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Comment Re:I hate to be THAT GUY... (Score 1) 242

Regarding your points: First, the ship. You either have a rigid ship that stays upright until it won't, or you have a ship on gimbals with some "give" to it. Either way, there's going to be a literal tipping point and the amount of anticipated wind is the guide. Obviously they over-played the amount of atmosphere and thus the amount of wind on Mars, and clearly did so for dramatic affect. Accurate: no. Dramatically well played: yes.

The question of Whatney's survival was substitute narration, as already explained. As for freezing, his suit would have had to have not just an insulating effect but a heater just to be out during the -63C day.

Ruptured lungs is pretty much imploding. His capillaries would also rupture, starting with the ones in the skin and outer muscles and he would slowly bleed out internally, except for his lungs where he would bleed out in about a minute.

He was a botanist, so that he knew about hex without "knowing" hex is neither surprising nor egregious. The better question is why the hell didn't he have any music on his own laptop?

I really thought they explained he pointed the pathfinder antenna at one of the satellites, but I may have misheard/misunderstood that.

Simulating Mars gravity accurately would have meant putting not just Damon but all of the stuff he picked up, set down or dropped on a rig. That would have added considerably to the soundstage costs, which I'm sure were already considerable. Given that the movie was about Mars and not Gravity, I happily give them a pass on this one. They did well with the zero gee simulation on the Hermes, I think.

Sound is also a quibble. Almost everything was presented as being heard through the suit mics. The docking and EVA were bad, in that no one was tied down, and the guy crawling over the ship, while not unrealistically done, would have been better portrayed by using a SAFER pack.

I thought that the huge glass windows in the Hermes were the most unrealistic, unscientific aspect of the movie. Structurally not as sound, and a hazard for both radiation and micrometeoroids.

Regarding the punctured suit, during the incident in question on the shuttle EVA the astronaut was injured and his blood sealed the hole ( ). The bigger question, I think, is how large a hole would be required to produce any usable thrust without being so large that there's no explosiveness to the decompression?

The slingshot and gravity assist were, clearly, not "genius" ideas, but more dramatic substitute narration. Unnecessary, but typical Hollywood, so shouldn't be a surprise. And they lifted a from a lot of other movies than Apollo 13 including 2001, various Star Treks, Aliens, and most directly, Lord of The Rings.

Comment 30 years for me next year (Score 2) 162

I started out as a programmer, and spent my first 10 years in IT doing green-screen programming on various flavors of Pick. I got my first taste of system admin'ing on a Sequoia running TOPIX, and then made the move to full time system admin on a DEC Alpha 8400 running Digital Unix and Universe. The first version of Linux I worked with was Red Hat 3, and have not looked back. I admin 50 servers today and none of them run a GUI, it's all command line using bash and Python.

Comment The real problem will be the translation (Score 1) 232

IDC-10 codes are just for the diagnosis. The real problem will be the corresponding billing codes (CTP codes). There was a well established translation set between IDC-9 and CPT codes, so that everyone would know that if the diagnosis was flu, the doctor or ER could not bill for doing an appendectomy. This is understandable and reasonable. However, this is all about to change, as IDC-10 turns into an approximately 6-for-1 translation of the new IDC-10 codes to align with the allowable billing codes.

And the real catch? Medical institutions run software to "optimize' the billing so that they are billing for the greatest allowable number of codes per diagnosis, and are using the codes that have the highest reimbursement rates; while the insurance companies run the counterpart software to validate the diagnosis-to-billing code combination in order to deny services, and thus not have to pay the bill, or at least deny some of the line items. An example of this is a hospital doing a tubal-ligation with a secondary appendectomy, and the hospital bills for two surgical trays when only 1 is really needed--unless there are complications which should have been noted by multiple DX's, but some software programs only look at the primary DX code and ignore the secondaries. This is done in the name of "optimization" and "contractual adherence" but can absolutely be administrated as deliberate delaying tactics.

Comment Pick and RPL (Score 1) 429

There was a time when about 75% of all of the HMOs in America ran their company on an application written in Pick. And then the "traditional" insurance companies were allowed to buy all of the real HMOs and slowly turn them into complicated variants of 80/20 major-medical with a few tacked-on things mandated by state and federal law, and thus were able to throw away the Pick systems that they didn't understand, which ran very well a business model they didn't want to use, despite that model being much more profitable than the model they didn't want to let go of.

There was also a lot of small and mid-scale manufacturers running Pick and an application written in RPL ("Real-time Processing Language), which was a stack-based langauge based on RPN. There were stacks numbered 0-9, and if you needed more, you had to either clear a stack, or pop off all of its contents into a file and then read it back when you needed it. The individual instructions were only somewhat less terse than assembly commands, because the program and interpreter had to load into memory to run, and every bit counted when you only had 125k in your DEC LSI system.

Comment Re:Get Self-Employed (Score 1) 268

That is a false comparison. Most people I know who work in radio do so because they are drawn to something about it, whether it's the music or the other people or simply working in a studio with all of the equipment. So making whatever sacrifices about working conditions or pay tends to be an informed and willing choice. I suspect few, if any, people working in Amazons warehouses are doing so because they love working in a warehouse.

Employment, being a contractual situation (because SCOTUS has repeatedly said so), is about a mutual, reciprocal exchange of value. If the value Amazon is attempting to extract from their employees is not reasonably commensurate with they are paying, then Amazon is deficient in holding up their side of the agreement. If the conditions under which the employees are working are unreasonably onerous or unrealistically sustainable by an average person, then Amazon is not only deficient, they are willfully so, which under contract law, puts them even more in the wrong.

Comment CS should not be a core subject (Score 2) 131

CS, much like blacksmithing, is a combination of art and science; as such, while anyone can learn the basics, only a minority of people are ever going to be good at it--let alone understand it enough to be good at it from the start. To put it another way, anyone can learn to play a musical instrument, but only a minority of people can be described as being musicians. There are many CS jobs that work this way, programming, database admin, and system and network administration being the obvious examples.

CS courses in elementary and even in middle school are generally a waste of time. The amount of accretive knowledge to be gained at that early an age isn't going to put any student so far along the learning curve that doing it all again in high school would be so repetitive as to be a waste of time. So just do it at the high school level, when kids are actually at the point of making career choices and the corresponding college selections to follow those choices. And don't make every kid take the CS course, when it's obvious far from every kids will be pursuing a CS-type career.

Comment Re:Called "Communism". (Score 1) 503

Star Trek was absolutely not communism, in that the State did not own everything. Sure, they owned the star ships and space ports and most of the stuff on them. But there were still farms and businesses and trade routes and mines and the State did not own any of that. They were much more efficient than that: The State owned the power production. The State was the only entity that made anti-matter, and without anti-matter, your star ship wasn't leaving the solar system. And if you couldn't leave the solar system, you had no access to the Andoran or Vulcan or Klingon markets. While on present-day earth, the dictatorships and kingdoms of the middle east thrived for as long as they did because the state owned the energy production, i.e., the oil. We are in the midst of huge changes in that regard, which is part of why the US government goes to great lengths to prop-up the Saudi dictatorship in order to protect access to their oil, despite said dictatorship being quite antithetical to nearly everything the USA was founded upon and is presumably supposed to stand for.

Militaries do no uses communist economics, it's dictated and centrally budgeted (i.e., planned). The notion that a pilot wants or needs to own his or her fighter jet is absurd at facevalue. In practice, the pilot, while presumably a volunteer, is nothing more than an employee.

And I don't charge my kids for use of the house because I didn't have kids as a means to an economic end; i.e., I didn't breed just to have free labor to use for my own purposes or to rent to others. So again, your notion that household economies are communistic are absurd.

Comment dumb things to do with your phone (Score 1) 130

Some of the stupidest things you can do with your phone:
1. Enter your credit card number into it
2. Enter your SSN into it
3. Install your bank/mortgage co/car loan holder's app onto it
4. Access the web page of your bank/mortgage co./credit card co and pay your monthly bill.

If you never put any of your financial data into your phone or use your phone to pay bills or otherwise manage your finances, if you lose your phone all you will have lost is your phone. Do any of the above and lose your phone, and you will have lost an important part of your life.

Comment Re:Insurance companies suffer? (Score 2) 389

No it doesn't, the government here just pretends that it does. The first time you get side-swiped by some idiot in a pickup truck who is too busy texting to pay attention, and then find out they don't have insurance and the court doesn't really take seriously at all the promise to be financially liable that everyone signs when they get their drivers license, your insurance goes up because the court orders your claim to be covered by your uninsured drivers rider on your policy. And the texting, jobless, insurance-less idiot gets to keep his license. He also gets to do some BS do-nothing community service hours with the Red Cross or the YMCA in exchange for paying the fine on the traffic ticket, which means there is zero incentive to have insurance if you cannot afford it. Or to be a good driver, for that matter.

New Hampshire does a lot of things well using the minimalist government approach, but auto insurance is definitely not one of them.

Comment Unintended consequences (Score 1, Interesting) 236

My biggest fear regarding dying from an asteroid strike is not about the asteroid hitting me or the city I am in, but from unintended, extemporaneous consequences like someone in Russia or China panicking and launching a nuke at it, missing, and hitting France or the US or some other nuclear-capable nation and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hit in Pakistan or India being intentionally/accidentally mistaken as a nuclear strike by its neighbor, and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hitting a defunct Russian spy satellite, which was really a nuclear launch platform, and setting off the bombs, and starting WWIII. Or any asteroid strike anywhere being used as a convenient excuse by anyone to start WWIII.

So, in summary, the most worrisome unintended consequence of an asteroid strike is WWIII. Let's see the TFA's author gin-up some odds on that one.

Comment love/hate view on agile (Score 3, Insightful) 507

As a system admin, I admire agile for the rapid proto-typing. Because as we all know, business users seldom know what they really want, but they all know what they don't like. However, I hate agile for being the universal excuse for turning project management into an exercise for "let's make it up as we go along", because then everyone expects me to work like that too. They don't want to acknowledge, let alone understand, that being a good system admin is about being organized and informed and having a more than 5 minute attention span.

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.