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Comment Re:Prof says: paper and pencil (Score 2, Insightful) 823

I got my PhD in math and took a few grad-level physics class since.

TeX-based notes in many math classes is very doable. I got to the point during my math degree that I could type equations way faster than the professor could write in the board. I still type faster than I write on the board when I teach. Functional analysis and algebra were the best for typewritten notes; numerical analysis was the worst due to the number of matrices.

TeX-based notes in a physics class (especially less theoretical ones) is a slow-moving disaster. Visualization and diagrams (at least for me) are way more important in physics than they were for my math classes.

Comment Re:Emergencies? (Score 1) 635

e911 may be required for cell phones, but it's not required by the cell companies.

A few folks died in Nebraska in a snow storm because 911 wasn't able to locate where the cell call was coming from (they were lost). This got the community in an uproar about getting e911 actually working NOW.

Luckily for all involved, it turned out that those who died were on acid. Because that makes folks worth less as human beings, everyone dropped the idea of making sure e911 is working.

Until the next accident...

Comment Re:Crap (Score 5, Informative) 163

Actually, you're not even close.

A company called Powerset developed the open-source alternative to BigTable called HBase. This was developed as an Apache Software Foundation project under the Apache license.

Microsoft bought Powerset for a bucket of money because their search technology based of Hbase was pretty damned good. This was last year. This year, the folks behind powerset - as Microsoft employees - were given the go-ahead to continue committing to the ASF project and they continue to make it better. For what I can see, they aren't keeping anything juicy in-house.

It's honest-to-goodness MS committing to an Apache project.

Comment Re:race? (Score 5, Insightful) 397

It's a very friendly "competition". While it *may* be possible for the Tevatron to locate the Higgs before LHC turn-on, it doesn't negate the fact that the LHC will use energies an order of magnitude higher than the Tevatron.

Fermilab - which is where the Tevatron is located - also has a huge number of people working on CMS - one of the LHC detectors.

Most of the "US vs Europe" mentality and the "OMG we're losing our physics crown to some other lab" is a sidebar injected by the media and politicians. Otherwise, it can be very dry (aka, non-newsworthy) work punctuated by moments of "Eureka!"

Comment Re:Aluminum foil hat. (Score 2, Insightful) 248

I'm sorry, I don't believe it.

I think using a BlueGene for run-of-the-mill data processing would be a horrible waste of money. There's simply no need for things like a parallel filesystem or PB of RAM or low-latency interconnects. You want to "scale out" for distributed processing like you're talking about, not "scale up".

No, I'd bet intelligence gathering is done on Google-like processor farms.

Comment Re:I could be sarcastic (Score 4, Interesting) 459

Do you have any friends who are teachers?

Turns out, there's a *lot* of parents who either don't give two shits about their kids' education or really would like to participate, but happen to be working multiple jobs.

Parents are some of the *worst* folks to deal with when it comes to their children's education: they find it hard to believe that their little Johnny doesn't deserve an A because he was up in his room studying *all night long*. I know a few who would call up their children's college professors because their dumbass kids didn't do any work, demanding to know why the professor didn't give them an A / wipe their ass / whatever the parent wants.

I know of parents who don't want exit exams because they knew their kids couldn't pass them. A system which is based on the guidance of the parents would be the worst in the world -- it would give incentive to making parents happy, and the way to do that is give good grades to every dumbass which passed through its doors.

Comment Re:It still amazes (Score 1) 650

On the other hand, there is a clear case for browsers that you can bring to trial -- Microsoft utilized its monopoly position in the OS market to force competitors out of business.

The EU has a pretty clear case, a company that can file a complaint, etc.

It's not the bundling of the browser which is illegal - it's utilizing the monopoly to kill others.

Comment Re:Adam Smith is Outdated (Score 1) 353

Further, many times those countries are cheaper because they lack regulations that keep us safe and healthy. They may have 60-hour work-weeks in asbestos-festered offices or work with dangerous chemicals and pollution in factories. It's unfair if we have to compete with regulations that they don't have.

Or, they're a country like Brazil. Their buildings may not be as nice, but they don't have 60 hour work-weeks or asbestos-festered offices or work with dangerous chemicals.

Heck, in fact, whenever I visit with coworkers there, they always feel bad for me: the workweek is shorter and they have better vacation time.

Comment Re:iPod, iPhone, then what? (Score 1) 371

Sorry, but since when in the last few years have you gotten excited by the new Intel product inside the Mac?

For me, the minor version bumps are irrelevant and predictable. The things like the iPhone, MacBook Air, new MacBook form factor are much more exciting.

Getting excited over the new Intel processors is something that Dell does. Making customers drool over the new look of the MacBook and want to buy it is what Apple does.

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