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Comment: Ignore the kids (Score 1) 274

by polyphemus (#46914893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

I've worked at startups for the last 2 years. It's OK to be one of the "grownups" there and duck out of the social activities. They'll still massively value your work, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of others in your age range to relate to.

BTW, I'm 36, with a wife and 2 kids, and I work in New York.

Comment: Re:Time for unionization in the tech sector yet? (Score 1) 462

by polyphemus (#46061571) Attached to: How Silicon Valley CEOs Conspired To Suppress Engineers' Wages

... Forced unionization has often just become a tool by which employers actually force collective bargaining on workers. It seems all too common that employers are actually the ones creating the unions ...

I'm pretty sure employers tend to oppose unions.

Comment: Re:You act the part, and blame people for believin (Score 5, Insightful) 353

by polyphemus (#45969335) Attached to: Programmer Privilege

I think he's trying to say that not everyone gets the benefit of the doubt. Sure, he was pretty much qualified, but a lot of people don't have the chance. He's not blaming anyone for his privilege, he's not saying he is wrong to have this privilege, he's saying it's wrong that so many other people don't.

Comment: Re:An Old Discussion (Score 1) 1174

My sentiments are the same. I loved Ender's Game, but I see his morality infiltrate his writing in everything else of his that I've read (Speaker, Shadow, and a prequel about the parents). It's ubiquitous, and it makes his writing worse. I can't read his writing anymore.

Comment: My parents use their iPad exclusively (Score 1) 417

by polyphemus (#42491171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device?

They have a Windows desktop, but they don't use it anymore.

The iPad works great for them. I couldn't survive without a keyboard, but I live inside a vim terminal, pulling out to execute my code. My parents ... they don't code. Without that, there's literally nothing they do that can't be done on an iPad. Even things that seem more convenient (long emails) are tedious for them ("I have to go all the way _upstairs_ to do that? I'd rather sit on the couch, or compose it in the passenger set of the car."). They find it significantly more convenient than their desk top, and they argue over who gets to use it. They'll soon buy a second one.

Based on my parents' experience, I say have your mom ditch the desktop.


Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction 779

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-the-reset-button dept.
Pope Benedict XVI has warned that people are in danger of being unable to discern reality from fiction because of new technologies, and not old books. "New technologies and the progress they bring can make it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion and can lead to confusion between reality and virtual reality. The image can also become independent from reality, it can give birth to a virtual world, with various consequences -- above all the risk of indifference towards real life," he said.

Comment: Re:Easy and cheap solution: (Score 1) 791

by polyphemus (#31321548) Attached to: Killer Apartment Vs. Persistent Microwave Exposure?

Also, microwaves only penetrate a centimeter or two. And yes, putting wire mesh (say, 1 cm square) in the walls will completely shield you from all of the microwaves. Of course, it might also cause cell-phone troubles. And your windows will be holes in your net, but that should be fine unless you sleep with a window and no screen, facing the towers.

But seriously, you should be fine.


A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-played-that-game dept.
astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

Posted by samzenpus
from the less-math-more-social-science dept.
artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Comment: We did the same thing at DIII-D (Score 1) 120

by polyphemus (#30701574) Attached to: Using a Toy Train To Calibrate a Reactor

I spent a summer working at the DIII-D tokamak in La Jolla, CA back in 2001, and this system was already in use. It had clearly been around for years, and the train (and track) had been packed & unpacked for the n-th time during a long period of scheduled downtime. Things were starting up again, and the neutron detectors had to be calibrated. It was my job to get the train working, making sure the connections were good by assembling the train outside of the chamber & sanding the aluminum (some of which was lightly oxidized and nonconductive) until the train ran smoothly.

Things were going well until I disassembled it for reassembly in the chamber. During the process, I dropped a small connector piece on the floor. My attitude was "oh, well, it's not worth my hourly wage to look for this," until I was informed that due to exposure to the radiation, the piece was considered nuclear waste, and had to be found, even if a replacement piece was only $0.01. Half an hour later, the problem was compounded when the lights went off. So there I was, in a huge bay, with a flashlight, looking for a tiny grey connector on a grey unpainted concrete floor.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the lights going off really sped up the search process. With a flashlight, I could simply crouch onto the ground and look for long shadows. I found the piece after about two minutes of trying this technique.

Emulation (Games)

Nintendo Upset Over Nokia Game Emulation Video 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the super-mario-takedown dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nintendo is investigating potential copyright infringement by Nokia during some video demos of their N900 phone, which can be seen emulating Nintendo games. Nintendo spokesman Robert Saunders says: 'We take rigorous steps to protect our IP and our legal team will examine this to determine if any infringement has taken place.' In the video, Nokia says, 'Most publishers allow individual title usage, provided that the user is in possession of the original title.'"

Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-jetwing-and-a-prayer dept.
Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."

Microsoft Drops Xbox 360 Pricing 169

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-or-less dept.
Kawahee was one of several readers to tip news of a price cut for the Xbox 360. This comes after Sony dropped PS3 prices and unveiled the Slim model last week. The 360 Elite will now retail for $299, but will no longer ship with HD cables. The 360 Pro has been reduced to $249, but Microsoft is phasing it out. Analysts don't expect this new price point to be a huge boon for sales because the Elite doesn't match the PS3's hardware capabilities and is still more expensive than the Wii. Microsoft has "no plans" for a smaller version of the 360.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"