Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Hydrogen and Helium? (Score 1) 34

Per rule 1, the 1500 gram limit is "dry" meaning not including fuel which would presumably also mean not including the compressed air. It's the compress-ability that really matters here. You could get a lot more energy into compressed hydrogen than compressed air. But it's against the spirit of the competition.

Comment Dear Amazon (Score 2) 223

If you want me to use your instant and prime video options, the correct course of action would be to make the available everywhere, not to remove products that you refuse to support (and given that I've seen Chromecast apps knocked out in a weekend there's really no excuses). Oh, and make it so that shared prime actually shares all of the prime features instead of just shipping. It's incredibly stupid that prime videos don't work on my phone because my wife's Amazon account has the primary prime account.

Comment Re:MANY people knew about it (Score 4, Insightful) 494

I work in production test. It is a constant battle with people who should know better trying to ship things that shouldn't be shipped.

I could absolutely imagine a scenario where someone comes up to an engineer says "we pass emissions in this scenario, but not these others" and then pushing, cajoling, even threatening that guy into "bending the rules" and "making things work" so they can start shipping. How much does the average car factory lose for each hour of downtime? Even more likely if the issue is a fundamental flaw that will cost millions to fix. All it takes a couple guys trying to be heroes or save their jobs.

Again, I'm not saying that's what I think happened, especially in light of how widespread the issue appears to be and how fast executives are jumping out with their golden chutes. But I do work in a similar industry in a similar capacity, depending on how the internal culture it would be easy for one or two people to make this happen.

Comment Re:Pulling that off was a major conspiracy (Score 3, Interesting) 494

That depends if the low emission mode was already coded and used in some other circumstances. If for example the engine enters that mode after idling for 30s. It could be relatively simple for one or two programmers to include a simple check that detected the dynamo scenario and put the engine into that mode, it would almost certainly be possible to obfuscate what's going on so a casual review wouldn't detect it.

Do I think that's what happened? No. Lone coders don't go off the rails that far without direction from above. If nothing else, it's doubtful the software engineers were directly aware of the emissions problem without anyone else being in the loop. But it is at least theoretically possible.

Comment Re:Been saying this for years (Score 1) 684

To be fair, those other planets wouldn't have several billion humans all clamoring for the same dwindling resources. It is very possible that when competition from fellow humans is factored in, it would be easier to obtain food on Mars than on a "doomed" earth.

Comment Re:Going to Mars is a bad idea (Score 1) 684

The SLS Block 2 will (if it ever flies) has a lift capability of 300,000 lbs. 10 launches is expensive, but not ludicrously so. Pulling rocket fuel out of the Martian atmosphere is going to cut that number by quite a lot. I could see a Mars mission being accomplished with 3 launches. One to put the ascent vehicle/rocket fuel extractor on the surface. A second batch of supplies. And one to bring the crew.

Comment Re:Job guarantee is much more sound approach (Score 1) 1291

There is no good reason to choose basic income (income guarantee) over a job guarantee where the government is the employer of last resort.

I can think of several.

How much more does the bureaucracy cost to employ 20,000,000 people vs simply handing them a check?
How much more does the bureaucracy cost to run other programs (such as SS disability for those unable to work) alongside a job guarantee?
How does a right to work account for dependents?
If people don't have to work, why should they?
If all meaningful jobs are automated, why force people into unmeaningful work?

Comment Re:Moon Zero? (Score 1) 147

The only thing doing the test runs in Antarctica accomplishes that doing them in Houston doesn't is increase the risk. Yes, there's some benefit there, people behave differently if they know their life is on the line. On the other hand, if you spend half a decade training your astronauts and have them die in the final shakeout you're out literally millions of dollars and irreplaceable training time.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 5, Insightful) 485

Yes, lets run down the arguments in the article:

"It's obvious from my email today that this icon and MS pitch alone are confusing many users."
Ok, this actually has nothing to do with Windows 10 itself. It's a valid point as far as it goes, but how exactly was MS supposed to inform the affected users that the Windows 10 update was available?

"If you decide you do not wish to upgrade to Win10 now, you may want to get rid of that notification. MS doesn't tell you how (surprise!) and the procedure can range from relatively simple to "a real mess" "
Again, not actually about Windows 10. In fact it's about how to avoid Windows 10, which MS wants people to see as simply another update a la "Update Tuesday", though granted a major one.

"Many users -- especially on somewhat under-powered systems -- may find Win10 to be a painfully slow experience compared with Win7, irrespective of MS' claims."
Big citation needed. There's no evidence that Windows 10 performs worse on low power systems and there's significant evidence that it performs better.

"Worse, some functionalities important to many users are missing. If you use Windows Media Center -- that's gone from Win10. DVD playback is currently problematic."
I guess I don't know about this one. I do know I was able to play DVD's on the technical previews without issue.

"And here's a biggy. If you don't want Microsoft installing updates automatically -- if you're a user who has chosen to take control of this process up to now -- you probably will hate Win10."
Ok, here we have arguably the first real problem. MS has botched Windows updates in the past. Being able to block them and roll them back is how those situations have been limited and fixed. Lumping drivers into this forced upgrade schedule... as a laptop user this makes me nervous. Laptop drivers can be quite finicky and I don't always blindly trust newer versions when they land.

"In some environments, this is unacceptable from a support and security standpoint, and reports are already coming in regarding driver related issues."
Going back to FUD again... the automatic, unblockable upgrades only applies to Home users. If you're using Home editions in a corporate environment you're gonna have a bad time. It's also probably against your license agreement and can land you in trouble (right or not) with the licensing boards.

"The details are buried down in the new Win10 privacy policy/user agreement, but the bottom line is that by default Win10 will be sending a lot of your data from your computer to Microsoft that they never had access to before." (Data syncing by default)
We're back on track! This is a real issue potentially. I'd prefer this were more explicitly spelled out during install and the user given more fine grained control over things. Sending all your docs and data to a 3rd party by default without informed consent should be illegal IMO. The fact that you can turn the features off mitigates things, but doesn't really solve them.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau