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Comment Re:How Innovative (Score 1) 219

That is somewhat of a simplistic rebuttal to a complicated subject.

There are such a thing as *scholarships* that some people get to help them pay to attend schools which they cannot personally afford. Although some of them are need based, but some are simply are merit based (a strange concept). Sometimes people can given partial scholarships or even full scholarships to attend a school (such as medical school) and not even have to pay back anything (e.g., my uncle for instance got one of those mysterious scholarships to attend medical school)...

Millions in scholarship money goes unclaimed every year (estimates vary from $100M-$200M), that that doesn't even include the estimated $2 Billion in pell-grant money that high-school seniors didn't claim by attending an accredited college w/o filling out the FAFSA form.

As you point out, not everyone is suited for a given field, so the idea that everyone should be able to afford to get a degree that they want is somewhat a strange notion (even if we need all sorts of people to get those degrees). So why not just stick with the current scholarship/grant scheme? Does it have to be *free*?

The common notion that everyone has large student loan debt is a myth. 2/3 of college students graduate with no debt. Of those with debt, the *average* amount of debt is about $10k ($7k in government backed loans), . So who has these massive $100k+ in loans? Why it's the ones that attend exclusive private institutions and advanced degrees (medical school, law school).

Even then, those $100k+ jumbos are only responsible for a small part of the default potential on the loans (most pay back w/o problem within 10 years). The biggest problem student loan problem is those that take out loans to attend private degree-mills like the now bankrupt Corinthian college group. Buying worthless degrees from worthless colleges is the big problem with student debt.

If you want to pick on medical school as one that "should be free", the biggest problem medical practice sees is the *underused* degree. People who have used a slot in the medical school who cease to practice full time after a 10 years is staggering (they call it the 7 year itch in the profession). When questioning doctors about this, the general issue is that even the job is high-paying, the job burns them out. Many medical school admissions people will tell you many go into the profession because of high pay and social status, but fewer go in as their *calling*. Making medical school "free" really doesn't solve this problem at all.

For the record, my uncle got his scholarship essentially for being from a small town in Wyoming. He didn't go back there to practice, but is now practicing in a different small town across the country (Rhode Island). I suspect the scholarship committee gave him the scholarship because they knew it was his *calling* to practice medicine and he was also a small town type who would probably never live in a big city. It didn't work out for them specifically, but they probably had more insight into the him than either the University of Colorado medical school admissions committee, or he had into himself at age 21. Another thing to think about before you think "free" is necessarily the best option.

Comment Re:Nurses or teachers? (Score 1) 219

The ridiculous part is how little they teach nurses, at least in Canada. I have a few friends, and basically they just teach them how to make a bed. The "how to use a needle" course is an optional extra. I guess nursing started out as housewives with no extra skills helping out. And the only thing that has changed since then is that the nurses have less skills, and need to be taught the basics of cleanliness.

In the US what you are describing is a LPN (licensed practical nurse) which is basically an extinct species (replaced almost exclusively with medical technicians who essentially start with only on-the-job training). Going to school for an LPN is like a community college class.

This is totally different than a RN (registered nurse), or a ARNP (advance registered nurse practitioner) the later of which is basically taking over the role of the GP. RNs generally require basically equivalent to a specialized bachelor's program.

Comment Re:Punishing people who get degrees we need the mo (Score 1) 219

One of the positive sides is if the financial services company is going to make money, the prices for an ISA becomes a good proxy for letting students know which potential majors are likely to be more valuable to society and thus earn them more income over the course of the payback period.
So doctors and engineers, yes, womyn's studies, not so much...

I think students already know which potential majors are likely to be more *lucrative*. A potential student may *value* them differently than society and that is generally why these less lucrative majors are pursued.

The problem is that students still need to eat (and potentially pay back those pesky student loans) and sadly at that age, practicality often isn't high on ones agenda. All the futures markets in ISAs in the world can't fix stupid, just like posting calories per serving in a fast food restaurant, the message is either ignored or treated as a temptation to spite.

Comment Re:yeah, all built in Japan or France (Score 1) 350

US industry got out of the reactor business... all we have is servicing companies.

I guess if you think of Westinghouse (based in Pittsburgh, PA, but owned mostly by Toshiba) and GE-Hitachi (based in Willmington NC) as strictly Japanese companies.

In any case, given that the two largest reactor builders Rosatom (Russia), and Ariva (France) are bordering on insolvency, perhaps it's best that US industry got out the the reactor construction business. Both Ariva and Rosatom are trying to juggle projects in Finland (Olkiluoto/Ariva) and Hanhikivi/Rosatom) which are struggling with cost overruns and in the multi-billions of euros...

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 370

But -- profit in and of itself is not a sufficient, or indeed, even a necessary condition for exploration. The islands of Polynesia were explored, settled and exploited at least a millenia before Europe even knew the earth was round, using only naked eye observations to navigate.

You might argue that in the case of Polynesia, survival was the sufficient condition to explore and settle new islands. As the population grew and the resources diminished on islands, the populations were pushed to explore and settle new islands.

And what about northern europe's contribution to exploration? When Erik the Red and his kin went a'viking, they took it across at least one ocean, with only their own eyesight to guide them.

Wasn't Erik the Red evicted from iceland for murder? By all accounts I know about viking voyages were mostly to exploit resources as well, and very limited settlements were made due to poor relations with the native populations.

Comment Re:Scientists trained to ask "Why?" (Score 1) 494

Personally I think it has more to do with the fact that engineers are trained to follow rules and so it attracts people who are happy to follow rules without necessarily questioning them or completely understanding the reasoning behind them.

On the other hand scientists will question every rule you give them and even when they believe that the rules might be right they will still spend their time poking them to see if they really do apply everywhere....which is why we can be so annoying at times especially to those trying to use toxic, religious dogma to persuade others to commit irrational and immoral acts.>

I don't think I agree with this generalization.

Most engineers I know aren't the blind rule follower types. They are looking to creatively apply the rules they know about to solve interesting problems, and if they don't know, they are happy to experiment and make their own rules-of-thumb. Rather than follow the rules, they question the rules all the time to find a way around the rules.

On the other hand, many scientists I know are the "lawyer" types that want to kill all creativity that don't follow the rules (even if the rules have to be "tortured" to apply in that situation). I've known a few that would even get borderline violent when people were speculating outside the box.

I think that the common personality type that makes both scientists and engineers easier targets for terrorist recruitment is experience with social isolation and elitist attitudes that make it easy for them to dehumanize people that don't think like they do. Couple that with standard recruiting techniques and those people are easy to re-baseline (the key to radicalization).

The process of radicalization of a target generally starts by attempting to break rules that the target holds dear. Safety, fairness, corruption of heroes, falsification of memes, etc are all standard techniques here. Since no "rules" are universal, it's usually easy for a trained handler to pick low-hanging fruit here.

Next the handler introduce the target to a benign organization, it's important in this phase to help shift the identification to a different group. Helping out in a cultural center, or volunteering to assist in charitable causes will help the target empathize with the plight of people sympathetic to the terrorist group. The more socially isolated the person was before, the easier this processes (don't have to break as many existing ties).

During this assimilation time, the handler will probe how much the target might be willing to rule breaking by feeding them more propaganda to get them to normalize and accept the new rules (e.g., it's okay to hurt these specific people because they deserve it).

Finally, there's the "requirement". Involve the target in an operation where they don't have to do much of anything, but see if they run. If they don't run, the handler has likely created a new terrorist. It could be attending a protest, or spraying graffiti, or adding a "like" to radical facebook post. This is often called the "foot-in-the-door".

Then there is the "escalation" stage. Generally, promises are used in this stage (guarantee of appreciation, acceptance, heaven, virgins, glory, whatever) and involves helping prepare for a simple low-risk operation. The act of asking to help prepare is generally an easy ask, the target doesn't have to do the operation, but feels like they are involved. For engineers and scientists it might be asking to consult on some technical aspect or give ideas about how they might overcome some technical problem. Maybe they want to a DoS attack on the enemy during a religious holiday. They don't need the answer to the problem (they will generally already have it figured out), but they make the target feel like they are contributing something (e.g., hey that was a good idea, maybe we'll think about that next time).

Since engineers and scientists naturally enjoy solving problems and sharing their knowledge, they fall into this trap easily. Once they have fallen in they find themselves complicit with operation and no easy way out. The addiction to being appreciated for being helpful is powerful. Cognitive dissonance generally takes over and they are trapped. The journey to the dark side is complete.


Dark Matter Grows Hair Around Stars and Planets ( 166

StartsWithABang writes: Dark matter may make up 27% of the Universe's energy density, compared to just 5% of normal (atomic) matter, but in our Solar System, it's notoriously sparse. In particular, there's just a nanogram's worth per cubic kilometer, which makes the fact that we've never directly detected it seem inevitable. But recent work has demonstrated that Earth and all the planets leave a "wake" of dark matter where the density is enhanced by a billion times or more. Time to go put those dark matter detectors where they belong: in the path of these dark matter hairs.

The Tamagochi Singularity Made Real: Infinite Tamagochi Living On the Internet ( 84

szczys writes: Everyone loves Tamagochi, the little electronic keychains spawned in the '90s that let you raise digital pets. Some time ago, XKCD made a quip about an internet-based matrix of thousands of these digital entities. That quip is now a reality thanks to elite hardware hacker Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM). In his recent talk called "The Tamagochi Singularity" at the Hackaday SuperConference he revealed that he had built an infinite network of virtual Tamagochi by implementing the original hardware as a virtual machine. This included developing AI to keep them happy, and developing a protocol to emulate their IR interactions. But he went even further, hacking an original keychain to use wirelessly as a console which can look in on any of the virtual Tamagochi living on his underground network. This full-stack process is unparalleled in just about every facet: complexity, speed of implementation, awesome factor, and will surely spark legions of other Tamagochi Matrices.

