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Comment Re: Make America Great (Score 1) 619

I'm pretty sure that's what the O-1A visas are designed for:

That does like a better fit. And I know we didn't have to deal with a lottery, or the widely-publicized "time for the lottery now!" deadline (which, by the way, is not compatible with an academic hiring schedule).

So I just went back in my email and poked around: the name being bandied about with the University HR folks was definitely H1-B. Maybe they helpfully translated that into an O-1A, thinking "stupid head in the clouds faculty, can't even get an alphabet soup form name right".

Comment Re: Make America Great (Score 4, Insightful) 619

The entire H1B is a scam.

Techie tunnel vision: H1B's are used for many other purposes than getting cheap IT help from India. My interaction with the program has been "just hired a new theoretical physics professor, who happens to not hold US citizenship". How to get him permission to work at a US university? Get an H1B.

In that case, it was pretty easy to prove there wasn't a US national who could fill the job better than the foreigner: we had just done an exhaustive search to find the best applicant.. Sounds like it was working as designed: don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Comment Re:I wish I could trust "academic experts". (Score 1) 620

I wish I could trust "academic experts". I really do. But all my experiences with academia and academics have been very disappointing.

The first problem can be summed up with the old saying, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, research.". That's exactly what we see in academia: those who couldn't cut it outside of academia with their bachelor's degree end up back in academic circles, often for the rest of their lives. Academia provides a safe playpen for those who were below the standards of the real world.

Wait.... you're saying you can work in academic research with a Bachelor's? Or you mean that people who can't hack it in the real world go to grad school?

Speaking as someone who a) serves on graduate admissions committees; and b) advises many graduating bachelor's recipients, it's usually exactly the opposite. It takes a great student to get into grad school, and so the less-great students go get a job somewhere. That's a generalization, of course: great students can go get a job too: but a bad student certainly isn't getting into grad school. Caveat - this is physics. Other fields may differ, but all the sciences I'm familiar with operate in similar fashion. Get further from physical science, get different results. But wait, climate science is pretty closely tied to several physical science, and that's what triggered your post, right? Not sociology.

The fourth problem is when you take all of the above and add money into the mix. That's when everything really goes to hell. This is a sure-fire way for even the sciences, which are generally among the least-inept of the academic subjects, to become highly politicized. It's no longer just about inept people doing inept research. Now it's about inept people doing inept research but always finding the "correct" results for politicians who need to legitimize otherwise illegitimate practices like carbon taxes and excessive and costly regulation.

Huh. I review many proposals and papers and have served on funding panels, and can honestly say that I've never seen this in action. You have seen this in action, then.... how and where? I've been pretty impressed with how well funding in my field works, for the most part.

So when such a flawed system provides results or information for my consideration, I have to take what they're saying with a very, very, very big spoonful of salt grains. None of it can be trusted, from the individual level all the way through to entire fields of study.

Then there's an awful lot of the physics I teach and research that you apparently don't trust: from F=ma through E=mc^2 to quarks and neutrinos. Which begs the question: what the heck DO you trust?

Comment Re:FACTS MATTER - This was NOT a party line vote! (Score 2) 325

While I agree that those voting against the bill should be congratulated, one name jumped out at me:

Sanford, Mark SC 1st

... a gold-plated example of familiy-values guy who would hate to have his own browsing history of questions like "is the Appalachian Trail in Argentina?" exposed. I suppose that this at least means he learned something.

Comment Re:"But you cannot get negative energy" (Score 3, Informative) 79

Well, that may not be entirely true. The Casimir effect and Hawking radiation are both potential examples of "negative energy".

... and the total potential+kinetic energy of a solar system. Or an atom. Energy is so often a sum game where negative energies happen all the time.

But, that's not the case here. If an ADC-based sensor is reading a "negative" amount, it's either an error condition (as it sounds like here) or a bad calibration (pedestal subtraction).

Kudos to the kid for noticing it! Thumbs down to the BBC writer for venturing into negative-energy land in two wrong senses at the same time.

Comment Re:No Thank You! (Score 1) 24

Samsung. No thank you! You put more than enough crapware on your phones as it is and with verizon all that shit is locked down unless I want to root a phone. Please DO NOT put more crapware on my phone.


Can't uninstall it. Can't permanently disable it. All you can do is remember to go in there and force stop on two seperate services every time you reboot the phone, or every time it decides you really want it turned back on and something does it for you.

And it's not just any crapware, it's wireless remote payment crapware. What could possibly go wrong?

Comment Re:Physics says its BS. (Score 1) 203

Learn just a LITTLE physics and you will see that YOU are wrong (and TFA). There is no frequency that does not absorb over atmospheric distances, plus when it hits any solid object. There are only frequencies with LOWER absorption, which is meaningless for these kinds of path lengths.

I've learned a little bit of physics, and while technically true, what you say is misleading. Visible light, for example, doesn't absorb very much in air (yeah sure, there's some). The air is "optically thin" at visible wavelengths, which means more light is getting through from space to us than not: 75% of the energy integrated over all wavelengths gets down here: most of what's not getting through isn't the visible bits (yay for the ozone layer).

So, if they can shift energy to come out at 10 microns, which is in a clear bit of the spectrum almost as nice as around 5000 angstroms (visible light), what they say is right: 10 micron IR radiated upwards is mostly checking out back into space.

Just make sure you're not putting the fancy new film under solid objects, go read about the laws of thermodynamics, solve your favorite radiative transfer equation, and *poof*: cooler thing than you had started with.

Comment Re:Borders. (Score 1) 128

"will occupy a spot that crosses the Cincinnati and Kentucky border" Odd, one's city and the other's a state. And the border between them is a river - hard to build an airport across a river.

I was wondering about that. Not being able to read the paywalled part, my conclusion was: Riverboats are returning! Delivery by paddle wheel, more nostalgic than drones. Seriously though, seems a good move since CVG used to be a Delta hub, but isn't anymore: there's way more airport there than is being used.

Comment Re:Wrong company for the job (Score 1) 292

Interesting that the 3rd generation of SYNC (out since 2016 I think) is based on QNX and appears to very well received.

I have a 2016 Fusion, and its SYNC is indeed adequate. It's responsive, well laid-out, and the bluetooth pairing does what you want it to with no problems. Voice recognition even works. Wish it had Android Auto (apparently the 2017 models do), as exporting processing of navigation and stuff to your phone seems the right way to go.

On the other hand, my 2013 Subaru's system is complete trash. Getting in the car and trying to select my phone to pair to (after my wife has driven it) is eleven-levels deep into a voice menu that has a hard time understanding you. At least it remembers the pairing on restart, but they weren't thinking about two different drivers at all when "designing" this steaming pile of code.

Comment Re:Nicely done video (Score 4, Insightful) 565

Now, people are starting to question the position of the NRA that *anybody* regardless of who they are should be able to procure guns

Not their actual position, although waving blanket, false statements like that around is what passes for political discourse these days. Actual fact: the current background check system was actually strongly supported by the gun lobby: people who are convicted felons or legally declared mentally incompetent don't have second amendment rights. Or many other constitutional rights, say for example, voting. The current argument (causing the House to behave like the dysfunctional third world legislative clique it apparently actually is) is over the "sounds good!" legislation of "people on the terror watch list shouldn't be allowed to buy firearms". Hmm. So, a law in which denies something listed on the bill of rights to people on a secret government list, who can get on that list simply by someone voicing suspicion, with no procedure for getting off the list (or even knowing if/why they're on it)? Pick anything else that's a legal right (voting? free speech? Self-incrimination? Illegal search and seizure?) and swap that in for "gun ownership" in this scenario and watch everyone across the political spectrum freak out. We tried something like this in the 50's with McCarthy when the enemies were Commies instead of Radicals, and are universally ashamed of that fact in hindsight. Of course the NRA should be objecting to this. I'm shocked that the ACLU, for example, isn't too.

Comment Media, meet reality (Score 3, Insightful) 88

A similar meme here in the US: "you can buy a gun on the web without a background check! The horror. Must close that loophole."

Any journalists trying to do this for a story would quickly realize that only is possible if buyer and seller are able/willing to meet physically, otherwise the act of shipping the firearm, which must go through a licensed dealer, gets backgrounds checked. And a physical meetup between individuals is pretty hard to regulate with or without an internet.

Comment Re:Expanded BG checks impractical (Score 1) 819

If you read the article, mainly by looking at the results of passing various laws at the state level. Which is kind of how it should be: we see what works at the state level and (maybe) implement it at the national level.

Would be a good way to do a study, yes.

but... there are no laws in any state which address the question I raised... because it's impractical and can't be implemented, without also bringing along a full firearm registry (which is how they collect sales tax on cars sold between private people, we call then "deeds"). And that's a whole different kettle of fish with way more implications than background checks alone.

So, back to my question: how can the techniques allegedly used in the study actually answer the question they purport to answer? If they used the few particularly fascist locales with complete registration (Chicago, DC, NYC, etc) as a template, that's got so many other variables going on that generalizing it to anything else is kinda stupid.

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