. For me at least, the difference between having that metal bar from the top of the magazine rack (WHY do you need to put a damn metal bar in there! my knees protest verily!) and suffering for days, vs paying the extra $115 or so and getting room to shift my legs freely, is making flying tolerable again.

Best of luck.

Comment Re:Sounds like evil to me (Score 1) 325 325

One of my favorites was the time when, after getting through security in Zurich on a flight to the US (and mind you, having my ovomaltine crunchy cream (think nutella consistency), a gift for my wife, confiscated; because it's a "liquid"!), being able to buy cask-strength whisky and lighters *in the same shop*, dozens of feet from the gate to my plane.

...(also, yes spellcheck, whisky is the right spelling of that word, considering my heritage).

Comment Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score 1) 249 249

...your first point may be valid (but really? *this* is what the laws spend time protecting?)... but your second point is handled already by the GP's HS math teacher reference. Or, your own post, which points out that in order to break the average speed >= speed limit rule, your speed must either always equal the speed limit, or have exceeded it at some point.

If you need an in-depth lesson (sans actual math), I recommend the first few lectures from .

Comment Re:Greed (Score 1) 292 292

Indeed, re-purposed weapons-grade material is a great source of enriched uranium. In general it's enriched *way* beyond what's needed to run a plant, so can in fact be diluted before being used.

The uranium market declined significantly through the 1980s and 1990s because of the end of the Cold War arms race as well as a cessation in construction of new nuclear plants. Disarmament of nuclear-weapons stockpiles added surplus weapons-grade uranium to the market, which led to a price drop as low as $7 a pound. Much of the fuel currently powering U.S. reactors, for instance, was originally intended for warheads atop Soviet ballistic missiles.

...the fun part is that, for a while, this led to mining/processing companies not actually supplying the amounts needed per year. As the flow of HEU from established stockpiles was slowing down, this led the market price to spike - I'm still kicking myself for not investing in uranium-linked financial instruments (for some silly reason they don't just let people buy uranium hexafluoride like many other commodities ;-) ) over the last few decades. Note that recently, due to less-than-expected new reactor building, and a ramp-up in mining/processing, the price has stabilized a bit, but for a while there was a small fortune to be made if you read the supply/demands right.

Comment Re:Fox Corporate Asshole (Score 1) 306 306

So their 15-20% share would drop to ~ 2-5% costing them 10+% of their viewers. Look at that number...

I did, and unless I'm off today I think you miscalculated. If they had a 15% share, and dropped to 5%, that's a 66.6% loss; if they went from 20% to 2% that's a 90% loss.

Comment Re:slow news day? (Score 1) 631 631

ask anyone who works in Manhattan.

Ding ding. I couldn't possibly drive to work. My VP used to, it cost him ~$350/mo for a parking space nearby our office. That's double my monthly train ticket.

I do also consume 5 cups/day of coffee (K-cups, not terribly cheap), with fresh milk. I don't bring my own batteries to work to power my computer. I flush probably 5 toilets/day without paying for the water. I'm typing this post on a computer I didn't pay for...

I'm not saying that taxing services/benefits/freebies/comps/whatever isn't legitimate, but I'd like to see a strict formal definition before deciding whether it's rational.

Comment Re:Avionics (Score 1) 369 369

Ding ding ding. Well, I can't conclude that the danger is effectively nil, but it's definitely not something they're very worried about.

I fly very often. Most of the times the reminder to turn off the devices will come just before takeoff, and basic compliance checks even for the devices which the attendants saw out and being used tend not to be done. Often you could ignore the request and not have it asked again, since they'll finish their run up the aisle, then prepare for takeoff.

A few times, I've fallen asleep before takeoff (a good special power for a consultant to have) with the bright red light on my noise-cancelling headphones (connected to my phone for music) beaming towards the aisle, and not been awoken by the crew to turn it off. At least twice, my computer has refused to properly standby/hibernate before takeoff, so effectively was still running the whole time in my backpack. As you mention, this was never checked, nor questioned.

Comment Re:No actual money is involved (Score 1) 248 248

Not sure where you're going here with your primate in a cage example. There's no real reason why a primate could knowingly be in a situation where they'd like to gather data on their Xing habits over time, to estimate an upper bound for how many X's they may commit in light of a potential (and now (over)-estimated) punishment.

Let's turn this around. I like the idea of micro-transaction pay-per-read articles. I tend to read ~0-100/day. I'd like to know, roughly, what the most is I'd spend in a month *if I were paying honestly for value I received*. Note the "honestly" and "most" there.

If, in playing with these free buttons, I read an article I like, why do you seem to assume that I'd hit "0" (well you know what I mean) or "1" in that case? I THOUGHT THE ARTICLE WAS GOOD. Here's a fake $.03. Yes, I realize this didn't cost me anything, but now I have a record of one article I would have read, which (were I being honest that day) would have cost me $.03. If I didn't like the article? *Then* they get 0.

Not all information needs to meet 100% rigorous data-quality-real-world standards to be useful. With a month of this tool, I can determine whether I'd be ballparking $5 or $50 **in a world where this existed, and I was being honest with myself**. That's it. It doesn't tell *you* anything about me, and it doesn't necessarily tell the system designer anything about my "real world" payments. But it sure does tell me about me.

TL,DR: This is an easier way to estimate a ceiling amount for how much you may spend in such a system than recording your month's browsing in an excel workbook would have been.

Comment Re:Intact human brain? (Score 1) 167 167

The thing is, you didn't *mention* it, you made an unverified probabilistic claim. Directly.

Your use of the word "probably" implies that *the most likely cause of death among people in England 2700 years ago was anti-semite persecution*. Logically following from here, if that's the most likely cause of death (which would qualify your "probably"), then a fairly large percent of 2700-year-back Yorkshire population would have had to be Jewish.

That's news to me.

Perhaps, just perhaps, people were modding you a Troll not because they believe Jews weren't persecuted... but more for the fact that you're making blanket, untrue statements, then following these up with ad-hominem attacks for anyone who doesn't chime in in agreement or downmods your terrible math.

Comment Re:Here come the lawsuits... (Score 1) 820 820

When I was 8 years old, it would never even occur to me to swallow these magnets. It would be as self-defeating as swallowing my own LEGO pieces.

~1.37 million results, sadly - Google suggested this at the top of the list once I'd typed "Swallow le"

Lesson: people will always manage to do "stupid" things. And there are lots of people.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.