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Comment: Brilliant... (Score 1) 158

by Thomasje (#47367179) Attached to: Russia Moves From Summer Time To Standard Time

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted 442-1 on Tuesday to return to standard time this autumn and stay there all year.

Great move! And I guess that means it will take another three years before it sinks in that DST does still make sense in summer, when instead of being woken up by daylight two or three hours before the workday begins, you can have that extra summer daylight at the end of the day, when you can actually enjoy it in peace.

Comment: Re:So that you don't have to RTFA (Score 1) 286

Just guessing here, but since this is the U.S. we're talking about, I'm thinking liability. Whether the hydrant is below or above ground, when it gets used that means big, heavy hoses are attached. If there's a car in front of the hydrant, there is a possibility that it might get scratched or dented by those hoses, and then presumably the fire department would be liable for that damage. Solution: ban parking near hydrants; liability problem prevented.

Comment: Re:So what is the downside? (Score 1) 199

by Thomasje (#46952687) Attached to: Single Gene Can Boost IQ By Six Points

Also, those with higher intelligence tend to reproduce less.

That may be true today, but it clearly wasn't always (or mankind would be getting steadily dumber, and there is ample evidence to the contrary), and this is most likely a temporary situation. Right now, only the better-educated classes grasp just how tight the situation with the world's water, food, and energy resources has become, and they adjust their reproductive behavior accordingly, while the more ignorant parts of our species continue to pass on their increasingly unwarranted optimism to their many children. All it takes is a really major resource-scarcity-related disaster or war, and people's attitudes will change, even at the bottom... And once birthrates return to being largely independent of intelligence or education, the smarter ones will resume having their natural advantage in everyday life.

Comment: Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (Score 1, Interesting) 141

by Thomasje (#46914459) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

I think you're greatly overstating the importance of Linux there. Not to take away from the great work Linus did and continues to do, but he himself said: "If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never had happened."

Source: http://gondwanaland.com/meta/h...

Comment: Re:Excellent! (Score 3, Insightful) 665

by Thomasje (#46221017) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
It also means a country full of religious hotheads, who are going to view their own increasingly bleak existence as the result of a conspiracy of all those godless people in Europe and Asia. You sure you're enthusiastic about that kind of development in a country as heavily armed as the U.S.? I'd rather see them be smart, personally.

Comment: Other alternatives to Google exist as well (Score 1) 118

by Thomasje (#46109229) Attached to: Why We Need OpenStreetMap (Video)
I use Sygic for navigation. They have iOS and Android apps. The apps use maps that are loaded on the device, so they take up a good chunk of space, but on the other hand this means you don't need an Internet connection to navigate (if you've ever been hit with international data roaming charges, you'll really appreciate this), and the app doesn't phone home to Google every time I use it.

They use the same map provider as TomTom. Whether that's better than OpenStreetMap or not probably depends on where you are... I've personally never had issues with map accuracy from any providers, but my travels so far have been exclusively in densely populated parts of Europe and the U.S., which are probably well mapped in any case.

N.B. I don't mean to advertise Sygic specifically; I'm sure other stand-alone navigation apps exist that are just as good. My point is that if you don't want Google to always know where you are, and are leery of the accuracy of community-provided maps, there are good alternatives.

Comment: Only micros? (Score 1) 474

I know I'm showing my age, but when I was little, computers were these huge things that sat in climate-controlled rooms. Unless that kind of hardware is now removed from the definition of "computer", I can think of a few pre-Apple manufacturers that are still around, like IBM, NCR, and Unisys.

Comment: Re:Code... (Score 2) 157

by Thomasje (#44913161) Attached to: A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers
I studied math in college, and many numerical algorithms textbooks refer to software as "codes". It seems to be common practice in the computational mathematics world. I assume it goes back to the days before Fortran, before high-level languages in general, when source code literally consisted of a series of codes.

Comment: Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (Score 4, Interesting) 184

by Thomasje (#44898801) Attached to: California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing
Don't hold your breath waiting for prices to plummet when taxis are deregulated. This has already been tried in the Netherlands, and the result was that prices went up, not down, and service got worse, not better, capitalist dogma notwithstanding.
The problem is that taxi drivers need to make a certain amount of money to pay their cost of living, and if the number of cabs goes up while the number of passengers doesn't, they end up spending more time waiting for fares, and less time actually driving. And they can't just hop off to a second job while they are waiting. So, they have to *increase* their rates in order to make up for their reduced number of trips, so taking a cab becomes more expensive, and they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

Comment: Re:End of a Dream (Score -1, Troll) 344

by Thomasje (#44759667) Attached to: Martin Luther King Jr's Children In Court Over MLK IP

And how are programs like affirmative action following in that spirit? They tell you that, for example, if you have slanted eyes then you immediately deserve lower preference than anybody, but if you have black skin then you automatically get to be first in line.

Holy hyperbole Batman!

Affirmative action means that the kid with brown skin has a slightly higher chance of getting into college than the kid with the pink skin. You know, a little bit of unfairness going *their* way, to counterbalance the unfairness dark-skinned people experience everywhere else in life. Like having odds of landing a job, with a clean slate, that are equal to a white man's odds with the same qualifications *with a criminal record*. If we can't eliminate racism, at least we can try to make up for it somehow, and that is exactly what affirmative action is for. It does *not* mean that if you're black you're automatically in and if you're Asian you're automatically out.

Try some other news sources than Fox for a change. Heck, try some actual *news* sources.

Comment: Re:How accurate is the sea level rise figure? (Score 1) 137

by Thomasje (#44712639) Attached to: Huge Canyon Discovered Under Greenland Ice

Greenland rebounding does absolutely nothing because the "extra" volume is not taken out of the ocean. The water doesn't suddenly jump back up on the land.

It is true that Greenland rebounding won't affect sea level, but not for the reason parent seems to imply. The real reason is that when a land mass is pressed downwards by an ice sheet, it sinks because it displaces material in the mantle. That mantle material is squeezed out sideways, and ends up raising adjacent land masses or ocean floor.

When the ice sheet melts, the displaced mantle flows back, the depressed land rebounds, and the raised adjacent land or ocean floor sinks back.

This effect is currently causing the Netherlands to sink at a rate of about five millimeters per year, while Scandinavia is rising at a similar rate. The rebound from the last glacial, in other words, is still ongoing, and quite significant. (Having to raise sea dikes by half a meter over a century, even without global warming induced sea level rise, is a pain in the ass and not something you can just ignore...)

If Greenland losing its ice and rising causes no dry land to sink but only ocean floor, that floor sinkage will compensate for some of the sea level rise, but not quickly enough to help us save our coastal lands and cities.

Comment: Re:Doesn't anybody read anymore? (Score 1) 258

by Thomasje (#44280669) Attached to: Colorado Company Says It Plans To Test Hyperloop Transport System
Couple of quibbles here. First, you won't traverse that tunnel in free fall: that would require the vehicle to move at orbital speed. If you're thinking of digging a parabolic (or, well, elliptical) tunnel where you could be in free fall at suborbital speeds, you would have to dig much of that tunnel at depths that are impossible with current technology.
Second, but on a more positive note, digging a tunnel that's X times longer than the Channel Tunnel doesn't have to take X times as long as digging the Channel Tunnel. New York to Los Angeles is under land except for a few river crossings, so there is no reason why you couldn't be digging at multiple places at once and create multiple sections of the tunnel concurrently. That would be more expensive, and getting the segments to line up exactly won't be easy, but should be doable.

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