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Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 410

Or even better, zero family or friends.

You know, I think this might be key, especially the family thing.

The 2 people I know who are in their 40s with paid-for houses, good investments (above and beyond 401k, etc) and lots of savings are REALLY cheap people. Relentless coupon clippers. Buy a huge cut of meat at Costco, cook a giant stew and eat it for every meal for a week. Vacation is staying home from work 5 days to paint the house. Can do everything short of an engine rebuild on their car (which they have owned outright for 7+ years). Only watch movies they buy used from the pawn shop. Clothes all bought at discount stores.

And neither one has much of a social life and no spouse or girlfriend.

I don't think living that way would be that hard, but getting other people to put up with it would be. I think women kind of generally look at spending behavior as a kind of signaling -- how well will you take care of me -- and if they see a guy who won't spend on himself, they figure no way, he won't take care of me or will be unpleasantly cheap.

The only *families* I've ever run into that cheap are super religious, scrimping so mom doesn't work or some other kind of lifestyle goal. And I don't think they really are accumulating anything, they just don't have anything because of one income.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 396

The bigger problem is that as great as pumped hydro is, there's a lot of awesome places for windmills and solar panels that also happen to be deserts with no water and many are also flat, with no place uphill to pump it to even if you had the water.

The giant battery farms are interesting, but after 10 years what percentage of the batteries need to be replaced? Because battery tech is so primitive, building lots of battery farms with batteries that burn out after a decade starts to sound like a real problem, especially if it involves massive mining efforts for lithium at 10x the current demand.

Personally, I'd like to see more done with raised mass storage, including some of the novel systems using large concrete "pistons" over a column of water. During the day (or when the wind blows, etc), water is pumped under the mass, raising it up, and at night the water flows the other way, spinning the pump/turbine.and generating power.

It's kind of like pumped hydro, but all you need to do is dig two cylinders for pumping the water from/to the mass, you're not as dependent on pre-existing geography.

Comment Re:Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 2) 396

Only reason why it's an issue at all is because it sounded good on the campaign trail for Trump's supporters.

More specifically, it appealed to people in one of the regional subcultures (Appalachia) who are often a swing vote. They mostly vote Republican these days, but they've never been closely tied to either of the two major parties, and Trump had to lock them down in order to shore up the fact that his support was weak in other traditionally-Republican subcultures (though he was helped by the fact that his opponent's support was weak in important traditionally-Democrat subcultures).

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 1) 257

You don't have to be friends with someone to see the behavioral changes that come with serious depression. Though, personally, I do like to make friends at work. I still regularly see people I worked with decades ago, because we built enduring friendships. Actually, that reminds me, it's time to organize another lunch or two...

Comment Re:An Artificial Womb Successfully Grew Baby Sheep (Score 1) 179

THIS 'device' is being put forward as a means to extend the viability of really early premature birth infants so they actually have a chance to survive - - - and NOT as an ARTIFICIAL WOMB with the ability to actually grow an infant from sperm-egg inception to birth.

True, but that doesn't mean it won't eventually become an artificial womb. If they're successful at using it to keep babies who are 15 weeks premature alive and healthy through their full development, then clearly the next step is to use it for babies who are 16 weeks premature, etc., etc. As they push back the age of viability new challenges will arise and be solved, and step by step it will get pushed back all the way to starting from an embryo. The development process will take years, maybe decades, but it's all but inevitable once we take this first step.

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 3, Interesting) 257

I share your cynicism about the idea that the true cause was an "aggressive work culture" but the same time this was a human being. You, the person hiding behind the screen and the AC title. Don't be an a-hole. Joseph probably had depression, you have a-hole disease.

Also, although job culture could not really have been the root cause, it definitely could be a contributing factor. Someone prone to depression can easily enter a downward spiral when placed under immense stress, to a degree that they're too depressed to take the obvious actions to get out of the stressful environment. If this guy came from LinkedIn and turned down a job at Apple, he obviously had excellent prospects for getting another job, and that would have been the obvious response to excessive job stress. But depressed people don't think that clearly. A good manager and good co-workers should have recognized the situation and encouraged him to seek help.

Note that I'm assuming here that the wife is right, and that it really was a toxic work environment. It's also possible that the work environment is fine and that it was just severe clinical depression. Given the rest of what we hear about Uber, though, it wouldn't shock me to learn that the work environment contributed a great deal.

Comment Re:Bricked or not? (Score 2) 93

I don't think you can ever permanently "brick" something. In this case they probably reflashed the firmware through the JTAG port or something similar. Bricked to the consumer but not the supplier.

You can permanently brick a device, even without hardware damage. Phones, for example, should have JTAG completely disabled for security (though many OEMs fail to do this), and depending on various bits of low-level config devices can get into a completely unflashable state. If the onboard firmware that accepts flashed images does something like sign the images with a key embedded in the SoC, and the ROM refuses to run unsigned firmware, and you can't flash normally any more, then even removing the flash memory and writing to it directly may not revive the device.

Plus, software can sometimes do hardware damage, which can perma-brick.

But, yeah, in the vast majority of cases where a device is "bricked", it can actually be revived by the manufacturer or their RMA centers. Even if JTAG isn't available and the system is tightly locked down, they typically have some keys they can use to sign messages to disable portions of the security infrastructure, specifically so that they can revive (and resell) bricked devices.

I do low-level Android development and end up bricking a few devices every year. It's pretty rare that they can't be revived by the manufacturer, but it does happen.

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