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Comment Re:Wrong company for the job (Score 1) 291

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.

Comment Expanded BG checks impractical (Score 5, Insightful) 819

This "make background checks mandatory for private sales" thing sounds good, but won't work. It won't work for the same reason that no one pays sales tax at a garage sale: you're supposed to do so, but there's no way for the government to enforce the sales tax laws on people who don't hold a business license.

The existing background check system works because it's tied to firearm dealers' licenses: they've got to do it to keep their business license.

Ironically, during the Clinton administration the feds went on a "too many people have FFLs, let's make them much more expensive and hard to get!" spree. Which now means that many fewer people participate in the background check system, as a result of another initiative that sounded good to people who have a tenuous connection to reality.

For what it's worth, if you do go buy a firearm on the internet, odds are really good that you're getting a background check anyway. Why? Because to ship a firearm, it's got to go from FFL to FFL. And the FFL in your town handling your shipment is required to do a background check.

But, it sure does sounds good to propose such a law: to people who have no clue how things actually work. Which, it turns out, is true of most of the "feel good!" solutions non-gun owners concoct to impose on gun owners. Comes of trying to legislate to match what they see in movies and in cop shows rather than what actually happens in reality. So, I wonder how this study came up with their numbers. Did they just say "hmm, X% of people buying their guns person to person commit a crime, a BG check would magically change that number to 0%"? I suppose it might, if 100% of the people followed the new, easily ignorable law. Considering that they're going and ignoring other, stricter laws to commit their crimes (like, "killing people is illegal"), that sounds rather optimistic.

Comment Re:+2/3, -1/3 (Score 1) 95

Thanks - so why don't the charm and the anti-charm go "poof" ?

They do, sort of: this thing doesn't last long at all.

Consider a much more common particle, the neutral pi meson: just two quarks: quark/antiquark pairs of several possible flavors. Also doesn't last long (8e-17s), but extremely well studied.,

Comment Re:Neutrino study wasn't necessarily bad science (Score 1) 444

That's exactly what scientists should be doing, re-testing long held dogma taking advantage of state of the art equipment. It's a human endeavor, so sometimes they'll make mistakes. The scientists who reported the results presented plenty of caveats, but nobody listened.

Quoting this, as it's an AC zero-karma thing that most will miss, and I don't have mod points today.

This time, AC gets it mostly right. Science is about reproducibility. Opera had a weird result that they didn't understand, so they did what they were supposed to: put it out there for people to crosscheck. For what it's worth, in an emacs buffer open in another window at this very moment, I'm putting the final touches on the paper about one of the results that WAS this crosscheck. (yeah, it's taken us too long to send it to the journal, but it's a) careful, fiddly work that we want to get right; and b) we all know the answer now so enthusiasm for the paper writing process/grind isn't huge).

So, what the parent post got right: this is exactly how science is supposed to work. What the parent post got wrong: everybody (in the field) carefully listened to the caveats. Doing so is how one finds the flaws! Or eliminates possible flaws, as is sometimes the case. It was the media who went tangential on the whole process, not the scientists.

Comment Re:well.. (Score 1) 760

I suspect future earnings potential. A couple hundred acres of good farmland, if cared for, can be used to make the owner money from now till whenever: if they put a lot of work into it, mind you, not like it's just sitting there earning interest. Also, it's a limited edition thing: they aren't making more of it. Well, slowly anyway, geology takes a while.

Something else to consider - the land is likely to be mortgaged to to gills to pay for the really pricey equipment needed to farm these days. Farm equipment makes exotic cars look cheap in comparison (fun non-sequitor fact: saw more Lamborghini tractors on the road in rural Italy than sports cars).

Many of the same arguments on income vs. net worth apply to most small business owners. It takes a lot of $$ to get the infrastructure to run whatever enterprise they're running, and it's enough to support a few jobs. But, it's not particularly liquid infrastructure: cash out the land or the pizza oven or whatever, and no more jobs or production.

Comment Re:Journals and Universities are mostly to blame (Score 1) 320

The structure of University research is a huge part of this. Researchers don't care about truth or quality of their research. They care about keeping their jobs and their pay, which means several things:

Speak for yourself. As a practicing University Researcher, I greatly care about truth and the quality of my research.

I've got a job which pays me to do really cool stuff that I care about. Poor quality research doesn't get me that job: why on earth would I mess with a good thing by doing a bad job?

For what it's worth, I've probably published more papers where the null hypothesis wins than not. Way more work and less satisfying to get a good upper limit, but it is what it is.

Comment Re:The Rules (Score 5, Informative) 347

Actually, this is the first thing to come out of Government in a while that actually makes senses ... and I generally lean pretty libertarian.

Net access has a lot of parallels with other utilities (large infrastructure costs means little competition). In the case of phone companies, it's almost a one-for-one swap anyway: land lines are going the way of the dodo, but many of us now mostly use network packets for phone calls anyway (both actual voip phones and skype-like services).

One can argue whether utility regulation itself is a good or bad thing: but network service quacks and waddles an awful lot like a utility-shaped duck, any way you slice it.

Comment Re:avoiding doing a postdoc isn't possible (Score 1) 283

Am I alone in finding any of this news? I dropped out of academia almost 20 years ago (best decision I ever made, also one of the more difficult ones) and it was clear then to anyone who could do simple arithmetic that most of us (post-docs) wouldn't get faculty positions.

Yes, definitely Not News. When I went off to investigate grad school (in astrophysics) 25 years ago, departments I was applying too explicity warned me "look, odds that you'll get a long-term job in the field are slim if you go down this path". That's academics warning away potential customers of their grad programs: so the problem was bad enough even them for ethics to trump self interest.

Nor can you predict what will be in demand when you graduate: academia is a fickle beast, and fields go in and out of fashion in less time than it takes for the typical PhD. So study what you love, because you love it. That way, and only that way, will you win.

This! In spades (and, this was exactly what those people telling me there were few jobs said next). It happened to work out for me (sort of, I do experimental particle physics now instead of real astrophysics).

But even my friends who didn't get as lucky as I did aren't unemployed or flipping burgers. If you can get a PhD in astro- or particle physics, you've got some useful skills that transfer nicely to working in the real world. Most all of which pay way better than being an academic. So again, my career works only because I love it: not because I wanted to get rich.

Comment Re:Scion marketed to, trimmed for younger, less ca (Score 4, Informative) 261

The Scion is marketed to younger people and trimmed a bit hotter. The Subaru is marketed to older people and has things like heated seats and automatic climate control.

The WRX? That's the rally car version with an amazing power/weight ratio and all wheel drive to get that power to the rubber. Not exactly the Oldsmobile demographic.

FWIW, heated seats match up well with all wheel drive, you're living in a snowy place if you buy this car, regardless of age.

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