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Comment Re:Mod me down, but I believe it serves a purpose. (Score 1) 1501

Being verbally abusive like this basically helps you to tell more objectively how much people does actually care about something, and it works very well with people who just likes to argue for the sake of being right.

Piffle. You are a bad project manager if you can't tell who is arguing for the sake of argument (or "being right" or whatever.)

I'm all for being blunt and direct (see above). That is distinct from being abusive (which can be fun on /., but is bad management practice.)

Comment Re:From the laundromat (Score 0) 88

A friend took his new underwater camera case to the area, and it is full of small sharks, perhaps there is warm water attracting them.

The waters all over southern California are full of small sharks. I've seen them zooming along the breaking waves in La Jolla, far from any nuclear plant. So thanks for the baseless speculation! [Hint: if you want an issue to actually matter, provide a baseline comparison. Don't just say something ridiculous and meaningless like "You can light the water from their tap on fire!!!!" as if that was somehow interesting without any baseline or comparison to contrast it with.]

San Onofre has always had an excellent environmental record, as have most nuclear plants. Their economic record, now...

The problem with nuclear power comes in two forms:

1) relatively simple repairs are really expensive because they are heavily regulated

2) relatively small errors in operation result in (at best) the total destruction of the plant (i.e. Three Mile Island) and (at worst) the release of pretty significant amounts of radiation into the environment (i.e. Chernobyl, equal to perhaps a few months of American gun violence in terms of total deaths, unless you believe hysterics of nutjobs like the anti-scientific clowns at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which doesn't actually represent a significant fraction of the nuclear physics community.)

Comment My fellow legislators... (Score 1) 165

My fellow legislators, this situation is an outrage. I have been receiving letters from my constituents angry that this legislative body has placed itself above the law, and that we are not subject to paying traffic fines like everyone else. I have promised my constituents that I will IMMEDIATELY take action on this issue. As such, I hereby move that my bill, Equality Under Law Act (EULA), be scheduled for a floor vote at the beginning of the next legislative session. Thank You. God Bless America.

Let the record show that this motion has passed unanimously. The Equality Under Law Act is hereby scheduled for a vote at the beginning of the next legislative session, subject of course to the standard legislative rules for indefinite postponement in the event that any legislator makes a motion to address urgent legislation, and that motion is seconded. We now move on to the pressing matter of a bill to rename local Post Office #128 as "Veterans Memorial Post Office".


Comment Annual physical exams are problematical too (Score 1) 107

Both for false positives and ineffective treatments:
" The annual physical exam is an intensive, well-orchestrated, experience designed to make apparently well people, sick (with good intentions). You walk into the doctor's office as George or Francine and you leave as a breast cancer, prostate cancer or heart-disease victim. The initial exams commonly lead to more tests â" some of which are painful, disfiguring, and dangerous, such as mammograms, breast/prostate biopsies, colonoscopies, and angiograms. Ultimately, the costs of all this meddling can make you homeless and take away your life savings.
    The annual physical is supposed to be a means of prolonging your life â" and it could have been, except for the fact that the treatments that follow the initial exam are at best useless, and at worst, dangerous. Let me give you two fundamental reasons why the annual physical is doomed to failure, and because of lack of real life benefits all major health organizations have recommended against it: ...
The goal of every patient should be to remain out of the health care system. This is accomplished by staying healthy. This highly desirable state is not simply a matter of good luck, but rather a result of your behaviors; more specifically, following a low fat, plant-food based diet, getting moderate exercise and having clean habits. ..."

However, note that such advice is also in the context of teaching people how to avoid most disease through better nutrition.
"3 Biggest Mistakes People Make in Their Diets - Dr. John McDougall"

See also on why we don't change because we're invested in a belief system (cognitive dissonance):
"Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts"

Comment "Hard Fun" by Papert; also Greenspun, Goodstein (Score 1) 580

Way back in the mid-eighties a first grader gave me a nugget of language that helps. The Gardner Academy (an elementary school in an under-privileged neighborhood of San Jose, California) was one of the first schools to own enough computers for students to spend significant time with them every day. Their introduction, for all grades, was learning to program, in the computer language Logo, at an appropriate level. A teacher heard one child using these words to describe the computer work: "It's fun. It's hard. It's Logo." I have no doubt that this kid called the work fun because it was hard rather than in spite of being hard.
    Once I was alerted to the concept of "hard fun" I began listening for it and heard it over and over. It is expressed in many different ways, all of which all boil down to the conclusion that everyone likes hard challenging things to do. But they have to be the right things matched to the individual and to the culture of the times. These rapidly changing times challenge educators to find areas of work that are hard in the right way: they must connect with the kids and also with the areas of knowledge, skills and (don't let us forget) ethic adults will need for the future world.

Also, a focus on early abstract academics (ABCs and gold stars) has deprived young children of time spent in nature and playing with sand, water, rocks, leaves, sticks, sunlight, and such. This means they have little physical appreciation for what abstractions like quantity, mass, heat flow, energy, and so on relate to, so kids have less physical intuition to bring to math and science. See John Holt and John Taylor Gatto for alternatives.

I think it may be more that kids realize that people who study STEM tend to get shafted economically relative to the degree of work. Example:
"Why does anyone think science is a good job?
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
age 44: with (if lucky) young children at home, fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s
This is how things are likely to go for the smartest kid you sat next to in college. He got into Stanford for graduate school. He got a postdoc at MIT. His experiment worked out and he was therefore fortunate to land a job at University of California, Irvine. But at the end of the day, his research wasn't quite interesting or topical enough that the university wanted to commit to paying him a salary for the rest of his life. He is now 44 years old, with a family to feed, and looking for job with a "second rate has-been" label on his forehead.
    Why then, does anyone think that science is a sufficiently good career that people should debate who is privileged enough to work at it? Sample bias."

There was another article on how there are less Electrical Engineers. I read the EE Times forums and many EEs say they tell their kids not to go into the field based on career prospects and working conditions.

Also on the failure of the US academic system for STEM:
"I would like to propose a different and more illuminating metaphor for American science education. It is more like a mining and sorting operation, designed to cast aside most of the mass of common human debris, but at the same time to discover and rescue diamonds in the rough, that are capable of being cleaned and cut and polished into glittering gems, just like us, the existing scientists. It takes only a little reflection to see how much more this model accounts for than the pipeline does. It accounts for exponential growth, since it takes scientists to identify prospective scientists. It accounts for the very real problem that women and minorities are woefully underrepresented among the scientists, because it is hard for us, white, male scientists to perceive that once they are cleaned and cut and polished, they will look like us. It accounts for the fact that science education is for the most part a dreary business, a burden to student and teacher alike at all levels of American education, until the magic moment when a teacher recognizes a potential peer, at which point it becomes exhilarating and successful. Above all, it resolves the paradox of Scientific Elites and Scientific Illiterates. It explains why we have the best scientists and the most poorly educated students in the world. It is because our entire system of education is designed to produce precisely that result."

And beyond even that:

Al that said, sure, in theory, jobs in STEM can be great if you like exercising certain skills. In practice, such a career path is a lot more hit and miss for reasons as above. And more -- including the nature of competition, secrecy, and re-invention the world in a capitalist society making a lot of short-lived me too consumer products.

We need some better ways to help people realize their potential and make a contribution to humanity in a happier way. JP Hogan's books often talk about some alternatives. Just finished his "Outward Bound" novel, and that theme was strong there.

Comment Re: 1.4 Billion and off to retirement (Score 1) 176

Prototypes are expensive, mate. Cost of progress

What is this "progress" thing of which you speak?

It's certainly nothing to do with the ability to kill people in an almost entirely consequence-free way so the empires of the 20th century can extend and preserve themselves by sowing death and discord across the globe, all using technology that if deployed for peaceful purposes could alleviate many of the problems that those empires were created to solve.

The pity is that there are people smart enough to build systems like this machine for killing, but stupid enough that they think doing so is a better idea than applying their genius to things that will create peace and prosperity, rather than war and poverty.

Comment Re:Really?!? (Score 2) 1448

Steel swords, steel mines and other metals have been known to exist, recovered in mass heaps under burial mounds all along the great finger lakes region in upstate new york. That is common knowledge in the north now.

You're not LDS? Really? Curiously, I happened to live in Skaneateles for a decade or so, and I say that you are -- let's put this politely and simply say "mistaken" rather than full of metabolic digestive byproducts up to your eyebrows.

Rather than taking the trouble to detail the specific, multiple instances in which you are mistaken, let's just cite one pretty good reference:

that collectively proves you wrong, in detail, in nearly every possible instance of the many, many instances of anachronism and complete, utter failure of archeology to find anything that even the most dedicated LDS fanboy could interpret with all of the world's best hermeneutical exports as be "verification" of the absurdities in TBOM.

Or you can visit one of my other favorite sites:

and work through a very, very detailed, line by line critique.

Personally, sir, I am suspicious of your claim not to be a Mormon, if you are sufficiently credulous that you think that there were sheep and horses and elephants and steel swords and that the Nephites sailed to the Americas using magnetic compasses and all the rest. But then, there are people who believe that it rained 40 days and 40 nights and covered the Earth with water to the top of Mount Everest (6 inches of rain per minute on every square foot of the Earth's surface) while all of the species that would have been killed by this (which is pretty much all of the Earth's species) were preserved from death in a wooden boat the size of a Wal Mart ventilated by a single carefully described window roughly 1 square meter in cross-sectional area. There is apparently little to no limit on the folly of fools, is there?


Comment Sing along! (Score 1) 193

78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 (repeat x6)
Mushroom mushroom!
78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 (repeat x6)
A snake a snake! Snake a snake ohhh it's a snake...

The damn Slashdot Lameness Filter won't let me fully write it out without the (repeat x6). Grrrr.


Comment Re:Eh? (Score 2) 193

Right. ANYONE who can access the local network, or if the device is internet accessible ANYONE on the internet, can enter the username HPSupport and the password badg3r5.

This is a wide open highly dangerous back door, which was (formerly) protected by nothing more than the hope that (1) no one bothered to notice that HP publicly offered this sort of remote support and (2) the hope that no one who did notice it bothered spending 20 seconds on Google to find a website that could instantly decode the SHA-1 "78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50" of the password back into the raw password "badg3r5".


Comment Identifying part of the problem.... (Score 1) 580

If I may borrow a quote from Representative Paul Broun on the House committee for Science Space and Technology, this so-called study is obviously just another Lie Straight From The Pit Of Hell. As he says, the Bible is "the manufacturer's handbook". Obviously science would be a lot easier if students spent a lot more time in Bible class and spent a lot less time in science class.


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