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Comment funny bone (Score 1, Interesting) 131

Now we've tickled the American's funny bone. They consent to have their rectum examined by google, but when EU wants to stop google they get all pissed off. However, when a government they elected and can unelect every 4 years tries to save some money by using an efficient way of collecting fines, not biometric face scans, but letters and numbers printed in large font for, ehm, vehicle identification, they get all into freedom mode... :)
(And yes, traffic fines in US are just a thinly veiled attempt at taxation, but if you vote republicans that can't raise taxes normally, you still need to bring this money in somehow, that is why I don't really object to paying them and you shouldn't either...)

Comment Re:I'm pretty sure what we'll find. (Score 1) 85

I agree about the bill and nothingness, but nice retirement packages?!?!

Google "postdoc hell" and you will get he real picture. Many of PhDs get out of the conveyor belt at 40 with zero savings and no future prospects. It's really quite sad (luckily physicist can mostly at least code)

Comment Re:$70 max (Score 4, Informative) 515

No, this isn't good math.

Eurostar train tickets between London and Paris are usually more expensive than flying low-cost airline. People splurge on train in preference over air, not the other way round.

True, train take s 2.5 hours of moving and fligth 45 minutes of flying. But I can get to Kings X in 10 minutes on tube and be there 20 minutes before departure and on the other end I am at Gare du Nord, smack in the centre.
When flying, it takes me 1 hour min to each airport, then I need to pay the terrorist task by queing for another hour. Then we fly and then it is again 1hour min from Orly or CDG to get where I want.

Comment Cost lies in power consumption and maintenance (Score 1) 145

The reason why 3 year old supercomputers are scrapped is because the power consumptions per flop becomes just uneconomical and the maintenance costs escalate (all kinds of failures increase dramatically after a few years).
So, unless they have real cheap maintenance guys (which they probably do) and super-cheap power (which they probably don't), it is not really worth it. Better buy a smaller modern cluster.

Comment No one taking coffee seriously should buy this... (Score 2) 145

This is precisely one thing that irks me about living in the US. People get the coffee culture completely wrong, they even say things like "let's grab a coffee". In civilized countries, you never *walk* around with a coffee. You sit down, spend 10 focused minutes on an espresso and maybe conversation and then go on doing things with both hands. Walking around holding some significant fraction of gallon of coffee is just pointless - you get gorilla arm, you never enjoy coffee and you never enjoy a real break.

Comment Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (Score 3, Interesting) 634

Yes... Just fine. Those stories of long waits, or unavailable diagnostic care are just rumors, I am sure...

Yes, they are.

Believe me,I lived for 7 years in UK and now I'm in my 6th year in USA and it is incomparable. US system is just massively inferior - and I work for a big national lab and hold the most expensive insurance option.
So yes, I'd go back to NHS any moment.

Comment Somalia? (Score 1, Flamebait) 701

I don't know what these people are trying to prove. We know communism doesn't work, because we've tried it in eastern Europe. We also know that libertarism doesn't work, because take any failed African state and you see that people don't self organize into well-functioning society.
Besides, I really despise these smug libertarians, who thump their chests about liberty and privacy and are not even remotely aware how much they got from this society, not to mention they they are not willing to give any of it back in taxes... Big egos, little brain and compassion.


Comment I don't believe 1% of computers give wrong answers (Score 0, Flamebait) 241

I think this is bull. I just don't believe 1% of computers give wrong answers. There are many reasons why precomputed table might differ - threading, reordering of floating point operations, etc. Basically, compilers guarantee certain precision, not by-bit determinstic result (unless you set up certain IEEE flags, which are not on by default).


Submission Web store requires immigration documents to buy a 3

PineGreen writes: Recently I was trying to buy a laptop from a company that had good reviews online and the best price on the particular laptop I tried to buy. For some reason, my credit card did not process cleanly and hence I was asked to send them a scan of the credit card and my driver license. My driver license is still valid, but contains a note about the expiry date of my immigration status in the USA (which has since been renewed but the license does not show that). Even thought the driver license is acceptable for the TSA folk, the company is asking me to show them my immigration papers in order to buy a laptop. I find this somewhat infuriating. What can I do, besides reporting them to the BBB?

Comment Hubble wasn't that amazing (Score 2) 133

Hubble gave us a lot of very nice pictures, but let's be realistic: in terms of science per dollar we've got much more from combination of WMAP and SDSS I and II. JWST just killed a whole lot of more interesting projets in the same way LSST is now threathening to kill amazing and cheap projects like BigBOSS.

They should still fly JWST, after all this money spend it would be stupid to kill it and interesting things will come out of it. But let's be fair about science: pretty pictures that excite public are useful for PR, but for real science you need better than that.

If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.