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Comment Re:But as with all technology (Score 1) 503

The problem with that statement is that it is an average. Probably close to zero Americans actually drive 40 miles per day. The point is this: Only rich people can afford a $60,000 car that is worthless other than for everyday commuting along with a second vehicle for longer trips where stopping for several hours after every 2 hours of driving is impractical. The average American may drive 40 miles per day, but the average American probably does make a one-way driving trip of over 160 miles at least a couple times a year (twice per major traveling holiday).

Comment Re:oddly the sarcasm is close to the truth (Score 1) 279

Read my other response, and dig deeper if you want. AC is quoting a sensationalist source that is itself misstating another sensationalist source which does not cite to any factual sources at all, but even so the original claim is that benzene is "sometimes" used in fracking. There's not any claim that it's commonly used or that it's used in a meaningful quantity when it is used. The most legitimate complaint about hydraulic fracturing is that the exact chemical makeup of fracking fluids are proprietary information that is not disclosed to the government regulators or to the public. An AC on Slashdot posting a link to a sensationalist misquote of a sensationalist publication that does not cite any factual sources is among the least legitimate complaints about fracking.

Comment Re:oddly the sarcasm is close to the truth (Score 2) 279

Here's some actual sarcasm (the story about the kitten is an actual claim I've heard made): Nice source. The document you point to is entitled "Horizontal Fracking - Unacceptable Risks" and its thesis is "Do we really want this in Michigan???" Yes, with three question marks. This is not a scientific journal. But, let's continue our research and find out whether the claim is valid.

Taking the one item from the list you pointed to, I find propublica.org, which is a website whose first-listed "major project" is "Fracking - Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat." Their perspective on the world is clearly prejudiced against fracking, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, so we continue.

A little searching finds this article as the one most likely intended to be cited by your source. The reference there to the event in question is, in full, "In another case, benzene, a chemical sometimes found in drilling additives, was discovered throughout a 28-mile long aquifer in Wyoming."

There is no citation to when or where this event occurred, other than somewhere in Wyoming. No information about who reported the event or investigated it. No information on whether benzene, which the article says is "sometimes found in drilling additives," is ever found in substances other than drilling additives. No information about how deep the aquifer is, what gas wells and depths had been drilled and fracked nearby, how far away those wells were from the aquifer, or even the slightest tidbit that would allow a person to do independent research to verify or dispute the claim. It is correlation equating to causation at its finest, and that's being generous.

Comment Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (Score 0) 279

I don't think you understand. A well was fracked 30 miles from a woman's house and now her kitten is sick. It's the duty of our news media to make sure that this stops immediately before fracking in the Rocky Mountain region starts causing AIDS in Africa or antisemitism in Florida.

Okay, maybe that's not fair. But this is: It is the business model of the news media to create controversy where none exists so that they can report on the controversy.

Comment Re:Rejection letter (Score 4, Insightful) 86

Piloting a plane in the atmosphere is related to being an astronaut in at least one important way: The ability to orient yourself without reliable visual or gravitational cues and then think clearly and rationally despite disorientation. Even if your only job is to change the oil in the Mars rover, you will need to have experience remaining calm and working in unusual orientations.

Comment Re:Entrenched Interests (Score 2) 199

That's a bad idea because (among other reasons that others have posted) it requires you to investigate whether any of the millions-every-day retail sales of content that occurred in the preceding 5 years was for the content you will be claiming is now in the public domain. On the other side of the same coin, the artist would have to do the same except for a much longer time period to prove that at least one sale every 5 years occurred in order to retain his rights.

Comment Re:Now I believe it. (Score 1) 208

Please feel free to submit your proposal for a legal system that solves the problems you perceive with our existing one without introducing more critical problems. Complicated cases take a while to resolve because they are complicated. This case, notwithstanding the general feeling among Slashdotters that SCO is evil and should just die already, is a complicated one. The time it has taken to resolve does not demonstrate any flaw in the legal system.

Comment Re:Now I believe it. (Score 2) 208

You believe that our legal system is broken, based on what? Reading even just the introductory paragraphs of SCO's brief on its motion to reopen the case, you will see that the judge ruled in closing the case that "When the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision in the Novell litigation (No. 10-4122), either party may move the court to re-open the case." SCO is doing exactly what the judge ordered it to do. Groklaw and Slashdot may sensationalize this all they want, but don't let two sensationalist, biased websites convince you that the legal system is broken.

A little more understanding will help, as well. The court in SCO v. IBM did not rule on IBM's motions for summary judgment, by which SCO's claims would be extinguished. It chose not to rule on them until the Novell case was finally decided, on appeal or otherwise. SCO is asking for the court to rule on IBM's motions for summary judgment. It of course wants them to be denied, but how does it prove to you that our legal system broken when someone asks a judge to consider the merits of the opposing party's motions (which has not been done yet) and does exactly what the judge ordered them to do, moving to reopen the case after a related case was over with?

This isn't a case where someone has completely and finally lost and keeps scrounging up cash to pay lawyers to fight. It only looks like that because the people reporting on it haven't bothered to read and understand what is going on before telling you what is going on.

Comment Re:the way to go (Score 2) 743

You're the kind of cheat who would rig the Kabayashi Maru...oh, wait.

There really is value in recognizing not only that you can't solve a problem in the time allotted but also why you can't. There is also value in recognizing that value in others, and in working for people who recognize it in yourself. I would much rather have someone interrupt me at 9 a.m. to say they need some direction to get a task done by 5 than come in at 5:15 p.m. to tell me it didn't get done. I would also much rather work for someone who gives that added direction at 9 instead of just being ticked off about the whole thing.

Comment Re:Why not learn a real languange? (Score 2) 107

Seconded. Learn classic algorithms and data structures. Learn how to evaluate the efficiency of algorithms and data structures so you can develop your own with some hope that the end result will fit the problem at hand.

Languages are tools and are analogous to pencils in math. Don't waste your time learning how to operate a brand new design of pencil that is so complicated that its own designers haven't yet figured out how to use it well enough to write a user manual for it. Learn what you should be writing with the pencil. Yes, it would be nice if you didn't have to sharpen it as often or if the eraser lasted forever, but ultimately it's just a writing tool and the part you need to learn is the math. The same goes for programming languages. Every language exists for a reason, that reason usually being because one or two people thought that they could do one thing better than some specific existing language. You will have absolutely no benefit from the one thing that they did better if you haven't already run into the same issue that those two people had.

If you are going to learn specific languages, do not fall into hype or trends. Have a purpose for learning a language. At the very least, learn C and Lisp. Every other language falls somewhere between those two in terms of high-level vs. low-level semantics and will offer different syntactic sugar to cushion you from the relatively low-level syntax (Lisp having very little syntax and C having only a little more) and from the computer itself. You should probably also play with a handful of the following: Perl, Python, Ruby, C++, Java, C#, Objective-C, and assembler on at least two platforms--preferably at least one of them an embedded platform with small RAM like a TI-85 calculator.

But first, learn how to program, which is entirely orthogonal to learning a language to do it in.

Comment Re:The Police State (Score 1) 506

Speed and risk are barely related at all. All other variables dominate speed in the calculus of risk to such an extent that it is effectively unrelated to risk. Nearly all "speed was a factor" traffic accidents can be more accurately stated as "the driver being an idiot caused both the high speed and the accident." By way of example, when you are passed going up a hill on a two-lane road (meaning, for those Slashdotters unfamiliar with rural America, that the passing vehicle is in the lane for oncoming traffic that may suddenly appear at the top of the hill) by a one-ton pickup truck going 90mph through the mountains, the head-on collision he causes was not due to his speed.

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