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Comment: Sigh... it's *math,* people (Score 3, Interesting) 332

by zorro-z (#46801995) Attached to: Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

According to the City of Portland's Website (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/Water/article/328963), the total capacity of the Portland reservoir system is about 220 million gallons, with "distribution storage reservoirs" ranging in size from 1000 to 10 million gallons. How much urine did this kid evacuate into the reservoir? According to the National Institutes of Health (cites in Livescience- http://www.livescience.com/323...), the average healthy human bladder can hold "nearly 2 cups of urine comfortably."

Let's err on the side of caution on both sides- assume that this kid both had an insanely huge bladder capable of holding 2-1/2 cups of urine *and* that he peed into a 1000 gallon distribution storage reservoir- the worst-case scenario, in other words. 2-1/2 cups of urine is 20 ounces, which is equal to 0.156 gallons (128 oz/1 gal). 0.156 gallons/1000 gallons = 0.00015625- 0.00156% pee in the reservoir. And this is *before* the processing that happens to all water *after* it exits the reservoir and before it enters the city's pipes.

The reason this is absurd is the same reason that fear of poisoning a city's water supply via open reservoirs is stupid: you'd both need so bloody much of whatever it is to have a significant amount *and* that something would have to survive various filtration, purification, etc. processes after that.

No, scratch that... draining a reservoir b/c a kid peed into it isn't absurd, it's mind-blowingly stupid and a horrid waste of taxpayer money. Any lawyer who couldn't defend against a lawsuit the way I did above deserves to not only be disbarred, but to also have his college + HS diplomas revoked.

Comment: Re:Anything built before 2001 (Score 1) 702

by zorro-z (#46791809) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Interestingly enough, I had a conversation similar to this today, except about houses. A co-worker was commenting that she'd never lived in new construction. I mentioned to her that old houses tended to be better- today- not because "they built 'em better back then," but because time had weeded out anything that *wasn't* well-built. Plenty of shite houses were built in the mid 1800s; they didn't last until today, while the well-built ones did.

It's kind of self-selecting: any old tech that's still useful today was *obviously* well-made, whenever "back then" was. It doesn't mean that *everything* made "back then" was of equal quality.

Comment: Re:Doomed (Score 1) 293

by zorro-z (#46150369) Attached to: Satya Nadella Named Microsoft CEO

I wouldn't say that "OEMs really have no choice." Rather, they *could* choose desktop linux rather than Windows, but have chosen not to do so. Frankly, I don't much blame them- I consider myself a linux fan, and even I'm fairly sure that my next desktop computer will run some version of Windows rather than any version of linux, at least as a primary OS (I'll definitely keep my roll-your-own linux NAS, and will probably dual-boot linux). Desktop linux is the monorail of computing- it's the future, always has been, and always will be.

And, it's the choice that OEMs have chosen not to make.

Comment: Human body is also not cut out for a lot of things (Score 3, Insightful) 267

by zorro-z (#46099355) Attached to: The Human Body May Not Be Cut Out For Space

Agreed, 100%, the human body is not cut out for space. Certainly, like all life on earth, we require oxygen, we evolved with gravity, radiation is toxic, and so forth. Our bladders, for instance, tell us that we need to urinate based on a sense that depends on gravity holding urine down at the bottom; without gravity, if we wait until we feel the need to urinate, we need to be catheterised.

BUT... the human body isn't cut out for a lot of things THAT HUMANS DO ON A DAILY BASIS. We're not cut out for flight; we're not cut out for deep water diving; we're not cut out for rapid movement on ground. Yet, with technology, we do all of the above. Absolutely, space flight requires far more in the way of adaptations to protect our (very) frail bodies than air travel, SCUBA, or cars. But human history, broadly simplified, is the story of us using our brains to overcome our manifest physical handicaps.

Comment: The importance of education (Score 1) 730

by zorro-z (#45515115) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

Government by the masses only works when the masses are well-educated. If the masses are, by and large, as ignorant as Americans have become, then they're easy to manipulate via fear, and produce government by those least-suited for the task. Sadly, the mass underfunding of public education in the US has been a bipartisan effort- people in the US overwhelmingly choosing lower taxes + poorer public education over higher taxes + better public education- and a self-perpetuating one at that. After all, poorly educated people are also easier to convince to further cut money from education.

The ideal form of government may well be the true Philosopher King, but I'm not sure that such a person has ever existed- or could ever exist. Barring that, self-government by an educated populace has produced the best results so far- quoting Churchill: "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried."

Comment: Re:Mighty big "IF" (Score 1) 109

by zorro-z (#45337339) Attached to: India To Launch Mars Orbiter "Mangalyaan" Tuesday

Seeing as how I was the first to mention it in this , it's hardly as if *everyone* was saying this, the way you suggest. But, if the US + USSR aren't being forthcoming w/their expertise, then there is certainly less information on which to draw. I would note 2 things that may be available, though:

* Some aspects of failures are in the public record (such as the US experience w/conflict between Metric + US/Imperial measures)
* The scientists + engineers who worked on the past projects may be bought just as people fear that former Soviet nuclear scientists could be bought.

Comment: Re:Mighty big "IF" (Score 4, Insightful) 109

by zorro-z (#45332931) Attached to: India To Launch Mars Orbiter "Mangalyaan" Tuesday

Not to underestimate the difficulty of sending a payload to Mars, but they *do* have the combined 40+ years of US and USSR experience upon which to draw. When the US and USSR were putting people into orbit, landing them on the moon, sending probes to Mars, etc., it had literally never been done before. The mere fact that something has been done before- and that data collected during the attempt is available- gives the Indian Space Research Organisation an advantage that literally no country has had before it.

Again, this is not to minimise the challenge, which will be enormous. It's only to point out that they're not flying blind, so to speak.

Comment: Re:Should run on Win7 (Score 4) 953

by zorro-z (#43520617) Attached to: Some Windows XP Users Can't Afford To Upgrade

It's kind of the opposite problem, but I encountered governmental agencies- for a large American city to remain nameless- who, today, continue to produce Web applications that require Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP or earlier. When we encountered problems accessing them on 64 bit Windows 7 w/IE 9 (Compatibility Mode turned out to be the workaround), I called the head of the department in question to tell her that, well, most new machines today would be running 64 bit Windows 7 + IE 9 (or better), so it might help them to write code that didn't require IE 6.

She asked me to call her (apparently so that she could tell me something off the record) and told me that, for her department, a "new computer" was anything about 5 years old. Apparently, 5 years back, they got a bunch of Windows XP computers w/MS development tools, and that's where they still are today. Budget issues won't allow them to upgrade, so they're stuck writing code that would have been mediocre 5 years back, and is utterly horrid now. Wouldn't surprise me at all to see many governmental entities in the same boat.

+ - Emmy Winner Michael Reaves Helps Fans Take Ownership Of Sci-Fi->

Submitted by TrekkieNerfHerder
TrekkieNerfHerder (2887303) writes "Emmy winner Michael Reaves joins "Nobility" — a web series dubbed "The Office" in space. A sci-fi dramedy about fulfilling potential, "Nobility" is set on the C.A.S. Nobility — humanity's most powerful starship with a crew that's anything but noble. Nobility is intended to be a trial run for a new way of film making that not only puts high power talent directly in touch with the fans but creates a community and knowledge base so that sci-fi fans can begin supporting and even creating their own films so that the studios can't kill projects that fans are crazy for.

Also attached to the project are Babylon 5 actress Claudia Christian and Assassin's Creed and Argo actor Cas Anvar.

This seems like a natural outgrowth of the recent popularity of Kickstarter and the fan films that have been proliferating across the net. Perhaps if fans take ownership of sci-fi there'll be fewer disappointments for fans like the abrupt endings of Firefly and Stargate.

You can check out the project here: NobilityTheSeries.com"

Link to Original Source

+ - Tylenol a Psychotropic Drug?->

Submitted by Mystakaphoros
Mystakaphoros (2664209) writes "Nobody's putting Tylenol up there with LSD or DMT, but a 2009 study shows Tylenol to lessen pain associated with social rejection, "sort of like alcohol or Xanax," says The Atlantic. According to University of British Colombia researchers, "Physical pain and social rejection share a neural process and subjective component that are experienced as distress." This giving anybody a headache-- and are you reaching for the Tylenol or the aspirin?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Steve Forbes is clueless (Score 1) 692

by zorro-z (#43472311) Attached to: Steve Forbes: Bitcoin Not Money

Money is an odd concept, really- it's a matter of shared belief in its value. As others have pointed out, in the age of fiat money, currency has no inherent worth. 1 US dollar represents, quite literally $1 worth of full faith and credit in the US government. Were people to, en masse, decide that this was worthless, and to refuse to accept US dollars, then all the dollars in your wallet- or bank account- would be literally worthless. Money has value specifically- and only- because people doing business agree that it has value, and will therefore accept money in exchange for goods or services, rather than demanding barter- that is, exchanging goods and services for other goods and services.

Bitcoins work in exactly the same way. They have value specifically- and only- because people agree that they have value, and will therefore accept Bitcoins in exchange for goods and services. Were people to, en masse, decide that Bitcoins were worthless, then they would be worthless.

Forbes shows his clueless with his comparison of money to measurements that "don't float." If he had a clue, he'd realize that, under the Bretton Woods system, national currencies *continually* float relative to each other in their value.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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