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Comment Re:Problem was texting, bad brakes, not cell phone (Score 1) 938

Incredibly, the investigators somehow concluded the brakes were not a contributing factor:

However, the brake problems didn't cause or contribute to the severity of the accident, investigators said.

For my part, I can't see how the driver of a bus as large as that in the accompanying photo could fail to see the need to slow down even if the driver immediately in front of him was driving too fast.

Comment Feedback (Score 1) 451

I heard the announcement cut in the middle of the top-of-the-hour news on NPR (but there'd been plenty of discussion about it up to that point). After a few seconds I heard what sounded like random comms chatter in the background, but as it got closer to the end I could make it out and realized it was the same message playing on top of itself 3 or 4 times with a half second or so delay between them. The distribution network must have allowed some subtle feedback. Fine for a 15 second test message, but if there were serious instructions being passed on, it could get annoying real quick.

Comment Support (Score 1) 666

There's really only one question to ask the CIO: if we're not paying for support, what will we do if we encounter a problem in the OS that we do not have the expertise to solve?

If you've got a Scotty-like reputation for problem solving, then it may simply have never occurred to the CIO that there's a problem you and your team can't solve. Make it clear that there are specialized areas of expertise involved here and you don't staff to investigate and solve them all. If you're running a mission critical system, then time-to-resolution matters. With Red Hat you can presumably get a service level agreement with a time-to-resolution clause. If you're just Googling and begging for help on forums, you can't make any guarantees. The CIO may assert that this is a reasonable risk. Make clear that it's his risk, not yours, and if failure comes knocking, make sure it's at his door.

Comment Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (Score 1) 479

My support for the optimism claim would all stem from one fault in the article:

The two questions that matter: does it really work? And what are the implications if it does?

In fact, only the first question matters. Nobody needs to read speculation about a return to the steam age or the massive economic benefits of low cost energy.

Comment Contraditions (Score 1) 580

The OP complains that Wadhwa is inconsistent about engineer labels, but I think the entire article has a consistency problem: he asserts in multiple ways that, market forces being the way they are in the US economy, there is no problem with our engineer numbers, but at the same time says having more engineers is better than having less and that we need to make engineering "cool" because we have so many resource and other problems that need engineers to solve. If he really has faith in market forces, then he needs to acknowledge that too many engineers is at least as bad as too few (all those wasted years learning something no one wants you to know) and the reason we haven't got more people stepping up to become engineers to solve our resource problems is that, as a nation, we don't currently care about solving them.

Comment Re:summary wrong, 100 million, now 200 million (Score 1) 212

Not obvious, but the 200 million figure wasn't plucked from thin air. From deep in the article:

The team analysed the isotopes of the elements lead and neodymium to place the age of a sample of a FAN at 4.36 billion years. This figure is significantly younger than earlier estimates of the Moon’s age that range to nearly as old as the age of the solar system itself at 4.567 billion years.

The difference in those figures gives us the number quoted in the summary. So, while this team apparently didn't think the 4.567 billion figure was reasonable, at least their findings suggest the moon is 200 million years younger than somebody previously thought.

Comment Former student (Score 1) 415

Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.

I sure hope the text of the law is clearer on this, but sounds like once you've been a student, you can never talk to your teachers one-on-one, even after you've grown up and become a teacher at the same school.

Comment Re:What penalties? (Score 1) 86

From the article:

...the company's "remaining award fee" would be reduced by $15 million because of the fuel line problem.

Perhaps not enough to balance the costs of delayed implementation, but not nothing, either. And almost certainly exactly what the contract authors expected. Now, as to whether military contracts like these are structured to properly protect the nation, that's another question. But the US government is obliged to use its monopsony wisely so as to prevent total collapse of the suppliers.

Comment Passwords (Score 1) 90

Perhaps this gets mentioned daily when these exposures happen, but I guess I just don't understand why cleartext passwords are being stored server side anyway. I'm no security researcher, but surely one-way hash algorithms and password validation techniques have advanced to the point where exposure of the raw password data can't immediately lead to the original password being compromised? Are the authors of these large scale systems unaware or lazy, or are they actually dealing with a problem that's beyond my comprehension and can't actually be solved with current technologies?

Comment In other news (Score 1, Insightful) 544

I only dispose of trash in my own personal incinerator and landfill in the backyard. Sure, it's dirty, smelly, time-consuming, inefficient, annoying to my neighbors and family, and has virtually no effect on the global trash situation, but it discourages me from generating trash. At least until I become as numbed to the problem of trash disposal as the professionals I used to pay to do that job.

Seriously, though, if you want to solve a problem that human nature walks us right up to, don't bother experimenting with changing human nature; at best it's a waste of time. Try instead to lure us with something better: invent Mr. Fusion if trash is your bogeyman. For animal suffering, maybe you should look at cheap and tasty artificially replicated meat.

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