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Comment: If you really think... (Score 1) 584

by Necron69 (#48524387) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

that girls and boys/men and women are identical except for plumbing, you are going to have a bad time. There is far more to our gender differences than mere marketing and stereotypes.

I say expose your kids to as many different things as you can, and let them figure out what they like or are good at. I tried ridiculously hard to get my son interested in computers and geeky things from a very early age. At 21, he is now a car mechanic and loves football and UFC. Go figure.


Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 1) 59

by Necron69 (#48497813) Attached to: Test Flight For NASA's Orion Capsule Slated for December 4

Meteorite impact sites are in fact the locations that we mine lots of valuable minerals:

The heavy, denser metals largely sank deep into the Earth when it was still forming. This is thought not to be true for many asteroids, although we don't know for sure. Estimates of mineral value range from billions to trillions (at current prices) for even small metallic asteroids.


Comment: You are kidding, right? (Score 1) 237

by Necron69 (#48385857) Attached to: Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

In order for Uber/Lyft to be a challenge to public transportation, you first need a public transportation system that is actually useful to a significant number of people. I'm glad folks in Europe, or the US East and West Coasts have good public transit, but the vast majority of people in the US drive their own cars out of necessity.

We've made great strides here in Denver, CO, but I've lived here for almost 40 years and I can count on two hands the number of times I've taken a bus, and my light rail/train rides still stand at zero. Three years from now, the NW light rail line will finally open in the direction I need to go, yet it will still end many miles short of my office.

I know of only one friend who has ever used Uber in Denver, and her New Year's Eve ride across town caused her extreme heartburn at the price. Uber/Lyft are fancy cab services for rich people. They aren't going to put a dent in public transportation (where it exists) anytime in the next decade, if ever.


Comment: Re: hmm (Score 1) 135

by Necron69 (#48281159) Attached to: Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

Microsoft isn't required for this. In order to qualify for the full company health insurance subsidy next year, all employees at my company now have to sign up for the 'Virgin Pulse' health website, do a (supposedly confidential) health screening, and get issued a step counter that updates your online account via computer or smartphone. You can earn 'HealthMiles' or something like that.

I'm doing it, but I'm not entirely happy about it.


Comment: Re:Why is he worried (Score 1) 583

by Necron69 (#48243567) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

You give the current car control program far too much credit. At the moment, it doesn't 'see' a 'child' - it sees a change in the pixels returned by the optical scanner, plus reflections from the lidar/radar indicating an object has moved into the road. There probably aren't (currently) sensors to indicate the number of occupants in the car. The _only_ logical thing for the programmer here is to code it to stop the car when an object unexpectedly appears in the road.

Tesla and Musk and (AI) aren't anywhere near the level of abstraction you are describing. These cars work fine on city streets (that have been well mapped out beforehand), with good lane markings, known traffic signs and signals. They don't 'recognize people' or make arbitrary decisions about them. At best, what we have now are expert systems and nowhere near an 'AI'.


Comment: Re:Automation and jobs (Score 1, Insightful) 720

No matter how much you want it to be true, corporations do not exist for the purpose of employing people or paying taxes. They just don't.

I don't know how to fix this mess either, but incentives matter. Higher taxes make companies move, and if you stop them moving, you will eventually have fewer companies to tax.

- Necron69

Comment: Re:Or, just don't get married. (Score 1) 447

by Necron69 (#48135165) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

My last five years of taxes and my account would strongly disagree with you. If you both work and make good money, you will pay more in taxes after you get married. Without changing our deductions, my wife and I owed $7k the first year we were married, after both getting regular refunds (filing singly) for years beforehand.


Comment: Whatever pays the bills. (Score 1) 547

by Necron69 (#48130155) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

My company is wedded at the hip to a test automation system built in Perl that dates back to the early 2000s. I grumbled a bit about continuing to use this system after a review two years ago, but it isn't really that bad, and it pays me six figures a year. Perhaps, like COBOL, the rarer it gets, the more valuable the skills will be?

I'll probably get around to learning Python or Java one of these days. :)

- Necron69

Comment: Re:Practice colony in Antarctica first? (Score 1) 269

by Necron69 (#48106445) Attached to: MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

Very good points. If you think about it, humans are absolutely the _last_ 'component' of your colony you want to send up. Every last piece of technology sent along will have to be carefully designed for compatibility, standardization, and have a boatload of spare parts already on the ground before any humans arrive.

It will be a very long time before anyone is mining/smelting or running an electronics fab on Mars. OTOH, think business opportunity! :)

- Necron69

Comment: Re:Can someone explain to me (Score 2) 123

by Necron69 (#47874455) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

While I'll concede some truth to what you say about NASA, with SpaceX (and competitors) we will soon have bootstrapped the manned spaceflight industry enough such that no one will care anymore whether people like you make blanket statements about the value of manned spaceflight.

The only people's opinions that will matter will be the paying customers. Presumably, those willing (and waiting) to pay for a manned launch think there is a purpose and value to it.

If even a short trip off this tiny rock of a planet becomes affordable in my lifetime, I'll be buying.

- Necron69

Comment: Re:assholes everywhere (Score 1) 182

If you'd ever sat in a Beijing traffic jam next to their monstrous, smoke belching diesel trucks, you'd know that factories and power plants are only a part of the problem.

I've been there and air filters or not, I could not live in Beijing with my asthma. One can only imagine the future lung disease/cancer rates we are going to see.

- Necron69