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Comment: Re:Thai music is heptatonic (Score 1) 59

by rwa2 (#49759233) Attached to: Favorite musical scale, by number of pitch classes?

ha, yeah, I suppose I /still/ have no idea :P

What I meant is while western music scales mathematically divide the octave into 8 intervals (12 including the black keys), Thai instruments divide their "octave" into 7, which is part of the reason why Thai and other asian music sounds... exotic to westerners.

Here's someone who knows what he's talking about...

Also a herpetonic scale sounds cool because imagine a bunch of shiny lizards playing in an orchestra

Comment: cheap BLU phones (Score 2) 302

by rwa2 (#49754693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

I've been getting a bunch of BLU phones for the kids for about $20 - $30 a pop.

They're by no means nice phones, but they have a good feature set, and we haven't had any problems with them that weren't caused by dropping them into puddles or sending them on a ride through the laundry machine.

BLU also has a slightly larger one with a full Blackberry-like keyboard for texting that also has a broadcast TV receiver instead of just FM radio.

Comment: Re:Trolling? (Score 2) 227

by rwa2 (#49753437) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Er, just trolling for mod points, and I guess I know my audience for the most part... I was really just looking for a nice place to link to that funny image, and your post sounded smart (though TBH I didn't really understand what position you were arguing for or against, but I agree with the statements you made).

But just to explain my AGW analogy... should we be worried about asteroids enough to spend money on asteroid interceptors, even though any kind of payoff is likely only once every 70,000 years or so? Should we be worried about climate change enough to spend money on trying to cram more people onto Earth, or just let the natural cycles of mass extinctions and famine run its course?

The fine article is somewhat silly, because first they complain about how bad at statistics people are, but then go through the math that the odds of anyone dying due to asteroids are 1 - in 70 million per year.

assuming our world’s population remains level at 7 billion indefinitely into the future

which is
1. a bit ridiculous that the population will hold steady at 7 billion the forseeable future, not that it matters because humans have difficulty relating to any population above a couple hundred.
2. over enough millennia, even with those odds, we'll see definitely see something. Probably not in our lifetimes, but likely on a civilization scale of 10,000 years.
3. Yes, TFA mentions that most of the solar system debris has already been absorbed by Jupiter and the like, but seems to ignore some other million-year scale cycles for encountering space debris

Are people fear-mongering? Definitely. Is any effort we make to tackle the miniscule risk of asteroid impacts or climate change wasted? No. Are historians in the distant future going to look back on our culture and and say "silly fools, they wasted so much time and effort worrying about X that they didn't notice the real issues piling up to destroy their civilization" no matter what we do? Hell yes.

+ - Coral islands defy sea level rise

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Despite having some of the highest rates of sea level rise in the past century, the 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll in the Pacific show no signs of sinking.

Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897-2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level.

Be aware as well that the cause of the rise in sea level here is not clearly understood. It could be the global warming we have seen since the end of the Little Ice Age of the 1600s, or other more complex factors.

Comment: Re:Mostly wrong (Score 3, Insightful) 227

by rwa2 (#49752245) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Yeah, large, mass-extinction asteroids are only a problem every 70 million years.

By that logic, why even bother worrying about AGW, since even by the worst predictions it won't have any horrible effects for the next 100 years or so. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy life! .... there's nothing that could possibly happen that Earth wouldn't completely recover from in a couple million years.

Comment: Re:Sudden? (Score 4, Interesting) 263

by rwa2 (#49751577) Attached to: ESA Satellite Shows Sudden Ice Loss In Southern Antarctic Peninsula

Politics are not Pro- or Anti-Science. It is weather the science is political useful for them or not. Otherwise they will be happy putting their head in the sand.

This. If you know anything about lawyers and law, the first tenet is NEVER ADMIT FAULT. No good can come of it. People might then expect you to pay for damages or whatever.

Environmentalists make the mistake thinking that conservatives are stupid. That is not the case. The only thing they care about is that they will not have to pay for or be part of the solution. Any time you spend trying to convince them otherwise is wasted.

The other bit is that politics is never proactive, always reactionary. No environmental protection or anti-pollution law was ever passed until something was already FUBAR, be it due to the London yellow fog, or smog over LA, holes in the ozone layer, or Chinese urban centers shutting down due to respiratory issues. The politicians will maybe finally get around to doing something substantial about AGW after there's a refugee crises from low-lying areas, like the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Louisiana, Florida, etc. Chances are, they still won't blame AGW, since it'll be sea swell from a hurricane/typhoon that does those population centers in, but at some point they'll get tired of throwing money at those places to rebuild. Fortunately there are already a lot of migrant refugee boats in the Mediterranean and Andaman Sea for other reasons, so we're already slowly building a framework for dealing with these kinds of things.

+ - Gravitational anomalies beneath mountains point to isostasy of Earth's crust

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: Imagine you wanted to know what your acceleration was anywhere on Earth; imagine that simply saying “9.81 m/s^2" wasn’t good enough. What would you need to account for? Sure, there are the obvious things: the Earth’s rotation and its various altitudes and different points. Surely, the farther away you are from Earth’s center, the less your acceleration’s going to be. But what might come as a surprise is that if you went up to the peak of the highest mountains, not only would the acceleration due to gravity be its lowest, but there’d also be less mass beneath your feet than at any other location.

+ - Rand Paul wraps up NSA "filibuster" after 10 hours->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: After standing on the Senate floor for more than 10 hours in protest of the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance programs, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, wrapped up his so-called "filibuster" just after Midnight on Thursday morning.

NSA illegal spying and data collection of innocent Americans must end. Thank you all for standing with me. #StandwithRand

— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 21, 2015
The senator and 2016 presidential candidate staged the talkathon ahead of the Senate's consideration of legislation to extend the NSA's authority to collect phone records in bulk. The controversial surveillance program — which has been deemed illegal by one federal court — is supposedly authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That section of the law is set to expire on June 1, giving Congress little time to renew it.

Paul started his "filibuster" against an extension of the Patriot Act on Wednesday afternoon, even though the Senate was actually in the middle of debate time on an entirely different issue — trade authority. Paul's efforts likely slowed down Senate business — lawmakers are trying to finish a few important bills before taking off for a weeklong recess — but the Senate is still expected to take up legislation to deal with the expiring NSA program.

Link to Original Source

Comment: If the headline is posed as a question, the answer (Score 4, Insightful) 379

by rwa2 (#49736885) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?

... is no.

The thing you propose sounds fine. But do they really want to upgrade all of the pumps at once? Sounds like a great way to brick an entire facility.

The only "improvement" I could think of would be to set up some kind of cheap router that can do MAC address filtering, that way you can set up the router to allow only one of each pump to show up as that one silly IP address at a time on a switched network. But then you'll still be able to only do one at a time.

The "right" way to do this is just throw money at the problem and attach a real computer to each pump, with a separate interface to talk to the static IP. Maybe something as small as or just some generic mini-ITX board in a telecom chassis or whatever.

Comment: Re:And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335

by rwa2 (#49725815) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

An IPO is where you get stock in exchange for investing in actual production. ...

I was able to buy it because someone broke the rules.

Thanks for that story! Yeah, it sounds like that was pretty lucrative, and that's why they have those kinds of rules to keep the plebs out. Good that you were able to get in.

I did manage to pick up a bit of Boeing stock while I worked there in the early phase of my career. Yes, I broke a lot of risk guidelines by investing substantially in one stock that also happened to be my employer. It's certainly time to "make good" and sell it off now, since it easily overshadows all of my other conventional managed/index funds, even though I had originally allocated a smaller fraction to it than anything else. But I'd also just as soon hold on to it for many rationalizations:
* BCA used to go in fairly predictable 7-year cycles, but since they merged with their defense wing, that smoothed things out a bit. Also helps that the defense side tends to have revenue during wartime and the commercial side tends to have revenue during peacetime.
* I still have plenty of smart friends on the inside so I'll have some warning when they jump ship. For now it sounds like they've been happy with the trimming down of the top-heavy management hierarchy from the time I was there.
* They're quite good at spinning the media to keep their stock prices elevated.
* As the largest US exporter, they're probably too big to fail(tm), so I'm not too worried about them going under suddenly without some kind of US taxpayer intervention :-P

At the same time, I wouldn't buy any more stock at current prices :P And since it was from an early phase of my career, it's not even really all that much money to spend time worrying about.

