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Comment: What classes do you take? (Score 4, Interesting) 389

by trout007 (#47918893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

What does a Liberal Arts Degree mean these days? There used to be a traditional Liberal Arts education that included theology, grammar, reasoning, rhetoric, philosophy, arithmetic,logic, geometry, music, astronomy, etc. I could see how taking these as formal courses would help someones critical thinking. But how many people with LA degrees have mastered these?

Comment: Re:Another building full of robots? (Score 1) 157

by trout007 (#47823769) Attached to: Reno Selected For Tesla Motors Battery Factory

This is a result of artificially low interest rates. Any time you build manufacturing capability you need to do a cost/benefit analysis of how much to automate. I've done this analysis in the past when I worked for an automation house. The main factors are the local cost of labor and the interest rates. In times where interest rates were high (I have lived long enough to see this) and there was high unemployment so people would accept a lower wage it always made sense to hire more people than machines. The reason is a person is productive on an assembly line after a relatively short training period where it takes a while to design, manufacture, test, and install production equipment. The equipment is also a large capital investment and when interest rates are high you can sometimes get a better return just sitting on the cash or not borrowing it in the first place.

When times are good and there is low unemployment and interest rates it makes sense to more fully automate.

If we would let the market set interest rates the pace of automation would be naturally limited.

Comment: What is safe? (Score 1) 200

by trout007 (#47823739) Attached to: Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

You are right. The ignorance of many people on the subject of radioactivity is amazing. I don't know why, maybe because nuclear seems magical. But the radiation produced by an isotope is inversely proportional to the half life. People complain about nuclear waste that will be radioactive for a million years. Sure but that stuff is pretty safe because of that long half life it doesn't produce much radiation. It's the short lived isotopes that are really dangerous because of the amount of radiation they put out. Luckily you don't have to keep them long until they decay to safe levels. It's the stuff right in the middle with half lives in the 10-100 year range. They are radioactive enough to be a health concern but also take a long enough time to decay. Of course the type and energy level of the radiation needs to be factored in as well.

Comment: Re:demography & culture (Score 1) 579

by trout007 (#47784459) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

That seems to reinforce my theory on lack of women in STEM. People look at STEM and think this is where the smartest people go. Not entirely true. The people in STEM are smart BUT they are also are not typically social. I don't mean they don't get along with people but that isn't their priority. The work is the priority and working with other people interested in the work is fine.

What the really smart people that are social do are become entrepreneurs, politicians, doctors, and lawyers. Since women will tend to be more social I think that is the reason you don't find as many in STEM. Not only do they have to be smart but not focused on social aspects. Most of the female engineers that I've worked with that actually like engineering tend to act more like a stereotypical engineer. Focus on the work and not on the social aspects. They are nice people but there focus isn't on making you like them but getting the job done.

Comment: Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (Score 1) 110

by trout007 (#47770315) Attached to: CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

I don't see it as wrong. This is how all technology gets developed. Early adopters pay for the tech and those that wait get the benefits. You can get the latest phone for several hundred dollars or get one 4 years old for a tiny fraction of that. Same with car tech. Every little standard feature on an econobox started as optional equipment on luxury models.

It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln