8,415 reputation
23266
bio website knowing.net
location Kailua Kona, HI
age 50
visits member for 3 years, 8 months
seen 3 hours ago

Contributing Editor and Columnist, SD Times. Editor of now-defunct magazines including Software Development, Computer Language, and AI Expert. Founding Editor of Game Developer, which still totally rocks.

On Twitter at @lobrien

Sr. Software Engineer at Gemini Observatories.

Not a bad coder.


Jul
14
reviewed Reject Does the IRS claim that 7 out of 7 specific hard-drives crashed in a single month?
Jul
14
comment Does the IRS claim that 7 out of 7 specific hard-drives crashed in a single month?
@woliveirajr My doubt is that the IRS' claim (whatever it is) is properly described as having a probability of 1/36^7th. I'm not particularly skeptical about an MTBF of 36 months, but more the proper description of the event.
Jul
13
revised Does the IRS claim that 7 out of 7 specific hard-drives crashed in a single month?
added 261 characters in body
Jul
13
revised Does the IRS claim that 7 out of 7 specific hard-drives crashed in a single month?
deleted 11 characters in body
Jul
13
asked Does the IRS claim that 7 out of 7 specific hard-drives crashed in a single month?
Jul
10
comment Is the rate of Human Evolution Slowing down?
Your logic about medicine is sound, but medical intervention is only one factor. Think about the population size and increase in potential mates afforded by communication and travel technology. My hunch is that the global gene pool is probably currently increasing in diversity, which should increase the potential rate of evolution in the face of serious selection pressure (e.g., a multi-generation pandemic). But short of the global collapse of civilization, I'd suspect that medical intervention would still be the main factor in surviving to have breeding opportunities.
Jul
3
comment Could Queen Elizabeth II bypass Prince Charles in the line of succession?
@TomAu "Peer pressure" <-- I see what you did there.
Jul
2
awarded  Curious
Jun
30
comment Was July 1936 the hottest month on record for mainland USA?
Hmm... The graphs are actually significantly different. Notice the delta in average temperature and then if you look at individual points, they all seem shifted by some amount. (The linked-to article claims fraud on the part of NOAA.)
Jun
21
comment Is our moon moving away from earth?
I think the Moon is in a stable orbit, but the lander is causing that part of the Moon to deflate. We popped the Moon, people!
Jun
14
comment Does personal happiness depend on level of education reached?
I'm afraid I don't see how Maslow's hierarchy relates to the question.
May
30
comment Are white people more likely to commit mass murder?
I know the site frowns on Wikipedia as a primary source, so I'm making this a comment. This graph suggests that, in the United States, it has been true in recent decades: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
May
29
comment Will 1 in 4 American children grow up illiterate?
I disagree with the sentiment of the quote, too, but I included it because it suggests that within the field, a fuzzy definition is considered acceptable. (Which obviously makes a question about a specific % harder to definitively answer.)
May
29
comment Will 1 in 4 American children grow up illiterate?
I think the statistic is likely to be relevant absent a specific claim that something has radically changed in recent years.
May
29
awarded  Nice Answer
May
29
answered Will 1 in 4 American children grow up illiterate?
May
25
comment Is the idea of solar roadways practical?
I suppose what I'm skeptical of is the premise that "available surfaces" is a challenge so significant as to justify all-new technology. I'm all for solar power: My house runs on a PV system. Roofs are a good environment for solar panels! We have a nearby parking lot that has conventional solar panels that shade the cars: off-the-shelf technology, 100% solar exposure at proper angles, no load-bearing / wear issues. "Snap-together" modular PV systems are worth developing, but why make them roadways/parking areas?
May
24
comment Is the idea of solar roadways practical?
It seems like the $4.4M / mile is just for the cost of the panels, not the cost of grading, installation, etc. I'm not sure, but that seems like $4.4M / mile versus the cost of the surfacing material (asphalt/concrete). And I am very skeptical of the fundamental concept of a glass-covered road surface: surely a pebble in a wheel tread is going to scratch / damage the surface.
May
23
awarded  Nice Answer
May
22
comment Does healthcare.gov contain 500 million lines of code?
@JeremyBanks Thanks for that! Incorporated that data into an update (it's still just "some guy on the Internet" making the claim but the quirkiness of the data "smells" believable to me. 1 VB and ASP.NET page, a couple dozen .BAT files...)