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Comment: The problem here is 'duh' journalism (Score 1) 299

by madfgurtbn (#36314540) Attached to: Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science

TFA is not being truthful about what the research is about. For example, the question of when to take the car keys away from an Alzheimer's patient is very critically important if you are a family member. Such research is attempting to find simple tests to determine if a neurologically impaired person is still fit to drive or not. It is not simply trying to find out if Alzheimer's patients drive worse than the general population.

Comment: Re:Undre Pressure (Score 3, Informative) 264

by madfgurtbn (#32700066) Attached to: BP Robot Seriously Hampers Oil Spill Containment

You could weld a valve onto the top, but if you try to close it, the pressure will seek relief elsewhere. If you get really, really lucky, it just blows out the weld and rejects the valve.

Actually, they are planning to put a "capping valve" at the top of the BOP soon, replacing the top hat thingy they have in place now. They are giving very serious consideration to unbolting the flange at the top of the BOP, then bolting a new riser on top.

Also, they are already collecting oil through from the side of the BOP, via the lines and manifold they were using for the top kill attempt, so even if they did seal the top of the BOP, there would still be some pressure relieved via those lines. However, since BP is not talking about shutting the top of the BOP, they must not believe there is enough pressure relief through the top kill manifold to ensure that the well casing won't fail.

Here's a quote from a recent conference call by BP:

"And then – and then in terms of the capping valve, I’ve always told you that we have three options that we’re working. That remains. The – we’re starting to favor the flange-to-flange connection. It brings some advantages in terms of its ability to hold back more pressure. In fact, we believe it has the potential to actually hold the full pressure of the well. However, its challenges are around installation and the teams have been working a lot on all of the different tools and equipment that would be required to do that."

Full transcript of the call is here.

Comment: Re:Price is expected to be (Score 5, Interesting) 189

by madfgurtbn (#28116059) Attached to: A Widescreen Laser Projector In Your Pocket

Dang, $200 would have been awesome.

It should get there, in a couple years. The reason it will be so expensive to start with is two new technologies in one: Scanning MEMS mirror which projects the image, and the green lasers inside, which have not been produced before.

Microvision has been waiting for green laser supplier for a long time. Corning has built a facility and is ramping up production of green lasers now.

When green lasers are available in quantities of millions, the laser projectors will be built into blackberries, iphones, digital cameras, etc.

Comment: Re:There's the question of IQ (Score 1) 386

by madfgurtbn (#28075183) Attached to: The Case For Working With Your Hands

And exposing students to a myriad of different skills is the best way. Take a semester of basic shop, cooking, auto mechanics. Offer courses in basic home repair, teach bicycle repair.

Sounds nice, but that isn't happening,for many reasons.

The core requirements of math, science, language arts, etc., have been increasing, so each student gets fewer elective slots--and the counselors will push them to use those electives to take foreign language or something else that's on the "college prep" list.

It costs FAR more to teach a section of home repair than it costs to teach, say, drama or creative writing. Hands-on learning requires more materials, more equipment, and a lot more space.

There is a major shortage of teachers in the areas you mention; industrial technology teachers are an endangered species, with new teachers being produced at a slower pace than retirements. Unlike many of the teachers in the building, the shop teacher could walk out the door any day and make more money the next day working in one of the trades s/he teaches.

 

Comment: Re:ITI's (Score 1) 386

by madfgurtbn (#28075035) Attached to: The Case For Working With Your Hands

You need to learn to crawl before you learn to walk. You would be shocked to see how little the typical middle school or HS student knows about using tools and working with materials.

The trade schools teach job-specific skills, and the secondary schools teach general skills. Also, the trade schools are begging for studnts because the secondary schools are not producing graduates who have an interest in the trades. It's not that students wouldn't like to learn the trades, they just have basically zero context or experience with hands on learning. The typical HS graduate has no idea the type of opportunities that are out there for someone who can fix a furnace or install power lines, etc.

Comment: Re:MS publicly stated this debt is to buy back sto (Score 1) 437

by madfgurtbn (#27927737) Attached to: Microsoft Raises $3.8B in Bond Sale

If you receive a dividend you have to pay income taxes on it. Buybacks increase your percentage ownership in the company, which increases share price (usually), and you only pay capital gains on the increase, and that only happens when you realize the gain. Buybacks are usually good for shareholders.

Microsoft had over 10B shares out a couple years ago and now has about 9B outtanding, if I remember right.

Comment: Re:One thing... (Score 1) 323

by madfgurtbn (#27015883) Attached to: Open Source In Public K-12 Schools?

Which is `generally better' doesn't matter, only which is better for the task at hand.

Which is exactly my point. The OP is, apparently, lobbying legislaors to mandate migration to FOSS. The post I was responding to said that the argument shoudl be that FOSS is better. I argue that it is not.

Additionally, it is not possible for schools to switch en masse to FOSS because they need many proprietary apps and an OS which will run them.

Comment: Re:One thing... (Score 2, Interesting) 323

by madfgurtbn (#27014835) Attached to: Open Source In Public K-12 Schools?

One thing you really need to make sure, is that the teachers know that OSS is better.

The problem with that is that OSS overall is not better for the average teacher or student. Some apps are better, some tools are better, but it is not true generally that OSS is better.

The OP isn't clear, but from teh use of the words "switching to OSS" it seems that the topic is about legislating a full or close to full migration to OSS. That's a Very Bad Idea.

Besides being political folly, and educationally inappropriate in many instances, it is currently not possible for a school district to "switch to" OSS. It is certainly possible for specific labs or certain departments to infuse OSS into their technology plan, but at this time it is just not possible to do without proprietary apps or OS.

Comment: Re:Apps! (Score 1) 476

by madfgurtbn (#26426273) Attached to: How Microsoft Beats GNU/Linux In Schools

I'm sure the majority of them aren't very complex apps, and the learning material could be easily put together (perhaps with bounties for completing modules, it'd be a nice alternative source of income for teachers).

This is just not true. You have to remember that even a small district teaches everything from auto shop to Cisco Networking to Graphic Arts to CNC Machining, CAD, Animation, and on and on and on. There is no way that a district could do without Microsoft Windows. It is impossible at this time. You could replace a lot of school computers with Macs, but not all. You could probaby not replace more than 10% with Linux.

Yes there are a lot of machines sitting in libraries that are used for little more than typing and webcrawling, but they are the exception, not the rule. Computer teaching labs are loaded with apps for many different academic disciplines and those labs are often booked through the day.

Until Linux can run every app that Windows can run, it will not replace Windows in any insitution of any complexity. Munich has proven that.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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