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Submission + - Solar Now (Nearly) Cheaper than Coal (

managerialslime writes: In India, "this year, solar energy prices in the country dropped to around parity with coal for the first time ever, hitting 4.34 rupees (about 6 US cents) a kilowatt-hour (kWh), while coal tariffs range usually range in between 3–5 rupees/kWh (about 5–8 US cents)." At this rate, solar should be cheaper than coal within 12 to 18 months.

Comment AI 'Could Leave Half Of World Unemployed'? (Score 2) 508

AI 'Could Leave Half Of World Unemployed'?

In 1790, more than 90% of the population in the US was involved in agriculture.

Then came 150 years of relentless automation and today, 2% of the population is engaged in agriculture while today there is 5% unemployment and less than 2% unemployment among the college educated.

In the early 1900s, the automobile industry started putting horse-drawn carriages out of business, destroying 99% of that industry, while today there is 5% unemployment and less than 2% unemployment among the college educated.

In the 1980s, the adoption of email enabled corporate America to "flatten" organizations and lay off a great portion of middle management, while today there is 5% unemployment and less than 2% unemployment among the college educated.

Now, some well meaning idiot who has never read a book on capitalist economics wants to scare us about robots causing mass unemployment.

Today, the US employs, more than 2.5 million people in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation," and 6.2 million people employed as scientists and engineers. We still have not conquered cancer, heart disease, genetic defect, spinal injuries, or figured out how to cost-effectively deal with global warming.

Only by automating more jobs can we free more people to pursue science, medicine, and engineering.

Bring on the robots!

Submission + - Judge: Stingrays are "simply too powerful" without adequate oversight (

managerialslime writes: A federal judge in Illinois has recently taken the unusual step of issuing three new stringent requirements for the government when it wants to deploy cell-site simulators. The move aims to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of innocent bystanders against unreasonable search and seizure.

Of course, for now, this order only applies to this one judge in the Northern District of Illinois.

Submission + - Lessig's Equal Citizens: "Why we need technical people to take on corruption" (

Funksaw writes: An article in "Equal Citizens," Lawrence Lessig's Medium-based blog dealing with issues of institutional corruption in democratic politics, explains why, specifically, the reform movement needs (more) people with technical minds and technical skills.

FTA: "What we need are more people willing to look at the laws of this country based on their function. And when I use the word “function,” I mean very specifically the same sense that a computer programmer means it. (Because lord knows, government isn’t functioning by any other definition.)...

It’s not just that big money politics is being injected [like a code injection] into the function of democracy. It’s also that the function of democracy can be warped by an injection. Stopping the injection of money into our democratic function still leaves the function vulnerable to the same—or similar—injection attack.... We need people who can solve the problems of politics like a programmer solves problems in computer code, because a democratic system with vulnerabilities is a democratic system that can fail or be made to fail.

The article was authored by the technical adviser to the New Hampshire Rebellion and Mayday.US, two of Lessig's major reform projects.

Submission + - Rich and American? Australia wants you

An anonymous reader writes: Following the success of a millionaire visa program to attract wealthy Chinese, Australia has launched an invite-only visa program that promises citizenship to rich American entrepreneurs. To meet the requirements of the Premium Investment Visa plan Americans must first invest around 15 million Australian dollars. Reuters reports: "Investment advisors who have been briefed on the plan by government officials expressed doubts about the wisdom of targeting Americans, with several telling Reuters the more obvious place to start was Australia's Asian neighbors. After all, why would a successful U.S. entrepreneur want to invest a large chunk of cash in Australia — a country very similar to the United States, just further away from everything — in exchange for a passport that carries few additional benefits to their own? 'The U.S. has some problems that Australia doesn't have. It's got a lot more racial crimes, it's got a lot more gun-related crimes, but I don't think that is going to drive a whole bunch of ultra-rich Americans out of their country,' said Bill Fuggle, a partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie who advises wealthy Chinese migrating to Australia."

Comment Ranking colleges based on their products (Score 1) 130

I've been hiring both interns and recent grads from engineering and programming positions since 1981 when I first hired a dozen interns out of Drexel.

While MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute interns and grads have impressed me as hands-down the most brilliant, Drexel students are usually the most prepared for the challenges of every-day work life with Rowan University (formerly Glassboro State) coming in somewhat behind Drexel. (Based on my experiences, Drexel's 5-year program that includes 4 six-month internships should be adopted EVERYWHERE).

Mind you, I usually see applicants only from North Eastern colleges, but over the years it means I've probably hired more than 200 of these individuals.

[Unfortunately, I've never even gotten a resume from anyone from my alma mater, the University of Bridgeport, in response to a want-ad, so I can't say good or ill of UB products.]

Submission + - New 4D Printing Technology Reveals Possibilities for Composite Materials (

managerialslime writes: Forget about printing in 3D; it turns out that scientists are looking forward to printing in 4D. They've successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packing and biomedical applications.

Comment Re:Well, duh (Score 1) 281

1. Go into debt to obtain college degree
2. ...
3. Profit!

So, all this time, step (2) was "figure out a way to do it"!

