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Comment YES! I want it NOW! (Score 1) 329

We are a demanding lot, eh? Instant gratification. As a child I was as enthused as anyone to see the World Series (that would be baseball for you foreigners) live. It had to be live! Classes would grind to a halt during the Big Games so that teachers, staff and students could watch in glorious black and white.

Movies, comics and music much the same. Gotta have it NOW!

I imagine that many of the /. crowd are mature enough to be able to deal with such things on their own time. We take control and don't let the commercial pressures of mass media push us into a panic for quick (and expensive) access to the hot item of the moment ... don't we?

Comment Did anybody read the summary ? (Score 1, Insightful) 258

Cashless society? I couldn't find that anywhere in TFS. Coins. I did notice something about getting rid of coins whose value is less than $0.50. What am I missing? Are you going to make me RTFA?

Is there anything more subtly annoying than to find five pennies in your pocket? I dislike having even one of those useless pieces of shit, but when I have five it pops to mind that I could have a nickel instead- less weight. Two fat ugly nickels could be replaced by a thin dime that wouldn't weigh me down when I fall off the boat. Yadda... But none of those coins are worth bothering with. There are still a few machines that accept quarters. Half dollar coins? Nobody in a civilized society wants them either. There are still dollar coins in circulation- is that a surprise? Waitresses like them as tips sometimes.

  Many economists claim to have proven that pennies cost society more than they are worth. In the USA the primary value of a penny is in marketing where pricing a product at $999.99 makes ignorant people believe they are paying less than $1,000.

Canada leads the world in beginning a sensible approach to coins. Quote from somewhere authoritative: "Starting in early 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint, with the help of financial institutions and charities, began collecting billions of pennies in preparation to recycle them."

Are we now going to accuse Canada of pushing an evil 'cashless society'? Get a grip, folks!

Comment on the other hand ... (Score 4, Interesting) 328

Many years ago I learned about 'left handed sugar'. This, apparently was a regular sugar molecule, except that it was a mirror image. The beauty of it was that it tasted exactly like sugar but the body didn't know what to do with it so it passed through without harm. Perfect for diabetics, fat people and those who want to preserve their brain cells!

Yeah, I really didn't want to look it up and you probably don't either, so the answer to your question is: it's very expensive to synthesize. The actual question may take some time to calculate.

Comment the kindness of strangers ... (Score 1) 89

All you cynics have failed to note the generosity of Gates and Zuckerberg. How kind-hearted of them to reach out to underprivileged Ugandans and offer a techno-boost. They understand that poor people around the world need the best education so that they can some day come to America and fill the disastrous shortage of qualified (and ethnically diverse) programmers and engineers. As we used to say "What's good for General Motors (or M$ or FB) is good for America!" Let's give Gates and Zuck a big American salute!

Comment democracies work slowly ... (Score 1) 275

In the US, the government can't control energy production. Neither the President nor any other government official can declare "You will build a nuclear plant here" or "I want wind generators in the Rockies." These things are done by private industry in cooperation with local governments and public participation.

Many other countries can build such facilities by authoritarian decree. They can move swiftly in response to a perceived need. A democracy can be slow and clumsy because it requires many voices to be heard. Many such facilities require private investment from a wide variety of sources, most of whom expect profits or tax incentives. The complications are endless as environmentalists and others voice their concerns.

In the US almost everything is done by private industry including most of the space program, military weapons, communication networks, health care, etc. Tax dollars are awarded to bidders on some of these projects, and to universities for research, etc. But few government employees are involved. A major role of government is to regulate private industry- food, drugs, standards of safety, etc. They can say 'no' to an unsafe product, but they can't demand that a product be built.

Now consider the recent deep divide in Congress, in the Press, and on Main Street. Nothing got done these past many years. With Republicans now controlling every branch of government, some things will get done in the next few years (but you might not like them).

Comment "of"; "and" ? Bad headline, msmash (Score 1) 29

The rule at Slashdot is that EVERY word in a headline must begin with a capital letter. It's a nostalgic rule dating back to the early days of Slashdot and newspapers like the New York Times. Back in the 1800s, there was an imperative to sell papers with drama: shouting newsboys and huge headlines about some lurid gossip.

Slashdot proudly carries on that tradition, though it has no newspapers to sell. If the headline cluttered with caps is hard to read, just consider it a harkening back to the early days of Slashdot.

Comment BIG NEWS: Men in Nursing near 22% (Score 2, Funny) 647

New research warns that at the rate we're going, the number of men in the nursing workforce will decline to 22% from 24% by 2025 if nothing is done to encourage more of them to study nursing science.

This tragic result of institutional discrimination shows no sign of improvement in the immediate future. Beginning at childhood and continuing throughout the educational system, there is little incentive given boys to study nursing. Those who do are often discriminated against by employers and even patients. Legislators have failed to recognize the problem or offer incentives for equal rights for boys.

Comment "3 Times Less" ? (Score 2) 524

I'm having some trouble wrapping my brain around that. Maybe I'm just tired.
Is '3 Times Less' the same as 'one third'?

I have a recipe book nearby and I can't seem to find any instance where an ingredient should be '3 Times Less'. What, for instance, would be '3 Times Less' than a teaspoon? It's probably just me struggling with the grammar of marketing. I notice that it is popular today to dramatize changes by saying that the (somethingorother) 'increased by 100%' rather then the paltry 'doubled' or 'two times' that just doesn't make a great headline. 1,000% sounds much more impressive than 'ten times', don't you think? It also helps that slashdot gives every word in a headline a capital letter. These are really important headlines!

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...though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"

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