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Comment: Too bad mdSOLAR didn't mention WHAT proposal (Score 1) 19

by raymorris (#48953389) Attached to: Nuclear Safety Push To Be Softened After US Objections

It's too bad that neither mdsolar's summary nor the article he linked to mention what change was proposed. Some changes may be good, others bad. No way to know about this one without knowing just what is was that someone wanted to change.

You know, mdsolar, you'd probably sell more by engaging in discussions on forums more targeted to your market and just answering questions people have have solar power systems. That would include forums that have a lot of people who want to be "off the grid" or less reliant on the grid, prepper forums for example. Also certain home renovation forums would have people who might be interested in buying. Pitching the general concept here, especially through negative FUD about your competitors, is kind of a waste of your time.

Comment: Corporate taxes are hidden taxes, and evil (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#48953043) Attached to: Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Corporate taxes are really just a way to tax individual shareholders, employees and customers, but without any of them noticing that the money is coming out of their pockets. Taxes are necessary, but hidden taxes are evil. Taxes should be visible, so the taxpayers know what they're paying and can weigh it against the value they receive, to decide if they're getting good value for their money, and vote accordingly.

This particular proposal is a great example. Obama wants to go after this particular pool of money because to American taxpayers it appears to be "free" money. It doesn't cost them anything... or at least that's how it looks. I suppose to the extent that this is taxing foreign income generated by foreign workers producing goods and services for sale to foreign customers, it is "free". The only Americans who will be hurt are the Americans who are shareholders in the targeted companies, and there are also plenty of foreign shareholders. So to the extent the money is all foreign, it's taken from foreign taxpayers, which is, if anything, even more insidious.

We do need to maintain our infrastructure, and we should pay for it. But up front and in the open.

Comment: working on a grant project here. Wrong on both cou (Score 1) 495

by raymorris (#48952571) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

From someone actively involved with trying maintain a federal grant at work, you're simply mistaken on both counts. The federal grant covers the salaries of the people involved with that project. No grant means no project. No project means the jobs go away.

The grant is for renewable terms. WithIN the current term, continued funding is dependant on hitting certain specified targets, as measured by the officials at federal agency making the grant. At renewal time, renewal is 100% at the discretion of the federal officials. They can cancel our team and send the grant money elsewhere at their complete discretion.

I never understood why people completing make stuff up, fabricating it out of whole cloth, and post it as if it were fact. Go ahead AMD do it again, if you must, and when I'm in the office on Monday I'll post the grant documents, "at sole discretion" wording and all, and you'll just look like an utter fool.

Comment: Re:Color me surprised (Score 1) 29

by plover (#48952505) Attached to: Test Shows Big Data Text Analysis Inconsistent, Inaccurate

When you're dealing with statistics, you ought to recognize that 92% accuracy is a huge improvement over a random distribution. You do not use big data to select a target for a sniper rifle, you use it to point a shotgun.

And just like your faulty GM CEO analogy (I assume you felt the need to apply a car analogy for the benefit of the slashdot crowd) only an idiot would send someone off in the woods blindfolded and have him fire his shotgun in a random direction hoping to bring home some kind of food animal. You still have to know what you're hunting for, you still have to know how to hunt, you still have to make wise decisions. It's just a tool, not a sage.

Comment: Don't let perfection be the enemy of good enough (Score 4, Interesting) 29

by plover (#48952397) Attached to: Test Shows Big Data Text Analysis Inconsistent, Inaccurate

The difference between "92% accurate" and "accurate enough for my task" are profound.

If you were using these kind of analytics to bill your customers, 92% would be hideously inaccurate. You'd face lawsuits on a daily basis, and you wouldn't survive a month in business. So the easy answer is, "this would be the wrong tool for billing."

But if you're advertising, you know the rates at which people bite on your message. Perhaps only 0.1% of random people are going to respond, but of people who are interested, 5.0% might bite. If you have the choice between sending the message to 10000 random people, or to 217 targeted people (only 92% of whom may be your target audience), both groups will deliver the same 10 hits. Let's say the cost per message is $10.00 per thousand views. The first wave of advertising cost you $100. The second costs you $2.17. Big Data, with all of its inaccuracies, still improves your results by a wide margin.

Way too often people like this point out that perfection is impossible. They presume that "because it's not perfect, it's useless." The answer is not always to focus on becoming more accurate, but to choose the right tool for the job, and to learn how to recognize when it's good enough to be usable. At that point you learn how to cope with the inaccuracy and derive the maximum benefits possible given what you have.

Comment: Genuinely curious (Score 1) 236

by argStyopa (#48951265) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

Why do we care?
If I call Comcast, and they log me as "asshole", as long as they solve my problem why would I possibly care? They're poorly-paid people doing a nearly-thankless job, so I'd submit that they have a fair amount of unresolved frustrations.
I suspect too that - at the root of it - my behavior is likely the trigger. If I really don't want to be called an asshole behind my back, perhaps I should go out of my way to NOT be an asshole to such folks?

So again, why do I care what people call me behind my back, in particular, people I'll likely never deal with again?

Comment: So what's the real story here? (Score 0, Troll) 113

Cops are hoping to catch people engaging in illegal sales, and who are actually dumb enough to take up the cops on this offer to use the parking lot as a safe haven? (If you think this isn't possible, look around for stories about idiots calling the cops because someone stole their stash, or the idiots with outstanding warrants who get lured to the police station by the PD running a raffle and claiming the person won an item they can pick up at the station.)

Cops have installed spiffy new facial recognition software in their surveillance system, and they want to start keeping track of the cash transactions that take place via CraigsList?

There is simply no way this is actually a good faith attempt to benefit the citizenry here. None.

Comment: yep, need "UpdateHostkeys Prompt". Damien? (Score 1) 77

Agreed. I want to know if my servers' keys have changed unexpectedly. You can set UpdateHostkeys No to turn this off; I'd like the option of UpdateHostkeys Prompt.

I do understand that having Prompt as the default would undermine the intended use case somewhat, but I think it would be good to have the option.

Comment: that's for a ballistic projectile (Score 2) 188

by raymorris (#48950281) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

> maximum final Delta V from source of circa 58,000 ft/sec

Einstein would like to have a word with you. That word is "relative". Suppose there is a planet traveling away from the earth at at 50,000 ft/sec. An alien on that planet can fire a rocket, which can travel away from that planet at 50,000 ft/s, meaning 100,000 ft/s relative to earth. As it catches up to another planet, it might photograph some other aliens launching their own rocket at 50,000 ft/s, which is 150,000 ft/s relative to earth.

In fact, the SAME rocket could from earth to the first planet, then be launched from that planet, then stop at the next planet and be launched at 50,000.

Come to think of it, stopping at each planet doesn't change anything. It's ALWAYS standing still relative to something, and can launch away from that something to 50,000 ft/s. The gas leaves nozzle at 58,000 RELATIVE TO THE COMBUSTION CHAMBER. In other words, it can always go 58,000 faster, as long as it can fire it's engine. 58,000 is the limit for a BALLISTIC projectile, one that is fired from a gun and doesn't carry a working engine with which to keep accelerating. The limit is 58,000 RELATIVE TO the chamber in which the gas is burned. By carrying the combustion chamber within the craft, it can accelerate until it approaches C.

Comment: Tesla was selling cars in the 1950s? (Score 1) 188

by raymorris (#48950237) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

I didn't know Elon Musk was even selling cars in the 1940s and 1950s, when franchise laws were passed to prevent the two big bad corporations, GM and Ford, from competing unfairly with small dealerships.

Oh, did you think Tesla was the first car company who wanted to sell direct? You're off by about a hundred years.

Comment: we know that we did until at least 1992 (Score 2) 188

by raymorris (#48949985) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

Well, we know that the US had nuclear-armed B-52s and nuclear xommamd and control EC-135s airborne 24/7 until at least 1992. That led to a couple of scary accidents. Google "Chrome Dome" for more information. That was one leg of the nuclear triad - subs, missiles, and bombers on alert 24/7. The bombers periodically received a "do not attack" signal.

What the strategic command has been up to since 1992 we don't know. They keep such things secret when possible, for obvious reasons.

Comment: much more already airborne, in bombs (Score 1) 188

by raymorris (#48949695) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

There was, and probably still is, far more nuclear material airborne 24/7 in standby aircraft. That's in actual bombs, too, with all the many other components assembled to cause it to explode, whereas the thruster would be contained to provide protection as used in currently launched devices.

Comment: more than that, hearts and minds are the goal. (Score 2) 46

by raymorris (#48949093) Attached to: UK Sets Up Internet-Savvy Army Unit

What you said is certainly true, and has been for a long time. Now, psyops is even more important. The US and UK could have turned Iraqi cities into glass parking lots very quickly, if they decided to do mass bombings like WWII. Germany had serious air defenses, yet the allies utterly destroyed large sections of major cities. Undefended Iraqi cities would be like bombing fish in a barrel. Destroying the enemy is no longer considered an allowable goal, though. The new goal is to persuade the general population to see things our way.

You don't win friends by exploding them. Hardware can remove the existing leadership, but the rest is PR.

Do you suffer painful hallucination? -- Don Juan, cited by Carlos Casteneda