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Comment: what happened to the Voronoi polyhedrons? (Score 1) 40

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47552729) Attached to: How Bird Flocks Resemble Liquid Helium
Last time the bird flock was mentioned it was about how a flock flies past an obstacle without colliding. Something about each bird maintaining its position by maximizing the distance to its nearest neighbors. The math would work out such that each bird would form a vertex in a Delaunay tessellation and the "space" associated with each bird would form a Voronoi polyhedron.

I was kind of scared. You know, you spend all your life learning computational geometry and suddenly a flock of shearwaters or starlings show up and solve the same problem you have been solving for decades. You are given the pink slip and be replaced by a flock of bird brains. Man! that would suck.

But I am glad now, the birds are after bigger prize. No stupid engineering and mesh generation for them. They want pure science and may be they are after the Nobel prize. Glad they have moved on to simulating the liquid helium. Good for them. I think next thing will be they have solved the Cauchy-Riemman integral and they have a deterministic solution to Shroedinger's equation. They are going to finish off with a solution to Navier-Stokes equation with k-epsilon turbulence modeling.

Comment: India has disputed borders too. (Score 1) 94

I have seen numerous Govt offices in India with a rusted metal sign saying, "Photography prohibited". But cut them some slack too, routinely attacked by terrorists looking for soft targets.

Also the border is disputed with Pakistan and China. Since Pakistan has been the "ally" of USA since 1950s, and India kept dallying with USSR all those days, almost all the American magazines will carry maps that show disputed parts of Kashmir as part of Pakistan. I have seen so many Reader's Digest, Time, National Geographic, Life mags with maps of Kashmir region stamped with, "This map does not agree with the official map published by the Surveyor General of India. No significance may be attached to the differences published here. " (quoting from memory, actual wording could be even more bureaucratese ).

Comment: Looks like it is market opportunity. (Score 1) 508

I too like slide out keyboard and I like seeing more of the screen while typing.

But are we so dependent on the manufacturer for this? Someone can design a compact bluetooth keyboard. With some kind of harness/clip to slide in any smartphone. Or make it part of a slide out or fold out phone case. Almost all the people I know buy a case for their phones. I think Steve Jobs was probably the only one who used a naked iPhone. I see people putting really horrendous looking cases. Would these guys buy an after market Hummer body and strap it on to their Corvettes? Well that is a different rant. I use a fold out leather wallet style case, to store a credit card, a bus pass and my driving license along with an android phone. My wallet has gone into some deep recess of my backpack. I rarely need it.

Anyway if there is as much demand for it someone would be stepping in to fill the need. One good thing, this keyboard might work in the next phone, at least one part of the phone/keyboard gets an extended life.

Comment: In conclusion... (Score 1) 275

Finally, we see a big limitation: This data reveals only correlations, not conclusions. We are left with at least two different interpretations of the sudden spike in “iPhone slow” queries, one conspiratorial and one benign. It is tempting to say, “See, this is why big data is useless.” But that is too trite. Correlations are what motivate us to look further. If all that big data does — and it surely does more — is to point out interesting correlations whose fundamental reasons we unpack in other ways, that already has immense value.

And if those correlations allow conspiracy theorists to become that much more smug, that’s a small price to pay.

And the cost is going to be paid by some company or the other for the benefit of some class action house or another.

Comment: Graph is search results, not speed measurements. (Score 3, Informative) 275

The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

It is a big leap, there could be various other explanations of varying degrees of malice. As the new release comes through, bug fixes for older releases are put on back burner, apps are changed and tuned to take advantage of new version run slower in older version.. Or the way graphics subsystem is organized in iOS might have different bottlenecks based on the display resolution. So as new releases come in, default sizes for buffers and hashtables might change deep in the OS slowing down older apps.

And if you are going to postulate "Apple might slow down older versions deliberately", why can't you postulate, "Google might spike and skew the history of the past searches to make Apple look bad"?

Comment: I must be a coding superstar (Score 1) 156

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47541053) Attached to: Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity
My brain activity is abysmally low when I am coding. I must be engaging hardly 5% of my brain during coding. Often times when I am debugging my own code, "what the hell was I *thinking*?" But now I realize I must not have been thinking at all. I must have been a coding superstar unbeknownst to myself.

Comment: Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (Score 4, Insightful) 393

If I offer to sell you "unlimited" beers from my fridge for $50 a month, but I only resupply it at a rate of one six-pack per week, I have intentionally cheated you. That basic relationship doesn't magically change because of some hand-waving technobabble about peerage agreements and network congestion.

