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Comment And then there's fracking (Score 1) 377

If water demand weren't bad enough, the profitable quest to squeeze the last possible drop of oil/gas from the ground via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wrecks the whole underground structure that configure the acquifer, not to mention making it totally unfit to drink or use due to contamination. So now the natural underground currents that replentished the groundwater supplies are gone and whatever is left is ruined. Bravo for Capitalism, hope that cheap gas you got in return tastes good, cause it's the only liquid you're gonna get.

Comment Mad Fish Disease? (Score 3, Insightful) 386

Ok, first we had Mad Cow Disease, which proves fatal to humans if you get it. For those too young to remember, it was caused by "enriching" cow feed with ground up sheep offal in order to recicle the waste, increase the protein content of the feed and increase the profit to the farmer. This caused the bugs to get into the cows brains and turn them to mush. Called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the cow flavor, Kreutzfeld-Jakobs syndrome in human flavor, basically turns your brains into a bloody sponge full of holes, then you die inevitably, be it cow or human.

Wait for the upcoming Mad Fish Scare. Just remember every time your MacFish stick or burger tastes like shit.

Comment Why water? (Score 3, Informative) 49

Why is it that USA space tech prefers water splashdowns instead of dry land like the Russians and Chinese?

"Softer landings" doesn't quite cut it as a reason, for at the speed of the impact, water is just as hard as terra firma. Then there's the risk of crew drowning and/or craft loss thru sinking. That doesn't occur in dry land.

Comment For how long? (Score 3, Interesting) 405

An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD. The manufacturer states the number of write operations the storage cells can take on average before going kaput, and its up to the controller & OS to "age" them all equally to ensure maximum longevity (thanks, TRIM). This and speed are the main determinants of the cost of the devices and the differentiator between user and server-grade SSDs.

Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

Comment Look South (Score 1) 500

I'm surprised that Mexico's voting system has not been mentioned at all, even though it has received full accreditation by the UN and has been consulted on or copied by many other nations. Just went thru a complete election cycle involving President, Congress and Senate at the Federal level, concurrent with many State Governor, Major. Council and Assembly elections (a total of 629 Federal and 1,461 State and Municipal level posts to elect). This system was further tested and validated by the fact that the sore-loser second place presidential candidate challenged the entire process, from the vote counting all the way to the laws that govern it; all challenges were found to be inconsequential to the result or even total hogwash. Given that there is a registered voter population of 79.5 million, of which 50.1 million voted and the final result was validated by a federal constitutional court, the system as a whole does merit taking into account.

The process began in the planning stage on 7 Oct 2011, proceeded thru the campaigns up to 1 Jul 2012 when voting took place, votes were tallied, totals computed and the process formally ended with the Federal Electoral Tribunal concluding all challenges, declaring the election valid and naming the President-Elect on 5 Sep 2012. More info: Spanish language overview of the 2012 process, http://www.ife.org.mx/portal/site/ifev2/Proceso_Electoral_Federal__2011-2012/ or an English language FAQ, http://www.ife.org.mx/portal/site/ifev2/Internacional_English/

In essence, the system uses paper ballots, direct one-vote-per-voter, simple majority victory, manual tally at the voting station level, computerized processing there forward. Election took place on 1 Jul 2012, 8:00 to 18:00, exit polls available after 19:00, preliminary results at around 4:00 the next day, final valid and legal results on 5 Sep 2012.

Submission + - Most cost-effective code versioning setup for local programming management 1

courcoul writes: Under a new presidency and with the directive to switch over to FOSS and/or local development as much as possible, we would like to take control of our current and growing code base. Ancient RCS, SCCS. CVS. SVN. Some other letter soup?

I would like to ask the great Slashdot Collective for their thoughts, tips and recommendations on setting up such a source code management infrastructure AND getting the coders to accept and use it.

Comment Beware trying to change its sex. (Score 1) 242

Key word in the text was "neophyte". Since this is her first at running such a big outfit, and since she has scant time to get it rolling again in a profitable direction, she takes shelter in what she knows. However, the employee base she gets is radically different than that at Google. No ultra-picked pack of uber-nerds that need scant supervision, much less handholding to whip up a frenzy of new products. The legendary Google work environment is tailored to such an employee base and letting loose a less motivated and focused group in so many distractions can be very risky. If things spiral out of control, Yahoo will circle even faster down the drain and her tenure may even establish a shortness record.

Comment What goes round... (Score 2) 576

There are a lot of culprits. The risk-averse music business mafia, the declining mental prowess of so-called "musicians" with brains fried on too much drugs, the increasingly tone-deaf younger consumers with ears shot by too many nights at the disco or dance club, the dying out older consumers who could discern the shit being sold today and refuse to buy it. A perfect storm, actually.

Pretty soon polyphony will be a rarity, with "songs" being just words being monotonically grunted out by rappers and the like to the rythmn of a drum or two. A scene worthy of a neolithic cave. Wonder if there will be any Gregorian monks left to lift us out of such dire straits.

Comment Man vs. Machine (Score 2) 238

Was gonna flippantly reply "if human is a healthy, reasonably young member of the species in all five senses and with sufficent experience, computer should stand back, else the old fart should RIDE in the back."

But then someone mentioned planes. Anyone up to date with the news and who read the final BEA report on the Air France crash in the South Atlantic with 200+ dead will recall that the primary cause was lack of crew preparedness. Dumb pilots who couldn't fly a plane? Yes, but not cause of their choice.The airline chose to invest more in wiz-bang automated avionic wizardry instead of proper and traditional pilot training; pilots were just for show and just expensive chauffeurs who drove the plane in and out of the landing/takeoff strip, rest of the time the thing flew itself. Until the circumstances got beyond the capabilities of the dumb computer who panicked and handed over the controls to the pilots, who had no idea how to fly a big airliner out of a high altitude stall by the seat of the pants with minimal instruments cause they had never been trained to do so.

Given that there are WAY more cars, SUVs and trucks than planes, let's make sure this situation does not repeat itself in our streets and roads. How many young drivers know how to pull a motor vehicle out of a spin in an icy road, emergency brake successfully in a pouring thunderstorm, etc.?

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen