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Comment or perhaps... "other elegant computers" (Score 1) 24

Not to say that they are more elegant, but they are elegant, and another example thereof. Sorry English is such a shitty language that it routinely introduces serious ambiguity with as few as three words.

FWIW, English only allows you to be ambiguous, you could have written "other elegant computer"...

Comment Re:Tide prediction probably saved the human race (Score 1) 24

It is very clear to me, as a layman, not a strict scientist, the Great Leap Forward that happened 75000 years ago in our history was the development of abstract language and the ability to exploit coastal resources.

So yeah, tide prediction changed our history. But not 75 years ago in Europe, but 75000 years ago in South Eastern Africa.

Although this is all very interesting, I submit that it is merely serendipity to take advantage of the benefits of tide, but not the actual *prediction* of tides that changed human history in this case.

Although prediction of future events has been very useful in human history, we should not overstate it. Lest we devolve in to the shadow of practice like numerology, astrology, and other such fortune telling nonsense, because of course stopped clocks are still right twice a day...

Comment Re:black market of test takers ... (Score 1) 104

Uh, no...

1. Finding a black market to take a course for you isn't being "smart" it's just as likely to be "lazy" or "helicopter parenting".
2. We are talking admissions to MIT master's program here, not some random community college or state U. That mission isn't to educate people that are working their way up, master's degrees are for people who have graduated bachelor program somewhere already and offer admissions to a graduate-level program.

FWIW, the idea of this program is to treat certain MOOC's offered by MIT as kind of like "AP" classes for graduate studies to get them to graduate quicker. Basically, this is a revenue enhancement for MIT's business-school supply-chain-management master's program. Since these types of master's degrees are often paid for full-freight by companies (rather than students), they probably hope they can entice more enrollment for this degree program, yet not have to expand their brick-and-mortar operations as much which will result in more net $$$ in the bank. Ironically, those that do not take the MOOCs will consume brick-and-mortar operations and become more expensive and lower the net $$$, so why not favor those students that took the MOOCs (and did reasonably well)? Win-win...

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 1) 313

So how do I get a raise in such an environment? How do I differentiate myself from my coworkers? This has Lord of The Flies written all over it. Or that Simpsons episode where Martin ends up in a bird cage.

AFAIK, often in a holacracy, you get raises by taking on more roles. If I understand it correctly, you generally can get more money by getting invited into the inner circles of roles (which is basically how it works in any company) or taking on more roles. Having access to new roles that are in high demand is generally similar to getting a promotion in that it may take some ass-kissing, but as I understand it you can sometimes take roles that nobody wants and get ahead that way...

Comment Re:Well there goes the cipherhood (Score 2) 92

Say goodbye to asymmetric encryption.
Symmetric like AES can still survive quantum attacks with a doubling of key length. But all the current asymmetric algorithms are in peril once quantum computers exist.

Say hello to quantum encryption to replace some uses of asymmetric algorithms (which are often only used to exchange keys for symmetric algorithms).

The real danger is to public-private key signature algorithms (such as those used to sign certificates). At some point these may need to change to use proof-of-work (e.g., bitcoin) style authentication or other cost prohibitive measures...

Comment Re:Just (Score 1) 186

Well, I think we can safely assume solar doesn't have the potential Deuterium does for warp drive applications.

Two things...
1. There are probably no potential warp drive applications for your house.
2. Even "star trek" warp drives ran on anti-matter, mere fusion power you are likely to get from deuterium probably wouldn't get you very far...

Comment Re:Vegas wasn't built on winners (Score 1) 135

LV taxi always try to trick you into taking the highway to the airport which is significantly more expensive than the normal way from the strip.

That's cute. Going to Las Vegas to be thrifty? What exactly is the point of that? You are aware that those huge casinos weren't built by people being smart with their money, right?

Personally I just rent a car when I go to Vegas. Costs about $30-40 a day and I can go wherever I want and parking is plentiful and mostly free. The monorail can get you to much of the strip and you'll be walking plenty anyway. Cabs can be useful but if you are going to take more than 2 cab rides a day you might as well rent a car.

Depends on what you do in Vegas. For some, renting a car in Vegas would be a guaranteed DUI.
Also parking near any strip hotel is basically the same as walking from hotel to hotel (given the distance to the "free" parking lot from the casinos).

