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Comment: Re:It seems like squeegeeing is the wrong approach (Score 2) 203

by eldavojohn (#48386159) Attached to: Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

For a human, using a sponge and squeegee combo is probably the most effective way to clean a window. For a robot, I would imagine that the answer is something more like a pressure washer, with a hood which covers the work area and reclaims the wash water. The water would then be filtered and reused until the particulate count rose too high, at which point it would be flushed and replaced with fresh. A sheeting additive would be used to cause the water to run off without spotting.

This probably wouldn't replace human window washing entirely, but it seems like it has the potential to replace at least some of the washes.

I've often wondered if anyone has ever tried a project to make a building which washes itself, using a robot designed for the building, and a building designed for the robot. I can imagine many problems with such a project without even undertaking it, mostly related to critters taking up residence in the mechanisms and/or tracks, but if it operated continuously that might well eliminate some of those objections. A universal window washing robot has a more complicated task than such a device would.

Did you even read the article? You'll find it discusses how the old World Trade Center Towers had built in devices that were made specifically for the building that would automatically go up and down cleaning it. The only problem was they missed the corners and creases of each pane and the rich people at the top of the building didn't want the grimy borders to their new expensive view of NYC.

It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for building a nice big heavy expensive machine that moves up and down a building. Burst forth and implement your idea, I think you'll find that the the weight, the power and the water feed to these devices will push you towards what has already been implemented and did not do a satisfactory job. Humans had to follow up behind the built in robots to clean spots they had missed.

It's funny, I read articles on Slashdot about how AI is the one thing that threatens man. And we can't even implement AI and pattern recognition to replace a window washer -- oh the incongruity!

Comment: Your Thoughts and Use of Post Processing? (Score 3) 35

So I'm not too knowledgeable on photography but one thing I'm aware of is that professional photographers do a lot of post processing. To the point of Adobe Lightroom or higher being so mandatory with DSLRs that they sometimes package it with lenses (especially the ones that distort like a wide angle lens). Do you post process your photos? To what extent? How do you feel about people who use advanced techniques like even adding color to their photos? For example, I came across this photo which was odd to me because I've been to that place and it's beautiful but not like in that photo -- it doesn't need fake pink clouds to be beautiful. It would seem to me a shame to have a tree live 2,000 years and then a human uses a fish eye lens on its knotted trunk to make it seem more old and gnarled and then later adjusts the darkness of the sky to give it a Halloween feel, etc. And then since that's the most artistic shot of it, that's how we remember it.

Comment: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World (Score 5, Interesting) 437

by eldavojohn (#48352337) Attached to: The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat
When I was younger and I first came across this quote by Mahatma Gandhi:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

I always thought it was bizarrely tautological. If you wish something to be different and you personally can make a choice for it under your control to be different, then you make the correct choice. For example, I don't throw a soda can out the window of my car while complaining about pollution on the highway. Other people obviously don't care but I control the drop in the bucket I'm responsible for and I make the ethical choice.

But as I got older, I actually found and still find people that think they should be forced to do it the right way even while complaining about the abuse. Case in point, a friend in the medical profession was actually complaining about tax dodges while setting up his own backdoor Roth IRA. When I asked him about abusing the very rules he was decrying, he simply shrugged and said he doesn't make the rules he just follows them. He acknowledged it's shady as hell but pretty much felt like his hands were tied.

It was deeply troubling ... I get a similar feeling about this article. I understand it is sometimes harder to play by ethical rules than legal rules when everyone around you is benefiting from misconduct but ... it seems this is yet another example of the caste system thriving in India. It's simply stupefying on the "My dad is Li Gang" level.

