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The Science subreddit is a place to share new findings. Read about the latest advances in astronomy, biology, medicine, physics and the social sciences. Find and submit the best writeup on the web about a discovery, and make sure it cites its sources.

Updated: 2017-10-20T09:04:13+00:00


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/u/masta on Employer offering to pay my student loan INSTEAD of contributing to my 401k


Id' say do both.

Take the loan payment program, and then pay the $500 into an IRA, or whatever is left over.

/u/masta on What to do with all of these pens


Take them to an elementary school

/u/masta on Astronaut Scott Kelly: I thought Elon Musk was crazy and then he landed his first stage on a barge. I'm never again going to doubt what he says.


Landing a rocket booster is one thing, and a totally reasonable thing. However, hyperloops..... nope. I'm sorry, but just saying because it's Elon Musk that his credibility extends into the realm suspension of reasonable technical belief.. NOPE.

There are so many things wrong with hyperloops, it's hard to know where to even start. Firstly, vacuum chambers are difficult energy wise, because the energy required to pull hard vacuum for an internal-diameter of 3 meter wide tube that extends hundreds of miles.... That is a lot of vacuum pumps running constantly. For comparison the current largest vacuum chamber is the large hadron collider, and that is a tiny little tube by comparison, and that takes 2 to 3 weeks to pull vacuum. If there was ever a breach of the vacuum, a pressure shock wave would travel down the length of tube, destroying it any anybody inside. It would also probably cause great damage to any section of tube above ground as the shock wave is super-sonic. Speaking of above ground sections of tube, well... they would expand and contract with exposure to sunlight, and changing temperatures. So if the whole tuber were setup above ground, it would probably grown/shrink by several (tends or hundreds of) feet. It would pretty much have to be built under ground to avoid temperature changes, which is more expensive, and probably why he owns an underground boring company. But this is not how hyper-loops are marketed. Still, even if the tubes are underground, and made of steel... they would potentially rust, resulting in an implosion.

So far everything I've seen on the topic from Musk is pure trash, including his test track in California, which is already rusting. The only response I get from people is the usual, it's Elon Musk... so we can simply turn off our logic and have "faith".

/u/masta on Remember that clay from a sealed hard drive? Or that pack of playing cards from a sealed hard drive?


That is an improper use of /dev/urandom. It's really meant to be the random seed for your own permutation routines, say like xor'ing a block of bytes with some smaller bytes of /dev/urandom. It goes much faster doing it that way too, as /dev/urandom entropy starves most Linux systems.

/u/masta on Science AMA: We are the first people to observe neutron stars colliding that the LIGO team detected, we're the Swope Discovery Team, ask us anything about supernovas, astrophysics, and, of course, neutron star collisions, AMA!


My favorite astro even has to be pair instability, but merging neutron stars is totally cool.

So how does this work? I mean, for starters I've read there is a super thin atmosphere on a neutron star. So would those siphon away prior to the merger, say perhaps form a bridge between the two bodies? Would the two starts flatten out, morph into ovals, or at they too dense for that?

Could these mergers lead to strange matter stars, the so-called quark stars? I suppose my question is if any data would exist to guess if the neutron star mergers are candidate for such happenings? In essence if the two are large enough to convert to black hole, or small enough to fall short? I noticed the LIGO data suggested the mass of the two objects.

/u/masta on What did he go to college for? How did he learn all this stuff?


There was an episode way back when he mentions having successfully endured through a Ph.D program, so .... yeah. It takes a special kind of person to survive that process

/u/masta on Adult Child


Well simply start with a good rigorous cleaning on your days off, usually on the weekend. By going through and cleaning very well, you notice and observe things in your way to being clean and tidy. Next follow the usual system of identifying things you want to throw away, donate, or sell. Mind you that selling things is difficult for some people, who like to perceive the value higher than what other people are willing to pay. Anyways, focus on reducing your set of things with an emphasis on donating and throwing, and limiting the effort to sell things to the most valuable items. Go in and do another deep cleaning, and I mean stuff like dusting, cleaning the walls & baseboards. The idea is to have a generally raised standard of cleanliness at all times. What happens in effect is you tend to declutter, or at least organize the clutter better.

My personal anecdote is to perceive things like.... how hard would it be to move right now, if I had guests over on short notice... could that happen with out embarrassing mess. I like to have stuff, but it's all stuff I could sell... and I hold that threat in my mind at all times. I love my things, but I'm aware of what would be sacrificed first to last..... this is something I've observed to be missing in cluttered persons. I hate to wrongly characterize things (and I never use the H-word), but it's like choosing what child to sacrifice/slaughter when the topic of getting rid of things. It's just stuff, and the emotional attachment to items is perfectly fine so long it's tempered with realistic expectations... a kind of life cycle management.

/u/masta on FCC Chief Is 'Complicit' in Trump's NBC Threat, Ex-Chairman (Tom Wheeler) Says


The freedoms enjoyed now should be a projection of the Federal Trade Commission, because that is the right place to dispute unfair monopolies. The FCC is really supposed to be about other things, originally air waves..... For broadcast antennas. The liberals perverted the fcc mandate into a consumer protection thing, and that is wrong. But I don't disagree with their sentiment, it's just not fcc, it's more ftc.

/u/masta on I just had to cancel a week long vacation 2 days in and drive back 4 hours for a server incident I fixed remotely because "the CEO needed to see me".


I would guilt trip the boss/manager.

If that person is unable or unwilling to shield you from this crap, then that boss is worthless. Also, as soon as this stuff is over, resume your vacation... indeed please exhaust your vacation. Start making no jokes about looking for other jobs, put the threat down that you are looking elsewhere, and make it known why. If you fail to do this, then you simply perpetuate the problem... nothing is solved. Management needs feedback, and sometimes it's their best employee being abused... and then leaving.. to train them how NOT to do that again. Basically this employer is a dog... and you train the dog. Ironically, they probably have the same sentiment inversely, they have to train their employees to be shit upon. It's your call at this point.

/u/masta on Fort Worth police chase ending in Dallas


[Citation needed]

I believe city police have jurisdiction within their City limits, and potentially within the county, but not state wide.

/u/masta on Wal-Mart saved $27 million by changing its plastic bags and shortening its receipts


That is how it is in most of Europe

/u/masta on /r/pcmasterrace got triggered at the mere mention of suggesting to use Linux because privacy.


What we need is a new game engine, designed from the ground up. That way the new game can justify a $60 price tag, and years of development delays. Then we can enjoy the new engine glitches being resolved by late patch updates. The next game in the franchise will support an all new game engine, to avoid the fundamental bugs of the previous. But it's will have loot crate, because players really want to pay to win.

/u/masta on Don´t accept every job


We had a large tier-2 oncall pool of people, but when they had to escalate up to tier-3 where I was stationed, it was only two people. Then it was only one, myself, and that was too few. Because tier-2 liked to simply dump their problems into tier-3, or the customers demanded the tier-3 escalation, or perhaps the tier-2 wasn't confident and wanted confirmation they were doing right. The truth apparently was that a proper tier-3 was expensive to employ, and hard to find. This was Linux & Unix managed hosting support type stuff, with some database things occasionally. I'm pretty sure that company hated me, because I'd enforced the work life balance of how it was when I was hired, which was acceptable.... Two person team, oncall every other week. But even my worse level of service, drunk & unable/unwilling to personally login to servers was better than without because things were solved no matter what.

Regardless, I'll never never work again in a support setup with oncall rotation. I've since moved on to development role involving open source. But I'd caution anybody working in a two person team with oncall, just don't.

/u/masta on RX 580 price going down fast in Poland!


For myself, a Linux user, the price is not relevant.... It's the card that works with mainline Linux kernel.

/u/masta on Dilemma with hoarder MIL, and story of my hoarder in-laws


I highly doubt she would allow the maid in her room. Also, I am trying to save money, and I'd rather not spend money on someone who has so much more of it than I do.

