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Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 1) 484

Social Security has a number of different elements. The preamble to the social Security Act of 1935:

An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.

The first phrase defines benefits for "general welfare", that means for everybody! Everything after the first "and" describes the safety net provisions.

Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 2) 484

Yes, but the money contributed was invested, so it "grew".

When you put money into a savings account or CD don't you expect to get more money back than you put in? You also have the same expectation for your IRA & 401K account, and for your retirement plan if you are fortunate enough to still have a traditional retirement plan where you work.

It is the same with Social Security. Why is this such a difficult concept for people to understand about Social Security? The major difference is that it is run by the government, it is required to invest in government securities, and when it needs cash (to pay retirees) it cashes in those government securities. These are the same notes that you can buy directly, that banks & other governments buy & sell.

Comment Engineer + MBA combination (Score 2) 487

There are a lot of engineers out there who have business credentials too. At my company, a large aerospace company, "working level" engineers mostly have a BS in engineering/science & 2 advanced degrees -- a technical degree and an MBA.

Engineers still know something that is no longer taught to business majors -- that you have to make decisions for the long term. When you're building systems that cost many millions & must perform for decades you must keep this in mind at every stage of the process -- both business & engineering functions.

Decades ago this was a part of business majors' education. In management courses, accounting, every course you were taught to always make decisions assuming your firm is an on-going concern. Now business students are taught to extract as much money as possible in the least amount of time and get out. Think short term and eventually you'll destroy enough companies that that you no longer have anyplace to invest ... and the "wealth" that you have amassed is worthless. This same thinking has spread to government & investors.

Comment Re:Pretty print it first (Score 1) 204

Combined with other evidence 80% would be pretty good. If you had 5 independent means of determining the perpetrator, each 80% accurate, then you'd be 1 - (0.2^5) = 0.99968 probability, or 99.9968% certainty.

Or consider the investigation stage. If you only had data from this one method, you can eliminate 80% of the suspects from consideration. Then you can concentrate your efforts on the remaining 20% of the suspects for a five-fold increase of resources bearing on the guilty party. That is huge!


Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China 64

thomst writes "Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience reports that a farmer in southern Henan Province in China has dug up the first known ant-eating dinosaur, a half-meter-long theropod (the dinosaur family to which T. Rex belongs), whose fossilized remains were described as 'fairly intact'. The 83- to 89-million-year-old pygmy dinosaur has been named named Xixianykus zhangi by Xig Xu, De-you Wang, Corwin Sullivan, David Hone, Feng-lu Han, Rong-hao Yan, and Fu-ming Du, whose paper on the critter, A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China, was published in the March 29 issue of Zootaxa (the abstract is available in PDF format for free, the full article is paywall-protected.)"

Comment Re:Medical... (Score 1) 727

No. Wrong on all counts.

Except for a short stint at a startup it has been at large companies (one about the size of France, slightly fewer people but a bigger GNP). Large risk pools; deductibles/copays ranging from none to low; and I selected the best of the batch where I had a selection.

The only thing that previous plans did was steer you to a company/website/local provider that provided a discount.

Comment Re:The truth (Score 4, Insightful) 54

You're missing the point. DARPA is about reaching a long-term goal -- one which isn't achievable with existing science/engineering. DARPA contracts are short term contracts whose goal is to determine why one small step towards the ultimate goal is not achievable. This is followed by another contract that determines how to facilitate the previous step ... or to determine how that is blocked. And it keeps on going!

Eventually there is success, and the success flows back to the first step ... except now you are asked to go just a bit farther to discover what the next block is.

The PM's job is to keep an eye on the overall goal & to act as a champion for the program. And, although they are generally experienced technical managers, PM's don't remain at DARPA for a long time, it's just too intense.

If you understand what is going on, and DARPA contracts are great to work on, encouraging freedom & creativity, and you'll probably get more contracts. If not then you'll end up frustrated, somebody else will have to dig through your CDRLs to get the needed data, and the followup contract will end up going to somebody who understands the process.

Comment Re:Me things he looses (Score 1) 111

The buses' movement is public data, but the article mentions that transponders were attached to buses to allow this data to be collected. Who paid for this (the article doesn't say)?

If I pay to collect the data & generate a database that doesn't mean that I can be forced to give the data away. But also, I can't stop anybody else from collecting the data & making their own database. If you don't want to buy it from me go forth & make your own database.


New Languages Vs. Old For Parallel Programming 321

joabj writes "Getting the most from multicore processors is becoming an increasingly difficult task for programmers. DARPA has commissioned a number of new programming languages, notably X10 and Chapel, written especially for developing programs that can be run across multiple processors, though others see them as too much of a departure to ever gain widespread usage among coders."

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