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Comment Re:Wrong (Score 1) 393

For the longest time I never really understood what people meant when they're talking about rights, they're a very abstract notion. But I recently read a book about the Bill of Rights, and discovered that the term "right" in this context is the opposite of wrong, i.e. "right and wrong". So if you say someone has a right to do something, you're saying that it's right for them to be allowed to take that action (instead of wrong). That doesn't mean that anyone is required to give you those rights, but by saying it's a right, you're saying that if someone takes it away, they're doing something wrong.

Comment Re:Relearn an OS? (Score 1) 426

What stuff is now broken? I'm just curious. I just upgraded from XP to Windows 7 (new computer) last week, and the only thing I've found actually broken is the audio won't send to multiple devices at once (headphones/spdif). Are there other things broken that are less obvious?

Comment Re: as the temperature of the Earth goes up...!? (Score 2) 356

Ever look at the periodic table of elements in detail? Notice how hydrogen is not exactly one, helium is not exactly 4, nitrogen is not exactly 12, etc.? Well partly that's because of different isotopes (carbon 12, carbon 13, carbon 14, etc), but even if you had a pure isotope, it wouldn't come out exactly. That's because part of the mass of an atom is tied up in the binding energy in the nucleus, and the binding energy between the electrons and the nucleus.

If you take hydrogen and oxygen and react them together, it will give off heat, and the resulting water will have a mass reduced by the amount of heat given off. I think I've even read that most of the mass of protons and neutrons is tied up in the binding energy of the quarks, and that the quarks by themselves don't weight that much.

Like another reply said, the only reason you don't notice this effect is because a even a few hundred degrees temperature change is so minuscule compared to c^2.

Comment Re:Real problem? (Score 1) 107

Oyster shells are ground up and fed to chickens as a source of calcium. Chickens need a lot of calcium to keep laying eggs every day, and if they get deficient, they can lay the eggs with thin or even no shells.

Actually, I wouldn't be too surprised if they actually used them in human calcium supplements as well. (I have no idea if they do, but it would seem reasonable.)

Comment Re:wow, what insight... (Score 2) 98

Yes, the human ear can distinguish vertical position as well. Ever wonder why the outer ear (the pinna) is shaped so weird? It's so it will distort sound coming from different directions differently.

Here's an demonstration I saw at the Exploratorium in San Fransisco, but you can easily reproduce this at home.

Close your eyes, and have someone standing beside you jingle a ring of keys near your ear, above, below, and adjacent. It's easy to tell where the sound is coming from.

Now bend the top cartilage over, so the shape of the ear is distorted, and repeat the previous experiment. Now the easy task of detecting direction becomes almost impossible.


Submission + - Good News About The Cloud: Everything Fails (forbes.com)

SpitefulBen writes: What lessons should architects of high-availability services take from events such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Amazon Web Services outage of April 2011?

Michael Crandell writes in Forbes, "These events prove that neither public clouds nor private data centers constitute a magic bullet for all the needs of today's businesses. In the case of the Amazon cloud, it may in fact have been its remarkable record of operational excellence that led customers to assume that the inherent scalable, redundant and global nature of the cloud would protect them from having their systems go down. It'(TM)s the ability to fail over to alternative cloud resources pools quickly and seamlessly that is critical to maintaining continuous operations. Already, ZDNet Japan has reported on several new cloud deployments by private companies and government agencies as a direct result of the earthquake."


Submission + - Activists destroy scientific GMO experiment (deredactie.be)

Freggy writes: "In Belgium, a group of activists calling themselves the Field Liberation Movement has destroyed a field which was being used for a scientific experiment with genetically modified potatoes. In spite of the presence of 60 police officers protecting the field, activists succeeded pulling out the plants and sprayed insecticides over them, ruining the experiment. The goal of the experiment was to test potato plants which are genetically modified to be resistant to potato blight. It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research."

Comment Re:Why put tabs in code anyway? (Score 1) 390

I used to indent parameters across multiple lines like that, but they're just too much of a hassle to maintain like that. I think it's just as readable and less work if you put each parameter on its own line, just give it normal indention:

if (AThing)

or normal indention + 1 indent:

if (AThing)

Comment Testing as interviews (Score 0) 440

If I were applying for jobs, I'd be dubious about one that required an explicit "test" as part of the interview process, since it's hard to know what you mean by "test". Are you going to test my typing speed, or whether I know obscure language trivia (quick: Where was Bjarne Stroustrup working when he invented C++? How do you pronounce "Bjarne Stroustrup"? What does "restrict" mean in C?), or whether it's really a standard interview in disguise.

A normal technical interview process really should be a "test", for all intents and purposes. It's fairly easy to put a candidate in front of a whiteboard and figure out whether the candidate can write a function in your language of choice. (At least, it's easier to test coding ability than many other professional jobs.)

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