Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Correlation is not Causation (Score 2) 322

by Shavano (#49376977) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

Roots are usually included in the term "vegetables."

Yeah, it's true that modern people have some adaptations due to what they call "niche construction" which appears to be a fancy term for "agriculture" + "cooking" when it comes to diet.

For example, most modern people can digest milk, whereas our paleolithic ancestors mostly couldn't, and some populations of humans have developed heightened tolerance for carbohydrate-heavy diets that probably would have given our paleolithic ancestors diabetes. They still do that to many people today.

And the fact that we can tolerate foods our ancestors couldn't doesn't necessarily mean they're better for us than the kinds of foods they ate are for us. Humans never lost the ability to digest meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. All evidence shows that a diet heavier in fruits and vegetables with some fish and meat (not as much as most Americans eat) is optimal, and whether you attribute that to the adaptations of two million years of evolution or not doesn't really change the bottom line.

Comment: Re:Correlation is not Causation (Score 1) 322

by Shavano (#49376121) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

If you include fruits, it's pretty damn close to true. People didn't start eating grains in significant quantities until about 10000 years ago. Before that nearly 100% of their diet consisted of fruits, vegetables and meat (including fish). Humans became "behaviorally modern" about 40000 to 50000 years ago. So it's clear that a diet containing no grains can be nutritionally adequate for modern humans.

The only net benefit of eating grains and processed foods is that they're a cheaper way of fulfilling your caloric requirement but arguably they displace higher quality foods.

It's irrelevant that some people are allergic to milk; some people are allergic to any food you can name. Milk is a high quality food for people that can digest it.

Comment: Re:Goddard and Von Braun (Score 2) 124

by Shavano (#49365165) Attached to: SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies

That's not even the hardest problem they're up against. Generating fuel on Mars is a much more difficult one. As far as we know, there may be no way to produce or find and mine hydrocarbons such as methane. Mars's atmosphere lacks significant hydrogen content. If there's subsurface minable water, that could solve the problem, but only if there's plenty of it.

Comment: Virtual water is silly (Score 1) 417

by Shavano (#49313049) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

The idea of virtual water is superfluous and somewhat silly. There's a real water shortage, so there has to be prioritization. Market pricing of water makes sense as part of the solution. But first you have to answer the question of who owns it in the first place. Maybe the State owns all the water rights and creates the market? Water law in the west is a mess.

Comment: Re:This statistic is misleading (Score 3, Informative) 154

That's not bullshit. They really are to some extent different occupations. The guy that designs power grids for a city can't necessarily design an IC and doesn't need to. To him, ICs are components that are on circuit assemblies that are inside systems that he cares about. The IC designer likewise doesn't need to know how to design a power grid. He doesn't even need to know when to use a Y vs. a delta transformer. In fact, he never uses transformers, except to couple RF signals onto the test boards for the ICs he's designing. Power comes from a regulator chip for him, not from a gas-fired generator.

But you get the same nominal degree to do both jobs.

Here's actual data from the BLS:
17-2060 Computer Hardware Engineers broad 77,670
17-2070 Electrical and Electronics Engineers broad 303,450

But the 17-2060 and 17-2070 categories mostly have BSEE degrees, some of them also holding MSEE and PhD's.

Then there's the software folks:
15-1130 Software Developers and Programmers broad 1,442,500
15-1140 Database and Systems Administrators and Network Architects broad 618,480
15-1150 Computer Support Specialists broad 706,360
15-1190 Miscellaneous Computer Occupations broad 196,280

So yeah, there are a lot more people doing software. It figures. A relatively few people are required to figure out how to make electrical and electronic hardware. A lot of that hardware consists of programmable machines that can in principle be programmed to do anything. Naturally there are more things to do with computer hardware than there are needs for different kinds of electronic hardware.

Perspective: I'm an electronics engineer and manager of several of the same. We're staying busy.

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw