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Comment Re:"Huge" isn't what I'd say (Score 1, Insightful) 879

I happen to think it is the exact opposite. Numerous people who would never vote for Trump otherwise will turn out in droves because the alternative is Hillary Clinton. I am a libertarian who cannot stand Trump. But this year I will be sure to vote for the uncultured New York hillbilly because the evil bitch shall not pass. And I have nothing against female politicians. I would vote for Nena Whitfeld long before Rand Paul. But Hillary Clinton, who wipes her servers with a cloth, is not someone I want to see in the Oval office. Ever.

Comment Re:Think of the children! (Microsoft) (Score 2) 170

LibreOffice? Photoshop? Matlab? VirtualDub? Illustrator? Draftsight? Comsol? Netfabb? Visual Studio? Handbrake? As soon as these and a few other apps can be run on a phone, I will be impressed. If the phone can also run at least 3 external independent 1080p screens then I will switch.

Comment Advertising code of conduct (Score 1) 707

How about this:
1. Ads should have no dynamic content to them. No HTML5, no javascript, no java. If the ad requires the user's computer to run any code that is supplied by the advertising agency then the website needs to design an effective way for the user to identify when they are infected by the ad and a straightforward path to financial recovery for all users who were served such an ad (class action without going to court). Barring that - no dynamic content.

2. Ads should not alter the user's computer state. In particular, no cookies. The website should make every effort to protect user privacy and prevent user tracking.

3. Ads should not interfere with site usage. In particular, no interstitials or ads that alter or delay user access to the website.

4. Ads should not be distracting the user from content. It is OK for the ad to present information in a way that has a chance to catch their attention but if the user makes a decision that the ad is of no interest then it should be trivial for the user to tune the ad out. For example, no blinking ads, no strobe effect, no sound.

And for mobile:
1. The ads should be small enough to allow easy website navigation. No ads which span more than 75% of overall width or height.

2. The ads should be small enough to present negligible load on the bandwidth consumption. That means that ads need to scale by locale. The typical monthly allowances for users can vary greatly across the globe and the internet is global. It is likely that 10 KB is a good upper limit for each ad though this may change by locale. The number of ads and their refresh rate need to be tuned by locale.

The final requirement which would be ideal but is likely unrealistic: the ads need to be designed to fit the aesthetic of the website. For example, contrast between the ad color scheme and the website color scheme can be jarring to the user. At the very least, the websites should saturate/desaturate ad colors automatically to better match the site design.

Comment Re:Awaiting Awareness (Score 3, Interesting) 139

I want my phone to do messaging, read email, browse the web, call people, I want it as a portable gps and basic camera and maybe a calculator and a flashlight. All these have been available on very old phones, all of these do not tax the processor even back to Snapdragon 800.
There has been zero reason to upgrade a phone for the last three years at least. Of course, as soon as phones become capable of actual computing (running real applications, running multiple displays, interfacing with external storage, burn blu ray disks, and print to generic printers) I will upgrade. Until then... why?

Comment Re:Gamble? (Score 2) 138

Yeah, the key is to make planes fast and cheap. No system in existence can deal with a few tens of thousands of planes attacking a target at once. If military planes can be made to follow Moore's law of sorts then that is far better than stealth. The problem is we are taking the opposite track. Every next generation of planes is more fancy but also much more expensive than the previous one.

Comment Re:Is this some luddite anti-tech site? (Score 5, Informative) 91

These are no jetpacks, no matter what the media labels them as.
First, they are turboprops. There are no jets. In other words, it is a slightly shrunk down versions of a personal helicopter with all that implies for maneuverability and speed.
Second, they are not "...packs". These devices are huge. The cool thing about jetpacks is that they would be devices you could carry with you and they would be the size and weight of a normal bag but then you strap it to your back and you can fly. And when you fly, these devices would not stick out much from your back, thus allowing you to clear very narrow gaps between buildings and so on.
There is a reason why bicycles are not generally considered cool but skateboards are. You need to park one but not the other.
Finally, these devices are totally useless for their intended purpose. If the building is in trouble (e.g. on fire) then these will not help you put the fire out. To search, survey, or monitoring you are better off with much small drones. They can hang in the air much longer, they provide clear picture and they can navigate much tighter spaces than this monster, plus they have no operator to endanger. If the building is not in trouble but you have e,g, a medical emergency on the top floor then you are better off with an elevator. Part of the reason people are smirking is because this is clearly someone in Dubai buying himself a bunch of toys with public money. Corruption is not sexy.

