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Comment: Uuuuuuh.... what? (Score -1) 112

by Simon Brooke (#46658573) Attached to: Cheaper Fuel From Self-Destructing Trees

Cut tree down, cut tree up, stack it in a shed for two years to dry, burn it, spread the resultant ash on the garden. That's processing, I suppose, And there's labour involved, which you might consider costly. But you don't need caustic chemicals, and the only high temperatures involved go to heating your house, which is what fuel is all about.

Why not go out and invent something actually useful?

Comment: Re:England != UK (Score 3, Insightful) 220

by Simon Brooke (#46583089) Attached to: UK Bans Sending Books To Prisoners

I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot. England & Wales does not equal the UK. This ban does not apply to Scotland where the prison service is a devolved body. Sending books to prisoners is only banned in PART of the UK.

I was just about to post an almost identical comment when I saw yours.

If Alabama does something completely ridiculous in its penal system no-one says that 'the US is doing this...' For US readers, it may be helpful for you to think of England as the UK's Alabama. In the south, and governed by ignorant, prejudiced and reactionary people.

Comment: Re:If Linus would just endorse a toolkit... (Score 1) 240

by Simon Brooke (#46463713) Attached to: Google To Replace GTK+ With Its Own Aura In Chrome

If Linus would just endorse a toolkit, then there would be One True Toolkit; this would be the most likely thing to drive an actual "Linux desktop revolution". I am not holding my breath.

And that's why he won't. The whole point is to avoid homogeneity, because homogeneity strangles progress and provides a single target for the spread of malware.

Comment: Re:In my experience (Score 1) 384

by Simon Brooke (#46454251) Attached to: Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

Women and men are equally bad at math. Specially at teaching math. It's not an easy subject and it's not a natural way to think about anything.

In my experience this is nonsense. I agree that maths is pretty universally badly taught - after all, if you're good at maths, your career choices are being a quant paid in millions, an engineer or computer scientist paid in hundreds of thousands, or a school teacher paid in a few tens of thousands. The market (and we know that the market is never wrong, don't we, children?) systematically selects people who are bad at maths to teach maths. The results are not surprising.

But maths isn't hard. Maths is very, very easy; it is a natural way to think about more or less everything. If you take the school teachers out of the way and let children get on and learn the physics of whatever it is that interests them (for me it was sailing boats, but it really doesn't matter - we live in a mathematical universe) from the books in their own time, they will be good at maths. I really don't believe anyone is born bad at maths; we're taught to be bad at maths.

Comment: Re:Employed (Score 1) 712

by Simon Brooke (#46335025) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

What part of 'also did not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) since 2003' do you not understand?

Steve Jobs reckoned he was rich enough. He was working for fun, not for money. Most good engineers are not especially money motivated. We like making things, and he did that. Well.

Comment: Re:Acorn Risc Machine (Score 1) 111

by Simon Brooke (#46332805) Attached to: The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

I had one of the very first Archimedes boxes, back before it even had a proper operating system (it had a monitor called 'Arthur', which was really very primitive). But it was a really good feeling sitting in my university bedroom with a computer which in terms of raw processing power was faster than the two fastest machines the university then owned put together. Those original ARM boxes were, by the standards of their time,very remarkable: much faster than contemporary DEC VAX, Motorolla 68000, or Intel 80286 machines. The DEC Alphas which came along at about the same time were faster, but they were also hugely more expensive!

Comment: Re:Are you a creepy guy who wants to video tape pp (Score 1) 421

by Simon Brooke (#46302453) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?

If you give regular lectures or presentations as part of your life - and many of us do - something like this will probably pay for the whole kit fairly quickly. The ability to give presentations without fumbling with notes, the ability to walk around while talking and not be stuck behind a lectern, the ability to change slides with perhaps just a subtle nod of the head, make for very much more fluid and effective communication.

If I was still teaching regularly, I would buy one.

Comment: Re: If Google's flying satellites, (Score 1) 118

by Simon Brooke (#46233529) Attached to: Google Earth's New Satellites

When I use the internet from home, my little dish lights up the satellite so effectively that not only can the satellite distinguish it from all the other radio frequency clutter emanating from northern Europe, I can push 6Mb/s up the link. Yes, I know you city folk think that's absurdly slow, but I find it mind boggling. What's even more mind-boggling is that it only eats 38 watts to do that. Of course if everyone was trying to light up the satellite at the same time it almost certainly wouldn't be able to discriminate all the different signals, but even so comms satellites are awesome technology.

Comment: Re:Not blinded by laser but blinded nonetheless (Score 1) 376

by Simon Brooke (#46227403) Attached to: Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams

Nonehteless I am betting such light would be forbbidden in many country in europe where the maximum intensity you can pump is limited by law.

BMW being a European company will take those limits into account in their production vehicles, don't worry.

The problem is that the legal limit is (in the UK at least) 60 watts. As there lasers will emit many more lumens per watt than the incandescent bulbs in use when the law was written, this doesn't stop them being much too bright.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse