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Comment Why do they bother to divert at all? (Score 2) 819

Why do the divert the flight over these minor upsets? I assume the flight attendants can distinguish between two people in a minor scuffle and say a terrorist assault on the crew? With locked cockpits the plane is in little danger of being hijacked. One of the flights diverted to an airport in the same state, so not really saving any time. I would argue there is a small increase in the danger by requiring the pilots change their flight plan and land at a (possibly) unknown airport. The diversion inconveniences the rest of the passengers, with no apparent (to me) improvement in safety or solving the situation.
The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Submission + - How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Now the NY Times Magazine reports on how companies like Target to identify those unique moments in consumers’ lives when their shopping habits become particularly flexible and the right advertisement or coupon can cause them to begin spending in new ways. Among life events, none are more important than the arrival of a baby and new parents are a retailer’s holy grail so in 2002, marketers at Target asked statisticians to answer an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?" Specifically, the marketers said they wanted to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. “We knew that if we could identify them in their second trimester, there’s a good chance we could capture them for years,” says statistician Andrew Pole. “As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they’re going to start buying everything else too." As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score and he soon had a list of tens of thousands of women who were most likely pregnant. About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry. “My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again but the father was somewhat abashed. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”"

Submission + - The engineer who stopped airplanes from flying into mountains (nwsource.com)

gmrobbins writes: The Seattle Times profiles avionics engineer Don Bateman, whose Honeywell lab in Redmond, Washington has for decades pioneered ground proximity warning systems. Bateman's innovations have have nearly eliminated controlled flight into terrain by commercial aircraft, the most common cause of fatal airplane accidents.

Comment Re:And the same questions as always. (Score 5, Informative) 311

I was on the parent tech committee when we rolled out laptops to every kid in 7 to 9 Jr High, which they took home with them each night. All these were concerns that turned out to be nearly non-existent. You set up the program with some extra units to handle issues and keep the kid with computer.

1. Lost/Stolen devices. Who pays for replacements? Why?

Did not happen to any degree (I don't recall hearing about any but it might have happened). The kids loved the laptops. They "grew up" and treated them as their most precious possession. We did not require them to take out insurance, just replaced from our stock.

2. Damaged systems that need replacement. Who pays? Why?

Happened very rarely. Couple of LCD screens got banged up (closing lid hard with pencil in the joint was the leading cause). Replaced the unit immediately (kid just exchanged at the repair room). We had a cheap source to replace the LCD (vendor set us up with their repair contractor). So no one paid anything.

3. Virus infections and such. What's the turn-around time on support for those? Will the school have extras to loan while they "clean" the students' machines?

Had Mac computers and no virus problems (don't hate me, it was true). We had replacements not loaners so all your data had to be on the server at all times. Any problem with the computer was dealt with by taking in the problem unit and replacing with one from stock. Then offline repairing the turned in unit.

4. Upgrade policy. Will the freshman class have better equipment than the senior class?

These started out as the units just replaced by a slightly faster model. Everyone in all classes got their computers from the same larger stock. All grades turned in their computers at year end and got a "different" unit the next year. But all the same model and style. For what you do with the laptop the fastest and latest is unnecessary. The plan was to replace them after three years with a new batch.

And so forth.

Throwing tech at a non-tech problem is stupid. And tech gets old really fast. And tech needs expensive support.

We had one adult in the exchange room during the day. The best techie student became the person that re-imaged devices (which was the first line of "repair"). And then any true damage was sent out for repair. 900 students with laptops. One person and a volunteer. The only crunch came before the year to image 900 units in a short period of time, but that is where we used adult volunteers and teaching staff in the summer for a week or so.

If anyone is truly interested I can share more details (I would need to look up some of the details, for example the number of extra computers we had in the tech room). Many parents were convinced their child could not be trusted (and many in the community were sure that these juvenile delinquents would immediately steal us blind). But other schools experiences mirrored what we saw. Very low incidents of any problems, these kids really rose to the occasion.

Submission + - Delayed Gratification Study Also Predicts Credit S (ibtimes.com)

Pierre Bezukhov writes: The Stanford marshmallow delayed gratification test is one of the most influential behavior studies in modern history.

Conducted by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel in 1972, it has proven to be a solid predicator of success in life and is used by elite preschools to screen their young candidates.

Now, a new study has shown that the ability to delay gratification for adults can also predict credit scores, arguably a metric of financial success in the United States.

Professors Stephan Meier of Columbia University and Charles Sprenger of Stanford University recruited 437 low-to-moderate income people in Boston for an experiment.

Each was asked whether he prefers smaller, more immediate rewards versus larger, more distant awards. The professors found that those who opted for the larger, more distant awards also happened to have better credit scores.

Comment Re:How could this have sunk WordPerfect? (Score 1) 472

If you read all the Grokaw documentation you see emails from MS execs (including BillG) stating that by allowing Office to have access to these namespace extension it (Office) would have a significant advantage over all other competitive suites (including WP, and the emails may even call out WP by name).

Submission + - Pre-sales of 'disappointing' iPhone 4S fail to dis (bgr.com)

hazytodd writes: Despite assorted cries of disappointment following Apple’s iPhone 4S unveiling last Tuesday, pre-sales of the company’s latest smartphone have seemingly been nothing short of impressive. But this is hardly a surprise. AT&T sold more than 200,000 iPhone 4S handsets during the first 12 hours of pre-order availability, making this the carrier’s most successful AT&T iPhone launch to date according to a company spokesperson.

Comment Re:A programming language inside documents? (Score 1) 117

I use VBA macros in Excel to manipulate data and images that I have to do regularly. Why is VBA good? Because I have not programmed a full program since grad school in Fortran in 1985. I am able to use VBA to take an existing GUI (Excel) and add functionality in short order since VBA is so similar to Fortran. I already store the data (and images) in worksheets for my science research. And when I want to curve fit the data, or rotate, shrink and place 100 images I use VBA. There is a very active community to help you work through the criptic syntax, I usually can get past a barrier in 24 hours. So the reason to keep VBA is for all the thousands of lone users like me just trying to get our work done.

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