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Comment Actually, not even technically a laser (Score 1) 118 118

While this first proof of concept is important, significant obstacles remain to make such white lasers applicable for real-life lighting or display applications. One of crucial next steps is to achieve the similar white lasers under the drive of a battery. For the present demonstration, the researchers had to use a laser light to pump electrons to emit light. This experimental effort demonstrates the key first material requirement and will lay the groundwork for the eventual white lasers under electrical operation.

The thing they made is probably best thought of as nano-interleaved resonator cavity for a laser diode (which needs to have certain band gaps to emit the light). Apparently for this proof of concept, they actually had to excite this nano-structured cavity, with an actual laser. These nano-structures couples the energy to desired tunable optical wavelengths which are nano-interleaved and thus allows emission of "white" light from the laser diode structure.

As far as I can tell, the breakthrough is to manufacture these nano-structures (nano-wires or nano-sheets) on the same substrate near each other (nano-spaced). To do this they developed a ion-substitution process which allows them to build the nano-wire structure with one material with certain lattice constants and later replace atoms to create a different lattice constant (changing the resonant wavelength of the structure), This alllowed them to make "blue" which generally so different than "red" that it previously needed to be fabricated with a different structure (making it hard to make nano-structures next to each other).

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 3, Insightful) 1167 1167

No you'd call the cops and have the guy arrested for being a peeping tom. It's not easy to ascertain who the snooper is with a UAV.

Maybe you call the cops first, then shoot down the UAV. Apparently there's empirical evidence snooper will voluntarily identify himself in to the cops in this case...

Comment Re:Here's the list (Score 5, Interesting) 118 118

Clearly you don't understand engineering. Engineering isn't just "model your entire design". Engineering is decomposing your problem into problems that are "spec-able". For example, build your bridge out of steel and bolts. You don't have a model of bolts in your design, you have a spec for bolts that you use in your design that is testable (performance and tolerance) and then you use parts hierarchically in your design. The bolt is designed separately and is made out of some alloy that has specs and is tested (performance and tolerance)...

The problem with most software isn't that it can't be modelling and rely on basic physical principles, it's that many projects fail to take specs and testing seriously, and the specs that exist don't address performance and tolerance (aka, error handling). If software did this, things would be more engineered.

Right now many software artifacts are similar to the prehistoric bridges that cross chasms in jungles in third world countries. They work, people cross them every day, but things were made empirically so nobody knows what might cause them to fail, so it's hard to rely on them.

It's not that bridges that were built 100 years ago were "better", but they were actually built to specs and of course survive to this day (which can't be said for the prehistorical variety). However, improved bridges are continually desired so we use better parts and build even better bridges today because modeling allows us to get tighter specs on the parts that make up bridges and the stresses that we are putting on those parts.

But doing all that requires better engineering discipline not dismissing it as a something that isn't applicable. Engineering is an useful approximation of the physics (an approximation which always gets improved over time), not a practice of physics.

Comment Re:ask and receive equitable pay (Score 1) 429 429

Well, they can't have it both ways.

Doesn't mean they have to like it. The question was "why would management not like that?"

Say I was planning to pay my mortgage at the end of the month and the 10yo sports car I've been nursing along (to save money over buying a new car) decided it was time for a repair (say a smog issue) because the State of California changed the rules on acceptable NxOy emissions.

You might say I can't have it both ways, paying lower car expenses for a while assuming their won't be a potentially large repair bill for an older car and budgeting the savings for a larger mortgage expense, but I'm not so sure that I should be required to like the fact that I have to juggle my budget (and not take a long planned Hawaiian vacation)...

Maybe instead of fixing the car, I should probably dump it and buy a cheaper/ more reliable used car that I can afford... Maybe I was stupid in trying to nurse that sports car along because I actually couldn't really afford the potential expected costs, but at least I got to drive it around for a while (even my use of the car was potentially "unfair" to the car's ability to have a owner that took better care of it)...

Of course, my car doesn't have a choice, but if it were a person, would you question its choice of choosing me to begin with, or only after it had realized other owners might have more financial resources to take better care of it? Or would you blame me for accepting the use of the car in the first place...

Comment Re:I foresee a sudden demand for raises (Score 1) 429 429

Not that easy...

Part of your pay is for what you do, part of your pay is to keep you from leaving and working somewhere else (presumably because they would have to hire and train someone new to replace you)...

If Steve, Alan and Lucy make 50 grand a year and you make 45 grand and your contributions to the company are comparable, but you really need the job because you are single parent in your mid-50's and don't want to go back into the job market in your mid-50's, and they all are married to high paying professionals...

Sadly, how much you personally want/need the job is sometimes factored into how much you are paid for that job... Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's how it works most of the time.

Comment Re:ask and receive equitable pay (Score 1) 429 429

Remind me why would management not like that?

Large out-of-cycle compensation changes probably blow up their budget which gives management a big headache from a cash flow planning point of view. I suspect that's a reason not to like that.

