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Comment: Re:Linux Mint gets it right. (Score 1) 122

There is useful software available on Linux (and, in specific, Mint). Not all useful software runs on Linux. In order to know whether Linux is a good fit for someone, you have to know what that person wants his or her computer to do.

With a user-friendly distribution, a naive user can use email and surf the net and do word processing and play some simple games, and there's a lot of people that don't use their computers for anything more. In addition, there's repositories available for reasonably safe use, and they may have software the user likes.

Linux is well suited for a very light user, or a user who knows very well what he or she is doing. There's a big gap in between there, where Windows is the clear answer.

Comment: Re:You don't stop terrorists by patting people dow (Score 1) 295

The issue is that data mining doesn't work for this sort of thing. There are well over a million passengers a day in the US. If you can find terrorists with an 0.1% error rate, there are a thousand false positives a day, and almost certainly no actual terrorists. There are far too few terrorists to validate any model. There are far to few for diversity, and any decision technique is going to finger people like the 9/11 terrorists, because that's almost the entire sample, and miss people who aren't very much like them.

Another issue is that it went from stopping people from hijacking planes and using them as weapons to stopping people from blowing up the aircraft they're on, which is a much smaller risk. Since air travel is so safe, taking that money and spending it on almost any other safety issue would save more lives.

The authorities should drop back to pre-9/11 security, which was adequate for what it did. The terrorists did not carry guns, but rather knives. The passengers can deal with terrorists with knives, but it's a whole lot harder to deal with guns, and pre-9/11 security forced the terrorists to count on knives. Keep the guns off and trust the passengers.

Comment: Re:Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 1) 135

by david_thornley (#49824047) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

I see a difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fukushima was preventable, but I have no confidence that humans will in general, do much better. Chernobyl was another matter: starting with a reactor design that would never be built today, there was a series of incredibly dumb decisions that led to the catastrophe, that I think would never be repeated. I'm comfortable calling it unrepeatable.

Fukushima was not, really, that bad. It was nowhere near as destructive as the natural disaster that caused it, and although there are exclusion zones there are such zones for most power sources.

Comment: Re:Obviously (Score 1) 245

by david_thornley (#49823567) Attached to: Fuel Free Spacecrafts Using Graphene

That depends on what foundational principle is wrong. Not having laws of physics vary significantly from place to place is pretty basic, and conservation of momentum follows from that. If momentum is not conserved*, every law of physics will have to be re-examined to figure out exactly how it applies.

*Yes, in fact, I do know that I'm using "space" and "momentum" here like they were real things, and that things get more complicated when considering relativity. It's still going to have an impact that big.

Comment: Re:Save money. It's the best way to look out (Score 1) 533

I've never heard somebody complain about accumulating too much money. I have heard complaints that someone shouldn't have spent all that time at work, and should have spent more time with his family (haven't heard this from a woman, personally).

Comment: Re:know when to move on. (Score 1) 533

I once had a job that gave me a recurring dream that I would finish my scale WWII armored division and it would come rescue me. I remember how the M7 self-propelled artillery fired at the cubicle walls. I stepped up my job search and got some dump trucks to build the engineering battalion.

Comment: Re:Some random things I would tell myself (Score 1) 533

You don't necessarily want a manager deciding these things, either. When I'm arguing with a colleague, odds are that both of us know the pros and cons of the issue much better than my manager does. I've been put in a meeting room with another guy for an hour, and eventually we came out with something we could both agree to. Worked better than having a decision come from on high.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell