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Comment: Re:Idiots (Score 2) 205

by VorpalRodent (#47615007) Attached to: MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

I was talking with a friend who recently went back to school. He has a degree which doesn't remotely relate to anything he wants to do, and decided that he wanted a computer science degree. But then he shifted gears - he was saying "I could stop after getting the minor, and save all the extra money from the additional year I'd have to go". His logic is that all the interviews he's gone to have asked him whether he's had SQL, Unix, etc. experience. Now that he's been exposed to those, he figures that's it, now he can be hired as a professional software engineer. There seems to be this misconception that if only he had these couple checkboxes ticked, he'd be fine.

Being well rounded isn't about hitting all the checkboxes (or in the case of the summary, getting the appropriate modules). It's about everything that isn't explicitly in those checkboxes. It's about seeing how all those things relate to one another in useful and sometimes unintuitive ways. It's about being able to take everything and go and do something new.

In school, a professor told me that what they were teaching wasn't for our first job out of college, but for our third. It's a bit oversimplified, but it's more or less valid. You get well rounded not so you can handle the stuff that they hire you for initially, but so that as you advance along your career path, you have some scaffolding on which to put all the other things that you learn along the way.

Comment: Homeland Security (Score 3, Insightful) 55

by VorpalRodent (#47477625) Attached to: More Forgotten Vials of Deadly Diseases Discovered

So, the department that pretends to keep me safe on airplanes is now also the one that pretends to keep me safe from deadly airborne pathogens?

Why is the CDC not holding on to these for safekeeping? Their obvious failure here notwithstanding, I'd think that this is more their bailiwick than DHS's.


Asteroid Mining Bill Introduced In Congress To Protect Private Property Rights 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-take-the-sky-from-me dept.
MarkWhittington writes: "Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) announced on Thursday that he was introducing a bill along with Rep, Derek Kilmer (D-WA) called the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014 (PDF). The act is designed to protect the private property rights for entities mining asteroids and to otherwise encourage asteroid mining. The bill is in apparent reaction to efforts by companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries to locate and mine Earth approaching asteroids for their resources.

The crucial part of the short piece of legislation states that the resources mined from an asteroid would be the property of the entity undertaking the operation. This language gets around the provision of the Outer Space Treaty that says states are forbidden to establish national sovereignty over celestial bodies, which would be a prerequisite to the United States allowing a private entity to own an asteroid. It rather grants mineral rights to the asteroid, something the treaty does not mention. There is no enforcement mechanism in the event of a dispute with another country, however."

Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles 144

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the giant-alien-particle-acceleration-experiment dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes For decades, physicists have sought the sources of the most energetic subatomic particles in the universe — cosmic rays that strike the atmosphere with as much energy as well-thrown baseballs. Now, a team working with the Telescope Array, a collection of 507 particle detectors covering 700 square kilometers of desert in Utah, has observed a broad 'hotspot' in the sky in which such cosmic rays seem to originate. Although not definitive, the observation suggests the cosmic rays emanate from a distinct source near our galaxy and not from sources spread all over the universe.

Comment: Intellectual / Emotional? (Score 1) 121

by VorpalRodent (#47110887) Attached to: Can Cyborg Tech End Human Disability By 2064?
The summary specifically calls out physical, intellectual, and emotional. Are they suggesting that in 50 years you'll be able to get a chip implanted because you're depressed? Or stupid? Physical issues are being improved upon markedly. But seriously - fixing perceived issues in how people think seems just wrong. Fixing perceived issues with how people feel doubly so. If this were possible, we'd be squarely in sci-fi AI-controlled-human territory.

Comment: Ehh, No (Score 1) 338

by VorpalRodent (#46866753) Attached to: To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution

While I agree that there would be considerable benefit from this, I think that there's a whole mess of tinfoil hat issues here. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe that my government is spying on me (not specifically me, but in general). Giving them all the hardware means no more negotiating with service providers (at any level).

No more sneaking around what is or isn't okay. "This is my hardware, and to protect my hardware, I have to install this additional monitoring." There's the whole "If you aren't doing anything wrong..." argument, but let's not assume that giving the government the "means of distribution" is going to be all sunshine and puppy dogs.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy that service providers can do whatever they want, but at least then the competition drives them to all be the best (well, we're assuming that "best" and "most profitable" are related). The government has no such goal. It's possible this would even backfire completely and the government would let it languish - they've got dial-up, so our job is done, etc.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.