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Comment: Re:College admissions is not a life-value system (Score 1) 389

by Wansu (#48073623) Attached to: Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

"It's not hard to earn at least Bs on basic high-school materials; having all Cs shows a lack of ability to do the hard work or a difficulty with or lack of commitment to basic academics."

And it might also show that the kid in question partied through high school, which I suppose is a lack of commitment. But we're talking about teenagers. Some will succeed in academics later on if given a chance.

I was a late bloomer. I partied and had a damn good time in high school, doing the minimum I could to get by. I showed up. That was 80%. After graduating from high school, I worked, played in bands, dated women and continued to party for the rest of that year. My parents then read me the riot act.

Back in the 70s, some of the large land grant universities had less stringent admissions requirements than they do today. I was admitted to one. It was just as difficult to do well there back then as it is now but they'd let you try. And lots of students did flunk out. I knew it was for real. I either had to work or go to school. Having already worked a series of shit jobs for asshole bosses, I was motivated. I made the dean's list for 5 consecutive semesters and was admitted to engineering school, eventually graduating with honors. I've been doing technical work for 33 years.

Today, that would be way more difficult. The admissions requirements are so stringent today, late bloomers would not be admitted. They would have to prove themselves in a community college first and then maybe they would be admitted. They would then have to meet the requirements of the engineering school which is now highly selective. Assuming they were admitted and completed the degree, it would probably have taken about 7 or 8 years to get that degree. Most who enter engineering school today straight from high school take 5 years to finish.

I understand why they tightened the admissions requirements at my alma mater. Too many students were flunking out and it looked bad. The board of governors pressured the university into adopting the same requirements other universities used. The way I see it, the exclusion of late bloomers was a kind of collateral damage.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 602

by Wansu (#48002523) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

In my entire life I've never seen an LED burn out unless it was in my own circuit.

The LED itself is very reliable. The problem is the driver circuit, which may include a regulator. That's what fails, not the LED.

Many light fixtures are not ventilated and get very hot. This wasn't much of a problem for incandescent bulbs. But it is for LED and CFL, despite the lower dissipation. The Sylvania CFL 13W (60W equiv) has a warning on it's base saying not to use it in an enclosed space. At work, the restrooms were renovated and new LED light fixtures were put in. Half of them failed. The manufacturer replaced them with ventilated types. Those all worked.

It's not uncommon to see traffic signals with portions of the LED cluster flickering. This failure is likely due to an intermittent connection, perhaps on the printed circuit board.

As for CFLs, I've had mixed results. The 13W (60W equiv) have acceptable reliability. But higher wattage CFLs I've used in the garage don't last very long. I've replaced those with 4 ft florescent tube fixtures. I will not use CFLs or LEDs in hard to reach flood lamps outside. In one fixture, I have incandescent floods that have been in service for more than 27 years.

Comment: Re:Cash is king! (Score 1) 753

by Wansu (#47445635) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Cash is accepted at more locations than Visa and Mastercard and always will. If government issued notes are eliminated, another form of anonymous exchange will arise. As previously mentioned, it may be gold or silver, it might be something else. People will find a way.

You beat me to it. Cash is king. Whether it's our present currency, gold or silver coins, nothing beats cold hard cash.

Comment: Re:Detroit calls Google arrogant? (Score 1) 236

by Wansu (#47350981) Attached to: Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

This is the Detroit that didn't take Japanese brands seriously until it almost killed them.
And then they blamed the unions.

The Detroit that needed 30+ years to bring a small, efficient, powerful engine to the US.because they knew best what American wanted (big V8s for drag racing).
And in the meanwhile, put whimpy, underpowered straight 6s into full size "body by Fisher" cars and trucks and wondered why their sales fell off a cliff.

The Detroit that hides the fact that Mitsubishi (Chrysler), Toyota (GM) and Mazda (Ford) built their small cars for 20-some years.
The '89 Ford Fiesta was one of the best Mazdas on the road.

I wouldn't trust Detroit to build an autonomous car.

Comment: Re:they get hot too (Score 3, Insightful) 394

by Wansu (#47253735) Attached to: Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

Amen. The Scientific Atlanta cable TV boxes dissipate an unreasonable amount of heat, enough to significantly warm the room. The Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes dissipate more heat than their cable TV boxes. They take an excessively long time to boot and channel surfing is nearly impossible. Little wonder so many people cut the cord.

Comment: Re:The proper channels... (Score 1) 273

by Wansu (#46443899) Attached to: Snowden Says No One Listened To 10 Attempts To Raise Concerns At NSA

...are those connected directly to /dev/null.

Bernie Maddoff's competitors tried going through proper channels for a decade. They complained bitterly that his results were mathematically impossible, that it must be a ponzi scheme. Nobody listened. And now it has come to light that JP Morgan Chase laundered money for Maddoff for decades.

Comment: Re:False advertising. (Score 2) 273

by Wansu (#46443867) Attached to: WSJ: Americans' Phone Bills Are Going Up

The problem of ripoffs and poor service always seems to crop up wherever competition is lacking, and telecomms companies in the US certainly do not have enough competition. Ma Bell was an evil monopolist until their forced breakup in 1984, which it turned out, didn't help much. Today, telecomms in the US are still uncompetitive, price gouging, regulatory capturing, sluggish, backwards scum.

I don't know how old you are but Ma Bell was nowhere near as evil as today's AT&T and Verizon. Ma Bell was a regulated monopoly with many constraints on what it could do.

The Bell System was broken up in 1982 by a lawsuit brought by Northern Telecom because they wanted to sell the DMS-100 in the US. As a result of that court ruling, the Bell System was broken up into "baby bells". Since then, the new AT&T has absorbed them one by one.

So now we have a few big companies running the show with very few constraints on what they can do. Competition will not happen. Instead, they merge into bigger companies that are too big to fail. Essentially the same thing has happened in the electric power industry. And it gets sold to the public as free market competition.

Comment: Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (Score 2) 491

by Wansu (#46349347) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

No. We do not have a shortage. The US has been shedding STEM jobs, not gaining unfilled ones. For almost 3 decades at this point.

We do not have a shortage and really never have had a shortage. But this is never going to be "settled" because it's all about cheap labor and always has been.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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