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Comment: Re:Oblig xkcd (Score 1) 133

by PPalmgren (#49629559) Attached to: Opportunity Rover Reaches Martian Day 4,000 of Its 90-Day Mission

Honestly...probably not. We have the capability to put drop a tiny payload on Mars. Now figure out how to drop a payload with almost the size of the original launcher on mars in a controlled descent. It also has to land perfectly within close range of the rover, be able to re-launch, and probably have to retreive/compartmentalize the rover in order to not damage it during landing. Might as well just do a manned mission to Mars.

Comment: Tribalism is worse with Free Software (Score 1) 177

by PPalmgren (#49575695) Attached to: When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly

OSS communities, by nature, don't lend themselves well to large top-down designs. Unfortunately, that's the most common way humans have been able to successfully organize authority, showing itself in government and business alike. The result resembles feudalism - a bunch of small OSS lords ruling their small fiefdoms with a tribal mentality for anything against their cause. It is a very caustic environment, and in my opinion, the number one reason Free Software remains marginal. Decisions around OSS are made on politics and ideals, not on pragmatism. Its hard to attract mindshare in that kind of environment.

Comment: Re:Xylitol to the rescue? (Score 1) 629

by PPalmgren (#49568307) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Based on the name, this is a sugar alcohol? (-itol suffix like Maltitol). Sugar alcohols cause extremely negative intestinal and stomach reactions from many people. A lot of the protein meal replacement bars use sugar alcohols and a significant percentage of consumers can't eat them for that reason. See also sugar free life savers, which have been giving people fits for ages.

Comment: Analogous to current telecom situation (Score 2) 533

by PPalmgren (#49509679) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

You're making it way too complicated. The power-line company can buy power from whoever is providing, and sell power to whoever is consuming. Just like they do now with home solar power. They can make whatever agreements they like with generating companies as to who gets what share of demand, what response times are required, etc. Add some grid-scale power buffers, even just a few minutes worth, and things get even simpler.

While it sounds good in theory, power plants and grids take years to expand, and the information needed to project power plant demand would be in the hands of the grid owners. It would be much harder to scale power generation smoothly with demand, and potentially increase the number of power company crashes due to the potential boom/bust introduction. This would allow the line owners to control the winners and losers in the power generation industry, and create a scenario similar to the way content producers like Netflix interact with Comcast.

While the potential for competition would be nice, the potential for boom/bust crashes of power generating companies could create instability and brownouts, something many deem unacceptable. In this case, I think industry stability > industry growth.

Comment: Re:May finally get servers updated... (Score 4, Insightful) 118

by PPalmgren (#49495883) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

Modders move quite slow due to the frustrating architecture. 1.6 required a major overhaul to most mods, and 1.8 is being avoided like the plague for the same reason. There's also little incentive to upgrade, since the amount of content in the mods is orders of magnitude higher than vanilla, no ones going to switch off 60 mods in a modpack to get some horses and a biome.

Comment: Re:No they can't ignore consumer protections (Score 1) 247

by PPalmgren (#49480251) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Argentina is in a bad place not because of the US or EU, but because of destruction from within by politics. It is a very dangerous place to do business in because the politics are volatile enough to turn a multi-year investment into a puff of smoke. As a result, ROI has to be really high to be worth the risk, and it creates a feedback loop that hurts Argentina in the long run.

Comment: Re:Regulation is ok, but the EU can't be a bad act (Score 1) 247

by PPalmgren (#49477503) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Good post. When I read the summary, I thought it would have been snarky but somewhat truthful to revise the summary to reflect the true situation:

The European Commission has highlighted five main areas of concern in its investigation: potential bias in Google’s search results, scraping content from rival websites, agreements with advertisers that may exclude rival search-advertising services, being a US company, and contracts that limit marketers from using other platforms."

The EU selectively targets these large fines only at non-EU based companies, which I don't think is coincidence. I agree it was smart to investigate, but they haven't really produced much in terms of evidence to substantiate a $6bn fine. This isn't nearly as egregious as what MS pulled in the past, but its being treated as such.

Comment: re: why ARE you sticking forks in the outlets? (Score 1) 290

When playing with the powered K'nex as a kid, I held the metal bits on the side to guide plugs into sockets b/c you don't have fine motor skills as a kid...and lo and behold I got jolted. While once is an accident, the stupider part was doing it again to confirm what happend and how...twice more. My IQ test around that time was in the 160's, so I don't think it was for lack of brains. Lack of common sense or lacking respect of authority, maybe.

Moral of the story: kids are stupid and will stick stuff in sockets or touch stuff stuck into sockets because they can. Also related: "Don't do it/don't touch it" doesn't work on many a child.

Comment: Re:thank God they didn't have computers.... (Score 1) 629

I finally got around to watching The Blind Side last night, good movie. There's a funny quip near the end where they're hiring a tutor, and before she's hired she admits to being a democrat, like it would immediately take her out of hiring possibilities (this took place in Mississippi). Later on, the parents joke with each other in "Who thought we'd have a black son before we were friends with a Democrat?" I got a good laugh out of it.

Comment: Re:Hmmmmm (Score 1) 676

by PPalmgren (#49461919) Attached to: Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid

Living in a swing state isn't all its cracked up to be. I live in NC, which has recently become a swing state, so I've experienced both sides of the coin in the past 12 years. The calls, the scaremail, the ads, the unbearable campaigning for two years straight. Its enough to make you hate politics, and can arguably cause more apathy than living in a 90/10 state.

Comment: Re:Impressive... and improbable. (Score 1) 74

by PPalmgren (#49445641) Attached to: 1+ Year Running Arch Linux On a Lenovo Yoga 2 Chronicled

I don't mean to single you out, and this isn't specifically about you, but your post is a microcosm of why "Year of the Linux Desktop" is a fantasy. People that enjoy Linux and use linux see a break or error as an adventure. Unfortunately, this is also the reason everyone who doesn't think that way finds it frustrating.

Comment: Re:Understand and accept your son's abilities (Score 1) 315

by PPalmgren (#49445559) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

I think this is a very good post, because it touches on something the others here haven't addressed: child psychology and physiology. The basic issue here is that children aren't mini-adults, there are fundamental development areas mentally that may or may not be ready for these kinds of tasks. Most parents understand this, but quite a few do not, nor do and quite a few giving advice here. This that 3 year olds find amazing and turn out to be great tools to develop their minds tend to not be what we would expect, like simply playing with and touching flubber. While 7 is quite a ways from those 3 year olds, its not even remotely close to a fully developed mind. Its impossible to put yourself into a child's shoes without first understanding where children's development is at that age. Giving a 7 year old a large programming task and classic instruction style to programming would be like asing a 10-year old to dead lift 200 pounds - their body (mind) is simply not ready.

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon