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Comment Re:Bigger problem (Score 0) 115

You can't have a country whose economic foundation was slavery not have a cultural problem.

You might want to review history. At the time the US was founded, slavery was legal and practised in nearly every other country in the world. (And historically, slavery was almost never about race per se, just different social/cultural/economic groups. Islamic holders of Christian slaves, for example.)

That doesn't make it right, but it does mean you're full of shit. (Or perhaps you have a point: the west African nations whose economic foundation was selling those slaves also have cultural problems. Or perhaps the cultural problems came first.)

But slavery was everywhere, since the dawn of agriculture (those fields aren't going to work themselves). It was the Industrial Revolution which made it economically unviable -- which is why it died out in the northern, industrial states sooner than in the southern largely agricultural ones, and in Europe before it did in the New World.

Comment Re:Van Allen radiation belts (Score 1) 144

Of course it depends where you are on the ground. I used to work in a data center in Colorado Springs, at about 6000 feet altitude. We saw quite a few correctable memory errors in the logs (and a few random crashes).

Might have been cosmic rays, might have been radiation from the mountain of granite (Pikes Peak) we were in the shadow of.

Either way, if the errors occurred several times in the same DIMM, it was probably bad memory and we replaced it. The odds of cosmic rays hitting the same DIMM every few days or so are pretty remote.

Comment Re:Brian said "SPECTRE", not "specter" (Score 1) 205

"From a James Bond movie."

Kids these days.

Even if you're going to restrict yourself to movies, SPECTRE was the villain in most of the Sean Connery Bond flics. And that was in no small part because they took liberally from Ian Fleming's books.

At least you got the acronym right.

Now, for bonus points, what did THRUSH (the Man from UNCLE bad guys) stand for? (And, trivia note, Ian Fleming contributed concepts for that TV series, including the name of the main character, Napoleon Solo.)

Are we sufficiently off-topic yet? ;)

Comment Re:Internet of Things? (Score 4, Informative) 205

It's not just refrigerators and light switches.

It's also light bulbs (Philips stupid mood thingie), thermostats (Nest, etc), nannycams (every manufacturer and his brother), (in)security systems, even fricking doorbells, et bloody cetera.

And I'm sure I've left out some major categories.

Comment Re: Dumb question, but where should we store them? (Score 3, Interesting) 114

PS: currently a whiteboard in the lab.

Heh. Back in my college (mainframe!) days, one of the systems guys had a blackboard in his office, and up in one corner were a few innocuous characters (something like "&:*").

Now, I was just a student, but spent enough time hanging around the computer center to know most of these guys. I noticed this one day and said "Jay, is it really a good idea to have the system privcode [essentially, the root password on that OS] in plain sight like that?", and grinned as his face turned white, then red. At least it wasn't "1234".

I'd learned it from a 2-inch thick stack of printout of the OS source code I'd found in the dumpster, it had been hardcoded into a function call. (I couldn't believe it was that simple when I first found it, but checking the Espol manual -- which I'd been given by a guy in a Burroughs sales office; when I went in and just asked what manuals they had on the B6700 system, he was happy to help out a student with some old stuff from a back room -- and sure enough, that's what it was.)

(I'm not even sure the terms "social engineering" and "dumpster diving" had even been coined back then, it was in the mid-1970s. And I never did anything malicious with the knowledge.)

Comment Building Scientific Apparatus (Score 1) 273

This may well be overkill for your needs, and it's a bit pricey, but the book Building Scientific Apparatus has been on my wish list for a while. It has chapters on working with glass, vacuum technoloy, charged-particle optics, and electronics, among others.

Sigh, too many projects (including a pair of novels to finish) and not enough time.

Comment Re:yawn (Score 4, Insightful) 428

If the market was truly free, I could buy that drug for $5 (I don't have cancer), and turn around and sell it somebody with cancer for $50 and a tidy markup for my trouble. And so could anyone else, or they could undercut me and sell it for $25; the company trying to sell it for $100,000 wouldn't get any takers.

I can't, because the government won't let me. That particular market is not free.

Comment Re:free interactive online CS lessons (Score 1) 241

At the "University of Waterloo" we like Python and JS...

Maybe they do now, but back in the day they liked Fortran. Anyone remember WATFOR (and WATFIV)?

There was also a Waterloo BASIC, and later (actually done by a company spun off from UW) Watcom C/C++.

(Me, I learned ALGOL and APL more or less in parallel with each other. If you really want to learn programming, vs just doing some bit-bashing, learn at least two very dissimilar languages. It'll stretch your brain.)

Comment Re:Removable battery? Nah... (Score 1) 86

Yeah. This. I was just going to chime in on this. This idiotic war against serviceable components, expandable flash and replaceable / expandable memory is really tiresome. And with every generations of phone ifixit and the like give out instructions and OEM and 3rd party batteries and repair items become available.

And when something like this happens - it could have been : go to this special link to amazon, put your samsung serial number in and get an overnight package with the a new battery. But no. Now we have this fiasco.

Lets weld in and glue in an ultra flammable part that is a common replacement item - for what?

Comment Re:Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary (Score 4, Insightful) 248

Nonsense, you've got all kinds of choice: Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrell Castle, write in somebody else, or just leave that space on the ballot blank.

People who insist on holding their nose and voting for whichever of the two major party candidates they dislike least because they don't want to "waste their vote" are part of the problem -- and are wasting their votes.

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