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Comment: Re:Funny thing about email (Score 1) 231

by Knuckles (#47698487) Attached to: Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

Assuming 3000 emails in an 8 hour workday, 5 days a week, this is one email every 48 seconds on average, all the time. And if you compress its handling into part of the day, it means spending approx. 2 hours when you spend 2 seconds per email. How does this "represent a few seconds of distraction here and there a worst"?

Comment: Re:Nerd Blackface (Score 1) 442

by Knuckles (#47609619) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Then you won't be reading slashdot any more either, right? Because the Sheldon Cooper characterizes epitomizes a significant fraction of the posts here - myopic, minimal empathy and a retreat to 'logic' that is really just selfish rationalization.

Thanks, I've been grappling with words for this for a while after having started to work in a really nerdy place. It's ok, but strangely aggravating, and you put it very well, especiall the last part. There's also no use in pointing it out to some people, it simply does not register, just like on /. sometimes.

Comment: Re:Er, that's a bit confusing (Score 2) 166

by Knuckles (#47574665) Attached to: The Problems With Drug Testing

Missing modpoints again so quoting the AC +1 informative:

Speaking as a university researcher ...

I'm not disagreeing with the sentiment of your post, but in research ethics the concept of coercion is often taken much more broadly than it might be in typical parlance.

The idea is that if the incentives for research participation become too large, someone might not be able to rationally turn down an offer, and might be compelled to do something they do not want to do. I.e., you can coerce someone with rewards that are too large, just as you can coerce them with punishments that are too large. The idea is to prevent people from feeling like they sold their soul to the devil.

Where this gets complicated is that what is considered to be a coercive incentive depends on the potential participant's circumstances. So if you're homeless, you might feel compelled to do something you wouldn't otherwise do because you're desperate. I've been on research proposals where $35 or so USD was considered coercive because that amount of money was so large for the area of the world that they were recruiting from at the time.

I'm not sure how this intersects with this story--I agree that in itself, there's nothing wrong with recruiting homeless individuals. You also don't want to deny them opportunities that others have. But by the same token, you don't want to take advantage of their circumstances to make an undignified proposal something they can't refuse (not saying it is undignified, just that it probably needs more scrutiny, which it may or may not have had).

+ - Rest in Peace, Heinz Zemanek

Submitted by Knuckles
Knuckles (8964) writes "Austrian computer pioneer Heinz Zemanek, the first person to build a fully transistorized computer on the European mainland, died in Vienna, aged 94 (link in German). Officially named Binär dezimaler Volltransistor-Rechenautomat (binary-decimal fully transistorized computing automaton), but known as "Mailüfterl", the computer was built in 1955 and in 1958 calculated 5073548261 to be a prime number in 66 minutes. Its power was comparable to a small tube computer of the time, and it measured 4 by 2.5 by 0.5 meters. "Mailüfterl" means "may breeze" in Viennese German and was a play on US computers of the time, like MIT's Whirlwind. 'Even if it cannot match the rapid calculation speed of American models called "Whirlwind" or "Typhoon", it will be enough for a "Wiener Mailüfterl"' (Viennese may breeze), said Zemanek. Mailüfterl contained 3,000 transistors, 5,000 diodes, 1,000 assembly platelets, 100,000 solder joints, 15,000 resistors, 5,000 capacitors and 20,000 meters switching wire. It was built as an underground project at and without financial support from the technical university of Vienna, were Zemanek was an assistant professor at the time. In 1961, Zemanek and his team moved to IBM, who built them their own lab in Vienna. In 1976, Zemanek became an IBM Fellow and stayed at IBM until his retirement in 1985. He was crucial in the creation of the formal definition of the programming language PL/I. The definition language used was VDL (Vienna Definition Language), a direct predecessor of VDM Specification Language (VDM-SL). He remained a professor in Vienna and held regular lectures until 2006."

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"