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Comment: Re:Really now (Score 1) 145


This is something near and dear to my heart as much of my job is rescuing and refurbing older instruments and lab gear. For an established professor with big grants it's not so big a deal. They can afford to buy the latest and greatest.

For our new professors who are just setting up their labs, reusing older gear can make a huge difference. That's research and grad students they might not have been able to fund otherwise.

I want more people working on the world's problems across the globe rather than just having some select few coming to tech centers in the west and leaving their countries behind.

Here in the US, we're good at coming up with solutions that work in our economy and society. Often, they aren't practical in other parts of the world. Having the research going in those areas tends to lead to solutions that work in those places.

Comment: Not a factor: (Score 1) 145

That's a complete failure of energy usage understanding.

The power use for one supercomputer is nothing compared to that used for even a small oil refinery, or steel mill (which all of those countries have).

When you have massive data centers like Google or the like, power cost becomes a big factor. This is only 40 racks total plus a high speed switch.

Any of those countries can easily afford the power for 40 racks of even pretty inefficient computer gear.

Comment: Re:Really now (Score 3, Informative) 145

Horse hockey.

South Africa (one of the destinations) is the tech hub of southern Africa and has long been highly competitive with Europe and the Americas in research and industry.

Supercomputers can be used for all sorts of problem solving and are part of the basic modern scientific infrastructure. You don't have to have the utter best and fastest to still be very useful.

To keep at the cutting edge you have to get ever faster systems. But most day to day research work doesn't need that much horsepower. (full disclosure: I work for the chemistry department at a major US university. I'm in the same group that supports research computation, though I do lab instrument repair)

How do you propose to train and keep researchers to solve the problems of those countries if there are no facilities?

Are you saying that they should shut down everything in their research centers and universities until every problem is solved? That's like locking the toolbox until the car is fixed. Doesn't make much sense does it?

That's like saying you should shut down US universities and research labs until we take care of the many civil problems we still face (poverty and crime ridden areas, for example)

Comment: Well, now that's simple: (Score 2) 567

If we get rid of all the farmers, not only will we have unity of ideas, but everyone will starve so we've solved anthropogenic global warming.

Of course, even at this point it may well take a long time for the existing effects to reverse, but we can rest easy in our graves. ;)

(Extreme tongue in cheek warning for the humorless bastards on both sides of this flamepit topic who'd take anything seriously no master how ridiculous.)

Comment: Further Developments: (Score 1) 192

by Hartree (#47297673) Attached to: China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

After anchoring its right to the South China Sea with islands constructed from Chinese materials, China has begun investigating the use of other purely Chinese items in the rest of the world.

As such, China is announcing an air defense identification zone surrounding all zoos containing giant pandas. In particular, all aircraft entering or departing the airspace in the 5 miles surrounding the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. will now have to file a flight plan with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration, and maintain regular two way radio contact. In case of aircraft not following these guidelines, China reserves the right to take Emergency Defensive Measures.

Comment: US-centric Slashdot misses much of the point: (Score 5, Interesting) 649

by Hartree (#47268171) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

This came out of a row in Britain over an investigation into schools in Birmingham. Unlike the US situation, what brought this about was a charge that Muslims were trying to take over schools in Birmingham and alter the lessons to support Islamic Ideals. The term you can search on to find this is Trojan Horse Investigation, along with Birmingham.

For example:

For a more sensationalist view, we have the Daily Fail:

One of (many) things charged was teaching creationism. Others were teaching in sex ed that wives weren't allowed to "say no" and must submit to their husbands.

How much of this is true depends on who you ask and, no surprise, it's quite a controversy.

But, to put it in context, this came up in response to charges of Islamic influence. Apparently any Christian state funded schools teaching creationism didn't raise this level of concern.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27