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Comment Re: About time (Score 2) 126

I'm constantly given reasons to be grateful for my circumstances. I'm retired and happy for it. My Ph.D is in Applied Mathematics and, I've gotta be honest, it was so tough I thought I'd not make it at times. I suspect that where my degree comes from (MIT) hasn't gotten much easier, but I have to remark that I really don't see a whole lot of intellect being displayed by people with newer degrees. I assume they've got domain knowledge, I mean they must. Surely, they've done their defense and they're published in a quality journal and all that, right? Right? My school is pushing out more Ph.D holders but not in significant numbers but I do see the numbers at various other schools and someone recently posted a whole bunch of stats on this very topic.

But, yeah... They seem to be minting an awful lot of newly degreed people - I thought I'd bookmarked the link with the actual numbers but I don't seem to be able to find it. There's a finite value there. When I was in academia, I felt there was room for more people. At some point, however, there's the Law of Diminishing Returns and you end up with so many people that the quality goes down. I think I am suffering from some selection and some confirmation bias but it can't all be attributed to that. You're not the first one who's indicated that there's trouble, specifically with this, and it doesn't seem to be limited to Europe, I'm an American and it appears to be happening here as well. If everyone has a degree, what value is it and how much effort did it really take? It's devaluing quite a bit.

Though, I guess... It could be worse? Here? They're minting people with a bunch of varied degrees, nobody's going to tech/vocational schools, and they're all wandering around with crippling debt, worthless degrees, no education, little (apparent) common sense, hell bent on blaming someone else, and fully convinced that they deserve a trophy.

I sense a rant coming on so I'm just going to finish this up quickly.

I'm reminded of the passage from Plato in which he goes on to explain how the youth of his day are all inept and going to be the ruination of civilization and all that is good in the world. I don't want to be that guy. However, I've seriously been wondering if maybe there's a bit of a trend towards immaturity, insecurity, ineptness, and inability. I hope I'm wrong but it looks like people are so devoid of accomplishments that they're hung up on some trivial things as if it might give them meaning in their lives and this may well be to the detriment of future progress. How bad is it? How real is it? I have no idea. I do wish I were more articulate or I'd actually go for that rant right about now.

If it does matter, and it probably doesn't, I have lately had the chance to spend a goodly amount of time with two young boys who are both bright and articulate. They seem generally good people. My children, a bit younger than you probably are but not by a whole lot, are both well educated and productive (sort of - my son's not doing a whole lot but he's not causing harm or stomping around feeling entitled and expressing his superiority as if he's the pinnacle of achievement and morality) so I don't think it's an actual "age" thing so much as it is a culture thing within certain subsets of people. I presume they're well-meaning.

Ah well, I'll spare you the rant. I don't think I can articulate it well, so imagine I said something witty, intuitive, and insightful and insert it between the lines, make it six or seven more paragraphs, insert some vulgarity and bad grammar, and attribute it to me. It'll save us both some time and I'll get a trophy too.

Comment Re:Is this really international news? (Score 1) 126

Hmm... I have no idea but I have some tangentially related experience. I'm a bit old and I've had the chance to travel quite a bit. In all those years and in all of those places, I've only personally been in one place, at one time, where a government did, without referendum or pressure from the citizens, remove an actual profitable tax when they said they would - and I was only there on vacation.

I didn't yet live in Maine and was up on vacation. Maine's government had raised the sales tax from 5% to 5.5% for a few years as a temporary measure. At the end of that time, they removed the tax without fanfare and without the citizens getting angry enough to make them remove it. It's the one and only time that I've ever heard of it happening like that. I know only because they were changing the cash registers back while I was there. I was shocked...

Point? Well... In my experience, one of these types of funding cuts isn't always an indicator but it almost always has been an indicator of more to come - with obvious limitations 'cause they can't really lay off every government employee no matter how much they try. It may be in other areas besides education but, more often then not and by a very wide margin, it means more cuts are on the way.

Comment Re:About time (Score 2) 126

I don't know about Denmark but I know that when I got finished up my Ph.D in 1991 one of the comments that I had was about how difficult it had been and how selective the program had been. There were a lot of smart people who wanted to get their Ph.D from the same institution and a very limited number of slots. I was extremely grateful that I'd been allowed in but thought that there were others who were equally qualified and that they might have room for a few more. I touched on that and a few other similar things during my closing interview with staff.

It was hard to get in, hard to perform, and hard to finish. It seems odd, to me at least, that the pendulum has swung that far in the opposite direction - at least at reputable universities. It may be the ubiquity of mass communication, it may be selection bias, but I see more and more people stomping around putting those three letters behind their names. I'll give them the benefit of doubt and assume they are fluent in their discipline but I'm not so sure that I'd call them "smart." Hmm... I think a better way to put it might be to say that I'd not call them very "wise."

Comment Re:The "friends" numbers game. (Score 1) 79

I have very few friends. I have a whole lot of acquaintances. But, I also have a whole lot of people somewhere between the two.

Hmm... A friend will help you move and buy the beer. A friend doesn't come bail you out - they're in there with you. A friend shows up hammered at two in the morning and you let them in, that's why they showed up. A friend is the person you call when your dog dies. They might even *also* be family. They've not only seen you naked, they've got pics and sent them to all of your acquaintances, friends, and family - and you laugh about it.

Then there are the people that I don't call friends - except if it's easier to call them friends than it is to say people you legitimately like, maybe even have some emotion about/toward, but not people you're really as intimate as you are with others. It's like a scale or something and I'm not sure where the line is but it's there. There's something, perhaps multiple somethings, between friend and acquaintance. There the ones that expect you to buy the beer, they bail you out, they call you when your dog dies, they don't show up at two, but they've probably seen pictures of you naked.

I have zero Facebook friends. I do have friend, foes, fans, and freaks on Slashdot, however. I've actually met a number of you crazy bastards in real life. For New Years Eve, I had three of you guys and two of 'em even felt comfortable enough to bring their family. So, I'm not sure what that means but that's the way it is. We had a good time. We blew up lots and lots of dollar's worth of fireworks. We ate a lot of charred dead animal flesh. I plied them with booze (I don't normally drink). They all made it home safely with promises to get together soon and do it again when I'm back in the area or before I go home in the spring. But no... I have zero Facebook friends.

Comment Re:Point of Order (Score 1) 343

Excellent and thanks! I'll have to see if the missus is up for a trip sometime early next year. This is a busy year for me.

And oh yes, the military is not without humor - when nobody's looking. It's like you've never heard a more whiny bunch than Marines - when nobody is looking. "It's cold!" "I'm tired." "I want to go home." Yeah... Unless someone's looking and then we're rough, tumble, and ready to go.

Comment Re:The way to fight this (Score 1) 499

I have no idea if that was, or was not, their motivation but I suppose you can look at it that way. I suppose just renaming it to hosts.bak might work - if file protection service allows it. That or editing the contents... Assuming, of course, the user is smart enough to realize that they've a compromised hosts file.

Comment Re: Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 1) 96

Are you sure? Here's one mentioning the plan to look through an eyepiece at a Magellan but not the giant honking thing they're making now:

I was under the understanding that even the large ones had had an eyepiece attachment. I'll take your word for it (I just pulled that one up from Google) as I am not an astronomer. I just worry that you might not actually know about them and that they actually *do* have 'em. Buggered if I know but I've heard them mentioned in numerous documentaries and recordings of opening ceremonies. (Pretty much the only things I watch are educational in nature, usually documentaries and the things those may lead to by suggested videos.)

Comment Totally Off-Topic (Score 1) 45

Wait... You said, "wicked good." I'm not there and won't be until spring, nor am I (technically) a native, but my home is in Maine. I sometimes here the "wicked good" as far south as Massachusetts. Once in a while I hear a non-native say it. Sometimes I hear it as far off as Vermont and I hear it in New Hampshire quite a bit.

But, most of the time, it's a Mainah. Ayuh. Maine, being home of the "wicked good," does not have many Slashdot users though your name rings a bell. Perchance, are you a Mainer and I've forgotten? And yes, I have a "house" here but my "home" is in Maine. I have a few houses that belong only to me and only one of them is home.

Anyhow, sorry for the OT reply but I get curious. I also figure the thread's a couple of days old now so it should be all good.

Comment Re:last chance to buy quality Sharp products (Score 1) 45

The quote is "liberties" and that is essential. You have lost no freedoms. I'll explain...

You have the freedom to kill me. You are not at liberty to do so. If I threaten your life, you have the right to kill me.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

You might be familiar with another one?

Give me liberty or give me death.

Or, if you'd like a good understanding of the difference and how people don't really seem to understand that the two words aren't really interchangeable:

Live free or die.

While that might not seem important, it's vital. It is of great importance to understand the difference(s) between the words. Freedom is taken by physical force. If you are incarcerated, you have lost your freedom - but you still have some rights. If you are incarcerated, you may get be at liberty to take advantage of those rights. Unless you are physically restricted, you have not lost your freedom.

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 1) 96

Yeah, they have sensors that exceed human capacity but that doesn't mean that I'd not like to spend some time at an attached eyepiece. The telescope we had at school (I went to Kents Hill - it's a preparatory school in Central Maine and was what inspired me to return and retire to Maine) had an eyepiece and a camera attachment. (This was in the early 1970s.)

The modern ones are all just grabbed with sensors and no eyeballs are directly used any more but I understand that all the big telescopes do actually have eyepieces that they can attach. You've got to be some special to get access to them as there are some serious time constraints and they're highly sought time slots on some (all?) of them - especially the major or specialist ones.

I will have to look. It'd be kind of neat if they gave public access via the web - to real time results. No, obviously the general public wouldn't be able to control it but watching the real time results (perhaps with some sort of scheduling so you could see what was going to be done in the future) as the data came in, in real time or with a slight delay. It shouldn't be hard to push it to a caching server and then just give the public access. I've wanted to be able to see the live data feed since the Hubble went up and then was really keen on the idea when it got fixed. :/

That said, the telescope was pretty new when I got there. I think it had only been installed a few years prior to my arrival but I don't recall the dates or anything. I do remember that it was in the Dunn Science building. It was named after the alumni who donated the money for the construction. I believe that, since that date, they've actually made a number of discoveries in their astronomy department. It's a pretty decent academic environment and I gained a lot by attending. They stay on campus and have good educational facilities as well as some interesting sports facilities. They have their own giant ice arena and alpine ski slope, complete with a lift now. (It used to be a tow lift, now it's a chair lift.)

It's not a prohibitively expensive place but merit is an important factor for entrance. Some anonymous donor has done well for themselves and has set up a trust which has enabled merit and income based scholarships at the current rate of three students per year. I'd speculate that the anonymous donor would be quite pleased to find out that a child of a Slashdot member had applied for and been granted a scholarship. Of course, that's just speculation as they prefer their anonymity but that'd give a child access to a nice observatory and telescope as well as all the other facilities and a nice education.

Ah - I just checked. The observatory was earlier - the telescope went in in 1972. You can read a bit about it here:

So, the observatory was built a few years earlier and it was the telescope that was added a little while later. That kind of matches my memories so I'll assume their published history is correct. I'm guessing that more pictures can be found online or, if you're close enough, you could just drive by and see it. That's probably not an option. But, if someone applied for and was granted entrance with a scholarship they'd be able to see it daily or when they dropped their kids off.

Comment Re:freedom (but only for those we like) (Score 1) 88

I have no idea what it is you're actually trying to say. I'm not sure that you actually read (and understood) my post. For example, I did not advocate violence. Nowhere in my post did I even remotely indicate that I was suggesting a violent solution? So, I have no idea what you mean when you say, "If it would be like you say..." It is like I said. I'd also prefer that they were tried and sentenced in an impartial court of law in the world courts but that's extremely unlikely as I have no control over such things.

At any rate, if you'd be so kind as to tell me what it is you think I said then we might be able to actually communicate. I've access to machine translation if English is not your native language. I've no idea who you are but, if you're willing to take some advice, it might be prudent to consider avoiding assumptions in the future such as assuming that I am connotations included with using violence to stop violence. I have no idea where you even came up with an idea like that. Hell, I even went so far as to point out that I *disagreed* with the OP AC. That person, not me, is potentially advocating violence. I, on the other hand, have done no such thing. Pointing out reality does not make me agree that it is as it should be nor does it mean that I hold any particular opinion about it unless I expressly state such.

Trust me on this one... If I hold an opinion, I've either mentioned it or I will mention it. You don't really have to guess, assume, project, or surmise my opinion because I'm more than happy to share my opinion. You don't need to add things that I did not say, I say what I mean and mean what I say. (That does not mean that I don't make mistakes. I'll add that so you don't feel obligated to assume that I think I am without error.) In fact, you don't even need to guess my sentiments on this subject because I have a pretty big comment history that should be indicative of my held opinions or state said opinions outright.

If you've something salient, I'd be more than happy to have a conversation. However, do try to not read into what I say and make assumptions. Chances are very good that you'll make the wrong assumptions. It's hardly conducive to good communication to do so and text is notably poor at conveying tone.

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