Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Warp drive? (Score 1) 84

by ShanghaiBill (#49616483) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Warp drive would involve fielding to warp space, not seeing the connection with this device.

If this device actually works, it means everything we think we know about physics is wrong. At that point, all bets are off, and anything may be possible. FTL travel is widely believed to be impossible, because mass approaches infinity as velocity approaches light speed. But if momentum isn't conserved, then we may be able to blow right through that limit. This is just like back in 1989, when cold fusion was first announced. The possibilities are endless.

Comment: Re:The 30 and 40-somethings wrote the code... (Score 1) 340

by ShanghaiBill (#49615651) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

What I find ironic is that the people who wrote the basic items that are taken for granted, be it the Linux kernel, apache, the HTTP protocol, the IP protocol, Mosaic and its derivatives... are all people likely over 40+.

Sure, but those guys aren't hunting for jobs in the classifieds. By the time a programmer is 40+, they should have a deep network of friends and ex-co-workers, and can quickly find a new job based on their reputation. If they can't, and are instead replying to your Dice ad, then the odds are high that they are a turd.

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 5, Funny) 417

by ShanghaiBill (#49613137) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

How big is her ego exactly? Can you express it in Donald Trumps? (The standard measure of ego size.)

Wrong. The standard unit of ego is the microtrump. A full trump is way too big for any practical use. That would be like expressing the power of your lawnmower motor as 1.2e-34 solar outputs.

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 4, Insightful) 417

by ShanghaiBill (#49613047) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

She's also always wrong.

This is the key issue. Some of the other candidates have demonstrated competence in executive management, and others have a legislative record, but it is unclear if they have the skill and talent to make a good president. What sets Carly apart is an unambiguous record of failure and incompetence in everything she has ever done.

Comment: Re:Yawn. (Score 3, Informative) 52

I get the impression they were trying to make her a more major character... However she had some personal issues that got in the way.

She said that she was not given a more prominent role, and was eventually removed from the series, because the producers wanted Kirk to have romantic relationships with different women in each episode, to make the show more interesting. So she was written out.

Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 2) 881

by ShanghaiBill (#49611585) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

So, how many people died when an artist showed his masterpiece of a crucifix in a jar of piss?

There were some protests about Piss Christ, but they were not directed against the artwork itself, but rather protesting that the NEA, a taxpayer funded organization, was (indirectly) involved.

Comment: Re:The nature of any polygamous religion (Score 5, Interesting) 881

by ShanghaiBill (#49611467) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

One of the biggest problems in any polygamous society is getting rid of young men. Every man with 4 wives leaves 3 angry, young, horny men in his wake who got no wives.

This is not only a problem in polygamous societies, but also in countries with gender selective abortions, including China and India. There are already more than 10 million "missing" women in China, and the problem will get far worse in the next decade, as millions and millions of young men reach maturity to find there are no women available. This is very likely to have a destabilizing effect throughout East Asia, since unattached young men tend to support political leaders who advocate nationalism, militarism, and confrontation.

Comment: Re:Price won't come down (Score 5, Interesting) 282

by ShanghaiBill (#49608457) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Do we get fresh water with that lithium extraction?

Desalination plants work with reverse osmosis, which converts seawater to freshwater, with concentrated brine as a by-product. That brine is a better starting point for lithium extraction than seawater, so, yes, they could be co-produced.

But extracting either from seawater does not really make any sense. Some mid-east countries desalinate so they can pursue idiotic schemes to grow wheat in the desert, when they could just buy wheat for far less. California has a few desalination plants, because of dumb policies that vastly inflate the cost of water to urban consumers, while subsiding the delivery of rainwater to farmers growing rice and cotton in the desert.

Likewise, lithium from seawater is not economical, and is unlikely to be so in the foreseeable future. It is better to extract it from salt deposits, or existing brine pools. But the seawater extraction cost is a clear ceiling on the price of lithium, and negates any prediction of a lithium supply crisis.

Comment: Re:Price won't come down (Score 5, Interesting) 282

by ShanghaiBill (#49608271) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Model S battery pack uses 25kg of lithium.

Lithium costs $6/kg. So that 25kg costs $150, or about 0.2% of the cost of a Tesla Model S.

the price of lithium will skyrocket

There are 230 billion tonnes of lithium in the ocean. It can be extracted from seawater for about $20 per kg, with current technology. That is about 3 times the current price, but would still represent only a fraction of 1% of the cost of an electric car, and a modest portion of a home battery system. New technology could push the price of seawater extraction below the current world price. Lithium will not be a bottleneck.

Comment: Re: First post!!!! (Score 1) 154

by ShanghaiBill (#49607309) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

How many people actually died as a direct result of these disclosures? Numbers? Names?

If you shoot into a crowd, it isn't okay just because you failed to actually hit anyone.

How many people died as a result of liberating oil wells or looking for WMDs? Hmm...

That is irrelevant. You cannot justify doing something that is wrong or stupid, just by pointing out that someone else did something even dumber.

I personally believe that Snowden, and Manning both disclosed illegal activities that should have disclosed, and both are more hero than not. But I also believe that both could and should have used more discretion in releasing information that was harmful. Maybe someday, in a more enlightened future, they will both get a more permanent statue in their homeland.

Comment: Re:Far too expensive for a used car (Score 2) 60

by ShanghaiBill (#49607173) Attached to: Tesla Adds Used Models To Its Inventory, For Online Purchase

It's the battery management system and the cooling system that would make the difference in longevity.

Usage patterns also matter. Plenty of people, like my wife and kids, regularly run down their phones and laptops to 0%, even when there is a charger three feet away. Most people commute 30 miles or less in a day, which is only about 15% of a Tesla's range.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.