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Comment: I'm not buying the $2B for one second (Score 1) 270

To prevent an EMP from causing the collapse of US civilization, you, at the least, need to protect:

- The power grid
- Every municipal water and sewage system
- The entire petroleum refining and distribution apparatus to a point where you can refine and distribute diesel fuel. (Can't run farm equipment or food transport without it)
- Food distribution and processing
- The public safety system (cars, computers, etc.)
- A decent portion of the telecommunications grid
- Acute medical care
- Military weapons, logistics, computer systems, and transport
- Enough of industry that the US to restart the private sector once nearly much every major employer in the country collapses when their computers get fried

There is No. Way. that can be done for a puny $2B. $2B would probably fund whatever pet project the original article was pushing, but it wouldn't actually do any good when everything else collapsed around it.

Comment: The thing is, the companies are honest (Score 1) 86

by sirwired (#46805503) Attached to: Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm In Iowa

So far, the announcements of data center projects I've seen seem to be pretty realistic estimates of the job count and average salary of the workers. It's like the officials hear the word "Microsoft" "Google" "Apple" "Amazon", etc., and shut down all critical thinking skills.

Reminds me of driving down I-81 in rural VA and driving past a sign announcing the "Southwest VA Technology Corridor" or somesuch, just as I entered a cell phone dead zone. Commerce dept. types seem to think that the mere presence of a pile of machines, or a self-proclaimed "innovation zone" will magically bring in hundreds of overpaid engineers to revive a No-where-ville economy.

Comment: Surpise: To work at Google, major in CS (Score 1) 350

by sirwired (#46804769) Attached to: Google: Better To Be a 'B' CS Grad Than an 'A+' English Grad

You cannot predict how "fluffy" a major is simply by looking at the name. There are killer CS programs out there, and killer English or Economics programs. And I am sure there are schools where one or more of those programs are "fluff" instead.

Your best bet in picking a major is to, obviously, pick one related to the field you'd like to go in. That doesn't mean that an English major can't be a successful developer, or that a CS major cannot write literature. But if you have to pick something to major in, why would you pick something completely unrelated?

(And as a side-note Google: In the US anyway, you better not be taking on a career in reading MRI's unless you have a medical degree, unless you want to get thrown in prison for practicing medicine without a license.)

Comment: It's all about obstacles (Score 2) 88

by sirwired (#46804057) Attached to: General Mills Retracts "No Right to Sue" EULA Clause

Even if the language was enforceable (a Facebook Like? Probably not... a coupon download? Borderline, but may only be enforceable for the item purchased with the coupon), ridiculous contract clauses are all about creating obstacles to a lawsuit. You are absolutely correct that no judge is going to remove complete and total lawsuit rights because a consumer once went to the General Mills website to check nutrition information.

But that's not going to stop their lawyers from trying; they'll first issue an intrusive subpeona for the consumer's computers, pointing towards the clause as their need for the information. If the subpeona is not quashed, then they'll lob a Motion to Dismiss, pointing towards the clause. When the judge laughs it out of court, they'll appeal. When the appeal is denied, they'll bring it up again in a Motion for Summary Judgement. If they lose whatever it is the trial is actually about, they'll bring up in appeal.

All this is meant to create more work for the plaintiff's lawyer. Since most product liability cases are brought on a contingency basis, any additional hours spent on the case cut into the lawyer's profit margin. Create too much paperwork, and the consumer will never find a lawyer to take the case to begin with.

Comment: "Mis-characterized"? Seriously? (Score 3, Interesting) 88

by sirwired (#46804009) Attached to: General Mills Retracts "No Right to Sue" EULA Clause

I find it amusing (and useless) that they are now complaining that the language was "mis-characterized" The language was quite clear, as far as legalese goes.

If anything, the media has been too easy on them, calling the language "routine" in other industries and stating that the only difference is General Mills is first packaged foods company to try mandatory arbitration clauses. This language isn't routine at all! I don't know any other company that forces you to accept a mandatory arbitration clause where interacting with the website magically prevents you from suing them over something about a product you bought in a store. If the clause just applied to the website itself, it would be routine; but trying to apply it to all other interactions with the company? I don't think so.

The initial change was stupid and tone-deaf, but they are now "doubling-down" and trying to pretend it doesn't mean exactly what it said. The sad part is, even if nobody believes this corporate double-speak, instead of agitating to have the ridiculous arbitration laws changed, people will just shrug their shoulders and ignore the problem some more.

Comment: Yawn. (Score 4, Insightful) 86

by sirwired (#46793919) Attached to: Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm In Iowa

It's hard to understand why, after all these years, local and state governments STILL haven't figured out why it's pointless to spend one thin dime of tax incentives on projects like this. They persist in visions of row upon row of cubicles filled with hard-working, high-paid, tax-paying programmers. When, in fact, after construction, the total payroll is little different from a simple warehouse or small wholesale distro center that they would never consider paying any incentives to attract. The data center might have a half-dozen or so skilled tech workers, if that, and the rest of the staff are going to be low-paid parts-swapping monkeys. The "real" work will all be done remotely. If you have a limited incentives budget, why spend it on a data center?

Moreover, unless the community is blessed with a large amount of "spare" power (like areas with oversized nuc plants or the cheap hydro in the Northwest) all that grid capacity going into a power-hungry, job-poor, data center could be better spent on other projects.

Comment: So Much Fail (Score 1) 466

by sirwired (#46778731) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

1) A typical well-diversified index fund delivers returns over the long-term well over the interest charged on mortgages or car loans if you took out those loans when you have decent credit. It makes utterly no sense to lose the ability to take advantage of tax-advantaged investments in order to pay off low-interest loans at a vastly accelerated pace. It's a worthy goal to have your house paid off by the time you retire, but no need to be crazy about it. (Yeah, credit cards do suck and you should pay those off ASAP after you get your max 401(k) match, if offered.)
2) You should be taking advantage of every tax-advantaged investment you have available. That means dumping the max into an IRA, and if your employer has one available, also dumping the max into their 401(k) program.
3) Even if your employer has a lousy 401(k) program, once you've maxed out your individual IRA limit (which doesn't take much if your employer offers a 401(k)) it still makes sense to dump as much money as you can into it. The next time you switch employers, you can roll over your 401(k) into your IRA. (My employer's 401(k) is quite good, with expenses of only 0.12%/yr, so there's no reason ever to take my money out.)
5) If your employer offers a 401(k) match (even 50 cents on the dollar), you'd have to be a complete blithering idiot to not take advantage of it.
6) Seriously? You claim your investing acumen is SO good, that you can routinely achieve 20-50% returns in a month in a practice portfolio, but you don't invest because a five-page Schedule D is your idea of too much work? (Especially since most of the "work" is nothing more than copying the data from your statements into a tax program.) I call B.S. That kind of return would make Warren Buffet look like an amateur and the finest hedge fund kingpin look like he was running a lemonade stand.

Comment: You Insensitive Nazi Clod! (Score 4, Funny) 44

by sirwired (#46767065) Attached to: Mt. Gox Ordered Into Liquidation

By glorifying MtGox's collapse, you have shown yourself to be a Thuggish Tool Of The Oppressor! You would have made Hitler and his minions proud with your slavish dedication to the status quo.

Maybe you should open your eyes to the real world instead of digging yourself into a bunker of group-think as part of the great mass of sheeple and perpetuating hysteria and hype.

(c) All Politically Frothy Slashdot Commenters, MMXIV, All Rights Reserved

Comment: Seriously? (Score 1) 71

by sirwired (#46716617) Attached to: The Amoeba That Eats Human Intestines, Cell By Cell

Often, the tests for intestinal parasites (usually from a series of stool samples) don't actually work. While false positives are rare, false negatives are quite common.

Given that cancer is usually an actual tumor (or, at the least, something that is blindingly obvious on a microscope slide), the odds of getting treated for cancer when you really had a parasite is pretty much zero.

And likewise, the flu has pretty distinctive symptoms (and a somewhat reliable test) that you are unlikely to be treated for influenza but be suffering from a parasite.

A mandatory test for any given parasite would be a fantastically expensive waste of money for relatively little benefit. And of course there are a crazy number of parasites it's possible to infect a human with; which ones do you test for?

Comment: Those numbers are complete B.S. (Score 2) 102

by sirwired (#46712349) Attached to: Intel and SGI Test Full-Immersion Cooling For Servers

Air cooling is inefficient, but it's not so horrible that that inefficiency alone accounts for 90% of data center power usage. Heat is heat, and Watts is Watts; they gotta go somewhere.

And the "tons of water" that data centers use is generally used to spray the outdoor condenser (think cooling tower at a power plant); changing the servers to liquid cooling won't fix that.

Liquid cooling makes less sense for smaller servers, as going to all the trouble to plumb a pizza box is generally more trouble than it's worth. Big Iron is already frequently liquid cooled, if not in an immersion bath.

Comment: That's not what homeopathy says (Score 1) 408

I didn't say that prevention was bad vs. treatment. I'm just saying that the statement by these clowns directly contradicts what homeopathy is supposedly about. They likely made this ridiculous statement because unsupported woo-woo is what you resort to when actual science says your "medicine" is a steaming pile of B.S.

If you actually read information about homeopathy, it makes no vague wishy-washy claims about "overall health and wellness", it's all about treating specific symptoms. There are very detailed reference works (referred to as "provings") listing which specific "remedies" are to be used for this or that symptom. (In the U.S., remedies listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States are specifically exempted from FDA regulations regarding efficacy.)

In this sense, Homeopathy is very different from "natural remedies" at least in the US. In the US, natural remedies that have not gone through the drug approval process cannot claim to treat specific diseases and must make vague claims about health and wellness. Because of their very specific legal loophole, homeopathy need jump through no such hoops; they can claim to treat all manner of illnesses.

(When this loophole for homeopathy was written back in the '30's, giving homeopathy a free ride was actually a good thing, as water was generally quite a bit healthier than many of the "drugs" available at the time, which made liberal use of all manner of horribly toxic substances.)

Homeopathy may be commonly prescribed by people claiming to practice "holistic medicine", but that is independent from homeopathy itself.

Comment: You know what thay call "alt medicine" that works? (Score 2) 408

Haven't you heard the joke?

What do you call "Alternative Medicine" that's actually supported via good evidence?


There's nothing controversial about the idea that certain herbs and natural substances, diet changes, etc. can treat illness. A doctor that doesn't use all the evidence-based approaches at his disposal is simply a bad doctor. A doctor that does use evidence-supported natural-based remedies as appropriate isn't practicing "alternative medicine", he/she is simply being a better doctor.

The idea of using porcine-derived thyroid hormone isn't "alternative medicine" at all... you can get a prescription for it and have it filled at any pharmacy; the brand name is "Armour Thyroid". I'll certainly take an FDA-approved Rx procine thyroid over some unregulated junk at the local Health Food store.

Comment: Wow, that's some high-grade B.S. there! (Score 1) 408

" 'What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works,' he said. Homeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness."

Wait a minute, Homeopath is only good for "overall health and wellness" but can't actually cure named diseases? I thought that was, in fact, the exact opposite of the "science" of homeopathy... I thought the way it worked is that you treated "named conditions" by ingesting a ridiculously diluted amount of a natural substance that causes the same symptoms. (i.e. treat hyperactivity with crazy-diluted caffeine) And that there were vast tomes available that map specific symptoms to specific "remedies". That's kind of the opposite of improving only "overall health and wellness."

Comment: This is how video production works (Score 1) 544

by sirwired (#46650215) Attached to: 60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S

Unless the camera is pointed at somebody's face or the segment is live, very little "live" sound is ever used on TV or in the movies. Even from nice microphones, the audio from a "field" rig is rarely good enough to use in a broadcast when you don't have to. (Many movies make extensive of "Additional Dialog Recording", where the actors essentially dub their own dialog so it can use dialog from a sound studio instead of the set.)

It would not surprise me if the editor, when needing some "car moving" footage didn't even have the audio turned on in his editing console... and just had his library of stock sound effects ready to splice in.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?