Have you ever tried to drive on the LV strip on Saturday night (after all the people from SoCal get there)?
Or returning your rental car to the airport during peak times?
Visiting during CES?

On the other hand, if you are going to take a side trips to the Red Rock or Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam/Lake Mead, or visiting off-strip restaurants, and don't plan on drinking too much, and not driving during peak times, a car is a very convenient thing to have in Vegas.

Comment Re: Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 1) 135

Oh, and when I get in a cab at a hotel and pay cash, there's no effective record of where I go and when. No stupid phone apps tracking me and modeling my behavior for future marketing purposes. The less data that exists about anyone the better.

Actually, the cabs in Vegas keep a log of every trip they make including time, starting and ending location. No joke. Now if you pay cash they don't have your name, per se, so it'll take a little more work to figure out who you are, but with cab IDs being highly visible and hotel security cameras everywhere, it won't be that difficult.

Wow, you must think those cab marketing departments really want to know exactly who some random person that takes a cab and pays cash.

A cab company would probably have better luck deploying their own stingray network and tracking your cell phone than getting casino to part with their security footage for marketing purposes of another company. Perhaps the OP should say the cab company has no *practically traceable* record of where you go...

And yes you might as well remove your tin foil hat in a casino as it is impossible to hide from their marketing department. It goes without saying if they can pump oxygen in to their casinos, who knows what else they can do ;^) ;^p

Comment Re:Of course, this is natural. (Score 2) 164

Other than the road signs, lumber sizes (2x4s, etc.) and gun calibers, I don't know any real measurements in the US that have not moved to metric. My vehicle's engine is measured in liters, the torque I use to tighten down bolts is newton-meters, Pressure inflating air bag suspension is in PSI and kPa, and so on. Even the bottle of meth-mouth soda-pop is a 2 liter bottle, not a half gallon size.

The US is going metric... only thing left are just road signs and eventually those will go into both miles and kilometers... hopefully dropping miles for good eventually.

FWIW, the UK has something to say about those pesky road signs...

We already tried once before ~1975, maybe we in the US should wait to see how it turns out in the UK before trying again...

Oh yeah, gasoline just dropped under $3/gallon and it's about 65 degrees F here as I type this, so it's a bit too cold to go to the beach. Maybe I should use some frequent flier miles** I got on my last Luftansa fight to go to a real beach in Greece. Yesterday, I threw back a few pints while watching my football team pile on the yards on their opponent. To celebrate the win, we went to a steakhouse and ordered a 16oz steak, sure beats the taste of that quarter-pound burger I had yesterday. I guess it's good to know it was all a dream. Maybe I should borrow a cup of sugar and a few teaspoons of vanilla from my neighbor to make a couple dozen cookies (or even a baker's dozen) so I can sleep better tonight... Maybe I can dream about how they measure bra cup sizes in metric countries? ;^)

** or is that knots?

Comment Re:Shop elsewhere if you need this drug (Score 5, Informative) 372

AFAIK, the situation is like this. As part of the 2007 update to the Food and Drug Administration Act added the authority for the FDA to require drug manufacturers to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to ensure that the benefits of a drug or biological product outweigh its risks. The theory was that some drugs might have serious enough side effects or complicated treatment plans that the FDA should require drug manufactures to make sure patients weren't harmed needlessly by taking these drugs in a way not supported by safety trials (aka elements to assure safe use or ETASU).

As an example, they could restrict wholesalers to sell the drug only to physicians or patients who attended training seminars, or only allow use for certain purposes and time-limit quantities to prevent certain side effects, make sure medicine is stored correctly and destroyed when expired, and they could require patients to be monitored for certain specific serious side effects, not allow the drug to be administer to otherwise healthy people etc... Seemed like a good idea at the time....

The unintended side effect of this is that Pharma companies have been crafting REMS to make it nearly impossible for generic manufacturers to obtain sufficient quantities of approved drugs for the required safety and equivalence trials. For example, a part of the ETASU might be that all patients must attend a company training seminar, or not allow the drug to be used on healthy people, but if you are doing a blind trial, that won't work.

