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Comment: Re:jessh (Score 1) 390

by the gnat (#48930081) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Yes, indeed, they are free to quit their jobs — without having to give up on their house, country, and friends — if their assessment of the risk of coming to work is so drastically at odds with that of their employer.

Are you really so dense and solopsistic that you are incapable of understanding that for most people, this is no choice at all? For many Americans, yes, they will have to give up their house if they end up unemployed. Not to mention their health insurance - and I assume you aren't in favor of the government helping out with that either. You're pretending that personal autonomy isn't constrained by economic considerations, which is completely at odds with reality. You're also pretending that managers actually give a shit whether their employees are safe driving to work, when the history of industrial economies is full of evidence that they are often utterly careless without government intervention.

And if you don't like being told to move to Somalia, try getting some self-awareness and honesty, and admit that there are real tradeoffs to your utopian fantasies, with genuinely negative impacts on other people's lives. There are many persuasive and intellectually honest arguments for smaller government, but you're not making them.

Comment: Re:iPad is a luxury? (Score 1) 257

by SecurityGuy (#48927541) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

They are still called phones because that is the primary reason most people carry them around. It may not be what they use it for the most, but it is still the core reason a person owns it.

I don't think it is. I had a dumbphone and upgraded to a smartphone because I wanted a mobile web platform in my pocket. It happened to make my dumbphone unnecessary, so I no longer carry one. I, at least, did not buy a smartphone because I needed a cell phone. I *had* a cell phone already.

Comment: Re:iPad is a luxury? (Score 4, Insightful) 257

by SecurityGuy (#48923945) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

A $700 smart phone is, too. Here in .us, a lot of the price is buried in your 2-year contract, so people see it as a $200 smart phone.

Calling it a phone is also a misnomer. It's a small computer that also makes phone calls. If all you want to do is make phone calls, buy a dumbphone. Having a moderately powerful, always connected computer in my pocket is nice--but admittedly, it's still a luxury.

Comment: Re:It depends (Score 1) 201

by AuMatar (#48921893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Yeah- now in reality that doesn't happen. The whole lone programmer thing is almost completely a myth- pretty much all non-trivial programs are worked on by a team. At the absolute best you'll get someone who comes up with a new algorithm to do something by himself, but even then it will be one part of a larger whole that will need to be worked on by the full team.

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 221

by Black Parrot (#48920405) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

GRBs clearly haven't prevented life in *our* galaxy, so the Fermi Paradox still stands.

The caluculations probably rule out life in the core of our galaxy, but systems further out would be exposed even less often than ours is. And even though GRBs can periodically sterilize a planet, their directionality means that one burst would not likely sterilize all the planets in an intercellar civilization simultaneously.

So, to modify what someone said above, we can add another term to the Drake equation, but this doesn't do much to answer Fermi.

Comment: Re:jessh (Score 1) 390

by the gnat (#48919933) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

individuals and businesses, made aware of the risks, can (and are supposed to!) make their own decisions

No, most individuals are at the mercy of whatever their employers decide, even if their employers decide that yes, they need to be at their jobs today even if it means driving in two feet of snow. Yes, they're quite "free" to quite their jobs, in the same sense that you are "free" to move to Somalia if you're unhappy with having a functioning government.

Comment: Re:Not their fault (Score 1) 390

by hey! (#48918827) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Something worth considering. We associate snow with cold, so it's tempting to see more and frequent snowstorms as disproof that the planet is warning. However temperature is only one of the constraints on snow. The other is moisture.

I have lived here in Boston over fifty years, and in the 60s and 70s the December climate was bitterly cold and *bone dry*. In recent decades there has been a marked tendency toward warmer AND wetter Decembers and Januaries, and thus frequent significant snow storms in December (almost unheard of) and January (rare until the 90s).

This storm was particularly intense, and in my town got two feet or more. This has happened on six prior occasions, once in 1888, and five times since 1969.

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.