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Comment Re:Neutrinos (Score 2) 191

Neutrinos with mass certainly DO fit in the Standard Model. In fact, all 3 known left-handed neutrinos are a part of the standard model. Neutrinos are even known to oscillate between the 3 types. Originally, neutrinos were assumed to be massless as their mass is so incredibly tiny it couldn't be detected when the particles were first proposed and discovered. Their insignificant mass didn't alter any predictions the model made on particle physics at the time. That does not mean that they aren't more well understood today, nor that they have some magical capability that doesn't fit the framework of the standard model. They were just assumed to be massless because they moved at near light speed and there didn't seem to be any right-handed neutrinos detected that would show they interacted with the Higgs... also, every particle interaction that created them didn't have any missing mass that would need to be accounted for by the neutrino ejected from the collision.

There are theories on how and why the neutrinos oscillate between the 3 mass states and on how they interact with the Higgs to generate those masses. There are even theories that include right-handed "sterile" neutrinos that we haven't yet detected (and possibly can't ever hope to detect based on theories of their properties.) The fact that we can't prove it and don't have any good experiments in progress to figure it out doesn't mean the 3 flavors of neutrinos with their various masses don't fit perfectly well into the standard model as-is. These tiny, fast, ghostly particles just don't interact with regular matter very often, nor do they interact with electro-magnetic fields... so, it's very difficult if not impossible to devise experiments to definitively tell us much about how they generate their masses from the Higgs (or some unknown source) or why there are no detectable right-handed neutrinos (assuming they even exist... and if they do, that they exist for long enough to be detected before flipping back to left-handed ones).


Comment Re:Dark Matter and Energy (Score 4, Interesting) 191

Actually, you have that a bit backwards. The Standard Model says we're done finding new particles. The Higgs was the last one we expected to find, and it was so necessary to the theory that we could describe all of its attributes long before we actually found it. When we did, it matched the theory perfectly -- too perfectly. We knew its mass, spin, decay rate, and interaction with other particles just from the math before we even found it in the lab. Physicists were both relieved and saddened by the discovery as it meant the standard model was correct and there were no new physics to be found.

It's the idea of finding new particles that is all supposition. We know the standard model can't explain everything, but we don't know that missing particles are the solution. We also don't know how to detect those new particles if they do exist. Gravitons, sterile neutrinos, and black matter particles (whatever those may be) would be electrically neutral and barely interact with anything -- much less a particle detector. We suspect we will be able to detect them indirectly if they exist at all. There is a slim chance that there may be more than one type of Higgs, but other Higgs are not necessary for the theory to work and other Higgs would be at much higher energy levels.

You are correct that no one knows for certain -- that's the whole reason they conduct the experiments. But, the very well known math and theory strongly suggest that we're done. It's the wild supposition arguments that hope there's something more.

And that's not because they don't WANT to find new physics... it's just... quantum mechanics and particle physics are so well understood that it would be extremely surprising to find other fundamental particles -- b/c if they exist, they must be very very weakly interacting with all the known particles or at least very short lived to not cause chaos with the currently understood theory.

Comment Re:Greenhouse gasses? (Score 1) 261

Both are important.

Venus has no magnetosphere, and it's got a hellish thick atmosphere... so, yes, you're right in a sense that gravity alone is enough to hold certain types of gasses in an atmosphere for a reasonable amount of time. But, Venus is bleeding that atmosphere away in a comet-like tail. Venus once was very much like Earth with vast oceans, but almost all of that water turned into water vapor which was then split by ionizing radiation from the solar wind. The lighter hydrogen and oxygen ions were blown into space. It's still happening today, though almost all of the water is gone. Eventually the other gasses will also be ionized and blown away.

Mars has no magnetosphere and even less gravity than Venus, but it is much further from the sun, and the intensity of the solar wind dies off proportional to the square of the distance. I'm sure someone has done the math, but my guess is the lower gravity is a much larger issue than the lack of a magnetic field when it comes to maintaining a Martian atmosphere.

The missing magnetosphere is a much bigger problem for life than for the atmosphere. We can build domes to hold an atmosphere... even pump out gasses as they dissipate to maintain a planet-wide atmosphere. How do we protect against cosmic rays, though? magnetize the domes?

Comment Re:... and Windows becomes less and less helpful (Score 1) 527

I love Mint... but, I like Cubuntu more -- it's mostly a French distro, but has English releases... It's just Ubuntu w/ the spyware ripped out and the Cinnamon and Mate interfaces instead of Unity. It's missing a few small nice Linux Mint customizations for nemo and Mint's specific software updater; but, it gains 100% compatibility with Ubuntu repositories and has newer packages.

I made the switch b/c I had a lot of issues with Mint's older kernels, drivers, codecs, and older VLC repository that led to crashes - Nemo crashes, Nautilus crashes, complete X crashes, etc. Since switching to Cubuntu -- not a single issue.

The only problem w/ Cubuntu was on the install -- it wouldn't let me move forward w/ the installer if I chose an encrypted home drive on an already encrypted volume... but, you can encrypt the home directory later if they haven't fixed that.

Comment Re: Oh, they're a big company, (Score 3, Informative) 527

Do you already have a version of Office? Maybe it only nags those without a copy installed. I have Win 10 on multiple laptops. It took a month or two, but surely enough -- office 365 pop up in the notifications tray on all of them. I turned off those notifications the second they started. It could have been from an update (wouldn't be the first time they put a nag notification on my tray -- that's how I got Win10 to start with from the Win8 upgrade nag tray icon)

Comment Re:Ideology not reality ... (Score 1) 157


Monetary and Fiscal policy (like controlling the interest rates) has actually lessened the boom/bust cycle since it was implemented. Before the fed controlled the interest rates, bubbles were far more common and much more disastrous when they popped. Just look at the USA's list of booms and busts... and how many "financial panics" there were long ago:

We used to have deep recessions every 10 years or so. Around the late 1930s, we started manipulating the rates and now the markets crash every 20 to 30 years, but when they do dip, we recover much faster -- except for this last recession. The housing market just touched every aspect of life -- banking, credit, home ownership, ability to move, investments... you name it.

And spot on about the housing bubble -- policies let people buy homes that should not have purchased those particular homes. People signed up for ARM mortgages and just incredulously believed the rates would never go up. People purchased huge houses they could barely afford while working paycheck to paycheck. It was crazy. Banks traded mortgages as if they were stocks or bonds -- ones with perfect credit ratings that could never go down in value. Stupidity and insanity all around. It was a house of cards that only took a little bump to fall apart -- and many saw it coming long before it folded.

Comment Re:Ideology not reality ... (Score 1) 157

Spoken like someone who has never taken micro or macro economics.

I can only imagine you get this idea from watching the news -- where political pundits have little grasp on what economics actually IS.

Economics on the micro scale is actually just common sense. We're talking simple supply and demand curves. There's no ideology involved. If people want X and we restrict the supply of X, the price of X will go up as there is now a shortage. Shortages are a real thing that are well understood. Typically prices go up on things that are in demand and have a shortage -- take the iPhone for example. Surpluses are also well understood -- especially for perishables. Just take a look at any clearance sale as a great example of prices being slashed to get rid of inventory. Where economics is fuzzy is the "how much" area. As in -- how much will the price of X go up? There can be a million variables, and it would be a damned near impossible math problem to solve for them all, so one can do models and get decent predictions -- but, much like the weather, any forecast can be off if there's unforeseen influences.

On the macro scale, economics is also well understood -- BUT, people have different ideologies about what's "best." If we have a recession, we can increase the money supply by lowering interest rates which will generally spur more spending and help us climb out of the recession faster... BUT, b/c we increased the money supply, the value of the dollar is now lower and inflation is higher... and the dollar is weaker vs foreign currency so that hurts the price of imports.... etc. etc. in a chain reaction of things.

Any economy is a hugely complex system -- the USA's Economy being among the most complex in the world. You can spin a lot of things as "good" or "bad", but really most meddling with the free market is both good and bad. You can trade shortening a recession for worsening inflation. Often things that are good in the short term are bad for the long term. Often things that are good for the individual are terrible for the economy as a whole. (Saving money and being thrifty is great... everyone saving money and not spending much leads to a recession, though!)

As for the crap that's tossed around on the news like "trickle down economics" and "voodoo economics" -- uh... I got news. Those are not economic theories taught in business schools. That's made up BS that rich people tell themselves is true, but real economists don't subscribe to that baloney.

Real economists are like particle physicists -- they can tell you what's likely to happen based on historical data and what's known to be possible, but what will really happen is a matter of statistics, not absolutes. Also, anyone who thinks they understand economics hasn't had several semesters of MBA level macro-economics. If you aren't confused BEFORE you take that, you will definitely be confused after. lol. (actually, it's not all that confusing, it's just so counter-intuitive until you realize how the dominoes fall in such a massive system... and then the feedback loops that develop in the near short term, short term, long term, and extreme long term.)

Comment Re:they don't ban installation of open source (Score 1) 242

Don't forget the FCC doesn't set the rules for the rest of the world's Wi-Fi. Many of the designs are sold overseas and the OS is what locks out improper use of the radio by region. Take 802.11G channels for instance -- USA allows channels 1 - 11. Most of the rest of the world allows channels 1-13. The USA technically allows channels 12 and 13 on low-power devices, but all Wi-Fi routers in the US restrict those just to be sure they don't overlap Channel 14 -- b/c interfering with CH 14 is strictly forbidden. Some countries like Japan even allow channel 14 for 802.11B only.

802.11 N and AC are much more complicated. Different regions and countries allowed different parts of the spectrum -- which vary widely.

You're not going to get a global manufacturer to bake in all those different settings and effectively lock their hardware to a region. They're going to mass produce the hardware, then load a region-specific firmware "just in time" as they're ordered by region. For your solution to work, there would have to be a separate firmware control just for the radio that could be loaded separately from the OS -- one that was write once, read only after (or at least required certificates for future updates from the manufacturer only). Why would a manufacturer add that complexity and cost?

Come to think of it, you'd likely need 2 firmware chips and 2 processors... A main processor for the OS, a firmware for the OS... and then a firmware and radio-CPU just to access and control the radio and send I/O to the main CPU. Otherwise, your OS firmware can route around any other firmware and access the radio directly and select out-of-FCC-rule bands and power levels.

Your solution is not simple. It's like adding a BIOS chip and software to a simple system-on-a-chip board. That's never going to happen when they're pinching pennies to get the cheapest board for the router. Seriously... look at what happened to the linksys routers -- every new model had a smaller board and was dumber than the one prior (even reduced the RAM over time, too).

Comment Re:Lying scum (Score 3, Insightful) 303

Ding ding ding. We have a winner!

The entire purpose was to dodge Freedom of Information Act requests and to prevent her communications from entering into the National Archives. A nice side-effect was that her political enemies would have a tougher time snooping on her.

She believed she could skirt the law (as so many in DC do). Regardless of what happens with her over the issue, it looks like there will be severe penalties for future Secretaries of State that attempt this.

Comment Re:I remember ..... (Score 2) 284

You couldn't GET 32 MB of RAM even on a high end system back in 1995. I know. I purchased a top of the line Pentium 100 Mhz system with 8 MB of RAM that summer for several thousand dollars -- was starting school at USC's College of Engineering in the fall. My computer came with Win 3.11, and I anxiously awaited the Win95 CD's release.

I purchased an additional 4 MB of RAM a year later for several hundred dollars, and with a total of 12 MB, that baby flew... no more grinding on the swap file. I also had an ISDN line in my apartment and access to some of the newest computer equipment on campus while working for the engineering college. NOONE had 32 MB of RAM. Not even newest NT domain servers, and most definitely not our computer labs -- even the ones running AutoCAD.

Comment Re:Party loyalty is a huge problem ... (Score 3, Interesting) 676

The 99% are not in control. They simply get to choose between the options left after the 1% has chosen which candidates the 99% get to pick from. You cannot possibly believe that the 20 or so candidates for president are the best out of a pool of millions of Americans that could do the job. How did we get THESE candidates? Money. Only rich people or those backed by rich people can afford to run a presidential campaign. Recently, Rick Perry ran out of cash and his people are working for free while his SuperPAC takes over the advertising. I doubt he'll be in the race much longer as his funding has dried up.

When you have a 2 party system where both candidates are bought by special interests and 1%'ers, your choices are between a rock and a hard place. The Party is indeed what matters most -- because the funding for those candidates came from party supporters who have agendas to push for that party. I would vote for a chicken with a D on it before I'd vote for most Republicans in the race (Maybe Bush as the exception.. he seems more sane on immigration, gay rights, and healthcare than the rest).

If we had a sane voting system where a vote for one candidate was not the same as a vote against all other candidates, we might be able to support a multi-party system -- or even multiple candidates for the same party all the way up to the general election. Say, a Likert scale -- each candidate gets a vote from 1 to 10, we average out all the votes and the one that gets the highest score wins. 3rd parties wouldn't steal votes... and we'd have more room for moderates.

Comment Re: What a clusterfuck (Score 3, Interesting) 676

The point of the Clinton server was to shield the Clintons from Freedom of Information Act requests. It was intentionally set up to prevent both the government and the people from ever prying into their communications. Her office had a duty to secure and store those communications for posterity for the National Archives, and she rebuffed it.

This was not an accident, nor something set up on a whim to make life more convenient. It was deliberate -- and her office was warned multiple times that it was not acceptable before and during its use. Hillary's own office sent out e-mails to her staff advising them not to use their own private e-mail WHILE she was using her own private e-mail against the advice of the State Dept.'s own security experts.

She's only now sending the server to the feds -- since it's verified she crossed a line with top secret info on it that's been sent unencrypted over the internet to others. I would not be surprised if that server has been scrubbed top to bottom with any incriminating evidence purged and over-written with excuses galore over why data is missing or not retained (and unrecoverable).

Still, slap her with a fine and send her on her way -- and make it an impeachable offense for future Secretaries of State to ever do this again. Worse case scenario, they charge her with intentionally divulging top secret info and give her a suspended sentence.

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 4, Insightful) 280

Most people who use mass transit use it because it is the most efficient way to get from A to B, not because they can't afford their own vehicle, nor because it's the cheapest option.

Case in point: I stayed in Atlanta for a 4 day weekend at a convention downtown. I drove to my hotel, then used the hotel's free airport shuttle to the airport to take the subway/train system MARTA to downtown Atlanta and back daily (sometimes 3 or 4 round-trips in a day). It cost me all of $10... and it was the fastest way to get from my cheap hotel to downtown as there was also a ballgame and another convention as well and the roads were bumper to bumper. I rode the train several times a day - got my money's worth and met interesting convention-goers on the train. I took a taxi back to the hotel one night when I stayed out later than the trains ran.

IF I had driven my car downtown to a lot, it would have taken two to three times as long - not to mention finding parking in busy downtown even with parking garages (I know - had a buddy that did that the next year we went), plus the cost of gas and parking for the day (for each day) would have been prohibitive. (We settled on staying at a guest hotel downtown the third year... no driving or trains. yay!)

People in cities with mass transit often prefer it over having a vehicle... and they hate the tourists who bring their cars and don't know how to drive or where to park.

But, back to your point -- you're incorrect. The efficiencies don't take hold when the vast majority of a system is automated -- they take place when only a small fraction is in place. There is a tipping point. If one single car stops to turn left into a parking garage, it can back up an entire left lane of traffic for a mile or more in a decent sized city. That's just one car. For each car that pauses to let someone out rather than turning and seeking parking, you get vast returns in traffic efficiency.

If you must make the public vs private argument, then I'd say you're just arguing quality -- if people care enough, they'll get 2 tiered taxis. One for Uber and another for Super-Uber for those that want to ensure their car is squeaky clean. Most mass transit seats are plastic and easily washable. Cars could easily be outfitted with uncomfortable, but sanitary plastic seating and a bottle of alcohol spray for the germaphobes.

Another aspect is that people junk up their cars with their own crap -- but, it's often stuff they want to keep, so they wouldn't be leaving that in Ubers... they'd just leave trash if they're litter-bugs. I bet Uber could record video and charge extra for damage or littering and put a stop to that (assuming it's paid by credit card).

They key issues for ownership of vehicles are - utility, time, personalization, and storage. People like to keep their baby carriers in the vehicle... sometimes their drinks or other groceries, napkins, kleenex, lotion, sunglasses, etc. Sometimes people store presents in trunks to hide from family members.... various other things.

The personal car isn't going away, but it could become an auto-driving personal car. Still, many families may only need 1 personal family car and use an Uber automated taxi for travelling to work, school, and most other short trips.

Comment Re: So what? (Score 1) 480

Business casual at a call center where I worked meant polo shirt, khakis, and dress shoes (I chose Doc Martins as they're like dressy tennis shoes). Polo shirts and khakis are just one slight nudge away from the full monkey suit I had to wear working for banks. Do you really want to spend half of your life wearing uncomfortable clothing? Most of your waking life, actually.

Seriously, I worked in government offices and universities where I wore jeans and t-shirts every day. Professors even taught classes in Hawaiian shirts and shorts with flip flops. People were happy and productive. They didn't look like slobs, either.

Millions of students go to college every day in jeans and t-shirts. Heck, some go to class in their pajamas. They still work hard, make the grade, and many even discover new things - just like an R&D division. Grad students that publish important new discoveries are seldom seen wearing anything but jeans, t-shirts,and maybe a lab coat and goggles if needed. It's beyond stupid to expect R&D to perform better with a monkey suit or business casual than if they were allowed to wear whatever made them feel comfortable and relaxed so that they could focus on creative solutions and new experiments.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss