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Comment: Nothing to see here. (Score 1) 802

by Solarhands (#43855635) Attached to: Judge Orders Child Porn Suspect To Decrypt His Hard Drives
This is how it is supposed to work in our justice system. Before they knew that there was any pron on the drives, you cannot be forced to self incriminate. Once they know there is something there, (in this case by guessing his password on one drive) it is no longer a matter of self incrimination but one of degree, and you can be forced to reveal the password.

The same holds true for a combination lock. If they know you put something illegal in there, through a recording or whatever, they can force you to open it.

Comment: Re:It's time to start engineering human diseases (Score 1) 579

by Solarhands (#43716887) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case

Monsanto's monoculture crop is a global disaster waiting to happen. The first disease that comes along which has evolved to target Monsanto's GM plants will wipe out a HUGE portion of the world's food supply

Naaaah, ever heard of bananas? Monsanto GMOs are way more diverse than bananas.

Comment: Cutting up all your meat? (Score 4, Funny) 217

by Solarhands (#43101857) Attached to: MIT's Charm School For Geeks Turns 20
The typical nature of nerds is such that we generally behave oddly in public perception in cases where expected behavior does not match optimal behavior. The example of cutting up a whole piece of meat therefore makes no sense, because it is not optimal behavior.

If you were to cut the meat into little pieces prior to eating, the meat would be cold by the time you were eating the final pieces, which is clearly an unacceptable outcome. On top of this the piece of meat makes logical sense to nerds as some sort of stack or queue. Cutting up the meat is akin to converting the stack into an array before operating on the data. Since you are intending to not sort but eat the pieces, an operation which can be run on either a stack or an array, this clearly makes no sense.

Also I have never heard of this so called "American Style" of eating, whereby the fork is tossed from hand to hand. We do not do that here in Ohio, so I don't know just how "American" it can be. Sounds more like something they would do in Texas.

Comment: Military (Score 2) 325

by Solarhands (#43031967) Attached to: Sergey Brin Says Using a Smartphone Is 'Emasculating'
I see glass as a military device more than anything right now. A simple HUD with the locations of allies overlaid on an aerial map, plus features such as IR camera and text commands. The key feature that makes glass so useful in such an instance is its hands-free nature. This would apply anywhere you are using both hands. The problem is that for most civilians it is not such a hassle to take your phone out.

Comment: Why is nobody talking about labs?! (Score 1) 841

by Solarhands (#37977716) Attached to: Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

Labs are a serious issue in my mind. Not for engineers, but for science majors. They break the entire credit hour concept of college. If a normal class is 3-4 credit hours, labs are always 1, but then often require a 5-10 page paper every week, plus the 3 hour lab period. Schools normally require just enough lab classes so that you have 1 per semester, but then with scheduling difficulties, students inevitably have to take multiple labs in the same semester at least once if they want to finish in 4 years. Most students have a part time job, which means this just is not feasible.

I know several people who have gone through this process only to either:
A) Find that they could not get student loans for a 5th year which they would need to get the degree. or
B) Simply dropout or change majors to complete in 4 years.

These people are genuinely interested in science. When did science become exclusively about writing papers?

Comment: Re:Paid customer services are a pain (Score 1) 413

by Solarhands (#37116746) Attached to: <em>World of Warcraft</em> Finally Loses Subscribers
I have recently quit WoW, and I dont think that either of those is the problem with WoW. Paid transfers are IMO a good thing, they may have a few too many lower pop servers, but I think that is more a function of loosing subscribers. Neither are raids too hard, unless you are just talking about the hard modes, which I would agree with.

The biggest issue they really have right now is that they killed the leveling experience. They will not get any new people when what people see is that this game is easy enough for a toddler to play. Any class at any level up to 80 can kill an elite mob of their level, something that should at least take a pocket healer, if not a party. In the past, if you found yourself either on a bad realm or unable to progress in raid content, you could always level a new toon, and play a decently satisfying single player game. Now you would rather just unsubscribe than reroll.

The second problem they have is the whole concept of hard modes, which they have gotten locked into. Players want some form of story progression. Quickly progressing through the current raidbosses only to have to fight the same raidbosses with more health and damage is quite simply boring. On top of that, for many of the hardmodes, success had little to do with ability and much more to do with whether or not the boss randomly does two things in a row that automatically kill at least one person, which would cause DPS to be too low to kill the boss. Boss hits everyone for 80% heath, boss hits specific player for 50% heath .4 seconds later. Everyone on vent was frustrated, but everyone knew that it was the designers' fault, not the player. RNG FTL.

The final problem I'll mention and what killed it for me and many in my guild were daily quests. For many of us these are the straw that broke the camel's back. Blizzard had plenty of feedback from the Argent Crusade faction grind that players don't like to be forced to unlock crap with repeatable dailies. They basically copied that exactly for the Firelands patch, without putting in any way around it. For instance, while there were repeatable quests for many factions, you could just wear a tabbard and do 5-mans to grind rep, which was much less painful. With the Firelands patch Blizzard was basically saying to us, "Hey I hear you enjoy doing chores!"

Comment: Re:Thermocouple? (Score 1) 407

by Solarhands (#36876646) Attached to: Massive Solar Tower Planned For Arizona

First the thermocouple would transfer heat, so it would not gain you any extra power. The only reason you may want to use a thermocouple would be to cool the bottom some, so that people can service the turbines easier. But it would not do enough to make it worth it.

I do not think it would be expensive, iron and constantan, you would make the entire chimney the thermocouple. But the problem is the height of the chimney.

Such a thermocouple could generate around 2 mV at 35 degrees difference C. The power that voltage generates is dependent on the resistance of the thermocouple (P=V^2/R). I am using p=3E-7 as a rough average resistivity between the iron and constantan (I know that's a vast oversimplification not accounting for temp etc). If the chimney was say 1 meter high and had a crossectional area of 4 m^2 that would mean that the total length for the resistance (up and down) of 2m and an area (half the chimney) of 2m^2. Those would just cancel and R=3E-7. Therefore power would equal a whole 13 watts.

Now while 4m^2 might be fairly accurate for the crossectional area of the this chimney, it needs to be 800m tall, so we only get 17 mW. 17 mW is not cooling anything much at all.

Comment: Re:With all their profits, maybe they should build (Score 1) 298

by Solarhands (#35915190) Attached to: AT&amp;T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic
I just took a look at last year's 10k. Their EBITDA (a decent approximation of how much more money a business could have spent, but chose not to) for their wireless segment was 21.8 billion. They invested 9.2 billion in upgrades to their long-term wireless assets. I could not find any further breakdown of the wireless assets to determine which of those are actual infrastructure versus office buildings and whatnot. AT&T could be spending triple what they do on wireless infrastructure without losing money on wireless.

Comment: Copyright should never be extended. (Score 5, Insightful) 386

by Solarhands (#31786412) Attached to: The Economist Weighs In For Shorter Copyright Terms

The one thing that makes absolutely no sense in all this is that copyright gets extended when new laws come out.

Suppose that copyright is now 50 years. Now supposing that the government thinks that say 100 years is a more optimal time period for copyright. They write a law which changes the time period for copyright law.

Why do the copyright end dates for those works already under copyright change? There is no reason for them to. There is no way that the new law is going to affect whether or not people 50 years ago write more books and music. But clearly the government seems to think that if they keep pushing the date back on existing copyright that they will reach some point where the financial incentive of the new law will convince the Beatles to write another album back in the 1960s. Perhaps they believe that we will soon have time traveling agents, who can inform the artists of the past of their rights.

Comment: Re:Xfinity equals... (Score 1) 356

by Solarhands (#31148514) Attached to: Comcast Shoots For New Image, Rebranding As Xfinity

I have Time Warner in Ohio, and yes they are completely horrible. They probably have the worst set top boxes available, and it is usually better to drive to the local store for customer service than to wait on the phone, regardless of the issue. I highly doubt customer service could be any worse with another company. But based on what I've seen, I am very happy not to have Comcast.

I used to play WoW, and the vast majority of people with connection problems were always Comcast users. It got to the point where we used the term "Comcasted" instead of disconnected. Comcast users D/Ced individually and as a group. Often we would lose a healer or a tank to a Comcast D/C. There were several times when we would lose large chunks of Comcast people. They were the only ISP that I have ever noticed being so blatantly plagued by connection issues. I think that their network must be mismanaged, both on a local and a national level.

As a whole the DSL connections seemed most stable.

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