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Comment: Re:Motivating Joe Shmoe to fight pork (Score 1) 364

by breech1 (#47423667) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

A local magazine surveyed dentists, asking "who, besides yourself, is the best dentist in our city?" By not allowing dentists to vote for themselves, the survey produced a much truer guide to where to get quality dental care. Similarly, a constitutional amendment that bars congresscritters from seeking to have money spent in their own districts would boost the overall effectiveness of government. Lockheed would finally be pressured to source its F-35 components from the most efficient suppliers, rather than from the most pork-ified network of suppliers.

I have my doubts that such an amendment would help. Over time, Congress critters would simply enter into quid pro quo relationships with each other. Critter A proposes to spend $$$ in Critter's B district while B proposes to spend $$$ in A's. The net effect would be the same.

+ - FreeDOS is 20 years old

Submitted by Jim Hall
Jim Hall (2985) writes "In a June 29, 1994 post in comp.os.msdos.apps on USENET, a physics student announced an effort to create a completely free version of DOS that everyone could use. That project turned into FreeDOS, 20 years ago! Originally intended as a free replacement for MS-DOS, FreeDOS has since advanced what DOS could do, adding new functionality and making DOS easier to use. And today in 2014, people continue to use FreeDOS to support embedded systems, to run business software, and to play classic DOS games!"

Comment: Re:Queue the deniers (Score 1) 387

by breech1 (#47212101) Attached to: Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

Furthermore, even if that were true, pre-20th century, there was nearly universal agreement on the validity of classical physics, but then QM and GR came along, so consensus doesn't tell you about truth.

I agree that consensus doesn't necessarily imply truth, but I disagree that there were was near "universal agreement" of the validity of classical physics. By the start of the 20th century, physicists knew there were lots of issues in classical physics. Classical physics could not explain the blackbody spectrum, the precession of Mercury's orbit, the propagation of an E&M wave (at the time waves were only found within a medium that could support it), radiation, and so on. Evidence kept mounting that classical physics could solve a wide array of problems, but there were phenomena that classical physics could not handle. That, in turn, led to new physics being discovered.

Comment: Re:Dear Stevens (Score 4, Insightful) 1633

by breech1 (#46769473) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Enact this, and as a former serviceman who swore an oath, I am obligated to stop you at all costs.

An oath that you obviously do not understand. The oath (and I took a similar one) declares that you will support and defend the Constitution, which includes all the articles *and* amendments. If this were to be enacted, it would be done as an amendment, thereby becoming part of the Constitution. Your oath would obligate you to support and defend that amendment as any other. You don't get to pick and choose based on your personal ideologies because doing so makes the oath meaningless. If you like the idea, then fine; work to make it happen. If you don't like the idea, then fine; work to stop it. But leave the solemn oath out of it.

Comment: Re:Contradicts current theory? (Score 4, Informative) 156

by breech1 (#46110969) Attached to: Amherst Researchers Create Magnetic Monopoles

No it doesn't contradict previous theory. The existence of a magnetic monopole would require adding some extra terms in Maxwell's equations: one for magnetic "charge" (the monopole) and one for magnetic "current" (moving monopole) analogous to electric charge and current. (Adjusting Maxwell's equations this way is a popular exercise in advanced undergrad / grad level E&M courses). If your system happened to have a magnetic monopole in it, then you would need to use the equations with the extra terms. You would see some extra effects due to the monopoles, but they would be accounted for. The extra terms would give a nice symmetry to Maxwell's equations, helping to demonstrate that the electric and magnetic field are manifestations of the same phenomena (which isn't clear until you get to special relativity).

Comment: Re:Fascist bloodlust (Score 4, Informative) 380

by breech1 (#41918457) Attached to: Bradley Manning Offers Partial Guilty Plea To Military Court

My feeling is that the US government by consistently refusing to ask for the death penalty in spying cases [...] has encouraged people to continue to try to get away with this.

The US gov't could seek the death penalty for spying cases, but chooses not to. The reason is that a caught spy will eventually talk about why they did it, and who they were working with, if the death penalty isn't an option. That information is far more valuable than naively "trying to send a message". (Whether or not the death penalty is a deterrent is a separate argument. The intelligence officers only care about determining why the spying occurred and who the handlers were.)

Comment: Re:Now what for the Republicans? (Score 3, Insightful) 1576

by breech1 (#41904171) Attached to: Barack Obama Retains US Presidency

They go further to the right (unfortunately). I think there's a good chance the Republicans repeat what happened after 2008: savage their nominee by complaining he wasn't conservative enough. Their solution will be to move further to the right to address that rather than realize they likely lost because their candidate moved too far to the right to appease the extreme wings of the party for the primaries.

Comment: Re:Kill the Electoral College please... (Score 5, Informative) 1576

by breech1 (#41903835) Attached to: Barack Obama Retains US Presidency

The electoral college is necessary to balance power between large and small states.

No it's not. That was never the purpose. The electoral college was needed for southern states to get some credit for slaves that they wouldn't get if there was a direct election of president. (See, for instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States).) Besides that, the effect of the electoral college is to put the focus on a few swing states. No one cares about CA and TX and numerous other states because those states will reliably go for a particular side.

Comment: Re:Helping to Keep it Secret... (Score 2) 288

by breech1 (#41527151) Attached to: Scientists Want To Keep Their Research Work Out of Court

Or it could be a work in progress. During research, there's lots of communication about the interpretation of data, what other values should be recorded, is this true data or a bug in the simulation, and so on. If you had a political axe to grind, you could easily cherry pick that communication to feed the stupid conspiracy theories. You could hope that the general public would be smart enough to understand that, but intelligence is the first casualty of politics.

Software

Ubuntu vs. Windows In OpenOffice.org Benchmark 262

Posted by timothy
from the permutations-of-permutations dept.
ahziem writes "Ubuntu's Intrepid Ibex and Redmond's Windows XP go head-to-head in an OpenOffice.org 3.0 performance smackdown measuring vanilla OpenOffice.org, StarOffice, Go-oo, and Portable OpenOffice.org 3.0. Each platform and edition does well in different tests. Go-oo is known for its proud slogan "Better, Faster, Freer," but last time with OpenOffice.org 2.4 on Fedora, Go-oo came in fourth place out of four. Slashdot has previously reported Ubuntu beating Vista and Windows 7 in benchmarks, so either XP is faster or this benchmark carries a different weight."
NASA

+ - NASA to fly balloon flotilla to study radiation->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "NASA said today it will use a flotilla of 40 high altitude balloons to study radiation's impact on astronauts, orbiting satellites and aircraft flying in high altitude polar routes. The space agency has awarded $9.3 million to Dartmouth College of Hanover, N.H., for the study. The mission will be known as the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) and will specifically look at what's known as Van Allen Belts — a ring of energetic charged particles that encircle Earth and are held in place by Earth's magnetic field. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/22729"
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