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Comment Canon S90/S95/S100 (Score 1) 569

Or the rough Nikon equivalent of the P300 if you can give up RAW support (but it's a nice option to have.) I have a Canon S90, and my friend has an S95. I have another friend (pro photographer) with a Canon G10 (in addition to dSLRs.) He pointed out to me that the best camera for taking pictures is the one you take with you, and for me lugging around a body+lenses was just going to be too much of a pain. The S90 fits into my jeans pocket if I need it to, and a coat pocket or cargo pocket with ease. It has a lot of options, including manual focus, manual aperture control, and shutter speed. It's not quite as versatile as a dSLR, but it's got more than enough features for me, and when I'm lazy I can throw it into auto and take great pictures. Don't let the 10 megapixel image sensor fool you -- it's as much or more about sensor size than it is about megapixels. Basically by using a larger image sensor, you have lower pixel density, increased area to focus the light on, and the end result are pictures that have less noise. It's also better in low light -- I used my S90 inside a lit cave on a tour type thing (there was dim lighting) and was able to get decent pictures without the flash on the low-light setting while hand held. If I'd had a tripod I could have set the shutter speed to stay open longer and gotten spectacular shots.

Comment Re:How is future contamination avoided ? (Score 1) 96

How is future contamination avoided? I skimmed the article and didn't notice anything. Better fuels, motors, handling? Or no more launches from these sites?

Modern regulations require better tracking from the cradle (production) to grave (disposal.) And dumping it on the ground is not an approved disposal method. Generally with solvents they're collected and recycled, which can mean they're cleaned up and reused, or degraded into non-toxic materials. They can also be containerized (put into drums) and disposed of at special hazardous waste landfills which get extra monitoring to ensure contamination isn't leaking from them.

Comment Re:aka: The Valdez package (aka The BP package) (Score 1) 96

hmm, don't know, the sum seems incredible low. TFA talks about 2 square miles of contaminated soil, NASA will pay the $96M, Airforce aditionally $50M.

one area in Germany (5.5 ha size or 0.02 square miles) was decontaminated between 1999 and 2001 (formerly used by a dye manufacturer) - for the amount of €33M.

either the US is much more effective in soil decon or I don't have all needed infos about this project...

The site's geology can drastically affect the price of cleanup -- generally more so than the concentrations. The hard part about environmental cleanup is getting to the contamination -- just digging it all up is very expensive and more in line with the €33M dye site you're mentioning. The NASA cleanup appears to be in situ remediation (as evidenced by using emulsified ZVI) where they'll inject the solution into the ground to break down the contaminant in place. It'll take longer, but its far cheaper, and for solvent contamination generally the better option.

I'm going to make a huge guess and say the dye manufacturer was a heavy metals site because €33M for 0.02 square miles on a site (considering dyes can often contain lead, chromium, etc.) makes me think heavy metals, which are generally either capped and left in place, or dug up. And based on that price tag, I'm gonna go with dug up. But it could have been solvents -- I have no knowledge of Germany's environmental laws nor their preferred cleanup methods/timelines.

Finally, that $150 million might not be the final price tag if they find out that the plume is bigger than they thought.

Comment Re:Thinking it would evaporate? (Score 2) 96

So the disposal method was, let it evaporate? Then instead of evaporating it in a metal pan, they poured it on the ground?

This was standard practice almost everywhere prior to environmental regulations being enacted. And not just for TCE. The U.S. Government is paying for contamination dating back to at least WW2 (including TCE -- I've never heard it called "trike" -- among other contaminants) due to procedures like this. I can't really fault the people at the time though -- there wasn't really a thought out question of "wait a minute, where does all this stuff go and what does it do after we throw it out?" back then. I'm sure NASA, with its large LOX (liquid oxygen, not bagel topping) and general solvent needs has quite a bit of TCE just sitting at the bottom of their water table, maybe even pure product (where you get an actual layer of liquid contaminant.) There are methods other than pump and treat or ZVI to taking care of TCE, especially in such shallow environments (stimulated in situ biodegredation comes to mind) but to get back to your main question, yeah, that was SOP just about everywhere. Throw the solvent/washwater/etc on the gravel parking lot/sand sump/grass and don't think about it anymore.