This analogy is a little flawed. Let me correct it. Let us say the local municipality has granted pla (258480) a local monopoly in selling beer to its residents. And you sell beer at different service level all unlimited number of trips to the fridge, but at 1 trip/hr, 1trip/6 hours, 1 trip/min, 1 trip/sec etc. And you stock it with brewed-by-your-local-sewage-company beer all the time, and stock Buds, Coors and Coronas one bottle a month. Then your analogy is complete.

What is really insidious is, pla is NOT buying any beer. All the beer companies come stock the fridge for free. Pla's only cost is keeping the beer cool. And it does not cost any more to cool a bottle of Corona than to cool a bottle of brew-from-sewer. Just because pla noticed people are drinking Corona more, pla wants Corona to pay him more money. Remember it is a monopoly. Corona has no other way of selling its beer without going through pla's fridge. Now you get the idea.

Comment: Re:Range is not the issue. Cost is. (Score 1) 120

I know about Musk and the giga factory. The giga factory for batteries are not exclusively focused on automobile batteries. They are going after residential solar energy storage. Those batteries do not have weigth, volume or crash worthiness requirements of auto batteries. So that problem is likely to be solved first. Musk is also promoting distributed solar utilities, companies that would own and operate solar panels in residences and sell the homeowner metered electricity just like a utility. Thus homeowner does not do any up front investment, nor has to do any break even point calculations. Solar PV is just coming around to a price point to make this viable. Giga factory is likely to benefit them first.

Comment: Range is not the issue. Cost is. (Score 1) 120

Almost everyone focuses on the limited range and the longer recharge times as the main reason why electric cars have not taken off.

I think that is not really the case. The initial extra cost of the battery is so high, even after subsidies the break even period for an electric car compared to gas car is very long. If this issue is addressed, some people will be interested in buying these cars, with 80 to 100 mile range.

Once people start buying electric cars purely on economic grounds, a whole array of secondary services will come up to alleviate the range problem. Charging stations would expand the commute distance from 30 mile max one way to 60 mile max one way. Gas car rental companies will come up with subscription plans to give access to a gas car a few times a year. Even car makers might offer such deals. BMW already offers gas car loaner for a few times a year for the buyers of BMW i3. Towed range extender batteries might show up. Towed range extender diesel packs might show up. Franchises offering charged battery swaps can happen.

Free market is a bitch. It is thwarting electric cars right now despite many great things about electric cars. No timing belt replacement, no oil changes, clean and simple cars, without any serious tranmission issues. Motor replacement is an order of magnitude simpler than IC-engine-transmission replacement. But battery cost is too high and the free market is emphatically saying thumbs down. Once the battery cost problem is fixed, the very same free market will turn around in a dime and nothing can stop electric cars from peeling of a significant market share. But it will happen only if the cost issue is addressed. It will not happen before that time.

Comment: Re:this is also known by a different name (Score 3, Insightful) 198

Apathy is the greatest danger to democracy. If the voters did not care to know the issues, if the voters could be bamboozled by a few million dollars spent on an ad campaign and turn against the mayor who tried to help them, how can the be helped?

Comment: It is their fault. (Score 2, Interesting) 317

They were delicious. And we were hungry. God did give them tooth and claw. Despite it they did not defend themselves. May be they wanted to be eaten.

You may not agree with this statement. But shockingly there is a strain of political thought in America that applies exactly this principle to the human society and the poor people. And ironically those who profess these "maker vs taker" are shocked when they are told they are practicing social Darwinism.

Comment: yeah, why can't they suck boundary layer ...? (Score 1) 136

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47529735) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
All that complexity of wrapping an airtight skin around sheet metal with holes, a vacuum system to create dimples on the fly... All to get some fuel efficiency through lower drag? An plug in electric car effectively buys as at some 2$ a gallon. Still, the extra price of battery makes the break even time longer than the life of the car. And what kind of pay back period for ugly looking warty lumpy bumpy car?

There are tons of complex technologies to reduce drag. Boundary layer suction for example. Drill small holes all along the skin of the aircraft or the car. Create channels below, connect to a pump and suck air. This controls the growth of boundary layer and it could delay the "separation" way beyond what a dimpled surface can. Typically smooth ball flow separates two or three degrees past the poles, and dimpling can delay it by another 10 degrees. Boundary layer suction can delay it way past 45 degrees. NASA experimental aircraft with boundary layer suction showed drag reduction by a factor of 2 or 3, can't remember. Remember the airliner makers are fighting in the third significant digit of the drag coefficient. Do you see any boundary layer sucking aircraft around?

Moral of the story, there are tons and tons of complex technology that can do wonderful things. Most will not get beyond a couple of papers in Journal of Thingamajigger, a tenure track position for a post-doc, and may be, if it is really interesting and really unusual, a 2 inch side bar in Popular Mechanics. (BTW does it still exist? Popular Mechanics, I mean).

"Just the facts, Ma'am" -- Joe Friday

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