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Comment: economics (Score 2) 78

by fermion (#49538455) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
My suspicion with these so-called African landfills, or anywhere, is where is the economics of transporting heavy waste ten thousand miles just to dump it. yes, the US and European laws make dumping it a home expensive, but just to dump it elsewhere for the kid to play in? Does not seem to add up. Transporting it to be used for a few years and them dumping it, that makes sense. That still has the problem of concentrating toxic waste in places where there are not good regulations to protect the populous, but that is a different issue.

Comment: Re:Pirating: it's the better product. (Score 1) 362

by fermion (#49538365) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users
This is why I do not buy DRM videos from anyone. At some point something will happen where you can't play them. The music is OK because it was never particularly hard to remove the DRM.

That said, the same thing can happen to pirated content. You hard disk can crash, the file can corrupt, the content can be taken down. If you have good backups you are ok, but in my experience backing up terabytes worth of content is non trivial.

It is convenient have your licensed content on the cloud. It off course is a trade off.

Comment: Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 1) 320

by fermion (#49498205) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal
Most guilty people will immediately try to become the victim. Ignore the fact that I convince gullible people to buy junk that at best is useless and at worst will harm them. Ignore the fact that I use my medical degree to trick people. Look at the big bad corporation over here that wants to attack me. Ignore the fact that I am in the arms of a big bad corporation that airs my tv show and wants rating no matter what.

My problem with Dr. Oz is not that he appears to be a unethical charletan that will prostitute himself to any snake oil salesman who asks. My problem is, n the few shows I have seen, is that he actively is teaching his audience bad science. This is not surprising as doctors are not scientists. For instance, there was one show on fat where his depiction of fat was completely inaccurate. The demonstration was there to be visually exciting, but at the expense of any real science. I can imagine the people who saw it going to their doctor and arguing a point, thinking Dr. Oz is right, and their doctor is wrong.

It is entertainment. I agree that persons who are fundamentally entertainers and not seriously committed to medicine should probably not be the medical staff.

Comment: Re:Smug Alert (Score 1) 290

My concern is that we might see a rise in muggings again. Like those white cords coming out of your ears that marked the wearer as a victim, we might see that a wearer or a the distinctive watch is a victim.

Of course it will be a while before many people have a watch. Those who ordered in the first couple minutes will get it before May. Those who ordered in the first hour may get it by mid may. ten hours after the watch was on sale the shipment date was almost the end of June.

So will we see retail sales for the watch before the end of summer? I think for the Watch Edition and other Watch that are far north of $100.

It is interesting that most Watch sold are Sports model. Buying an expensive Watch now seems really silly. Spending $500 is smug and borderline senseless. This is not a device one is going to use for a generation. In the next two years the Watch that one might keep for a couple years will be on the market. One has to admit the electronics for this Watch is going to seem obsolete in 6 months. And you won't even be able to go the pawn shop and sell the gold for gold.

Comment: Re:Seems expensive for sure... (Score 1) 108

by fermion (#49447485) Attached to: ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.sucks gTLD Rollout
I don't see why legitimate companies would want to own this TLD. Let is go to people who want to attack the company online. If you have a good product your customers are not going to be overwhelmed by the negative reviews on a site that that has the sole purpose to be negative. New customers are going to see negative reviews, on a site that is intended to be negative, but again if the product is good they will also see other reviews elsewhere

The only thing a .sucks is going to do is provide a platform for negative opinions. It will not necessarily be a popular or dominant platform. The exception might be organizations that are not really flexible enough to handle criticism. So Scientology and many other religions, most politicians, and Coca Cola will probably have to buy the domains, but $2500 is not a huge expense for them.

This is speculation and some will profit but I suspect it will not be a long term thing. It is like when the domains names cost huge amounts of money and people spent huge amounts of money buying them up hoping to resell. Some people made a lot of money, but I suspect most did not.

Comment: Re:Crossed lines (Score 1) 166

by fermion (#49419711) Attached to: The Arrival of Man-Made Earthquakes
The science on this is good. The lawyers will eventually get payments and may make the cost of current water disposal prohibitively expensive. That is not going to stop the earthquakes in Oklahoma because Oklahoma does not have a diverse vibrant economy, so voters, in general, are not going to ask officials to stop water disposal or fracking.

Compare this to Texas where local bans are in place and it is only oil industry bribes at the state level that keeps fracking.

Comment: lots of history (Score 1) 167

I have not been in New Mexico when the Trinity site has been open. I need to just fly out for the weekend and see it one day...

However, I have been to The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque(where bugs bunny always goes). It is a nice museum, apparently on a tight budget, with many interesting planes. They usually have a good traveling exhibit.

109 East Place is a good book on the secret site in Los Alamos. It was so secret that all communication and travel when through 109 East Place in Santa Fe.

Comment: Re:What's really behind this hue and cry? (Score 2) 421

by fermion (#49409771) Attached to: Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States
Do not underestimate the religious wackos that have been elected to state government over the past few election cycles. Their fear that someone might be having fun somewhere cannot ever be discounted as a cause.

That said commercial interests are often combined intricately with religious desires to dictate how people live. In many states alcohol sales are overly regulated to insure that states and the corrupt religious organization that engage with them in defrauding the public of funds through the regulation. In such states powered alcohol could lead to reduction in power of these corrupt officials.

That said, I fail to see the legitimate market value of this product. If I go on an outing, and want to take booze, I have a flask, as for most people it does not take much to get tipsy. I even have a one shot key chain flask. If I to on the river, I have a six pack in the water to stay cool.

I do see a case where governments weigh the benefits of this product to the costs. The costs being the ability to sneak alcohol into where it is prohibited, the ability for children to drink, and the ease of not properly diluting it making it easier to drink enough to cause death. Some of these are clearly religious issues, but other of these are valid public health issues.

Comment: Re:no problems w/o it (Score 1) 394

by fermion (#49394081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Living Without Social Media In 2015?
The only reason that anyone has a Facebook account is to spy on their kids. Last time I mentioned Facebook around a bunch of teens, they all said no had Facebook anymore, or at least did not use it. Look how quickly Myspace became something kids did in middle school, but not high school because it wasn't cool.

I think for people 20-40, Facebook is still a pretty big force. We see that people in college are still embarrassing themselves on Facebook. I agree that the college students should get punished for what they do on facebook, not because of the content, but because they were dumb enough to think that putting it on facebook was a good decision. I suppose I think it is a good way to be social, which is of course a code word for lots of sex. In reality every new group of adults is going to redefine what social means for them, and it will be a little different than the group before them.

I have seen Linkin, OTOH, be useful for some of my friends in terms of professional contacts. Business tends to move much more slowly, so something stodgy is still of benefit.

Comment: Re:Sure (Score 4, Interesting) 172

This is the nature of science, which in many respect only fully matured at beginning of the 20th century when all this was happening. It depends on observation, and without observation all one has is religion.

Here is what is now thought when science is done. An observation is made. If we take Galileo as an example, he observed bones in animals. Then We make a mathematical model. In that case it was the relationship between mass the bone volume that was needed to support the mass. Then we make testable predictions based on that model, Galileo made the prediction that Giants do not exist, which is true, and could not have existed, which is one of the things that made the Church mad.

Relativity and Quantum mechanics both depend heavily on the mathematical model to make predictions on things that are not part of our everyday experience. This is different from classical physics where the mathematical models were based on things that most people observe. Classical physics is a ball falling and bouncing off the floor or light refracting through a prism. Quantum mechanics is a ball tunneling through the floor or light refracting around a galaxy. What I find interesting is that people take Relativity at face value and have a problem with Quantum Mechanics. It is true that we see a limit in velocity in the macroscopic world, but that has to do with friction, not relativity. There is nothing in our experience that says we cannot go as fast as we have the energy to accelerate. Certainly our mass does not increase if we are traveling at 80 miles and hour in a car instead of 30 miles an hour.

OTOH, our experience does tell us that second and third hand information is unreliable, and we are often better off making direct observations if possible. Are we just going to let some stranger bury our cat on the statement the cat fell off the roof and died? No, we want to see the cat, and until we do we hope the cat is alive, but there is chance the cat is dead. Is it both? No, it is uncertain, which is the key thing that people do not learn about science. Uncertainty.

In Quantum Mechanics this is called a wave function, and the cat is in a superposition of wave functions that represent all possible states. The wave function collapses when we make an observation.

Here is another interesting thing. Quantum Mechanics came about to a problem with infinity. Relativity never solved it's problem with infinity, at least not completely, and when combined with Quantum Mechanics develops more infinities. This is what does not make sense.

Comment: Re:But Natalie Portman IS a horrible acress. (Score 1) 360

by fermion (#49383479) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars
Mark Hamill kind of screwed his career with his accident. If not for Star Wars he may not have worked again. As it is, he is a freak on a third rate superhero show.

One has to assume that Carrie Fisher might have had more a career if not for her mental health and drug issues.

Alec Guinness of course was only doing it for his pension.

Everyone is prequel who was not already an established commodity was crap. I do not blame the actors, it is just that there was no way to do a good job with such a script. When you can't even get the comic relief right, there is little hope for anything else.

Natalie Portman is a working actor. She works on her own terms, and does not appear to want anything else. She has a movie every year. She seems to like to act. There is nothing wrong with that.

And with a degree from Harvard College she is a good role model.

Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 2) 397

by fermion (#49379881) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
Science we know it is only a few hundred years old. Science, as can be taught to the average kid in an advanced manner, is not much more than a century old. In my lifetime we have gone from teaching Calculus in High School to a gifted few, to, in some places, teaching it to as many people as we can.

When I read this article this is what I saw. A traditionalist complaining that we don't teach kids arbitrary ancient skiils, like drawn up handwriting, or going to the library, finding a physical book, and looking up some factoid.

I know a lot of people over 40 who cannot use the computer. They are skilled, but never were taught how to learn new skills. This is what STEM education offers over what many see as a classical education.

It is not that classical education does not offer critical thinking, it is that we need to integrate critical thinking with the machinery that runs our civilization. A lawyer who is going to be successful cannot just have read the classics. A lawyer like that will probably be replaced by a machine in my lifetime.

When I was in school, parents were told that a pre-engineering program was not just for engineers. I was a holistic program that would give kids the background to succeed. We could write an essay, we could write fiction, we could write technical reports, we could program a computer, we could draw a schematic.

The only people who are going to value a pure humanities education over one that stresses science and math are those who are afraid where the world is going.

Comment: Re:Call me an old guy with a short attention span (Score 2) 87

by fermion (#49378551) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC
"I think I will go to class today, I need the sleep"

Do kids still wear this T-Shirt in college?

Most MOOC have a big problem. They don't educate a different kind of student. They educate the same highly motivated student. The only benefit is that student may not be able to afford a traditional college, or be able to read at a level required for college. It is a real benefit, but the nirvana.

Codeschool does a good job leveraging the strengths of the computer and targeting learning to those who were raised playing video games. Learning for non-traditional students involves active learning, not watching a guy on video.

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