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Comment: Re:A fool and their money (Score 4, Interesting) 266

Okay, I'm a geologist. It happens that I live in an intermontane basin filled with alluvium, and I know the water table is about 30 feet down at my location. If I were so inclined, I could take a couple of wires or a willow stick, walk around a bit for show, then "find" a place. I'd tell you to dig 30 feet and you'll find water - and I'd be right. The knowledge this takes is not that hard to acquire, especially if you want to work in a specific region. I suspect many of the "professional" water dowsers are simply doing that and making a buck from credulous buyers. That said, I have seen people do some freaky things with dowsing rods. As a scientist I have to doubt any mystical source, but I admit having had a few WTF moments courtesy of one old fellow I used to know. He would find ore veins - where I knew they actually were, and he couldn't have because I hadn't shared my survey findings. But guess what? Ore veins do affect both the magnetic and gravitational fields. I don't completely discount an ability by some people to detect that - after all, some birds apparently do.

Comment: Re:2-year CFLs (Score 1) 278

by Pinkfud (#47409711) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...
Yep, I've yet to have one last a year. I've gone through 20 or so in the last 3 years. It doesn't seem to matter whether I buy the cheap ones or the most expensive. Within a month or two they go yellowish, then quit soon after. I've also had 3 explode, throwing glass shards all over the room. That isn't much fun. Oh, I guess there IS one that has lasted. That one never gets turned off, and while it's very yellow, it's still working. Maybe running them 24/7 is the answer, but then there isn't as much power savings. Looked at LEDs in the store, but none of them has light that's even close to satisfactory. The choice seems to be blue or yellow, and I hate both.

Comment: Re:1983 was not the "punched card era" (Score 1) 230

by Pinkfud (#46882285) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
We still used them in 83 where I was. We had to code by hand on coding forms, then we had to make our own punch cards on IBM Model 29s. The target system, an IBM 360, had a tempermental card reader that would sometimes spew the cards all over the place. Gathering them up and resorting them was a real treat. But we did get to see if it compiled on the spot. Whether it gave the desired output, well that was another matter.

Comment: Re:I don't think he means that literally/absolutel (Score 1) 581

by Pinkfud (#46726099) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code
I spent a decade as a coal miner in my youth. I even earned a license as a blasting supervisor. And I can code. I don't code for a living, but yeah, I can code. I find the implication that coal miners are somehow too dumb to learn anything else mildly offensive. Many coal miners are the product of a family that has done the same work for generations, and just kind of inherited the job. Same with farmers. But that doesn't mean they are incapable of doing anything else.

Comment: Re:So, don't use comcast DNS (Score 1) 349

by Pinkfud (#46456733) Attached to: Crowdsourcing Confirms: Websites Inaccessible on Comcast
Yes, I recently installed a new router and just let it make its own connection. Soon I had DNS problems, which reminded me that I had switched to Google DNS on the old router for that very reason. A quick fix solved the problem. My ISP is Cox, not Comcast, but they also seem to have a very flaky DNS service.

Comment: Re:Amateur chemistry is all but impossible now (Score 4, Interesting) 189

by Pinkfud (#45816563) Attached to: Citizen Science: Who Makes the Rules?
Not just hobby chemists either. I'm a geologist with a minor in analytic chemistry. I used to have an assay lab where I could run samples for qualitative analysis. That's in the crapper now. You have to jump through hoops to get things like con nitric acid, and just forget anything like potassium cyanide. And if you do manage to get supplies, they make you a target for a raid any time the local cops get a bug up their ass. So no more lab. :(

Comment: Re:Is it fear ? (Score 4, Insightful) 926

by Pinkfud (#45382349) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?
I think you're exactly right. The Bush Administration used 9/11 to gain the level of power and control that allowed them to pass the Patriot Act and create the DHS with all its Draconian aspects, and now the Obama Administration is either unable or unwilling to change it. Do you want to fight terrorism? Well, you don't gain a damn thing by giving the terrorists what they want! Their name says it all - their goal is to put their enemies in FEAR of them. By running scared and giving up our freedom in the name of 'security', we have given them a major victory. It needs to stop. We the people need to MAKE it stop. Because where we are heading is ever deeper into the swamp, and in that swamp there lies nothing but mud and snakes.

The University of California Statistics Department; where mean is normal, and deviation standard.

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