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Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 153

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Nothing to worry about (Score 4, Informative) 65

Judging from footage, burglars seem to fall into two categories: the amateur criminals of opportunity who simply smash a window and make off with whatever they can get, or fail comically. And the more professional burglars who take a few very simple precautions, come in wearing hoodies and gloves, and leave in minutes. They are professional in the sense that they know how to enter a home quickly without making too much noise, spot homes where the owners are absent and the take is likely to be high, and know which valuables to grab and where they are usually "hidden". But they certainly do not employ any sophisticated methods to bypass alarms or defeat security cameras. They simply skip homes with alarms or ignore their presence depending on how long they are expecting to hang around, and make sure they cannot be recognized with the aforementioned hoodies.

And over here, most burglars don't give a rat's arse about being caught: sentences are low, there's little additional punishment for repeat offenders (the other day they caught a burglar with 33 prior convictions, think he's going to reform much?), and if the police actually do turn up the heat a bit too much for comfort, one simply relocates to the next EU country.

Comment Re:Almost meaningless (Score 2) 261

And that's what a real president does: setting long term budgets and targets for long term endeavours. And a real president also doesn't torpedo his predecessor's long term plans on a whim. Especially when those plans aren't overly political and mostly require government intervention for budgetary matters and auditing only.

Comment Re:Much consternation about nothing? (Score 1) 289

"She may well be right." Says who? We've all seen some similar and widely publicized changes at other companies, and at the last large corporation I had as a client I went through several similar changes brought about by newly installed department managers. And what I have wondered and continue to wonder is: what do they base this decision on? What data, research, managerial wisdom or personal experience makes them think this works? (And by personal experience, I don't mean "I work better in an office", but "When I brought back people into the office at Company X, productivity jumped by 20%."). Or is it really nothing more than a belief? While she may have the authority do make such a change on a hunch, she would do well to make damn sure it works before issuing policy that may have a significant impact on productivity and employee well-being, positively or negatively.

Looking at how this has worked out at other companies, coupled with an increasing number of studies that suggest that constant collaboration amongst knowledge or creative workers has been vastly overrated and has been taken to a level that's pretty detrimental to productivity, I seriously doubt that she is right.

Comment Re:Professionalize computer science (Score 2) 84

This. Also see my sig.

With that said, not having a way to guarantee that your software is secure is no excuse for not exercising established security practices. They may not provide a 100% guarantee but it's better than nothing. A lot of the hacks of IoT equipment that we've been hearing so much about were possible because of inexcusable negligence on the part of the manufacturer.

Comment Re:Rough edges visible miles away (Score 2) 92

The article mentions electronic tickets, not boarding passes. These e-tickets are little more than a reservation number in the form of a QR code which can be scanned from a phone or a printout to save a little time at the terminal, but the number can still be manually entered by the staff member if need be. A couple of times I've flown, the airline didn't even ask for my ticket and got my reservation on screen simply by scanning my passport.

Comment Re:Girls in India and beyond? (Score 4, Insightful) 178

When you were a boy, you weren't told all day: "Only girls can study physics." "Boys should stay at home until their parents find them a suitable wife." "A man's place is in the kitchen, or walking 2 meters behind his wife." If you had been, you would probably have reacted differently to a man being successful in science despite such cultural obstacles.

Curie is still a hero for beating the prejudice of her time, but the difference in perception is in the eye of the beholder: boy in a more or less egalitarian society (at least when it comes to the sexes), or girl in a culture where women are not supposed to do such things. To the boy, Curie is mostly a historical example of a heroic struggle. To a girl in India, it's proof that her life and her society don't have to be the way they are.

Comment Re:Vagina award (Score 5, Insightful) 178

Meanwhile, back on Earth, these women are showing girls that they can succeed even in a male-centered society, that they can do interesting things instead of preparing to be married off. They are showing parents that there is no shame in giving their daughters an education even if the village idiots are telling them otherwise. They are showing that there are worthwhile and interesting scientific pursuits in their country and that there is no need to go abroad to find them. They are inspiring Indian girls and boys to go to college and study hard. In other words, they are doing more than most to improve their country and culture. Improving the country's health care, agriculture, sanitation and education is more about hearts & minds than spending the relatively tiny space budget on these things. Given ISRO's results and the impact on local industry, international contracts, and prestige, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to spend that money.

Comment Then chickens would die out (Score 1) 330

Not many wild chickens in the world. If we could make artificial chicken meat, and I'd be all for eating it since it seems less cruel to me, then people would stop breeding chickens for food.

Chicken isn't the most perfect example for this because we also eat eggs. Apply that logic to pigs though - yep, much more of a problem.

Comment I blame "whole word reading". (Score 3, Interesting) 151

I blame "whole word reading".

Pople who learned to read that way simply do not read for pleasure. They read when they are required to do so, but not otherwise.

If you are a "whole word reader", and you encounter a word you've never seen before, it's off to the dictionary to look up the new ideogram (since that how the words are taught using that method), even if you actually use the word daily when speaking.

I've occasionally wondered if we are going to have to make books available in "text speak", in the same way that we make them available in braille, in order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities act.

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