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Comment: Does anyone remember Amadou Dialo? (Score 1) 207 207

Amadou Dialo put his hand in his pocket to retrieve his pager and was shot 41 times. A phone these days, is not much larger than an pager was in 1999, and attempting to anticipate a police officer's request for a license could very well make you dead.

Comment: Inadequate (Score 2) 133 133

Not only does it fail to account for loss or distortion, but also fails to consider the time to decompress. If a compression algorithm with a high Weissman score is applied to a video, it is useless if it cannot be decompressed fast enough to show the video at an appropriate frame rate.

Comment: Doesn't everybody know that by now? (Score 2) 441 441

The advocates of wind energy make no claim that the wind generators will run 24/7. Nevertheless, calculating payback as if they do provides a convenient comparison to other power sources. In practice, a combination of wind, solar and natural gas can economically provide power and greatly reduce the generation of greenhouse gasses and should cost less as usage of the technology grows. In fact, similar technology works for hybrid cars and for Florida Power & Light's hybrid gas / solar electric plant ( Obviously this is still an experimental arrangement, but it works for cars, so why not commercial electric power?

Comment: Most Slasdot readers know about laches... (Score 2) 83 83

yet most of us would be hard pressed to remember a case in which it was successfully asserted. ( Are we to believe that it took Spherix five years to check whether the world's largest manufacturer of network products was violating their patents? Assuming that Cisco is in fact infringing those Nortel patents, justice in this case would be served if they got an award based no more than six months worth of Cisco's sales of the products cited by Spherix.

Comment: So now we now the NSA's plans for growth... (Score 4, Insightful) 234 234

Is my Kaspersky Antivirus going to find and remove their viruses? Or even better, perhaps some enterprising hacker will write a tool that that sends its own malware back through the NSA bot net and trashes their servers. When I was a youngster "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us" was amusing. Now it it taken as a guiding principle by our intelligence services. It's sad.

Comment: Re:Rather early to call the site a failure, isn't (Score 1) 497 497

It is all too easy to join the mob, shout invectives at the speaker and drown out reasoned debate. This post has it exactly right. We don't know yet whether the 36 state system simply underestimated the traffic, has some sloppy coding - which will be corrected quickly, or has fatally flawed architecture that cannot be easily corrected. Did they use Top Down Design, Bottom Up Design, or perhaps, as seems more likely, the designers are advocates for the Agile Software Manifesto. By January, we will know a great deal more about what they did, what went right and what went wrong. The are important lessons here for anyone who writes software, and it is too early to make valid conclusions until the details are made public.

Comment: Re:In the the land of he free (Score 5, Insightful) 1233 1233

You got the wrong Arthur Dent quote - should have been this: “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..." "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?" "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people." "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy." "I did," said Ford. "It is." "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?" "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

Comment: This may be Elon Musk's dream, but... (Score 4, Informative) 258 258

credit for the invention belongs to Dr. Joseph V. Foa who was awarded US Patent 3213802 for a "train in a tube" in 1965. This was the basis for a number of years of research into the concept at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the 1960s.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955