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Comment Not if you want to enjoy the style of writing (Score 1) 207

I learned to speed read in 5th grade about 50 years ago. A few kids were chosen for some sessions that taught us how to skim for meaning and comprehension. There was a special projector that would scroll a column of text while showing us a narrow window of 1-2 lines. I really worked at it and could "read" most novels in a day or two. This worked okay until I ran into All the Pretty Horses. The weird style made me slow down just to be able to read it. I came to really enjoy the lack of punctuation and occasional long, stream-of-consciousness passages. I know it drove a lot of people crazy, but it brought back a love or reading and is one of my favorite books of all time. It changed the way I read non-technical stuff.
Speed reading is great when you're skimming for information, not so much when you're supposedly reading for enjoyment.

Comment Re:legalism is a crap philosophy. (Score 2) 582

(Unless the law has changed...) California law says that if a high percentage (like 85%) of drivers go at or above a certain speed, then that speed is what the speed limit should be, regardless of the signage.
There was a case in Palo Alto about 25 years ago where the police set up a speed trap on Embarcadero between the 101 freeway and El Camino and one of the drivers caught in it paid to have the traffic monitored (without police presence which obviously influences drivers) and proved that he had been driving at the same speed as most of the traffic. Somehow the driver knew that the law said that most drivers have a natural sense for what is a safe speed and will drive in a safe manner and that speed is allowed.

Comment Re:Debris killed girl in Austrailia (Score 2) 69

As others noted, nobody was hurt.

I worked on the Teleoperator Retrieval System (TRS) which was a small booster with an Apollo docking ring that an astronaut would remotely pilot from the Shuttle. The docking ring was supposed to clamp onto the Skylab docking port and then the booster would either push Skylab to a higher orbit or perform a controlled de-orbit. It was initially scheduled to fly on the 5th Shuttle. Then as the Shuttle main engines were being debugged at Stennis, it was scheduled for the 4th, the 3rd, the 2nd, the 1st and then it was, "Incoming!".

The uncontrolled reentry was pretty much a non-event except that it took a while to find any debris.

Comment Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 3, Informative) 308

Reminds me of the time in the mid-70's when we were going from Boulder to Arvada via the road south to Golden and mistakenly turned at the entrance to Rocky Flats (where the "triggers" for nukes were made). We pulled up to the security shack and the guard politely told us that we needed to back up, turn around, go back to the highway and take the next turn. We asked if we could pull forward a few feet and make a u-turn around the guard shack and he said that if we moved forward, he'd have to shoot us. We kindly thanked him for his assistance, backed up, turned around and got the hell out of there.

Comment Re:Aaaand there goes the lizard squad (Score 1) 131

Reminds one of the scene in Burn After Reading where Chad tries to blackmail Osbourne Cox:

Osbourne Cox: If you ever carried out your proposed threat you would experience such a shitstorm of consequences, my friend, your empty little head would be spinning faster than the wheels of your Schwinn bicycle back there.

Chad Feldheimer: Y-you think that's a Schwinn?

Comment Re:The Dork Brothers! (Score 1) 296

I use a Case Logic AUA-311 which holds (inventorying it as we speak...) a Chromebook, Nexus 7, iPod gen 4, flashlight, flash drives, magnifying glass, pen, pencil, a couple of small screwdrivers, etc. Plus a Kindle Touch when I might want to do some reading without a backlight. With all that stuff, it's still lighter than a laptop in a bag.

Comment Re:Out of touch (Score 1) 298

Universal Service is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)

"To implement the 1996 Telecom Act, the FCC established four programs:
  - High Cost, for rural areas (transitioning into the Connect America Fund)
  - Lifeline (for low-income consumers), including initiatives to expand phone service for Native Americans
  - Rural Health Care
  - Schools and Libraries (commonly referred to as "E-rate")

Money to pay for universal service programs comes from the universal service fund (USF). The USF is paid for by contributions from telecommunications carriers, including wireline and wireless companies, and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers, including cable companies that provide voice service, based on an assessment of their interstate and international end-user revenues".
Kind of interesting how they don't explicitly state that "money to pay for universal service programs" comes from customers (it's a line item on phone bills). Actually, it used to be two line items, one for universal access (phones for the poor) and one for E-rate (Internet for schools, libraries and rural healthcare).

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