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Comment: Re:Illogical (Score 4, Informative) 207 207

"We aren't scientists. We haven't done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause."

If you haven't done any experiments to prove how much damage WiFi can cause, then how do you know that your APs are safe?

More precisely: even if you accept that WiFi damages unborn children, how can you be sure that "pregnant women mode" reduces the danger in any meaningful way if you have not done any experiments?

Comment: Re:Equality (Score 1) 490 490

Maybe something's changed in CS. 30 years ago, it was probably more about research into computers. Now, almost everybody who is going into CS has no interest at all in doing computer research. They are mostly interested in doing software development. The entire field has changed focused. More than likely, if you take CS, you'll end up writing code for some thankless corporation who doesn't understand what code is and just wants to churn out stuff as fast as possible. 30 years ago, you'd be much more likely to end up working for NASA, Xerox PARC, IBM, or some other research focused company.

I think you are off by a decade at least. 1985 was just one year before I started college. The atmosphere was much like today but perhaps a bit more optimism. Small computers still fairly new and spreading rapidly. The field was hot. Research organizations were already on the wane. Business data processing ruled. Some things that were different:

1) The volatility of the the computer business was not yet clear. The first major white collar recession was 5 years in the future. The dot.bomb was 15 years out. CS seemed like a much safer choice than it does today.

2) Home computers were far from ubiquitous. Many people started college never having used one. Students taking computer classes mostly did their assignments in the lab, not on their own hardware. So it may have been more social than today.

I'm a little surprised by the 37% number though. It seemed much lower in 1986-1990. At least in computer/electrical engineering. Maybe CS had a better ratio but it has been too long to remember if the CS classes I took were different in the regard.

Comment: Homeopathy would not disappear (Score 1) 666 666

Lots of "medicine", especially at places like Whole Foods has this warning:

"*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration"
This product is intended to diagnoise, test, cure or prevent any disease"

At most that would happen is that homeopathy products would get a label similar to this. Doctors would not prescribe homeopathy but do they do that now anyway?

As for why anyone would be a product with this label: because lots of stuff has the label. Some of it is clearly nonsense but others are actually useful, just as not studdied with enough rigor to be labeled as medicine.

Comment: Molecular weight that matters, not atomic weight. (Score 2) 20 20

From TFA:

The next most abundant element in giant planet atmosphere is helium (four times heavier, per atom, than hydrogen). That means that these warm Neptunes would have proportionately a lot more helium than planets in our solar system, and in fact may have air that’s mostly helium!

But this is not the right math. Mono-atomic hydrogen is nearly a hypothetical construct. Under nearly all circumstances, hydrogen comes bound in pairs. H2: molecular weight of 2. This is still less than helium (atomic weight of 4), which is nearly always mono-atomic but it not a simple thing that helium stays because it is heavier.

Earth has plenty of hydrogen because it binds so readily with heavier elements. Methane (CH4) has molecular weight of 16. Water is 18. 4 is not enough. Earth's primordial helium escaped long ago. All the helium on earth now is due to alpha particles spit out from the radioactive decay of heavier elements.

Venus is thought to have lost its hydrogen due to intense solar radiation breaking apart complex molecules in the upper atmosphere, allowing the freed hydrogen to escape. It is an interesting balancing act to consider a planet where the radiation is strong enough to strip all the hydrogen from a Neptune size planet yet not strong enough to heat it enough for the helium to also escape.

Comment: Re:Where is my high speed LAN? (Score 3, Informative) 179 179

Where is my Thunderbolt high speed LAN network connection? 10G Ethernet is prohibitively expensive, this has 40GB built in. Why can't I use 10G or so of that to network?!

Because three meters (maximum length for Thunderbolt over copper) is kind of short for a network? Apparently you can get optical extenders that will do 30 meters but that doesn't sound like a way to save money.

Comment: Re:So, what's the plan? (Score 1) 63 63

Given that FPGAs are big, slow, and hot compared to equivalent logic built as a fixed function chip(but with the obvious benefit of not being fixed function), Altera FPGAs manufactured on the fanciest processes available seem like a fairly obvious product of the acquisition..

