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Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 3, Interesting) 206

Even most physicists don't understand Feynman's point that QM is called "mechanics" for a reason: it's a set of mechanical rules for getting the right answer. It tells you nothing about how the universe operates behind the scenes so as to produce the same answer as QM. Feynman's little easy-to-understand book on QED should be read by everyone who thinks that QM is more than a tool for performing calculations. (And read Tegmark's book for an example of what happens when an intelligent person reads meaning into QM.)

Regarding the actual article: at first sight, this looks like a great experimental verification of something that no one (as far as I know) doubted; but it's always good to confirm another prediction of QM that appears bizarre to us.

Comment I live in San Jose if anyone wants some opinion (Score 2, Interesting) 258

I grew up here, I can explain why the city council is seeking this.

A few years back the city implemented huge cuts to it's police department in salary and benefits. Before the cuts, we had 1400 officers (not bad for a city of a million people) After the cuts our police has dropped as low as 700 officers.

With a reduction in the number of officers we have, bay area criminals have taken it as a "Vacancy" sign to do business here. Every type of crime has shot up. Violent crimes, we're a magnet for package theft, prostitution runs rampant, with one spot having as many as 50 girls walking one particular street corner, and car theft.

San Jose just voted to restore some of the pay last week, but it still won't be anywhere near 2010 levels. Cops continue to leave.

So now San Jose is in a situation of having to make due with what they have. Cops won't even consider this place for a job any more. Since they can't get another 700 officers to replace the ones lost, they're leveraging technology to fill the gap. Myself, and many other residents welcome any effort to clean up the streets.

Comment Could someone ELI5 how Macbooks retain value? (Score 2) 434

There was a time I understood this during the PPC era of mac, but now that macs run on commodity, non specialized CISC based x86, I have no idea why they retain their value. A lot of PC makers are starting to make machines that look *almost* as nice as a MBP. My HP Envy Beats laptops have a nice aluminum case.

Comment Evolution's response to food scarcity? (Score 2) 90

I always figured "fat" triggered the sweet sense, but this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. A primitive creature has to deal with food scarcity, and that means when you find something to eat, you have to make a quick decision on whether this food is going to be nutritious. Sweet tastes are full of glucose/fructose, that provide quick pick-me-up energy. Bitter and sour are good for detecting spoiled food, if eating this thing is going to make you sick. Salty and umami are like a measure of, will this food provide the vitamins that the body needs? Many cellular functions require salts (Sodium, Potassium, etc).

So, a sense of "fatty" gives a fast feedback to the brain that the food will give long-lasting energy. I say fast, because a sense on the tongue is faster than eating and waiting for the digestive system to break down the material, then have the stomach give a signal that the food was good to eat. I've heard that its about 20 minutes for the brain to catch up to the "stomach is full" sense, so digestion sense is not quick. So when you are hungry and something is in front of you, your body needs a fast sense that the food is good to eat, so eat lots of it now.

Comment Re:Adult Diagnosis (Score 2) 131

My now-5-year-old son was also diagnosed as a high functioning autistic, and both me and my wife have many of the traits, with regards to social anxiety and language delays as youths, but neither diagnosed. Born 3 weeks premature, he was always on a track for monitoring. At age 2, he spoke about 10 words, was touch sensitive (hated anything loud or sticky), and got the diagnosis then. I myself was in denial for a while, thinking why did it have to happen to him, he's just a little behind, it will come. I had the same perspective, that every little accomplishment meant the condition was over. But as time went on, it didn't. At age 3, he qualified for our school district's Intermediate Unit, and began pre-school classes 4 days a week.

He will "grow out of it" by constant reinforcement and occupational training, both in school and at home. If you assume it will go away on its own, you are doing a disservice to your child. Find the things that he likes, and use it as a example to teach social skills. Remain calm, because he doesn't know why he does things either. It's a constant battle, where every waking hour of the day is reinforcing "good choices" and being mindful of other people's perspectives and feelings.

Is there a maturity factor, the "growing out of it"? Probably some percent. I wonder all the time, was he inattentive because he's just a 4-year-old boy? No one is born with social skills, so is it my fault? Was I the bad teacher? We recognized that my son wasn't developing eye contact skills, and my wife and I were indirectly enabling this behavior -- he would shout a question across the room, and we would answer it without requiring facial contact. Once we recognized this, we created a plan and broke him of the habit ("I'm sorry, I can't see your eyes . . ."). I wouldn't need to worry about this with my nephews, but my son didn't have that instinct for facial confirmation.

Today at 5 years old, I can't get him to shut up. He is constantly asking questions, and is what anyone would now recognize as an over-average-intelligence child. He is reading at a 2nd grade level, knows basic multiplication, adds and subtracts up to thousands in English, and counts to 100 in Spanish. He loves playing as the "GPS" when we drive, telling us what roads are coming up next and reading every sign.

You are a good parent just by recognizing there's an issue. If this disease really is genetic like current research is showing, there's nothing anyone could have done to prevent it, it's all dependent on how we respond to it. And whether you get a diagnosis for yourself or not isn't a reflection on your parents, it's just your own "medical state". But ask yourself, what can you do with that information? We refuse to let autism be a crutch to excuse away bad behavior for our son. If you have it, or I have it, how can we focus our efforts more productively? If you feel like you have social anxiety, maybe you can push yourself into uncomfortable or unusual situations to (as I was told) "flex those social muscles". The more you practice it, the better you will get. Then it really doesn't matter what the diagnosis could have been at the end of the day, because that doesn't have to be you today.

Comment Flash, Flex won't die... (Score 1) 283

I worked for this company for a spell. It was a shit company, and a really shit product. Somehow the CTO has convinced Board rooms around the world that the flex client is the most secure thing ever, and every time some flash vulnerability was announced, he could always dance his way around it.

Point being that as long as those in positions of power can be convinced it's a needed evil, it will be a used evil.

Comment Russian Space Agency Hand Waving (Score 1) 307

I'll start this comment by stating up front that a SpaceX fan.

Now with that said, imagine you're in the Russian space industry... Falcon9 / Dragon / DragonRider/ CST100 represent serious competition. At a time when the Russian economy could best be described as struggling, the last thing it needs is for SpaceX to start gobbling up the lucrative ISS lift slots. Yes, I know congress just recently decided to keep funding sending astronauts via Soyuz. However, in the longrun, once Dragon{9,Rider} prove themselves, that source of funding dries up...

Ask this question... Once SpaceX has a fully operational DragonRider... how much does that cost per seat? Would the Russian government in the face of financial short comings come to the conclusion it's cheaper to spend US $20M to send a Cosmonaut to the ISS on a SpaceX rocket instead of the cost for a whole Soyuz?

Comment Shadow IT, aka the computer under the desk (Score 1) 583

Stay inside the IT framework, no matter how dysfunctional it is.

I did this in 1999, told my new boss to just get me a spare PC and I could handle the morning report printout ourselves. Want a change? Done in minutes, not months. Those web postings? Simple, couple lines of VBA to FTP. Another report? Sure. The Access database can manage all those mapping locally outside of Oracle. Corporate goal calculations? Err, why not. Daily compliance reports? Ok... Just give me admin on a SQL Server and I'll manage the tables...

Then it broke on vacation, so I had to modem in from FL. I became tied to this beast as the sole programmer supporting a dept of 8 people. I never got a budget for hardware upgrades, never got awards or credit for project management, since this thing was off the books. It took 7 FTEs to rewrite the mess after personal life & management changes in 2009.

In retrospect, I should have let IT do it and played the beurocracy. It would have made me happier in the long run.

Comment Re:Too bad to see them go this way... (Score 1) 167

Yes; as you say, in the 2002--2004 timeframe they were great. My experience was that it all started to fall apart when 64-bit machines came along. For a year or more Mandrake's 64-bit repositories were full of broken packages that simply would not install. I kept with them as long as I could, through the change to Mandriva, but nothing seemed to improve very much so I eventually switched the up-and-coming shininess that was *buntu. Which was great for a few years, before their quality control went the same way as Mandrake's had done :-(

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