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Comment C-64 started it all for me (Score 3, Insightful) 857

Actually, my first home computer was a slide rule, both at home and at work. But when they became available I bought a Commodore 64 with a floppy disk drive and a printer. Used it for everything, especially word processing (what a relief being able to easily correct my typing mistakes before sending a letter) and even had a little database program for all of my genealogy research. What a big aid to organization that was! On weekends my son used it for games, and for re-writing those games. He already knew BASIC (by absorption I guess) so I learned it too. And I got a cartridge for the C-64 that enabled me to send and receive AMTOR digital signals with my ham radio transceiver.
Meanwhile, at work, I was doing assembler language (PAL) on a DEC PDP-8 for data acquisition and processing in a small lab. Those were the days!!
A little later I bought an 80286 for home. Today you can buy three or four computers for what I paid my my '286.

Comment Re:Throwback news consumption (Score 2) 54

The rest of us just found out about it on the internet a few minutes after it happened.

What you get a few minutes after the event is less that 5% of the story and is based mostly on rumours and speculation. What I get the next day in my newspaper is almost 90% of the story and the journalists (if they are any good, depends on the newspaper) have already eliminated most of the speculation and rumours. Anachronistic a newspaper might be, but depending on the paper it can certainly deliver a more accurate, balanced and realistic view of the world.

Comment So tired (Score 2, Interesting) 54

God, I am so tired of TV news programs that show jiggly, bouncy, shaky video clips from some "witness's" cell phone. These clips rarely contain any useful or even relevant information and whatever might have been learned from them is totally obscured by all the camera motion. And the TV producers think it is news! More often than not, I have been quite happy to wait until next morning to read all about the event, whatever it was, in the newspaper.

Comment A book for all citizens (Score 1) 259

So glad you asked. I am about a quarter of the way through "The War On Science" (2016) by Shawn Otto, subtitled "Who's waging it; why it matters; what we can do about it".
I had already read "Censoring Science" (2008) by Mark Bowen and "The Republican Ware on Science" (2005) by Chris Mooney, but Otto's new book is so much broader, detailed, encompassing, historical, philosophical, up-to-date, and forward-looking, that it is hands down a must read for all citizens, and not just of the United States. Though I live in North American, I am not an 'American' citizen, so I won't get into politics except to note that no political party escapes Otto's critical examination. If you care about your country, please read this book.

Comment Meanwhile, in Canada (Score 1) 397

The Canadian Parliament has just passed a bill making this sort of thing illegal.
http://www.hilltimes.com/2017/...
It is a little late, but health care is a provincial matter and there was a reluctance to tread on the provincial toes. Since the provinces have done nothing about privacy of genetic testing, the federal parliamentarians felt it necessary to do something at the national level.
(I apologize for the lack of acceptable formatting.)

Comment Re:Looks like GM got off easy (Score 1) 126

GM is an American company; VW is not. Look what the US government did to Toyota (another non-US company) about their so-called uncontrolled acceleration problem. As far as I know, none of the documented cases ever provided proof that the car was at fault. Yet, Toyota paid dearly in reputation, PR, and money for this anxiety-inducing "problem". After the dust settled on this, the press was full of stories about how elderly drivers got their pedals mixed up or tried to accelerate when they were in a different gear than they intended.

Comment 240% ?? Come on ... (Score 3, Informative) 41

Sorry, but a change from 235 requests to 564 is an increase of only 140%, not 240%. Doesn't anyone at the Washington Post know how to calculate percentage changes correctly? I find this is a common problem with journalists. Maybe they have a point about the nature of the problem, but to claim an increase of 240% when it is only really 140% is just hype. Incorrect and preventable errors of journalism.

... had 235 requests in 2012 ... By 2013, requests in the District had climbed 240 percent, to about 564 ...

Comment Re: $300 or $400 for map update (Score 1) 310

And you absolutely DON'T actually need to buy a new Garmin every six months (though it is a good comparison!). Most Garmin devices for cars come with free lifetime map updates. My wife and I own a Garmin 2360LM and a 40LM and they work just fine, mounted on our cars' dashes. I check a couple of times a year to download the available updates and the data rarely lets us down. (Only ever due to new construction.) The only times we ever lose signal to navigate is while driving in tunnels or slowly under large bridges, and we have always known exactly where we were at the time so we weren't bothered by LOS (loss of signal).

Comment "Using the deep learning algorithms ..." (Score 1) 178

I suppose their intent is that this fridge will be able to manage supplies and demands the same way that my mother so effortlessly and effectively managed our ice box and pantry in our very dynamic household when I was a kid. She had learned her stuff from my grandmother and added a few tricks and neat solutions to the repertoire, doing all of it everyday in her head and without blinking an eyelash in the face of last-minute changes in the number of chairs around the table and last-minute confessions to the "Who ate all the ..." question. And today we need a computer to do this? What a waste of resources!

Comment Waxed or unwaxed?? (Score 1) 257

I am sure that unwaxed floss is more effective at "cleaning" the surface of the teeth than waxed floss. Waxed floss glides effortlessly over the surface and there is little or no friction. Without friction, how can waxed floss scrape the surface of the tooth?? Any study on the effectiveness of flossing has to distinguish between the use of waxed and unwaxed floss. But try to find unwaxed floss when you need to buy some! Most drugstores sell only waxed floss or keep very little unwaxed floss in stock. If a proper study finds that flossing is not effective, I would bet money on their subjects using mostly or entirely waxed floss. By definition, waxed floss will do no work.

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