To make the situation worse, even if the FDA didn't require REMS for a particular drug, the Pharma companies decided to "voluntarily" implement similar restrictions for their drugs on the wholesalers.

Wholesalers that don't comply with the Pharma's ETASUs would be violating both FDA rules and probably licensing restrictions and subject them to direct liability and thus will generally not sell product directly to these generic manufacturers. The only option remaining for generic manufacturers would be to purchase the product directly from the brand-name manufacturer. Under current law they are not required to sell drugs directly to their competitors and under strict interpretation of the FDA act, if a drug has a specific REMS, it is likely not technically legal.

Also even if the generic manufacturer decided to buy some of the drug on the "grey-market", they won't satisfy the requirements of the ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) which would require the same version available in the US market for demonstrating bio-equivalence.

FWIW, in 2012 there was an effort to amend the FDA act to allow the medical trials to bulk purchase of brand-name drugs at market prices and exempt REMS requirements, but it failed due to heavy lobbying...

Comment Re:And.. (Score 1) 449

that class would have given her unlimited potential dating opportunities...

Are you being sarcastic?

...she's either a bitter male hating feminist already, or a lesbian.

That would depending on whom a person might consider *dateable*... Or perhaps, throw in that false dichotomy to soothe a rejected soul...

Of course, if a goal of a person is to have dating opportunities, joining a hiking club might be a better choice if you want to actually interact with people...


Robots' Next Big Job: Trash Pickup 112

Nerval's Lobster writes: You've heard of self-driving cars, fast-moving robots, and automated homes. Now a research group led by Volvo, a waste-recycling company, and a trio of universities in the United States and Sweden want to bring much of the same technology to bear on a new problem: trash disposal. Specifically, the consortium wants to build a robot that will collect trash-bins from in front of peoples' homes, carry those bins to the nearest waste-disposal truck, and empty them. While that's a pretty simple (although smelly) task for a human being, it's an incredibly complex task for a robot, which will need to evaluate and respond to a wide range of environmental variables while carrying a heavy load. An uneven curb, or an overloaded bin, could spell disaster. Hopefully Volvo's experiment can succeed in a way that some of its other self-driving projects have failed. It's struck me, too, how the trash collection vehicles that come by my house are mostly piloted robots already; the humans are there to deal with problems and control the joysticks, but hydraulic arms lift and empty the garbage containers themselves.

Comment Re:The CFTC is United States only (Score 1) 59

would there be a way to backdoor/engineer a means to actually restrict/kill BTC by this route, or at least (eventually) corral it under official governmental control?

The CFTC probably won't be able to restrict BTC mining or usage anymore than they can keep you from drilling for oil in your backyard or using oil to run the generator in your fallout shelter (although other parts of the government would probably have issue with you drilling for oil in your backyard or digging a fall-out shelter).

However, if you were wanting to buy or sell a delivery contract for BTC you will be potentially mining (or buying from someone else for delivery if it's cheaper) in the future, the CFTC would be able to regulate it just like it regulates futures contracts for stuff like oil pork bellies, (or frozen concentrated orange juice).

Futures contracts are generally used as hedges or insurance against price volatility, but like all financial instruments, people speculate on them all the time and this make it rife for manipulation. This is why they *attempt* to regulate it so it can still be used for its primary purpose (hedging and insurance) and not collapse into a black hole of speculation.

Comment Re:It's all code (Score 1) 127

Of course context is everything...

When burning a flag into oxidized carbon ash in a national forest where it is tinder is dry because of a drought with high winds and a high fire danger, you aren't going to be charged with any crime regarding the flag, and the mere fact it was a flag you are burning isn't gonna matter much. FWIW, it'll also be a crime even if you don't start a forest fire with your flag-like object burning ACT...

Similarly, the government may be able to prohibit most practices of genetic engineering even if don't unleash the next zombie apocalypse because the act you are performing may be deemed to be inherently too dangerous to public welfare to practice w/o certain restrictions. Unfortunately, for those practitioners, the restrictions might be enough to prevent actual "research", even if they didn't prohibit certain well understood "practices".

Then again, you can always chase all the research money away by making people liable for the damage they cause and forcing them to get appropriate insurance against creating a zombie apocalypse...

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard