Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Remember when WSJ had a modicrum of decency? (Score 2) 658

Except the minimum wage hasn't actually increased anywhere but Seattle, Washington(and even there it's still being phased in), and more-over, one of the big principles that undercuts this argument is: "once you can automate away a job, is there any wage at which you wouldn't?"

No, there isn't any wage at which you wouldn't - and it's been happening right under our noses for thirty-forty odd years now. Most people don't notice it because "automation takes away jobs" is virtually always assumed to mean "low education, low or no skill, rote and/or repetitive" jobs.

But the microprocessor revolution changed all that. The skilled master machinist has been replaced by an unskilled worker who loads and unloads a CAM machine. The draftsmen that, under the direction of an engineer, created and maintained the drawings the machinist worked from has been replaced by a CAD program used directly by the engineer. The engineer himself has been partly replaced by electrons too... instead of spending weeks with slipstick working out a stress calculation, now sets it up in a day or two on the appropriate software, clicks the mouse, and it's finished before he gets back from freshening his coffee.

And that's just one example, consider the business my wife works at... Thirty years ago, and at a tenth the size they had a full time accountant and two full time bookkeepers (plus data entry clerks and file clerks) - now they have an (almost) full time accountant, the bookkeepers (along with the data entry clerks and the filing clerks) having been replaced by a POS system.

When it's skilled, or especially when it's white collar, we call it "productivity improvement"... but we should call a spade a spade. It's automation.

Comment: your thoughts ... (Score 4, Insightful) 346

by golodh (#48218807) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

IMHO your "opinion" is very very humble indeed and belongs in the category of "uneducated careless speculation with a sensationalist bent".

It may have escaped your notice, but doctors who help out in West-African hospitals come into close contact with a constant stream of very ill people who are in the stadium where they really are contagious, every day for months at a stretch.

Their protective clothing prevents transmission in the vast majority (say 99,9%) of cases (something you can tell by the fact that we still have doctors left treating Ebola patients). The real danger comes when you take off your protective suit. That has to be done carefully so as not to touch the splatters of blood, muckus, tears, sweat etcetera that very ill patients secrete and if possible it has to be decontaminated first.

Now I'm sure your "humble" and uneducated opinion never has been schooled in elementary probability so you wouldn't understand things like P(contagion_after_100_days) = 1 - [P(no_contagion_after_1_day)]^100, but try it this way.

Playing the lottery every day makes it unlikely that you won't win a single prize.

And so it is with medical personnel who treat Ebola patient for months. They run a risk.

So it's no conspiracy (I can feel your incredulity and disappointment) and no case of "fsking idiots" (a term which I'd like to reserve for you personally).

It's easy to shout your (thoroughly humble) head off about stuff you don't understand, but it's not helping anybody and it stands in the way of a rational attitude towards Ebola.

P.S. there is absolutely nothing "insightful" about your post. On the other hand it's revealing. Revealing of a mindset that couples a penchant for conspiracy theories with a complete lack of understanding of risk and a disdain for plain ordinary everyday scientific commonsense that seems to have whizzed over your (so very humble) head.

Comment: Re:Wonder if their time hasn't already passed... (Score 4, Insightful) 165

by DerekLyons (#48213695) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

I would imagine it's down to too few people being on it still.

Not just too few people... it's also feature incomplete.

How long do you suppose people will wait before just not bothering with it?

It's already started... Ello has failed to learn the lesson of G+ and odds are, it will suffer the same fate. Gatekeeping at launch is just shooting yourself in the foot - people want to try your system, and if you lock them out... they aren't coming back. First impressions matter, and a barred door with a sign saying "only kewl kids allowed" makes a powerful first impression. In addition, G+, and Diaspora, and now Ello can't seem to grasp that to most people, personal privacy is just one of the many factors that they weigh. On top of the network effect there's also the features the system supports (chat, pages/groups, games, etc...), and all of the would be pretenders have fallen short on that front. (Or added them too late to make a difference.)

On top of that... Ello is going to have to come up with some pretty impressive optional features in order to induce people to pay for them - things the users can't get elsewhere while *also* providing a complete set of the features users have come to expect. That's a very tall order.

There's no doubt that like G+, Ello might be able to eke out a meager living on the fringes... but as a Facebook killer, or even serious competitor, it's already dead.

Comment: Re:Why do I still read these comments (Score 1, Interesting) 172

by DerekLyons (#48209169) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

Could you please, please, try it before saying that it is just like [insert failed google product here] or [insert very successful google product that you don't like here]. I know this is quite a culture shift for Slashdot, but sometimes it's too much.

Why? Given Google's track record at UI and UX (generally pretty poor), their track record of 'fixing' what isn't broken (pretty good, I.E. they do it more often than not), their track record of benign neglect of their products (pretty good in the same sense as previous)... etc. etc., we have every reason in the world to be skeptical. We've been burned so many times before.

You cheerlead, I'll go with the odds.

Comment: What surprises me here ... (Score 1) 79

by golodh (#48204865) Attached to: DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices
is that the Government is actually doing something sensible.

Like airing the vulnerability, launching an investigation, and giving off a signal that the *manufacturers* should pay attention to security and at least make a reasonable effort to make their kit tamper-resistant

It would be in total accordance with a certain political outlook to suppress the news, pose as being "tough on crime" by imposing ridiculous penalties on offences that could be construed as breaking into medical equipment, and criminalising research into and publications of weaknesses.

Perhaps I'm being optimistic ... perhaps this will still happen. That "certain political outlook" I mentioned could be a bit behind the tech news on this issue. We can still hope though.

Comment: Re:The Orion is totally over designed .. (Score 2) 44

by DerekLyons (#48196511) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

No, that would NOT be much simpler and safer. There's a reason why every orbital space plane has been side-stacked (Shuttle, Buran, X-37).

X-37 is top stacked as was the X-23. On the other hand, both are small enough that they could be encapsulated in a shroud to avoid aerodynamic issues. (And you forgot the X-20 Dyna-Soar, which was also top stacked but was not encapsulated.)

Comment: If only it were that simple... (Score 5, Informative) 44

by DerekLyons (#48196413) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

What would have saved Challenger was the first "all-the-way-down" human decision turtle: 15% higher cost for one-piece SRBs instead of the 4-piece propellant sections.

If only the decision was that simple... Sadly, it wasn't.

First there were performance issues; The solid motors need to match to within 5% of each other - which proved essentially impossible to achieve with a monolithic grain as the propellant tended to stratify during the extended pour and the extended curing time. The solid motors needed to have consistent and predictable performance during the burn - which was almost impossible to achieve due to the aforementioned stratification problems. Both problems were also made worse because they couldn't figure out how to safely mix and pour the grains for both boosters in a single batch. Segmented grains, which could be poured in LH and RH segments from a single (smaller) batch suffered from none of these problems.

Next, there's storage and handling problems. The larger the grain, the heavier it is, and the harder it is to prevent it from flowing and deforming under it's own weight. Equally, since the large grains have to be cast upside down they have to be rotated rightside up - and nobody knew how to do that with large monolithic grains. A flex of as little as a couple of millimeters could crack the grain or lead to delamination. Also, segments could be stored individually, reducing fire and explosion risk.

Inspecting the grains with the technology of the time was also several orders of magnitude harder for a large monolithic grain.

Lastly, while there was a only a limited base of flight experience with large segmented grains (via the Titan IIIC)... there was no flight experience with large monolithic grains.

tl;dr version - there were a lot fewer known unknowns with segmented solids than with monolithic solids. A number of the known unknowns for monolithic grains were either outright show stoppers or could result in ruinously expensive R&D programs to discover if a solution was even possible. The known unknowns for segmented grains were all issues of scaling from existing experience.

Comment: Re:Old news (Score 1) 396

by Rei (#48194991) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

Hmm, now I'm curious. A fighter may have a takeoff weight of say 15000kg. Let's say that the "short lean female" saves 40kg over an "average male". With the other reductions - clothing, oxygen, etc - you probably get down to maybe a 60kg savings. That's a 0,4% reduction in system mass. The rocket equation (applicable here too) probably boosts that up to about a 0,5% benefit in many regards. Still not that much

However, if you can shrink the cockpit , then you're looking at a much bigger advantage - possibly 100-200kg extra weight savings and maybe cutting 5-10% off the total aero drag. That could actually be a big deal - relevantly faster accelerations, top speed, range, etc.

Comment: Re:Psychological issues (Score 1) 396

by Rei (#48194875) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

There is no "how human societies have been organized". Some societies have had (and even continue to have) near complete segregation of the sexes except for reproductive purposes. Some have had full integration.

And "popular wisdom" is in general stereotype BS. It was "popular wisdom" that said that people of African descent were worthless for anything except manual labor and it's pointless to try to educate a woman, that gays are a social evil that needs to be obliterated, that burning witches is the only way to save the town, and that letting the races mix is tantamount to national suicide.

Comment: Re:Women prefer male bosses (Score 1) 396

by Rei (#48194781) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

You seriously think you can make a claim credited to a scientific study, and then when you can't show evidence that such a study claiming what you did was ever conducted, suddenly switch to a "but everyone knows" laden with old gender stereotypes and the standard lame appeal to darwin - and think that will fly?

In almost any sentence where people say "Women (verb)..." or "Men (verb)..." and it's about something psychological (as opposed to, say, something involving reproductive organs or a statistical difference in strength / height or the like), 99% of the time it's equally accurate to simply say "People (verb)..." The popular perception of differences between genders (including the effects of both brain structure and hormones) is often vastly different from the statistical reality. Screw Mars and Venus; men and women are from Earth. Psychologically, we're statistically virtually identical in most measures. And in many cases where there are differences that even manage to meet statistical significance, what differences there are may well be artifacts of culture.

How little are most of these "differences"? This set of graphs puts it into perspective.

Again: Either present your supposed "study" or drop the issue.

Comment: Re:This is why NASA sucks (Score 2) 44

by DerekLyons (#48193697) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

Why on earth or space would you design an escape system like this?

Because it's solid fueled and thus much more reliable than liquids and, depending on design details, much faster to react. Also, it's pretty easy to build in a passive attitude control system that arcs the capsule out of the booster's path while the Draco will require active differential throttling. (Which in the case of Orion also increases reliability, as the launch abort system doesn't depend on guidance being available.)

I believe that this must be disposed of on every flight

Which also means it isn't carried to orbit and poses no further risk to the crew or mission. It also reduces total landed weight, reducing the size of the parachutes required and/or reducing landing shock for the same size parachutes.

and the separation is not without risk

Nothing is without risk - and Draco has a number of risks inherent in it's higher parts count and more complex operation that the Orion launch abort system does not have.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. Neither NASA nor Musk has the absolute One Best Design - because there isn't any such thing. (And both of them are leaps and bounds above the complex horror that is Soyuz's launch abort system. Sure, it worked when called on... but that doesn't change the nature of the beast.)

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid