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Comment: Re:interesting how so many (Score 1) 274

by spmkk (#46868911) Attached to: Male Scent Molecules May Be Compromising Biomedical Research

Now, if your goal is to make sure people around you are less bothered by pain, sure, share your smell with everyone. But if you would like to keep stress levels around you down, you should suppress your smell.

Uh, from the summary at the top of this very page: "Scientists have found that mice feel 36% less pain when a male researcher is in the room, versus a female researcher. The rodents are also less stressed out."

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 2) 269

I've only got ten hours experience, not even a pilot; but I've never encountered wind shear.

Um. With all due respect, when you're coming in with 10 hours of experience, you could go easy on calling another /.er's dead friend an idiot for dying. If nothing else, recognize that bad things do happen to good and experienced pilots - and sometimes to great and very experienced pilots.

If you keep flying, you WILL encounter wind shear. And it will scare the hell out of you. Yes, we've gotten pretty good at predicting shear...at a macro level. At the micro level it's still unpredictable and unavoidable, and probably always will be because wind gusts are chaotic. There is no such thing as "that kind of weather"; sure, there are days when it's more likely than others, but it can and does happen at any time. It's happened to me on both takeoff and final approach on fairly calm days...it's a quick and very effective refresher on respecting safety margins and keeping your wits about you.

That said, the kind of gusts/shear that cartwheel a plane and smash it back into the ground on takeoff are EXTREMELY rare. As in, maybe double digits in the entire NTSB database. A catastrophic blowout on the highway is indeed much more common.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

A Cessna 172 cruise speed is 143 miles/hour.

In all my hours in a Cessna 172, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've hit 124 knots (143mph) without a tailwind.

Typical real-life cruise TAS in a C-172 -- remember, these are mostly rust buckets from the '60s and '70s, so don't go by the published specs -- is 100-110 knots, or about 115-125mph. Which yes, is certainly faster than a typical car (I was exaggerating a bit to make a point), but in general unless something goes wonky on takeoff or short final, you have much more time and space to react to situations in a plane than in a car.

Comment: Re:Sounds scary (Score 1) 269

I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.

Honest question: have any of these landings that you've seen actually not been successful? Has there been even one that didn't end with the plane either taking off again or taxiing back to the ramp and its occupants getting out uninjured?

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 2) 269

Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT.

99% of the time that I'm flying a plane, I'm more than a mile from anything else in the sky and at least 1000 feet from anything on the ground.

99% of the time that I'm driving a car, I'm within 50 feet of another car and less than 10 feet from something else I can hit. And my car's not going all that much slower than a Cessna.

If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities.

Well...that's kind of the point, isn't it? There AREN'T as many people who fly small planes as there are people who drive, and those people are generally far better trained/qualified. So sure, if general aviation was totally different than it actually is, it might not be as safe.

Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

Meh. IMO this really isn't a threat to commercial aviation - not even private/charter commercial operators. I think this service is going to be brought down by a lack of adoption (insufficient demand) and a deficit of pilots (insufficient supply). There just aren't very many of us, even fewer who own planes, and fewer still who fly regularly. The aviation industry doesn't need to worry much about this.

Comment: Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (Score 1) 269

... I'm a pilot, and I wouldn't fly as a pax with most of the other pilots I know, especially not under circumstances they are unfamiliar with - like loading down the plane with people and luggage close to gross weight and doing a cross country with it.

Really? That hasn't been my experience at all -- for me and most other private pilots I know, cross-country fully loaded makes up at least half of our non-training time. I mean, I've done a bunch of local scenic stuff too, but loading up and going places is kind of what this sport is about.

Also, FWIW I've only ever met 1 or 2 guys that I wouldn't go up with, and in those cases it was their personality more than their flying skills (honestly, I have yet to come across a pilot who got their ticket but couldn't handle a plane).

...or if they wait around for an hour for the person who is late...

I don't know if there's a single pilot under FAA jurisdiction who has never waited an hour for a late passenger/companion to show up for a flight before taking off.

