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Comment Re:Caffeine is a drug.. (Score 1) 212

"gives the impression of improved brain performance without really delivering it" Not too sure about that. I went off caffeine for six months once, then took a trip overseas (8 hours time difference) and had to drive 6 hours on arrival. At dusk, I noticed I was literally falling asleep at the wheel and drifting across lanes. So I pulled over to a coffee place, had my first coffee in six months, and it was like magic. No more drifting into opposing traffic.

Comment Context is important (Score 2) 448

Call centers in India have good reason to Americanize (not "neutralize") the accents of the workers there. But the Arizona case reminds me of my grandfather, who was born and raised in a certain rural area of Canada, and got a job teaching in the same area. So if ever there was a local accent, it was my grandfather's. But some fool administrator with a Scottish brogue so thick nobody could understand him sat in on one of my grandfather's classes and marked him for his "foreign" accent, which in his ignorance he didn't recognize as a local variant. I sincerely hope nobody is doing something like that in Arizona.

Comment Not as useful as one would think (Score 1) 2288

I have had too many students tell me an electron that passes through a weak field will end up with a velocity of something times 10 to the 9th power m/sec....faster than the speed of light. So even with ease of conversion between units, it is very easy to screw up if your brain is not turned on. Meanwhile, outside the classroom or engineering firm, it is very unusual to have to convert from miles to inches for anything practical, or for that matter from km to mm. The point about exports is also incorrect. The US and Canada are each others' largest trading partners, and I see no serious issues due to the fact that one country uses metric and the other doesn't. Finally, if a country converts, there is still the matter of legacy measurements, especially in areas like real estate, so the population needs to learn both metric, US units, plus the conversion factors between the two. So the argument that metric is simpler in this case won't hold.

Comment Tried coding in Japanese (Score 1) 728

About 15 years ago I worked in a Japanese office where the database had its own scripting language. The company that created the database had translated all the keywords into Japanese and made it so that it would display correctly, so IF --> , etc. Further, you could flip back and forth between English and Japanese versions easily and not have problems with the compiler. But not one of the Japanese programmers used the Japanese version. They thought it was just weird, and they'd already learned how to use IF in English anyway. I suspect using non-ASCII symbols is a solution without a problem.

Comment what secrets are these? (Score 1) 372

There's something strange about this. How to make atomic weapons is not that difficult, and certainly not secret. Any 14-year-old with an interest in physics and chemistry has enough information to do this. The tough part is that you need a medium-sized country with the infrastructure and budget to refine the materials and manufacture to high specifications.

Comment not new (Score 4, Informative) 38

They are just stating the policy of the church as is always has been (that the funeral is a well-defined service not meant to be a wake or memorial of the life of the deceased), and noting that celebrations or memorials of the person's life can be held at a separate celebration or even at a separate mass. It's also known that the church has not been enforcing its own policies in some parishes. Possibly the real news is that the NY Times reporter is so ignorant of the Catholic church that he thinks this is all newsworthy.

Comment Re:Do these H1-B stay in the US (Score 1) 209

An employment-based green card is very expensive, so it makes sense that MS would only give it to a few of their H1Bs. My company did sponsor my green card, and it cost them about $50,000. And in one of life's twists, I had to leave the US for family reasons soon after I received the green card, so all that effort was for nothing.

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