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Comment Re:MS uses what works (Score 3, Insightful) 282

No reason, other than Microsoft's own policy of 'Eating Its own dog food'.

This policy was in place in order to force Microsoft to develop its own solutions from within its own software, in order to force their own software to become continually better and better.

Of course Microsoft doesn't build their own chairs and desks for their offices, so where do you draw the line between the dog food policy and using other's products for solutions instead of their own? Office furniture is a no-brainer, Microsoft has no dog food to eat. Enterprise level RDBMS data bases would be another, as SQL Server is not really in the same class as Oracle or DB2. Linux, however is different. Linux is a general use OS for Intel (and other) based computers. Windows is a general use OS for Intel based computers. This is a pretty significant cross over. Anything Linux can do, Windows should be able to do. Not improving Windows to be able to match or beat Linux at something is definitely choosing to eat someone else's dog food.

It may show that Microsoft is shedding some of their traditional 'rules' in order to transform the company and create a new Microsoft.

Comment Re:Theory (Score 4, Insightful) 591

It is both a theory and a fact.

We see species change over time in the real world. That observed phenomenon is called evolution, and it is a fact.

There is a theory in biology to explain the phenomenon that is observed in nature. That is called the theory of evolution. Over time, the theory has changed as it is modified to be in compliance with all observed facts (this is not the theory 'evolving'). As more factual evidence is uncovered the theory is checked against the evidence. The theory is either found to be in compliance with the evidence, or changed to be in compliance with the observed facts. Often, the observed facts must also be tested to be found factual as well.

As an example, think of the moon. The moon exists. It is observed in nature. Theory A) states that the moon formed from cheese after a cow jumped into space. Theory B) states that the moon is a rocky body formed in the same way as other rocky bodies in the solar system. The theory that is kept is the one that is in best compliance with the observed facts.

Evolution is both a theory and a fact. It is the name of a phenomenon observed in nature, and the name of the theory of how that phenomenon functions. Does this help?

Comment Re:Theory (Score 4, Informative) 591

Even better, in English, would be to describe it as the the survival of the species that fit best in their environment.

In English the word 'fit' can also be used to describe a level of strength, as in 'I work out to stay fit.'. Darwinian 'fitness' has to do with fitting into the environment better than others you compete with. Sometimes you can be fittest by being weaker, slower and less aggressive than others.

Comment Re:Social mobility was killed, but not this way (Score 1) 1032

The subsidies existed before the pipeline. I went to school in the 80's and am a contemporary of the author. I was in New Mexico, but the Alaskan windfall profits tax was in place and was paying tuition for some of the petroleum engineers studying along side me. If a comparable degree was not offered in Alaska, Alaskan residents would still get support for going to school out of state back then.

After the 1980's, oil prices fell in the 90's as well ($25 -$35 per barrel), and the money was tight. Oil was pretty much below $35 per barrel until 2004.

$75 to $100 per barrel is the exception, not the rule.

Comment Re:Social mobility was killed, but not this way (Score 2) 1032

I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying and it may just be a typo on your part, but I'm sure what a 'liberal' college is.

I've never heard of that before. It may be that you mean a 'liberal arts' college. The word 'liberal' in liberal arts has a meaning like in the sentence 'Spread the mayonnaise liberally over the the bread when making a sandwich.' It has nothing to do with the 'liberal' and 'conservative' terms you often hear misused on talk radio and in politics.

The point of a liberal arts college is to teach students in any major a wide range of subjects. Subjects used to be called 'arts', even subjects like math, science and engineering are considered different arts. In this way an english major would have to take so much math, chemistry, geology, philosophy, history, economics and other subjects not directly related their own major in order to graduate. The point is to turn out well educated individuals who have a wide range of learned knowledge covering a lot of ground, like the mayo spread liberally on the sandwich bread.

When I got a BS in physics at a liberal arts university, it meant that besides science and math, I also had to take english classes, history classes, an art class (I chose great books), a finance class, an economics class and multiple scientific classes that were not physics. I was supposed to leave the university knowing more than just equations. I found that it was also a welcome break to have at least one non-technical class each semester.

It may be that people majoring in subjects like philosophy and art history are not being required to take a truly liberal education at these schools and are being allowed to skip calculus, finance, economics and other subjects that should be required of any liberal arts degree.That would not qualify as being a wide ranging (liberal) education and would, to my point of view at least, require the university to stop proclaiming itself a liberal arts school.

Of course none of this means very much in this particular case, as the author failed to graduate. It may be that they were required to take some of the more useful courses and never completed them. The article is very short on facts.

One solution the author didn't consider was moving to Alaska before starting college. Alaska taxes oil profits and gives residents tuition credit. It may be too socialist for many Americans to choose a solution like that, but it would have made this one person's life much better and have gotten them out of their particular debt issues.

Comment Re: News for nerds (Score 5, Interesting) 866

This agrees with military research that shows religious believers tend to make better officers. Atheists and humanists have a more difficult time ordering others to their deaths, or directing the killing of other humans. Religious believers handle these tasks better because they have coping mechanisms they can use to justify these actions in the name of a higher power. 'Communist' societies (they were all usually dictatorships and not communist) substituted a belief in the party or the state instead of appealing to 'olde tyme' religion, but the result was the same: You are carrying out [God|The State|The Party]'s will, and so your actions are morally justified.

When this life is all you have and all you believe in, it becomes very precious and harder to justify destroying life. If, on the other hand, you are convinced that there is paradise waiting for you beyond this life there are all sorts of nasty actions you can justify.

I really suggest reading Victor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning'. I don't agree with Frankl's later philosophies, but this is a meaningful look into the depths of atrocities that humans can inflict on other humans. Frankl's work helped explain how attitude and belief helped him and others survive Auschwitz. It doesn't directly deal in this subject, but is an amazing account that highlights both the good and the bad outcome of strong beliefs.

Comment Re:Not that hard to deal with (Score 1) 532

... 7. The debt collector... are not suppose to see your PHI ( Personal Health information) as this is a HIPAA violation. If they were stupid enough to do this they may owe you even more money. ...

HIPAA covered entities can share your PHI and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) with third parties if they have a legal agreement with those entities to do so, and those third parties agree to follow HIPAA rules. The third party cannot continue the chain to a fourth party, they would have to go back to the 2nd party (the health care provider) to get another agreement for any further dissemination of information.

These are called Business Associates under HIPAA rules. The third parties do not become covered entities.

Comment Re:Billing Is For The Test Codes (Score 1) 532


ICD9 codes are diagnosis codes.

There are ICD9 diagnosis codes, there are also ICD9 Procedure codes. The procedure codes mentioned in the story are ICD9 procedure codes. You can download all of them from the Centers for Medicaid/Medicare services here.

There are also CPT, HCPCS BETOS codes that could describe procedures. Procedures are a little harder because there are multiple classification standards. In the medical system data warehouse I work on we check procedure codes in claims against the multiple reference lists and reject the claims if the codes are not found in any of the lists. The tools health care providers use to create claims should only allow the entry of a standard set of choices. I don't usually see much rejection, unless something has gone terribly wrong with the data, for example character set encoding problems. However, when something that bad happens, all of the fields get messed up.

It was very different back in the day, when claims were actual paper forms!

Comment Re:the US 'probably' wont use a nuke first.... (Score 1) 341

Dr. Ford is a former President of New Mexico Tech, where the mythbusters go when they want to create a really big explosion.

Maybe they can bust the myth that there is enough information in the book to build a real H-bomb!

Dr. Ford is quite a character, and brilliant. He wasn't as colorful as the president of New Mexico Tech he repleced, Dr. Stirling Colgate, but Dr. Ford was pretty impressive.

Comment Re:Throwback? (Score 4, Insightful) 170

Why does the summary fail to mention the many outstanding charges that IBM has against SCO, some already decided against SCO, with hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties on hold while SCO works through its bankruptcy?

As soon as SCO pokes its head out of bankruptcy court the Nazgul will be there, waiting for the payment owed. Do those silly bumpkins in Utah think IBM is going to not notice? Darl and his telemarketing scheme buddies are scam artists with a long history of swindling people (check out IKON Office Supplies). SCO is a bunch of petty criminals with no moral integrity, very small pea brains and only the ability to annoy people until paid to go away. If Martha Stewart was sent to a tennis-club prison for her 'crimes', these people should be doing hard time. They should certainly be shunned by the people of Utah, for their long history of immoral criminal activity.

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 5, Informative) 139

A cosmologist's 'dark matter' (non-baryonic) is different than an astrophysicist's 'dark matter' (baryonic). To an astrophysicist, the term 'dark matter' has historically meant matter that is not lit up. It is not reflecting ar emitting light. Also it is not blocking light from some other source. There is nothing exotic or strange about it. It is just in the dark and so it cannot be seen.

There were many observations of matter within the milky way, and within other large spiral galaxies that showed the velocity and orbits of matter were not explained by the mass that could be seen. We only saw mass in the visible light for a long time. The matter had to be emitting light, reflecting light, or blocking another source of light for us to see it in telescopes.

It was simply assumed that Einstein's theories of gravity were still correct and there just had to be more matter than we were seeing. It wasn't seen becuase it was dark, hence the name 'dark matter'. Nothing wierd or strange, just stuff we didn't see.

As time went on our observations expanded into more regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. We saw that there, indeed, was a great deal more matter emitting in the infra-red, radio, x-ray, and gamma ray spectrums. This has added greatly to the amount of matter that is known. There is much less missing mass on the intragalactic scale than there once was because we see more of it.

However, it is not enough. Here is a really good explanation.

And there is a new problem. We are now mapping the interaction of galaxies, and of huge groups of galaxies. And there does not seem to be enough matter in sight to fully account for there movements. Enter the cosmologists.

The first 'exotic' form of 'dark matter' was probably the neutrino. While once considered a very exotic beast, it is now considered rather mundane (at least the three known flavors are considered mundane). The neutrino is an almost massless particle that is electrically neutral and has such a small cross section that it hardly ever interacts with other matter. Neutrinos have mass, so they do feel the effects of gravity and due the the equal and opposite reaction thing, they contribute to the gravity that we, our sun, and all the starts in the galaxy feel. While a single neutrino is almost non-existent, the huge numbers of neutrinos within the boundaries of the galaxy actually do add up to an appreciable mass.

Now cosmologists are suggesting even more exoctic unknown particles, like WIMPS, to explain the missing mass. Some people feel that we should be examining new theories of gravity. Maybe on a very large scale gravity behaves differently. We do know that our theories of gravity are not complete. We do not have a good field theory of gravity that works with quantum mechanics. Continued experimentation involving things like the Higg's Boson will help to confirm some of these leading edge theories, and get rid of others. By determining the mass and energy of the particles that communicate the 'mass' field we will be putting constraints from the real physical universe around these theories.

The cosmology stuff is the wierd exotic 'dark matter' that inspires wierd science fiction ideas, but it will probably be needed to explain all of the missing mass. When some of these, currently, exotic particles are observed measured and fit in an overarching theory, they will seem much more ordinary, as the three known neutrinos are today.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.