Comment: Re:It'll work if you want to suceed (Score 1) 397

by spmkk (#46089121) Attached to: The "Triple Package" Explains Why Some Cultural Groups Are More Successful

Jewish people in the US have not received anything close to the oppression that black people have, and I say that as someone who's part Jewish.
Jewish Americans were not:
- effectively barred from living in most of the country.
- prevented from attending public schools and later institutions of higher learning, which allowed them to gain the skills they needed to succeed.
- paid less than their non-Jewish counterparts doing the same job.
- beaten or killed as a common recreational activity in large areas of the country, with police either ignoring it or actively supporting it.
- prevented from borrowing money from banks, which allowed them to buy homes and start businesses.
- targeted by America's current system of racial oppression called the "War on Drugs".

While that is perhaps true *in* the US (though not entirely), all of that -- EVERY SINGLE POINT -- was literally the law of the land where the bulk of Jewish immigrants to the US came from. Some of it until quite recently.

To wit: being (not "effectively" - literally) barred from living in most of the country, being excluded from academic institutions (official policy as recently as 15 years ago), being beaten and killed as a common recreational activity in large areas of the country, with police either ignoring it or actively supporting it, being targeted by a system of racial oppression in campaigns against crime, etc. Not to mention fully one third of their world population being wiped out less than a century ago, and still below pre-WWII levels.

No question that blacks have had a rough go of it in the US. But the claim that "Jewish people in the US have not received anything close to the oppression that black people have", while partially true on a technicality, is both misleading and laughably ignorant. If you gave the ancestors of today's black Americans -- as mistreated as they were -- a good look at the lives of the same generations of ancestors of today's American Jews and offered them to swap, most of them would keep what they had in a heartbeat.

Comment: 2 Years' Worth of Electricity for $17 Billion? (Score 1, Insightful) 148

by spmkk (#45663535) Attached to: Program to Use Russian Nukes for US Electricity Comes to an End
If I'm reading the article right, that entire supply of fuel-grade uranium set us back a total of $17B. If we can produce 10% of our nation's power for 20 years (i.e. supply 2 years' worth of our country's TOTAL electricity needs) on half of what Apple brings in per quarter, why on earth are we bothering with wind farms and solar arrays?

Comment: Re:Two of the most immoral people (Score 2, Informative) 220

by spmkk (#45637503) Attached to: The Yin and Yang of <em>Hour of Code</em> &amp; Immigration Reform

...Microsoft decided to "cut off their air supply" (their words) by releasing Internet Explorer (a browser they purchased from a company called Spyglass after Navigator's release) as part of Windows. Not just as an app that happened to ship with Windows, but as a necessary PART OF WINDOWS...

The skeeziest part of that deal actually wasn't Microsoft's attack on Netscape - it was their raw screwing of Spyglass. For those who don't remember this history, Microsoft licensed Mosaic (which they re-branded as Internet Explorer) from Spyglass for a minimal quarterly licensing fee plus a cut of the revenue from every copy of the browser that they sold. They then proceeded to give the browser away for free** with every copy of Windows, thereby not owing Spyglass any of the commission. Spyglass threatened legal action but apparently never took any, opting to settle for an $8M payout for a piece of technology that made Microsoft hundreds of billions.

** I never understood why Spyglass didn't sue Microsoft on the basis that (by Microsoft's own declaration, as AC pointed out) Internet Explorer was an integral part of Windows, and thus some share of the sales revenue for every copy of Windows was de facto revenue from the sale of Internet Explorer. Maybe someone more familiar with the back-story can fill in this blank?

Comment: "...but not the bottom billion." (Score 1) 220

by spmkk (#45637083) Attached to: The Yin and Yang of <em>Hour of Code</em> &amp; Immigration Reform

'An open door for the talented would help Facebook's bottom line,' Collier concludes, 'but not the bottom billion.'

By this definition of "help", the only way that the US can help even a small portion of the "bottom billion" is by becoming part of them, which isn't in the world's interests and certainly isn't in ours. This video explains it very succinctly. At current immigration levels, the US population is slated to reach half a billion people by 2070, and top 625M by 2100.

Forget what this will do to our domestic standard of living -- consider what it will do to our ability to continue helping ANYONE in the developing world. With any luck, we will barely be able to maintain a poverty level here at home above that of today's banana republics.

What the hell is so wrong with having a meritocratic immigration system, i.e. an "open door for the talented"? It gives those people who are genuinely pushing the boundaries of opportunity in their native countries a chance to realize their potential, while also enabling them to contribute to developments that will almost certainly benefit those same native countries. Symbiotically, it gives the US an influx of talent that is somewhat less expensive, enabling those developments to take place more rapidly and thus driving commerce both here and abroad.

We can't take in the "bottom billion", and we won't do anyone any favors by killing ourselves trying. They have to, as the saying goes, bloom where they're planted. The best that we can do to help them is continue to contribute to the global economy, which we can do better with an increased talent pool that's achievable in part by being judicious about whom we take in.

Comment: What stops authors from... (Score 1) 259

by spmkk (#45629017) Attached to: Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

...opening up their research to the public BEFORE submitting it for publication to a publisher like Elsevier? I know this is a naive question, and I'm not posing it to make a point.

As I understand it, study authors generally don't make a profit from selling the results of their studies (they've been paid for their time in doing the research), so it seems to me they would have nothing to lose from making those results publicly available for free (i.e. public domain) prior to journal publication. In this way, an author would render the "copyright transfer" mentioned in this article meaningless, since the work is no longer copyrightable; as such, they could subsequently re-post it wherever they liked. No?

Comment: Honest question: Why is a "weak" password so bad? (Score 1) 174

by spmkk (#45605575) Attached to: Two Million Passwords Compromised By Keylogger Virus

Not trolling here...I know this is the most common criticism: "Your password is only X characters long / doesn't have enough case diversity / has no special characters / contains dictionary words", etc.

But -- in general, someone either has your password because they stole it (in which case it really doesn't matter what the password is), or they don't, in which case they have to guess or brute-force it on the website.

Most sites won't give you more than a handful of attempts at logging in before they lock you out and force two-step authentication by making you change your password via an email/text or by asking security questions. And even if they somehow didn't, every failed attempt on a live website takes time; realistically, trying more than a few combinations isn't really worth the trouble in the vast majority of cases.

So, in the realm of security considerations, why is a "secure" password considered so critical? It seems to me that, practically speaking, someone guessing your password is about the LEAST likely way to get compromised. What am I missing here?

Comment: Re:Democracy? (Score 1) 371

by spmkk (#45518813) Attached to: FDA Tells Google-Backed 23andMe To Halt DNA Test Service

"Some of the uses for which PGS is intended are particularly concerning, such as assessments for BRCA-related genetic risk and drug responses (e.g., warfarin sensitivity, clopidogrel response, and 5-fluorouracil toxicity) because of the potential health consequences that could result from false positive or false negative assessments for high-risk indications such as these."

Show that the level of false positives/negatives is higher with genetic testing than with conventional testing, and you might have a point. Otherwise, alarmist "OMG MY BREASTS!" scare mongering.

For instance, if the BRCA-related risk assessment for breast or ovarian cancer reports a false positive, it could lead a patient to undergo prophylactic surgery, chemoprevention, intensive screening, or other morbidity-inducing actions, while a false negative could result in a failure to recognize an actual risk that may exist."

Correct, but -- again -- irrelevant unless the error rate is higher than in hands-on testing that's currently being used.

"The risk of serious injury or death is known to be high when patients are either non-compliant or not properly dosed; combined with the risk that a direct-to-consumer test result may be used by a patient to self-manage..."

Ahh...THERE it is. We can't have patients going around getting informed about what's in their own bodies and making decisions based on that information. That's the purview of PROFESSIONALS.

Kind of like auto mechanics telling you they're the only ones that should be allowed to read the OBD messages from your car.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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