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Comment Re:Abolish NASA, and deregulate aerospace. (Score 1) 155

not quite the average toddler's level of understanding.

Project much?

Spoken like one with no clue at all of NASA's decades of hostility to private enterprise in space. Google for "OTRAG" for one example of a potential competitor that they pulled out all the stops to kill off.

-jcr

Comment the underbelly of entrepreneurship (Score 1) 85

My last two reads in this area were The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013) and When Genius Failed (2000), both of which I found highly engaging.

Is that what you were looking for?

On my near-term list is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (2014).

Perhaps that's more what you're after.

I also liked The Man in the Machine (2015).

Comment a poor-man's wild west (Score 2) 97

If you haven't got a billion dollars, you can't blather on about colonising Mars. How admirably crytocurrency fills its niche as a poor man's wild west. It's got everything. A Chinese Boss Hogg with a Fu Machu mustache can suddenly jump out of the woodwork at any moment. Hot damn!

I was never much of an Oregon Trail dreamer myself, so this whole scene amuses me greatly.

Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 353

There's a COBOL shop in my small town that contracts for corporations and the government. I know several COBOL specialists in their 30s. It's actually an extremely lucrative field to get into these days, with good pay and job security.

Rewriting all that COBOL code in some other language would be bound to cause major problems.

Comment the moderation gap (Score 1) 267

Almost any controlled diet (short of rice-cakes and water) improves health outcomes over what people eat when they're paying less attention.

Almost every controlled diet excludes most of the same extremely suspect foods (high-fructose bonbons, anything out of the smokey, rarely replenished deep-fat frier from hell).

It probably is true that inflammation is the underlying malady. High LDL levels probably exacerbate the negative effects of inflammation. Refined-carbohydrate–rich diets combined with a sedentary lifestyle are known to be inflammatory.

As I recall, studies of hard-working farmers who ate six eggs a day (with bacon) and not much sugar haven't shown unusually high rates of coronary heart disease. Thus I've begun to suspect that the problem comes from overloading the metabolism on two axes at the same time (lipids and carbohydrates) while also tying one-hand to the sedentary-lifestyle bed post.

In paleolithic times, it was possible to gorge yourself (from time to time) on one food group or another (bananas or bison), but rarely both at the same time (and certainly not without taking a long hike at some point either before, during, or afterwards, plus there's no shortage of labour involved in harvesting a side of bison with a stone axe, or spending an entire day climbing banana trees). These days we hang around in coffee shops playing chess, and the forty-move time control rarely elapses without inducing yet another mocha frappe and a "small" serving of cheesecake (it sure looks small beside that sugary 20-ounce drink).

It seems like any one of three corrective actions: elimination of excess sugar (rice cakes are 100% sugar), elimination of excess fat, or a vigorous physical lifestyle has an enormously beneficial effect. I suspect that any change will do, just so long as your metabolism is not confronting the triple-risk zone on a regular basis.

Of course, if they convince you to stay out of all three risk zones at the same time (carbs from green vegetables only, no animal fat, high exercise) your risk of crossing through the triple-risk zone at any point in time goes almost to zero. I tend to think of that as the belt and suspenders and sneakers approach. Or, if you convince someone to achieve a half-hearted three days of out seven compliance on each of those, he or she is probably mostly out of the weeds, as well.

Evolution tends to make us pretty adaptive. Two out of three stress factors poses only a moderate problem. Three out of three stress factors (a condition almost impossible to achieve in our evolutionary history) and now you have a big problem.

Pure approach to at-worst two-out-of-three:

* farming with ox and plow (always work hard, eat whatever you damn well want)
* total elimination of refined carbs (it's not easy to get or stay fat on this diet, unless you've already got metabolic syndrome)
* total elimination of animal fat (combining balanced nutrition with a green lifestyle is now your biggest challenge; almond production requires six-times more water than industrial chicken meat, per delivered ounce)

Impure approach to mostly at-worst two-out-of-three:

* vigorous exercise two days a week (with sustained spurts of 8-10 METs, ya lazy yoga-pant moron)
* complete elimination of sugary beverages (requires moderation of alcohol, too)
* plenty of animal fat, but not in the form of steak and cheesecake dinners (bad fat+ sugar), or all-you-can-eat fettuccine Alfredo buffets (also bad-fat Hoover Dam + sugar Niagara)

Of course, in any controlled study, interventions that ask for the moon have more margin for non-compliance, and that effect will definitely be measured, and found statistically significant.

That doesn't mean that impure moderation doesn't provide 80% of the benefits for 20% of the religious conviction.

But our research is never geared to tell us this.

Comment Re:Why would anybody live in a city? (Score 3, Insightful) 107

Because cities have a lot of different kind of people, different kinds of shops, art spaces, restaurants, performances and so on. Suburbs are far more homogenous. They're like that bar in Blues Brothers that have "both Country and Western".

And cities are a lot more accessible; when you get older you may no longer be able to drive or get around easily, and you will certainly start to appreciate the closeness to various medical specialists, nursing facilities and emergency services.

One major trend here in Japan is that as the population grows older, so does the move into urban centers accelerate, and that's exactly for this reason. Baby boomers are selling their suburban homes and rural houses to get convenient, accessibility-adapted apartments in the city.

Comment if not, fake news (Score 1) 540

on average millennials expect to retire younger than other working age generations.

Did you mean:

on average millennials expect to retire younger than other working age generations expected to retire when polled in the same way, at a comparable age and state of employment?

If not, fake news.

Comment preexisting malaise (Score 2) 216

What he wrote:

UPDATE: as a direct result of "the views espoused in my engineering article on Medium" I have been terminated from my contracting position at my current employer.

What's he's hoping people read:

UPDATE: solely as a result of "the views espoused in my engineering article on Medium" I have been terminated from my contracting position at my current employer.

Unfortunately, version 1.0 typically falls under the thick veil of he said, she said.

Here's the exact point where he wanders off into the weeds:

Its intractability comes not from incompetency or from a lack of discipline, ...

It doesn't take a 4-Sigmund review to spot the out-of-school litigation here. No one in a state of conflict appreciates the lateral spread of subtext.

I know estimation is often used as a management bully club, and I've had some pretty dark thoughts about some indivisuals who have chosen to behave that way, but sorry, I'm just not feeling the sympathy in this instance.

Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 284

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re:Poor people paid most of the taxes (Score 3, Informative) 166

Poor people paid most of the taxes that put fiber in those rich neighborhoods.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's the exact opposite of true. At least at a national level (Federal income tax), the top 16% of earners (those will incomes of $100K or above) account for 79.4% of all the individual tax revenue paid to the government. In fact, the top 1% of earners account for 51.6% of the IRS individual tax revenue all by themselves. Maybe taxes in California are radically different, but I doubt it.

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