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Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 75

by ShanghaiBill (#46787385) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Just to clarify. The lawsuit that I'm aware of entailed a farmer using roundup on his field and discovering that some things didn't die.

The farmer was Percy Schmeiser. He intentionally isolated and reused Monsanto's "Roundup-Ready" seeds, over several years, and openly admitted doing so. There was a documentary about him, that got nearly all the facts completely wrong, thus leading to many misconceptions. It is funny that this guy turned into a poster child for the anti-GMO movement.

Soon this particular issue will be moot. Glyphosate, the herbicide in Roundup, is already off patent, and many of the "Roundup-Ready" seeds go off patent next year.

Comment: Re:Just one more reason (Score 2, Insightful) 136

by ShanghaiBill (#46785501) Attached to: Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

... to legalize and regulate.

That is unlikely to happen in Britain. Politicians won't legalize it because there are too many special interest groups that want to keep the status quo of the endless "War on Drugs" and all the money that flows into it. In America, it has only been legalized in states with citizen referendums, so the politicians were bypassed.

Comment: Re:It's Not Really Oracle (Score 3, Interesting) 108

by ShanghaiBill (#46785289) Attached to: Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site

Oregon's health website is a monstrosity. They budgeted way too much money, were way over ambitious, and involved way too many people. The opposite end of the spectrum is Kentucky, which budgeted the least amount of money, and was thus forced to implement a streamlined site with a small lean team. Kentucky's website was ready on Oct 1st, and has run since without a hitch.

Comment: Re:"Building blocks" does not mean Legos (Score 1) 351

by ShanghaiBill (#46774429) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

If a kid can't grasp and stack those wooden blocks ...

Where is the data that says kids can no longer grasp and stack wooden blocks, and that this hypothetically declining ability is in any way correlated with tablet use?

then mommy really is using the screen to avoid spending time with their kid.

Without data, this is pure conjecture. Why is using a tablet to avoid spending time with your kid any worse than using a TV to avoid spending time with your kid, like they did in the good old days?

Comment: Re:Hotter Earth (Score 2) 165

by ShanghaiBill (#46774319) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

So... sink a steel pipe half a mile into the ground, it isn't that hard to create a heat gradient.

That would give you enough of a gradient to generate a micro-watt from a ton of TEs. In a perfect ideal TE, the efficiency is (1 - Th/Tc) where Th= Hot side in Kelvins, Tc = Cold side in Kelvins. Existing TEs are no where close to ideal, and the earth's heat gradient is about 0.025K/meter. A negligible amount of heat would flow through the TE, and far less than 1% of that would be converted to electricity.

Comment: Re:power cars? technically no (Score 2) 165

by ShanghaiBill (#46773051) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

thermo electrics could make it more efficient by recycling waste heat. but the thermoelectrics themselves would not power the cars.

If they are sufficiently efficient, they could power a car directly. An internal combustion engine is typically only about 15-20% efficient, so the bar is not too high. Using thermoelectrics directly could have several advantages: being solid state, they would be reliable and require little or no maintenance; and since the fuel is just used to create heat, it could use cheaper grades of fuel.

Comment: Re:Of 1000? (Score 1) 447

by ShanghaiBill (#46772449) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Even if just 56% of them become rich that's good enough a chance for me.

I am not sure if accumulating $1M over a lifetime counts as "rich". I started working 35 years ago. I immediately started regularly and automatically putting a little from each paycheck into my IRA, invested in an index fund. The monthly payroll contribution was less than my car payment. Yet, today my IRA has over $700K. Unless there is a market crash, it should be over $1M by the time I retire.

Comment: Re:most lego's are a rip off (Score 3, Insightful) 351

by ShanghaiBill (#46771425) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

We are talking about little kids. You tend to get them the Big Blocks instead.

... because little kids don't have the dexterity to use regular Legos. The reason two year old kids can use an iPad and aren't ready for standard Legos is because the latter requires more skill. TFA claims claims that exposing kids to technology is causing our civilization to spiral down the drain, but provides no evidence whatsoever, other than anecdotes and conjecture.

Comment: Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 2) 781

is that a PA law? In some states you can record.

Under federal law, it is illegal to record unless at least one party is aware that they are being recorded. So this would be legal under federal law, since the bullied kid was a party to the conversation. Some state laws go further. In California (where I live) all parties must be informed that they are being recorded. Pennsylvania also requires all parties to be informed. It seems that a reasonable change to the law would be to allow surreptitious recording when there is probable cause to believe that a crime is going to be committed.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain