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Comment: How big are we calling 'Macroscopic'? (Score 2) 199

by Bonker (#46661971) Attached to: P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

My understanding is that we have some pretty good examples of 'larger than just a few elementary particles' superposition and observer effects that have been demonstrated.

For example, birds' touted ability to navigate by way of feeling the Earth's magnetic field is apparently enhanced by the observer effect.

Now... cellular level effects are still pretty small, but it's an example of a living organism we can hold in our hands (and pet, if you're a bird person.) learning to use quantum effects in its everyday life.

For an example of superposition in living organisms, one needs to look no further than our abundant flora, where superposition apparently increases the efficiency of photosynthesis, without which our current biosphere would pretty much collapse and we'd all die.

So, I think we're looking at a bell-curve like thing here. The bigger the 'observability' of a phenomenon, the less likely we are to experience it in our lifetimes. My guess is that huge, say, planetary-scale, examples of superposition are quite possible... just so very unlikely that one hasn't happened observably in human history (and probably the history of the universe.)

Comment: V-V-V-Virtual Box! (Score 2) 860

by Bonker (#46408175) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

So 'Desktop Linux' is just not cutting it for me yet. Almost, but not quite. (Seriously, get USB keyboards working with yer full disk encryption, Debian.)

That said, I'm not going to Windows 8 or even 8.1. Evar. In the rare event that I need to run something that only runs on Win 8, I've got a company supplied Virtual box VM image with a legit corporate licensed copy. (I've booted up to run the latest version of MS Dev Studio less times than I can count on one hand.)

In the slightly more common event that I need to run something that ran fine on WinXP, but won't run on Win7, I have a WinXP Virtual Box image. This has saved my older, but perfectly working USB scanner.

In the much more frequent event that I want to run in a Linux desktop environment for, say, development work, working with iptables, or the like, I've got a couple different Mint Linux Virtual Box images.

About the only thing I don't have an image for is a Hackintosh... but I've got a company-supplied Macbook which also has an array of Virtual Box images hanging around.

Mint is about || yay close to being usable as my main desktop OS, but has a few standout problems. I DO use it as my laptop OS.

Win 8 will NEVER be an issue for me.

Comment: Re:isn't it used on violent prisoners? (Score 1) 326

by SirSlud (#46365739) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

Which is not at all what the article is saying. It's saying that solitary confinement is being used on many more people than those "some folks." You're not making an argument any more than me saying, "Well, some folks should be killed, so why would we care how many folks are being killed?"

Comment: Re:isn't it used on violent prisoners? (Score 1) 326

by SirSlud (#46365733) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

We're not talking about "quite a few". We're talking about 80,000 at levels per capita that no other country on earth does. We don't conduct science and research to make ourselves feel fuzzy. We do it to point out that a huge amount of those people are not in for life, and will be released at some point, so why would we be complicit in inflicting mental instability on them given that it would be in our self interest to ensure they're not crazy when then are released? The whole point of raising the alarm on this is that it's being used on people who do not pose imminent physical threats and dangers to others. It's right there in the summary, and the article - nobody is suggesting that solitary confinement isn't required, but it's weapons grade stupid (if a profitable business model for jails) to turn humans into worse humans. We figured out a long time ago that it's more more beneficial for US to rehabilitate those who we can, so if you're okay with using punishments and detainment that cause people do become more of a danger to society when they're let out than when they're let in, you're not even making a case for self interest.

Comment: Native American Hearing and a Loud PC (Score 5, Interesting) 371

by Bonker (#46107741) Attached to: How loud is your primary computer?

I'm partially descended from Cherokee on one side and Choktaw on the other. However, as a computer nerd with a florescent-light tan, I am the WHITEST Native American you will ever meet. (Oddly enough, there are *blonde* native Americans less white than I am.)

I've also been blessed to keep my hearing despite working in or near various data centers and around heavy machinery. I've always been very careful about hearing protection.

I can hear the capacitors in my CRT TVs cycling. I can hear the constant whine of AC power in the walls. If I'm lucky enough to be around older electronics with real vacuum tubes, I can hear them sing or hum, depending on size.

At night, I can hear the nails squeaking in their holes as my house settles. I can hear that damn squirrel scurrying across my roof in the wee hours. Yes, stomach, I know that squirrel is edible, but I am an well-(over)-fed computer programmer and not a nomadic hunter-gatherer. Would you and my ears *please* quit waking me up for that kind of thing?

Accordingly, I'm one of those individuals who can gauge the load on their PC components simply by listening to them. This has become more true as newer motherborards tend to have throttle-able fans. I can still distinguish when my CPU decides to page out to disk even *with* the fans droning out the hard drives, though.

It can be bloody unpleasant at times. For example, I've paged 3 times while writing this post. Why? I'm running VM and a ton of RAM-hungry apps, including Firefox. I twitch every time it happens.

However, it's also saved me countless hours of frustration and lots of cash as I can often identify hardware problems by sound.

I really pissed off my neighbor once doing this. He had an AC mechanic out because his air conditioner kept quitting. Mine was as well... but I could HEAR the transformers humming oddly on the poles. (And not the good kind, where the Autobots defeat the Decepticons)

"This isn't an AC issue. It's a power issue. I've called the power company."

Made the mistake of saying that after he'd just paid for the AC service call.

Comment: That's NOT what happened at Love Canal. (Score 1) 944

by Qwaniton (#45787999) Attached to: 60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out
Love Canal was a perpetual source of interest for me ten years ago and I did my homework. The Niagara Falls school district bears as much if not more responsibility than Hooker Chemical. At least namedrop something more like Bhopal or Times Beach. And go look up Love Canal on Wikipedia. It's an accurate encyclopedic article on the matter, and additionally it informed me of the unforeseen consequences of building the LaSalle Expressway on the old railroad right-of-way at the southern edge of the neighborhood, something I never even considered when writing those papers back as a teenager.

Comment: Re: In the kitchen (Score 3, Insightful) 547

by Qwaniton (#45728755) Attached to: Harvard Bomb Hoax Perpetrator Caught Despite Tor Use
The person you replied to was talking about gun laws in Massachusetts. You're talking about gun sales in the United States of America as a whole, completely ignoring state-level differences. If you don't see the obvious, slap-you-in-the-face error here, then you should trust that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. If you are indeed a United States citizen, which I heavily doubt, you're a fool. Pick another topic to try to sound smart about.

Comment: Re: loud quiet loud quiet (Score 1) 288

by Qwaniton (#45673019) Attached to: A Year After Ban On Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked?
Don't worry, our generation is actually too broke to afford big things. Those ads are geared as much to Daddy's wallet as they are to their debt-ridden and/or wage-slave Millenial adult children. No parent wants to see *their* kid fall down the class ladder, but there's limited vacancy. Ads gained to, and only to, Millenials services enerally spun towards the value and frugality angle, or are ads for debt-rescue or higher education (especially for-profit universities, since this generation is still full of suckers who think degrees are worth anything more than the paper they're printed on) or other financial services or products. The Millennial generation is headed towards poverty, and we know it. As far as ads for teenagers go, teenagers aren't Millenials. They're the children of the young end of Generation X.

Comment: If the machine's in good condition... (Score 1) 283

by Bonker (#45456877) Attached to: In an arcade with only the following games ...

I'd play pinball. If the machine is broken, which is sadly the case the majority of the time in my experience, I'd go home.

Because MAME.

The only machine that would keep me in an arcade would be a Galaga upright... simply because I could show off mah skills.

Seriously. Bar, restauraunt, arcade managers? If you're not willing to put in the extra effort it takes to maintain a pinball machine, DO NOT BUY ONE. And for God's sake, unplug and put an 'out of order' sign on the ones that *are* broken, but you are willing to fix.

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near