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Comment: Redstone (Score 5, Informative) 197

Well, it could be named after an obscure material in a computer game. An in-joke for those who know it.

Or it could be named after the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, or after the Redstone missile built there by von Braun and which was the base for Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom's flights into space.

Guess we'll never know.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 1) 258

by bruce_the_loon (#49410663) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

SA Breweries had a major issue with beer trucks going up steep hills in sections of South Africa. Some of these trucks end up going at walking pace and the people living in the areas would walk alongside, jump aboard and pass beer crates down. They solved it partially by sticking armed guards on the top of the truck during slow hill climbs.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 2) 258

by bruce_the_loon (#49410417) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

There is a continuum of behaviour in play here. Most people would be unlikely to proceed with stealing cargo if killing someone was required. That's why having a bloke leaning against the van when you're unloading it keeps the yobbos from running off with your cargo.

Add a firearm to the bloke and you block another section of people who'd try threats and low to mid-end violence from taking the risk in the first place.

The sense of what is right might encompass nicking a crate of beer off an unattended van, but not hurting someone to do it. And I'd suspect that group is much, much larger than the group who would kill someone over it.

Comment: Re:Coding is not the solution ... (Score 1) 211

We already expose them to enough math to trigger those who have the aptitude. As for your other examples, by the Gods, those are absolute evils, especially the violin.

Joking aside, why not give them a similar level of exposure to the concepts of programming as we already to for math? It certainly beats some of the soft crap like "Life Skills" that gets pushed into the curricula.

Comment: Re:Coding is not the solution ... (Score 1) 211

All schools should be offering this as a mandatory program because of that tiny percentage with the real aptitude. If you don't expose the kids to the concepts and let the kids discover whether they do have the aptitude, you will only get a percentage of that tiny percentage self-adopting programming.

If only one out of ten schools offers the opportunity, and I'll hazard a guess that most of the nine that don't offer it service poorer areas, then you're definitely got kids who have the mental mindset, but do not have the exposure. It may sound cliche, but if you can double the tiny percentage...

Non-statistically valid statistic. If my school didn't have teachers interested in computer programming in the 80s and 90s, I would not have discovered my vocation in time to do anything about it.

Comment: Re:10 myths about fossil fuel divestment (Score 1) 190

by bruce_the_loon (#49265877) Attached to: UN Backs Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

Oil use for paint, plastics, fertilizers, asphalt are all okay as far as atmospheric CO2 is concerned. The carbon is still bound up in non-CO2 form and is unlikely to be released as such.

It's only the burning of oil in engines that contributes to the CO2 buildup and we should be aiming at controlling that, not shutting oil down completely.

Comment: Re:It's a tabu issue right? (Score 1) 221

by bruce_the_loon (#49256321) Attached to: World's 1st Penis Transplant Done In South Africa

It's a tribal prove-you-are-a-man thing in South Africa. A lot has been done to make sure the process is clean and safe, but some of the witch doctors refuse to accept the oversight and do the circumcision with a rusty razor blade in non-sterile conditions.

It's stupid and dangerous, and although the offending witch doctors are getting jail time, not enough is being done to regulate the process to the point that the need for these transplants is eliminated at source.

Comment: Re:Oh God No... (Score 1) 222

by bruce_the_loon (#49149117) Attached to: Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel

No weaker than Alien 3 and certainly miles ahead of Resurrection.

The scientists in Resurrection take the prize for absolute idiots, unlike the prospectors in Prometheus, they had no excuse for their poor scientific techniques. They knew what the aliens were like and they still failed to take proper precautions for containment and disposal.

Comment: Re:Just y'know... reconnect them spinal nerves (Score 1) 210

by bruce_the_loon (#49146183) Attached to: Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away

We are able to at least partially repair severed spinal cords now. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284152.php. That's a lot further along than a couple of years ago.

It may not be perfection, and connecting one spinal cord to another might not even match up the nerves, but there is progress being made. And we might get a complete repair treatment out of this.

Comment: Mandatory Pratchett quote. (Score 3, Funny) 60

by bruce_the_loon (#49004159) Attached to: How a Hardware Designer Was Saved By His Own Creation

Suppose this article inverts the story, but still...

It's a pervasive and beguiling myth that the people who design instruments of death end up being killed by them. There is almost no foundation in fact. Colonel Shrapnel wasn't blown up, M. Guillotin died with his head on, Colonel Gatling wasn't shot. If it hadn't been for the murder of cosh and blackjack maker Sir William Blunt-Instrument in an alleyway, the rumour would never have got started.

"I've seen it. It's rubbish." -- Marvin the Paranoid Android

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