Comment Re:Exactly (Score 2) 594

The only reason the USSR and America were adversaries was the conflict over economic systems. that conflict no longer exists.

Hardly. Russia and USA are adversaries over economic *power* not systems and will be in the forseeable future. They are still economic adversaries even though the economic systems have changed.

However, they are unlikely to be closer to the USA than China because the USA would like to keep China adversary closer (because they are a bigger economic threat).

To conflict over economic systems is a lark. Regardless of the system, it's all about economic power.

On the other hand, the USA conflict with Cuba is about politics, regardless of their economic system. Cuba was supposed one of the "spoils" the USA got in the Spanish-American war. It was supposed to be under our sphere of influence, but they overthrew the government the USA backed, so like an rebel teenager that attempts independence we attempted to "disown" them. The cuban revolutionaries weren't originally communists (e.g., DRE, and even Castro) but mostly socialists, but the USA's fear of the experience in Southeast Asia basically set the stage for fear to manifest itself to reality.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 1) 594

For the record, I do think ISIS will get squashed or fade out, but the longer that something like that festers, the longer it has to influence Muslims around the world to radicalize.

I'm sure the royalty in Europe thought something similar about insignificant "democracy" being declared in north america. It is easy to predict with confidence the incumbents will eventually squash or their ferver will fade out, but often to stop it requires action, and that's something the current leadership (not a specific leader, but the collective leadership) doesn't seem to have the stomach for...

We have no allies on the ground in that region, Russia has al-Assad, but "we" don't like him. Everyone else on the ground is mostly unreliable (to us), and the caliphate is making enough money on refineries that we won't bomb/squash, so they probably won't fade-out by themselves.

People were perhaps (rightly) upset when we "installed" vindictive leaders to clean up messes like this in the past, but sometimes in retrospect, it may be too harsh to condemn this as short sighted before you look at all the other options they had presented to them. Sometime there are simply no good options and waiting for the perfect option may not be the right answer either...

The world is complicated.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 2) 365

Source to that last point that they pay tax on US profits?

I'm sure they will happily pay tax on any profits they have left after they pay their foreign subsidiary based in Ireland all the management and consulting fees, deduct the inflated research and development expenses, and sales and marketing campaign subcontracts, and extra profit surcharges...

They're altering the deal. Pray they don't alter it any further.

If you ask nicely, they may throw in the floor mats.... Or not...

Comment Re: Why is /. so infested now with... (Score 1) 173

Doing science and funding science are two different things. Unless they can increase their numbers in congress, it is unlikely that Democrats will be able to fund science anytime soon.

Actually, even if the D-party can increase their numbers in congress, it is unlikely they will *want* to fund science over their other spending priorities, meaning there is probably no hope to increase science funding anytime soon...

Well maybe if WWIII breaks out, science-development might get a boost, but probably not science-research...

The only hope is that a massive budget surplus magically appears so that in addition to giving each taxpayer a $100K annual benefit, they throw some of the extra $$ to science... (okay, no really no hope then ;^)

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 2) 115

Interconnect gets smaller if you reduce speed as well when you reduce size. If you keep speed constant, interconnect stays the same size and it will consume the same amount of power. Well, roughly. The problem is that at these speeds you are dealing with RF laws, not ordinary electric ones and RF laws are pretty bizarre.

The problem can easily be described to first order "electrically". No bizarre RF laws necessary.

Interconnect is dominated by "resistive" issue (a good approximation of RF-impedance) and capactive coupling (a good approximation to RF field effects)... Since the interconnect is relatively getting thinner and longer, the resistance of that wire is going up (R ~ L/w/h) and it capacitively couples more with nearby lines (Cild = W*L/X or Cimd = H*L/Ls) and makes it take longer to move charge to and from the gate.

Second order effects are mostly "noise" and edge-rate coupling, but even then aggressor/victim and crosstalk issues can be thought of mostly as just distributed "lumped" approximation (e.g., capacitance per um, and mutual inductance per um) where the result is coupling being different at higher frequencies and spacing. No bizarre RF need to get the gist (well, no more than the basic concept of a wall-wart transformer)...

Comment Re:Salmon's now on my "foods to avoid" list (Score 1) 514

The label I see most often is 'line caught' which implies wild fish. But I expect it also describes a good way to pull a fish out of a fish-farm's pool.

FWIW, there is a small amount of "wild" Atlantic salmon available in the US (~0.5%) so it's *possible* to buy wild Atlantic salmon (I think the *annual* catch limit is 7 Atlantic salmon), but I suspect you are seeing wild or line-caught *ALASKAN* salmon, not Atlantic salmon which is nearly always farmed because of its endangered species status in nearly all the traditional fishery locations prevents large scale commercial fishing.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year