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Comment: Re:Perspective (Score 1) 72

by smooth wombat (#48640825) Attached to: NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere
Since asshats like to take vertical movies with their phones,

Or maybe phone makers shouldn't make shitty products which create the sidebars in the first place. You never had this problem when shooting analog movies, it has only occurred when we "upgraded" to digital.

The world doesn't exist only left to right. It also goes up.

Comment: Re:And the scientific evidence for this conclusion (Score 1) 372

> First, there is no reason to believe that we can built robots that can reproduce themselves.

What? This is exactly the technology humans are trying to reach! We're already a significant way down this path!!

> Second, there is no evidence that we or anyone else can build intelligent machines, as the original story seems to presuppose.

Nature did it. We can do it.

> Third, biological organisms are so many orders of magnitude more efficient and flexible than machines that it barely makes sense to put them into the same qualitative category "form of life".

This whole conversation is about extrapolating on the cosmic scale. If you look at the path robotics has taken in the last century it does, as pointed out, actually support the premise of this article.

> Hint: A human consumes only about 2.9 kilowatt hours per day, the equivalent of 1-2 light bulbs ...

Not relevant. Once machines are replicating and repairing themselves they'll do exactly what we do and find other sources of energy.

Frankly I agree with you that it's hard to picture Transformers inhabiting the universe, but OP did make a really good point that extrapolation isn't even in the ballpark of refuting this clown. Honestly I'm shocked he didn't come back with that XKCD cartoon.

Comment: Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (Score 1, Troll) 464

by smooth wombat (#48633055) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot
Colorado already proved that with the tax revenue they brought in from legalized marijuana,

False. Colorado brought in 20% of the promised revenue from legalization and the prospects of them meeting their initial projections are about as likely as Steve Ballmer running Linux.

Before you then say, "Well, they at least got something," I would like to remind you of this article wherein people on here were claiming Chicago's use of red light cameras a failure when they only got 44% of the initial projected income. Apparently getting 44% of of something is much worse than getting 20% of something.

Still further, Colorado is seeing the general effects of people being stoned, such as deaths, robberies and murder, and of course the general loss of productivity from people unable to perform their jobs such as two nurses who quit their good paying jobs at a hospital where a family member works because they would have failed the mandatory drug tests.

Just like Kansas' failed experiment of lowering taxes and cutting services didn't magically produce more revenue, whatever amount of money Colorado brings in will be eaten up by the side effects of legalization and, as this article clearly indicates, bordering states will also suffer financial losses and deaths.

Comment: Ph.D. is NOT a career move (Score 1) 279

by aussersterne (#48614685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

An English major is NOT getting into a STEM Ph.D. program, no matter what.

Even if they were, job prospects are worse for STEM Ph.D. holders than for MS/BS holders—there are far fewer jobs that require Ph.D. level qualifications outside of the professoriate and academics, and for Ph.D. holders in particular, employers are absolutely loathe to hire overqualified people.

Inside the professoriate and academics, the job market is historically bad right now. It's not "get a Ph.D., then become a lab head or professor," it's "get a Ph.D., then do a postdoc, then do another postdoc, then do another postdoc, then do another postdoc, really do at least 6-7 postdocs, moving around the world every year the entire time, and at the end of all of that if you've managed to stay employed at poverty wages using highly competitive postdocs that you may not even get, while not flying apart at the emotional seams, you may finally be competitive enough to be amongst the minority of 40-year-old Ph.D. holders that gets a lab or a tenure-track position, at which point the fun REALLY begins as you are forced onto the grantwriting treadmill and feel little job security, since universities increasingly require junior faculty to 'pay their own way' with external grants or be budgeted out."

And that's INSIDE STEM, which this person is almost certainly likely to be uncompetitive for as a B.A. holder trying to get into graduate programs.

Much more likely is that with great grades and GRE scores they'll be admitted to a humanities or social sciences Ph.D. program, with many of the same problems but with CATASTROPHICALLY worse job prospects due to the accelerating collapse of humanities budgets and support on most campuses.

Ph.D. is absolutely not the way to go unless you are independently wealthy and are looking for a way to "contribute to the world" since you don't actually have to draw a salary.

For anyone with student loans, it's a disastrous decision right now, and I wouldn't recommend it.

I say this as someone with a Ph.D. who is on a faculty and routinely is approached by starry-eyed top students looking to "make the world a better place" and "do research." Given the competition out there right now, only the superstars should even attempt it, and then only if they're not strapped for cash. Hint: If you don't know whether or not you're a superstar, you're not.

I think in a decade I've strongly recommended that someone enter a Ph.D. program once, and greeted the suggestion favorably maybe three times total, out of thousands of students, many of them with the classic "4.0 GPA" and tons of "books smarts."

In short, I disagree strongly with the suggestion. Unless you absolutely know that you're competitive already on the academic market, DO NOT GO. Don't listen to the marketing from the schools; it's designed to drive (a) your enrollment and tuition, and/or (b) your cheap labor as a teaching assistant/research assistant forever once you're in the program. It's a win for the institution, not for you.

The easiest sanity checks: Do you know exactly what your dissertation will be about and what you'll need to do, in broad strokes to conduct your research, as well as what resources you'll need? Do you already have personal contact with faculty on a well-matched campus in a well-matched department that are championing you and that want to bring you in as one of their own students/assistants?

If you answers to either one of these questions is "no," then while you may be offered a position somewhere, you will be on the losing end of the deal and would be naive to take it.

Comment: Re:Presidential Oath of Office - how quaint (Score 4, Interesting) 440

by smooth wombat (#48610433) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

Which has nothing to do with the question I asked.

No one is saying people from other countries shouldn't be allowed to work in the U.S. (I'm not), what is being asked is they do it legally and with proper documentation.

So again, I ask the question, do you let random people walk in and out of your place without knowing who they are?

Comment: Fuel (Score 1) 212

by gmuslera (#48605115) Attached to: Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do
In the other hand, what can't be denied is that global warming provides more energy to the climate system. And in a system so complex that is the root of the butterfly effect concept adding more fuel will affect it, maybe even in ways that we didn't realized yet. And with a civilization that is rooted in stable and predictable climates (agriculture depends on that) it will hit us pretty hard in all those ways.

Comment: Re:Sympton of a bigger problem (Score 1) 594

by smooth wombat (#48603473) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents
to convince people to work where they live.

Because there's nothing I like better than opening my window on a nice spring evening and having to listen to the honking of car/truck horns, the accompanying smell of exhaust, people yelling up and down the street, drunk staggering about and talking to themselves at 2 in the morning and people who think it's acceptable to have a party on the street a 4 AM.

Maybe you like to keep your windows closed every day of the year, but there are those of us who like to breathe relatively clean air and not have to deal with inconsiderate slobs who think it's their right to do what they want, whenever they want, without consideration for those around them.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay