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Comment Re:Eh (Score 1) 461

Sing it! I mean, when they wanted to make a reasonable operating system for a personal computer, they had to go back to Unix! Really?!? Nothing better was invented in the, what was it, 40 years of computer science? I know, I know, this is a simplification, and to some degree the 40-year-history was one of the reasons to use it, but you get what I'm saying.

Comment Re:Considering how often Adderall is abused... (Score 1) 611

Don't get me wrong. I sure do know how bad addiction can get. I also know, though, that it's not a problem in and of itself. Plenty of people are addicted to stuff all the time and feel it's for the best. If I ran the world, I would try harder to accommodate differences in people's psychological makeup rather than just medicating the crap out of them.

Comment Re:Considering how often Adderall is abused... (Score 2) 611

Well, I'm a project manager for the media section of a text-book publisher. It's the project management that I am bad at, so I'm going to find a job where project management isn't the primary job skill. I like computers and media and education, so I may stay in this industry, but move into a position that's more about problem-solving or working directly with content (more editor-y or programmer-y). Something that would let me work at my own pace more.

Sales is a great place for people with ADD as they are often personable and funny (perhaps I'm projecting ;) ). Attention and follow-through, and detail-oriented work are part of any job, but there are some that are "better" than others for people with ADD. Like, if you're good at sales or writing, or whatever, you can often hire an assistant to handle the attention-heavy stuff. ADD types often do well in creative fields, too, as the "creative" thought process seems to be similar to the ADD thought process. So much so, in fact, that a recent study has shown that ADD drugs can eliminate people's ability to have "AHA!" insights when trying to solve puzzles. This has been documented by researchers and I can personally report it's true for me.

Comment Re:Considering how often Adderall is abused... (Score 5, Interesting) 611

Yeah, well, it's not that they need it to function DISCLAIMER (I am presently on a similar medication), it's that they need it to function in the highly structured, monotonous "farmer" style society that we find ourselves. If there was a way for many of these people (and many people with ADD do fine without meds) to make a living that didn't rely on organization, attention to detail, etc., then we wouldn't need the meds. I myself am trying to transition myself away from my concerta-requiring job and into a non-concerta-requiring job as we speak.

As far as addiction goes, what of it? People are addicted, physically addicted, to coffee, and other substances all the time. It's not the addiction but the psycho-physico-emotional harm that it might do that is the problem. No one worries that people with bipolar disorder are "addicted" to their meds.

Comment Re:It's not all the Textbook publshers' fault (Score 1) 396

The double-bind that publishers are in, however, is that the people who choose books for their classes (sometimes individual professors sometimes committees) will refuse to buy a book that is cheaply made because they fall apart and students can't re-sell them. Also, a lot of the cost comes from the fees we pay for rights to those glossy photos and not really the production cost of the physical book (which is why eBooks for these $150 texts are often still over $50 and why that Bangladeshi copy still cost $50).

I agree, though, that the situation we have in textbooks is sort of the same as the one in American automobiles: an oligopoly where a few competitors offer roughly the same product with roughly the same prices. Add in the fact that all the add-ons and online content is almost never revenue-bearing and the price of the textbook isn't going to drop very far. Change is coming, though. I can feel it in my bones! Flat World Knowledge, Inkling, and now Apple are going to get it right pretty soon and change the way the whole industry operates. I'm just glad I work in the media department and not print!

Comment It's not all the Textbook publshers' fault (Score 1, Interesting) 396

I work for a major textbook publisher that makes some of (albeit the cheapest) those textbooks.I admit that the system is broken, but the impression that the publishers are gouging the students is not entirely fair. The bookstores on campus with monopolies on their local markets and used book sales through nation-wide aggregators are a large part of the problem. All that is before we even get to piracy.

Also, textbooks these days come with a wide range of additional print and on-line resources like study guides, course management and homework systems, videos, etc. that are usually bundled with the book for "free." (I'm not going to insult you and suggest these add-ons don't effect the price of the book, but their value generally far outweighs the price)

If you want someone to blame, talk to the people who run your local bookstores.

NASA Green-lights $16.5M To Advance Future Jets 107

coondoggie writes "NASA said this week four research teams would split $16.5 million to continue developing quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient jets that the agency says will be three generations ahead of airliners in use today. NASA said the money was awarded after an 18-month study of all manner of advanced technologies from alloys, ceramic or fiber composites, carbon nanotube and fiber optic cabling to self-healing skin, hybrid electric engines, folding wings, double fuselages and virtual reality windows to come up with a series of aircraft designs that could end up taking you on a business trip by about 2030."

Comment Tachyon Pulse (Score 1) 246

This disappoints me greatly. Why didn't they just reconfigure the deflector dish when they realized there was a problem and reduce the mass of the rocket with a tachyon pulse?

Seriously, though, we need a better system. Modern rocketry is almost 100 years old and we haven't come up with anything better?

'Pocket Airports' Would Link Neighborhoods By Air 257

cylonlover writes "NASA's light-aircraft partner, CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency), is running a competition to design a low-cost, quiet, short take-off personal aircraft, that requires little, if any, fossil fuel. It envisions the resulting Suburban Air Vehicles taking off and landing at small neighborhood 'pocket airports.' At last week's Future of Electric Vehicles conference, CAFE president Dr. Brien Seeley outlined just how those airports would work."

Comment The Only Successful Model.... (Score 1) 608

that I know of to run an organization with a purpose other than making money is to have it run, as much as possible, by non-professionals and user donations. Otherwise, the amount of bloat within the organization goes nuts and, of course, the money starts influencing the editorial process. Just look at the difference between traditional AA-like programs vs. the Catholic Church. How much of what a cardinal or whatever does is about helping people with their spiritual lives and how much is meta-crap about the organization itself? Whereas, in AA, all of that shit is kept to a bare minimum since there's very few people who are part of AA infrastructure professionally. And yet, there are millions of AA members in hundreds of countries.

New Fish Species Discovered 4.5 Miles Under the Ocean 96

eldavojohn writes "The University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab (a partner in the recent census of marine life) has discovered a new snailfish. That might not sound very exciting, unless you consider that its habitat is an impressive four and a half miles below the ocean's surface (video). If my calculations are correct, that's over ten and a half thousand PSI, or about seventy-three million Pascals. The videos and pictures are a couple years old, as the team has traveled around Japan, South America and New Zealand to ascertain the biodiversity of these depths. The group hopes to eventually bring specimens to the surface. It seems the deepest parts of the ocean, once thought to be devoid of life, are actually home to some organisms. As researchers build better technology for underwater exploration, tales of yore containing unimaginable monsters seem a little more realistic than before."

Comment Cool, But true 4D? (Score 0) 303

As someone pointed out in the YouTube comments, and in the above reply, this doesn't really offer freedom in the 4th dimension, or even an accurate way of looking at the 4th dimension. It's analogous to two 2D mazes stacked on top of each other with the ability to jump between the two. The overall puzzle exists in the third dimension, but not in a "life-like" way.

Another problem with this type of representation of the 4th dimension is scale. If the 4th Dimension is time, and you want to move in the 4th Dimension to a point at which the object you're trying to circumvent, say a wall, doesn't exist, you have to go back to before it was made or forward to when it decays away. In a lot of places, any wall you're likely to encounter is older than you are which, you might suppose, would mean its size in the 4th dimension would be bigger than you. I suppose if a wall were new, you would be at one edge of it 4th dimensionally-speaking.

Anyway, I know that this game is just using the 4th dimension as a way of spicing up a puzzle game, for which I applaud them, but I would love to see a real mind-warper out there sometime. There used to be a 4D rubiks cube program, for instance that used to really tweak me out.

Comment Re:The Real Issue (Score 1) 699

I am glad to hear a lawyer say that these buffoons should be smacked for this.

Their whole policy, requiring students to use only the school's computers, not allowing them to access or disable the webcams, makes no sense to me. It smells like someone trying to limit their liability, you know? Like trying they are terrified of what these students might do with these computers. Sex-picture viewing, president threatening, etc, but not in a rational risk-management way. It feels more like a witch-hunt.

Why is our culture ever more terrified of our teenagers?

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov