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Submission + - Guy Invents Safe Ocean Travel and is Snubbed for the Effort ( 5

szczys writes: Here's an interesting fact: when at sea you can't establish your longitude without a reliable clock. You can figure out latitude with a sextant, but not longitude. Early clocks used pendulums that don't work on a rocking boat. So in the 1700's the British government offered up £20,000 for a reliable clock that would work at sea. John Harrison designed a really accurate ocean-worthy clock after 31 years of effort and was snubbed for the prize which would be £2.8 Million at today's value. After fighting for the payout for another 36 years he did finally get it at the ripe old age of 80. The methods he used to build this maritime chronometer were core to every wrist and pocket watch through the first third of the 20th Century.

Comment Re:First amendment? (Score 1) 250

Yes, that's true. I didn't want to go into all the detail, but what is ironic is that one of the major points of the article (that it was radiation pressure from the A-Bomb that triggered the H-Bomb) was wrong and if the DoE had let it go, that would have been released as misinformation and nobody would have known. But since the DoE did get involved, that eventually led to the correct information being revealed.

I'm still astounded the editors actually sent the article to the DoE to get approval or verification.

Comment Re:First amendment? (Score 2) 250

Actually, it could tie into the First Amendment. They point out that it's a journalism issue. This would be closely related to issues that journalists deal with when protecting sources. While that doesn't always work, the idea is that the press needs a certain amount of latitude in being able to protect their sources or have access to material that, for various reasons, may not be printable without consequences.

But, since the internet is an international object, something else comes into play here. In college I had a chance to meet and talk with Howard Morland, who was, at the time, semi-famous for having (inaccurately, it turned out later) figured out the linking mechanism between how an atom bomb triggered a hydrogen bomb. He had travelled around the country, doing different interviews and talking with people to figure out more about this. At the time, of course, it was all top secret. He wrote an article for a magazine called "The Progressive." Unwisely, the editors at "The Progressive" sent the article into the DoE for verification. All sorts of men in black with guns showed up and there was a huge court case. The design, which had been worked out from completely non-classified material, was given a classified status and was censored.

There was, however, one copy of the paper that had not been confiscated by the government and was with someone who, at the time, was travelling internationally. This person got it to a publication that was able to print it in their country. Once that information was published and openly available, even if it wasn't in the U.S. (and I think copies were sent into the U.S.), it became public knowledge and was no longer classified. (For details, read "The Secret that Exploded," by Howard Morland.)

So Sony may try going after Americans with that information, but once the documents become published and public knowledge, they can't really do too much about it.

Comment 18 years? (Score 1) 1

Yeah. 18 years. That's the same bullshit climate change deniers have been using for a long time. Why the past 18 years? Because once you start going back farther in time, the evidence is undeniable and clear.

But if you limit what you look at and ignore the numbers that give clear evidence, yeah, you can force data to say whatever lies you want it to say.

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 3, Interesting) 115

Logitech is just as much a "stagnator" as the bigger guys. I bought a few Squeezeboxes years ago and loved the system, but once Logitech bought out SlimDevices and took over the Squeezeboxes, I knew the days were numbered.

Logitech is the kind of mediocre and great and creating products that are average and could, with minimal effort, have been made great.

Submission + - Brief Pause Can Help You Make More Accurate Decisions (

sciencehabit writes: The next time you’re about to make an important decision, wait a second. Scientists have found that a brief pause can make the difference between the right choice and the wrong one. The work suggests that the first pulses of information our brains receive are misleading, because distractions confuse the decision-making process.

Comment Not Likely (Score 1) 1

I've read stories that indicate exactly the opposite - that night people are more successful. Also, I question the study. Among other points, GPA and academic success often has no relation to success later in life.

Also, multiple studies have shown early risers tend to lose energy and peter out in the afternoons and evenings, where night people may take time to get going, but after they get going, they can continue in marathon sessions going from the afternoon, through the night, and well into the next day with ease - something few morning people can do without serious difficulty.

There are also studies that indicate a higher intelligence among night people. They're the ones that manipulate the environment to their needs and desires, compared to morning people who respond to something like the rising of the sun. The ability to manipulate one's environment for the conditions one desires is also a trait found in successful people.

Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 311

While that may work for many people, I've had two times, due to hurricanes, in recent years, where I did not have artificial light in the evening. Both times the power outage lasted 8 or more days and it did little to shift my sleep schedule, so I'm not so sure that applies to everyone.

But, taking it as it is, I've also read studies that point out that nightbirds are modifying the environment to suit themselves, which would support the point that night people tend to handle marathon sessions better, since they're intentionally altering their environment to allow them to work as long as they can. It's also possible that the habits attributed to morning and to night people are from other factors and that the early bird or late night habits are an outgrowth of other personality factors.

Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 311

I've seen, over and over, night people going on for hours and hours - many more hours than can be accounted for by the time difference of when they started and when morning people started. I've also read a few studies about that as well - that night people are better for marathon sessions. If I can start at noon or 1 PM and be sure I'm uninterrupted, I can often keep going in good form until after sun-up the next day. That's much longer than finishing at 9 PM when you've started any time on that day.

Comment Re: Really? (Score 5, Informative) 311

There are a lot of jokes about morning and night people, but studies show there is validity to this. I learned to work with this when teaching special ed and later, when I ran my own software company, where I did all the programming, I saw a dramatic illustration of some of those issues.

Morning people get up and are perky and ready to start. However, they're the ones who often need a nap in the afternoon and work well with an 8 hour day, but do not do well with marathon sessions. Night people do not start quickly. They wake up and need time to adjust to the world again and often are not ready to really focus until the afternoon. But they gain in strength and focus over time. They can often work marathon sessions, working all through the night and into the next morning.

I found that when I was coding and could work on my own schedule, I could get some work done in the afternoon and this is when I set things up, did simpler tasks, and caught up on things. But my real work hours started about 8:00 pm, when I could start focusing and I would often work through until sunrise or longer. 18 hour coding sessions were not unusual for me, but, of course, if I did a few in a row because I was working on something difficult, then I'd need several days to just recover. But I might be able to do 5 days straight of mega-sessions if needed. It's also worth noting this was in my 40s, not when I was some over-energetic teen or 20-something. In fact, in one month, when I was over 45, I did more all-nighters (with good code as a result) than I did in all my time in high school and college combined.

It does vary according to the person. Forcing night people to try to work in the morning will always be an issue for them and will not produce the good code they can produce. Forcing morning people who tend not to do well in marathons to stay for 10 hour days four times a week is just as bad.

Corporations don't understand these things, which is one reason I never wanted to be involved with any larger corporations. If you want coders to do their best work, you can't regiment them and dictate how they work. You need to let them find their style. Let them work on their own schedule. If they need music, let them have it. If they need silence, find a way to make quiet places available. Some need neat work spaces, others need chaos.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne