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Comment Re:Worked@IBM in 1980's, left, because sucked. (Score 1) 300

Yeah, I worked the noon to 9 shift at IBM Boca for a while. About half the time, the afternoon rain storm would blow in a bit early and I'd get drenched walking from the car to the building, which they kept at 72 degrees all year round. The next couple of hours usually consisted in trying to avoid slipping into hypothermia and dying in the building.

Last time I left was in 2005 in Colorado. At the time, they would just throw a bunch of people in a room. They were nice enough to throw up some half-cube walls so we could face the wall and get some semblance of a distraction-free environment. They still think they can pay well below market rates just because they're IBM, even when they're hiring you on as a third party contractor and even though their FTE benefits program is only marginally better than the third party contracting houses are offering these days.

Comment Now with more distortion (Score 3, Insightful) 319

Boston Public Schools Map Switch Aims To Amend 500 Years of Distortion

... by adding even greater distortion that is entirely motivated by a petty political agenda, rather than scientific accuracy. I read the article, and the quoted motivations are not well-founded (Europe, for example, is not in the center of the maps used in the US, the United States is). The distortion in the propsed map (which, gallingly, is "an internal decision that will not be put up to public approval" or some words to that effect that make the person behind them sound more like a petty dictator who will shout down any dissenting view) is far worse than the traditional Mercator projection. You can see it: South America and Africa look stretched vertically (because they are).

There are so many, many projections that are scientifically superior. The only reason to select this one is political. Shame on those educators.

And I had such hope with the momentum building up behind the STEM movement.

Comment Legal Requirement vs Moral Obligation (Score 2) 448

There are lots of comments above that range from what amounts to victim-blaming (Don't like the result? Then change the laws.) to tax education (Apple merely collects the VAT for the government, but the customer is considered to have paid it.) to hysterical outrage (kill them kill them kill them ... oh, wait, maybe that was a different thread).

In my country (USA), we have non-profit and for-profit entities, as they are commonly called. The non-profits include entities that can have considerable land wealth, like universities. Two of our most famous universities, MIT and Harvard, jointly own over half of the land in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city where they are located. Neither of them are legally required to pay state property tax, because of their non-profit status (let's overlook for the moment that state and federal tax exempt status are related but technically separate things). But they also both benefit greatly from the surrounding city and its services, so they BOTH pay tens of millions of dollars to the city; such that are called "payment in lieu of tax" so that they retain their non-profit status. I don't know if they are paying the same amount as they would if they had for-profit status.

There is no legal requirement for them to do so. Indeed, there is a clear legal position that has been created, the not-for-profit status, in order to provide them a clear and explicit means to NOT pay, as their mission is considered important to the well-being of society. But they make payments ANYWAY. It is a moral obligation. It is also not entirely altruistic, as without these payments, the social environment around the universities would deteriorate significantly. You want nice things like infrastructure, emergency services, primary and secondary education, democracy? You gotta pay for them.

There is no fundamental reason that Apple, despite there being a legal path to avoid taxes no matter how complicated, could not make contributions to each and every country in which they sell products while still making embarrassingly immense profits. I bet some sharp-penciled tax attorneys would even find a way to make such contributions tax deductable. Apple would rid themselves of the negative press, get a nice write-off, and the countries (here, NZ) would benefit as well.

Comment Re:I Have a Vive (Score 1) 141

I'm actually not entirely sure about the controls on the plane. I'll have to check my sim to see if they have a Twin Otter. I often sit near the pilot in a twin otter, so I know the gauge layout reasonably well. I have a simple joystick/throttle setup, so that doesn't really map well to the controls of any plane I've ever seen. I suppose you could say in the flight sim I mostly fly VFR and don't look at the gauges that much.

Comment Re:I Have a Vive (Score 2) 141

Ah well, as to that, Eagle Flight and Google Earth VR blur the edges of your field of view while you're moving, which seems to help immensely with it. I get the most queasy with the flight sim when I'm looking at a point in the distance about 50 degrees or more to my left and right while flying. Once I figured this out, I just stopped doing that and as a result was able to fly a plane without a problem.

I tried Elite Dangerous VR briefly, but found it to be entirely disorienting. A large part of that was not knowing the controls or mapping them properly to my joystick, I think. I'm not sure if it would help if I played the game some time without it -- the gaming system is set up in a shared area of the house, so I can't just set up camp and play for hours on it. I'll be building another system for myself when I have the funds to do so.

