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Comment My Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (Score 3, Interesting) 134 134

I bought a new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon. It weighs 2 lbs 12 oz 1270 g. A bit more than the LaCie. OTOH it is built to Thinkpad standards so it is quite rugged. The keyboard is excellent. The machine came with Win 7 professional and no bloatware. It has a 500 GB SSD. It is fast and easy to use. I love it, and think the money was well spent. The battery life is excellent, it will run all day in ordinary usage. (i.e. not playing streaming HD video).

Comment Zero first-world nations still use imperial ... (Score 2) 273 273

Including the US.

Much of commerce and daily life in the US uses a customary system of measurements that traces its origins to England, before the revolution.

In 1859 the UK adopted a reformed and rationalized system of weights and measures that was binding on itself and its Imperial possessions, including about a quarter of the Earth's surface at that time.

The US did not adopt that system. Although in 1959, the US and the Imperial system countries adopted a common definition of the yard in SI units.

There are extensive differences between the US customary and Imperial systems, especially in units of volume and in larger units of weight.

All of this is explained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST, a division of the US Department of Commerce []] in Appendix B "Units and Systems of Measurement Their Origin, Development, and Present Status" to their publication Handbook 44 "Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices" [PDF].

While we are correcting misconceptions, the SI system (often called metric) is lawful in the US, and has been so since 1866, and dominates several important activities, such as health care, and the military. What the US has not done, and probably will never do, is outlaw, the customary system.

Comment But, the US is already metric (Score 1) 830 830

I am not sure that Mr. Chaffee understands the issue.

Let me start by quoting the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST a division of the US Department of Commerce]. Appendix B "Units and Systems of Measurement Their Origin, Development, and Present Status" to their publication Handbook 44 "Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices" [pdf] states:

2.2.5. Status of the Metric System in the United States.

The use of the metric system in this country was legalized by Act of Congress in 1866, but was not made obligatory then or since.

* * *

Since 1970, actions have been taken to encourage the use of metric units of measurement in the United States. A brief summary of actions by Congress is provided below as reported in the Federal Register Notice dated July 28, 1998.

Section 403 of ... the Education Amendment of 1974, states that it is the policy of the United States to encourage educational agencies and institutions to prepare students to use the metric system of measurement as part of the regular education program. Under both this act and the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, the âoemetric system of measurementâ is defined as the International System of Units ... interpreted or modified for the United States by ... the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Section 5164 of ... the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, amends ... The Metric Conversion Act of 1975. ... read[s] as follows:

âoeSec. 3. It is therefore the declared policy of the United Statesâ"

(1) to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce;

(2) to require that each federal agency, by a date certain and to the extent economically feasible by the end of the fiscal year 1992, use the metric system of measurement in its procurements, grants, and other business-related activities, except to the extent that such use is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to U.S. firms ... ;

(3) to seek ways to increase understanding of the metric system of measurement through educational information and guidance and in government publications; and

(4) to permit the continued use of traditional systems of weights and measures in nonbusiness activities.â

The Code of Federal Regulations makes the use of metric units mandatory for agencies of the federal government. (Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 23, page 160, January 2, 1991.)

Perhaps Mr. Chaffee wants non-metric units to be outlawed. That is not US policy (see above). I doubt that there is any enthusiasm for changing the policy, or any money to implement such a change.

Comment Remember Thalidomide (Score 2) 77 77

It was banned after it was discovered to be the cause of severe birth defects. Later it was discovered to be useful for:

... for a number of conditions including: erythema nodosum leprosum, multiple myeloma and a number of other cancers, for some symptoms of HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis, graft-versus-host disease, rheumatoid arthritis and a number of skin conditions that have not responded to usual treatment.


Any drug that is sufficiently powerful to cure you, also has the power to hurt you. The converse is true also.

Comment 2 methods (Score 1) 466 466

Method 1:

Buy, borrow, or steal a 2.5 inch IDE hard drive enclosure with USB ports. Remove the hard drive from your old laptop. Plug it into the enclosure. Connect the USB cable to you current computer. It should mount the external drive with no fuss. Copy the contents of the external drive to an internal drive or to the cloud.

Method 2.

In a strip mall somewhere near you is a small shop with a sign in the window that says something like PC repairs or laptop repairs. Take the old machine to the shop. For a small quantity of money the shop will put your data on a CR-Rom or a cloud portal.

This method does not require screwdrivers or touching machinery.

Given that you did not think of method 1 in a few seconds, you probably ought to use method 2. It is far more bullet proof.

Comment Good Article on Railgun problems (Score 1) 517 517

I love cool technology as much as next guy. The videos of railgun trials are very cool. But, the Pentagon has lots of cool technology projects that have turned into expensive junk. The F35 is the latest example, billions of dollars over budget, and it still doesn't work.

I am very much in favor of a strong defense and strong US military capabilities, but, I am very concerned by the Pentagon's seeming inability to make tech work on time and on budget.

I read the following in National Review (a very conservative pro defense pro military magazine), and I think that everyone who is interested in railguns and Naval Technology should read it as well:

Railguns: The Next Big Pentagon Boondoggle?
The Navy's replacement for traditional artillery may be an expensive fantasy.
By Mike Fredenburg on December 18, 2014

Mr. Fredenburg's claims include: railguns are nowhere durable enough; railguns will have serious trouble engaging mid-range targets; large-explosive rounds are better than the railgunâ(TM)s small, inert ones; railguns will cost a lot more to operate than more conventional artillery, and less extreme technology could produce results as good as railguns at a fraction of the cost.

I cannot vouch for the correctness of Mr. Fredenbug's claims, but given the Pentagon's poor record on new technology, I think they should be taken seriously.

Comment Only One "Whole Foods" in Mississippi (Score 1, Informative) 297 297

This report in the main post above was absolutely guaranteed to inflame the condescension so inherent in the liberal coastal mentality that afflicts so many /. posters. No human society can be found that is not riddled with irrational pieties and unfounded self-congratulation. This is not to say that any human being not otherwise non-compis mentis would prefer to live in San Francisco over Peshawar. But, condescending to the rubes who live in Dixie is not only rude, it is foolish. Sometimes they really are smarter than /.ers.

"Why the 'Prius Driving, Composting' Set Fears Vaccines By Greg Miller at on 31 January 2011

Journalist Seth Mnookin's new book, The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, explores the public health scare over vaccines and autism. ...

Mnookin warns of grave consequences. Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable infections have sickened thousands of children and killed more than a dozen in the United States. Vaccine rates are falling below the level needed to prevent an outbreak in a growing number of communities, including ones with wealthy, educated populations.

Q: There's a perception that vaccine refusal is especially common among affluent, well-educated, politically liberal parentsâ"is there any truth to that?

S.M.: It's dangerous to make broad generalizations about a group, but anecdotally and from the overall data that's been collected it seems to be people who are very actively involved in every possible decision regarding their children's lives. I think it relates to a desire to take uncertainty out of the equation. And autism represents such an unknown. We still don't know what causes it and we still don't have good answers for how to treat it. So I think that fear really resonates.

Also I think there's a fair amount of entitlement. Not vaccinating your child is basically saying I deserve to rely on the herd immunity that exists in a population. At the most basic level it's saying I believe vaccines are potentially harmful, and I want other people to vaccinate so I don't have to. And for people to hide under this and say, "Oh, it's just a personal decision," it's being dishonest. It's a personal decision in the way drunk driving is a personal decision. It has the potential to affect everyone around you.

Q: But why liberals?

S.M.: I think it taps into the organic natural movement in a lot of ways.

I talked to a public health official and asked him what's the best way to anticipate where there might be higher than normal rates of vaccine noncompliance, and he said take a map and put a pin wherever there's a Whole Foods. I sort of laughed, and he said, "No, really, I'm not joking." It's those communities with the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating people.

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!