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Comment Re:How I stopped hating tax and learned to love it (Score 1) 384

While overall this seems reasonable there is still the question of how the government proportions the money that it gives back? Does everyone get x/population dollars back? Is it based on how much people paid in taxes for dirty energy (which I think negates all benefits)? Does it get redistributed proportionate to income? Or inversely proportionate to income? In all cases you are going to have people complaining about it being unfair (for some definition of unfair).

The other issue is that unless all countries do the same it will just drive energy consumption from places which charge these tax-like-things to places that don't charge these tax like things. From a global CO2 level perspective it doesn't matter where it comes from, its all equally bad. (Generic pollution isn't as global, but it does have a non-trivial global component.)

Taxes should be about raising revenue. They should NOT be a mechanism for societal engineering because the people writing tax laws are simply not smart enough.

The only solution that I see is to 1) identify the carbon/pollution cost of a product, 2) charge a tax/fee for that amount when the product is sold, 3) uses the revenue to clean up pollution or capture carbon. Were we to start small (i.e. the fee charged represented the cost to clean up a fraction of a percent of the environmental cost) and slowly ramp up from there, we might be able to slowly disincentive pollution instead of just off shoring it.

Comment Re:C++ on an MCU? (Score 1) 677

Many of the issues that people have with using C++ on embedded systems are bunk. Here [1] is a recent discussion about C++ on embedded systems. Specifically to your point about C++ being too bloated [2] argues that the language itself isn't really.
[1] http://app.content.ubmtechelec...

Comment Depends on what field you go into (Score 1) 656

Honestly diffirential equations probably isn't the most important skill for a Comp Sci graduate to have. Outside of specific applications you'll probably never use it again. I never have. I wouldn't discount all higher math though. Most algebra related classes (discrete algebra, linear algebra) definately have applications and if you don't understant those you'll probably suffer for it. Just suck it up and deal with it. The system isn't about teaching you useful skills. The system is about proving that you can jump though hoops.

Submission + - Opportunity Breaks NASA's 40-Year Roving Record (

astroengine writes: After nine years of hard Mars roving, Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity has broken a 40-year-old extraterrestrial distance record. On Thursday, the tenacious six-wheeled robot drove 80 meters (263 feet), nudging the total distance traveled since landing on the red planet in 2004 to 35.760 kilometers (22.220 miles). NASA’s previous distance record was held by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt when, in December 1972, they drove their Lunar Roving Vehicle 35.744 kilometers (22.210 miles) over the lunar surface. Although it's broken the NASA distance record, it hasn't surpassed the international record, yet. The Soviet Lunokhod 2 remote-controlled moon rover roved 37 kilometers (23 miles) across the lunar surface and, so far, remains the undisputed champion of distance driving on an extraterrestrial surface.

Submission + - Electrical Brain Stimulation Improves Math Skills (

ewolfson writes: Dinner is over, and the waiter is handing over the bills to everyone when the collective tension sets in... how much do we tip? Math can trigger anxiety in adults and kids, but now scientists at Oxford University have developed a way to flip a switch and turn a normal person's brain into a math machine. They found painless, electrical brain stimulation in combination with easy number exercises can significantly improve math ability.

Submission + - DynDNS further reduces free options

ender8282 writes: DynDNS is further reducing their free offering. Emails and their community support page inform users of the change:

Starting now, if you would like to maintain your free Dyn account, you must log into your account once a month. Failure to do so will result in expiration and loss of your hostname.

The good news is that they are offering a discount ($10 for the first year of Dyn Pro). The bad news is that next year the price will probably jump up to the standard $25/year.


Submission + - TI-84+C-Silver Edition: That C stands for Color! (

skade88 writes: Do you remember those large TI-8X line of calculators with a BW display from when you were growing up and learning all about math? Yeah well, you can still get them because TI has yet to update or change their line of TI-8X calculators from their 96x64 display, processors designed in the 1980s with just a few kilobytes of user accessible memory. They still cost in the $100.00 to $150.00 range.

Even XKCD made a great comic on this issue... a while ago.

That is all about to change now that the TI-8X line of calculators is 22 years old. Their new TI-84+C-Silver edition will come with a 320x240 16-bit color display, 3.5MB of flash ROM, and 21KB of RAM. I am going to dust off my graphics programming skills from 1994 and see what fun stuff I can make on this puppy!

Ars has a good preview of the device along with speculation on why it took so so so very long for TI to finally bring calculators up to a level of technology that could have been delivered a decade ago.

Comment Re:I'd like to see more of this (Score 5, Funny) 139

Oooh, Oooh how about 3 strikes. The media companies love it so much; what if they got 3 strikes? If they issue 3 DMCA take down requests that get overturned as failing to consider fair use, they loose the right to issue take down requests.

I predict that a fraction of a second after such a law took affect most companies' bots would issue bad requests. A few months later the courts would rule that 3 of them were in valid, and all of big name rights owners would loose the right to issue take down notices. Then the word becomes a better place and I can watch the Curiosity landing!

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"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354