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Comment: Story from Soviet Russia (Score 1) 270

by EmperorOfCanada (#48187647) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man
A friend of mine bought Vodka in Soviet Russia and described the process as:

Get in line and at the end of that line tell the person what you would like to order. The give you a ticket for the item.
Get in another line and produce the ticket which you then pay for that item.

Then get into a third line where they will very carefully scrutinize the certified paid ticket and give you your vodka if there is any left.

He said that the time he went that the 3 lines were around 40 minutes each as the counter people were very very slow and methodical.

Comment: Remote controlled cars aren't robots (Score 4, Interesting) 80

Slapping some armour and an axe onto an RC car doesn't make it a robot; it is just an RC car with anger management issues. For a real robot battle the robots should be fully autonomous; they enter the ring, are activated, and have at each other. I suspect that the first generation would mostly just go straight into a corner and hack at the wall. But with enough prise money AI routines would start to creep in and then it could get interesting. I would love to see them adapt to damage, or take advantage of their opponent's damage.

The only sad part would be if this is where genuine AI was born.

Comment: Re:I want slower for cheaper (Score 1) 88

by EmperorOfCanada (#48166059) Attached to: Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December
I'll buy that in a second. My pretty shitty service (Eastlink) costs me around $60 a month so in 5 months I would cover the $300. My effective download speed is around 15Mbs but the upload is basically fast morse code and my ping time is often all over the place; enough that I really feel sorry for the gamers.

Not that GF is coming to Canada but I would celebrate my call to Eastlink to tell them that they won't be getting another cent from me in this lifetime.

Comment: I want slower for cheaper (Score 2) 88

by EmperorOfCanada (#48165967) Attached to: Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December
I want 10mbs for around $10. Basically I don't need that much for work during the day and Netflix at night. I don't even need that great a ping time.

Keep in mind that those are the needs of someone who develops software that is heavily network centred. Once in a blue moon when I really need a full iso of a linux distro I might grumble that faster would be better but I am not sure that I would notice the difference 99.9% of the time.

Comment: They could AIG you (Score 1) 150

by EmperorOfCanada (#48148919) Attached to: If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?
In the sub prime mortgage disaster AIG insured for a very low rate against the impossible (or so they thought) possibility of all these mortgage backed bonds and whatnot collapsing. So quite simply they didn't have enough in reserves to cover all the losses. The government ended up stepping in. But in that case the government can just make money out of thin air. They can't make servers out of thin air.

So assuming some company is willing to take your money to provide ready access to a failover crisis how do you know that they can handle the load, it might be like all the Titanic passengers trying to get into way too few lifeboats. Also if something like AWS ever went belly up you couldn't buy a server or find another co-location fast enough. Every other service out there would be instantly swamped even if they didn't double their prices overnight.

My sites are small enough (I don't want them to be) that I could round up enough hardware to host them locally for a while.

But this does potentially make a case for finding some slightly older hardware and doing development on it in your office. The idea would be to have enough hardware to be able to somewhat, or even entirely service you basic server needs. It might not be pretty but it would be way better than 100% down and panicked calling to every cloud host out there.

Comment: When a politician's lips are moving (Score 1) 259

by EmperorOfCanada (#48146569) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed
When a politician's promises something that is not even in his next term of office then he is basically saying that they aren't doing it. In 2020 (assuming their hand isn't forced before then) they will grant "extensions' and "waivers" and magical beans that will allow this practice to carry on.

This could easily be implemented in 2015 or at most 2016. Taxes change all the time and often by huge amounts so drastically changing this wildly unfair situation would be nothing out of the ordinary.

But I will make a prediction. The EU, or Britain, or the US will simply wave a wand and end this practice. Too much revenue is being lost. These companies are clearly generating vast profits domestically in many countries and somehow not paying taxes on those revenues. Not only is this not fair from a tax owed perspective but it is unfair competition to those local companies that pay those massive taxes and can't then use that money R&D, massive marketing, or simply attracting new investors to expand the company. So for any country to allow this continue is to basically throw faeces into the faces of their own industries.

Comment: I want this to be true but... (Score 2) 395

Whenever I see a battery the size of a postage stamp as the prototype I get very nervous. I have read about a zillion revolutionary batteries where the scientists are holding up a fingernail sized bit and saying that all our battery needs have been met. But then the years go by and I never hear about the battery again. The only variation that I am seeing here is that one of them is holding a bottle of milk, while the other guy has a pretty geometric display of fingernail sized batteries.

Quite simply I want to see these guys replace the battery in a small electric car with a known range, battery, charge time, etc and then drive to exhaustion, recharge in 5 minutes and then drive to exhaustion a handful of times with a battery no bigger than the original. Then I want to see a machine that is doing something boringly energy predictable like boiling a tank of water until the charge runs out, recharging, and boiling the just refilled tank of water. That way they can say, this battery the size of a popcan boiled 18 liters of water (or whatever a good popcan sized battery could boil) every 20 minutes for the last 6 months and is able still boil 17.6 liters of water. (25 minutes per cycle for ~10,000 cycles). But some spec of a battery that is subjected to tests that are not real world enough with graphs of discharge rates and whatnot just don't electrify me. Those are great for a science journal but I want tangibles. Unless there is something screwy such as extreme altitude boiling water from room temperature takes a fairly fixed amount of energy.

Comment: Only one important rule that nobody knows anyway.. (Score 1) 404

by EmperorOfCanada (#48143741) Attached to: Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated
When you are flying there is only one real important thing to know and that is how many rows you are from the emergency exit. Basically can you find the emergency exit with your eyes closed? (i.e. full of smoke) The instructions say take note of the emergency exits but unless you can get to them in a crash that you have survived then they might not be much good.

The remainder of the rules are pretty obvious, how to put on your seatbelt, and even the live vest rule is a stupid one to keep demonstrating because if the crash is in water and completely out of the blue then either you imitate someone else's actions or you will blindly struggle (to the emergency exit) and fling yourself out. Or the plane is losing altitude and heading for the water and you will have time to imitate everyone else putting on their life vests.

The reality is that if there is a serious plane problem that the logical measures would include (bailing out with a chute), smearing yourself in a fire retardant gel and putting on a nomex poncho, and having some sort of gas mask, oh and putting on helmets. Those sort of things would vastly increase the survival rates for plane crashes that didn't turn everyone into burnt jam.

The simple reality is that nobody is listening to the safety announcements where they play that lousy game of charades of inflating the vest by mouth and whatnot.

The main use of the stewardesses it to get everyone off the plane in a hurry if something does go wrong. Plus if the plane is going to land in water they will redo the life vest tutorial and you can be assured that everyone is going to pay attention that time.

Comment: Getting better at it too (Score 4, Insightful) 608

by EmperorOfCanada (#48136203) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows
I would think a whole other factor is that when wind turbines are new to an area the expertise in putting them up and maintaining them would be low; thus the costs would be a bit higher. But after a decade or so of experience that the local talent would be getting better and better at selecting, installing, and maintaining the turbines and associated electrical infrastructure.

This would be on top of the fact that the turbines themselves are becoming cheaper and better with their nearly continuous improvements. So for anyone making decisions on future projects these numbers would not only be getting more reliable but could end up not being optimistic enough. Whereas with more mature technologies like coal the numbers are going to simply be the numbers.

Comment: What the f........ (Score 1) 367

Maybe if they were grinding up the camels live (legs first) for fuel for their streetview vehicle. Or were dragging the camels behind the streetview vehicle, then they would have a point.

I see PETA about the same way I do see camels, ornery, biting, spitting, smelly, animals

Comment: Re:Careers damaged (Score 2) 973

I give this project a very high hoax factor but it is no longer 100% like it was the first day that I first read about it. The test I would like to see would include Penn And Teller as the debunkers as they would think way outside the box, not examining extreme physics, but looking for smoke and mirrors.

Oddly enough if Penn and Teller gave it a thumbs up while working with the appropriate physics and chemistry experts, I would say that this is probably true moreso than if any group of physicists gave it a thumbs up.

The simple reality is that this guy really needs to publish how to build your own and let the world have a crack. With this the hoax factor almost instantly goes to 100% or 0%. If it isn't a hoax I suspect that the guy is obsessed with not being ripped off. If I were him what would piss me off is if some somewhat famous physicist looked over my publication and then called the effect governing the process after himself, and the nomenclature stuck. Of course I would also be pissed off is somehow my patent was end-run somehow.

A whole other psychological thing that might be at play would be that the guy does have something but has no idea how it works; thus he might accidentally have figured out an interesting way of tapping into nearby high tension powerlines or something and will be proven to be a fool, even though he may have still developed something fairly interesting, just non-nuclear. Also if many other scientists do get their hands on it and figure out how it works he might just be called a tinkerer, idiot savant, etc as opposed to pretty much being classified along with the guy who invented fire.

I wouldn't bet on this being real, but much like the faster than light neutrinos I have my fingers crossed. Those would have been so cool!

Comment: Careers damaged (Score 1) 973

If this thing turns out to work it will upset a whole lot of apple carts and I am not only talking about the obvious energy sector ones. But projects like ITER go to hell. Patent offices would be forced to use their brains. And then worst of all a whole lot of very smart people with very respectable degrees would have to say, "Not only was that not invented in a prestigious institution by a prestigious graduate who was funded by a prestigious grant giving organization, but we don't have a clue as to how the magic works."

But the real problem with his project is basically that after the last cold fusion debacle nobody will touch that with a 20 foot pole. Basically if you want to work on cold fusion the closest would be to try and get a grand for "Alternate forms of neutron emission for the detection of hidden explosives." To associate your reputation and name with cold fusion would be roughly equal to associating it with paranormal studies. So even if you have a pet theory that you have in a bottom drawer that perfectly meshes with what this guy is doing would you dare take the risk and back this guy?

Comment: ITER Killer (Score 1) 315

by EmperorOfCanada (#48097157) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal
I would be so happy if this was an ITER killer. To me the ITER project is just a massive white elephant that was designed to last entire careers of delivering nothing. All the squabbling over who builds what and where it is built just reeks of petty bureaucrats gone wild. The zillions of dollars should have gone to hoards of small scale fundamental research projects instead of one giant role of the dice.

What would make me laugh even harder would be to find out that the "leaders" of ITER were trying to squash this fusion project just so they don't get shut down.

The other thing that I would be willing to bet is that if the ITER project were shut down that physicists and engineers would pour out of the woodwork saying that they didn't previously dare criticise the project for fear of their careers being destroyed but that now they can say how much the project stunk.

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