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Submission + - Another Healthcare Radiation Overdose Problem (

bezenek writes: The New York Times has an article about a linear accelerator-driven pinpoint radiation device (this is not a radiation-source driven device, or Gamma Knife) which radiated four people because of incorrectly placed beam-blocking plates. No one has determined how the error occurred, but it may have been avoided by more careful operators or a more carefully engineered system. The company that makes the device had warned users about the possibility of the treatment data being garbled during transfer between multiple computing devices in the treatment pipeline.

I wonder if we will decide to require certification of software engineers the way we do with engineers who design bridges and electrical systems. It will not eliminate all problems like this, but at least we will have some control over who builds these lifesaving and sometimes life-taking devices.ex


Submission + - Law Schools Inflate Grades (

bezenek writes: From the NY Times article:

[Loyola Law School Los Angeles] is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market. ... Students and faculty say they are merely trying to stay competitive with their peer schools, which have more merciful grading curves... [M]any Loyola students are ineligible for coveted clerkships that have strict G.P.A. cutoffs.

The article includes a list of other schools who have changed their grading schemes, including New York University, Georgetown, Golden Gate University,Tulane, UCLA, UC Hastings College of the Law, and Vanderbilt University. Other law schools are eliminating grades for a pass/fail system. These include Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Yale.


Submission + - BP Documents Changed Risk Assessment (

bezenek writes: The quote from the New York Times article speaks for itself.

In April of this year, BP engineers concluded that the casing was â½ÂÅ"unlikely to be a successful cement job,â½Â according to a document, referring to how the casing would be sealed to prevent gases from escaping up the well. The document also says that the plan for casing the well is â½ÂÅ"unable to fulfill M.M.S. regulations,â½Â referring to the Minerals Management Service. A second version of the same document says â½ÂÅ"It is possible to obtain a successful cement jobâ½Â and â½ÂÅ"It is possible to fulfill M.M.S. regulations.â½Â Andrew Gowers, a BP spokesman, said the second document was produced after further testing had been done.

Submission + - I Should Be Able to Play in the Masters

bezenek writes: I have been watching the Masters golf tournament on the Web. My limited AT&T 2.5Mb/sec connection gives me an HD-quality view almost as good as cable/broadcast TV.

I see no reason why my Tiger Woods PGA Tour PC game could not let me play along with Tiger's group in the Masters in real time.

This would be very cool!


Submission + - How Do I Get a Job Being Given to an H-1B? 1

bezenek writes: I have a masters degree in electrical engineering and a masters degree in computer sciences (top-tier research school). I have over 20 years of programming experience. (If you count college courses, I started programming more than 30 years ago.)

I see H-1B applicants with much less knowledge than I do filling jobs. Right now there is an opening as a result of a green card application which I could fill. The position pays very well.

There are three problems:

1. The H-1B candidates in some cases do not know what they need to know to do their jobs--thus I would by default be a better candidate. Here is an example to prove my point: I interviewed an H-1B applicant for a position writing support scripts for Linux systems. It was a struggle to find a question the candidate could answer. One example: Question: Given a directory of text files on a Linux system, show me how you can get a list of the files which contain the word "error." After several tries, I asked the candidate if they were familiar with grep. I never did get an answer to the question. The candidate was hired for the job, but not based on my review.

2. If I apply for a position which has to be advertised before a green card is issued, I burn all of my bridges with the hiring manager who wants to keep the person they already have--otherwise why would they be going through the trouble of applying for a green card. (Remember, the H-1B visa is meant to be a way to hire someone temporarily when there is not someone available with the appropriate knowledge and/or skills. Too keep the person beyond a certain time, a green card must be obtained.) I also probably burn every bridge at the company, since HR is going to have to be involved.

3. If a company hires an H-1B and I know I am better (or as) qualified, there is no one to whom I can complain. I tried this once. I called the Department of Labor, the CIA, and a couple other government organizations. Everyone said there was no one in charge of enforcing the H-1B laws.

So, the problem is, how do I find out about jobs which are being given to H-1Bs which I might be able to do. And, how do I place myself into those positions without upsetting people?

Any suggestions?

Submission + - Would a Seasons Selection in Google Earth Be Cool?

bezenek writes: Google Earth seems to always show "summer" pictures.

I have seen aerial pictures of snow drifting into intricate patterns in winter, and colored leaves on trees or drifting on the ground in the fall. I have witnessed streams swelling to rivers in the spring, and wildflowers blossoming across a field as far as the eye can see (and visible from the position at which Google Earth photos are often taken).

I think it would be cool if Google Earth had a "season" selection. What do you think?


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