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Comment Re:Why only trees? (Score 1) 74

And, then it says, you just put hundreds of thousands of these things under highways, and start reaping a non-trivial amount of electricity

And cause a non-trivial increase in rolling resistance and reduction in mileage of the victim vehicles. That energy had to come from somewhere, and collecting it has side-effects.

TANSTAAFL: The first law of thermodynamics as well as economics.

The trees, on the other hand, may appreciate some energy-absorbing sway damping - especially in a storm. (As long as it doesn't interfere with pumping the water up the trunk to the leaves, of course.)

Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 1) 218

Oops, got the history horribly mixed up. Try this:

Written in 1976, under licensing granting source use in classes, suppressed with the release of System 7 in 1979, which didn't include this license term, (after which Unix source code was deleted from classes and the two-volume set became an underground copier-room classic), general distribution of "ancient source" (including System 6) authorized by SCO and the book reprinted with the 1977 version of the commentary (plus a forward by Ritchie) in 1996.

Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 1) 218

What was the title of those text books?

Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code, a.k.a. "The Lions Book".

Written in 1976, under licensing granting source use in classes, suppressed with the release of System 7, which didn't include this license term, (after which Unix source code was deleted from classes and the two-volume set became an underground copier-room classic), general distribution of "ancient source" (including System 6) authorized by SCO in 1976, reprinted in 1977 with updated commentary and again with added historical commentary in 1996.

See the above-referenced Wikipedia article for ISBNs, more details, and links to more history.

Comment Re:Great (Score 2) 44

How's this, in the last 10 years, what if instead you didn't have 4G / LTE etc, instead you just still had "inefficient EDGE" BUT unlimited data, all month long, endlessly?

You mean... what if the cellphone carriers didn't take advantage of any of the advances in technology that had happened, and just gave us the same shit sandwich they were giving us 11 years ago?

I'd be pretty pissed about that completely different situation too. I'd say to them "Look, why not use the new spectrum the government is opening up for you, use something really efficient like LTE, and offer us more bandwidth for the same cost given we're paying you the same amount of money now as we were when you were still upgrading your network?"

Technology has improved. You'd expect that to result in actual improvements beyond being able to see a web page render more quickly on your mobile. We know capacity has improved, so why can't we access it?

Comment Re:Win3.x Win8.x (Score 2) 90

I'm finding it fairly amusing that Windows 3.x actually looks quite fresh and, ugly pre-anti-aliasing font aside, fairly modern. Which is odd because at the time, as a user of AmigaOS 2.04 at home, I thought it looked clumsy and ugly (and everyone else started to agree about the look of Windows 3.x when Windows 95 came out.)

There's a lot of flatness to the Windows 3.x UI, which is something that's in vogue again.

Comment What would it be like to be close to this event? (Score 1) 425

When these two black holes merged, three solar masses worth of matter got turned into pure energy, in the form of gravity waves. Compare that to a nuclear bomb, where a mass of about one pea gets turned into pure energy. It's hard to wrap my mind around the scale of this event. But adding to that problem is that this is not your ordinary explosion with a bright flash. So what would happen to objects in the vicinity of this gravity wave "explosion"? Would it tear apart our bodies? Would it destroy planets? Would everything heat up from the friction of relative motion? Or would these waves just pass through us without us noticing?

Comment Great (Score 4, Interesting) 44

Gigabit LTE means that you'll be able to use up your entire high speed data quota in less than a minute, unless the carriers finally update their data pricing models.

How is it that we've ended up with $10 for 10Gb or less of data now for about ten years? In the meantime, we've gone from inefficient EDGE to unbelievably efficient LTE, with HSPA+ available now for, what, the last five years on most GSM family networks?

Yet the data prices haven't budged. The carriers have more bandwidth than ever, more efficient ways of using it than ever, but they still think they're running ancient EDGE or cdma2000 networks.

On a positive note, this is more bandwidth than most people's cable modems. I wonder if the cable industry will catch up.

Comment Re:Solution? (Score 4, Interesting) 143

Cultural and social cues too. British people, for example, frequently accuse people from a certain large Northern European country of having no sense of humor. Why? Well, because when they/we (I'm an ex-Brit) make sarcastic comments in front of them, said Northern Europeans take it seriously.

Now I have to assume sarcasm is fairly universal. I'd be surprised if aliens from the Planet Thargh IV are not familiar with the basic concept of "saying the opposite of what you mean because it's absurd, and finding humor in its absurdity". So the chances of said country not actually actually being familiar with the concept is pretty unbelievable.

More likely is that the transmission - the social cues, the way English speaking people exaggerate the first few words of a sarcastic sentence ("Oh a sarcasm detected. Well that's a useful invention!") to indicate that we're being sarcastic and not serious - is different.

There's another location where sarcasm just never seems to work (and, alas, I'm dumb enough not to realize it half the time): The Internet. Or rather, written text, where sarcasm is interpreted as stupidity more often than not. We've even developed cues to try to ensure it's not misinterpretted, from "/s" to fake HTML tags. Again, this suggests everything is about the cues.

Computers probably can detect sarcasm if taught the cues. It ought to be easy: look for cues, determine meaning of sentence, if cues present and interpretation in local context is absurd, call laugh().

Or raiseEyebrow(). Whatever seems appropriate for the lowest form of wit...

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