Comment Re:Maybe Scott just wasn't listening that hard... (Score 1) 163

I have seen a preview they did here locally. First, this is an awesome movie. It is not claustrophobic like Gravity. It moves fast and is fun. Imagine McGuyver in Space. It is just about as fun and certainly more realistic. Sure, there are things that rub you the wrong way after the movie but nothing that irked me instantly. When they say this movie is accurate, they mean that you do buy into the McGuyvering while it is going on. Even a PhD like me can enjoy this movie.
Unlike for instance the recent Maze Runner where the entire premise of some enzyme which cannot be made via biotech but can be made by the body is plain ridiculous. This movie may not be totally accurate but it is on another level.

Comment Re:How many coin toss heads in a row is natural? (Score 2) 191

I think the limiting factor is going to be financial. Nobody will be building single purpose science facilities at a cost which is a significant fraction of the GDP. My guess is that something on the scale of $10-20B is imaginable (i.e. something like the failed SSC) but much bigger is not. Now, couple this with the fact that CERN was only able to sell their expansion due to the hunt for Higgs. This was not some nebulous cancellation of perturbative corrections but a very real prize which could then for years validate the technical prowess of a entity like EU. So unless there is something truly fundamental, firmly expected and magically marketable to politicians beyond CERN LHC scale, then it is unlikely to happen.
Frankly, it is just as well. If I were a politician, I would allocate any new funding for identifying ways to reach higher energy scales cheaper. We need to shrink things like the ATLAS experiment down to lab-on-chip level. We need hard drives which can fit all data from CERN for a year on one platter. Give it a few hundred years of progress, shrink technology as much as possible, then scale up as need be.

Comment Re:Sunk cost fallacy (Score 1) 485

Technically that is not true. To repay the debts, the Greeks would have to divert something like 20% of government spending towards repayment. So if they cut half the spending from budget then they could be solvent even accounting for the resulting shrinking in the economy and the debt payments.
Technically, the Greeks can repay the debt, it just requires a good chunk of the country to starve to death in the process. And I mean literally because government spending is about half of their economy (a bit more actually).

Comment Re:poor training for industry jobs (Score 2) 283

One problem is that the industry today is ruled by Wall Street and has very short term outlook. We know for a fact that most industrial giants have closed their research labs or shrunk them greatly. Just for kicks, which industry will subcontract a CERN collider or a Hubble telescope? We are also seeing this in biomed. Industrial firms were in no rush to develop Ebola cures because they could not see the profit. Now the government is giving tons of money to the few promising leads trying to play catch up and we are losing lives in the process. Similarly, and more ominously, companies are not investing in new antibiotics and we are seeing major antibiotic resistant strains arise and threaten medieval-style misery. I suppose we will dump money at the problem when the first few millions die from some new pandemic caused by a relative of a previously benign bug. In short, bringing in industry to manage science is a terrible idea and there is tons of examples right here right now.
National labs could certainly be diversified in their mission to facilitate transition of academic minds into industry. The problem is... where are those industry jobs?
Putting everyone on GSA scale is a great and overdue idea. You will have to boost grant funding to prevent existing research projects from grinding to a halt but after that boost you could maintain that level steady. NIH already has some salary guidelines but they do need to be boosted.

In any event, the real problem is the lack of funding and hence jobs, whether in the industry or in academia. Personally, I feel that the solution is to acknowledge that we have too many graduates at every level and to then dramatically increase academic standards so that only very few could get a PhD and this degree would be seen (as it once was) as a major accomplishment that truly sets one apart from their peers. I think that if we simply produced ten times less PhDs then we would have none of the issues with postdoc glut. In hard sciences, we should eliminate Master's degrees because right now you get it if you are a failure and cannot get a PhD. The degree might have its uses in Engineering though. We need to cut the number of bachelor degrees until salaries for tech work start to go up. We also need to reorient scientific labs to employ technicians, rather than students or postdocs. That way labor will get a market price and will not be tied to a degree. Bachelor students will once again know that there is an industry job waiting if they can get a degree. PhD students will then be apprentices who will know up front that they aim for academic freedom but their odds are like the odds of winning the Olympics. And if PhD students fail to get a degree then they will still have a bachelor to fall back on.
Most importantly, we need to dramatically increase salaries for middle and high school teachers of science and math and simultaneously increase hiring prerequisites. This is where we need to channel the current glut. The brightest people on the sidelines need to be channeled into getting our society as a whole up to speed.

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