This is especially true in some startups where there is generally minimal capital expenses and almost all cash is for payroll and factors straight to the burn rate. In most companies, the managers planning cash flow generally doesn't really know if people are being over-or-under paid and probably expects expenses for labor to be mostly predictable on longer budgeting timescales (just like employees expect their pay to be mostly predictable on longer timescales so they can budget for their expenses). Such companies are essentially living pay-check to pay-check and like many people aren't necessarily the most literate when it comes to financial matters (e.g., short term large variations in prevailing wages) until it hits them in the face.

Of course for a company like google that prints cash, it's probably just a few managers being embarrassed about their past compensation decisions, but at a personal level, I'm sure many managers are glad to pay equitably when people ask to keep the people any "good" people have these days (unless they have to "pay" for it by reducing their headcount numbers)...

Comment Re:I would sure as hell like to know what people m (Score 1) 429 429

I would sure as hell like to know what people made

at a company before I started there... aftewards, meh not so much..

That's a bit short sighted...
Esp given the current trend of paying new people in this competitive job market more than current employees for similar positions...
Although if you don't care about being underpaid, I guess it doesn't matter much...

Comment Re: Privacy in my pants? (Score 1) 179 179

In this case, the cellular carrier is innocent. :)

No, cellular carriers are never innocent...
They are tracking your all the time through their towers all the time even if you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

You can turn your phone off to avoid this tracking, but you can also turn your phone off to avoid butt/pocket dialing.

Comment Re:Keep your GMOs, don't export them to Europe (Score 1) 446 446

I don't want to see your GMOs in Europe. We're well off without them. Period.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Europe already has GMOs (58 varieties covering maize, cotton, soybean, oilseed rape, sugar beet). One of them in particular
MON810 corn, (from your favorite company) is planted in over 150,000 hectares since its approval in 1998 because of its resistance to the European corn borer.
AFAIK, most of the GMOs imported into the EU are feedstock from south american soybean crop (not the US).

Comment Re:Good! Those laws just misinform consumers anywa (Score 1) 446 446

Exactly. GMO labeling laws are analogous to labeling table salt as "NOTICE: HAS CHEMICALS!".

FWIW, in California, every supermarket has this posted near the fresh produce section, but not associated with any particular product.

Proposition 65 WARNING: Products contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

This clearly conveys the real and important information to the consumer about the fresh produce for sale at every supermarket in California ;^)

Comment Re:Solar panels will show us what likely will be d (Score 1) 35 35

Micron is likely going to be the target of precise attacks (be it network wise, or even "boots on the ground"), and a no-name competitor will sprout up offering the same products Micron does for less than it costs to normally produce them.

Micron already has the problem of someone offering the same products for less than it costs to normally produce them. It's coming from a no-name competitor called Samsung. It's because Samsung is already on a more advanced production node than Micron (smaller chips, similar cost per wafer, hard to compete)...

The DRAM game is mostly about getting yields on advanced production nodes (e.g., 30nm vs 20nm) and financial games to fully depreciate/amortize the cost of constructing multi-billion dollar fabs. Currently on SK Hynix, Samsung and Micron are real players in this game (they have 90% of the market) and Micron is the smallest of the 3 (although to be fair, it's probably the only that could theoretically be purchased by a Chinese company).

If Tsinghua wanted to "attack" someone for memory technology, they would probably have better luck attacking Hynix as they already have a fab in Wuxi (china).

Comment Re: Question about deep space pictures (Score 1) 108 108

FWIW, here's more info about one of the main imaging cameras (LORRI).

Short story:1Kx1K** CCD sensor w/ 350 nm to 850 nm panchromatic sensor. To compensate for the low light levels, the primary mirror is 20.8cm in diameter, the field of view is only 0.29 and the integration times are pretty long (100-150ms or so).

AFAIK, the images they have posted so far are generally the CCD images only processed to remove CCD bias, read-out smearing, and fixed-pattern non-uniformity effects.

**The sensor also support a 2x2 pixel binning mode to reduce smear for really long exposure times or high sensitivity shots.

Comment Re:Oh hell no! (Score 1) 273 273

Most contractors work within strict location and time restrictions set by the clients.

I would love to be a contractor working on your kitchen upgrade; I'll get it done when I damn well feel like it and if I get bored at 2am, don't be surprised if I head over the your house to start work on the marble countertops.

On the other hand, most contractors are allowed to subcontract. Say if you are a kitchen contractor on the upgrade and you can't get all your work done (because you took too long on your previous job), you can hire your buddy to help you start this new job. Uber doesn't generally allow you to sub-contract your piecework to your buddy (say your buddy that has a commercial licence and occasionally works for Lyft, so has essentially equivalent qualifications to you). This would fail one of the more common tests for being a contractor vs an employee.

In any case, the IRS has provided reasonably clear guidance in the area of limousine service. If the employing company is a pure dispatch company (e.g., it doesn't control how the drivers drive and the driver is not accountable to the company), then drivers can be considered contractors. If however, the employing company is a transport service (e.g., the company provides detailed instructions to its drivers
and monitors their daily performance and the driver doesn't maintain business like doing advertising or keeping logs), then the drivers must be considered employees.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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