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Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 158

It is also unnecessary 99.9% of the time. Nearly all RS232 devices and hosts will work just fine with TTL voltages (+5V/GND).

I wish that were true, but it sure as hell isn't!

Sure, MANY devices accept TTL voltage RS232, but a big number DO NOT. So if you depend on that USB-RS232 adapter, you'll be left standing around, looking like a moron.

Just had to configure a brand new smart PDU a while ago... Absolutely no activity to my company laptop via USB. Bad cable? Incorrect wiring? Defective PDU? Nope... Plugged that cable to a server with an actual RS232 port, and it works flawlessly.

I wish I could find USB-RS232 adapters that actually output the proper voltages...

Comment Re:Discussed before (Score 1) 158

USB is dirt cheap. You can have a separate bus-per-device if you so desire. That will easily eliminate all contention.

And what you really mean is USB is useless for REAL-TIME work... When USB can do faster-than-realtime for you, the contention and other gripes aren't much of an issue. Firewire is dying out in production video shops, too, though it has been (almost-) replaced by several different alternatives, not (just) USB.

Comment Re:zealots ^2 (Score 1) 207

Please allow me to revise my response to:
"The Ice Age question was a potential concern for an indefinite future of unknown timing. Again this uncertainty was a driver for initial funding on major climate science."

-- Yes, the climate cycles that lead to ice ages in the past and would have normally caused their return was being studied, But the timescales were in the tens of thousands of years, and once the impact of humanity in greenhouse gases, deforestation, etc, was taken into account it completely swamped the natural cycles.

Whether the next ice age would have come in five or ten thousand years without human intervention is an interesting but purely academic question. Global warming is a problem for our children, not the next millennium.

Comment Re:Discussed before (Score 1) 158

Firewire is long dead, except for a few niches in the industry.

DV cameras were the one and only practical consumer application of firewire, and they've been obsolete and forgotten for many years. Once you eliminate DV tape and switch to solid-state, you eliminate the need for the fixed-bit-rate codec, and can easily transfer faster-than-real-time over USB2.

In fact, you can skip the USB cables, and transfer your videos over WiFi these days, even with sub-$100 camcorders...

Comment Re:zealots ^2 (Score 1) 207

"you obviously weren't there in my grad school. The Ice Age question was a potential concern for an indefinite future of unknown timing. Again this uncertainty was a driver for initial funding on major climate science."
Give a citation, not an anecdote with not one verifiable fact.

"There is an element of changing perspectives, and repeating fashions here."
The "changing perspective" is that what was highly speculative in the 70s is now based on incontrovertible peer-reviewed evidence collected over decades by thousands of scientists. Yet you argue that uncited statements made by unnamed people 50 years ago invalidates any research presented since.

"And you slightly demonstrate my thesis of angry dissonant crowds "
You called people who disagree with you "zealots" while those who do agree with you are "realists". Then you tut tut at people getting annoyed at your labels. Sorry, arrogant hypocrites do make me angry. It's a character flaw, I admit.

Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 2) 32

Really? So we have a choice between trying to keep a human alive for months so they can spend a few weeks on Mars, with all the cost and supply that entails... or we can operate rovers pretty much indefinitely. Which one makes more sense? Which one gets more done? For the cost of ONE manned mission to Mars, we can have a hundred rovers checking the planet out for years.

Comment The China Syndrome movie didn't kill nukes. (Score 1) 253

And it sure has hell wasn't Greenpeace or the Clamshell Alliance.

It was the 1980s oil glut that did the deed. That was especially devastating following on the heels of the 1970s oil crisis, because so many companies who entered the alternative energy business in the late 70s only to have the floor cut out from under them in 1980. I had a good friend who quit his job at a software company in 1980 to go to work for a company developing a seasonal thermal energy storage scheme. He was an accountant and according to him the numbers were solid as long as oil prices were north of $100/bbl. That was in May of 1980 when oil was trading at $114/bbl. 13 months later the price of oil had fallen to $60/bbl. For the next five years the Saudis tried to prop up falling oil prices by cutting back production, but in '85 they gave up, opened the spigots, and oil prices dropped to $23/bbl.

The economic reaction was entirely what you'd predict with oil prices at a 40 year low. The development of new energy technologies stalled. Cars got bigger again and SUVs of unprecedented size and low fuel economy became wildly popular. And new nuclear plant starts dried up. Oh, the industry pointed the finger at the big, bad environmental movement, which is laughable because so far as I know they only nuclear power plant ever canceled due to protests was the monumentally stupidly sited Bodega Bay in 1964. Imagine for a moment the Clams and all those guys didn't exist; it wouldn't have mattered in the least. Nobody is going to invest in new nuclear power plants when oil is priced at $18/bbl. But it sounds better to say that the Greens have put you out of business than to say the prices you used in your revenue projections were off by an order of magnitude.

Comment Re:"Failed" push for renewables? (Score 1) 253

Nuclear is an over-centralized, expensive, and dangerous technology based on a limited fuel source.

You want to call Nuclear over-centralized and expensive in the same breath you praise wind? Take a good look at the Pickens Plan:

"New transmission lines, worth $64 billion to $128 billion, would be needed to carry the power from the windmills to the cities. Pickens [...] said the government should begin building transmission lines for wind-generated power in the same way that President Eisenhower did by declaring an emergency to build the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s."

Comment Re:Which one is sub-$10? (Score 1) 99

I'm going to check on Monday what the Chip really costs to get one, but I don't believe that it will really be under $10. Rather, I expect the same sleazy BS that the worst of the late night sellers use, "plus extra shipping and processing". If I can get one for under $10 I will, but I'm expecting to not get one.

Comment Re:zealots ^2 (Score 1) 207

First you say: "Angry CAGW zealots meet climate realists"
Ten you hypocritically complain: "simple denigration of oppositional views and their holders is not going to be effective"

"I have a much harder science background"... in climate science? I studied physics and computer science. And I know enough to know what I'm not an expert in.

Also, the repeated talking point "the principal criticism of CO2 was its likely lack of adequate effect to prevent an Ice Age" is a complete fabrication by denialists, based on a few Sunday supplement stories, not peer-reviewed scientific articles. And that was 50 years ago. We have collected a bit more data since then.

Cite real sources or STFU.

Comment Common Core (Score 1) 144

One of the Gates' contributions is to Common Core. At first glance, CC just seems to be setting national minimums, which might be a good thing. If you look a little deeper, you'll see a flurry of subjects to be covered, almost all of which seem good. It's only when then analysis gets down to practice that real problems appear:
  • __Shallow coverage of major historical figures, heavy attention on politically correct lightweights.
  • __Emphasis on skills for drones rather than underlying concepts.
  • __Crippling mathematical techniques that are neither practical nor teach mathematical principles

I don't know if the Gates are responsible for the direction CC has taken in addition to it being yet another program that's been hijacked by the educational establishment. In any case, they should not be funding it.

Comment Re:It's their money... (Score 1) 144

Your poor grammar makes it difficult to understand what you're trying to say.

A mind more certainly can be ill. Brain tumors and parasites, bad body chemistry, can all negatively affect brain function. Brain function encompasses nearly all of what we consider to be "mind".

As just one example, depression is frequently a positive-feedback system -- unhappiness leading to inactivity and bad dietary choices and the generation of bodily chemicals that further deepen unhappiness. Correcting body chemistry may break the cycle. The mind was ill, the chemicals allowed it to be cured.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.