Interestingly, with a steering wheel and pedal system, I can play a racing game reasonably well, but find that going above 80 mph on the track makes me rather uncomfortable. I believe that the game is actually entirely TOO realistic in VR. Likewise, I can tell you, specifically, that Mount Wingsuit is not a realistic wingsuit simulation, and I'm not sure any VR-based wingsuit game would be. The developer seems to have put very little consideration into the wisdom of learning to fly a wingsuit by throwing one on and then jumping off a cliff. I've only ever flown one out of a plane, but I can do that reasonably well and don't approve of training yourself to fly into the side of a cliff over and over again until you figure out the controls. Moreover, with their controls you have to look almost straight up in order to see the horizon. This gets uncomfortable very quickly. While I do have to look up-ish to see the horizon while flying my wingsuit as well, the angle on my neck is not quite as severe and gravity is pulling me from different directions then when I'm standing with the VR headset on. And I only ever do it for at most 90 seconds or so in the sky, whereas I might want to play that game for half an hour or so. When the new wingsuit tunnel opens in Stockholm later this year, I'll have to visit and see what it's like to fly the wingsuit for 4-5 minutes at a time. I imagine it will take a good bit more effort.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 61

Youtube came into being because it was less annoying than scraping megabytes of video off netnews or specialty FTP sites. Now that they're effectively the only game in town, they're increasing the annoyance factor in using it. This opens a window for a less annoying service to come along. You can bet that if anything comes along that starts showing hints of popularity, Google will again relax the Youtube standards.

Comment I Have a Vive (Score 1) 141

I have a Vive and really like it -- being able to stand up and walk around in an area seems to largely prevent the motion sickness I'd heard about. I have a flight simulator that I have to sit down to play, and can make myself queasy with that in a matter of seconds, and I usually don't have a problem with motion sickness at all.

The most fun thing to do with it, though, is to have guests over and introduce them to VR. The most played games in my library are The Lab's archery demo, fruit ninja VR and the space pirate trainer. Some of the other titles I've tried are well executed, but a lot of the VR games on steam right now are just crap.

Comment Re:Cost (Score 2) 266

I say that too, but recently flew from Denver to Phoenix and back for less than it cost to park my car at the airport for the three days I was gone. The round trip ticket was neighborhood of $70. I was quite surprised at how comfortable the flight was, there was ample room for the couple of items I'd carried on and I cleared the TSA checkpoints with a minimum of fondling. I enjoy that drive, too, and have done it a couple of times, but I can't drive it for anywhere close to the cost of an airline ticket along that route, even with parking and the cost of a rental car at the far side factored in.

Comment Re:Constraining the concept of time (Score 2) 167

Well, the passage of time was universally observed by the same set of side effects; time passes and the sun rises and sets, the stars come out, the moon progresses along its course and the seasons change, which it was probably very useful to predict. What these things have in common is that they are questions of geometry, moreover questions of geometry that involve things happening in spheres. The planet rotates 360 degrees (approximately, depending on where you're standing) every 86400 seconds, and as it progresses along its path the stars and other planets behave mostly predictably. These values are consistent no matter where on the surface of the planet you stand and have been observed by our ancestors as long as we've been around. We learned to navigate by them, and to predict the seasons. Those who did these things had much better odds of survival than those who didn't, to the point that by the time humanity was starting to develop civilizations, we were already designed to do those things. If we ever take to the stars in an appreciable way, we'll have to discard the planetary artifacts in the measurement of time, but we already have the tools to do so.

So really, it's not all that much of a coincidence. Every so often someone comes along and suggests that we should replace our system of measuring time with something more... elegant. But those people tend not to examine the reasons that gave rise to the way we measure it now, and such attempts inevitably come up short and ultimately fail.

Comment Re:It's all a simulation (Score 4, Insightful) 167

Yes! And time is so problematic because the simulation is being run on a massively parallel system. While each processor is able to handle the physics and timing of a small area reasonably well, keeping time synchronized for the entire universe would slow the entire thing down far too much. Moreover, since the project was designed as a simple demonstration of how to convert hydrogen to plutonium over time, making an effort to do so was deemed unnecessary. We also had a problem with some particles being uninitialized upon creation and going off at a very high velocity, so the top speed in this particular universe simulation was capped to prevent anything too untoward from happening.

The simulation has been running reasonably well for the amount of effort put into it, although there are still some issues of localized processors crashing when mass values in specific locations go too high, and some number of processors have been having to synchronize their timing signals across boundaries for reasons we do not currently understand. There is also the minor issue that eventually the plutonium degrades back to hydrogen, along with everything else, but we had no intention of ever allowing the simulation to run that long anyway.

Comment Re:Oakhurst Dairy is correct (Score 1) 331

Nope. If your parents were Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty, then the correct orthography would be:

I love my parents Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

But because you added the comma, it becomes a list of four people:

I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

Personally, I prefer the Oxford comma, as it helps further disambiguate such instances.

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