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Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 73 73

Well, it is likely connected to the fact that Japan has an insanely high conviction rate, over 99% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conviction_rate. Part of this is due to the fact that prosecutors in Japan only bring cases if they are very confident of a conviction (probably part of why the prosecutors did not want to prosecute in this case) but also cultural issues where once a person is prosecuted, the default assumption in terms of how people treat it is that the person is guilty.

Comment Re:Potential uses? (Score 2) 33 33

Basic research is one of the things that really does make sense for taxpayer money to go it. It needs to happen, but the advantages of it often pay out very far down the line after a few steps, so companies don't have that much incentive to do it unless they are near monopolies (think the old Bell Labs). That's exactly where tax money should go: things that in the aggregate provide a benefit for almost everyone and where there's no economic incentive for private organizations to fund it.

Submission + - Scientists identify possible new substance with highest melting point

JoshuaZ writes: "Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds the previous record breaker tantalum hafnium carbide which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C) and had stood as the record holder for almost a century. However, at this point, the record setter is still hypothetical, based on simulations. The new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.020104 is the actual article while http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/28/behold-a-new-record-for-the-worlds-highest-melting-point/ is a lay summary. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

Comment Re:Drones (Score 1) 296 296

2. Our drones are effectively remotely piloted aircraft. Not "killbots". There is some chair jockey in a building in the Nevada desert who pilots the craft and fires the missiles and then goes home to be with his family after his shift is done.

True.

Just as an FYI though, it seems that being the pilot, is a job that comes with way more stress than was anticipated (or than the general public appreciates).
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/as-stress-drives-off-drone-operators-air-force-must-cut-flights.html

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 296 296

Seriously. How many people would rob a liquor store if they didn't have to be there in person and there was no chance of being caught?

Interesting angle that I haven't heard brought up much ... and me without mod points today.

Comment Re:Lunar Space Elevator (Score 2) 48 48

I agree. Everything sounded reasonable up until I got to that point, and then I had to ask how much of what was above wasn't at all correct I was surprised about his statement that one might expect a lower cancer level in space from the lack of carcinogenic chemicals, and was thinking about that when I got to this point, and then updated with "oh, he just doesn't know what he's talking about."

Comment Re:title because I need a title (Score 1) 617 617

I have a clone of the system drive and database system from when I replaced the drives. It's one of those deals where the people who own the damned thing fear change. I have daily snapshots from the DB so I'm probably just fine migrating it, but the customer doesn't want anything about that machine (it's an IBM pedestal server from ~1993. A 75MHz Pentium I think) to change.

I did swap out the SCSI card and drives in 2009 and again in 2013 and at this point I'm just just waiting for something to properly break so I can have that machine bronzed or something.

Comment title because I need a title (Score 1) 617 617

One of my customers still has a Netware 3.12 machine. I'm the third person to be responsible for it. The last two guys are both retired now. I got the gig based on being the youngest person the company could find who actually knows Netware. It runs their ordering/job cost/inventory systems and whatever files or reports it makes can actually be used by their relatively modern accounting software.

Another guy I do work for has a System/38 machine in his office. I have no earthly idea what he does with it since he's a primarily a studio photographer, but I have seen him accessing it through a terminal session. My best guess is that it has something to do with his home-made film printing system. He was an engineer for a while and his place is full of cool stuff.

I've also been in law offices where secretaries were still using Windows 3.1 as recently as 2013, but in that case I'm pretty sure it was just the lawyers in question being just THAT cheap.

Comment Re:nothing new under the sun (Score 2) 446 446

This assumes people ever approach the ability to retire again.

Gone are the days of retiring with a pension to someplace warm, never to work again.

Welcome to the days of concentration of wealth and the need for perpetual employment, but combined with the "joys" of outsourcing, offshoring, reduction of pensions and uncertain future employment.

Comment Re:I see theyre using the Step 2 profit model (Score 3, Informative) 188 188

Actually, replacing coal is happening already. The percentage of plants that are coal has been going down. Moreover, the plants which are coal have been getting progressively cleaner. And as electric-plugins become more common, that means there will be more on-grid storage which will help make solar and wind more common (since one of their big problems is the intermittent nature of the power they supply). Moreover, the study uses the current crop of electric cars, where they are getting more and more efficient, and as electric cars get more efficient they'll compare more favorably in more locations.

"What I've done, of course, is total garbage." -- R. Willard, Pure Math 430a

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