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Comment: Flow of traffic (Score 1) 475

by ITEM-3 (#47706629) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit
Most drivers speed, and those who don't act as obstacles for the majority. I routinely drive on two-lane I-10 where the speed limit is 70mph, but I drive at 79 since it's common knowledge that the highway patrol only pull over cars going over 80 (and my gas mileage suffers greatly at 80+). Despite going 9 over, I still get passed by most other drivers and always end up having to deal with some asshole riding my ass because I'm not passing another car fast enough. The only safe option in such a situation is to go even faster so I can quickly move into the right lane and allow the tailgater to pass. The most dangerous situations I've seen are when a car going 71 decides to pass a car going 70 and the speeders behind them switch lanes back and forth trying to force one of the cars to speed up. Going the speed limit is a recipe for disaster.

Comment: AI Optimization? (Score 1) 89

by ITEM-3 (#46735245) Attached to: <em>Civilization: Beyond Earth</em> Announced
The AI in Civ 5 is terrible. Civs have trouble organizing their armies (ranged units up front?), and trying to get a friendly civ to join you in going to war with a common foe is next to impossible unless you go to war when your ally brings it up. If you're already at war, there's no way to get a friendly civ to join you (except for the diplomacy screen, but I've never heard of anyone successfully asking a civ to declare war).

The worst part is how long it takes the game to process the AI's turn. During the first 100 turns, it takes maybe a second to process the next turn, but it grows to 30s - 1min in the late game depending on the map size (at least in my case with a 3.0GHz quad-core CPU and an 8800GTS). It would be great to see some effort put into the optimization of the turn processing algorithm to dampen the exponential increase of processing time.

Also, for once I'd like to play a strategy game where the higher difficulties are differentiated by the intelligence of the AI instead of simply giving them stat bonuses and extra troops/policies/technologies at the beginning.

Comment: Undetected second turn (Score 1) 491

by ITEM-3 (#46566829) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370
I hope the analysis by Inmarsat is correct, but there are still so many unanswered questions. Military radar has conclusively detected the plane's turn to the west shortly after losing contact with air traffic controllers, but in order for the plane to end up in the southern Indian Ocean, it would have had to make another turn to the south. Why wasn't the plane picked up by radar after the second turn? Is it that the plane went so far to the west that by the time it turned south it was far enough out in the ocean to avoid military radar?

I have no experience in aviation, but could the plane's second turn be explained by an attempt to orient the plane with a nearby airport's runway? Is the magnitude of the turn too great for that to be the case? If scenarios involving a fire or sudden depressurization are true, then perhaps the initial turn and drop in altitude were an attempt by the pilots to protect themselves and the passengers, and the second turn was meant to set an approach to a runway for an emergency landing. It could be that the pilots lost consciousness before reaching the runway, and the plane just continued on. Of course, that would mean the plane had flown back over land, over an airport even, and in that case it would have certainly been detected by radar. But perhaps an instrumentation failure caused them to be far off the mark.

I'm just thinking aloud at this point. But the question stands: why would the plane make a second turn?

Comment: It's all about jailbreaking. (Score 1) 199

by ITEM-3 (#46516845) Attached to: A Call For Rollbacks To Previous Versions of Software
The point of most of the updates to mobile devices, especially in the case of Apple, is to patch security flaws which allowed users to jailbreak their devices. If users could downgrade their OS, Apple would be powerless to prevent people from escaping the walled garden. Nintendo did the same thing with the Wii; the sole purpose of several updates was to break the Homebrew Channel. Honestly, I'm surprised we're not forced to upgrade as soon as the update is ready, although I imagine that will change in the coming years.

Comment: SUSY isn't dead yet. (Score 5, Interesting) 138

by ITEM-3 (#46405103) Attached to: The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry
In SUSY, there is no way to predict the masses of supersymmetric particles, but there is a way to predict a range of values that the mass of the lightest SUSY particle must fall within in order for SUSY to be a valid theory. The range is determined by the mass of the Higgs boson. For small Higgs masses (less than ~100GeV, don't quote me on these numbers as it's been a while) and large Higgs masses ( greater than ~140GeV), the range is very small, and our current colliders would have already disproven SUSY. However, the observed Higgs mass of 126GeV is a sweet spot which allows the mass of the lightest SUSY particle to be far greater than the LHC can produce. It'll take a few more colliders before we can dismiss SUSY completely.

Comment: An obvious solution to the backlash (Score 1) 2219

by ITEM-3 (#46193395) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
Keep Slashdot classic as an option. It does not need to be the default; by all means, have Beta be the face of Slashdot for newcomers. This will accomplish two things:

1. Keep your current contributors. By the time you read this, you'll (hopefully) have realized the greatest perceived value in Slashdot is the comments. Slashdot users provide that greatest of content you deliver, but Beta cripples the ability to read and create that content. You have to accept this, or Slashdot will succumb to the entropy of Web 2.0 and be forgotten.

2. Make lots of money. Beta is pretty and will attract a "modern" crowd for that sweet, sweet ad revenue. But why will they stay if there's no longer anything to distinguish the site? Once a newcomer wastes an hour reading comments on an NSA article, they'll see the value in the site and return. No classic, no comments, no ad revenue.

Make the right decision! There's no reason you can't please everyone!

Comment: Re:Not worthless (Score 1) 593

by ITEM-3 (#46154529) Attached to: Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

why do you follow religion A? accident of birth: you were born in a country where most people follow A. and so, you are taught and are 'sure' that A is true.

if you were born in country B, you'd be 'sure' that B's religion is true and factual.

I wish I had mod points to use here. I had this same realization many years ago, and soon after I abandoned my religion of birth (Christiantiy) and decided to pursue science. Unfortunately this argument doesn't work well on most religious people since they can come up with a handful of names that converted to their religion, which they use to argue that a truly enlightened person will find his way to the "correct" religion. Of course, they never mention anyone who converts in the other direction...

Comment: Biology's problem (Score 2) 197

by ITEM-3 (#45257651) Attached to: How To Better Verify Scientific Research
Whenever one of these stories is posted about inaccurate and falsified research papers, it's always a field related to biology. This doesn't seem to be nearly as much of a problem with the hard sciences (physics, chemistry). We should avoid rhetoric like "science has lost its way" since the problem is mostly isolated to one branch of science and such statements only serve as ammo for the anti-science crowd. Disclaimer: I'm a physicist.

"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it." -- C. Schulz

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