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Comment Re:Imagineers? (Score 1) 568

Steam engines? Engineers were around long before those were in vogue. Take this famous quote from William Shakespeare's Hamlet: "For tis the sport to haue the enginer / Hoist with his owne petar." It's normally rendered as "the engineer, hoist by his own petard" and really means 'a sapper/military engineer blown up by his own grenade'. Hamlet was written in about 1600 and steam engines post date it by a century.

Engineers originally built siege engines, i.e. military contraptions. See good old Wikipedia for more information:

Comment Re:Why now? (Score 4, Insightful) 234

I haven't followed Pao's case so I have no informed opinion on it.

However, I do believe that jury selection processes are so tainted that it's tough to get a fair trial. The process is supposed to be about finding jurors without biases that would affect their decision, but it's actually about putting people on the jury that can be swayed by the prosecution and defense.

I had jury duty a few months ago and, during the selection process, the prosecutor asked who all the scientists and engineers were. It turned out to be about a third of the jury pool, and none of us was selected except a single one who worked for a government lab. Did the case involve any scientific or engineering matters? Not really. It was a drunk driving/hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident thing. My hypothesis is that the police botched the investigation and there was no real physical evidence of guilt, and that the case was based on he said/she said.

The prosecutor deliberately removed people from the jury pool because they could think critically and would not blindly swallow assertions. And it worked: I checked the court records and the defendant was convicted.

Comment Just what we need in the oval office... (Score 3, Interesting) 553

Another narcissist whose business failures are repeatedly blamed on others. (HP's market cap rose by billions on the day she was ousted.)

We need to diagnose narcissists early and send them all to Empathyless Island, where they can prey on each other instead of us.

A good article on why narcissism is bad, even in the cold, sociopathic world of capitalism.

Comment Binoculars (Score 5, Interesting) 187

Don't buy a telescope. Instead, get a good pair of 10x50 binoculars and an intro astronomy book with pictures.

A telescope will always take some setup and you'll be less likely to go to the effort as time goes on. With binoculars, you just grab them and go. That's a much better way to keep beginners interested.

Submission + - U.S. Rejects Demands For ACTA Transparency (

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release just prior to the launch of the New Zealand round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations that has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text. Unlike most other ACTA countries that have called for transparency without condition, the U.S. has set conditions that effectively seeks to trade its willingness to release the text for gains on the substance of the text.

Submission + - The iPad vs. Microsoft's "Jupiter" Devices (

harrymcc writes: A dozen years ago, Microsoft convinced major manufacturers to put Windows CE inside devices that looked like undersized touchscreen personal computers. The platform was code-named "Jupiter" and shipped as Handheld PC Pro, and it flopped--it turned out that people wanted full-strength notebooks. But in retrospect, it was a clear antecedent of what Apple is doing--much more successfully--with the iPad.

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