Medicine

Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid" 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the dumb-bug dept.
concertina226 writes that researchers have found a virus that appears to reduce people’s thinking power and attention span. "Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains. The researchers were conducting a completely unrelated study into throat microbes when they realized that DNA in the throats of healthy people matched the DNA of a chlorovirus virus known as ATCV-1. ATCV-1 is a virus that infects the green algae found in freshwater lakes and ponds. It had previously been thought to be non-infectious to humans, but the scientists found that it actually affects cognitive functions in the brain by shortening attention span and causing a decrease in spatial awareness. For the first time ever, the researchers proved that microorganisms have the ability to trigger delicate physiological changes to the human body, without launching a full-blown attack on the human immune system."

Comment: Self Censorship in Your Industry (Score 1) 58

by eldavojohn (#48310787) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question
I've never really enjoyed main stream comics but the imprints that dodge the archaic Comics Code have pulled me in with various titles -- some of yours even. According to your wikipedia page you left Hellblazer after DC refused to print a controversial comic of yours in such an imprint:

He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre.

Is this common in comic books/graphic novels? Have you experienced this elsewhere in your career? Do you feel that DC and other big publishers are too afraid of another Fredric Wertham to toe the line?

Social Networks

New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-tweet-pictures-of-your-breakfast-otherwise-the-terrorists-win dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Sky News: The new head of GCHQ has accused social media websites of helping terror groups and called for closer ties with intelligence agencies. "'However much they [tech companies] may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us." ... Mr. Hannigan said that smartphone and other mobile technologies increased the opportunities for terrorist activity to be concealed in the wake of the exposing of secret cables and documents collected by US and UK authorities by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Mr. Hannigan said that smartphone and other mobile technologies increased the opportunities for terrorist activity to be concealed in the wake of the exposing of secret cables and documents collected by US and UK authorities by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Comment: Fresh out of college with 20 years experience (Score 5, Funny) 574

by Cliff Stoll (#48307277) Attached to: The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

Can't resist tooting my own horn. These are from my Klein bottle website:

    TOPOLOGY CONSULTANT Part-time design of low-dimensional manifolds in glass, wool, plastic, titanium, niobium, pentium, and unobtanium. Ideal candidate is fresh out of college with 20 years experience in applied topology; and can solve Poincare's, Heawood's, and Hodge's conjectures. Pay & benefits are epsilon above unemployment. Compensation package includes trillions in worthless stock options.

    GLASSBLOWER Construct borosilicate manifolds using lampwork. Handy with glass lathe, oxy-hydrogen torch, and bandaids. Must know the usual cuss words to describe breaks & cracks. Experienced in minor burn treatment. Special bonus if you know the difference between inside and outside.

    MANIFOLD OPERATOR. Curvaceous, conformal Riemannian vector field desires normalized Ricci tensor with nice eigenvalues. Will relocate within proper metric space. No polymorphic permutations, please.

    From http://www.kleinbottle.com/job...

Comment: China's Complete Supply Chain (Score 5, Interesting) 62

Recently this year the WTO ruled against China's practices in the rare earth market but some pundits have stated that this ruling doesn't matter because China controls the whole supply chain of rare earths. Would you care to comment on the efficacy of the WTO's ruling? Can you explain what part of the supply chain the US is missing? For example, we're missing mines but if we had mines we're missing refineries but if we had them we're missing ... etc. What throughput of each mineral in our domestic supply chain would we need to put the US government at ease?

Comment: The True Cost of Various Environmental Laws? (Score 5, Interesting) 62

The minerals themselves aren't necessarily rare in an absolute sense, but they're expensive to extract.) The most economically viable deposits are found in China, and rising prices for them as exports to the U.S., the EU, and Japan have raised political hackles. (At the same time, those rising prices have spurred exploration and reexamination of known deposits off the coast of Japan, in the midwestern U.S., and elsewhere.