Note: I work in the environmental industry, but I do not speak on behalf of my company, its stakeholders, or its clients. I also have no specific knowledge of the NASA site beyond what I read in the article.

Comment Decimal Feet (Score 1) 2288

I work in the environmental engineering field, and we use decimal feet all the time. It actually makes life a lot easier if you just do away with inches, and nobody really cares about yards. It helps that a tenth of a foot is approximately an inch. So then you're left with miles and feet. But then we measure contaminant concentrations in micrograms/liter while measuring how much water we pump out of the ground in gallons. Contaminant mass removal can be pounds or kilograms. I guess we got half the memo?

Comment Norton Ghost (Score 1) 932

My grandfather has similar problems. He's very particular about where his icons are, and uses some specialized software (he's on the computer at least as much time as me every day, surfing the internet, watching videos, emailing, etc.) but doesn't deal well with change or self support. So, he got an external hard drive and a copy of Norton Ghost. I have it setup to do weekly images of the drive. That way, if he gets a virus, whatever, I just go back to a previous revision that is virus free.

Another alternative to this would be a Mac with Time Machine. If all they do is internet and school related tasks, a Mac really is an easy solution. More expensive, yes, but it works. Slap an external hard drive on there, turn on Time Machine, and bam, instant backup using revisions. And the key word here is easy. Realize that even though you can fix their issues, the amount of frustration and aggrevation on your parents part, in addition to the amount of time spent to fix/restore the OS every 8 months likely justifies the extra money in switching. Also, what happens if you move or are otherwise unavailable to fix the PC? What if it breaks the day after you leave for a two week trip? What about the risk of identity theft? Just a few things to consider when making computer buying choices (or whether or not you should get antivirus.)

Comment Re:I hate government spending but... (Score 1) 260

This may be covered under CERCLA (more commonly known as the Superfund.) For the most part, CERCLA just figures out who's gonna pay to clean it up. Designation as a "Superfund" site doesn't necessarily mean the site is a significantly higher priority. Highest priorities are always given to situations where there's an immediate danger to life and health, whether Superfund or not. Not really knowing the site in question beyond what the original article mentioned, it may be a site that falls under CERLCA. At first guess, that's what I'd class it under.

Note: I'm just starting off in the environmental remediation industry. All opinions contained herein are my own, and are not necessarily representative of my employer or clients.

Comment Re:I hate government spending but... (Score 1) 260

You're right. $3 million isn't all that much for a federal environmental job. They may still have to clean up the mess though. And that can take quite a bit more money, especially considering there's probably both soil and groundwater contamination there. But when you have situations like this where an entire community is seriously affected, it's not abnormal to relocate them. (See Love Canal and Times Beach, Missouri for some environmental history.)

Note: I'm just starting off in the environmental remediation industry. All opinions contained herein are my own, and are not necessarily representative of my employer or clients.

Comment Re:Yes! (Score 1) 478

So if they used state specific codes, what happens when the vehicle owner moves to another state? The vehicle owner has to replace their ECU? What if someone is driving in another state and their car breaks down? Also, that would require them to have another model specifically for Massachusetts. I think it's unlikely that a car company would go to that much effort just to spite the other 49 states. Besides, just imagine the PR nightmare it could become. Some TV news station (or news website) will run a story that says "ACME Automotive won't let your mechanic fix your car! More at 11!"

Comment Re:Are you serious? (Score 1) 206

I'm not entirely sure what your point is. You're not criticizing censorship. You're criticizing employers for wanting to project a certain image to their customers/clients. Censorship is actively being stopped from publishing a paper, article, artwork, or idea, by your government, employer, university, etc. But your employer still has a right to protect its public image, and an employee's anti-Semitic thesis may not fit in with that image.

As for putting photos of yourself drinking alcohol on Facebook, use discretion. By the time someone graduates from a 4-year university, they should have an understanding of what's acceptable in public, and what isn't. Social networks should be considered public if you don't know how to configure privacy settings. If you wouldn't drink in front of your boss, you shouldn't allow your boss to see that picture, because he or she can fire you and does not need to provide a reason (with a few exceptions.) In the US, every state is an "at-will employment" state (Montana has some extra rules I think. -- IANAL) Basically they don't need to give a reason to fire you, just like you don't need to give a reason to quit. (There is some fine print of course, and at-will employment doesn't cover discrimination.) Use the privacy settings. They make things private.

Also, what school (besides high school) is going to kick you out for putting up a picture of yourself doing entirely legal things? (Even high school would probably start with a suspension.) Colleges would need to hire an army of people to patrol social networks looking for photos of its students drinking or being promiscuous in order to combat it. What they're going to care about is a photo of you doing a line off the coffee table in the freshman dorms. And that falls under the whole legal thing. If you really want to put up that picture, use the privacy settings to make things private.

Finally, some colleges block porn. In this case, prior to transferring to another school, you could move off campus. Or you could use a proxy (unnecessary complexity, I realize.) That's about the only (somewhat) widespread form of online censorship universities impose upon their on-campus students. And even then, they can probably get away with it because it's the university's network. Although, if they use the DMCA safe harbor for ISPs (DMCA 512(a) I think) then I would propose they be held to the same standard as public ISPs regarding the censorship of their on-campus students. (Again, IANAL)

Perhaps you feel like losing your job or getting kicked out of school is insignificant because it's not the government executing you? I guess that's one way of looking at things.

Also, I do feel like losing my job is insignificant in comparison to the government executing me. But I guess for me, there's more to life than work... Like reading posts on Slashdot!

Comment Re:With Circuit City and CompUSA all but gone... (Score 1) 587

Really, Geek Squad doesn't charge that much more than Jiffy Lube in some aspects. Most of the things they do are "easy" to people in the know, but there are a lot of people who: A) Don't know, and don't want to spend the time to learn. B) Are too anxious about breaking something to do it themselves. I know it sounds overpriced, and to me personally, it is. However there are obviously people who will pay it that have not invested their time and energy into learning how to do it. It's not like you have to take a class to learn how to setup a router. You can learn for free with just a bit of time searching Google. The barriers to people doing it themselves are entirely self-imposed, so really I don't feel bad about Geek Squad charging what they do.

I've done tech support for some family members and friends of the family. It takes a LOT of patience and there are times where I'm ready to pull my hair out. It sounds so cut and dry the way you say it, but really, it's never like that in the real world. In my original post, I was speaking more of new PC services, such as their prices for removing trial software, creating restore DVDs, and installing security software. That's the area I find to be priced higher than it should be (typically around $160 for the services listed above), especially since an automated tool does most of the work. And the optimization for $30? That should be included for shopping at Best Buy. Or maybe charge $10 for it, as it does take a decent amount of time to unpack a PC, boot up Vista for the first time, and repack it. But not $30. That's almost obscene.

Comment Re:With Circuit City and CompUSA all but gone... (Score 1) 587

Uhh, Walmart? Best Buy certainly has more expertise in CE sales, however there's no reason Walmart couldn't increase its CE offerings if they felt the profit was there. CC's demise, combined with CompUSA's earlier dissolution, does cement Best Buy at the number one spot for CE sales, but by no means is Best Buy getting monopolistic pricing powers. Walmart, and e-tailers will prevent that from happening. Now for Geek Squad services... I could see those prices going even higher, unfortunately...

Comment Re:Hey everybody lets to it microsofts way (Score 5, Insightful) 258

Not a new idea in any case, and the color one looks like shit, even though they can store more bits.

Now that I think about it, wouldn't QR Code have a HUGE advantage in some print advertising because it's black and white vs. color? I mean, I know that Tag appears to fit into a 4 color process, but it just seems like a 1 color process would be more advantageous... or am I completely off base here?

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