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Comment: And done elsewhere (Score 1) 185

by Sycraft-fu (#47440405) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

In Tucson 10%ish of the drinking water comes from reclaimed water (aka filtered sewage). Makes sense in an area with not a lot of fresh water resources. Also in those areas you can have different kinds. You can purchase a non-potable (not for consumption) water source for irrigation. Again, reclaimed water, but it undergoes less filtering and thus is cheaper. Plenty of larger places get a hookup to keep their watering costs down.

It is a very sensible way of doing things and you actually have more control of purity than water that comes out of the ground.

Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 5, Insightful) 171

by antifoidulus (#47429485) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted
No, "publish or perish" really dis-incentivizes novel research because guess what, often times really novel research fails. All "publish or perish" really does is incentivize either cheating or the lowest risk research imaginable. There are other mechanisms for making sure a researcher is actually doing their work, punishing them for taking risks shouldn't be among them.

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 477

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards.

Comment: Re:Kickstarter (Score 4, Interesting) 57

by antifoidulus (#47421261) Attached to: Homestar Runner To Return Soon
Homestarrunner I think works better as a part time project. While the updates over the past few years have been sparse, they have also been very inspired and incredibly hilarious. I can't say the same about the cartoons they were making towards the end when they were doing it every week. They still may kickstart, but I would much rather see sporadic but absolutely hilarious updates to h*runner than lots of bland ones.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 301

by antifoidulus (#47413387) Attached to: Wireless Contraception
There is evidence that China's one child policy is what enabled it to grow far faster than India did(though there are people that argue that India's younger population will eventually be an economic asset rather than a drag on the economy). In 1980 China and India's economies were at about the same size, but China has grown far faster than India, and many argue that the one child policy was what allowed this to happen. By limiting the # of children people could have they could invest more capital per student, and measures like the literacy rate show that this effort paid off.

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 349

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: Re:The goal of 1st world countries (Score 1) 401

by antifoidulus (#47397685) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say
You should read "Player Piano" by Vonnegut if you haven't already. While some things like really rich engineers and of course the obligatory 50's reference to a computer with a massive # of vacuum tubes didn't come to pass, his depiction of what we do with the "excess" people is spot on. The basics are that they either go into the Army or join the "Reaks and Recs", basically a gang of workers that isn't needed, but gets employed by the government to do meaningless jobs so they can "earn" a paycheck. Honestly it's the most accurate prediction of modern society I have seen in any book that was written more than 50 years ago.

Comment: Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (Score 1) 131

by antifoidulus (#47396963) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China
You are ignoring things like asymmetric risk. If I buy a kit and cannot sell it for more than I paid for it, I can return it*. If Oculus Rift builds more dev kits than people are willing to buy, they can't just go back to the component manufacturers and say, "I bought too many of these, please give me back my money". So no, it's not "capitalism", if it were pure capitalism then we wouldn't have any consumer protection laws and they couldn't return any un-used merchandise(which would probably put the kibosh on these kinds of shenanigans but at a cost that isn't worth it).

I'm assuming there is a return policy, laws in most countries would probably support the consumer if they tried to return an unopened product in a reasonable time window.

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."