Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Polls on the front page of Slashdot? Is the world coming to an end?! Nope; read more about it. ×

Comment: Re:20-40% overblown (Score 1) 586

by SoftwareArtist (#49795097) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

I think you're misunderstanding the author. From the article:

Sun generates 12VDC via the solar panel

Solar panels push power to a battery

The battery or the solar panel push 12VDC to a DC to AC converter (20% loss of power).

AC is distributed throughout the house

Many devices then convert the power BACK to DC (20% loss of power)

He doesn't claim there's an energy loss between the solar panel and the battery. The conversion happens when the power comes out of the battery and gets distributed to all your appliances, many of which promptly convert it back to DC.

However, if the loss from each conversion is only 5% instead of 20%, the whole issue becomes a lot less important.

Comment: Re:Why is this dribble on the front page? (Score 1) 445

by SoftwareArtist (#49784151) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results


I'm honestly not certain whether you're being serious or sarcastic. I hope the latter, because as a parody of religious thinking that was hilarious. "I saw a sexy underage girl, therefore God must exist," is not what I would call a good example of logical reasoning.

But in case you really were being serious, what other explanations have you considered? You've made an observation: there are things in the world that appear beautiful to you. You have suggested one explanation for that observation: they were all created by a supreme being who is an artist and "could not help but show a glimpse of His artistic skills." That is, I suppose, one possible explanation. But it certainly isn't the only one. So what other explanations have you considered? And then, how can you determine which of the possible explanations is correct?

To give just one example: perhaps beauty is not an intrinsic quality of an object. Perhaps, as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and whether you find something beautiful is strictly a property of you, not of the thing itself. That's easy to test. If true, there should be lots of disagreement about what is beautiful. There should be things that you find beautiful but many other people don't; and likewise, things that some people find beautiful but you don't.

Care to conduct that experiment?

Comment: Re:Why is this dribble on the front page? (Score 5, Insightful) 445

by SoftwareArtist (#49780093) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results

If you have an infinite barrel of marbles, you can't make a statement such as "10% of them are green".

You absolutely can. Let me give a simple example: the positive integers. That is, unquestionably, an infinite set. And it also is quite clear that precisely 10% of them are divisible by 10.

Mathematically, here's how we would describe it. Consider the set of integers from 1 to N. Let x(N) be the fraction of members in that set that are divisible by 10. It's quite easy to show that as N->infinity, x(N)->1/10.


Rate These 53 Sub-$200 Hacker SBCs, Win 1 of 20 45

Posted by samzenpus
from the pick-your-favorite dept.
DeviceGuru writes: LinuxGizmos and have just launched their annual 2-minute survey asking folks to rate their favorite hacker SBCs from a list of 53 single board computers that are priced below $200, supported by open documentation and Linux or Android OSes, and will ship before July. As usual, the survey's data will be made available publicly, but one big change this year is that participants can register for a random drawing that will give away 20 hacker SBCs, split equally among the BeagleBone Black, Imagination Creator CI20, Intel Edison Kit for Arduino, and Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c. (Emails submitted will only be used for selecting and notifying SBC drawing winners, say the sites.)

Comment: Completely the wrong approach (Score 1) 837

by SoftwareArtist (#49739497) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

This is exactly what happens when you conflate two unrelated things: revenue and incentives. There's no reason a particular type of spending should be linked to a particular tax. That just leads to making bad decisions.

You need money to pay for services. Fine. Pay for them out of the state's general budget. So now you have to decide how to fund that budget. A good default is an income or wealth based tax. Something where everyone pays what they can afford to pay. But in any case, you don't need a separate revenue source for every item in the budget.

Independent of that, you may want to create incentives to encourage or discourage certain behaviors. You want people to buy more efficient vehicles. You want them to consume less energy. You want them to put less wear on the roads. There are lots of ways to create those incentives. A gas tax. A tax on the purchase price of a car, based on the total distance it will be driven over its lifetime. Tolls. And so on. Decide what behaviors you want to encourage, then identify the best incentives to encourage them.

But these two decisions should be completely separate. The gas tax is there to encourage efficiency, not to produce revenue. Any money it does bring in should go directly toward decreasing income taxes. There's the question of how much money you need, and the question of what incentives you want to create, and they should never be linked together.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 4, Insightful) 837

by SoftwareArtist (#49739397) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

What's all this about "the left" and "the right"? You seem to have two images in your head of two groups that supposedly believe certain things. Unfortunately, they seem to have little in common with the actual beliefs of anyone I know.

Rather than assigning labels and talking about what imaginary groups like "the left" supposedly believe, how about sticking to the specific beliefs that specific people have actually expressed, and let everyone say for themselves what they do or don't believe.

Comment: Not so steep (Score 5, Insightful) 227

Those hardware requirements aren't really that steep. Those GPUs currently cost under $350, so high end but not top-of-the-line. But it isn't supposed to be released until early next year. By then, new high end graphics cards will have been released, and these ones will be solidly mid-range. Also, the initial customers for this will be enthusiasts, the people who already have high end GPUs or don't mind spending a bit extra to get one. By the time this is really mainstream, even low end GPUs will likely be able to handle it.

Comment: Re:Pressuring the majority? (Score 3, Interesting) 866

by SoftwareArtist (#49685239) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

Fortunately, these restrictions are all unenforcible. They're overruled by Article 6 of the US Constitution which states, "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." But the fact that so many states tried, and that they've continued to leave these restrictions in their constitutions despite being completely unenforcible, is pretty shocking and disgusting.

Comment: How the @#$%! could this possibly be patentable? (Score 1) 99

Here is Claim 1 from the patent application:

1. A system for aerial delivery of items to a destination location, comprising: a plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles, each of the plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles configured to aerially transport items; an unmanned aerial vehicle management system, including: a processor; and a memory coupled to the processor and storing program instructions that when executed by the processor cause the processors to at least: receive a request to deliver an item to a destination location; and send to an unmanned aerial vehicle of the plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles, delivery parameters identifying a source location that includes the item and a destination location; wherein the unmanned aerial vehicle, in response to receiving the delivery parameters, is further configured to at least: navigate to the source location; engage the item located at the source location; navigate a navigation route to the destination location; and disengage the item.

There is absolutely nothing there that hasn't been discussed thousands of times before and been a staple of science fiction for decades. But if this gets approved, no one but Amazon will be allowed to do this, just as it's becoming technologically feasible.

Remember, every claim in a patent is like a little patent in itself. Whatever else is contained in the patent, anything that matches all the features of any single claim is infringing. And there's nothing in that claim that's original or innovative in any way. Actually building a drone delivery network will require solving a lot of hard technological problems, and some of those solutions might legitimately be patentable. But this has nothing to do with that.

Actually, it's even worse than that. Here's the last paragraph of the application:

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that, although specific implementations have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the appended claims and the elements recited therein. In addition, while certain aspects are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventors contemplate the various aspects in any available claim form. For example, while only some aspects may currently be recited as being embodied in a computer readable storage medium, other aspects may likewise be so embodied. Various modifications and changes may be made as would be obvious to a person skilled in the art having the benefit of this disclosure. It is intended to embrace all such modifications and changes and, accordingly, the above description to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

So the incredibly general claims should be interpreted even more generally. They're basically claiming complete ownership of the concept of delivering things with drones, including "all such modifications and changes" that anyone might reasonably think of.

Comment: Re:Start spreadin' the rants... (Score 1) 186

by SoftwareArtist (#49635275) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

And while you are at it, tell me how the data was collected that provided an apples to apples comparison.

No problem. There's a link to the paper right there in the summary.

No, he did not present a single per capita comparison.

Ummm... How does, "The average New Yorker uses two dozen times more energy than someone in Kolkata, and creates 15 times as much solid waste," not count as a per-capita comparison? Of course, you then blindly dismiss it by saying, "And who cares about Kolkata, that was probably chosen because it is uniquely low." The 14 million people who live there certainly care. And no, it was not chosen for being uniquely low. Take a look at the graphs in the paper. You'll see there is only one outlier in the whole set of cities, and that is New York. And yes, I did follow the link to check the paper before I posted. Because I actually believe in doing my research before posting. (See my signature quote, which in case you hadn't realized is meant ironically, and is appropriate to a distressing fraction of posts on Slashdot.)

Comment: Re:Start spreadin' the rants... (Score 1) 186

by SoftwareArtist (#49633861) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

Did you read the article? He repeatedly points out how bad NYC is on a per-capita basis, not just absolute. To quote just a few examples:

"The New York metropolis has 12 million fewer people than Tokyo, yet it uses more energy in total: the equivalent of one oil supertanker every 1.5 days,”

The average New Yorker uses two dozen times more energy than someone in Kolkata, and creates 15 times as much solid waste.

Yes, NYC is one of the most visited cities in the world. So are Tokyo, Paris, and London, all of which use less energy and produce far less waste. That doesn't explain it.

Comment: Sounds quite reasonable (Score 1) 174

'A lot of working scientists assume that if it's published, it's right,' he says. 'This makes it hard to dismiss that there are still a lot of false positives in the literature.'

Ummm... they do? Like, who? Not a single one I know.

If a result is published, I assume (as do most other scientists) that means very little until it's been reproduced, and even then I remain quite skeptical until it's stood the test of time. I assume many published results will turn out to be wrong. That's just the nature of science. Every paper is a work in progress, a snapshot of someone's research at one moment. And that's fine.

So 39% were successfully reproduced, and another 24% came close? I'd call that pretty good, especially in psychology where you're studying an incredibly complex system (the human brain) while trying to sort out hundreds of interacting factors.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

"Low income housing" does not mean slums. It generally just means housing that costs less than a certain fraction of the median housing cost in the area. Given that this is Marin, most of the people living in this development will probably be very solidly middle class.

Also, vandalism, crime, etc. are generally problems that appear when you have absentee landlords who don't care about keeping up the property and don't do anything to evict problem tenants. That's unlikely to be the case here. I expect Lucas will just pay a company to manage the property for him, and they'll do a fine job of keeping things running.

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.