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Comment: Re:Yes They Do! (Score 1) 903

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47998569) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

The dealer will buy a car at auction for $2000, then offer it for sale for $5000 but you HAVE to finance it through them. They will NOT let you pay cash.

I doubt that is true for most of these dealers. I knew someone in the "low end" used car profession and you'd be hard pressed to find a more unpleasant person. He owned a Ford F-250 with a pneumatic lift used to tow cars. He bragged about how he could sell the same car to three different people by simply waiting for them to not be able to make a payment and simply go reprocess the car and put it back on the lot. All at a profit. The only problem being is that this took time and a lot of work which is only offset by volume.

I purchased a Honda Accord from him that he recently purchased at auction. I was able to buy it from him at a price well below Kelly Black Book. I accomplish this because I had cash, was stubborn, and figured that while he could probably finance some cars during the week it was rare someone could give him a nice profit with little work. Profit that he could use in short order at the next automobile auction.

I figured the worst thing that could happen was that he would say no. If that would have happen then I would have simply taken my cash elsewhere.

Comment: Re:Like LAME (Score 2) 268

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47948943) Attached to: TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

Since they are working with the original source code and simply implementing new code with a different license, I don't think those three terms you gave apply. When I think of "Clean Room Design", I think of programmers who program a different implementation knowing only the API and the expected results of the subroutine, method, or entire Application.

This is probably more of a "wink... wink.. Clean Room Design... cough... cough."

Comment: Sink or Swim time. (Score 4, Interesting) 33

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47922453) Attached to: Digia Spins Off Qt As Subsidiary

I like Qt, but being spun off as its own subsidiary makes it easier to shut it down without affecting the parent company's stock.

So I wish them more luck than usual. May Qt not only be a boon for the open source community but also prove that this can not only be self-sustaining but profitable too.

Comment: Re:Of course you use force control to run fast. (Score 1) 90

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47922383) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

I'm not a rocket scientist so I wouldn't know. ;)

Operationally you have have several things working against you:

1. Lift capacity of the balloon will limit the total weight of both your payload and rocket.

2. Weather conditions have to be right for launch. The favorable weather conditions for balloon launches are more restrictive than rocket launches.The balloon is HUGE and you will want little to no surface winds below 100ft. If there is a little wind (slight breeze is more accurate), you need to have it blowing away from structures and towards the safety corridor.

3. Even if the surface conditions are right, you're most certainly limited to two brief periods during the year called "turnaround". This is when the jet stream is changing direction and the high altitude winds are the slowest. Why? Well you can't have the balloon or it's launch platform begin decent over populated areas (if you wanted to reuse the launch platform). If you don't care about recovery, you could plan to have the balloon go over water outside of turnaround but the speed and direction of the gondola could make reaching your desired orbit somewhat complicated.

I think at least for the short term. It's more reliable to just launch from the ground and because of the labor costs of everyone waiting for favorable balloon conditions probably slightly cheaper too. Especially when you'll have to use balloon control and launch people on the ground as well as rocket control and launch personnel at float. It's easy to focus on the rocket fuel costs and not consider the helium, gondola, balloon, balloon launch costs (labor) in the first phase.

I know there are people working on this. I'm not one of them.

Comment: Re:Of course you use force control to run fast. (Score 2) 90

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47919573) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

MIT news always gives the impression they invented something new. I remember a couple of years ago when NPR did a story about some MIT students launching a weather balloon with a camera attached and took pictures from the edge of space. They even went as far as suggesting that one day NASA could use this technology to perform experiments cheaper.

I was taken aback by this announcement, since:

1) Who hasn't launched a weather balloon with a camera attached?

2) (The thing that really made me laugh) I was waiting for the weather to become favorable for our research gondola to be launched at NASA's balloon facility.

Comment: Re:And this makes things (Score 1) 102

Digitizing a book doesn't destroy the original. This means that digitizing the book will have absolutely no negative effect on your library experience.

Instead it allows the library to continue loaning out the original without the fear of losing something that is out of print. Also, people will be able to read the book at the library even though the original was checked out by someone else or even lost or damaged.

I don't see how this is a problem for you.

Comment: Re:Crichton is an idiot. (Score 1) 770

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47855069) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

The lack of context is obvious. Which is why both this thread and the general public are doomed (evil grin).

Scientific knowledge gains traction by building a consensus of scientists that agree because it aligns with their theory or because they were able to reproduce the results. Will there be a consensus of non-believers or even disagreeing scientists? Of course!

There is a political element to science, but most of the time the correct scientific knowledge wins. Why? Because of the weight of the consensus' knowledge of the subject matter counts more than a simple popular vote. If the theory is sound then eventually it will gain traction. Otherwise it will simply become obscure waiting for someone else to take another stab it.

Scientists are not automatons that instantly gravitate to the new correct view. They are opinionated and stubborn. They (rightfully) need to be convinced. This is where consensus building takes place. A paper is published and presented at a conference. The author(s) explains the theory behind their paper and if the subject is popular enough in their niche and the theory is correct (or more correct than current understanding) it will eventually become part of the common knowledge in that field or at least have enough followers. Eventually the new theory will overtake the momentum of the out-of-date one, and become the prevailing theory.

Once you understand that there are scientific politics involved but in an arena where the argument isn't about "feelings" or "power" but about the correctness of one's theory, you should appreciate the fact that so many climatologists have agreed with the concept of global climate change.

The contextual part of consensus:

The reason there is a large consensus of scientists that believe climate change is real is not because of some political argument or personal passion but because they were convinced by the theories and data handed to them. The reason there is a large consensus of climate deniers that believe Michael Crichton is correct isn't because he gave any credible theories or provided conflicting data. It is because they want him to be correct because it conforms to their political views or personal opinion. They both are consensus of people but the motives behind the consensus is what differentiates the two.

Comment: Re:Oh good. (Score 1) 99

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47839055) Attached to: LLVM 3.5 Brings C++1y Improvements, Unified 64-bit ARM Backend

It is not out of the question for Slashdot submissions to expect their target audience to know about LLVM and Clang. If you didn't then you weren't the target audience.

It would be like me having to write "Obama (the current US president)..." in a Democratic Party Newsletter or "Alabama (a US State)..." on an American news site.

Do we have to explain what a "Tesla Model S" or a "Ford Escort" is to the reader? No, because they been around long enough that it can be expected that most of the audience will know about them. LLVM and Clang fall in the same category for the audience of this site.

Instead of reading the article or looking it up on Google, you decided the best thing to do was whine about it. It seemed like a counter-productive move since there are other stories you could have read and commented on.

Maybe you'll find CNet, USA Today, or Highlights for Children more acceptable.

Comment: Re:As someone who went to NC State (Score 1) 595

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47838983) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

I bet it really doesn't.

A quick survey of "Acceptable Use Policy" from several universities including NC State allow for "Authorized users may access University IT resources for occasional, inconsequential personal uses, with no expectation of privacy..." and usually include a bunch of restrictions that apply more to employees than students except where "The use does not negatively impact the availability or performance of the University IT resources" and "no cost is incurred by the University".

Your tuition covered the use of the equipment for academic purposes which means as long as you are doing something specific to your class assignments then you are free to continue using the equipment for as long as you like with the exception of a lab being closed due to a class. If you are using the computer for personal use and someone else needs access to the computer then you will be asked to stop. It's done all the time and it shouldn't be a surprise to you.

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