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Comment Re:Why? (Score 3) 348 348

He did not do any of that. The summary is inflammatory flamebait. If you click on the link, you get a WSJ article that actually contradicts the summary (welcome to New Slashdot).

The WSJ story is very clear about what Paulson did: he noticed that subprime lending was out of control, and that the standard "insurance" against bad bets (CDS) was absurdly under-priced. Note: this basically means that the Big Banks (*not* Paulson) were throwing money left and right to the subprime lenders, blind to the risks.

So he bought a lot of CDS, and when the bubble crashed, he profited massively. The End.

Comment Re: Lifestyle (Score 4, Informative) 332 332

Citations? Here're mine:

USA uses about 1500 m3/capita/year, which is similar to New Zealand (1200 m3/capita/year) and Canada (1400 m3/capita/year). Compare with California alone, we're at 178 gallons/capita/day which is 245 m3/capita/year. That's lower than most countries.

Look, dude...

Your 1st link is total consumption. Agricultural + municipal + industrial.

In your 2nd link, the "178 gallons/day" figure is for municipal use only.

Pro-tip: when you get such massive discrepancies (1 to 6 !) between two similar populations, especially when one includes the other, it's worth checking it up a bit more carefully.

Comment Re:This is why they reinvent the wheel (Score 1) 626 626

Esperanto has the drawback of being a European language. Its grammar and vocabulary are overwhelmingly inspired by European languages, especially Romance languages. That's why your typical Frenchman or Spaniard can more or less decipher Esperanto, and so can highly literate English speakers (because the more complex English vocabulary is often Latin-based).

Sure, replacing English with Esperanto would be super-cool for French or Italian speakers. But why would a Chinese or Vietnamese speaker promote Esperanto rather than just learning English? To them, it's just a different form of Euro-speak, minus the enormous existing corpus (both technical and artistic) of English.

To have a snowball's chance in Hell of displacing English, a constructed language would need to be roughly neutral towards all people, or at least between Europe and, say, China. I know of no proposal that fits this criterion without being klunky, unnatural and just plain butt-ugly.

Comment Re:Make it stop! (Score 1) 75 75

Can we please stop with the idiotic stories? One was funny. Two was meh. Three was dumb. At this point it's gone past annoying.

Nah, this one is actually OK. It might even introduce new readers to the original Asimov material. All of us old hats have read it, but the young'uns might not.

Actually, if they could use the joke posts to highlight some lesser known works, that would be ideal.

Comment Re:The Secret of Nim (Score -1, Troll) 520 520

If I were to create a new language I would get rid of the antiquated tradition of zero-counting (starting arrays at zero).

That would prevent annoying bug traps, like remembering that e.g. "sum(array, 1)" actually sums the array along the second dimension, not the first (yes, Python/NumPy really does that).

Zero-counting was fine for pointer arithmetic. Any language that doesn't use it should move back to 1-counting, as Matlab did.

[/rant]

Comment Re:FTFA (Score 1) 611 611

FTFA:
Killeen said her four-mile commute to UCLA, where she teaches a public relations class, can take two hours during rush hour.

>4 miles
>Sunny LA

GET A FUCKING BICYCLE!

--
BMO

Biking in a densely urbanized portion of Southern California: suicide never felt so hip!

(Disclaimer: Admittedly the UCLA campus area is surprisingly human-friendly. But not over a four-mile radius.)

Comment Re:Great news (Score 5, Insightful) 269 269

There is no maybe, every study that has ever looked into this since the dawn of science has confirmed this.

Indeed. For example, even the ancient Greeks and Romans knew perfectly well that these uncouth blue-eyed barbarians from the North were obviously dumber than the glorious Mediterranean master race.

Wait, what?

Hell you don't even have to ask science, every average Joe on the street knows this already from life experience.

Ask "average Joe on the street" what he thinks about evolution.

Comment Re:Peer review (Score 3, Informative) 154 154

I don't know what's more ridiculous - the fact that this contrarian tripe gets regurgitated every time the subject of Galileo comes up, or the fact that it keeps getting modded up.

Meanwhile, back in the real world... Papal condemnation of Galileo:

We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare that you, the said Galileo, by reason of the matters adduced in trial, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself in the judgment of this Holy Office vehemently suspected of heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrine—which is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures—that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west and that the Earth moves and is not the center of the world; and that an opinion may be held and defended as probably after it has been declared and defined to be contrary to the Holy Scripture; and that consequently you have incurred all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents. From which we are content that you be absolved, provided that, first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, you abjure, curse, and detest before use the aforesaid errors and heresies and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church in the form to be prescribed by us for you.

Comment Archimedes says "No". (Score 1) 157 157

When the material sciences are to the point where a lightweight container can sustain Earth atmospheric pressure from crushing down on it, we'll have a practical way to take off vertically without prompting your neighbours to invest in surface to air missiles when you crank the engine on one of these in the morning on your daily commute.

Except that the density of air is ~ 1.2kg/m^3, so to produce 100 kg of lift (average weight of an adult male American: 90kg) you'd need a balloon with a volume of 100/1.2 = 83.333.. m^3.

If your balloon is a sphere, the diameter should be 2 * (83.333 / (4*pi/3))^(1/3) = 5.42 meters. Google tells me that's about 18 feet.

I suppose it would be feasible for recreational activities. Commuting into a city? Don't think so.

Comment Re:Only in America... (Score 1) 311 311

Don't worry. In the confusion, Quebec was suddenly taken over by mysterious groups of men armed with baguettes and wearing berets over their balaclavas.

The French foreign minister denied any knowledge of these incidents, though the interview was cut short when journalists asked about the provenance of the bits of poutine that were still hanging from his chin.

Comment Re:Problem with Kickstarter (Score 1) 535 535

Kickstarter has always been very clear that your money didn't bring you any equity in the business. There is a very good reason for that: by the time Kickstarter was launched, soliciting investment from the general public for specific ventures was quite simply illegal. Crowd-funded investment was only made legal by the 2012 JOBS act.

If you really want to get equity from the businesses you sponsor, you can go to WeFunder or other sites. Kickstarter is not and has never been, and has been pretty explicit about it from day one.

Comment Re:oh well (Score 1) 385 385

We recently had an issue with HP servers showing temperatures of 255C on motherboard sensors...
They said this was a firmware issue and told us to flash the bios to fix this. We did... the sensor now shows -127C. Big help.

"Big help" - Why are you complaining? This is great! Think of the electricity savings! Not only can you stop cooling these servers, you can actually use them to cool your other hardware!

You're not thinking outside the box, that's the problem with you young people.

"HP Software Cooling Systems [tm] - unleash the power of unsigned char!"

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau

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