My understanding revolves around only the crudest idea about modern mining methods and the resulting tailings & water usage they often employ. I assume that in China, they get around these costs by just damaging the environment (like dumping tailings where ever instead of having dedicated settling and filtering ponds). Could you give us some back of the envelope calculations (they could be percentages or additional yearly operating costs) of what these environmental regulations mean for mining operations in the United States versus China? There's an awful lot of talk on Slashdot and other news sites about how cost prohibitive the EPA makes business in America but I've never seen an expert in the industry actually talk hard numbers. Any ballpark estimates would be greatly appreciated. In your experience, are any of these laws and regulations less or more effective than others?

Comment: What Does Systemd Mean to Me? (Score 5, Funny) 928

by eldavojohn (#48276995) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?
"What Does Systemd Mean to Me?"
By
eldavojohn

Systemd has a nice ring to it. The way the syllables roll off my tongue pleases me greatly. It could be the title of a great anime series. It could even be the lost name of an ancient forgotten god-king. It might even be the name I give my first born. It sounds much more authoritative and genuine than sysvinit or upstart or inetd. For instance from my non-technical fourth grade perspective this is what I interpret the others to mean:
  • sysvinit - A cheap knockoff of systemd. Sounds sort of like a sexually transmitted disease phase like syphilis virus initialization.
  • upstart - Sounds like you don't know what the hell is going on. "This young upstart" ... leave it to the pros, greenhorn. Leave it to systemd.
  • inetd - What are we, fishing here? You netted? You netted what? At least tell us what you netted. Is it a record breaking fish? Also, nice try with the cheap 'd' knockoff at the end. Leave it to the originals. Leave it to ... systemd.

Contrary to your base assumptions, systemd does not actually boot faster on my Pentium II (Intel inside) system. I just like the way it sounds.

  • Personal Experience - I actually stood up at dinner last night and slammed my fist down on the table and yelled at my wife that "WE WILL ONLY USE SYSTEMD IN THIS HOUSE FROM NOW ON" and I flung her iPad against the wall, shattering it. And then I got down on my knees in tears -- having seen the light -- and swore fealty to systemd.
  • Working Examples - Three nights ago I stole away into the night across town to the Olafsen's house (a predominantly Norwegian family) and (being predominantly of Swedish descent myself) spray painted on the front of their new home: "SYSTEMD BOOT HOME" in blood red paint. This was a Nice Thing in a "never forget" sorta way. I then got down on my knees in tears and applied the spray paint liberally to my upper lip -- the same condition in which I write this post for you, dear reader.
  • Links to Supporting Documentation - [1]

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265833) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

You know that you don't have to just add useless and uninteresting words to something that already had substance, right? At least borrow some quotes from Socrates' Dialogues to spice things up: There is admirable truth in that. That is not to be denied. That appears to be true. All this seems to flow necessarily out of our previous admissions. I think that what you say is entirely true. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. To that we are quite agreed. By all means. I entirely agree and go along with you in that. I quite understand you. I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. If you're going to say _nothing_, at least be interesting about it, post anonymously, or risk looking more clueless / foolish. This is why the moderation system is in place, and mods typically don't listen to inanities like "Well said" when deciding on what to spend their points.

1. I'm too busy to sit around thinking up additional words to throw in so I can score "mod" points

2. The people I like on Slashdot are too busy to read a bunch of additional words I only threw in so I can score "mod" points

3. It's not in my nature to waste words, or to waste time

Comment: Re:Great. (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265487) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

If other posts here on Slashdot are any indication, "Mr. Councilman" is just as likely to lose political points by supporting the poor.

Actually this particular councilman represents an extremely high-rent district--Manhattan's upper east side. I doubt there are many wealthier neighborhoods in the world. He's not doing this to 'score points', he's doing it to do the right thing.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 3, Insightful) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264991) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

It is my opinion that poverty is partially systemic. Our economic system depends on there being a pool of available workers (unemployed and underemployed). So as long as there is capitalism and a functioning free market, there will always be poor people. That being the case, we have a responsibility to make sure the basic needs of everyone are met. Increasingly in order to succeed in school and in life, Internet access isn't really a luxury.

Well said

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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