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Frederic Mora
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Frederic Mora

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Unicomp makes great keyboards. On top of that, they have a fantastic customer service.

Case in point: I purchased a buckling spring keyboad on their web site, and I mistakenly selected a layout I am not used to (Caps Lock at the bottom left, Control under tab). To my credit, their website doesn't make the layouts very clear.

After a quick exchange with their tech support, I got an RMA, and a few days later, a new keyboard arrived, with the standard layout. At no extra cost.

Unicomp rocks.
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The latest White House budget is bad news for fundamental science and especially high-energy physics. The Dept of Energy, the main source of funds for "heavy science" projects, is cutting off budgets of many installations (MIT's Tokamak, Brookhaven's accelerator, Fermilab's neutrino detector) and shifts some money to the ITER fusion project in France, which is quite a long shot -- although ITER meetings in Southern France are really nice, I'm told.
Overall, the budget numbers for the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, the single largest funder of physical sciences research in the United States, look reasonably good. The of...
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This is one of the best science news I heard in a long time: A new drug cures malaria in monkeys. Malaria is a huge underdevelopment factor in Africa, and the complex lifecycle of the malaria parasite makes vaccines almost impossible.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/aeco-ndw120711.php
An antimalarial agent developed by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University proved effective at clearing infections caused by the malaria parasite most lethal to humans...
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A warning to all Firefly fans out there: the show is pernicious and endangers morality, threatens children and probably rape kittens, too. Display a Firefly poster in a theater department and you will be in deep, deep trouble. You've been warned.
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One of my colleagues grew up in Eastern Germany. He commented: "American bureaucrats are such great people. They're doing their best to remind me of the Vopos of my youth. Would I be an ingrate if I told them I really, really don't have any nostalgia?" LOL!
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Interesting: The current theory about dark matter could be very wrong.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14948730
Note that this is to be taken with a thick layer of salt because it is only the result of a numerical model. However, if the LHC keeps being unable to find any dark matter, this scientist will be vindicated.
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Engineers have great jobs. They can't explain what they do, and when the boss has a budget for hiring, they can't even get candidate hires to stick around:
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Sorry, Fred! ;)
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DYING OF REGULATIONITIS

One of my friends is very sick and has been told there is a shortage of his medication. So I started looking into the shortage problem. I read that "manufacturers stopped making non-profitable drugs". Uh? What? Why didn't they raise the price, which would attract competitors?

Turn out that they can't. The problem comes from (surprise!) Federal regulations. Surprisingly, the New Orc Slime, paragon of the Noble Regulator , exposes the governmental cock-up: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/ezekiel-emanuel-cancer-patients.html. They blame Bush, of course. :-) But it's still a regulatory problem, stupid laws perverting the market and killing people.

"The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, signed by President George W. Bush, [...] restricted the price [of drugs] from increasing by more than 6 percent every six months.

The act had an unintended consequence. In the first two or three years after a cancer drug goes generic, its price can drop by as much as 90 percent as manufacturers compete for market share. But if a shortage develops, the drug’s price should be able to increase again to attract more manufacturers. Because the 2003 act effectively limits drug price increases, it prevents this from happening. The low profit margins mean that manufacturers face a hard choice: lose money producing a lifesaving drug or switch limited production capacity to a more lucrative drug.The result is clear: in 2004 there were 58 new drug shortages, but by 2010 the number had steadily increased to 211. (These numbers include noncancer drugs as well. ) "

The Obama administration could be a hero by removing that stupid law. But they'll keep it, just like they kept the TSA, the Patriot Act, and a slew of other bad ideas from the previous administration.
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Brand new US drone: "Ha ha, I am now spying on Iran". Iranians: "Start jamming the drone's comms". Drone: "Oh noes! I lost comm links to base! Fortunately, I know what to do. Just use GPS to go back home". Iranians: "Great, now start spoofing GPS signals". Drone: "Oh, hey, cool, it's the base already. Let me land."

The result: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16098562

The Iranians will reverse-engineer it then sell it to China who will mass-produce it.

Whoever coded the drone's go-back-home routine deserves a raise. From China, that is.
Iranian TV shows the first video footage of an advanced unmanned US drone aircraft that Tehran says it downed near the Afghan border.
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Ha! You havnt seen abuse yet! Im waitin for it.
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Interesting article about Daniel Shechtman, who just got a Nobel for discovering quasicrystals, which were thought to be impossible. He was mocked, ridiculed, and treated badly by not only his peer, but by the greatest names in chemistry. Turns out he was right, quasicrystals exist and are very useful, thank you.

Thank God for people like him who challenge the scientific establishment and its beliefs. That's how mankind progresses.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15181187
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1960, Stanford University, Dept. of Geology's faculty lounge: "Hey, folks, did you hear about this crackpot named Wegener? He says continents are drifting! What a load!"
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Our master in DC (peace to him) recently hinted that he perceived a disturbance in the fiscal Force:
"It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million."

It is, O master, it is, indeed. If only we could check how bad it is... Wait! The Holy IRS holds the answer. I, your humble servant, collected some helpful data (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/08in05tr.xls) in a graph below.

And fear not, master, all is well! Your fears were misplaced. The evil fat cats already pay more taxes than your devout poor voters. To quote your Holy IRS:

* the top 1 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 23.3 percent
* the top 10 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 18.7 percent
* and the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 2.6 percent.

Wait, O master, a horrible doubt suddenly gnaws at me like a chihuahua at a porkchop: Was it an attempt at demagoguery? Could you be (gasp!) a lying bastard?
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Why 2008? Because I couldn't locate any data series for a more recent year.
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I was looking for the text of the American Job Act of 2011. I couldn't find it on thomas.loc.gov, the Library of Congress repository for law texts. Then I heard that no Democrat rep has volunteered to introduce it in Congress yet. And then I found an "American Job Act of 2011", which is as short as it is funny (2 pages).

I know, when was the last time a law was funny, right? Well, judge for yourself...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/64966423/Gohmert-American-Jobs-Act
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Sean pointed out that Irene created severe floods in Vermont. TV talks about NYC and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey, but I haven't seen a single mention of Vermont so far. See for yourself, I believe it's more newsworthy than the lack of devastation in NYC.
http://www.weather.com/weather/hurricanecentral/article/raging-waters-in-vermont-hurricane-irene_2011-08-28
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In his circles
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Have him in circles
29 people
Christopher Mosher's profile photo
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Nathalie Antouly's profile photo
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Translated "The Mythical Man-Month" into French.
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