The maid thing would help, but I understand the financial aspects of that. The idea is that is she forbids the maid in there, well it just substantiates your position and stance that the MIL is hoarding, messy, and defensive. It's simply a means to an end, a potential avenue to break through the barriers, and in a way that might be positive. After all she has an opportunity to have maid service once in a while. If she doesn't like the maid service, then insist that she clean the room on her own terms, but that the sheets be changed, the flood vacuumed, and the furnishings dusted. You see these kind of gambits made in politics all the time, make a proposal for positive change, but which you know might face resistance.... and either way you win. Because if MIL accepts the maid, that is good, and if she doesn't.... she is the one to being adversarial and she cannot play the victim card any more. Also, spending the money on a maid , for somebody who has more money than you.... that sends a message.

I'm not the greatest cook (honestly a lot of times I don't even cook) but she could just cook for herself, or herself and whoever else wants to eat it, and not have this guilt expectation that we have to eat it or we "hate" her, which she has actually said before.

I would simply be honest here, and simply not eat her food, and explain truthfully why if the topic is ever brought to discussion. A reasonable person would not consume food from a source that they perceive to be unclean. Mention the spoiled food, the unclean mess left in the pantry & utensils. Simply put your standard of excellence is set much higher, and quite frankly her standards are objectively low.... You are clearly not persuaded that food must have mold/fungus growing to be consider spoiled. However, if the MIL is ever able to improve by disposing of spoiled food, and improving sanitation, please be prepared reward her with eating the food she made. (it goes both ways)

BTW - on a side note I think it's awesome you help with the composting stuff in your area! :-) We have urban gardening centers in my area too, and those are great places and activities.

/u/masta on Don´t accept every job


Yeah.... and sometimes good operations turn bad & ugly.

This one time my co-worker quit, and I had to be on-call 100% 24/7 until they hired a replacement. I told management I can carry the on-call duty a few weeks or maybe a few months at worst. Well long story short, after hiring a replacement, who immediately quit they decided to simply not hire a replacement because I was handling the on-call perfectly fine on my own. Well, as you might imagine I was not to thrilled about that, and reminded management my 100% on-call was contingent on them finding a replacement, so I would be going back to being on-call every other week. That did not go over too well, but I explained that I have a life and I will possibly be drinking alcohol or going into areas without cell phone coverage.... every other week, but that I'd continue to carry the on-call phone regardless.

One time they actually called while I had been drinking, and I couldn't ethically login to any computers to fix things, had to drunkenly give technical advice over the phone. It's an example of a good job that turned bad.... because of a risky management decision to not have two Sr. level techs to share on-call rotation.

/u/masta on SPOKANE POLICE TO USE SUPPRESSORS Officers will soon outfit their 181 service rifles with Gemtech suppressors in order to protect their hearing and that of bystanders.


The suppressor is probably not a significant advantage for police, but perhaps the bad guys would suffer really bad tinnitus before the good guys, and that could be an advantage assuming the bad guys don't also have suppressors?

To me it's simply a basic safety feature, or medical device to reduce the chance of hearing loss. Especially in closed quarters like inside a room where the percussive force has more opportunity to cause damage. That said I simply don't understand why suppressors are restricted at all. Seems to me a doctor should be able to "prescribe" a suppressor for their firearm enthusiast patients, or professionals required to equip firearms (I.E. police).

/u/masta on Dilemma with hoarder MIL, and story of my hoarder in-laws


I kinda sense some OCD here, but not all entirely unjustified.

It's your house, your rules.... the lady should have some level of mess in her own room, but generally speaking every room should be tidy in weekly cycles (at worst). Consider hiring a maid for a short while. It will establish a weekly ritual of cleaning away the clutter in the rooms so the maid can get in there to change sheets, vacuum, and dust. Make a ritual of cleaning out the fridge on whatever cycle, say every 2 weeks, or 4 weeks.

The woman probably thinks that by cooking, that she is earning her keep, paying her rent, or whatever kind of quid-pro-quo type sentiment you can imagine. OR, perhaps she is as OCD as you are and doesn't trust your cooking, heck... who knows. The point is that a clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen, so don't complain about the mess... but as a matter of fact mention that you had to clean a film of grimy bread crumbs off the pantry items. For old vegetables, I would start to compost them... that way they can go to the garden, and are not wasted. I would also buy her some gardening things for growing plant cuttings, things dedicated for that purpose.

/u/masta on "A woman's uterus is more regulated than a gun"


Perhaps when lifeform can sustain itself. So I guess after birth, and when the youngling can (at some point) feed itself, or (immediately after birth) when an alternate parental unit is made available to feed the youngling.

The dilemma seems to be that younglings cannot immediately do tax returns upon birth.

/u/masta on Is the nexus 6 or 6p still a viable option in late 2017? if yes should I go for a 6 or a 6p?


Yep, my 6p is doing well.

The Nexus 6 however, constantly rebooting and had all the issues some 6p owners would report.

/u/masta on Who else chose AMD over Intel due to their business practices/political reasons? Give me strength brothers, so Im not to be tempted by Coffee Lake benchmark numbers.


Linux user checking in.

I've never bought any AMD hardware before, only Intel & Nvidia. But not anymore, planning to switch to an all AMD setup for next rig. Quite a few reasons, mainly because AMD is so excellent with Linux support, but to be fair so is Intel, but not Nvidia. The Linux community struggles with Nvidia graphics, but it works, and there are proprietary drivers available. Linux users would prefer completely open source, and mainline kernel support, and that is what AMD does for Radeon. They put their production drivers into Linux directly, and don't mess around with binary blobs. On the CPU side of things, at this point I don't even pay attention to benchmarks, except for power & thermal performance. At this point any CPU is good enough for me so long as it has more than four cores. Also, we are pretty much at the end of the line for Moore's law, and CPU's won't get much smaller than 7 nano-meters, because quantum tunneling will turn a semi-conductor into a short circuited "conductor". So that is why I only care about thermals and power. Intel and AMD have a choice, scale up or scale out. AMD has chose to scale out, by moving to a fabric of processors, memory, and accelerators. Intel appears to be scaling up, more cores to the die. This causes more heat, and Intel's margin of error would be much higher, which means higher prices. Good segway point, because one cannot ignore the Intel price for CPU's, and I suspect the average consumer who doesn't care about technical topics would go with Ryzen over Intel just on price, I mean it's that significant of a discount that even the good brand recognition cannot save Intel.

It's tempting to go all out and setup a thread ripper machine, but most people don't need that. But in my perspective pretty soon that is how all computers will be. That is to say, there will be more emphasis on the fabric, and I can say that with high certainty because I see it happening in the high end server space. The technology is starting to trickle down to the mainstream, and it's happening first by AMD. It probably won't take Intel too long to port their fabric used in the Xeon Phi products from their HPC super computing products, but they will probably be expensive.

/u/masta on Anyone jumping ship for the Pixel 2 XL?


I'm tempted to get myself one, and not worried about the price..... but the high price cannot be ignored, and is not appreciated. I finally decided to stick with the 6P until the Android & security updates stop. So I guess another year?

My wife however, she still runs the Nexus 6... and she's perfectly happy with the device, but I'll probably get her the Pixel2 XL. And, if she doesn't like the device for lack of headphone jack and what not...... I'll be happy to take it off her hands, in exchange for the Nexus 6P ;-)

/u/masta on Farewell everyone, keep it up!


Whoa! Glad you are safe, and sad your PS3 was taken.

I was also burglarized once, and it was a terrible feeling... so many belonging taken away.

/u/masta on GPG decryption successful even if YK is removed during operation


Obviously the private key has to be read into memory, and that is probably done at the beginning. From there the page cache takes over, presuming the read operation is of the simple file descriptor kind. IE the yubi key is a glorified usb key with filesystem.