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Comment Re:The Science In a SciFi movie... (Score 1) 163

I'll admit I haven't seen the move or read the book, but where in hell does he get the seeds and fertilizer to grow plants in Martian soil? From what I gather from the trailers, this wasn't a colonization mission, so why, if they sent seeds and fertilizer, did they send seeds and fertilizer?

If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, why nitpick at this level?

FYI, the stranded astronaut is a biologist, specifically assigned to attempt to grow some plants on mars and test the conditions there. The potatoes are sent along for a special thanksgiving feast on the planet.

Comment Re:For starters... (Score 5, Informative) 842

I know you're trolling a bit here, but if you want specific evidence of something Carter has done right, check out the Guinea Worm Eradication program. The Carter Center is a major part of this initiative, that is reducing (with the goal of eliminating) a painful and debilitating parasitic condition. Cases of Guinea Worm have dropped from over 3 million yearly in the early 80's to less than 100 so far this year (W.H.O. stats). The Guinea Worm life cycle requires human infection, so once this thing is gone, it's totally gone.

Comment Re:Boeing 707 was also louder (Score 1) 345

I just flew in a 787 from California to South America. Significantly more comfortable and pleasant experience! The engine noise was minimal, climate control was more comfortable, and the vibration was greatly reduced, compare to the 777 and 747. Definitely hope to fly on the 787 whenever possible!


Comment Re:Summary sucks (Score 1) 345

Compare it to cars, as I did this math recently. We're considering a new sedan for my wife. We found a '95 Buick Roadmaster with around 28,000 miles on it for $8700, contrasted with a new Chrysler 300, at about $35,000. It will take more than 120,000 miles at twice the fuel economy to break-even, and given that the Buick is actually easier to work on and simpler it will probably have a lower total cost of ownership.

I've been thinking about this as my oldest son is approaching 16 years old. We have a beat up old Subaru that I was thinking of saving for his first car, but when comparing the features and functionality to a new vehicle, there's quite a bit missing: side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, back-up camera, lane departure warning, crumple zones (maybe not missing on '99 subi), and more. Is the increased risk (particularly for a teenage driver) worth saving a few thousand dollars compared to buying a newer used car?

Comment Re:Supporting Students / Kids (Score 1) 268

I really, really like this idea. Community colleges and smaller universities in particular offer scholarships to needy students and will allow donators to specify the criteria. I served on a scholarship adjudication committee once and it was so fun to find people who needed the funding to continue their education.

Comment Re:Two things (Score 1) 261

Ever read the book "One Minute Manager?"

It's core thesis is exactly this point. A good manager shouldn't try to make all the decisions or be involved in all the work. The manager sets the standard, praises employees who are doing things right (as soon as possible) and reprimands the employees that are doing things wrong (as soon as possible). The manager actually manages the work and people, they don't do it themselves...

Comment Re:Missing Option (Score 3, Interesting) 307

This. Does it qualify as curing my ills? Is the terminality of the human condition an "ill?"

I really hope there's something interesting after we die, but I kind of suspect not, so I'd really like to take part in this universe for longer than my ~100 year human allotment.

If consciousness is just a sum of the parts, we should be able to create it in a machine... Again, I kind of hope not, but it would be pretty interesting.

Comment Re:Is minecraft really 'creative'? (Score 1) 174

One other thing I liked about Minecraft for my kids was that it's not as polished and easy to use as most modern games (and console games especially). The players actually have to struggle and figure it out and tune their settings and figure out how it works behind the scenes a bit. This is so much better and they learn so much more than just sticking in a disc and having the game run!

Comment Re:For mixed-age crowd: Pictionary, Bananagrams, S (Score 1) 382

Bananagrams is the most age-independent word game I know;

We have a good time with bananagrams as well, I just have to remember not to be too happy when I do better than my kids.

Set: as above.

I absolutely loved it when my 9 year old daughter would beat me at set. Well, after the initial pain of losing went away.

Anyone else like Rummikub? Similar to these games, anyone can play and do well, it just takes a little bit of a different way of looking at games when you can re-arrange the tiles to suit your needs...

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.