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Comment: Re:HP Calculators (Score 1) 674

by mark_reh (#46794301) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

The idea is good, but designing a reliable keyboard is the hardest part of the project. I don't think anyone has ever made a keyboard as reliable as the ones in the HP calculators. Maybe you can hunt down the engineer(s) who designed the HP keyboards from the 80s and get them to work on your project, if they're still alive.

I use RealCalc on my phone and it does a good job of emulating an HP calculator. These days I rarely use the scientific or trig functions.

Comment: My Soundcraftsmen PM-860 amplifier (Score 1) 674

by mark_reh (#46789737) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

200W/ch of bullet-proof audio. I loaded it with everything from ribbons to electrostatics and it has never faltered. I got it new in the mid 80s and it's still going strong.

My Squeezebox 3 music player has been working perfectly for the last 8 years, and even the VFD, which I had expected to last 2 years based on experience with VFDs in VCRs, is still perfect.

Comment: If the NSA doesn't like Tails they will target it. (Score 1) 170

by mark_reh (#46765259) Attached to: Snowden Used the Linux Distro Designed For Internet Anonymity

They will put developers to work on the open source code who will "accidentally" insert bugs that open holes in the security -like the hole that was recently discovered in https. Tails may have been a problem for them in the past, but with the NSA's nearly infinite budget it seems unlikely that Tails would remain a problem for long.

Comment: Re:Appeal to authority is not good enough (Score 4, Informative) 586

by mark_reh (#46748309) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I don't understand what you and JM mean by "safer" versions of the vaccines. What data do you have to support the supposed lack of safety of the vaccines?

If you had measles and mumps and it was no big deal, you were lucky. There are many who are not so lucky. You are making the same mistake JM does- equating a single data point- your personal experience- to a generalized experience. Science/public health doesn't work that way.

I suggest you look up the potential problems caused by measles, mumps, and the other diseases we vaccinate against before you make statements about how it is better for people to get the diseases than to be vaccinated. These will get you started:

Ignorance is a choice. Smart people recognize their ignorance and attempt to rectify it. Stupid people choose to remain ignorant. Which are you?

Comment: Re:Appeal to authority is not good enough (Score 5, Informative) 586

by mark_reh (#46746837) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

" I had mercury fillings in my teeth when I was younger, which I was then told was poisonous and had to be drilled out and replaced. Very pleasant."

Whoever told you that was misinformed or lying (maybe they wanted to profit by drilling them out and replacing them). Your fillings weren't "mercury". Your fillings were mercury/silver amalgam. An amalgam is an alloy that forms when mercury reacts chemically with silver. An alloy is a stable chemical compound. It does not spontaneously decompose into its constituents. If it did, your fillings would have dissolved and disappeared long ago.

Yes, when amalgam fillings are first placed you are exposed to some mercury vapor. That is why the ADA recommends that amalgam fillings should not be placed in small kids or pregnant women.

Amalgam is a very durable, long lasting restorative material that has been in use for over 100 years. Amalgam restorations normally last much longer than alternative materials such as tooth colored composites which require frequent maintenance/replacement. Did they tell you about that before they drilled out all your "mercury" fillings?

For the ADA position see latest info summarized here:
The summary on page 2 says:
"In the six years since the LSRO report was published the identified research gaps have
not been completely addressed. However a number of studies have added to the
growing body of literature on the topic of amalgam safety. The findings of the studies
published between January 1, 2004 and June 15, 2010 showed no consistent evidence
of harm associated with dental amalgam fillings, including for infants and children. There
is some evidence that mercury excretion may be affected by gender. There was no
evidence demonstrating that some individuals are genetically susceptible to harmful
effects from exposure to the low doses of mercury associated with dental amalgam
fillings. Overall, studies continue to support the position that dental amalgam is a safe
restorative option for both children and adults. When responding to safety concerns it is
important to make the distinction between known and hypothetical risks. "

Comment: Re:Engineer and Doctor? (Score 1) 733

by mark_reh (#46738837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

So you're assuming that everything we currently have disappears over night? I would think that with a reduced human population the many millions of scalpels and other medical supplies already sitting on shelves would last quite a while, as would a lot of the other stuff we have, including computers and other battery operated electronics.

Comment: So many questions... (Score 1) 126

by mark_reh (#46726211) Attached to: The Graffiti Drone

If the drone contributes 50% or more of the final output, is it still art? Even if the drone didn't contribute, would it still be art?
How usable with this be high up in the air next to a building when the wind is blowing?
What about the air pollution produced by spraying paint with VOCs all over the place? Are graffiti "artists" insensitive to environmental concerns?

I think it would be better to use the quad blades to lift the drone to the desired height then use a ducted fan or other technology to adhere the thing to the building and then spray under real control, without the wind blowing the drone all over the place. After completing the "art", it would detach itself and fly back home.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy