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Comment Re:Yes, but.... (Score 2) 351 351

I am reminded of a small bit in E.E. 'Doc' Smith's novel First Lensman, where Virgil Samms is visiting Rigel IV, and is being driven to a meeting with potential candidates for receiving a Lens. Samms is telepathically linked to the driver, and notices an object on the side of the road that, while perceived by the driver, produces no information about it, but which Samms' Lens decipers as "Eat Teegmee's Food!" -- and the driver comments, "Advertising. You do not notice yours, either?" The bit is foreshadowed by an earlier scene on Earth where Samms is driving his car and is chagrined at having had his attention grabbed by a particularly flamboyant advertisement for cough drops. The stories may seem hackneyed now, but 'Doc' Smith had a good eye for some of the finer aspects of human behavior.

Comment Re:Hierarchical database (Score 1) 166 166

This is why systems written in MUMPS have great transaction throughput and the UIs are usually responsive, but running reports is a nightmare.

It's not necessarily a nightmare; it depends on the flexibility of the reporting tool. I've pretty well given up on using the built-in reporting tool at work for the reports I'm asked to produce because the tool doesn't allow for making the sort of complex links between globals that the report needs (i.e., patients with a given diagnosis who are also on a given medication, and their most recent result from a specified lab test), while producing the data with a MUMPS routine is straightforward because of the internal arrangement of the data. So I would have to say that creating the reports requires a high level of expertise, while running them once they're created is easy.

Comment Re:Back door man (Score 3, Insightful) 91 91

And the OPM breach has shown us even more clearly the consequences of failing to use the strongest encryption, security tools, and IA policies available. Using encryption technology that's designed to be bypassed at need, with that 'need' determined by anyone other than the owner of the data, is the electronic equivalent of hiding a spare key under the welcome mat and believing that your home is still secure when it's locked up.

Comment Re:"Other types of electromagnetic radiation" (Score 1) 529 529

It's rare for me to encounter them any more with the progress of technology, but I can hear the whine from the flyback transformer in a CRT display, more strongly if it's badly adjusted or starting to go bad. It made the terminal rooms at college annoying because of the constant background whine.

Comment Re:Whats wrong with US society (Score 1) 609 609

Wouldn't that be extremely damaging to the roads?

That depends both on the tracks the tank is fitted with and the surface on which the tank is driven. Some tanks have (or can be fitted with) tracks that have rubber pads on them, which greatly reduce any damage to roads by spreading the weight of the tank more widely. The Sherman tank, for example, used both rubber-pad and steel-pad tracks through its service history. The M1 Abrams tank uses tracks with rubber road pads to reduce wear and noise, but can mount ice cleats replacing individual track pads for additional traction in snow and ice conditions. Tanks without rubber pads, though, generally will, on a road surface, concentrate the tank's weight over a smaller area, which can readily damage asphalt roads. Cement road surfaces are more resilient, but will also degrade over time.

Comment Re:The solution seems so simple (Score 1) 110 110

Just buy a copy of a random magazine that has pictures of various individuals -- People magazine, with lots of celebrities, is good -- then cut a page out of the magazine with a picture of the individual of your choice, tape it to your wall, and point the camera at the picture whenever you're not using it.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 260 260

Exactly, this doesn't make sense at all for recruiting, it's actually backwards: using your own programming language makes it far more difficult to recruit, because very few people from outside your organization will have any expertise in the language.

And it's made even more difficult by the industry-standard HR practice of, a year after the language is developed, advertising for entry-level programming positions where the candidates have to have five years experience with the language.

Comment The "Jesus Paper" again? (Score 1) 639 639

it turns out instead of "proving" that the hockey stick wasn't real, they proved that they couldn't follow the documented procedures.

Wahl & Amman's results were consistent with McIntyre & McKitrick's work and essentially confirmed a few of the M&M criticisms of the hockey stick. The story of how this played out is amusingly recounted by Bishop Hill in Caspar and the Jesus Paper.

Comment Re:Fabricating an assualt rifle in California... (Score 2) 391 391

1) "Assault rifles" are not a thing.

'Assault rifle' has a specific definition -- a selective-fire weapon firing an intermediate cartridge (i.e., between a pistol round and a battle rifle round) that uses a detachable magazine and has an effective range of at least 300m; from Jane's Gun Recognition Guide, the U.S. Army defines assault rifles as "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges". You are correct, though, that the media construct of 'assault weapon', which is widely bantered about and explicitly named in various gun-ban legislation, is a vague entity whose definition basically boils down to "any shoulder arm that incorporates one or more cosmetic features of a military assault rifle, thereby rendering it irredeemably evil", and such weapons, from the characteristics ascribed to them by the more radical hoplophobes, have a corrupting effect whose magnitude exceeds that ascribed to marijuana in the movie Reefer Madness. The two terms, however, often get used interchangeably by individuals whose interest in firearms is confined to prying them out of everyone else's hands based on the prejudgement that an individual in possession of a firearm will use it illegally.

Comment Re:And.. (Score 4, Insightful) 189 189

me WaNt TEH MONIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

That's oversimplified. "We believe that individuals should pay for our granting permission for them to listen to music whose copyrights we hold, and if there were some way for us to guarantee that you would be charged each time you listened to the work, or idly whistled or sang it in a public place (a 'public performance' in violation of copyright), or even sang it in your shower where someone else could hear it, and prevent them from listening to or performing the work if they declined to pay, we would be throwing billions of dollars into trying to buy enough politicians to enact laws to make those controls mandatory for all works we hold copyright on." would be a better approximation. And that still doesn't plumb the depths of their greed.

Comment Re: Yes, but because (Score 5, Interesting) 189 189

The artist who is doing well is the exception and not the rule.

'Doing well' isn't necessarily a good metric to use. A few years ago, I was listening to a piece on PBS about musicians and self-publishing, and they had one artist who was talking about their switch to self-publishing; they had cut an album for a commercial label, and despite it having sold several tens of thousands of CDs over a span of three years, the label claimed that they were still 'in the hole' for production and advertising costs, and the artist had not seen a dime beyond their initial advance. Meanwhile, an album that they had produced themselves and sold through their website directly via a service (the music equivalent of an 'instant print' service) gave them about $7 per CD sold, and in one year had already produced income more than triple the value of their advance from the commercial label. Now, that artist's income from marketing their work directly may not have been 'doing well' in an overall sense, but the relative payout from working with a commercial label and independent publishing certainly qualifies, for the return on their work, as 'doing well', even if it's not of itself enough to support a 'well off' lifestyle.

Comment Re:Entitled much? (Score 1) 837 837

'Fair share' -- if you have a 2.5-ton vehicle driving 12,000 miles per year on public roads, you should be paying the same overall amount in taxes and fees for road maintenance as any other 2.5-ton vehicle driven 12,000 miles per year on public roads; it doesn't matter whether it runs on gasoline, propane, hydrogen, electricity, methane clathrates, a hundred squirrels running in exercise wheels, or pure thoughts. A gasoline tax was a fair assessment against drivers when virtually all private automobiles ran on gasoline, were around the same weight, and got similar mileage. That's no longer the case. If one person has a car that gets 25mpg, and another a carefully-designed fuel efficient car that gets 50mph, and another an electric car that gets its energy from the power grid and doesn't burn gasoline, but all have cars that are roughly the same size and weight and are driven the same distance in a year, the first person pays twice the gas tax that the second one does, but receives no increased benefit for his taxes, and the third person, despite operating a vehicle that has the same physical impact on the road surface, pays no gas tax at all, reaping the benefit of the road maintenance paid for by the other two people's gas tax payments without contributing to the cost of that maintenance.

Here is an idea, why not simply tax Electric/hybrid vehicles a use tax based on miliage and leave the gas tax alone?

As has been pointed out repeatedly in the comments here, simply doing an odometer check can't tell how much of that mileage was driven inside Oregon's borders. But given the experience with the "your phone data is private unless you once, fifteen years ago, called someone whose brother's barber is a cousin five times removed to someone who, twenty years ago, was a known associate of someone we might, based on a pattern of legal but 'suspicious' activity, might be someone that we would conduct an investigation into in connection with an act of terrorism that they witnessed by happening to be looking the right way with a coin-fed scenic binocular at a national park, in which case we get FISA to rubberstamp our request, allowing us to grab every bit of data about every phone call you ever made or will make, even after we decide not to conduct the aforementioned investigation" attitude of the NSA and CIA, expecting people to believe "The GPS unit will only record your mileage as being inside or outside of Oregon, can't be used to track your driving habits, and we'll never give that data to anyone" is probably a lost cause.

Comment Entitled much? (Score 1, Troll) 837 837

You have to appreciate the sense of entitlement behind the statement "This program targets hybrid and electric vehicles, so it's discriminatory" in the article from an EV owner. "I use the roads, but I don't want to have to pay to maintain them" is a more accurate version of his statement. Given that the gas tax is $0.30 per gallon, the $0.015/mile charge equates to a 20mpg vehicle, so anyone with a conventional vehicle that gets better mileage would see their net costs go up participating in the pilot program, but the basic mechanism is merely ensuring that *every* vehicle on the road is paying the use tax that the gasoline tax was intended to be.

Comment Re:carsickness (Score 1) 435 435

If they car uses an array of cameras for object detection I think that a wireless interface to VR headsets would probably be a more pleasing way for passengers to experience the outside world.

And when you have a camera failure that renders the autodrive software unable to determine a safe path to drive, the vehicle becomes useless, because the failure of the camera also renders it impossible for the occupant(s) of the car to assume driving duties.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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