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Comment Re:Intentional? (Score 1) 824

The effect was actually the opposite for me. I grew up in NYC, and knew that the walk buttons did nothing. So when I went away for college I never used them. It took me about a month of observing other folks use them to realize that they actually worked there!

Comment What about eLoran? (Score 1) 316

Loran-C may be obsolete, but the enhanced eLoran does make for a good backup system to GPS. It's accurate to about 10 meters or so with modern receivers.
No, Galileo and Glonass are not good backups to GPS, because they are also satellite-based and rely on the reception of weak microwave signals, just like GPS. Those signals can (and do) get jammed, and can even be spoofed under the right conditions. Differential GPS or other GPS augmentation systems aren't even backups at all, as they rely on the main GPS signals being present in order to operate. Loran-C and eLoran are land-based, long wave signals that are very hard to jam. It is most useful in places and under conditions where GPS has problems. And in spite of how popular GPS is, there are definitely areas where it has problems.
The UK and other countries have committed to eLoran for the next 10 to 15 years, so it's not like Loran-based systems are totally going away. They see the benefit of having a truly redundant positioning system, why doesn't the US?

Comment Re:American Healthcare... (Score 1) 419

Other countries have made the choice that they want to make health care available to all people, regardless of the ability to pay, and regardless of social status. This is simply unamerican. Why should I use my hard-earned money to take care of someone else's Health Care?

When that guy shouted "You Lie" at our President, it was because the President said that nothing in the new Health Care bill would offer coverage to illegal aliens, and the gentleman in the audience disagreed with that assessment. Forget the outburst for a minute. What the guy really said was "I don't want any Federal tax dollars paying for any health care for illegal aliens". Think about that for a moment. Pretty much every other country has decided that health care is a basic human right. Why haven't we reached that same conclusion in the US?

Where's Your Coding Happy Place? 508

jammag writes "Cranking out code — your very best code — requires being in the optimal environment, muses developer Eric Spiegel. He explores the pitfalls and joys of the usual locales, cubicle, home, the beach. He claims he's done his best coding on an airplane. In the end, though, he suggests that the best environment is a matter of the environment inside yourself, your internal mood — and to hell with the cubicle or wherever. You have to be focused on quality, regardless of the idiot clients. It's all inside your mind. Where's your coding happy place?"
Patents

How Do I Put an Invention Into the Public Domain? 233

Nefarious Wheel writes "I have a couple of inventions — mechanical devices, based on physical principles — that I believe could transform certain aspects of industry. The trouble is, I can't afford to file patents, and even if I could, I'm not sure that would be the best way for these devices to be made available as widely as I'd like. Is there some way to publish the details of these innovations in the public domain in such a way as to protect them from being snaffled away by some patent troll? I'd be happy with a contribution (or simple attribution) model for recompense, which could be zero to whatever, but that's not as important to me as getting the ideas out there for anyone who wants to use them. This isn't copyright, and I know of no patent equivalent to Creative Commons. In short, what's the best way to protect an invention against someone filing a patent on it, short of patenting the device yourself? Can this be done?"

Comment Re:Added When (Score 1) 255

The time scale GPS uses is basically the UTC timescale that was in effect when the GPS system went first live (1980?). This is the time that GPS broadcasts, forever and ever.
Along with that time, there is a broadcast of the current offset between GPS time and the current UTC time. This offset goes up by 1 on every leap second since the GPS system first went live.
So as long as the receiver is getting all the GPS broadcasts, it will always know what the correct UTC time is.
Image

Researchers Discover The Most Creative Time of Day Screenshot-sm 154

Creativity is least likely to strike in the afternoon, according to a survey that suggests office workers have little chance of solving problems after lunch. A poll of 1,426 people showed that a quarter of us stay up late when seeking inspiration. Taking a shower or just sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing. The survey found that 10:04pm was the most creative time, while 4:33pm was the least. I'll think of something funny to write here later.

Comment Re:Tried to fire him? (Score 2, Informative) 1082

I used to work in a Big, Multi-National company. In it's heyday (when they weren't laying people off left and right), the process to actually fire someone for performance reasons took quite a long time -- two to three years of performance reviews and coaching, depending on the department. I heard stories of people who considered themselves in "in-plant retirement", where they physically showed up for work, but did nothing but nap and read books (and more recently, surfed the web). They knew that before they could be fired for cause, they could retire! They can't do that anymore, though, because there's always the risk that a new layoff would happen, and they'd be at the head of the list to get axed, no matter how close they were to that pension....

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