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Comment: Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (Score 3, Insightful) 228

by Dzimas (#47363871) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven
Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs 314

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-airport-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about ride-share crackdowns in California. California regulators are threatening to revoke permits for on-demand ride companies UberX, Lyft, Sidecar, Summon and Wingz unless they stop giving rides to and from airports within two weeks. The move could lead to the state shutting down the companies' operations. Flouting the airport rules also flouts regulations that the CPUC set up for the new generation of ride companies to operate in California. In a clear rebuttal to an argument often made by the ride companies, Peevey wrote: "These safety requirements should not hinder your creativity nor should they impede your innovation."

Comment: Re:Why should we care? (Score 1) 206

by Dzimas (#47168619) Attached to: NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars
A politician's speech is the best you can come up with to explain why we need to reach Mars? Oh, my. JFK was all hot and bothered to reach the moon because it would upstage the Soviets, not because it was a noble or even sensible endeavor. There are a number of good reasons why a mission to mars would be desirable: (1) it requires the development of long-range manned spacecraft, (2) it gets us out of low earth orbit, (3) (in the long term) it encourages the development of new forms of long-range propulsion and an important emphasis on interplanetary life support systems. I could scrawl down a few dozen more, but the *important* bit is that it encourages us to make tentative steps into the larger solar system. And -- once we can reach other planets and moons -- perhaps there's an economic opportunity to be found that drives further advances.

Comment: Re:Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (Score 1) 255

by Dzimas (#47148921) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"
Yes, of course I presented the user feedback as you suggest. I also provided solid use cases to illustrate how things didn't match the way their business works and what could be done to dramatically improve it. The problem was simply that the project manager had chosen to build a technical house of cards and didn't have the budget or time to change course. When faced with clear evidence that the system simply didn't work for clients, the easiest response was to discredit and kill the messenger. That only preserves the status quo for a short while, though. In this company's case, it was a matter of about 8 more weeks before an executive review killed the project and eventually the entire division.

Comment: Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (Score 4, Interesting) 255

by Dzimas (#47147951) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"
I've had the delightful experience of being treated as the team idiot simply for declaring that the emperor had no clothes. It was one of those death march instances where a company decided to write a "version 2.0" of their extremely good program from the ground up. They brought in extremely skilled and expensive technical leads who developed a complicated new back end that was designed to be as "infinitely versatile" and then deployed a front end to match. The result was that they took a very good user experience and turned it into an arcane and slow -- but insanely flexible -- system. Client users absolutely hated the preview releases because they simply didn't let them do their work. I was the unlucky sap who had to provide feedback to the dev team. I decided not to pull punches and deliver a factual summary. The end result? The project lead declared that, "The consulting team simply doesn't understand how the system works" and proceeded to try to ice me out of the company. The organization ultimately failed because the project was such a mess. Unpleasant, but I'm glad I stood my ground and called a spade a spade. It took a while to regain my confidence after that, but my subsequent projects have all been successful and even award winning.

Comment: And battery life suffers. (Score 2) 243

by Dzimas (#46932213) Attached to: The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'
My wife still carries a 4 year old Samsung feature phone with a slider keyboard. The reason? She doesn't like having to charge a handset every day or two. Her little phone will go for several weeks without charging, so she can just leave it in her shoulder bag most of the time. Her service is also dirt cheap because she doesn't have to worship at the altar of data -- she pays about $12/month. I really wish I could do the same and cut the strings; I'd probably save about $500 a year by going data-free.

Comment: Re: Secretive Democracy Alliance Meeting (Score 1) 333

by Dzimas (#46905259) Attached to: Figuring Out the iPad's Place
What those of us outside the USA find befuddling is that Americans truly seem to believe that the Democrats and Republicans represent a profound left wing - right wing split,when in the broader spectrum, both parties are profoundly right wing, with a heavy emphasis on capitalism and authoritarianism. Just because the current president is pushing the notion of socialized medicare doesn't mean that the country is teetering on the brink of a Marxist revolution.

Comment: Some of the oldest trades become useful. (Score 5, Insightful) 737

by Dzimas (#46736441) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?
I have a neighbour who is a weaver. She most certainly has skills worth sharing. The post-apocalyptic world would also need blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, farmers and so on. Not to mention someone capable of swinging a sword and lopping the heads off marauders intent on dragging off the young women and torching the village. The challenge is that scientists and engineers do not necessarily have the skills most critically required in the first decade or two of a new civilization, but their knowledge is critical to helping a society advance rapidly later. Hence, we'll need monks well versed in the scriptures of science.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?