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Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 1) 323

by Cytotoxic (#48399971) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

One of the linked articles hinted at a problem with information flow of supply and demand in this market. Apparently the government is in the middle of the supply chain - farmers sell their futures contracts to the government exchange and the government sells those contracts to the worldwide commodities markets. So the farmers get a price set by their government and the government skims the price increases. (in lean times this could work in reverse - as price supports protecting farmers) Either way, the market signals are muted. The attached article says this means that investments in increasing production will be delayed by at least a year as farmers don't see price increases until next growing season at the earliest. And if their government decides that the market price is higher than they deserve, the farmers won't get the full price their product could demand in a free market.

Comment: Re:we need more detasils on this "big data thing" (Score 2) 147

by Cytotoxic (#48340169) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

Plus the strategic element of bringing in a consultant. Outside expertise is valuable not only for the expertise, but also because of other less tangible benefits. The outside guy is always more trusted by the business units. It is just human nature. You can lecture everyone on the benefits of some new initiative until you are blue in the face and get nowhere, but bring in a consulting firm to say the same thing and everyone suddenly thinks it is a great idea.

The same goes for having a scapegoat when things go south. A huge change like moving to a new data warehousing technology has a very high probability of hitting major snags and having lots of growing pains as end users figure out what it is that they really want it to do. Having a place outside the shop to shoulder the blame is a big deal, as is having someone outside say "your requirements specified X", something that is often not well received when it comes from the in-house team.

Comment: Re:ignorant rubbish (Score 4, Informative) 264

by Cytotoxic (#48328519) Attached to: We Are Running Out of Sand

I asked in a reasonably factious way, realizing that in any event, dredging the ocean for beach sand would be prohibitively expensive by a long shot.

Not really. They dredge the bottom to replenish beach sand all the time. Pretty much all of the beaches on the Atlantic side of Florida are built out by dredging.

The sand on the beaches naturally moves up and down the shore, making wide beaches and then eroding down to nothing, creating barrier islands and wiping them away. It is only when we stuck a bunch of buildings on the shore and expected everything to stay in one place that this became a problem.

Comment: Re:Hoax (Score 1) 986

Forget Europe, in the US the utilities are required to buy back excess power production from your alternative energy generation kit. At rates that are higher than their own cost of generation.

Here's a pricing sheet from one energy company.

Alabama has much, much less incentives for renewables than other states, so there is very little in the way of installation of things like solar panels.

Besides which, this guy lives in the EU where tax credits, buybacks and other subsidies are in plentiful supply. If it worked to generate electricity (which he does not yet claim to be doing) he would indeed be able to start earning money today.

Comment: Re:Mustang Shelby GT 500 (Score 1) 393

by Cytotoxic (#47935537) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

It doesn't. Because large swaths of the city are depopulated the income is pretty much zero, along with the population. The 50 families that are making 65k on average are irrelevant in a neighborhood with another 350 empty homes. The city wants to close down entire sections and relocate the remaining residents to save on city services. Don't know if they will be able to make that happen. Shrinking population is pretty ugly - at least for a while.

But the cheap real estate and massive empty industrial buildings might attract a lot of growth at some point with the right governance. The question is will any of the infrastructure last long enough for the turnaround to happen. I don't think anyone is betting on it right now.

Comment: Not a cheetah (Score 2) 90

by Cytotoxic (#47916035) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

Exceptionally cool and really fast legged robot. I really liked the ability to alter its gait to bound over an obstacle.

But the defining characteristic of cheetah locomotion is not just the 70mph speed. It is the use of a long, flexible, back to power and lengthen the stride. This bot has a completely inflexible body and is solely powered via the leg joints. Not very cheetah-like. More like a sheep.

But sheep-bot is just not very cool. And if I had built the thing, I would have named it a cheetah robot too. Or maybe Mechanical Hound or Robot 451.

Comment: Re:Fucking Government doesn't care about US (Score 1) 73

by Cytotoxic (#47901749) Attached to: NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

what part of the 10th amendment is so hard for people to understand? If its not written in the constitution itself, the federal government has no authority

I think they pretty much began ignoring that amendment before the ink was dry. They say social security is the third rail of politics, but the 10th amendment is even more off limits. Properly enforced, the 9th and 10th amendments would outlaw most of the activities undertaken by the federal government.

So no, not gonna happen. Not now, not ever.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (Score 1) 789

If you want expert analysis of the Russian government, what better source is there? It is an independent Finnish-owned english language paper specializing in the news of Russia.

Would you go to Izvestia or Pravda instead? Gazeta? Moscow Times might lean against the current government in Russia, but at least they are independent and able to publish critical commentary. You can't really expect the Times of London or the New York Times to have the same level of expertise in Russian politics as the Moscow Times either.

Comment: Degree is not all that relevant (Score 3, Insightful) 117

by Cytotoxic (#47794915) Attached to: Google's Megan Smith Would Be First US CTO Worthy of the Title

There is no doubt that she has the chops and anyone would be lucky to snare an executive with her background and talents. But the article's focus on what degree she has is just silly. The brightest developer I ever knew had a degree in chemistry. The best Director of development I ever hired was an Air Force tech. The best COO I ever worked for was a lawyer / polysci major with no business classes under his belt. The best Director of IT I ever had earned an associates degree and got her A+ certification to get her first job.

Meanwhile, the worst Director of Development I ever had was an MS of CompSci with an MBA. Guy was a tool and an idiot. The worst COO I ever had was an MBA with top grades from a top school. The worst CFO I ever worked with was a chemistry major. OK, that one kinda goes against my point. Forget about him.

  Still, my point stands:

If you are still worrying about your degree 20 years out of college, you haven't done anything.

Comment: Where's the pics? (Score 2) 25

by Cytotoxic (#47773029) Attached to: NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant Galaxy

You gotta love science infotainment.

The discovery was made possible through combining observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

All of those great imaging systems, but we don't get to see any of the images used? Instead we are given an artist's rendition of a galaxy core forming as the lead image. But where's this extreme redshift galaxy?

For those who care to see something real, NASA did include an image of GOODS-N-744 with labels so you could see the fuzzy spot for yourself. I guess you have to wait for the article to be published to see the data from Spitzer and Herschel.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow