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Comment Re:6 launches isn't complex (Score 1) 217

When I graduated college, I was already hip to the fact that Nuclear was a non-starter from a political standpoint. I took a job interview with the NRC, mostly for the free plane trip to Atlanta, and they fed me a line about "modern designs" "ready to start building any day now," in 1990... yeah, and your current crop of plant inspectors are the kids that believed that crap back then.

So, politically, we're afraid of the mighty atom to the point that we accept chemical poisoning, strip mining, ash ponds overflowing into rivers, drowning polar bears, etc. instead. I did have some hope a few years ago when a group of "Greens for Nuclear Power" went public with some decent documentary film PR about how they used to support Greenpeace, but have since done the math and realize that Nuclear Power is the way out from the greenhouse problem... but they are still too few and too poorly funded to sway policy.

Comment Re:Education... (Score 1) 246

Take an actual look at the cancer statistics, it's not because Houstonians live so long that they finally get cancer, it's taking them earlier than almost anywhere else you might choose to live:



I live in Florida, so, yeah, I like my air conditioning. And, on the whole, modern medicine is a good thing - even when taken with the drawbacks of modern life. On the other hand, living in a so-called backwards place isn't nearly as bad as being in a modern society stripped of the good stuff, like poverty can do.

Comment Re:Anyone else with security concerns? (Score 1) 317

Well even if you do care, what are you going to do about it? Nothing. Email is inherently insecure because it was never designed for security. You can try to encrypt your email, but that isn't much good (outside of your organization which requires it and sets it up) because no one actually uses encryption or is set up for it. You can't send an encrypted email to some random person and expect it to work.

Comment Re:Knee-jerk bullshit. (Score 1, Interesting) 82

You don't make a better world by dissipating capital.

It depends on which definition of the word "dissipate" you are using. If it's the first definition, "to disperse, or scatter", then it absolutely makes the world a better place. If you use the second definition, "squander or fritter away", then maybe yes, maybe no. Economically, if Mark Zuckerberg's shares were turned into $100 bills and dropped from a helicopter, it would without a doubt improve the world more than having it remain as Facebook capital.

It's an idea so old, it's positively Biblical.

Comment Re:why not ... (Score 2) 153

You can make the argument that what two consenting adults do in private is THEIR business, and I'd be willing to entertain such a view if this was actually done in private. But it generally isn't. Oh sure, the actual act usually is, but the solicitation is decidedly public, at least on the few occasions when I've actually noticed such activity. So, come up with a way to keep it out of sight, and I'm prepared to leave each to their own.

It seems likely to me that the main reason for that sort of solicitation is that there's no way for a legitimate business to advertise. You can't set up an office or a store. You can't put an ad in the paper and stay at a fixed location. You need to move around and proposition people who seem like they're not likely to be cops. I don't think any legitimate business would advertise that way, given the choice. It's not like dentists or hairdressers solicit in the streets.

However, the problem with this "activity" is that it encourages things like human trafficking, which is far from a victimless crime.

This seems again to be primarily a problem with it being a criminal activity to begin with. People don't get trafficked and sold into slavery as office workers. So what is it specifically about prostitution that makes it special? I'd say it's primarily because it's an illegal profession and people who go into it have two choices: 1) Do it alone and hope you don't get murdered by a client or by the organized criminal who stakes a claim to your territory. 2) Join up with a pimp who is an organized criminal and very likely a dangerous sociopath. Blaming prostitution for human trafficking of prostitutes is a little bit like blaming drugs for drug smuggling drive by shootings. Those things are a natural consequence of a profitable business being completely run by criminals without any oversight.

Remember, we've had quasi legal prostitution (still do in some places) in the past where the police colluded with brothel operators and it didn't work out all that great for the average worker, but made boatloads of cash for the owners. Consider Chicago in the 1920's, I don't think we want to do that again.

Can you flesh this out a bit? Are the problems of Chicago in the 20s still something we observe today in, say, Nevada? Without knowing more details, this still sounds like a problem with having entrenched organized criminals running an industry.

Comment Re:Me too. (Score 1) 317

I used Thunderbird pretty much from the first beta public releases until a couple years ago. I started having more and more problems with large IMAP folders. Very slow performance, 5-10 seconds to switch folders (even to folders without that much in them), etc. At one point I was also trying to copy some folders from an old POP account in local folders to the imap server and kept getting just "An unknown error has occurred." A bit later after I'd switched to eM Client and tried again, and got an error "Invalid character in imap folder name." Oh, ok. That explains that. Fixed that and it was fine. Would have been nice to know that.

Anyway, just lots of little annoyances in Thunderbird added up. I'm still sort of shopping around but haven't really found one that I really like. At least with imap migrating around to different clients isn't too big a problem.

Comment Re:What the fuck is going on at Mozilla?! (Score 1) 317

Um, those people you refer to in the articles are all employees (along with some people in outside organizations, like the gay guy who had some apps for Firefox). Employees, by definition, do not run an organization or decide who gets to be the CEO. That's the job of the Board of Directors.

Also, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data": this is a press piece which found a few angry employees and reported about them.

Comment Re:Use computers instead? (Score 1) 215

Leaving inputs floating on a digital device is usually a bad thing to do. It used to be that CMOS inputs left floating would cause huge current draws as they switched back and forth between 1 and 0

You're thinking of stuff from the 80s or before, like 4000-series CMOS chips. The OP is talking about microcontrollers with A/D input pins (which, by definition, is NOT digital, it's analog). If you leave these floating, which you normally do if you're not using them, the voltage will float, and then you can do an A/D conversion and see the value, which of course will be random.

Comment Re:Untrue according to the study (Score 1) 117

Slashdot went from being a site that loved hardcore science to one that now worships at the altar of political correctness, and this is super politically correct

You don't think the National Academy of Science is "hardcore science"?

Here is the supporting information from the peer-reviewed article, and this dope doesn't think it's "hardcore science".


Comment Quite aside from the SJW issues: (Score 3, Insightful) 187

Engineering is:

1) That branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.

2) The action of working artfully to bring something about.

3) Work done by an engineer.

Those of us who do software work create structure; we (if we do hardware as well, create and) use and empower machines; we work artfully to bring the desired outcome about; we are therefore, in every sense of the word, doing engineering, and we are engineers. Many are artists as well, in the domain of the very same pursuits.

As far as a license goes, that's in no way a guarantee of competence (any more than a college degree is), nor is the presumptive ability to sue a worthy indirect guarantee. All you have to look at to understand that is take a look at the incredibly incompetent RF systems put in place at a very large number of radio stations by the system designers, and further, at the incredibly incompetent rules and regulations the engineers at the FCC have put in place both to specify the requirements, and to validate the results of said designs. Oh, and WRT RFI as well. (The idiots at the FCC decided that high speed networking over power lines (BPL) was a reasonable idea. In the realm of undertakings that clearly show government licensed engineers up as complete buffoons, that is surely in the running for number one.)

It is perfectly valid to say that professional software types aren't "licensed engineers." But that in no way is the same thing as saying that software engineers aren't engineers at all. Or that they aren't professionals. They are quite often both. And within that context, there are good ones, bad ones, terrific ones, utterly incompetent ones - but still engineers, doing engineering.

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas