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Comment Re: configure; MAKE; make install (Score 3, Interesting) 289

And how is car production different from today software solutions? Microsoft or myriad of open source developers create an OS, Oracle or someone provides a database, someone else an integration toolkit, somebody else designs a schema and a frontend and finally a hosting/SaaS vendor puts it all together and configures the whole package.

Comment Wrong community? (Score 1) 149

I am sure there are quite a few modelling enthusiasts among slashdotters, but there are many forums dedicated to model railroading, with subforums focusing on automation and landscaping/structures, complete with video tutorials of cool tricks (some of them really simple).

If you have a chance to kickstart your collection, I would definitely suggest investing any saved money in DCC equipment - it makes many things simple which would be a chore otherwise.

My advice though is similar to the one I would give to someone getting into programming, electronics or any other hobby: don't overengineer, start simple, but with options to expand, be ready to discard everything you created initially and to start again from scratch. Maybe start with some flat but elaborate layout to practice control of points and trains? Or quite the opposite, start with a simple loop, maybe with a siding or a passing loop, but surround it with interesting terrain? Trying to get your first layout to have both complicated track layout and elaborate landscape features may result in a disappointment. You obviously have some fundamental questions to answer too (shunting or mainline? A standalone diorama or a module? etc.)

Comment As a Canadian (Score 1) 311

I don't actually end up seeing the cost of any of these items. My government-supplied health care pays for all of them. Except, I suppose, the dental x-rays, but those are covered by my workplace dental plan.


I suppose if we're talking about making medical technologies less expensive, I'd lobby for adding prescription medication to the government-funded health care plans. Prevention is much less expensive, and currently, low-income people can go see a doctor for free, but they cannot afford the medication that will keep them out of the emergency rooms.

Comment Passenger Weight Limits (Score 3, Insightful) 373

I've read through the early comments here, and I see a lot of vitriol for "obese" people, and statements that people should only be allowed a weight limit of 100kg, or worse, 200lb, beyond which there should be extra charges.

Go to hell, each and every one of you that supports that idea. I'm 6'3", and my body fat percentage hovers around 15%. I _sink_ in fresh water. And I weigh 240lbs, before any luggage is included. I am healthy and fit. I already suffer with airline seats that are far too small for my frame, with my knees in the back of the seat in front of me, and the headrest sitting firmly between my shoulder blades. And now you have the temerity to think that I should pay _more_ for the privilege of flying, because you think people that weigh more than 140 pounds are fat and unhealthy, and it's their own fault?

Get real.

Comment Re:We've only got ourselves to blame (Score 1) 381

Couple at-will employment with the fact that health insurance is employer-provided and private insurance is devastatingly expensive, and basically employers can hold employees ransom.

Even if someone does have transferable, marketable skills, it will likely be a number of months before they land a new job and complete enough of the probationary period to qualify for benefits. A broken arm during that period will cost you $10,000 if you're not insured. God forbid you have to deliver a baby, because then you're looking at a six-figure medical bill.

Comment Re:Medium.com Alert! (Score 1) 226

With a bit of creative interpretation, it does. For example, you could mimic the beta-decay electrons in nuclear piles:

1. Start out traveling at almost c.
2. Slam into a medium with a refractive index > 1.

For a brief period of time, while your body is being vaporized by the impact, and before Cherenkov radiation robs you of your kinetic energy, you will be traveling faster than light.

Comment mods, bots and cheats (Score 1) 170

I'd say: yes, if you look under the hood. How many of us started with editing save files using hex editor?

Modding, creating bots and cheating (all three often overlap) are a great first step. You learn how games are structured, you learn some scripting (Lua, Python, etc. depending on games), even some AI programming for bots.

A good supervisor can step on your toes without messing up your shine.