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Comment: Fun, But Useless (Score 3, Funny) 125 125

This is a fun device that can show you what can be done with 3D printed plastic. That said, it's useless. It would be really cool if I could apply 1 pound of force to the crank, turn it a Million times, and have it apply a Million pounds of rotational force at the other end. But it's made of plastic, so it won't do that. Indeed, the fast-rotating parts would wear out before the slow-rotating part made a single turn. So it's not even good as a kind of clock.

All that said, it's a good conversation piece, and probably worth the price for that.

Comment: Re:So does this qualify as 'organic'? (Score 5, Interesting) 251 251

So, I'm all for grow local, but when there's sun shining right outside - this doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense to me... unless you are a company that sells grow lights.

You have a point, but you also have to consider the context of comparison.

Plants grown outdoors face an array of problems that the farmer has to account for. Keeping insects off, keeping weeds at bay, keeping the plants watered and fertilized - all this comes at a cost to the farmer.

Indoor farming requires a more expensive infrastructure (the building, trays, and plumbing) but has great savings in some of the other areas. It's easier to keep weeds and insects out, for instance.

Of particular note, outdoors you can't recycle unused water or fertilizer, but this can be done indoors. Collect any unused water after the plants have drunk their fill, remove waste products, top off the fertilizer, and reuse.

So the economic question is this: is the extra money/effort spent on generating light compensated for by the savings in insecticides, roundup, fertilizer, and water?

I think the answer is probably "yes", given that LED lights are incredibly efficient. (Also of note: less of the environment is damaged by excess fertilizer and water drainage. Damaging the environment indirectly costs money.)

Then the next question is with the building: does it make sense to have big windows and use mostly solar light, and adjust as needed with indoor lighting?

Windows cost more than walls, they require extra heating and/or air conditioning, they're not as structurally sound, and the light isn't used efficiently in the 3-d volume; meaning, you can't grow corn on each story of a 5-story building, because the first layer will shade the ones below it. (And windows break, they have to be cleaned, they tend to leak, &c.)

It may be more economically sensible to grow corn in a 5-story warehouse close to a city simply because it reduces the transport costs. It also reduces the amount of land used - allowing more plots to go back to the wild.

And on top of all of this, researchers I've talked to are doing clever things with the light recipe they're giving to plants.

Some plants detect the reddening of the sun and "go to sleep" at sunset. By adjusting the light color, you can keep the plants growing 18 hours a day and then blast them with excess red light to get them to quickly go into night mode. This increases yield by reducing the growing period of their crops.

(A bunch of other experiments are really interesting, such as: hitting the crops with a particular frequency of light to cause their ripening flavors to go into overdrive, making a crop that is inordinately tasty.)

So in summary, we should do the economic experiment and see if it's viable, but in toto there's a lot to recommend indoor industrial gardening.

Comment: Re:slashdot (Score 1) 145 145

I am generally anti-Apple and think Steve Jobs was a massive cock, but I still think that's true. Look at how ineffectual Apple is without him.

Perhaps, but I just don't agree that "but he made a lot of money" excuses cruelty or nastiness. We didn't and still don't need Apple.

It's often criticized, and over the last few conversations on the subject I'd say that the tone on slashdot has been more muted, with less support for his level of abuse. On the other hand, when has Linus gone off on someone who hadn't definitely earned a less-than-polite brush-off?

That's great, but for many years every nasty, unprofessional, over-the-top tantrum he's thrown has been received overwhelmingly glowingly by the slashdot commentariat. I think it's probably the best instance of what I'm talking about, this idea of noticing your own flaws on a successful person and trying to explain those flaws as virtues that explain the success.

Where are those people now? We haven't heard from them basically since... well, you know. Since their argument got taken away..

They were defending him after the guilty verdict. Even after he led police to the body, there were some people on slashdot seriously trying to come up with explanations how he could know where the body was but not have killed her. And, of course, loudly insisting that even if he did kill her there was reasonable doubt during the trial (which there absolutely was not). The defenses tended to be "he's just a geek, he's being persecuted for being uncomfortable with people like me!"

He was in a position of awesome responsibility and performed his job duties to the best of his ability. That's a fairly useless level of integrity in my opinion, but yeah, a very high level as well. He was only arrested after actually having made arrangements to hand over the passwords, as well.

The problem is he did not do his job; he created a new job in his head and did that one. And any administrator who sets himself up as the sole accessor of mission-critical hardware is doing a poor job per se. But in any event, the response here was over-the-top support

Oh no, he's both. He's an easy target, but still a target.

But around here any criticisms of his personality are frequently met with insinuations that it's just the US trying to destroy him. I really don't see the big deal in dropping charges, raising them again, etc.. It's actually not uncommon in criminal prosecutions at least in the US, as decision-making authority moves from police to prosecutors to maybe a higher level prosecutor.

Comment: You don't understand the universe (Score 1) 233 233

True wisdom requires the humility to see the universe for what it is... a step beyond our reason... always and forever.

I heartily endorse that statement, and encourage you to teach it to your children.

(My children, on the other hand, will be competing with yours in the global society and I want to give them the best chance of success.)

Comment: slashdot (Score 2) 145 145

There's always been this weird dynamic on Slashdot where if someone has done something good or useful, or is perceived as "one of us," you get this absolute defense of every single action of that person, no matter how objectionable. A lot of it seems to be based on perceiving oneself in that person, and I suspect wanting to defend them from criticisms they themselves have received in real life.

Examples: Steve Jobs was a cruel narcissist, but he "had to be" to turn Apple into what it is. Linus Torvalds has on occasion treated people nastily, but that's something to be absolutely admired and never criticized. Hans Reiser was being persecuted because he was a geek. Terry Childs was the epitome of integrity for locking out his supervisors. Julian Assange isn't a self-obsessed narcissist, he's the noble target of an international conspiracy to besmirch his good name.

Here's my view:
Julian Assange did a lot of good through wikileaks, and should be praised for that.
He's also on a personal level an objectionable human being and that should not be excused or explained away.
If he is accused of committing a crime in Sweden, he should fight those charges in Sweden.
Whether he's innocent or not of those charges, he's probably not innocent of violating bail, and should be charged with that as well.
The first point I made above is completely consistent with all the ones that follow. people who were I think a lot of it is a sort of

Comment: Re:Competent Authorities (Score 1) 145 145

"So you agree that it's the US, not Swedish law, that wants him imprisoned and made an example of? Because your assertion doesn't really make sense otherwise." That does not logically follow. Both US and Sweden can want him imprisoned, and Ecuador could be acting to thwart just the US. Alternately, just Sweden can want him imprisoned, and Ecuador could just mistakenly believe that the US wants him imprisoned and are acting on that false belief.

Comment: This affects you personally, yes? (Score 1) 145 145

[... long rambling personal attack against Assange...]

He's a douche, so much a douche that even France thinks he's a douche. How sad do you have to be when even France doesn't capitulate?

Apropos of nothing, where are you getting your information?

Your post reads almost like one of those sock puppet things, you know? Paid to promote a particular point of view, without regard to truth or logic.

I'm not saying you're a sock puppet, mind you. It just that your post was a little one-sided, overly emotional and outspoken for the scope of the incident.

Sort of like the "say it loud enough and often enough" propaganda type of post.

How has this incident personally affected you, that you get so riled up about it?

Comment: Not a Federal priority (Score 4, Interesting) 36 36

As many people have pointed out, it's straightforward to set up a honeypot that triggers the exploit, pay the ransom, and then follow the money.

Many people are affected by ransomware. If the US made fixing this problem a priority, many *people* would be relieved of anguish and suffering.

Instead, the feds look into crimes against corporations. How's that investigation into fiber cutting in San Francisco coming along?

Or crimes against authority. What was the cost versus benefit of the Silk Road investigation?

If the US made *people* a priority, it would get done.

(And for the record, Bitcoin is not anonymous and we have agreements with other countries for criminal activity. )

Comment: No, it won't (Score 4, Interesting) 75 75

The problem arises when you make bad associations over the years.

Your brain is an association engine - it silently catalogs all the feelings you get when doing something, and uses this information for prediction in the planning [brain] section.

Over the years, you've built up associations between programming and discomfort in various forms. Now, when you consider going to do some program, your brain automatically recalls all the pain and discomfort that this brings.

The planning section uses the risk/reward equation, and there's usually other values to consider. Normally, the "value" you get from programming is enough to outweigh the discomfort you get. You get rewards for doing it, like interacting with people, figuring out problems, and so on. Getting money is more of an intellectual reward - there's no "feeling" associated with money per-se. (Unless you're Scrooge McDuck and feel joy over just having money. Most people aren't like that.)

Over time, the negative value of the discomfort has grown, relative to the positive value you get from completing goals, learning new things, or social interactions.

It's the same as a lathe operator who gets back pain from stooping over all day long. He'll eventually get tired of doing something he once loved, even if he doesn't remember the pain.

It's *very* difficult to reverse this. You have to build up positive associations, and enough of these to compensate for the negative history.

You can try adjusting your work environment ergonomically: make it more physically comfortable to type, for instance.

You can try getting into a new field: switch from web work to microcontrollers, for instance.

You can try switching to a new environment: shop your resume around, and join a small company with a manager/people you really like.

You can try rewarding yourself for completing goals: promise yourself a slice of pie if you complete such-and-so task today. (Make sure you realize "this pie is because I completed such-and-so" task while you're eating it.)

You can try taking a vacation, but that won't fix the underlying problem.

Good luck!

Comment: iOS users feel it (Score 1, Insightful) 311 311

I currently have a web radio transceiver front panel application that works on Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, under Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. No porting, no software installation. See blog.algoram.com for details of what I'm writing.

The one unsupported popular platform? iOS, because Safari doesn't have the function used to acquire the microphone in the web audio API (and perhaps doesn't have other parts of that API), and Apple insists on handicapping other browsers by forcing them to use Apple's rendering engine.

I don't have any answer other than "don't buy iOS until they fix it".

Comment: Stubbing your toe (Score 1) 52 52

Stubbing one's toe is a potentially life-threatening incident.

Did the paper address this? I would think that the risk of stubbing one's toe would be much higher while wearing AR glasses.

We need more papers like this one. The complete and total characterization of all potential safety issues should be a reasonable goal before anyone is allowed to sell (or wear) one of these devices.

Maybe the FDA should issue a ban while it considers common-sense regulation (like the FAA did for drones).

Comment: Re:Helping out google's algorithm (Score 1) 70 70

Yeah, that "new law" one is f'ing annoying. It's been a "new law" since, uhm, for as long as I've been buying insurance? News flash: You pay different insurance rates based on your driving profile! WOW. They've started changing up the wording with other non sequiturs, but it's the same crap ad. (Why would the DMV give two shits about how much I'm paying for insurance?)

The computing field is always in need of new cliches. -- Alan Perlis