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Comment: Re:Personal Drones (Score 1) 153

Now let us add a constitutional amendment to correct the second amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people, who are properly trained to use guns, to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I am sure you would agree to the idea of a gun license to keep arms, right mate?

Comment: Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (Score 1) 350

Excellent summary of conventional wisdom. Emphasis is on the *conventional* part rather than wisdom part. Tesla has shown that conventional wisdom is often wrong. The situation is ripe for changing.

The automobile is the second most expensive things 95% of the consumers buy, after their home. The car is not driven for 95% of its life. 15000 miles a year, 50 mph speed, works out to 300 hours of driving a year, or less than 1 hour a day. The time between trips is long enough for recharging at home for 95% of the trips. Consumer attitude can change very rapidly but the car replacement cycle is typically 4 to 6 years. You don't need the second car to be a gasoline car. This reality will sink in. After losing 50% of the market to electrics, with similar production sizes, economies of scale and amortizations electrics will pose a very significant challenge in the "at least the first car must be gasoline car" segment.

Comment: Re:Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (Score 1) 350

I am a BMW owner and am planning to replace my Prius with i3. My biggest beef is: No body thought of replacing the first gear with electric motors. Electric motors produce maximum torque at zero rpm. IC engines can not run below a certain RPM. Reducing the operating RPM range of IC engines gives the engineers to maximize other things like power or fuel economy or throttle response etc. The torque convertor, slipping clutch and other purely mechanical solutions posed constraints on the IC engine.

A pure electric first gear would marry the best torque range of electric motors would free the IC engine of its low end torque requirements. No battery, no regenerative braking or fancy nancy stuff. Just a super sized alternator and a supersized starting motor, some mechanical linkages, clutches to get the damned car to second gear speed. Subaru is apparently coming out with something like this.

I know I am playing the Monday morning quarterback with 20-20 hindsight. But I am not a professional auto engineer. I am just a run of the mill rocket scientist. They should have seen it. They should have at least produce experimental concept cars like that.

Comment: Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (Score 3, Informative) 350

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46783701) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"
These guys were having pissing contest about 0 to 60 mph times. Fighting for fractions of seconds. Both companies were making engines bigger and bigger in an effort to shave a few milliseconds. They have gone far beyond the point of marginal returns. Their hot rods were merely some skin strapped on to these enormous engines.

Not a single one of them thought of adding an electric motor to go from 0 to 2 mph.Going from 2 mph to 60 using IC engines would be a cinch. They could reduce the weight of the engine, they did not have to engneer them to have enough torque at the low end to get the car off to start. The optimization curves will be totally different, and they could have gotten whole seconds shaved off. Like Tesla showed them when it debuted.

They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s. They know how well electric motors work as traction motors. We are not talking about battery cars, electric cars or even hybrids. Simple lead-acid battery with enough juice to pull the car from rest to 2mph may be five times. Total battery capacity less than half a mile of range. This they could have done back in the 1960s. They could have had the bragging rights on the quarter mile time and 0 to 60 time pissing contests. But no. They did not think of strapping a small motor to remove the low end torque requirement in their ic engines.

They were very straight jacketed think with in the box conformists. May be these mechanical engineers hated the electrical engineers and did not want them anywhere near their crown jewel the power train of the automobile.

Comment: Re:Quite interesting (Score 1) 51

That moon is too small to have strong gravitational field gradient to stretch any object into a long string.

The best source of large number of smaller meter sized rocks aligned in a long line is the rings of Saturn nearby. Since the moon is tidally locked to Saturn, and its orbit is oblique, if it passes the rings it would possibly pass at the same angle and same orientation every time. If it keeps picking up stuff from the rings, it could provide the source rocky rain drops all meter size or smaller that all will accumulate at the same place. It gels with their theory. Need to go back and read to see if they were speculating the rings to be the "source" of mountain that fell from the sky.

Comment: Quite interesting (Score 4, Informative) 51

The explanation is interesting. The moon is half the diameter of our moon, which means 8 times smaller in volume, and possibly mass. Tidally locked to a much bigger planet Saturn, compared to earth. The only thing against "mountain range fell from the sky scenario" is that, we normally do not see 1300 km long objects in space that are just 10 to 15 km in diameter. One possibility is that a loosely accreted comet was pulled into a long string by the gravity of Saturn, (Remember? the Schoemaker - Levy comet colliding with Jupiter was pulled in to a string of rocks. ). And this moon got in the way and got whacked in the process. May be the accretion of matter into a spherical moon did not quite achieve completion.

Till we see 1300km long and 10 to 10 km diameter asteroids in space, we just have to file it under, "it is the best we could do, under these circumstances".

Comment: Hit the school where it hurts. (Score 3, Insightful) 790

Suspend it from foot ball league. As long as we value football trophies more than the mental health of the students, this will continue to happen.

Even though the recordings have been deleted, the officials can be called in and to testify what they saw. The teacher who was allegedly present in these bullying sessions can be called in to testify. Collect evidence of bullying and have the school suspended for three years. That will teach them.

Comment: Mean number of vulnerabilities is a good metric? (Score 3, Insightful) 188

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46759969) Attached to: The Security of Popular Programming Languages
When you reduce a complex issue to just one number, like "mean number of vulnerabilities", it is often an over simplification. It is tempting to think it is better than nothing. But are we really better off making decisions based on an overly simplified view of things?

One bug that allows silent remote code execution on the WAN side and another bug that is a privilege escalation possibility on the LAN can not be treated as one bug each, right? This is not limited to just security vulnerabilities alone. Many software company top managers insist on looking at bug counts, sometimes sorted into 5 priority/severity levels or so.

It gets worse in the planning and progress monitoring. They use fancy tools like or something, but they allow each team to define its own story points. The Bangalore team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer week. The Boston team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer day. The Bangkok team uses engineer hour. And the top management gets the report, "This SAGA feature story was estimated to take 3264 story points, and it is 2376 points complete". Complete b.s. that is.

We pay ridiculously high salaries for the top management, and instead of expecting them to put in the time, energy and effort commensurate with that kind of pay, to make valuable judgement, hard decisions, step on people's toes, tell it like it is, and paint an accurate picture of the state of the company, we let them shirk their responsibilities.

Comment: Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 2) 385

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46759723) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
The "givers" were the beneficiaries of investment done by the government. By the earlier generation of tax payers. A venture capitalist might fund 10 or 15 projects, hoping to strike it rich on one or two and be willing to write off as a loss the remaining projects. Same way, all the investment government did in establishing the rule of law, investments in irrigation projects, road projects, public education, very long term R&D, etc are all partly responsible for the success of the makers and the givers. Of course many of the makers worked hard and were very resourceful. But not all, some were lucky, some inherited their wealth.

So all in all, it is a fair system where the successful people of one generation, pay the dividends to the original investor, Uncle Sam, so that the gig can keep going for another generation.

You car argue about what is the fair split, what part goes to Uncle Sam and what part the "makers" get to keep etc. And you need to keep the Uncle Sam's part low enough to encourage innovation and hard work and enterprise. But at the same time, you need to watch out for people who would game the system and try to dodge paying their fair share. Making blanket statement that all taxation is theft is dumb.

Anyway that is what I believe in and vote accordingly. You may think differently and vote according to your belief. I think the system is fair and I am staying here. If you think the deal offered by the USA is not good enough for you, pack your bags and leave. Good riddance.

Comment: When it looks hopeless ... (Score 1) 324

I listened to the NPR piece on the netflix band width consumption. Looks like most in the media do not get the basic issue of "truth in labeling". If Comcast sells 6 Mbps connection and does not deliver it, it is no different from Subway foot long sandwich being 11 inches long or the net weight of a bag of potato chips being less than the weight marked on the package. Either they don't get it, or they are paid not to "get" it.

But when it looks hopeless, just remember the dark days of Microsoft monopoly. By 1998-2000 time frame, Microsoft could kill projects and make venture capital vanish for its upstart competition just by issuing press release about vaporware. It really did look hopeless back then, how any one could fight that behemoth. Now Microsoft is still pulling in huge revenues, but it does not look like the unbeatable titan it was seen to be.

Right now, the last mile wiring cost is so high, Comcast has this monopolistic advantage. But wireless-in-the-loop (WITL fiber optics to neighborhood pillar boxes, and wireles from there) technology or micro cell or femto cell networks or something we don't know yet might come in and upset the apple cart for Comcast. WITL is quite effective for sparsely populated rural areas and is quietly building up strength and robustness there. If/when it transitions to compete with wired connections to homes, it could prove to be effective.

Only thing that will save us is competition.

Comment: Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 3, Interesting) 385

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46756975) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
That is how I pay my taxes. But I do pay them. That is how I pay my taxes. I do not see taxation as theft, as many conservatives, libertarians claim. I see government as a long term venture capitalist, who invests in the entire next generation of America. Some of them will strike it big, and others will strike out. If I am one of the fortunate group that was able to take full advantage of the investment the government made in me, investments that protected my earning potential and my property rights, then the tax I pay is just dividend to the venture capitalist. So despite all the reluctance and the pain associated with parting with my money, I know it is the right thing to do. The government investment in the next generation depends on it. I can invest better on my children, and the government investment is creating competitors to my children. If I believed in Social Darwinism, I will fight taxes tooth and nail. But I believe human beings should rise above this level of self interest and pay the taxes. --

Money is the root of all evil, and man needs roots.