Time to revise:

1. Identify a career that pays well and that you would enjoy spending your waking hours being devoted to. (Until you are certain, live at home, work at some crap jobs, and save money while you figure these things out. Take at least one community college or cheap online course year-round and at all times to maintain your study skills and knowledge base. "Undeclared" full-time college majors should be reserved for children of millionaires.)

2. Identify the lowest cost educational providers that provide quality training and education. (Starting at 2 years of community college followed by 2 years of state college should work just fine for 80% of us. Living at home while attending college should be an option if you live close to good inexpensive colleges.)

3. Work while you are in college to pay what you can and minimize borrowings. (College students who are also working can also often apply classroom lessons to their real-world experience. By not living in an "ivory tower," the lessons are integrated and retained instead of being forgotten after an all-night cram session before the final.)

4. Graduate with reasonable debt and start on a great career and great life.


Comment Re:Just part of a much larger problem (Score 1) 281

>> The world is basically starting to overflow with way more people than positions

Not even remotely accurate. Check out the chart at and you will see that while manufacturing employment is on the decline, that Professional Services (including tech), Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality, Financial Services, Government, Trade, Transport, and Utilities have relentlessly grown over the last 40 years.

At the height of the Great Recession (2007-2012), the unemployment rate for people with technical and professional degrees in the US never exceeded 4.5%!

One problem in the US is that our policies discourage risk taking and entrepreneurship. (Single payer college education and healthcare would go a long way toward helping gin this area.) Another problem in the US is that our tax policies insure the biggest corporations hoard cash instead of investing in growing jobs FASTER. A third problem in the US is that we do not treat immigrants with the respect and dignity that future taxpayers deserve.

All are fixable problems. I don't know if we actually fix them. But the solutions are right in front of us.

Comment Re:Booze Bus (Score 3, Insightful) 783

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year. (

Depending on whose statistics you use, the number of innocent people maimed or otherwise permanently disabled by drunk drivers may exceed 100,000 victims per year.

Taking blood is ridiculous, But breathalyzers save lives. That many of the 10,000 people who die in drunk driving crashes are innocent people who are driving other cars, or are pedestrians, or are passengers, warrants road blocks and breathalyzers, especially on weekend evenings.

Yes, there should be a "red line" defining "reasonable" limits on police searches. But in America, the cost in deaths, pain, and suffering mean that to reduce the odds of some moron injuring me or my loved ones, I'll give up a reasonable degree of freedom and support politicians who promote breathalyzer roadblocks.

Submission + - Water Verified on Mars! (

managerialslime writes: How is this not already the front page of every newspaper on Planet Earth? NASA confirms not just water, but likely water EVERYWHERE on the planet!

Comment What about the other major religions? (Score 1) 626

I'm sure nobody here's interested, but here goes.

In Islam, insects are prohibited as food. Locusts are an exception (the only one AFAIK), so they may be eaten.

What about the other major religions?

From Wikipedia:

Kosher locusts are varieties of locusts that are deemed premissible for consumption under the laws of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). While the consumption of most insects is considered to be forbidden under the laws of kashrut, the rabbis of the Talmud identified eight kosher species of locusts. However, the identity of those species is in dispute

The Torah states in Parshat Shemini:

        "Every flying insect that uses four legs for walking shall be avoided by you. The only flying insects with four walking legs you may eat are those with knees extending above their feet, [using these longer legs] to hop on the ground. Among these you may only eat members of the red locust family, the yellow locust family, the spotted gray locust family and the white locust family. All other flying insects with four feet [for walking] must be avoided by you."[2]

Submission + - Low bandwith streaming video suggestions? (

managerialslime writes: "My client is a consumer technology company (Mac and Windows software) with a video conundrum. We have produced some great training videos on how to use our products in both high and (somewhat) low resolution that most of our customers love. (We can't go too low as the videos include animated screen activity.) But customers with lower bandwidth connections are flooding our help desk/call center with complaints about training video resolution and jerkiness. We use both Jplayer and jwplayer and the results are pretty much the same. Is there a combination of some video file format and player that provides a better streaming video experience? (Yes, we're doing lots of Google searches on the topic, but advice from this community is often a better starting point.)"

Comment More stuff for your tool kit (Score 1) 416

There are a lot of truly good lists in this thread. To keep my posting brief, I Iimited my response to ten items I use but did not see on the other postings.

1. A cabinet with a combination lock big enough to hold your tool box so your tools are actually there when you need them.

2. Duct tape and electrical tape. - Seriously. In multiple colors.

3. Cable ties and scissors to cut old ones. (No, not a razor knife. You also need one of those.)

4. A label-making machine (like the Brother P-touch to label every device and cable)

5. Gauze, medical tape, and band-aids. Small wounds should not slow down large repairs.

6. A telescoping magnet. Screws will fall!

7. Extra multi-outlet strips and extension cords to hold you over until the electrician shows up a week from now.

8. Fine point sharpies in multiple colors.

9. Wrist-wrapped grounding wires

10. A magnifying glass to read service tags mounted far away with tiny serial numbers. (Although there are now phone apps that sort of work ok.)

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