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Comment: Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 251

by uberdilligaff (#46773055) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs
And you have started your kids off into a future where they have learned to construct and invent, rather than just swipe and consume. They are building and reinforcing the pathways in their brains that will serve them (and ultimately society) much better than the kids who "can use an iPhone!". And it's a lot of fun! We need a world with more kids like yours.

Comment: Re:"Proof" (Score 4, Informative) 590

Extraordinarily well said. The mathematical model is NOT the actual physics. It is only a very useful abstraction that happens to fit very well with the observed state of the physical world today. To the extent that the mathematical model helps us understand the physical universe, it is quite useful. Extrapolating the model back to its mathematical origin (the zero point) does not "prove" that the universe exploded into existence as an infinitesimal point at time 0. It should raise suspicions that the model might not be quite such a good fit to the conditions that existed at that time as opposed to the conditions that prevail today, 14+ billion years later.

Comment: Re:Because Hollywood. (Score 1) 544

by uberdilligaff (#46650645) Attached to: 60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S
And you, sir, have hit the nail precisely on the head. 60 Minutes never has been a news show -- it has always been an entertainment show featuring somewhat sensationalized "investigative journalism". You should never be surprised that shock entertainment, "gotcha" editing, and enhanced video clips win out over actual facts and integrity as presentation values at CBS.

Comment: Re:Private sector? (Score 2) 54

by uberdilligaff (#42520893) Attached to: Postal Service Pilots 'Federal Cloud Credential Exchange'
You are mistaken. The DMV is completely public sector -- it is a Department of a state (or commonwealth) government. The DMV is a direct agency of the state that identifies, tests, authorizes, licenses, and taxes drivers and vehicles -- any "public service" you get is collateral to their mission. DMV is absolutely an arm of the government. Their top officials are typically appointed by the elected governor.

Comment: Re:Countermeasures Deployed (Score 4, Interesting) 295

by uberdilligaff (#41995697) Attached to: AdTrap Aims To Block All Internet Advertising In Hardware
Also, many brick-and-mortar merchants encode whether a price has been marked down or not in the final digit. X.99 may represent a normal price, and X.98 or X.97 may represent a temporary sale price or a final markdown, usually to clue the register operator that other coupons or discounts may not apply. Most shoppers don't even notice, but the staff can tell.

Programming — Now Starting In Elementary School 162

Posted by timothy
from the deprogramming-starts-after-college dept.
the agent man writes "The idea of getting kids interested in programming in spite of their common perception of programming to be 'hard and boring' is an ongoing Slashdot discussion. With support of the National Science Foundation, the Scalable Game Design project has explored how to bring computer science education into the curriculum of middle and high schools for some time. The results are overwhelmingly positive, suggesting that game design is highly motivational across gender and ethnicity lines. The project is also finding new ways of tracking programming skills transferring from game design to STEM simulation building. This NPR story highlights an early and unplanned foray into bringing game-design based computer science education even to elementary schools."

Comment: Re:Why was it confidential? (Score 4, Informative) 311

by uberdilligaff (#39558217) Attached to: Confidentiality Expires For 1940 Census Records
Because that was the law under which the sensitive information was collected. The average US life expectancy in 1935 was 61.7 years, so 72 years would mean that the privacy issues would be moot for most of the folks enumerated in the Census -- they weren't expected to be around to complain 72 years later. The laws that established the Census go way back -- I don't know when the 72 years criterion was established. Life expectancy was even shorter the farther back you go.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the real truth (Score 2) 290

by uberdilligaff (#35745394) Attached to: Feds Prep For E-Gov Shutdown
The actual, functional process that USED to be followed for many years is as follows. Assume for definiteness that we are planning for the FY2011 budget which covers the period from Oct 1, 2010 through Sept 30, 2011.

By Law, the president must prepare and submit his proposed budget by integrating and prioritizing inputs from all the cabinet agencies. He starts this in Sept-Dec of 2009, and sends it to Congress in Jan 2010.

Congress receives the President's budget proposal, then holds lots of hearings to review, adjust and agree on an overall budget. They pass the resulting budget resolution, sometime in late spring or summer of 2010. This establishes the levels of money that agencies can plan for. They are now 1/3 of the way done. No money can be spent yet.

For discretionary programs (not entitlements) Congress then passes legislation authorizing expenditures for various programs up to the agreed budget limits, providing the legal basis for the Government to spend the Public treasure. They must then pass appropriations bills (usually about 20, separated out by Agency, such as DoD, Interior, etc.). The appropriation (which can be less than the authorization amount) actually gives the money to the Agency to spend. This is supposed to happen in Aug or Sept of 2010, so that the funds have been budgeted, authorized, and appropriated in advance of the start of the 2011 FY on Oct 1, 2010.

I left out the parts about reconciliation between House and Senate versions, Presidential vetoes, and other gotchas, but the process is specified by Public Law passed in 1921, and has been mostly followed for most of our modern history. The continuing resolution is supposed to be an emergency measure only used for short periods when some emergency delays the completion of the process by the Oct 1 start date of a FY.

The current mess we are suffering through now regarding FY 2011 spending is the result of the complete abdication by the Democrats in control at the time, of the fundamental requirements of our federal government expenditure system. This began in early 2010 and continued throughout the campaign season, out of Democratic fear of public scrutiny of their spending plans in advance of the Nov 2010 elections. Shameful.

Comment: Re:The *real* shame in all of this (Score 2) 1122

by uberdilligaff (#35657484) Attached to: Things Get Worse at Fukushima
You are absolutely correct. I would love to see the proponents of solar and wind "solutions" provide a quantitative model showing how they would be able to provide a large fraction of total US electrical capacity -- say 50% or even 25%, and what it would cost, including transmission infrastructure.

Worse yet, the NIMBYs block almost every project to erect even simple power distribution trunk lines.

In the real world, it is necessary to choose among the feasible solutions that offer the best benefit-cost prospects. None is without risks, including all the fossil, nuclear, and "green" technologies. It is completely irresponsible to simply say "we shouldn't do nuclear, because it's dangerous". The real problem for nuclear is that only a tiny fraction of the populace understands the physics of nuclear power, and even fewer understand the engineering that controls it, but everybody reacts to the hysteria and fear that is propagated by the media.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne