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Comment: Please Refrain: A Public Service Announcement (Score 1) 190

by RavenousRhesus (#47351315) Attached to: NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

Don't write or post stories about stuff like this until after it's basically a done deal. The more air time and attention it gets, the more it reaches the public consciousness of the unwashed masses. Unfortunately, a significant portion of those unwashed masses includes supporters of climate change deniers in congress with the power to continually reject funding for such scientific endeavors. Once this rabid supporter base gets a taste of something like this it has a good chance of spreading to become an epidemic, basically forcing the aforementioned deniers in power to move against it.

So, please, for the love of science, keep stories like this on the down low until their basically about to launch (most of the funding is already spent), sharing it with only your closest and most trusted scientific allies. Let your giddy fancy slowly evolve to the point of nerdgasm as a close precursor to the final objective. Then, and only then, is it safe to share this news with those who cannot or will not appreciate it.

Comment: The spectrum of the monopoly (Score 1) 197

Google grows. Google more and more often takes business steps that are increasingly monopolistic, duh.

I, for one, would be interested to see some sort of psychological study to see at what point on the spectrum from start up to monopoly the general population considers a company to be more a monopoly than just your standard, run of the mill company.

Personally I think Google has crossed that mark. They are certainly not a textbook monopoly, but they behave far too close to one for me to have a positive view of them despite all their positive innovation.

Comment: Mutliscope (Score 1) 92

Why not make the shade a sphere (or at least sphere-ish)? Then you could have multiple telescopes use it to image different stars simultaneously, then have the telescopes reposition. This way you could also scale it up in the future by adding more telescopes if it proves to be a fruitful enough project.

Comment: Not informative at all... (Score 1) 137

by RavenousRhesus (#46942937) Attached to: First Transistors Made Entirely of 2-D Materials
2D does not refer to an "absence of a degree of freedom". Things denoted in "*number*D" or "*number*-D"format are referring to a number of spacetime dimensions. No one in any field of math, science, or engineering ever relates degrees of motion to "D"s. Sometimes it is abbreviated DOF, but never just *number*(-)D as that is reserved for dimensions.

Comment: Re:Doesn't Gravity Affect Angle of Repose? (Score 1) 51

by RavenousRhesus (#46780353) Attached to: Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space
I didn't read the reference material either. All I did is read the reference section and see that they are references a paper with "granular materials under reduced gravity" in the title. It's by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume that this scientific paper actually uses the results of a referenced scientific paper in its own analysis. That's kind of how the process works.

Comment: Re:Doesn't Gravity Affect Angle of Repose? (Score 5, Insightful) 51

by RavenousRhesus (#46770191) Attached to: Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space

Iapetus has only a fraction of Earth's gravity (Iapetus radius 735 KM, Earth radius 6371 KM, you do the math, after figuring out the relative density for yourself). Wouldn't a hugely smaller gravity significantly affect the angle of repose they carry on about in that referenced scientific paper? I doubt you can compare the angle of repose of rounded particles (or snow and hail) on Earth with that of a very small _and airless!_ moon.

But I'll leave that to the astrophysicists to work out.

From the references in that exact article you criticize (but clearly didn't read):

"Kleinhans, M. G., Markies, H., de Vet, S. J., in 't Veld, A. C., Postema, F. N., 2011. Static and dynamic angles of repose in loose granular materials under reduced gravity. Journal of Geophysical Research 116, E11004."

So, yes, I'd say they did take into account the low gravity.

Comment: Re:So is this because... (Score 1) 186

by RavenousRhesus (#44707741) Attached to: Tor Usage More Than Doubles In August

Either way, it's a bunch of people saying "fuck you" to the NSA.

The NSA can eat shit ... and so can the USA and their "spy on the world" bullshit.

You want to understand why the rest of the world is starting to lose patience for America? The NSA and their spying is a pretty good example -- self entitled assholes who think their wishes trump everything else.

The rest of us have no interest in giving up our rights for your benefit. Just because you guys are giving up all of yours doesn't mean we need to, or should continue to respect you.

Protip: every country spies.

Comment: Re:1 2 3 4 I declare flame war (Score 1) 976

That way, kids [are] less likely to go rooting through bedroom drawers.

That's asinine. Since when do educated kids not snoop around for things to play with and get into trouble?

Also, the parent keeping a gun in a bedroom drawer and not locked in a safe with a child in the house is doing it absolutely wrong.

Comment: Guns Vs. Bibles (Score 1) 976

I question how the motivation behind developing this app differs from, say, developing an app to allow others to publicly geotag homes of people believed to belong to a particular religion or political party.

How is it different? The public is legitimately concerned with its safety when firearms are involved. While someone wielding a Bible or campaign pin could technically kill you, it's VASTLY easier for someone wielding a gun to kill you.

Comment: Re: Start your own (Score 1) 472

by RavenousRhesus (#44114513) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?

"average" has many meanings, the simple median, mean, and mode among them. In this case, and in most others where you care about position within a distribution the median is the "average" that is actually relevant - the amount made "by the average Joe". The mean will almost always be biased significantly higher due to extreme income inequality.


Mean - average Median - the center value Mode - the largest group.

Mean is a strict average, and is thrown off if the distribution isn't even. Median is the middle. Half the people are making more, half are making less.

Mode is what the majority of people belong to.

You can't derive "the average joe" from any of those figures. Mode might give the best guess, but if's just the population with the largest grouping.

Mean and Median can be fooled quite easy by large populations at the extreme - mean is easy to see why, Median just means the center value and it reveals nothing with the distribution.

What you really need is the income distribution curve and figure out what the standard deviation is. If everything is a nice Gaussian distribution, the mean, median and mode will be identical. But once things get skewed, all three figures will be all over the place and the numbers are rather meaningless.

Small correction: mode would be the range that the plurality of people belong to, not necessarily (and not likely) the majority.

To a broader point, the median household income is far from meaningless. You just have to have an understanding of what it represents. Yes, that means knowing that 50% of the subject population make more; and 50% make less meaning that, if that stat is taken alone, you can really only tell if you're in the top or bottom half. The more factors you start to look at, the better the information you can gleam about where you fall in the population.

Probably the best example is unemployment. What would a lower median income and higher unemployment/underemployment tell you? It means the jobs aren't necessarily paying that much less than in other places with slightly higher median incomes, just that there are a lot more people making very little on unemployment/underemployment. However, if there's a higher median income AND a higher unemployment/underemployment, you could say that even the lower level jobs in the area are paying pretty well, you just might have a harder time finding one.

Comment: Re:Start your own (Score 2) 472

by RavenousRhesus (#44114097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?
Being successful in life has little to do with one's genetic material and a lot to do with one's environment. A person's being on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale is not in and of itself a valid reason to say his or her genes are inferior to those that live more privileged lives.

With your bare hands?!?