Education? I have a degree in one field, and work in another. I don't need education.

I'd love to invest in education (well, I sorta did by marrying a teacher). But there are lots of indications that we're in an educational loan bubble right now which has both driven degree prices way up so high that the students you invest in will likely never be able to pay you back.

So your argument is left to pedantry, the kind where you want exclusive ownership of the now genericized "engineer" tag. well, fire up the coal engine on a choo choo train or shut the hell up.

Eh, this is one of the few pedantic things that I feel ought to worry us. "Financial Engineering" is a disparaging term that drags down all engineers in ABET-accredited fields. A lot of us work in the public trust, and are held accountable for our fuck-ups, even choo-choo or building HVAC engineers. Financial managers who know how to use "the calculus" to do risk management and manipulate the market to jump off the roulette wheel while it's high and leave the mess to everyone else are just plain sociopaths.

Comment: Re: And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335

by rwa2 (#49724043) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

<shrug> isn't that exactly what the rich people with all of the money do? :-D

"real" rich people, I mean... I realize that a lot of people who "live richly" are actually in massive debt. As they say... owe the bank a million dollars, and they own you. Owe the bank a billion dollars, and you own the bank.

Comment: Financial "Engineering" (Score 1) 335

by rwa2 (#49724029) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

ABET does not consider "Financial Engineering" to be an engineering field... it's just a bunch of quants setting up a house of cards so they can stretch the value of whatever assets they have available to be worth 15 - 30x more on paper once all of the banks finished loaning everything to each other. Packaging all of the portfolios of sub-prime loans to dilute the risks, and then setting up the rules and insurance so their initial investors get the guaranteed payout and the rest of the public investors that they've convinced to buy into their portfolio gets stuck holding onto the defaulted mortgages. And whatever it is that HFET people do to take a bit off the top of "normal" trades everyone else is trying to conduct, or by feeding wacky headlines to various news feeds to make some of these HFET algorithms flash crash parts of the market so they can buy in low. It stinks, and I resent having not many other viable options for what to do with my 401k savings, but what else can we do with them?

An iPhone is objectively more valuable and useful than the equivalent pile of raw materials. And if one iPhone is 100x as valuable as the raw materials, then 10 iPhones are 1000x as valuable as their raw materials.

From what I've heard of the stock market, it's not really that simple... Sure an iPhone is worth more than the sum of its parts, but Apple is special and has managed to market their brand so people will pay more than what their products are worth. That makes it sound overvalued to me. And Apple is also good at squeezing their suppliers while cornering the market with 1-2 year exclusivity agreements, so if they sell 10x more iPhones, that doesn't necessarily mean a 10x increase in the revenue of all of their suppliers. Not to mention that if the market analysts project that they could grow their sales by 10x, but they run into some supply chain snags and "only" grow their sales by 9x, they've failed the market and all of their stock prices tumble.

Buy stock in a company that makes stuff. It's not a good investment because "stuff" isn't all that valuable anymore to people in the era of 3D printers and rapid manufacturing, but hey, if it makes you happy...

Heh, yeah, investing in companies that make 3D printers and do rapid manufacturing would make me happy :-D . On one hand, it seems to be a good idea to turn stock market investments into useful "stuff" just before it crashes. On the other hand, even useful stuff that no one can afford to buy from you because their savings and investments were wiped out by a stock market crash isn't going to help you make ends meet :-/

E = MC ** 2 +- 3db