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Comment: Re:Does This Make Sense? (Score 1) 318

by Mike Van Pelt (#49641217) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

Do you happen to know how long they have to be stopped before they shut down?

My Prius? Something like two seconds. That was one of the hardest things to get used to; it felt like "the car stalled at the light." A non-hybrid, I'm more dubious about. Maybe they just have to have a beefy enough starter motor that it can start out electric for the second or two it takes the regular engine to get going.

Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 480

by Mike Van Pelt (#49614785) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

If they simply wrote a paper saying "we noticed an anomalous force in this experimental setup, and we don't understand why", then nobody would have a problem with it. They're not doing that. They are claiming that it can be used as a reactionless propulsion system, a claim which is entirely incredible without a solid physical theory to justify it.

Eppur si muove always trumps "all the laws of physics say." Always. No exceptions. Our understanding of the laws of physics will just have to try to catch up to the reality. That's assuming, of course, that the gizmo really does muove.

Comment: Correcting the guess (Score 1) 80

Interesting -- someone in the office was running everyone's picture through this page, and if you averaged their guess of my age (52) with Microsoft's guess (68. Gee, thanks ever so much, Microsoft) you get my actual age. (60)

I'm surprised there's no "Wrong, the true age is..." input, to help them correct their model.

Comment: The Open/Libre Office thing is pretty simple. (Score 1) 177

by Mike Van Pelt (#49579401) Attached to: When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly

Its root cause is "Because Oracle, Larry Ellison is the Antichrist", a point of view that I am not exactly unsympathetic with. Libre Office was forked from the "Before engulfed by Oracle" open-source code, and many of the OO developers jumped ship for LibreOffice.

So, Oracle ended up donating Open Office to the Apache Foundation, but the fork had already happened. Rationally, the two should merge, but The Great Schism is a done deal, there's competing hair-splitting in the various forms of free-as-in-speech licenses, and never the twain shall meet.


Comment: Re:Blame it all on our ancestors... (Score 1) 634

by Mike Van Pelt (#49571707) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

My suspicion -- this is because any characteristic that's controlled by a gene on an X chromosome, women have two, men have only one. So, women will have some tendency to "regress to the mean" for anything with co-dominance between the two copies.

My opinion has always been treat everyone fairly and equally, and I don't care where the percentages of $group end up. Today, though, it's for every single group anyone can assert exists in some percentage in the population, every field of endeavor whatsoever must have precisely that percentage represented in it.

Comment: Re:Interesting since Aspartame spiked Sachirine (Score 1) 630

by Mike Van Pelt (#49571355) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

I use the "Safeway Kitchens" store brand in my coffee at work. There's a bottle of some organonaturaopathicholistical type stuff I got on sale at Whole Pay^H^H^H Foods a while back that's also pretty good; that's what I'm using at home at the moment. If it's still on sale when I run out, I might get some more of it, or the Safeway store brand if it's cheaper per use.

I wonder if reaction to stevia is genetically based, like the whole cilantro thing.

Comment: Re:Interesting since Aspartame spiked Sachirine (Score 1) 630

by Mike Van Pelt (#49562941) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Saccharine has this horrible nasty bitter taste to me. Aspartame is better, but still not great. The Diet Mountain Dew that I drink mass quantities of has acesulfame and sucralose in it, and it tastes ... not too bad. I've gotten used to it, anyway.

Stevia is, to me, the best tasting of the non-calorie sweeteners, and I use it in my coffee, and in my homemade grape soda. (Sodastream CO2 water, a few ounces of grape juice, and stevia.) I'm not sure why it hasn't caught on as a sweetener for sodas. Does it break down in the can like aspartame does? (Over-the-hill aspartame sweetened sodas are unspeakably nasty.)

Comment: Re:Lets use correct terminology. (Score 2) 177

by Mike Van Pelt (#49497565) Attached to: MakerBot Lays Off 20 Percent of Its Employees

Heh... yeah... One job, there were layoffs coming, and I had found employment elsewhere. When I handed my boss my notice, he handed it back and said "I never saw that. You're on the layoff list. You'd rather be laid off."

I'm in the US. I've been laid off a few times, not counting that one. One was "Here's a box, pack up your stuff and go", but no security escorting me anywhere. One was "You're going to be laid off three months from now, help get your tasks transferred to the people in the group who are staying." (They were getting rid of all Unix mail servers and transferring it all to MS Exchange, and I was the Unix mail guy, so...) The other was a ... really impressive severance package, if I signed the "I promise not to sue for age discrimination" letter. Oh, yeah, sure, no problem... there was an offer from another company, doing pretty much the same thing, in my personal email account before I got home. No guards or anything there, either, just come by the office and get my stuff whenever, I was "officially still employed" there for a couple of weeks, again getting appropriate knowledge transfer done. They did cut off my access to the network.

It's just business. Handle this stuff professionally, because you are a professional.

Comment: I like Tyson. (Score 1) 76

by Mike Van Pelt (#49495505) Attached to: StarTalk TV Show With Neil DeGrasse Tyson Starts Monday

Even though I disagree with him on a lot of things.

I just wish they'd drop the comedians, though. Unless it's Chuck Nice. Leighann Lord is OK too, but dang, that Eugene Merman dood he has on his radio program far to often, he drops the IQ of the show about 20 points every time he's on. The others make jokes that show they're listening to Tyson and understanding him, but Merman just pops off inane non sequiturs that have nothing to do with the topic.

And don't bring in Bill Nye for guest hosting... Now that's annoying.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 36

by Mike Van Pelt (#49395763) Attached to: Angry Boss Phishing Emails Prompt Fraudulent Wire Transfers
Most don't... but that's one more thing that might cause the mark to notice that something isn't right. These aren't blasted-by-the-billions spams. These are carefully researched hand-crafted, targeted attacks. As much time as they're putting into it otherwise, a freebee domain at VistaPrint or something is a trivial bit of insurance.

Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky