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Comment: Pepper-box firearms (Score 1) 846

by hengist (#40787129) Attached to: The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

You don't need to have plastic strong enough to withstand dozens or hundreds of firings, you need plastic strong enough to withstand one firing.

I can imagine 3D printing a shape with multiple one-shot barrels, adding some propellant, electrical detonator and a projectile to each barrel, then mounting the assembly on some kind of (probably 3D printed) grip. When all the barrels have been discharged, throw them away and mount another on the grip.

Comment: Re:If you want to improve STEM, let pros teach (Score 1) 561

by hengist (#40707795) Attached to: Obama Wants $1 Billion For "Master Teachers Corps"

I don't know what it's like in the US, but a while ago I looked at re-qualifying as a high school teacher in NZ (I also have a PhD, and have taught undergrad courses solo). I would only have had to do a one-year course, and there were scholarships available for the subjects I was looking at teaching. Granted, that is a whole (academic) year of bringing in less money than I am now, but it didn't seem too onerous to me.

Comment: Reading the commens here... (Score 1) 561

by hengist (#40707647) Attached to: Obama Wants $1 Billion For "Master Teachers Corps"

leads me to believe just one thing: the USA is buggered. They've gone so far down the road of partisan wankery, where no-one can ever admit they're wrong and anyone who thinks differently is an enemy, that they're incapable of doing anything.

Have another civil war and be done with. Just do the rest of the world a favour and leave us out of it.

Comment: FBI Destroying case? (Score 2) 292

by hengist (#40240645) Attached to: FBI Used FedEx To Sneak Dotcom's Hard Drives Out of NZ

While it's unlikely that any FBI agents would face charges of contempt of court, judges don't like being lied to, or having their orders ignored. Given the FBI's behaviour, I wouldn't be too surprised if the judge denied the extradition request solely on the basis of the actions of the FBI.

In short, the FBI are acting like arrogant bullies and they are going to destroy their own case.

Comment: Standing massed in unsecured areas (Score 3, Interesting) 255

by hengist (#39815001) Attached to: Terminal Mixup Implicates TSA Agents In LAX Smuggling Plot

as they stand massed in an unsecured part of a typical U.S. aiport.

And that is the biggest, most glaring, elephant-in-the-living-room hole in U.S. airport security. The last time I had the misfortune to go through Chicago O'Hare airport, there must have been 300 people packed into an area the size of a basketball court, all waiting to go through the TSA checkpoint. Never mind a nail bomb, the place was so packed that if someone had dropped a lit road flare, the panic and stampede would have caused casualties.

Not that I'm advocating dropping lit road flares in check-in lines, but if I can think of it, I'm sure someone else can.

Comment: Re:That is not what they do (Score 1) 232

by hengist (#39771077) Attached to: US Journalists Targeted By Pentagon Propaganda Contractors

The insurance system is still superior though because you are allowed to choose your level of risk, and there will always be a public system to fall back on for last resort for those that did not chose insurance. At worst you end up in the same situation you would have been in with a public health plan, government panels deciding who gets treatment.

And that post so beautifully embodies everything that is wrong with the USA that the author should receive an award for demonstrating just how inhumane a first-world country can become.

Comment: Stick with it (Score 2) 279

by hengist (#39605823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Budding Scientist?

People don't do advanced degrees like a PhD for the money (which isn't that great) or the recognition (which is hard to come by) but because they love the work.

Basically, if you love doing it, do it. If you hang in there, things will probably work out. If not, find something else to do with your life. A while ago I summed up in a blog post my thoughts on doing a PhD:

Just my $0.02.


+ - Do programming scientists over-reach?->

Submitted by hengist
hengist (71116) writes "In a follow-up to this earlier story, a software engineer and scientist argues that the reason there is such a gulf between the software produced by scientists and that produced by software engineers is because many scientists are going too far outside their area of expertise when they write software.

The article goes on to say that the reason this over-reaching occurs is because it is so easy to write code compared to other engineering activities, and because code often fails in ways that are not obvious."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:So... (Score 2, Interesting) 217

by hengist (#27250903) Attached to: Google's Information On DMCA Takedown Abuse

>DMCA notices are filed under penalty of perjury. Has anybody, ever, even a single case,
> been punished for filing a false takedown?

As I understand it, the perjury clause refers to the statement of the notifier that they
represent or are truly acting for the rights holder, not that what they claim is true. I
think that only requires a "good faith" belief that the material they wish taken down is

Comment: "I'm not going" comments (Score 1) 734

by hengist (#26446919) Attached to: Visitors To US Now Required To Register Online

OK, a lot of comments from people saying they're not going to the US, and a few comments poking fun at them.

Thing is, I seem to recall reading that foreign tourism in the US has been declining over the last few years. A year or two ago I read that Air New Zealand was planning on flying direct from Auckland to Vancouver, with the stated reason being so people did not have to go through the hassle of US customs and immigration en route!

Make fun of the "I'm not going" comments if you like, but it seems that people really aren't going to the US now.

Comment: Re:Birth rate (Score 1) 337

by hengist (#25537959) Attached to: Fictional Town "Eureka" To Become Real?

> This is pure fear mongering nonsense. The MMR vaccine is for diseases that doesn't do any of the above. Measels cause no real effects
> unless your child is immunocompromized, and has been eliminated in North America since 2002

The father of an ex-girlfriend of mine was deaf due a childhood bout of measles. This was before the measles vaccine was available, of course.

Measles still exists in other parts of the world, what happens if a carrier gets on a plane to the US, and people have stopped vaccinating?

Vaccines have nothing to do with autism. Absolutely nothing. There is absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either an idiot or a liar.

RAM wasn't built in a day.