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Comment: Re:Doesn't even need to have anything wrong at all (Score 1) 368

by Gaffod (#40007861) Attached to: The Dutch Repair Cafe Versus the Throwaway Society

>I have an old laptop sitting around that I have run some clean up tools on and I'm still not quite ready to put it up on Freecycle.

I don't understand this. Just run DBAN or some other safe-erase program. Are you afraid of magic forensics which can recover overwritten data?

Comment: Re:I hope this doesn't fly ... (Score 1) 832

by Gaffod (#33644506) Attached to: Intel Wants To Charge $50 To Unlock Your CPU's Full Capabilities

This is a case of you buying a Core i5 and Intel saying "here is exactly what you paid for, and by the way, if you ever decide you should have bought a Core i7 instead, we can magically teleport one into your computer for just $50".

Well if they can afford selling me an i7 for the price of an i5, even though I might never unlock, why don't they just go ahead and do so? I don't understand, is there a reason why processor must cost a certain amount of money, even if all the expenses going into making them are less?

If indeed the company runs out of low end processors, and starts selling crippled high end ones, why bother crippling them? Just sell the high end unit for the low end units price, hell call it a sale or limited time offer or whatever. Won't more people buy an i7 than an i5 if they were the same price? It's not like they're stuck with it later either, I don't think Intel is seriously unable to say, "sorry guys, our stocks are properly balanced now, back to the usual prices".

Comment: Re:This is painfully obvious. (Score 1) 772

by Gaffod (#33526366) Attached to: Researchers Say Happiness Costs $75K

I am talking about the security of your assets, not your person. Managing a large sum of money takes effort (and usually money). You can't just stuff a bunch of millions under a mattress. You could buy gold, and even then it is not a perfectly safe investment, but that won't maximize your income. Then there's also figuring out where to keep that gold.

Comment: Re:This is painfully obvious. (Score 1) 772

by Gaffod (#33504386) Attached to: Researchers Say Happiness Costs $75K

You are assuming income and/or funds are linearly related to security under some definition of it. This is not necessarily true. It is correct that having more money gives you more ability to deal with potential threats to your security. In this way increasing money leads to increasing security. However, greater funds tend to attract greater threats and take more substantial effort to protect and maintain. This is why rich people do not lead completely stress free lives. There are more stressful and less stressful ways to make money, but I would suspect that if risk is proportional to income then it is impossible to eliminate some degree of stress from the act of increasing income.

It is possible that the particulars of the relations are such that up to a point, security benefits from extra money outweigh the cost incurred by having to manage those additional assets, after which increasing your money does not increase your happiness (limit of the difference is +0) or decreases it (e.g. happiness goes up with x^2 and stress cost with x^3). If so, it is possible that this point is $75k.

That suggests the question of boundless economical growth is at all possible, for example with corporations. Although huge, profitable corporations do exist, I think it is true that ultimately any market is finite- same as and because of the people on the planet, and the resources on it are finite, hence there is a diminishing returns acting on the agent. But is it possible that the diminishing returns become comprised largely of the security expenditures? Or, what about countries? Is there a fundamental limit to how large a state can becomes before it fails to maintain its own integrity, leading to eventual collapse?

Comment: Re:Not really, no (Score 1) 249

by Gaffod (#33443370) Attached to: Ancient Nubians Drank Antibiotic-Laced Beer

You drop a pathogen into a solution that's 2%-8% alcohol with a PH around 4-5 that's had most of its sugars and oxygen consumed and tell me how it does.

First off, many bacteria produce the ethanol themselves. For ethanol to be sterilizing, it must be 60-80%, at which point it chemically degrades cellular envelopes of cells.

Second, oxygen is a non-issue. Anaerobic respiration is the default, not exception with prokaryotes.

As for how the "pathogen" will fare, it will see the low pH and lack of abundant energy sources, and form an endospore. Once it is drank, the pathogens will happily resume their life cycle and multiply inside your body.

Comment: Re:Sickening (Score 1) 593

by Gaffod (#33423236) Attached to: NIH Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research

fertilization seems to me like the most obvious point to declare a human life as started without getting into judgement calls and gray areas.

Except then abortion really does become murder, and smoking near a pregnant woman (and chances are you can't even tell, if the "human life" literally has few enough cells to count on a hand) becomes attempted homicide. Of course, you are probably so far gone that you are absolutely fine with that.

Comment: Re:Teach 'em the basics (Score 2, Interesting) 462

by Gaffod (#33410336) Attached to: What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders?

You could expand this to include concepts and the more obscure (but important) terms regarding computers. There is no point teaching what a CPU does and the rough differences between single and multi-core: That is trivial for a motivated, observant person to learn on their own; they have access to the thing and can play around with it all they want. What they don't have access is the inner workings of large networks (both corporate and the Internet itself) as well as the history of computing.

Again, it is irrelevant whether they have a good grasp of history at the end of it, and there is probably little reason to go for that. Just 9th grade is a short time and students have other classes to worry about. What matters is giving them exposure to the history, so that they hear about things they probably wouldn't have heard of reading on their own. The key is to have students recognize that there is a long history of the field which is, for lack of a better term, "history" which can tell us much about why things in computing today are the way they are.

With regard to the programming language, I'd suggest the same strategy. Explain the basics, don't go in details. Really teaching a language is a 2-3 year long dedicated course for undergrads, you would underwhelm ninth-graders if you tried to teach everything.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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