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Comment: Where Do These Stats Come From? (Score 1, Informative) 546

by eldavojohn (#47819359) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

Nearly half of the software developers in the United States do not have a college degree. Many never even graduated from high school.

What? I pored over the article and the US BLS link in it to find the source of these statements. Aside from a pull quote that appears as an image in the article but isn't even in the article itself and is unattributed, could someone find me the source of this statistic?

Because I'm a software developer in the United States with a Masters of Science in Computer Science. All of my coworkers have at least a bachelor's degree in one field or another. And my undergrad very much so started with a sink-or-swim weed out course in Scheme and then another in Java. Yes, they were both easy if you already knew how to code but ... this article almost sounds like it's written by someone with no field experience. Granted that's a low sample set, I'd like to know where the other half of us are. Everyone keep in mind that a Computer Science degree is a relatively new thing and there very well may be elderly coders doing a great job without technically a degree in computer science.

The only way I can see the misconception spreading is that people who use Wix to drag and drop a WYSIWYG site (for you older readers that's like FrontPage meets Geocities) erroneously consider themselves "software developers".

Comment: Canv.as Decommissioned (Score 3, Insightful) 220

by eldavojohn (#47807697) Attached to: Interview: Ask Christopher "moot" Poole About 4chan and Social Media
Canvas (site, not the HTML5 element) and DrawQuest were killed earlier this year. I used it briefly in its beta form and thought it was a neat idea. Any chance you could elaborate on why it was shut down? The e-mail I got was brief and vague -- were you facing copyright issues? Monetization problems? Image space issues? Care to spill your lessons learned?

Comment: Re:Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 1) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47744875) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Hi gang,

        Thanks for the reports of stale gasoline - I'm convinced. Tonight I'll head out & recycle my old gas. The problem isn't getting things together; it's keeping it all up to date & ready. Your comments hit me in the right place: be prepared.

        I'm associated with a ham radio emergency group; the rule is that the station's equipment must be immediately ready for action. In an emergency, you don't have the luxury of stringing a cable, or figuring out which power supply can work with which rig. If the transceivers aren't wired up, tested, and set to go, they might as well be underwater. Same's true for on-the-air skills. You gotta check into the 2-meter net at least every month, or you'll get rusty and screw up when things get hot.

      And so it is with earthquake readiness. It's not enough to put away a survival stash and let it molder. Gotta keep things fresh - gotta keep my skills sharp.

Best wishes,
-Cliff
        ps to ksmithderm ... sure, I've got Klein bottle hats (and Mobius scarves). They're on m'website.

Comment: Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 4, Informative) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47743541) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Background: I live on North Oakland, next to Berkeley, in the Rockridge section. Urban, detached 2 bedroom house about 100 years old.

We bolted down our house, fully reinforced the stemwalls, and installed shearwalls. For our little 2-bedroom bungalow in Oakland, this set us back around $20,000. Earthquake insurance seemed outrageous (around $2,500/year, with very limited benefits). Along with the earthquake retrofit, we set aside a few cases of food & twenty 5-gallon jugs of water. A 2Kw Honda generator. Radio, flashlights, FRS walkie-talkies, etc. Small amount of medical stuff.

Yes, I have onsite and offsite backups (that's easy); the real problem would be connectivity after a quake. There's probably a hundred telephone poles between my house and the central office.

Some challenges: Keeping food & water fresh is a problem - cans get rusty as water condenses on cold surfaces. Some camping food goes bad. MRI rations taste, well, horrible. We should replace water & food annually, and generally forget to. (We discovered diapers in our earthquake stash, left over from when our college kids were infants)

    Storing gasoline for the generator is a problem. I'm told that gasoline gets stale after a few months (is this true, or an urban legend?). It's a pain to lug a 3 gallon gas can around, and it's not something I want under my house. (I store it in a shed, where it's out of sight & out of mind - so I rarely refresh it. Is there a small, 5 or 10 gallon under-ground gasoline storage tank?). I should start and exercise the generator every month; it's more like every two years or so. Our experience in the 1989 quake was that gas stations can't pump after an earthquake (no power).

  Our neighborhood's quake group (the Oakland - Rockridge Shakers) meets every summer, and the earthquake drills have been quite useful - we've had several fun practice sessions, where we hunt for human dummies hidden around the neighborhood, search for downed wires, and practice using walkie-talkies. Afterwards, it's a block party, and we compare notes while sharing lunch.

    My home business, Acme Klein Bottles, lost two glass Klein bottles in last night's quake. Both fell off a shelf and shattered on the floor. Good lesson: keep my glassware stored down low, with holders to prevent boxes from shifting. Since most of my glass Klein bottles are stored under our house; a major local temblor that destroyed the house would also wipe out the business.

Comment: timing - which year (Score 2) 72

by SteveWoz (#47628049) Attached to: Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

I travel a ton and stay in dozens of different hotels every year. Domestically, and in maybe 50% of the foreign cases, the high priced hotels had worse and slower internet up until a couple of years ago. For the last 2 years they have gotten better, on the average. Oh, I was in a 5-star Vegas resort last night that had horrible bandwidth. In the past, my joke was accurate that the difference between a Four Seasons (just an example) and a Super 8 is that at the Super 8 the internet worked and was free. The most important thing to me in a hotel is computer use. The fancy suites in major hotels are often set up for entertaining friends and DON'T even have a computer desk. I ask my wife to book me into Super 8's whenever possible.

+ - Conservatives Release New Video Proving Global Warming is a Hoax->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Conservative Louisiana House of Representative Lenar Whitney has released a new four minute video on Youtube proving once and for all that global warming is a hoax. In the heavily referenced and peer reviewed video, Whitney puts to rest global warming — something "any ten year-old can invalidate." She points out the important fact that our planet "has done nothing but get colder each year." The highly polished video with special effects clearly exhausted all of Whitney's cognitive powers in researching and backing up each point in her proof that global warming is the "greatest deception in the history of mankind." Fat cat scientists and their propaganda machines don't stand a chance with this hardworking former oilfield equipment company sales employee to set the record straight."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Over at Dice? (Score 4, Insightful) 315

by eldavojohn (#47560113) Attached to: Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

Over at Dice

But we are at Dice, sir:

[Querying whois.publicinterestregistry.net]
[whois.publicinterestregistry.net]
Domain Name:SLASHDOT.ORG
Domain ID: D2289308-LROR
Creation Date: 1997-10-05T04:00:00Z
Updated Date: 2014-03-14T22:12:11Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2015-10-04T04:00:00Z
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 69
WHOIS Server:

Referral URL:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID:tuE8gFbzWFO9qSj2
Registrant Name:Host Master
Registrant Organization:Dice Holdings, Inc.
Registrant Street: 1040 Avenue of the Americas
Registrant City:New York
Registrant State/Province:NY
Registrant Postal Code:10018
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.8557527436
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:hostmaster@slashdotmedia.com

Pros: Today's article has more content than the usual Dice front page linkage. Great article if you're not a programmer but feel stymied by the wide assortment of languages out there. Although instead of hemming and hawing before making your first project you're better off listening to Winston Churchill and sticking your feet in the mud: "The maxim 'Nothing avails but perfection' may be spelt shorter -- 'Paralysis."

Cons: It barely scratches the surface of an incredibly deep topic with unlimited facets. And when one is considering investing potential technical debt into a technology, this probably wouldn't even suffice as an introduction let alone table of contents. Words spent on anecdotes ("In 2004, a coworker of mine referred to it as a 'toy language.'" like, lol no way bro!) could have been better spent on things like Lambdas in Java 8. Most interesting on the list is Erlang? Seems to be more of a random addition that could just as easily been Scala, Ruby, Groovy, Clojure, Dart -- whatever the cool hip thing it is we're playing with today but doesn't seem to quite pan out on a massive scale ...

Technology

MIT Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati 110

Posted by timothy
from the science-fiction-future-awaits dept.
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at MIT have developed a new spongelike material structure which can use 85% of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. This spongelike structure has a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam. This structure has many small pores. It can float on the water, and it will act as an insulator for preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. This structure works much like a sponge. It is a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. And, this setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. If scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

Comment: Some Public Records ... You Know ... Just in Case (Score 5, Informative) 448

by eldavojohn (#47304885) Attached to: $500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now
So a whois.net domain name lookup on their site yielded nothing. And there are suspiciously no patents mentioning "wetag" or "ifind" and the names they listed (Dr. Paul McArthur) are in patents but for cold fusion BS in California.

Surely, though, they must have registered the "iFind" trademark? And if you search on TESS we find:

Owner (APPLICANT) WeTag, Inc. CORPORATION TEXAS 3309 San Mateo Drive Plano TEXAS 75023

With an attorney listed as "Richard G. Eldredge" which corresponds to a local attorney. Before you deploy the door kickers to lynch somebody, that address is just somebody's $200,000 house and could possibly be a random address used by a jerk. Remember that it's entirely possible that this is all a front by some other actor and someone was paid western union/bitcoin to register this trademark through this attorney without realizing they were just being used by literally anyone in the world ... of course, kickstarter should have even better transaction details (hopefully).

Comment: Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (Score 4, Insightful) 80

by Cliff Stoll (#47298935) Attached to: Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

This is important work, which compliments terrestial geomagnetic measurements and space based observations.

The earth's magnetic field results from a planetary dynamo. Magnetic field lines get frozen into the electrically conductive fluid core. Then, differential motions in the fluid causes the magnetic field to get twisted up -- it's no longer is the simple dipole (like those bar magnets that you played with as a kid). Instead, the earth's magnetic field develops high order moments (sorta like bumps and dips). These shapes evolve as the conductive core moves. Eventually, the magnetic field gets so tangled up, that it unravels. At that time, the earth's field reverses. These magnetic field reversals show up in the geologic record ... every 10,000 to 100,000 years, there's a flipover.

Measurements like the ESA Swarm satellite give us a handle on the evoloution of the Earth's magnetic field, as well as showing how that field interacts with the magnetic and particle environment of the solar wind.

(disclaimer - most of what I just posted is from a terrific graduate class that I took at the Lunar & Planetary Labs way back in 1979, and when I worked with Charles Sonett, who studied the solar wind. Likely, much of this is way out of date!)

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle

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