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Comment Distinction between science and emotion (Score 1) 609

It is never science itself that is 'evil', it's the implementation of policies (chosen by irrational humans), then selectively plucking out disparate facts that (seemingly) support the policy and calling it 'scientifically-based'.

(a poor example) The chemical processes involved in (traditional) photography are scientific. They've been investigated, the knowledge shared, the processes broken down to their component parts to better understand, the results verified a million times.

Using photography to 'prove' that aliens occupied the local Piggly Wiggly or that the entire Apollo program happened on a back-lot in California is just selectively choosing parts of a larger set of knowledge to support a point of view.

I believe a rational society could be wonderful. How we get there, when people are inherently irrational? I have no idea.

Comment Capacity (Score 1) 117

As a side-note to this discussion, it should be pointed out that access to poles should be regulated to some degree if for no other reason than to prevent overloading the weight-capacity of the poles. Poles do not have unlimited weight-bearing capacity.

--Disclaimer: I work for a big telco--

We have sometimes had to re-route our fiber builds because electric-utility-owned poles had reached their capacity. (a very expensive proposition sometimes)

If all carriers were allowed to add cables to a poles without thought to total load, years down the road, say, during an ice storm, you might find a neighborhood up the proverbial creek minus the oars. Loss of a pole includes electricity service.

Look closely at a pole that has a lot of cabling on it: almost all of it is under tension. In various directions. Get too much load then throw in a wrench (car hitting pole, wind storm, ice storm), and you lose both telecom service and electricity.

I'm no fan of regulation, but it had a root of common sense in the beginning.

Comment Re:No one is being forced to do anything. (Score 1) 175

>>>A government-sanctioned monopoly is offering a service, with no other competitors allowed to offer you a competing service.

I work for one of those non-existent competitors. There is far more competition out there than most people seem to think. That's not to say that all the competitors compete on price. (if price were the only competing factor, we'd all be getting cheap, shitty service)

There seems to be a very widespread belief that the only thing worth competing on is price. I guess that's why Walmart is so popular.

Comment Old age? (Score 1) 830

Let's face it, Tyson is not getting any younger.

And humans have shown very clearly that we get quite susceptible to god-talk as we age and face our own mortality. The idea that when we die, that's it. Nada. That's something many people can't face. Ever.

Whether it's religion-god or tech-god is influenced by the point in time at which the fear sets in. He's a scientist and so maybe the tech-god worldview has sway.

I'm not slamming him - I'm suggesting that this thought process has as much to do with emotion as it does science.

Comment Let's do the math (Score 2) 170

Let's see; 500 dates in, say, 1200 days comes out to another date every 2.4 days.
Assuming that a date often consists of dinner and maybe a movie, we'll say it occupies about 4 hours per date.
If the average person sleeps 7 hours per day, during those 1200 days, she was awake 20,400 hours.
Of those waking hours, we'll estimate that she worked approx 8500 hours, leaving 11,900 hours for everything not sleep or work related.
Take away at least 2 hours per day for various daily, unavoidable activities like showers, breakfast, dressing, cleaning... So that's another 2400 hours.
That makes 9500 hours that might fit into the category of discretionary time.
The dates occupied 2000 hours, or roughly 21% of all her discretionary time.
I'd call that throwing yourself into your work...

Comment I'm surprised anyone is surprised (Score 4, Informative) 139

I work in this (general) field and we run into this all the time.

First, there is no financial incentive for any provider to pre-qualify all buildings. It would cost so much to do all those surveys and assess all that data, without any revenue from it, that no one does it.

What you saw Comcast use was; looking at the financial model for coax delivery of service, they can't justify the build. But looking at the financial model for fiber delivery of service, you can justify it. Why? Their fiber-based service is 5X the price of coax.

I have seen 'business-class' Comcast coax installed by a technician just feeding cable thru an open window. I've seen it where the tech drilled a hole in an openable wooden window frame and pushed it thru. They will puncture any external wall and just shoot a little caulk at it later. In fairness, they generally do a better job of the physical install of fiber than coax. For fiber installs, they generally use the same methods as a LEC or other major provider would use (conduit, weatherheads, etc.)

I am still mystified as to why business people order Comcast coax service, get crappy performance and outages, then can't understand how Comcast can do that. They can do that because people keep buying their products/services. I know they are usually the cheapest game in town - I guess you get what you pay for.

So many business people say that their business is fully dependent on having Internet access, but they don't want to pay much more than residential rates for it. The nature of all residential service is based on consumers being pain-tolerant but not price-tolerant. So you make compromises on residential service to keep the cost as low as possible. With business-class service, there is a much lower tolerance of pain (outages, slow speeds), so you make fewer compromises (to maintain quality), which drives the costs for delivering services up.

Comment Re:BGP? (Score 1) 134

Understood - didn't realize that.

I work for a carrier and it's not the joke you might think, for some people. I argue on a regular basis with customers who don't understand why I can't set up BGP for their /28 or /29. And then there's the 'you have millions of IP addresses - you can spare a couple of /24's for me, right. What's the problem?'

Too many people (who knew better) have waited til the last minute and stubbornly refused to embrace IPv6. They don't understand why I can't reach into my back pocket and pull out those /16's I'd been hiding for a rainy day.

Comment Re:BGP? (Score 1) 134

It is the general agreement among providers that they will only provide BGP (broadcasting routes) between providers if you have;

Your own ASN number (go to ARIN for that)
At least a /24 of IP space (good luck with that)

Providers don't do BGP for CIDR blocks smaller than /24 because the router tables on the net would balloon in size. (OTOH, you can get iBGP within a single provider's network with a block smaller than a /24, but then you aren't getting cross-provider alternate paths)

Comment Re:Clarification (Score 2) 143

... No, they mean cement. You add aggregate to provide structural properties and reduce the cost of the mix when used for construction. This is for waste disposal.

FTA: "...the plan for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) where highly radioactive waste, immobilised in cement, would be interred deep underground"

I'm pretty sure they mean concrete. Cement is a dry powder (think of those bags at the home improvement store - "Portland Cement") - it would be tough to immobilise anything in a loose powder for 100,000 years.

It is quite common for people to use the words cement and concrete interchangeably, though they are two different things.

Cement (in this context) is a dry, loose powder. It is one component of concrete.
Concrete is a hard 'finished product' that they make (some) roads and buildings out of. Concrete is a mixture of ingredients that, after going thru a chemical transformation, "sets" or hardens into something with tremendous compressive strength.

Comment Clarification (Score 4, Informative) 143

I believe what they mean is "concrete" rather than "cement".

Cement is a powder that is one component of concrete;

Together with sand, water, and aggregate (rock) they undergo a chemical reaction (when mixed) to form concrete. Changing the quality, component ratio and admixtures of concrete can dramatically change various characteristics like strength, set time, resistance to water pressure, etc. I can remember seeing concrete that was very dark (almost black-ish) in color. I was told it contained a lot of lead for use in radioactivity shielding.

Just sayin'

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 1) 329

I have a relative who is an engineer at an automotive manufacturer. One job he held was to analyze why certain parts failed more often than others. All parts were designed in the US and the alloys were carefully spelled out.

They flew him to various outsourced shops around the world to try to understand why, even when every detail was carefully spec'd, some parts (often cast) failed too often.

One thing he noticed was that, in some parts of the world, it is not uncommon to have some shop floors made of just dirt, rather than concrete. When you (as a manufacturer) have reduced costs associated with your choice of alloy to the bare minimum, there is little room for error 'in the mix'. Turns out that a dirty work environment can kick up a lot of dirt and dust and some of that finds its way into your alloy. And it surprised me how little it took to reduce the strength of the metal significantly.

There are subtle details that you and I might take for granted (like a clean work environment) that others have found as ways to shave their daily operating costs (locate in a primitive, less-expensive setting). You have to spec EVERYTHING.

Comment Gotta mention Powells (Score 4, Interesting) 133

Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland. A full city block, multiple floors, of new and used books (and maps and book-related kitsch). So big (and popular) that they had to expand their technical books to another storefront nearby.

On many days, the place is backed with shoppers - and it's a huge store. They even have a map of the store, so that you don't get lost. The store is divided into general subject sections: Reference, Mystery, SciFi, Art, Languages, Magazines, etc.

It's such a trip to browse, and find, practically any book you can think of. And, if it's not on the shelf, go to their website and see if they have it in their warehouse. (You can check their website from any of the many terminals set up throughout the store) If they do, you can buy it and have it appear in Will Call at the main store.

You can sell them your old books at their buying counter. (I've sold a couple hundred there myself...)

If you're into books (the kind that are made of paper), you should visit this place at least once.

(I'm not associated with the place - just a customer for the last 20+ years)

Comment Stealth mode (Score 1) 265

Maybe a silly question on my part, but...

Do you have your firewall set to discard unwanted packets silently? In other words, unless someone from the outside is hitting an IP and a port that you want open to the outside, there should be *no response* to outside queries (including port scans). If the firewall acknowledges the ping of the port *in any way* with a return packet, then the outside party knows there's something attached to that IP/port.

It's always best to give the appearance that there's nothing residing at that IP/port....

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