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Comment: Re:2-Butoxyethanol (Score 1) 284

What I want to know is why they use this shit in fracking at all. I assume it's because it makes the process more efficient -

Yes. The process of disposing of refinery wastes. The reason they don't want you to know precisely what's in their fracking fluids and where they came from is that these compounds are wastes left over from the petroleum refining process, and they are taking this opportunity to dispose of them by injecting them into our aquifers.

It's might be simpler than that.

Part of it might just be trade secrets, your ability to frack profitably is based on your ability to be more efficient than your competitors. Telling them your secret sauce makes that harder to do.

The other part is PR, when people want to criticize you it's easier for them if they have specific compounds to criticize. It doesn't matter if it's as innocuous as dihydrogen monoxide or as toxic as plutonium, if they have a specific label to attach to it they can make it sound bad.

Comment: Re:The Curve on Academic Courses (Score 1) 388

by quantaman (#49621645) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

On academic programming courses - of which I've taught on many - the grade distribution is definitely bimodal and there is a clear gap between those who can and those who can't. Of course, there is variance among those who can but the difference is largely that those who can largely get better whilst those who can't never get even get it.

There does seem to be people who are permanently clueless but I suspect you're also seeing a limitation/feature of the academic setting.

If you are in fact teaching them something then things that were difficult at the start of the course will become easy at the end, in some cases you could even take a student who finished the course one semester and have them TA the next. But when you get into industry you've filtered out everyone who can't, at that point I find a lot of the remaining variance has to do with experience and motivation.

Comment: Re:The question is (Score 1) 364

by quantaman (#49617109) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

If I understood correctly,

You don't.

it allows you to pre-warp some space ahead in your journey

No-one - that is to say, no-one with an ounce of scientific credibility - is claiming it's a warp drive. There's no reason to even start to consider the idea that it might be a warp drive. The article linked to by the summary with the words "some are claiming this means things like warp drive..." doesn't even mention any claims that it's a warp drive.

The Forbes article links to another article with these words:

When you come across an announcement like the one made by NASA Spaceflight a week ago: that NASA has made a successful test of the EM Drive — a propulsion engine that uses no propellant, seemingly violating one of the most fundamental laws of physics, while warping space in the process — you’d better make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.

And that linked article also doesn't even mention warp drive. Seems to me like some journalists need to calm down a little. "ZOMG! It's not a warp drive!!!" - yes, thanks, but no-one seems to saying it is.

It's a thing that appears to produce thrust by unknown means. That's all. It's very interesting, but it has nothing to do with anything that anyone would call a warp drive.

/me quickly skims the comment

Awesome! NASA invented a warp drive!!!

Comment: Re:wapr drive (Score 5, Funny) 364

by quantaman (#49617023) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

The Vulcans will be here soon, swooping in like a returning Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves at long last, show us the true path of wisdom, and help us complete the application (an on-line PDF form, no doubt) for membership in the United Federation of Planets.

And then we will all live happily ever after.

They'll step out of their spacecraft and inform us that our newly invented warp drive was invented 324,123 years ago and we cannot use it without paying the license fees of approximately 2.3 earth planets per earth year.

Otherwise we will need to wait another 14,675,877 years until it enters the public domain.

Comment: Re:I am a Republican voting Conservative. (Score 3, Informative) 340

Nice spin.... how about this: Since there are so many people who do deny it, why not take a different approach that would accomplish the same thing without making Al Gore even more wealthy?

I don't see what Al Gore has to do with it.

The problem with focusing on air and water quality is CO2 only becomes a major concern in the context of climate change. You could try talking about ocean acidification which is another side effect but I don't think ignoring the elephant smashing everything in the room that is climate change is the best strategy.

Comment: Re:Real reason (Score 3, Funny) 542

by quantaman (#49612781) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

She did fuck all WHILE she was a corporate executive, too.

Why does the media take people like this seriously? I think the corporate media automatically fawns over a CEO. It doesn't matter that the CEO is a failure.

She is also the postergirl for "failing upwards" and the fact that we don't have any meritocracy in this country. She doesn't deserve to be a manger at Arby's at this point, and she doesn't deserve respect. But still the Corporate media fawns.

It's not like she's running to captain a space station, it's the Republican Primary, they dream of finding someone qualified to manage an Arby's.

Comment: Re:All aboard the FAIL train (Score 1) 542

by quantaman (#49612727) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Speaking as someone who would really like a Republican to vote for next election, you're entirely right.

Why are we getting these asshats? It's these fools that give a free market, fiscally responsible platform a bad name.

It's the Tea Party, they destroy any candidate who isn't an ideologue. The only reason Romney survived last primary was he had a crapload of money and a huge existing profile, the only two potential candidates in that position this time are Jeb Bush and Chris Christy, any other moderate candidate will get destroyed as a RINO.

Comment: Re:SubjectsSuck (Score 1) 250

Was it fairly clear that the 12/7 post I made referred to Pearl Harbor a day which will live in infamy? How soon is too soon to get arrested for an anonymous post? What does that mean for free speech online, even when the local law enforcement really thought it to be a non credible threat.

Your post suggested that 12/7 could mean anything and associating it with Pearl Harbor was a stretch on the part of the reader.

By contrast the mention of a 4.16 moment to the Virginia tech community is intentional and the association obvious.

Also no one thinks that an anonymous poster is going to reproduce Pearl Harbor by carrying out an air raid on a military base. But an anonymous poster can carry out a school shooting.

It's nothing to do with being "too soon" or "free speech", it's a credible threat to carry out mass murder.

Comment: Re:presidents age (Score 3, Interesting) 80

by quantaman (#49606799) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I think it's more an effect of the people we see pictures of most, celebrities, put a lot of work into appearing young, so we don't expect people in the public eye to age as quickly. Tom Cruise ages slowly because his career demands it, Barak Obama on the other hand probably looks more serious the older he looks, so there's less reason to make himself appear young.

Even compare to Jon Stewart in 2008 vs now. There doesn't seem to be a huge difference, until you realize the gallon of makeup applied to Jon Stewart's face, it's hard to appeal to GenXers and Millenials looking like you're over 50.

I'd actually be curious to see how this algorithm does with celebrity photos.

Comment: Re:idgi (Score 1) 609

by quantaman (#49606293) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

It's not porn. Bettie Page was considered "porn" in her day and I don't see anyone calling it porn now. Society's standards change over time. It would seem that they've left you far behind. Do you get an erection from seeing some bare elbow? The nudes in Playboy are not pornographic images by modern standards. This is what is considered porn in society today.

What you linked to is hardcore porn.

Playboy is softcore porn, and fairly tame softcore porn, but it's still porn.

If you have a problem with that, fine. You're entitled to hold an opinion. You're not entitled to have others agree with it and pretend that a head shot crop is porn or that a tastefully composed nude photograph (which doesn't even have visible genitalia and isn't even sexually suggestive) from which that crop was produced is pornography.

If I'm not entitled to have others agree then why are you? Why do we have to agree that isn't not a crop from pornographic photograph, why aren't guys and girls in that class allowed to feel weirded out by the expression and made uncomfortable when they figure out the full image?

That's great you have no problem with it, but some people do, why can't you take their concerns into account?

Comment: Re:She has a point. (Score 1) 609

by quantaman (#49604379) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

Thank you for proving a point.

...not a particularly proud one since it implies the field was started by guys reading porn magazines...

Here you imply that porn and looking at porn is somehow morally wrong.

Only if you're doing so around people who don't want to be exposed to it, I think a computer vision lab qualifies.

the sexualized component is part of the statement, a certain degree of controversy, offense, or shock actually adds to the artistic value

Here you see sex and sexual themes as shocking or offensive.

So please explain how your statements about sexuality are better grounded than those coming from fundamentalist christians,jews, muslims et al.?

Cut the crap.
Of course sexual imagery in art is shocking or at least provocative, that's the point, it's one of the strongest desires we have. That's the whole bloody point unless you want to look at a painting of a fruit bowl.

Comment: Re:idgi (Score 1) 609

by quantaman (#49604371) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

No. The "context" you present is irrelevant. The same twisted logic can be used to ban the Star-Spangled Banner because it was originally a drinking song. Despite your desires to cast it into the contrary, the meaning of the Lena image has changed over time and the original context is of no significance other than from a historical point of view.

I just have to disagree on that point.

As for claiming to speak on her behalf, that is what you are doing. You are deciding that there is something "not okay" with the Lena image because she is "a sexual object" which is absolute bollocks.

No I am not.

I am saying that image, even cropped, does not belong in a high school classroom because many people find it to be objectifying.

The girls are uncomfortable? Too bad. There's a lot of shit in the world that is "uncomfortable." A head shot is extremely unlikely to be one of them.

So your argument is that because the world is a shitty place there's no problem with making it a little shittier?

On top of that, you're pretending girls don't masturbate and have never willingly looked at explicit sexual imagery.

And now you're arguing with a figment of your imagination...

Perhaps if you bothered to read the comments on the WaPo article, you'd discover that multiple female alumni of the school in question who learned under female CS educators at said school came forward and strongly refuted the article's contents.

I read the comments and the closest I saw was someone mentioning knowing female alumni who hadn't complained in the past (though I could have missed as WP has a terrible commenting system). I also saw things criticizing the article for things it never said nor implied. And finally I saw multiple posts from people completely agreeing with the article.

Your outdated Puritanical views on sexuality and your attempt to pretend that teens are children rather than young adults put you squarely in the minority...and in the wrong.

Again you're ascribing views and arguments I never made. And sexually liberated girls and guys can still be offended by pornography and what they perceive as sexual objectification.

It's not your job to fix them.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. -- Richard Bach, "Illusions"