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Comment Compact music (Score 1) 551

That line from Men in Black has become so true now. When the movie was made the most compact form of music storage really was the compact disc. For much less physical volume you can now have a 32 GB memory card. With modern sound compression that's enough room for hundreds of albums.

If you're still lugging around the White Album on CD, it really is time to buy it again.

Comment Cell phone zombies (Score 2, Interesting) 519

I think it works the other way around. Cell service creates zombies. At least that's my observation, noting that 90% of the bad drivers on the road have a cell phone jacked into their brain. And walking down the street, somebody on their phone is likely to bump into me regardless of whether I were brandishing a knife or holding up a sign saying "Beware of open manhole".

Comment Si prices (Score 2, Informative) 208

I don't think so. Back when I used to do research on microelectronic fabrication methods, we bought 3-inch wafers for about $10 apiece. Those were high purity with doping to whatever type and level we selected. And that was without bulk pricing or favorable price scaling with larger wafers.

Our molecular beam growth chamber, however, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars plus tens of thousands per year for supplies and maintenance (plus tens of thousands for a postdoc and a grad student to run it).

So I really think the cost of equipment and processing far outweighs the cost of the silicon wafers. Otherwise, all CPU's with the same physical size would have roughly the same price, regardless of transistor count or clock speed.

Comment Easy choice (Score 1) 385

When I can't pick something to read / watch / work on, I just refresh Slashdot and spend 30 minutes reading, commenting, and moderating.

God, I've wasted so much of my life on activities like this. If it weren't for the Internet, I would probably read some of those books I discovered on Amazon or watch more of those movies recommended by Netflix or get together with some of my Facebook friends. Oh, the irony.

Comment Metro to the Mall (Score 1) 650

The actual instructions for Tea Partiers says to avoid the Blue and Orange lines past Eastern Market. They can get to Smithsonian Station just fine. But if they're on the Red Line to begin with, then Farragut North is the better station to exit from anyway - no time wasted transferring and it avoids the cramped conditions (and innumerable clueless tourists) at Smithsonian. The only downside is they'll have to walk past a small park with a few scary, possibly ethnic homeless people. On the plus side, and quite ironically, a block later they'll pass near the White House.

P.S. The closest Metro station to the Lincoln Memorial is actually Foggy Bottom on the Blue/Orange Lines. But that means walking through seven city blocks (full of unpatriotic city folk) rather than a scenic walk down the Mall.

Comment And so the world turns (Score 1) 222

If so, Slashdot is not the only organization that does it. Fox broadcasts American Idol, and a thousand Slashdotters complain about how it demonstrates the emptiness of American culture. Fox News broadcasts easily parodied "news" and a million Daily Show viewers laugh at how dumb and desperate American conservatives are. In the meantime, the owners of News Corp are carrying out their real mission with little notice.

Comment High school graduation rates (Score 1) 828

What is wrong with the university system is because we've screwed up our high school system to pretty much let -everyone- graduate, a diploma now means nothing.

Not true. The average U.S. high school graduation rate is only 69% (Source: HigherEdInfo.org). It's as low as 50% in some states. Maybe you're distinguishing between those kids that schools "let" graduate and those students that choose not to graduate. But either way, not everybody has a high school diploma.

Comment Lake Wobegon (Score 1) 617

I love this line from the article:

The "drop the D" philosophy worked so well for a school in Kentucky, they ended up dropping the C grade too. Now students in 5th grade and higher get an A, B or F.

Apparently, anyone average or below fails in their schools. Kentucky - where all the 6th graders are above average.

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