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Mars

+ - NASA:Dry ice snow lands on Mars – no word on school closings->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "NASA said today new data show carbon dioxide-based snow, or what's more commonly known as dry ice, falls on the Red Planet's south pole -the only known such weather in our solar system.
Frozen carbon dioxide requires temperatures of about minus 193 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 125 Celsius) and the new analysis is based on data from observations in the south polar region during southern Mars winter in 2006-2007, identifying a tall carbon dioxide cloud about 300 miles (500 kilometers) in diameter persisting over the pole and smaller, shorter-lived, lower-altitude carbon dioxide ice clouds at latitudes from 70 to 80 degrees south."

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Comment: Re:You need a reliable VPN (Score 1) 480

by dmarcov (#39408473) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?

Well, the ideal solution was Polycom's line of analog desktop phones (the SoundPoint series). Those are all IP models now, sadly, but I've had a pretty good experience with the "small" conference room models.

With that said, I have a separate office, with a door, so I don't have issues with "ambient" noise. If that's not the case for others, I can see how someone washing dishes a few feet away would not be the best possible scenario.

Comment: Re:You need a reliable VPN (Score 3, Interesting) 480

by dmarcov (#39408239) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?

+1 to this, that's for sure.

VOIP, cell phones, etc - are simply not reliable enough if some important portion of your job depends on you being on a conference call. I spend $20ish/month on a regular, low-frills analog phone line because it always works. I know when I can't understand someone on a call, it's because of a problem with their phone, and not mine.

That leads me to another point, if you do spend a good amount of time on conference calls, invest in a good desktop phone, like a Polycom. They're expensive (you get to write it off as an office expense, in the States, at least), but just another one of those things that lets you communicate clearly and effectively and not be the "that guy/gal" that nobody can ever understand over the echo.

Definitely also have an internet access backup plan, even if it's just having your phone ready to tether or knowing how fast you can get to Starbucks. I've found that there's some slack for the occasional ISP issue, but you have to be ready for that "emergency" where you have to be connected, *now*.

Comment: What a pointless rant ... (Score 1) 477

by dmarcov (#39102391) Attached to: A Rant Against Splash Screens

I think the boils down to "make computers and software run faster, plz."

It's certainly a good idea, but if you have some process in a program that takes a particular amount of time, and your choices are "pretend" or "show a status screen" -- why not show a status screen?

I think it's helpful to know what a program is up to (or thinks it is up to), especially if something bad happens.

Mr. Thomas seems to think the solution is to try and hide what's going on. Or, I guess, wait until that magical time, any day now, when every program opens instantly and is immediately ready for work, no matter what.

Comment: Re:Nope. (Score 1) 416

by dmarcov (#39084811) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life After Software Development?

Dude(ette) ... "ahem"? Really?

The town has a population of just over 1000 people. It has a park with a swimming pool, and CLAIMS to have the third-best golf course in NEBRASKA, and decent houses go for under $100,000.

I was offering a reasonable contrast to life in Mountain View. I didn't say it was a hell hole (depending on your take of the importance of good pizza), but it's a pretty far take from life in the valley.

I don't think because the town runs a swimming pool and has a small golf course means that somehow negates its ability of being a contrast. namely on affordability, but if you're looking for decent pizza in Mountain View, let me know. I can help.

Comment: Re:Nope. (Score 1) 416

by dmarcov (#39081257) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life After Software Development?

This is really good advice - I mean, probably not so much for OP, who would find it hard to uproot his kids, and presumably his significant other is happy where they live too.

There is a happy medium between, say, the "the valley" (in the bay area) and Red Cloud, Nebraska (it's a real place, with bad pizza - look it up!). If you're ready to make the choice that money isn't everything, you can, with planning, reduce the cost of your lifestyle - and that's what it takes.

Trade some money for some happy, but plan for it.

Comment: Re:New Sign in the Doctors Office... (Score 1) 1271

by dmarcov (#39051765) Attached to: Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers

I just don't think that's the case ... I mean, it's true - people *can* sue for anything, but malpractice, again, typically implies negligence or reckless indifference. A doctor that had (and likely continued) to try and convince a patient to be vaccinated, but that patient was not yet convinced ... for whatever reason ... I don't think that meets the standard.

An ophthalmologist who tells a patient to get new glasses, and the patient refuses, and then knocks over and injures another patient in the waiting room. The doctor's fault? Malpractice? It still doesn't seem like it.

Maybe you can start making arguments about how unvaccinated people should have to wear masks or what-not, while in the waiting room?

Comment: Re:New Sign in the Doctors Office... (Score 1) 1271

by dmarcov (#39050693) Attached to: Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers

IANAL, of course -- but are you sure on #4?

It seems like the doctor has a couple of a good defenses, but namely that the patient themselves didn't follow his advice. I think a doctor that actively encouraged vaccine refusal would be, or at least could be, in a somewhat more tenuous situation, but typically malpractice stems either from negligence or reckless indifference.

A doctor that tried and failed to convince a patient to vaccinate seems neither negligent or indifferent.

That isn't to say that the anti-vaccine folks really appear to be a bunch of certified nutters.

Comment: Re:It's all the customers' fault... (Score 2) 406

by dmarcov (#39050427) Attached to: AT&T On Data Throttling: Blame Yourselves

Honestly, the voucher is better than the free flight most of the time. The free flight is subject to a seat in the "free" bucket being available, and you can ask anyone trying to use miles how easy that is, and you don't get miles for the flight.

Whereas a voucher can be used for any flight, and even if the voucher covers the entire cost, you still "earn" miles. The risk, of course, is that you plan on flying someplace really expensive and only get a $150 voucher - but for me, when they get to about $400/$500, I know just about anywhere in the continental US I want to go, that's going to cover most, if not all, of the ticket.

If you've been pleasant about it, you can sometimes snag the upgrade on the later flight too. Not as much nowadays, but ...

Comment: No reason to get there faster ... (Score 1) 531

by dmarcov (#35834076) Attached to: The End of the "Age of Speed"

I think the real issue is that from an economic perspective, getting someplace faster, isn't necessarily better anymore.

It used to be that travel time was down time. Whatever the mode of transport was, you couldn't really be productive (in the traditional sense) while you were on the move. The less time you spent in the metal tube meant more time you spent someplace where you could do something other than pick at "chicken ala mystery". The Concorde was better, because you spent less time in the plane doing "nothing".

Now you can be connected wherever. Sitting on the plane is no different than sitting in an uncomfortable office. How much is it worth to get there faster now? Some? Maybe. But not very much. And certainly not the difference in fare prices between First/Business class on a 777 and the Concorde.

There's obviously more to "productivity" than "presence", but for the sort of folks that are forking over that kind of money for a plane ticket, it's pretty important.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas

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