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Comment: There is a paper based 10 minute test (Score 2) 15

by WillAffleckUW (#46829043) Attached to: Mobile Game Attempts To Diagnose Alzheimer's

that works just as well.

Your major risk factors continue to be (in order): being female, being old, having Apolipoprotein E alleles of a certain type, cardiovascular risk factors.

You can't do anything about the first three, and by the time most people pay attention, it's far too late, so I'd focus on the last part, quite frankly.

(this is not saying we're not looking into biomarkers, or other things, but a shorthand about your actual risk as a person, if you're not in a family with high Early Onset AD risk)

In general, other than that, reduce stress, get enough sleep, get mild to moderate exercise (even an added block of walking makes a big difference), eat a varied diet, and avoid repeated head injuries (and if you get those, stop playing for longer than you think).

Comment: Bogus problem (Score 1) 269

by Animats (#46827693) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

First, the "Manufacturing Skills Gap" report only comes out once every 5 years or so. The last one is from 2011.

The report says that only 5% of manufacturing jobs are un-filled. It also says that "only 31% of respondent-companies report having formal career development", and that "respondents indicate that access to a highly skilled, flexible workforce is the most important factor in their effectiveness."

So there's the problem. Manufacturing companies are asking for a pool of immediately available ("flexible") employees with specific skills, and less than a third of companies are trying to train their own. Even then, there's only a 5% shortage. They want government to solve the problem for them, instead of putting more money into training or apprenticeships. There's a need for basic shop education, but from the numbers, it's not a big need.

Welding is a very specific skill, learned through practice. It requires some visualization talent; if you can't whittle or freehand sketch, welding is a bad career choice, because hand welding is a precision freehand task. Welding training requires a modest amount of instruction and a lot of practice. If companies want better welders, they can hire beginner welders and train them up. This means a lot of people on the payroll busily burning rod and working up from making angle irons to welding two pipes end to end with a strong, leak-tight joint. (I suck at welding and free-form sheet metal, but can do machining and rectangular sheet metal.)

Comment: Re:Hackers (Score 4, Insightful) 53

by JWSmythe (#46827509) Attached to: The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

Check your dictionary. Lots of things have two or more meanings.

Among readers here, the preferred IT meaning is roughly "an expert who uses his knowledge to do things requiring extraordinary skills." It's not "the kid who tricked you into giving him your Facebook password."

I'm curious, are you just a confused child, or a troll?

Comment: Few welders make $150K (Score 1) 269

by Animats (#46827417) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Very few welders make $150K. The ones who do are the ones who weld expensively fabricated parts together under tough conditions and get it right the first time. They're probably welding some pressure vessel for a chemical plant, the weld will be X-ray inspected and the unit hydrostatically tested, and if there's a problem, a do-over is really expensive. Most welders aren't that good. Not even close.

$12-$18/hour is typical for average welders. Even then, most of the jobs are in construction, which means a layoff at the end of each project.

Comment: Re:College is unsustainable longterm (Score 3, Interesting) 269

by Trepidity (#46827369) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

While it's worked well historically, Germany is slowly moving in the other direction, in part because students who take the "vocational" path have much higher unemployment rates and much lower lifetime earnings that students who take the "university" path, even those who choose a liberal arts university path. There's been a bit of a worry that Germany is training too many people for jobs that don't exist anymore, while it has a shortage of people with information-economy skills, especially engineering and technology. Part of it also relates to language skills; being fluent in reading/writing English is increasingly an asset, and the vocational track typically doesn't include things like foreign-language study, which are reserved for the universities.

Comment: Re:vocational schools (Score 3, Insightful) 269

by Trepidity (#46827287) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

You can't get the kinds of skills being talked about here through 1- or 2-year vocational programs, though. There is virtually no market for starting welders, because the low-end stuff has been automated or outsourced. What's in demand are people with at least 5+, preferably 10+ years of experience in specific high-skill niches. You can't pick those skills up by taking a year or two of classes at the local community college; you need a more involved apprenticeship program, or a career path where you start in an entry-level job and work your way up. But those entry-level jobs and apprenticeships are few and far between. A few unions provide some training paths (this is common among electricians), but those are way over-subscribed with long waiting lists, too.

In short, if you could magically take an 18-year-old high school graduate and make them a master welder through a 1-year vocational program, then yeah, they'd have their pick of jobs. But how do you do that?

Comment: Re:LOL ... (Score 2) 269

by Trepidity (#46827219) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

It's also quite expensive to get licensed unless you come into commercial aviation from the Air Force, because of the training and flight-hours requirements. Total cost for equipment, flight time, instruction, certifications, etc. ends up being in the $30k-$50k range, and that expenditure only qualifies you for a regional-carrier job where you make the equivalent of $12-15/hr. It's not clear that's actually a better investment of tuition money than a 4-year state college degree would be.

Comment: Re:And As Usual... (Score 1) 135

by Kjella (#46827191) Attached to: OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

For the life of me I don't understand why people consider a non-removable battery (and batteries are very prone to failures) to be a feature; I like to have spares in case I go somewhere charging is not possible or convenient or in the more likely case the original battery loses its ability to keep a charge like I've experienced with two different Li-Ion batteries.

Well, I can't speak for the failure rate but my iPhone 4 is now 3.5 years old and during Easter I used it a lot, even after a day of heavy use I still had 20% battery left. Today it's at 67% after a 2 hours of GPS tracking. For daily use it's still fine and I'm guessing will be fine for years to come. For weekends and vacations away from a charger I'm considering getting a battery pack - compared to the original 1420 mAh battery you can get a 7000-10000 mAh external charger for cheap. You put it in your backpack or luggage, plug it in where you sleep at night even if that's a remote cabin or a tent in the wilds. Or for that matter just turn off the "smart", if I kill data traffic it'll last very long as a dumb phone as I've done that abroad due to cost. Basically as long as the battery works it's not really a problem.

Comment: Re:The world needs plumbers too (Score 1) 269

by mlts (#46827183) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance


There are many jobs that don't need a college degree and will pay well.

First, there is always mortuary science. People die regardless of the economic cycle, and is sounds grisly, but dealing with the bereaved and handling funerals does need people.

There will always be a need for plumbers, HVAC people and electricians. There becomes more of a need come construction booms, and people leave the field when the building stops. However, a master HVAC person will find work somewhere.

Welding is important. Yes, a robotic welder is extremely precise, but it will be a while before a robot is autonomous enough to go into the field to weld a metal plate onto the side of a building or do one-off metal fab work for a project (for example, I've had a local welder fab me steel cages so that some servers don't go missing that are used by a business in a crime-prone area [1].) Right now, no robot can do that on site, yet.

As for college degrees being stable... not in this economy. Even postdocs struggle in this environment, and people consider this economy "recovered" now. So, might as well learn a trade that pays as much if not more [2], and skip the six digit student loan debt.

[1]: Ironically, this was a suggestion several years ago made on /. It has worked out well because before that, the local meth-using element would just snip any Kensington cables with bolt cutters.

[2]: Good luck getting H-1Bs for plumbers and electricians. It will take people fresh off the boat just as much time to get their master HVAC certification as someone out of high school.

Comment: Re:Still hoping they make a movie camera (Score 1) 122

by JWSmythe (#46826707) Attached to: Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

Well.. I count myself as one of the manual focus crowd, as well as anyone who uses anything but a point & shoot camera. As you said, it's the focus point gets you. The "bird in flight" photo you describe is a great example. Are you managing to keep the bird on the auto-focus point (or the majority of points for multipoint focus)? While you're tracking it? Including when you press the shutter?

I've seen a lot of photos like that, and they do a wonderful job of some very pretty well focused cloud photos, with a blurry spot in the foreground.

Most people will mangle the bird in flight on an auto camera because the shutter speed was too long and the photographer's tracking wasn't perfect (and the bird did something silly like flap it's wings). Most of the point and shoot I've used refocus when you actually shoot, so there's an extra second while it adjusts, while the bird disappears from your view. Most of those either focus on the clouds, some tree on the horizon, or tall grass in the foreground.

Manual focus, you can set the focus with the bird on the ground. Your effective ISO (for most decent DSLR) and shutter speed were already set. If you use manual focus cameras, you intuitively readjust while you're shooting, so a change in distance isn't a big deal.

This camera actually looks pretty cool, since it will compensate for that. "damned close" becomes "perfect +- a good bit". Did I want the birds wingtip or his eye to be focused? I can look at the options later. :)

I'm annoyed more than anything, when I only have a point & shoot (like at an amusement park, or other places that I don't want to carry gear), and the perfectly framed snapshot (heh) ends up focusing on the wrong thing, is hopelessly blurred, or just took too long to auto-adjust before actually taking the shot.

Like, if you're taking a photo of your kids on a roller coaster. You snap when they come into view. It adjusts and takes the photo either as a blur of the last car, or a perfectly focused and exposed shot of the tracks. "Ya kids, I saw you rolling down *those* tracks!".

I'll admit, sometimes I do get lazy, and leave everything on auto. When I want the good picture, I switch to manual.

In your "bird in flight" example, sure, if the camera is set to all auto, I'll track and shoot, and hope it comes out. If I see the bird getting ready to fly, I'll take the time to get the good shot.

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)