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Comment Here in West Virginia.... (Score 4, Insightful) 460

The governor is a billionaire coal barron, and he's doing his best to revive coal as well. One major problem is that natural gas has taken over and the coal market just isn't there now. Aside from that, the cost to mine coal is way higher than it is for natural gas. To mine coal, you have to hire hundreds of miners, buy or lease really expensive equipment, dig a hole a couple of miles into the ground, then transport the product via truck or rail car to the buyer. To get natural gas, you drill a hole in the ground, insert a pipe, and connect it to other pipes.

Then, you have to factor in foreign competition. I used to work in IT for a coal company at the beginning of my career (mid '90s), and in spite of doing $160 million in business per year, we went bankrupt. It was cheaper then to mine coal in China and ship it to our local power plants than it was to mine it locally. I'm not sure that the coal market it to that point yet, but I expect to return to those days. Coal truck drivers here were making over $70k per year while their foreign counterparts were doing that for a fraction of the money.

Ironically, my office is in what used to be the headquarters for Columbia Gas Transmission in Charleston, WV, but that was bought out last year by TransCanada and several people were laid off. However, I don't work in the gas industry.

Comment Re:650k emails in 9 days (Score 1) 733

You're assuming that they laid eyes on each and every email. Once indexed in a software package like FTK or Encase, you could filter out all the emails from AdultFriendFinder.com AshleyMadison.com as well as Weiner pictures sent to a variety of barely legal and underage girls, leaving you with a very small set of emails to review.

In all sincerity, forensic software packages would make this easily possible due to indexing. You'd index these emails, hash all data, and drop the duplicates from the earlier discovery. Then, you could quickly drop all incoming spam and irrelevant emails by reviewing the To / From / CC / BCC list, then searching the resulting emails for keywords, resulting in a small group of emails that a handful of analysts could review in a short period of time.

FYI... I'm a forensic investigator.

Submission + - Bob Ebeling, Challenger Engineer Who Forewarned Of Shuttle Disaster, Dead At 89 (huffingtonpost.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For three decades, retired NASA engineer Bob Ebeling blamed himself for being unable to stop the 1986 launch of space shuttle Challenger. He had warned that the shuttle might explode, and it did shortly after liftoff, killing seven crew members. Ebeling was one of five engineers at a NASA contractor then called Morton Thiokol who warned the space agency that cold temperatures predicated at the time of the launch could prove disastrous. The warning was ignored. The night before the launch, Ebeling reportedly told his wife, Darlene, "It's going to blow up." He told another daughter, Kathy Ebeling, that he had toyed with the idea of bringing his hunting rifle to work to threaten NASA not to launch, according to an article last month in The Washington Post. In the final weeks of his life, however, thanks to an outpouring of support following a National Public Radio story in January on the 30th anniversary of the disaster, Ebeling, 89, finally found peace. Ebeling died Monday in his home in Brigham City, Utah, after a prolonged illness with prostate cancer, NPR reported.

Comment Re:I own one of these. . . (Score 1) 567

I also own a 2014 Grand Cherokee... well, my live-in girlfriend does. I remember one day when she attempted to put it in park so that she could run into a convenience store for a moment, and she actually shifted into reverse. The whole time she was in the store, the car sat there in gear, and the only thing that kept the Jeep from rolling into traffic was the hill holder feature kept the car in place. Even when I drive it, I have to be very careful that I get the transmission into the correct gear.

Comment Buying my hybrid today (Score 2) 998

What timing... I take delivery of my first hybrid today, a 2012 Toyota Prius. I did some basic math in making my decision, so I'll share:

This vehicle will replace a 2005 Chevy Uplander that we drove an average of 27,500 miles per year. The Uplander is getting 17.9 MPG at this point (according to the onboard computer), consuming 1,536 gallons of fuel annually. At the current price of $3.95 per gallon in my area, it costs $6,068 per year in just fuel (87 octane). Running the numbers again for the Prius, and assuming 45MPG, fuel will cost $2,413 per year... a savings of $3,655 annually, or $304 per month. Even after my wife added all the bells and whistles and extended warranty (she did that while I was out of the room), we will only be seeing a net outlay of $170 per month. And when my 13-year-old son goes to college, he will take this vehicle with him.

The Prius owners that I know are extremely satisfied, and one has had his since 2003. Although there are many other factors to consider, my monthly budget is certainly a major factor. I'm viewing this purchase this way: I'm buying a new car for $170 per month.

Comment Re:solution: (Score 1) 557

I'm a 20-year veteran of Fire and EMS, and I love what I do. In that time, I've seen some really nasty stuff (both accidental and intentional) like dead babies, shotgun suicides, etc. But I watched one of the beheading videos as well... and I wasn't ready for what I saw (or even worse, heard). It bothered me for a very long time because the sound of a dying man screaming through a gash in his throat is pretty fucking brutal.

Comment Re:I really don't know. (Score 1) 496

There are several calorie calculators on the Internet to determine your daily needs. Once you've determined that, you can use the Daily Plate feature at www.livestrong.com to track your daily intake. Using that site and a $20 kitchen scale, I've lost 25 lbs in 3 months just by trimming 300 calories a day from my suggested caloric intake.

Comment What about POI? (Score 1) 422

I guess I'm in a niche market then.

One thing that I've not seen discussed is a POI (Point of Interest) database. There are tons of these on the Internet that you can download and then upload to your GPS unit. As a Volunteer firefighter, I developed a POI database of every Fire Department in my state for use by the Fire Marshal's office. They are uploading them to their GPS units in the Investigator's vehicles. In addition, I'm developing a POI database of every fire hydrant in my department's jurisdiction in order to make water-supply location much easier. Then we will purchase a GPS unit for each fire apparatus and use the database regularly.

Just a couple weeks ago, we used GPS units in a very rural area with heavy tree cover to assist in finding a mentally handicapped person who had wandered away from home. With no reliable cell signal, and with dense forest, we would have been lucky to have been able to use a smartphone to track or log our movements. Once we layed out the search area and followed the GPS data, we were able to find him and return him to his family.

Along those same lines, we have landed the local aeromedial helicopter in rural areas using coordinates from our handheld GPS unit.

If you are only using your GPS for turn-by-turn directions, you are only scratching the surface. These units offer so much more. Oh, and did I mention that a GPS unit doesn't require a data plan?

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 100

Ernest Hemingway's micro-story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," is one of my favorite examples of how less is sometimes more. Sometimes a few sentences say it all; you don't always need a hundred pages to convey an idea. Most of the mail I get is brief and to the point. Others are just brief. To be honest, I appreciate the short, crazy email more than the long rants, and they can be just as funny. Read below for this week's mail snippets.

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