Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 1) 514 514

From an economic standpoint, it's not an irrational "splurge" if you get enough utility out of the purchase to make up for the extra cost. Some people get value from things like using renewable resources and less fossil fuels, investing in technology they think will help solve some serious problems, being self-sufficient, etc... Decisions like this aren't made completely on the basis of cost and that doesn't necessarily mean a person is being irrational or silly.

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 1) 334 334

lifting a very large weight with your excess electricity, then running a generator with it during peak loads or periods. (Did I say VERY large weight?)

Check out this article: According to that, you'd need to lift an 800 pound weight to 3 meters to get the equivalent of ... an AA battery! Add the cost of the chains, concrete, pulleys, gears, etc... to lift a huge amount of weight and this gets expensive quickly for the amount of storage you'd get.

Comment: Re:Isn't this the ultimate goal? (Score 1) 732 732

...taking into account that maintaining them would be essentially free? (as no salaries have to be paid to produce food, shelter, etc...

Except someone has to pay for the robots (materials, construction, maintenance, etc...) that produce the food and shelter. And then that someone owns the robot. And are they going to lend me their robot to build my house? Probably not. So I'm going to need to make money to build my own robots. Well... maybe I'll just be a scientist. Oh wait, everyone else in society is now a scientist so no one wants to pay for me to be a scientist. So now I have no robots and no skills with which to build my house or grow my food. And there are millions of others like me!

Just because we have robots to do all the work, the world won't magically transform into utopia. Someone is going to control the robots. Unless we want the government owning all the robots and determining how much food and supplies we all get, we need some sort of decentralized economy. I'd love to hear ideas on how this would work if people didn't have jobs that other people were willing to pay for, but I am having a hard time imagining how this would be possible.

Comment: It's important. To a CS degree (Score 1) 656 656

Getting a CS degree generally requires you to do a lot of math so, yes, it is important. Things like analyzing algorithms, graphics, simulation, and pretty much anything involving AI requires a lot of advanced math. It's hard, but it can be fun and satisfying as well. And proving that you can master it (by getting a CS degree) shows employers that you can solve problems and should be able to tackle some really hard programming projects. That all being said, general business programming doesn't require a whole lot of math. You can write UIs, stick stuff in databases, and write business rules for 10 years and never do anything beyond some basic arithmetic. I've worked with a lot of people who don't have CS degrees. In fact I would say most don't have CS degrees. It might be harder to get a programming job without a CS degree, but if you work at it you'll eventually find one. After that experience pretty much trumps degree as you progress in your career. At least from what I've seen.

Comment: Re:doing it wrong (Score 1) 183 183

This is what I would do as well. I got all the way through college with a pretty mediocre understanding of programming. It was after college when I found a project that I was interested in building on my own that I really actually learned. Then when I went back for my graduate degree it was incredible how much more I got out of it. So if he could work on something interesting for a while he'd have a big head start on many of his classmates and might actually look forward to his programming classes because they'd start filling in some blanks for him.

Comment: Re:I disagree; Bill is an idiot. (Score 2) 1774 1774

These people are extremists even by the standards of other religious people.

Unfortunately I don't think you can call such a widely held belief extremist. CNN's article about this video references a Gallup Poll that found 46% of Americans believe "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." I find this incredibly depressing.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin