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Comment: This misses two of the biggest developer problems: (Score 2) 71

by jeffb (2.718) (#47510173) Attached to: Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

1) Arrogance. You know that average developers have a hard time with some kinds of code, but you're a superprogrammer, and you don't have those problems. If someone decides later that there's something wrong with your code, well, they should've gotten their requirements straightened out before they told you to go and build it. The only time you lose your cool is when you have to deal with idiot managers, analysts, or users.

1) Complacency. You've been pounding on this code forever, and you just don't care any more. Yeah, there'll be bugs, people will yell, they'll get fixed. That's just the way development goes. Why get worked up about it?

Comment: I've got a similar idea in the works... (Score 4, Insightful) 47

by jeffb (2.718) (#47507813) Attached to: AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

It's a receiver to detect the EM signature from the onboard electronics of a Prius.

See, I've heard that it's possible for a Prius driver to run over kids who are playing in the street. So I've designed this receiver that fits into a kiddy backpack, and sounds an alarm when there's a Prius nearby. That way, when my kids are playing in the street and a Prius approaches, they'll hear the alarm. I guess then they can get out of the street, but what I'm really looking for is a way to ban Priuses from driving on my street. After all, I'm a responsible parent who's keenly aware of the dangers Priuses pose to kids who play in the street.

Comment: And if you're in the vast FIOS-free zones... (Score 2) 228

by jeffb (2.718) (#47502683) Attached to: Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads'll be upgraded to pound sand with both hands.

North Carolina was promised FIOS "real soon now" for years. At this point, it's pretty clear that if you don't already have it, you won't be getting it. Google blimps, drones, and sewer lines will bring us high-speed broadband long before Verizon significantly extends their buildout.

Comment: Re:Negative mass is weird (Score 1) 214

by jeffb (2.718) (#47475641) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Okay, as long as I've got you on the line... :)

What's supposed to happen when negative and positive mass collide?

If I throw a tennis ball at a wall, it bounces off (and the wall recoils imperceptibly). If I throw a negative tennis ball at a wall -- or throw it away, causing it to move toward the wall, whatever -- what happens when it hits? It seems like it would try to "recoil" in the same direction it was traveling, maybe even giving the wall a "tug" instead of a "push" when it hit. But it can't move forward, because presumably negative and positive matter can't simply interpenetrate -- or can they?

Gaah, so many microscopic/macroscopic behavior assumption violations...

Comment: Re:Negative mass- not antimatter, but odd (Score 1) 214

by jeffb (2.718) (#47475239) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Negative mass is very diferent from antimatter. Antimatter is opposite to normal matter in charge and quantum numbers (such as baryon number, etc.), but still has positive mass.

Negative mass reacts oppositely to both gravity and intertia. Oddly, that means that negative mass still falls down in a gravitational field: The gravitational force is opposite, but negative mass responds negatively to force (a=F/m, where both F and m are negative). So negative mass particles repel each other gravitationally, but are attracted to positive mass objects.

Trying my best to ignore my intuition, which is heavily biased toward "all mass is positive":

A negative mass would fall down in a gravitational field (generated by a positive mass) -- it would experience a force directed away from the positive mass, and it would respond to that force by moving toward the positive mass.

However, the negative mass would repel the positive mass gravitationally -- effectively, exert a force directed away from itself -- correct?

It seems to me that if you had two equal but opposite masses in freefall, the negative mass would accelerate toward the positive, the positive would accelerate away from the negative, and the negative mass would chase the positive mass off the edge of the universe at constant acceleration.

It also seems like two negative masses would repel each other (exert a force directed away from each other), but respond to that repulsion by accelerating toward each other.

What am I missing?

Comment: Re:Boron? (Score 4, Funny) 39

by jeffb (2.718) (#47449939) Attached to: Chemists Build First "Buckyball" Made of Boron

Step 1: Build buckyball model out of wooden skewers and string.

Step 2: Wrap skewers in raw bacon.

Step 3: Microwave.

Step 4: Post to YouTube.

Step 5: Profit!

(Note to whoever actually tries this: Depending on the scale of your model, some of the bacon loops may resonantly couple with the field in your microwave oven. Don't be surprised at arcs and flames. Please don't skip Step 4.)

Comment: Re:Useless coins (Score 2) 750

by jeffb (2.718) (#47446335) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

No, "issued for circulation" means the Mint sends them to the Fed for distribution -- so they can be spent, given out as change, and so forth. The last few years of dollar coins haven't been issued for circulation. Yes, they're still legal tender, but since you have to pay more than face value to get them, it's kind of dumb to spend them.

Kennedy halves haven't been issued for circulation in years, either, but you'll still find recent-date ones in rolls occasionally. People inherit or steal them, don't care about collectable value, and just spend the coins or turn them in at the bank.

State quarters (and now America The Beautiful national park quarters) are issued for circulation -- at least, the ones minted in Philadelphia and Denver.

Comment: Re:Useless coins (Score 1) 750

by jeffb (2.718) (#47445873) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Yeah, I think it's time for a full reset on our cash denominations. Knock out the cent and nickel (each one costs more than its face value to produce). Make dimes and half-dollars of the same general size and shape as today's cent and nickel. Make dollar coins like today's dime, and bring back the "eagles" -- quarter-eagle ($2.50), half-eagle ($5), eagle ($10), and double eagle ($20). Heck, you could even reinstate the half-union and union ($50 and $100), which never made it into circulation during the original 1850's gold rush.

But this will never happen. There's too much inertia around our current system, and by the time inflation trivializes all current denominations, the "cashless society" folks will most likely have won. Maybe the black and grey markets will go over to true hard currency, the silver and gold that's currently the domain of collectors and doomsayers.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27