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Comment Apple for you MS haters! (Score 3, Interesting) 447

Watch Steve Job's come back key note : MS supported Apple because they saw them as an important eco-system player. This is what they are doing with Nokia now. Without a successful Nokia MS is looking at Apple and Google/Motorola carving up the market. They are not prepared to allow that.

Comment Re:Google missed an even bigger opportunity (Score 1) 236

The issue here is that Google's technology depends on patterns of use; in the past on patterns of linking, but subsequent to the internet becoming an eco-system on patterns of click through.

Intranets do not fit to this model. Intranets are about finding specific information rather than popular information. It's a different information retrieval problem and one that Google has never majored on.

Comment Your startup (Score 1) 435

You have an asset - which is your time and skill, so use it in two ways.

Start a company which is really your way of making contacts who will give you a job, offer a b2b service - for example faqs or self help services and do it really, really slickly. Make it clear that you do contracts on the side to "get cash flow for the company".

Comment Re:A small leak indeed. (Score 1) 263

Ahh ha! You have failed to understand that all radiation is not equal, and also mechanisms of exposure are not equal.

If someone made a bet with me that I should swallow a pellet of plutonium in a plastic case or something bad would happen to a loved one, I would swallow the plutonium and trust to my digestion and the container. If I had to breath in the plutonium in a dust instead I would still do it (for love) but I think it would be the death of me.

So - looking at the radiation released in total : has there been a massive increase in deaths due to atmospheric testing. Of course, we can't say so because there is no control and there are many confounding factors. But I offer the following for consideration.

1. Atmospheric testing was a massive propaganda tool and an excellent way of developing weapons. It is now banned and never done even by lunatics like the North Koreans. Why?

2. Cancer rates have increased substantially in the period - this is not evidence of causality, but if they had not then we could say that it would be evidence of absence of causality.

3. There is not much mention of this ever in the media.

4. There is not much to be done about it now.

Comment Re:"a small leak" (Score 1) 263

http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/plutonium.pdf

It's at the bottom of page 3. The risk is life time cancer mortality.

The folks at Argonne are often thought of as competent, I note that you happily use nCi in the rest of your post.

The thing is that radiation comes in different flavours. Some radiation (the stuff that plutonium majors in) can be stopped by a barrier like a bit of paper. We call this "alpha" radiation. If one breaths in a source for this radiation (for example a particle of plutonium) you are in trouble because your lungs don't have an inner paper coating. If you receive it from a decay in the atmosphere you are not in trouble because nature and evolution have equipped you with a layer of dead cells we call skin.

The trouble with the plutonium particle is that not only does it produce one decay - it sits in your lung repeatedly producing alpha particles which go on to do all sorts of mischief.

Comment Re:"a small leak" (Score 1) 263

I can't think how you got that from what I wrote, however here is where I got my figures from.

http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/plutonium.pdf

This is a document published by Argonne National Laboratory, in a form that they call "a fact sheet".

You can see that there a thing called a radiation co-efficient chart. This provides the risk of death that can be expected by exposure to 1pCi. If you don't like reading things then you can find the table at the bottom (right hand) of page 3.

If someone was exposed to 9000^12 pCi via inhalation I think that they would die in about 3 minutes - due to suffocation. Afterall - we are talking about some kilos of material.

None of this is comic.

The extrapolation lies in the likelihood of exposure to individuals, and the error I made is that in fact we are talking about 18000 * 10^12 pCi, not 9000. At the top end we are talking 200 million human deaths from cancer due to that accident. I think it would have required a very deliberate regime to do that much killing with that much plutonium, but you get the significance of the event from that (remote) possibility.

Comment "a small leak" (Score 1, Informative) 263

The snap-9a accident was not a small leak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents

Indeed NASA (in the 1995 Cassini FEIS)[35] indicated that the SNAP-9a plutonium release was nearly double the 9000Ci added by all the atmospheric weapons tests to that date.[40][41]

1 pCi exposure typically will kill in 10^-8 of cases, but there were 9000^12 pCi dispersed by SNAP9. You can take any view you like about how many of them have actually been exposed to humans.

Comment Not many programmers needed (Score 1) 422

Very few people working in software today are actually programmers. Most people are software developers, some are architects. Both of those groups do some significant programming very occasionally.

Most work is maintenance - adding features and interfaces to working systems; the skill is the utilization of the components to hand. After that, configuration and customization; taking the wrappers off something and making it work in our environment and process. The next biggest activity is development - bringing a set of components together and getting them to do something new. Finally architecture - thinking at a high level about how the infrastructure will work.

Some places have a need for programmers - people who implement sophisticated algorithms over complex data structures day in and day out. Not that many though.

Comment Teams (Score 1) 272

Because, just like in every big company in the world, in teaching it's all down to an individual heroically battling the odds to make a success.

Reward that hero, beat those who stand in the way, throw them to the dogs or the dole queue.

What is most important is that those that do what they are told, and tell you how good things are, are rewarded. And you will retire (in 18mths with $40m in the bank) sure in the knowledge that all will be well forever, or at least until the next fucking lunatic with a year of business school shows up to mess with everything.

And now they have jumped over the cage bars and into schools. Great.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

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