Friday, May 26, 2017

kunstler knocks another one outta the park

A most curious feature in the current low state of American politics is the delusional thinking at both ends of the political spectrum. Both factions have gone off the rails mentally, and the parties they represent race toward oblivion like Thelma and Louise in their beater car. More ominously, there are no new factions with a grip on reality even beginning to form anywhere in the background — as in the 1850s when the Whigs foundered and the party of Lincoln segued into power.
To see the Democrats go on about “Russian collusion” you would think we were watching a rerun of the John Birch Society in its heyday. Americans who have done business in Russia as private citizens are being persecuted as though they were trading with the enemy in wartime. Newsflash: we are not at war with Russia, which, by the way, is no longer the Soviet Union. It is one of many European countries that Americans are entitled to do business in — even in the case of General Mike Flynn accepting a $20,000 speaking fee from the RT news company. Has anyone noticed that Ben Bernanke routinely  takes $200,000-plus speaking fees in many foreign countries whose interests are not identical to ours and no one is persecuting him.
[Ed. - Please click the link above... this snippet is simply the opening teaser of his whole article]

Monday, May 22, 2017

blockchain tech can prevent 'corruption' - hmm, would require everyone to use it though

Wired | A Curious Plan to Save the Environment With the Blockchain
MAGIC INTERNET MONEY—ALSO known as cryptocurrency—is at an all-time high. The experts who watch this stuff predict that one bitcoin (the most famous cryptocurrency) will soon be worth $2,000.
The big selling point of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is their use of something called the blockchain to make any transaction mossstly trustworthy. In a cryptocash economy, the blockchain renders treasuries, banks, credit cards, and other financial organs vestigial. Enthusiasts believe these decentralized, cryptographically-sealed databases could starve inefficient middlemen from virtually any system. And today in Nature, conservation biologist Guillaume Chapron argues that blockchains can even save the planet.
Basically, all a blockchain does is assign any piece of information a unique signature. If someone alters that information, that unique code no longer works, and you know something fishy is afoot. In bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, the whole community then reviews every attempted transaction, to ensure each is unique—preventing shenanigans like spending the same money twice. But it can come in handy elsewhere. Wal-Mart recently launched a trial using a blockchain to fight food poisoning and waste by tracking food from supplier to shelf. Say a salmonella outbreak hits Sioux City, Iowa. Wal-Mart’s supply chain blockchain would let it irrefutably trace the tainted product back to a spinach farm in Salinas, California.
“One reason why we have environmental crises, like the overexploitation of natural resources, and pollution, is because the global economy is full of actors who are doing business without much accountability,” says Chapron. “When you go buy something, you have no idea where it comes from, how it’s made. There are so many intermediaries, and it’s very easy to cheat.” Cheating, in this case, means more than companies lying about where they dump their garbage. And actors can be anyone, including nation-states.

Friday, May 19, 2017

now how do you run a car on it???

OilPrice.com | Energy Breakthrough? China Has Successfully Mined ‘Fire Ice’ From The Sea
China has successfully extracted gas from gas hydrates—also known as ‘fire ice’ or ‘flammable ice’—in the northern part of the South China Sea, the China Geographical Survey said on Thursday.
Gas hydrate, methane hydrate in particular, is a cage-like structure of crystallized ice, inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural gas. If methane hydrate is either warmed or depressurized, it reverts back to water and natural gas.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), global estimates vary, but the energy content of methane in hydrates is “immense, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels”. But no methane production other than small-scale field experiments has been documented so far.
Today, the China Geographical Survey said that it managed to collect samples from the Shenhu area in the South China Sea in a test that started last Wednesday. Every day some 16,000 cubic meters (565,000 cubic feet) of gas, almost all of which was methane, were extracted from the test field.

Friday, May 12, 2017

overcome what no longer serves you

GeekWrapped | Cognitive Bias Survival Guide

What are Cognitive Biases?

You know the feeling: Every day you get flooded with new ideas and information. You barely have enough time to process it all. Sure, you’re a smart and rational person that puts a lot of thought into the decisions you make. But the brain still takes decision-making shortcuts all the time. It especially happens when you need to act quickly, there is too much information, or limited memory.

Here’s the deal: Research suggests that there are a number of intellectual stumbling blocks which can get you entangled in wrong judgment without you even noticing. They are called Cognitive Biases. The result is er
rors and irrational decisions that can hold you back. To help all of us escape this mental quicksand we’ve put together this real-world Cognitive Bias Survival Guide. It’s designed to reduce wrong conclusions and bad choices, plus protect you from charlatans trying to exploit ignorance. Think of it as anti-virus software for the brain!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

excitement at hanford

Gizmodo | Tunnel Collapses at Nuclear Facility Once Called 'an Underground Chernobyl Waiting to Happen'
Managers at the Hanford Site in Washington State told workers to “take cover” Tuesday morning after a tunnel leading to a massive plutonium finishing plant collapsed. The emergency is especially worrisome, since Hanford is commonly known as “the most toxic place in America,” with one former governor calling it “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen.” Worrisome might actually be an understatement. The Deparment of Energy declared a state of emergency at the site.
The accident occurred near the 200 East Area, the home of several solid waste sites. The tunnel that collapsed ran to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX) facility and was filled with highly radioactive train cars that once carried spent fuel rods containing deeply dangerous plutonium and uranium from a reactor on the Columbia River to the processing facility. Those reactors once produced plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal, though production ended in 1980. The cleanup process that followed has gone on for nearly 30 years.

but they are only 1/3 the cost!

Aspiring Minds | National Programming Skills Report

It is our pleasure to present the first edition of Automata report. Programming Ability skill is the key for jobs in IT centric world. 

In the last few years, thanks to jobs becoming global, the importance of good programmers has increased manifold. It has over the years become an important criteria of hiring for most of the IT software companies, both at the international and intra-national levels. A candidate with good programming skills is so important , because there are cases where one doesn’t understand the program statement and if does then fails to implement it properly. 

The report tries to identify patterns in employability across different regions, analyzing in detail the distribution of employability across various roles. Herein, it studies how employability varies across different groups: We do the first systematic study of Programming Ability of engineers across India. The study is based on Automata, an automated tool measuring programming skills used across the world by industries. Automata is a 60 minute test taken in compiler integrated environment. It rates the candidates on multiple parameters of Programming Ability , Programming Practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. 

The report follows the tradition of our National Employability Reports to uncover the gaps in Programming Ability by gender, tier of college, top 100 colleges vs. rest of the colleges, etc. Based on the reports, we have come up with specific suggestions on how to improve Programming Ability in various parts of the country. 

With commitment to the development and progress of higher education in India!