That was going to happen anyway. Atlera announced that they were going to manufacture on Intel's newest process back in 2013.

Comment: Re:Ultra Power Saving (Score 3, Insightful) 313 313

Seriously, under what circumstances will you be away from electricity power for more than two days? And that, without considering battery pakcs, a second battery or a portable solar charger...

1) Multi-day backpacking trip. Yes, you could carry extra extra battery, solar charger, etc. But, chances are these are space and weight are at a premium and those items may not make the cut. If one even remembers to bring them along.

2) Traveling to a foreign country where the requisite power adapters have not been acquired or failed to make it into the pack. Bonus for traveling through intermediate countries that have different plugs than your source or destination.

3) Shorter but busy trips where the charging just does not happen. (After a long day, arrive at hotel, go directly to bed. Wake up in the morning. Did I charge my phone? Oops. Oh, well. Gotta run.)

In some of these cases, there is no usable service anyway so you might as well turn the phone off. But I don't always remember to do this and my experience hiking is that it is very easy for me to accidentally turn the phone on and not notice if it still in my pocket.

And, of course, you need to be prepared for battery degradation. Most phones these days do not have replaceable batteries. I always cut the manufacturer's battery life in half when deciding whether it suits my needs.

Comment: Re:And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335 335

So let's say the world goes to hell in a handbasket... Civilization burned to the ground. Dog and cats living together, etc.

I hear this a lot from anti-gold people. Yes if the entire world civilization collapses and 98% of humans on earth die, then gold will be worthless. However I would point out that such a scenario has never happened in all of recorded history.

In all of recorded history up until somewhere about the 19th century, there were multiple essentially independent civilizations. It would take a staggering coincidence or a global physical catastrophe (like a dino asteroid) to take them all down at once. In the modern era there is just one civilization. Every place is interconnected with every other and becoming more so. A large enough, fast enough, regional catastrophe could bring everything down if the areas not directly affected can not replace what was lost quickly enough to keep their own machinery from grinding to a halt.

Further, modern technology has given us the means to create global catastrophes. We don't need to wait for the exceedingly rare natural global catastrophe.

Gold is a good hedge against economic chaos causing fiat currencies to lose value. But if the machinery actually stops, it is pretty worthless.

Comment: Re:How depressing (Score 1) 125 125

My suggestion is stop believing this crap "Old Grad", you're hardly old, and you're just as able as anyone to pursue this.

I doubt the OP is concerned about being unable. The concern is convincing a prospective employer. 'Been there, done that.

I graduated in 1990. After nearly 7 years of high effort, I finally landed my first engineering job in 1997. What I found is that, even well into the DotCom boom,it was very difficult to get traction. Customers understood experienced engineers. While the demand was less, they knew what to do with fresh grads too. They did not know what to do with or even want to spend the time on an "old grad", someone out of school several years but without relevant work experience. I took numerous extension classes. I carried around prototype board of a project Is working on and eventually go through to two firms at a job fair.

Hardware is harder nut to crack then software, of course but I also had a much more lively economy to work with and I was 7 years out, rather than 12. So, it is not obvious is the OP's task is more or less challenging than mine.

Comment: Re:Incompetent staff with no authority. (Score 2) 150 150

That's not hard to answer. Nobody wants to spend hours on the phone with somebody who:

  • Can't say anything that isn't on their script.
  • Has no authority to fix the problem even if they could understand it.

Modern call centres appear to be designed specifically to infuriate people by politely wasting their time without solving any problems.

No. No. No. The purpose of the modern call center is to "solve" customer problems in the most cost efficient manner. If the customer goes away and keeps paying without the company needing to spend resources to fix something, that is a good result. It gets even better if this can be accomplished while paying the customer service rep as little as possible.

It is, of course, a delicate balancing act. Go too cheap and you lose customers. Spend too much and it cuts into the bottom line. The robot training is an attempt to get more successful outcomes (continued customer revenue) without the excessive cost of actually solving problems. Keeping customers "happy" while you screw them is key.

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.