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Comment: $7-per-month service (Score 1) 174

by GPS Pilot (#49755111) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

If you're like me, it's the expense of your talk, text and data plan that you dislike, not the features of a smartphone.

I pay $20 every 90 days to Virgin Mobile (works out to $6.67 per month). I'll upgrade to a smart phone if and when the price of a plan that includes a reasonable amount of data drops to $15 per month. Until then, I'll make a mental note of what online content I'd like to consume, and wait until I get home to consume it.

Calculate the annual cost of your cell phone plan; do you find that having instant gratification of your online desires is worth that cost? Not judging; just curious.

Television

Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million 214

Posted by timothy
from the folding-up-money dept.
Actor Harry Shearer, perhaps best known as the voice of several characters on The Simpsons, including that of Montgomery Burns, will be leaving the show's cast, according to CNN. Showrunner Al Jean said Shearer was "offered the same deal as the rest of the cast, but turned it down." ... Shearer is not just walking away from Springfield, but also a large sum of money. The actor was offered a guaranteed $14 million for two years of work, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter. The proposed deal also allowed for him to do other projects if he wished." That last part, though, seems to be in dispute, and central to Shearer's decision to leave; Shearer tweeted that it's because he "wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Comment: The very fatal flaw in your argument is obvious (Score 1) 372

by GPS Pilot (#49651159) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

TFA says CO2 levels are at an all-time high. That means the predicted disasters were not averted because anybody did anything to reduce CO2 emissions. The predicted disasters were averted because the predictions were wrong. Predictions such as...
* "entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” -- U.N. official Noel Brown, in 1989
* We have only “50 days to save the world from global warming” -- UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in 2009

Comment: Humans will survive (Score 1) 372

by GPS Pilot (#49651093) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

we have no guarantee we can survive in any climate other than the one we evolved in

Except historical precedent. Even low-tech humans have adapted to a huge range of climates. Think Inuit living on the edge of Baffin Bay, and Bedouins living in the deserts of Sudan.

Technology can't provide us with food when none of our crops can grow anymore.

Think veggies growing in greenhouses that are either cooled or heated -- depending on which way climate change goes -- by nuclear power plants. Is that not an example of technology providing us with food?

(Nevermind that global warming will cause the amount of arable land to increase. There are huge tracts of land in Canada, Siberia and Alaska that will be farmed if the growing season gets a little longer.)

I'm not saying mucking with the climate is a good idea. But your dire predictions of possible human extinction are right out; they're the kind of alarmism that destroys credibility.

Space

17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-it-another-30-secs dept.
New submitter Bo'Bob'O writes: The BBC reports that the scientists at the Parkes and Bleien Radio Observatories in New South Wales, Australia, have tracked down earth-based signals that had been eluding observation for 17 years. These signals, which came to be called Perytons "occurred only during office hours and predominantly on weekdays." The source, as it turned out, was located right inside the antenna's tower where impatient scientists had been opening the kitchen microwave door before its cycle had finished. As the linked paper concludes, this, and a worn magnetron caused a condition that allowed the microwaves to emit a burst of frequencies not expected by the scientists, only compounding the original mystery.
Transportation

Smart Headlights Adjust To Aid Drivers In Difficult Conditions 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute are developing smart headlights that not only trace a car's movement around bends, but are programmable to assist a driver in a wide range of driving conditions. The research team, at the institute's Illumination and Imaging Laboratory, is looking into designing headlights which do not highlight raindrops and snowflakes in bad weather, instead passing light around the individual drops and improving visibility. Its near-future design would also be able to avoid glare even when the high beam is in use, detecting up-coming vehicles and disabling the range of light that is directed at it. They also hope to incorporate GPS data to adjust the direction of the headlights according to the lane that a driver is occupying, illuminating it more brightly compared to surrounding lanes. The technology is supported by a looped system which will constantly read, assess and react to driving conditions. The prototype also features a built-in camera to capture visual data before transferring it to a computer processor installed in the vehicle, where it can be analyzed.
Television

ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles 329

Posted by samzenpus
from the sports-or-nothing dept.
Mr D from 63 writes: ESPN isn't a fan of Verizon's new way of offering cable channels under its Fios TV service — they're now suing Verizon for it. The lawsuit comes after Verizon unveiled new bundles that allow customers to choose specific packages of channels that can be swapped every 30 days. ESPN claims this offer is not in compliance with their agreements with Verizon. In the U.S., ESPN depends heavily on viewership during the football season, then basketball. "ESPN is at the forefront of embracing innovative ways to deliver high-quality content and value to consumers on multiple platforms, but that must be done in compliance with our agreements," said an ESPN spokeswoman in a statement. "We simply ask that Verizon abide by the terms of our contracts."

Comment: "had" -- past tense? (Score 1) 365

by GPS Pilot (#49480841) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Of course, then we had the prospects of global thermonuclear war hanging over our heads as well, so the idea of the world having to rebuild everything didn't seem far-fetched at all.

I wasn't aware that threat had gone away. As of 2013, Russia had 8,500 warheads and the U.S. had 7,700. China and North Korea both have more now than they did in the 1970s.

Google

EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-too-good-at-what-you-do dept.
Bruce66423 sends news that the European Union has decided to hit Google with antitrust charges that could lead to fines of over $6 billion. The EU has been investigating Google for five years now. "The European Commission has highlighted four main areas of concern in its investigation: potential bias in Google’s search results, scraping content from rival websites, agreements with advertisers that may exclude rival search-advertising services and contracts that limit marketers from using other platforms." They're also keeping an eye on Android-related business practices.

Comment: Implications of reduced following distance (Score 1) 477

even when they're nearly bumper-to-bumper

Driver's Ed teachers always told their human students to maintain a two-second following distance. With the much faster reaction times of autonomous vehicles, a safe following distance can be redefined to a much shorter value.

This is going to tremendously increase the carrying capacity of the existing highway system.

Comment: I'm angry, eh? (Score 1) 265

Solar energy has always "worked." But it has not always been cost-effective.

Slashdot readers who held nuanced views that mass adoption should wait until it was cost-effective, have been characterized by other, un-nuanced Slashdot readers as "angry."

And it's not "hippies" who were right about solar; credit goes to the semiconductor scientists who kept upping the efficiency of PV cell designs, while reducing manufacturing costs.

Comment: Should have been spelled out in the contract (Score 1) 133

by GPS Pilot (#49350961) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

If the customer (the U.S. government) wants its auditors to be able to question individual employees, that should be clearly stipulated in the contract, and then the contractor should have no qualms about meeting the terms of that stipulation.

Lesson learned for how to draw up future contracts, I guess.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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