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Comment Re:The UBI ignores human nature (Score 1) 440

In theory, every child should be getting meals at home thanks to government SNAP benefits to their parents or guardians. In practice, schools give many kids a free breakfast and lunch every school day, and even give them food bags to take home for the weekend, because Mom or Dad can't be bothered to buy food for the kids with the SNAP money. Where does the money go? No one knows or even attempts to find out. They just give the kids free food and cross their fingers.

Just a reminder, the average food stamp benefit in 2014 was $125.35 per person per month [source]. Back in grad school, a decade ago, I found a way to feed myself on $35 a week. That involved cutting out most fresh fruits and vegetables. I also limited meat to the cheapest available and only used it in 3-4 dinners a week. Now assuming that inflation on food prices has tracked the average. This plan would cost a little over $42 these days. It's a little unreasonable to expect people to eat like this, especially given how unhealthy that diet was.

Of all the people that I've met that used food stamps, none of them wanted to be there and most were ashamed of it. They want to have a job that can pay them enough to feed their family. It's just that circumstances have made that difficult to impossible (mental disability, lack of jobs in the area, recovering from an injury). Thankfully for most of them, circumstances changed and they were able to get a better paying job (mostly through hard work but occasionally luck).

Now I'm not saying there aren't some lazy bums who just want a free handout to go blow on whatever makes them feel good. But they're not the majority.

Comment Practice your pitch (Score 1) 205

At my work, we recently had a workshop on how technical folks can better present ideas when trying to get funding. Here are a few of the take away points that might help you:
1) Don't focus too much on the technical details.
2) Know your competition and be able to explain why your idea will work better.
3) Practice your pitch beforehand, and solicit feedback on how to make it better.

One recommended method for getting feedback was to grab a small group and ask them to pretend to be investors. Have a few of them focus on what parts of the presentation worked well and shouldn't be changed. Have others focus on what parts of the presentation had problems. When getting the feedback, just take notes but don't try and respond immediately to the feedback. Do this a few times and your pitch will get significantly better. You may end up feeling like a used car salesman at the end of the day. But if you're going to sell your idea, you need to be able to wear that hat for a day.

Comment Re:yawn (Score 1) 618

It might be better to start with the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010 as a baseline for an estimate. There a 30 inch pipeline ruptured and released 819,000 gallons of oil. It does prove the point that not nearly as much oil will be released. For perspective this is on the order of 100 tanker trucks worth. But at the same time, it's still a lot.

What worries me is what happens to a small leak over time. Sure the segment in Washington can find an 8% leak in 15 minutes, but what about a 2% leak? Additionally, I suspect the leak detection equipment will only be good enough to meet the requirements of the state the segment it's protecting resides in.

Submission + - Raspberry Pi Launches! (

Richard.Tao writes: The site crashed well before it even launched, but it's on a static page now. After so much waiting, it's finally here! :-)
"...Although we are still waiting for units to arrive from China, you can start buying the Raspberry Pi today. We have entered into licensed manufacture partnerships with two British companies, Premier Farnell and RS Components. They’ll be manufacturing and distributing the devices on behalf of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and handling the distribution of our first batches as they arrive in the country. The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we’ll be putting straight back into the charity."

Comment RIP (Score 1) 1613

Some of your decisions we loved. Some of your decisions we hated. Some of your visions didn't pan out, others changed the world. Regardless of our personal beliefs, few can disagree that you had a profound effect on the technological world.

I only wish you had more time to spend with your friends and family. Our hearts go out to them in their time of loss. And our minds will continue to build upon the foundation you helped lay.


Comment Re:More than one gallon to go 200 miles (Score 2) 89

At the same time the article states that they achieved >400 passenger miles per gallon. Additionally, if you check the rules, they were also required to carry 200 lbs per seat in the plane. (17 ) I'm actually more impressed that they were able to pull this off with a decent carrying capacity.

Comment Re:Sad, but I can see doing it too (Score 1) 950

When I was on a plan with a similar price bracket, the deductible was also per incident. Thus your friend would would have been charged the $1,500 each time until he hit the much higher yearly limit (mine was $10k). Also to bring down the prices of these plans, they tend to have separate deductibles for hospital, medication, and preventative care.

Also to the GP, you're really identifying the missing option #8) Pay for emergency only coverage. I believe the older post's "Pay it yourself" was referring to paying for all care without the help of insurance.

Comment Re:Usability testing by actual users? (Score 1) 797

I had been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least try it out before forming an opinion. Then I read the following:

User studies can be informative, but in this area, we're really interested how experienced users work with a lot of windows, so the most basic approach of paying people off the street to sit in front of of a computer for an hour to do predesigned tasks wasn't going tell us much. - GNOME Shell 2.91.90 released

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