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Comment: Re:Goddammit! (Score 3, Interesting) 61

by pla (#47719927) Attached to: The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?
so without reading the article, the answer is going to be no, there's no evidence

...Except for that pesky 4+ sigma deviation between the expected and measured value of g for a muon (and a brief mention of a new Fermilab experiment to push that to 7 sigma). Other than that, nope, no evidence at all.

Nothing to see here (if you have no soul whatsoever), move along (and let the real scientists do their thing so you can have your hoverboards and replicators 50 years from now). ;)

I do have a question for the serious participants in this discussion, however... Since the Muon counts as 40,000 (200^2) times more sensitive to unexpected effects than the electron, why not work with the Tau instead, which should have a whopping 1.2e7 times more sensitivity?

Comment: Re:Hydroelectric Dams (Score 1) 450

by Hadlock (#47713443) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

There's two sets of numbers, I'm using the lower set... fish ladders are only useful for going upstream, all sorts of crap gets sucked through the turbine and it's not like the fish can read a big flashing sign that says "FISH LADDER THIS WAY, TURBINE OF DEATH THAT WAY. SWIM TOWARDS THE SURFACE IF YOU WANT TO LIVE". Which is kind of counter-intuitive if you've ever seen an eagle pluck a fish out of the water with it's Talons.
Although if fish could read, that would be pretty cool.

Comment: Hydroelectric Dams (Score 4, Interesting) 450

by Hadlock (#47710003) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

Mortality rate of fish through the turbine is close to 10%
Except fish are slimy, scaly and make weird mouth shapes when you pull them out of the water to look at them. They look pretty awkward.
Birds on the other hand, are beautiful creatures flying through the air, truly, beautiful, feathered friends, God's own creations.
But if 3 birds die in a 3500 acre site per day, heaven help us all for destroying nature. I can go out in my back yard and shake the six to eight trees on my half-acre and watch at least four birds fly out.

Comment: Re:A limit is a limit (Score 1) 464

by pla (#47706393) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit
Realistically, what are your chances of actually keeping pace with the thing or out-running it without losing control of your own vehicle?

Pretty damned good, actually - Unless talking about an intentionally homicidal driver in an unencumbered tractor, even the wimpiest piece of crap passenger car on the road can blow the doors off a loaded semi.

Now, against that trailer-less tractor, good luck. 400-600HP with no load and tires the size of your entire car means you can kiss your Fortwo, aka that shiny metal smear on the pavement, goodbye.

Comment: Re:Yes they are called Netbooks (Score 3, Insightful) 209

by Hadlock (#47704645) Attached to: New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

They're still incredibly useful... it's just that people stopped buying them because Intel stopped making Atom processors faster/more powerful to choke the life out of the 0% profit margin netbook segment... only to have them revived as "Chromebooks" and are again eating up Microsoft and Intel's bottom line. The only reason Netbooks aren't trendy is because Google wasn't a market disruptor when Wintel made the decision to stop updating Netbook hardware. Now Google is.

Comment: Much ado about nothing (Score 5, Insightful) 699

by pla (#47702403) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban
Basically Fark has one particular mod, of a gender I don't need to mention, who gets upset every time she greenlights another trashy Jezebel link and the Fark regulars (rightly) rip it to shreds. Admittedly, some posters cross the lines of good taste in doing so, but most just point out that Jezebel itself does more to advance misogyny than any forum trolls could ever do.

The official announcement thread for the new policy pretty much says it all. Fark regulars openly mocked this new policy, much like anti-beta posts here... All while shown prominent links to Foobies (along with plenty of other not exactly "wymyn friendly" advertisements) in the sidebar. This policy will last a whole week, unless Drew goes nuclear and literally bans half the userbase. But hey, we need another MetaFilter since Google has starved off the original, right?

For those seriously debating the "need" for websites to take actions like this, look at Slashdot as a role-model. Put bluntly, sites that feel the need to censor their comments simply have inadequate moderation systems. As much as Slashdot's doesn't always work to bring the best to the top, it does do an amazing job of pushing the complete garbage to the bottom. Browse at -1, and Slashdot looks much like Gorgor-era Fark; browse at 2+, and threads look like a coherent discussion of the issues broached in TFA.

Comment: Re:Insurance rates (Score 1) 238

So you would rather have to have paid out-of-pocket the three times in the past 15 years for whatever happened?

In that 15 years, I paid somewhere on the order of $14-15k for insurance that paid me back less than $4k total. Worst investment ever. Hell, until I replaced my previous car recently, I paid more per year than the total KBB value of my car.

Now, do you have/want to pay all that money, or have the insurance company pay that money?

I would, grudgingly, put medical insurance in a different category than car insurance. Not to say I approve of mandatory medical insurance, and I still loathe the the insurance companies (if for a different reason, for having created an artificially hyperinflated market thanks to most people having a complete mental disconnect between the idea of treatment actually costing $400k vs paying $3000 or so out-of-pocket). I will accept, though, that we all eventually die and our last few years cost a small fortune in healthcare. We do not, however, all eventually get into car accidents with damages adding up to dozens of times the price of my car.

Or as you so aptly put it, "it would take you 400 years to recoup what the insurance company will be paying out" - The flip side of which means that such an accident happens at most once every ten driving lifetimes, and realistically far less than that (since that would assume 100% of all premiums paid went solely to that rare huge medical bill). Big scary numbers look big and scary, but that doesn't make it any more rational to live as though it will happen to me.

As for the potential liability issues, consider me a biiiig fan of "no fault" states - For that matter, the real topic at hand (driverless cars) will likely eventually force every state to go no-fault, since the question of who bears responsibility for an accident becomes effectively a battle between auto manufacturers, not passengers.

I do not like driving in states which don't require insurance

No worries! Your insurance company already charges you for "uninsured motorist" coverage, even though such things shouldn't theoretically exist in states that mandate insurance. How thoughtful of them to make sure you can rest easy!

Comment: Re:Insurance rates (Score 4, Informative) 238

There in principle cannot be a car insurance market if cars don't crash anymore.

In the past 15 years, I have invoked my car insurance three times, and haven't had a single accident in that time.

Insurance covers more than just liability - It covers a small rock falling from a dump-truck and breaking your windshield; it covers your car getting stolen; some policies even act as a sort of extended warranty, covering repair or replacement costs in the event of a breakdown.

And, even with a hypothetically "perfect" driver, some accidents will still happen - Front tire blowout at 75MPH in dense traffic, deer running from the woods into the road 10ft in front of you, construction debris falling from an overpass, etc. Driverless cars will probably handle these events better than live humans do, but such events will still happen.

All of that said, I would love for you to have it 100% correct, because I fucking loathe insurance companies, and deeply resent the government forcing me to pay them in order to drive. I just don't realistically see it happening.

Comment: Re:[tag satire] (Score 1) 267

by pla (#47692221) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?
So its Facebook compliant. Because no one really uses illegal porn/drugs/money launder coin do they?

Hate to break it to you, but the good ol' US Dollar, cash-in-hand, remains the worldwide go-to currency for laundering money.

BitCoin makes international transactions easier, no question there; but as far as its reputation for illegal activities goes, outside the opportunistic Silk Road, it actually has significantly more traceability than a stack of Jacksons.

If you want to launder on a purely domestic scale, you want nothing to do with Bitcoin. Yes, if careful you have a certain type of anonymity once in the system; but the weak points comes from the buy-in and cash-out. Unless you "launder" your money by buying mining rigs, and don't mind cashing out by buying things at Tiger or OverStock, moving large sums around in the blockchain just gives the feds a blinking neon sign for where to look for you.

Comment: BitCoin has a problem (Score 1) 267

by pla (#47692145) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?
I say this as an avid supporter: BitCoin has a serious problem, at least as far as its "distributed" nature goes.

As it has grown in populatity, the motivation for the average Joe to participate in block creation has vanished. Personally, I used to mine one or two BTC per month; first on my CPU, then on my GPU; today, it would literally take me about four years on a high-end GPU to mine a single BitCoin - Why bother? Today, only a handful of hardcore dedicated ASIC-based miners control new block creation. And make no mistake, I don't hate on them for doing so, they serve a valuable purpose for the BitCoin economy as a whole (no new blocks means no transactions processed).

Altcoins serve as a sort of "American Dream" for those who missed out on the gold rush. People see others who made a small (or in some cases, not so small) fortune mining BTC, and want to put their otherwise-idle PC power to use doing something similar. Hard to blame them, but at the same time, the activity itself very much counts as speculating with an "investment" funded through their electric bills - Not healthy for either cryptocurrencies as a whole, or for the individuals hoping to get in on the next LiteCoin.

I consider this the "awkward" years for BitCoin growth. Once it becomes infeasible to make serious money mining BTC, the huge mining farms will vanish, the difficulty will drop, and eventually people will go back to casually mining in the background on their GPUs just for the transaction fees if not the block rewards. For now, though, only those willing to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a mining rig can participate in that half of the economy.

If you have to ask how much it is, you can't afford it.