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Comment By the way: With Obamacare... (Score 0, Troll) 59

By the way, with Obamacare (or any other single-government-payer system) you can expect such new treatments to NEVER be deployed - or even developed.

If such a new procedure succeeded it would mean paying a lot of extra money saving the person, after which it would mean paying MORE money as they live longer to collect more benefits, further straining an already self-bankrupting system.

Preventing this is what "death panels" are about.

(As a government official once said - about in 1979 or so, when the impending bankruptcy of Social Security was first being hand-wrung over - "We've got to get the death rate up to meet the birth rate.")

Comment I'm sure they'd love to try it in a dying human (Score 5, Insightful) 59

As usual, any kind of clinical use of this stem cell stuff is "ten years away". These guys are as bad as fusion researchers.

I'm sure they'd love to try it in a human dying of liver disease. But between the FDA regs, the self-appointed Medical Ethics czars, and the malpractice ambulance-chasers there's a lot of hurdles to jump before they MIGHT be allowed to try it (let alone deploy it as a regular procedure).

Comment Autographed mouse. (Score 2) 124

I visited him in the late '80s, along with a number of others of the hypertext startup I came out to CA to work for. It was sort of a pilgrimage to see the great man.

One of our people took the mouse from his computer and got Doug to autograph it. This left him with the ONLY mouse (at the time) autographed by Doug, because (as Doug mentioned) nobody had thought to ask him before. B-)

Comment Re:What creates the temperature differential? (Score 5, Informative) 170

Does she put it in the fridge before using it or something? Or does it use the difference in temperature between your hand and the flashlight.

The latter.

If you RTFA you'll see she's using the aluminum flashlight body as a heat conductor and the "head" and other exposed portions of it as an air-cooled heatsink.

She's stuck the handle of the light into an insulating plastic pipe, cut a hole in the pipe, and stuck the peltier cell in the hole, with the "cold" side in contact with the flashlight handle and the "warm" side in contact with the hand. (I expect the next step is to wrap an outer aluminum tube around it to conduct heat from the whole hand to the cell, rather than just heating it with a patch of palm directly contacting it.)

Voltage boost converter between the peltier assembly and the LED (because the peltier cell she used was not stcked for the right voltage to drive the LED.) The LED shines as long as you hold it, if the air is cool enough. (She's used it for 20 minutes running.)

Also, since this is generating electricity from a temperature differential, rather than generating a temperature differential from electricity, wouldn't this be the Seebeck effect?

Yes. Seebeck discovered current generation from heat differential (with dissimilar metal wires and a compass needle), then Peltier discovered heat-pumping with current.

But, like most rotating electric machinery (where the same device is a motor or generator depending on whether you power it or twist it), the same effect is a heat pump or heat engine (depengding on whether you apply a temperature difference and pull power or apply power and pump heat).

The effect is now often called the "Peltier-Seebeck effect" in textbooks. The cells are typically called Peltier Cells because the efficient ones are manufactured mainly for heat-pumping, though they work just fine both ways.

Comment Noise canceling is NOT the key. (Score 1) 120

The noise-cancelling scheme sounds interesting.

If you'll read TFA a little more closely than the OP did, you'll find that the noise-canceling thing is NOT how they got the 1G-ish single-pair link to work.

What the noise-canceling thing is about is when you have TWO OR MORE pairs bundled into a single logical link. Then it figures out what the cross-talk between the individual pairs looks like and cancels THAT out. This lets the individual signal pairs run as fast as a lone pair and the total bandwidth of N bundled pair be N times the bandwidth of one, rather than substantially less.

Comment QED (Score 1) 287

But open source prevents this from happening because the source is constantly being looked at!

No, open source doesn't keep it from happening. Providers can stick any cruft in there that they want.

What it does do is make it much more likely to be discovered when some fool DOES stick it in there. Don't be surprised if you hear about a lot more bad stuff found in open source than you do in closed source, as a result. (At least until the bad guys wise up.) Try to find the malware in Microsoft's stuff, for instance. B-)

(Of course this stuff was found with a packet sniffer before anybody found it in the code. So it's an apples-to-oranges comparison and open/closed source has nothing to do with it.)

Comment I'm in Silicon Valley (Score 1) 395

I'm in Silicon Valley. I want to live in Nevada, far enough from the neighbors that I can't hear their HIFIs in the daytime or see their lights at night.

I want to live in Nevada so much that I built a house there - a few miles over the state line near Lake Topaz. Fully paid for. Marvelous view. Good neighbors. Also rabbits (jack and cottontail), quail, coyotes, deer, antelope, bobcats, cougars, and black bears. Gun laws are a lot different there, and I have a Nevada CCW that's also valid in many other states due to reciprocity (though not in CA).

For the Town House near work I also moved across the bay from Palo Alto. Just off the other end of the bridge, for less than I was paying in rent in Palo, I was able to BUY a two-story four-bedroom with 7,000+square feet of yard and remodel it. 200A electric service (two 20A circuits to each room for starters). Satellite TV and Cat 5E everywhere. (Only running 100M at the moment but I hear that with house-sized runs you can get away with 5e for gigabit Ethernet.) The yard is now a garden and orchard. We get most of our veggies from it - and our eggs. We were also on the Bay Friendly Garden Tour last year.

They tell me the city here on the Back Bay has a gang problem. But for several blocks around our house it doesn't. It's much like in Palo Alto (where the burglars worked their way down Loma Verde street and skipped only two houses - ours and the retired cop two doors down). It seems the crooks don't like to bother NRA instructors, and the wife's "Ducks Unlimited" sticker tells them she can hit a spot the size of a duck (or a human heart) with a shotgun, from 50 yards, even if it is flying at the time. B-)

Of course NV has no such crime issues. Even machine guns are legal there. B-)

Move to a SF or Oakland? By preference? You've GOT to be kidding.

Comment Re:worst description of polarization ever (Score 1) 82

I think of it as being analogous to injecting separate beams of light at different angles, having them bounce back-and-forth between the walls at different distances between bounces, and emerge at angles corresponding to the angles at which they entered.

Of course it's not angle of flight that's in question, but another property of the light propagation that can be varied to allow different beams to propagate down the fiber and be separable at the far end. But they're still separate because each beam's cross section at a given plane cutting the fiber has a different distribution of phase and intensity, resulting in different propagation mechanisms that conserve a property which can be used to separate the beams when they emerge.

Comment Re:No Worries (Score 1) 274

Normally I side more with the D's than the R's (not that I have much faith in either), but this time I'm damn glad there's an R majority in the House.

Why the HELL do you usually side with the Ds? They consistently do the opposite of what they promise. It's the Ds that bring you war, censorship, racisim, and a whole host of other junk that they promise to be fixing: Like government in general they're a problem masquerading as its own solution.

The Rs have their own pathologies. But compared to the Ds they're pikers.

Comment Re:CONTACTS! I second that. (Score 1) 472

I'm using Charter Oak State College. This is because they are an accredited and respected school, specializing in in distance learning, which accepts a high enough score on a recent Computer Science GRE exam for credit-by-exam on many of the course requirements, and (if certain requirements are met, such as being active in an industry using them) accepts older credits (i.e. math, distribution requirements) that many other institutions would consider "stale" and timed-out. They do not currently offer a BSCS, however, so I'm going for a BSGS with a CS concentration. I've taken three classes from them so far, and am currently taking a math class (needed but not offered there) from the University of North Dakota for transfer credit. Several of my few remaining requirements I expect to complete by exam (and a couple - public speaking, English - by waiver due to documented work experience).

Another excellent school (with a more technical orientation) that also specializes in distance learning is Thomas Edison. They do offer a BSCS, but stopped accepting the CS subject GRE for credit (because too few students used it for them to continue the effort of keeping it qualified against their own requirements). In my case this made a big difference in how much work would be required to reach the diploma. For some others, especially those who need many of the classes (or test-out equivalents), are tech focused, and would find the more directly applicable degree a benefit, Thomas Edison would be a good choice.

These schools are oriented toward people who wish to complete their degrees but are employed or located where going to a classic college is impractical. Examples: Deployed military personnel, low-level medical employees seeking higher certifications for career advancement, workers located far from a good subject-appropriate school or working schedules that interfere with school scheduling.

Two credit-by-examination programs are also related to this. DANTES is one - driven by the military's need to provide education for their soldiers without interfering with their duties (but open to all). Another is CLEP (College Level Examination Program), a product of the College Board which provides 33 subject tests which are accepted as proof of accomplishment by most universities. Each program lets you receive college credits without actually taking a class, by testing whether you've successfully taught yourself the subject.

Comment When did HP change? (Score 1) 247

PC manufacturers like HP used to void warranties when clients installed GNU/LInux, not anymore.

Just a year or so ago I bought my wife an HP laptop specifically for a sysadmin class where she'd be installing Linux on it. Got it home, had a question for HP about it, and discovered in the process (from the phone support) that installing Linux would void their warranty. Checked the paperwork: Yep! So we returned it to Staples for a full refund and went with something else.

When did HP change this policy?

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