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Comment Commodity Differentiation (Score 1) 123

This feels like the result of Moore's Law winding down. Intel used to differentiate based on transistors, computations, energy use, but now the best they seem to do in world where rates aren't skyrocketing is to say they make their chips / boards without using "blood minerals". Could also just be them responding to the pricing pressure that conflict and the dominance of certain countries like China has caused in the rare earth metals market. Don't buy those because they're bad (and they jack our costs)

Comment Did we Learn Nothing from the Drake Eq.? (Score 4, Informative) 265

In many ways, these equations are almost worse than useless. For years, the Drake Eq. gave everyone the impression there were 1 or 2 other planets in the whole universe that could support life, and reinforced the whole contingent for which space exploration is never a "cost effective" endeavor. Then we found out "oh, wait, all our guesses were wildly pessemistic." They get filled with extrapolated numbers about a place we've only begun to tip-toe into and then make dire predictions.

Some are also just wrong. For example, he uses 4.5 km/s delta-V but that doesn't even cover the maxima for Liquid Fuel Rockets (7 to 9 km/s). If you start to approach tech like Electrostatic or Hall Effect (Ion) Thrusters you get up into numbers more like 50-100 km/s, which would probably multiply his 10 number by a bit (most of the Oort Cloud becomes available over time).

There's just so much fuzziness here its hard to find the use in it.

Comment Why Account? (Score 1) 181

A portion of the problem is that the quantity of news which is reported by "outlets" has dramatically increased in our modern era. We are flooded with a perpetual onslaught of new information from every corner of creation. And honestly, most of it isn't worth checking. What is worth checking? Stories that will ruin your reputation. Stories that might go viral and cripple your ability to report further. Know what's not? "5 Things you Need to Know about Cheese Curd" "How men need to step up their role in feminism" "The top 10 bimbos of 2013" That is 90% of the "news" we now get (and what % of stats are made up?)

Comment Re:Should be a tax on every transaction (Score 2) 251

Yes they can, and yes they do. Front running (or things that look suspiciously like it) happen constantly on the electronic exchanges. Flash trading is a form of trading in which certain market participants are allowed to see incoming orders to buy or sell securities very slightly earlier than the general market participants, typically 30 milliseconds, in exchange for a fee. This feature was introduced to allow participants like market makers the opportunity to meet or improve on the National best bid and offer price to ensure incoming orders were matched at the most advantageous prices according to Regulation NMS. What this then leads to is millisecond front running where the traders see your order, adjust theirs to take best advantage of it, and by the time yours goes in, a portion of the profit has been leeched out. The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed banning the practice as part of regulatory reforms in the wake of the Financial crisis of 2007–2010, but the proposals have not been implemented.

Comment BS to that (Score 1) 302

Linked is the average tuition rise over the last five years for all 50 states. In most cases, the rise is 20-30%. In the extreme upper end, the rise is nearly 80% (I'm looking at you Arizona...). This clearly outpaces cost of living growth over the last five years.

The next link is the growth in administrative costs for one example, the University of California system, which has massively ballooned over the last several decades. This is not an isolated phenomenon. While professor salaries and direct education expenses have stayed relatively flat over the last few decades (or tracked inflation in some cases), the number of, and salaries provided to, administrative positions have dramatically increased across the board at most institutions (public or private).

For further example, look at total compensation for the top university executives across the US from 2011-2012. We are compensating many university execs in excess of $500,000 a year (some over $2 mil). At many state schools, with limited external funding, and tuition rise limited by law, we're still paying execs $3-400,000. What value do these people add that is worth $300,000 - $2 million?

Comment Re:what about (Score 1) 313

They should have been. When I was in college I rarely took notes, because taking notes is also distracting.

Similar. I generally preferred classes where they provided a notes handout at the end of the class (for those who attend) and just had people listen and interact. For those that didn't, I normally brought my recorder and would just transcribe later (digital or by hand) so that I could just relax, listen, and participate while I was there.

Submission + - DEA program "more troubling" than NSA? (

Rambo Tribble writes: Reuters is reporting on a secret effort by the Drug Enforcement Agency to collect data from wiretaps, informants, and other sources. Considered most troubling is a systematic campaign to hide this program from the courts, denying defendants their right to know how evidence against them was obtained. This agenda targets U.S. citizens directly, as it is mainly focused on drug trafficking.

Submission + - Radical new icebreaker will travel through the ice sideways ( 1

cylonlover writes: Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It’s in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees.

Submission + - Scientists Demonstrate Ultra-Fast Magnetite Electrical Switch

adeelarshad82 writes: Researchers at U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory recently demonstrated electrical switching thousands of times faster than in transistors now in use using the naturally magnetic mineral. The experiment is considered to be a major step forward in understanding electrical structures at the atomic level and working with recently identified electrical "building blocks" called trimerons. Moreover the breakthrough could lead to innovations in the tiny transistors that control the flow of electricity across silicon chips, enabling faster, more powerful computing devices.

Submission + - Printing in Gel Takes 3D Printing Freeform and Enables an Undo Function (

Zothecula writes: The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. Now, the LA-based NSTRMNT team has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an "undo" function.

Comment Re:To Survive: No, To Compete: Yes (Score 1) 355

You're trading one for the other. Politicians don't want to do it, as they're beholden to their constituents. Businesses don't want to do it, as they're either behold to shareholders, or would rather deliver the minimum service that will still make a profit. Anecdotal evidence of "kind" companies doesn't disprove that the majority are still AT&T's and Comcast's who are less than benevolent.

Comment To Survive: No, To Compete: Yes (Score 1) 355

You don't need internet to survive, not going to argue. However, in the modern world, to be a competetive, contributing member of society, you do need internet to be on a leveled field of competetition. Most services are transitioning to a model where it is far easier and far less costly to you to gain their benefit with internet access.

For example, other utilities.

I pay my water, sewer, electricity, and gas over the internet. I don't have to, but it vastly reduces the opportunity cost in time to me. However, people without internet are not given this choice. They Must stand in line for upwards of an hour in under-staffed cattle corals to hand someone a $50 check. That is an hour they had to take off work or that they could have been spending on themselves. Multiply that by the array of gov't services which are moving to primarily internet based access, and the opportunity cost to individuals without internet is vast. And this doesn't even touch those services which are nearly, or utterly, inaccessible without internet. Those are simply lost.

The internet is a common good, like roads, which is not necessary for survival, but which should be a universal benefit to all of society

Comment iPad + Keyboard + GDocs / Office365 = $500-600 (Score 1) 143

Use this combo for a majority of my on-the-go meetings, email, note taking, document creation, and light duty spreadsheet work. 90% of what normal business folks need. How do they even hope to compete with this price / value proposition and with the reviled Win8 interface? They've lost before they started.

Comment Not Only This... (Score 3, Insightful) 1029

God help you if you try to buy it for home. When you find one movie out of the lot, where the experience was good, or you liked the plot... You bring it home, and every time you want to watch, you're forced to sit through 15 minutes of unskippable ads. W.T.F.?

Is it a wonder everyone pirates?

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The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.