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


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Discount pricing for how long? (Score 1) 174

A simple explanation of how Theranos managed to line-up Walgreens is that Theranos may have offered a large discount over standard lab pricing. But if, in fact, Theranos is running most of their tests on standard (or even slightly-tweaked standard) lab analyzers, how long can Theranos afford to operate at a large discount?

Unless they really have a big technological advantage over standard labs, which I doubt, then eventually Theranos is just another standard clinical lab operator, presumably operating at standard prices, and presumably valued at standard clinical lab valuations (much lower).

Comment Wendy's strategy: sell excess hamburger as chili (Score 2) 299

Tesla seems to be adopting the "Wendy's strategy". Wendy's apparently sells excess hamburger as chili, thus somewhat compensating for daily swings in hamburger sales. Similarly Tesla is probably anticipating that their Gigafactory will also have unexpected swings in demand depending on vehicle sales and existing contracts with other battery suppliers.

By selling the excess Gigafactory battery production as battery based storage for homes, Tesla ensures two things: 1 - a better ramp up in Gigafactory utilization during the early years, and 2 - protection from unexpected swings in vehicle sales.

Comment What is an "abstract idea" (Score 2) 220

The Supreme Court has held that "abstract ideas" can't be patented, but then has deliberately refrained from defining what an "abstract idea" is!

In the latest Alice decision, they write: "In any event, we need not labor to delimit the precisecontours of the “abstract ideas” category in this case. It is enough to recognize that there is no meaningful distinction between the concept of risk hedging in Bilski and the concept of intermediated settlement at issue here. Both are squarely within the realm of “abstract ideas” as we have used that term."

So you can't have "X", where "X" is undefined.

Comment Just another type of take down request (Score 1) 199

It seems to me as if Google and other search companies can simply treat this right of privacy as simply being another type of take down request. An alternative way of looking at this is that an individual has a sort of "copyright" privilege over certain aspects of their private history.

Comment Or use a robotic arm... (Score 2) 73

Mounting a robotic arm and small reentry capsule on the asteroid transfer vehicle could do the same mission. I like space travel, but the main thing this video showed me is that the politics are making NASA propose dumb ideas. NASA is burdened with the politically mandated "Senate Launch System" and the apparently unkillable Orion capsule, but insufficient funds for anything else. So here we are. Personally I would kill the SLS and Orion, subcontract manned work to SpaceX, and use the funds for advanced space-related R&D.

Comment Say goodby to Xerox (Score 5, Interesting) 163

At the federal level, our entire legal system is based on the concept that a machine copy of a document is as good as the original. In addition to all the other problems pointed out by other readers -- engineering errors, medical errors, financial errors, this type of error also greatly harms our legal system as well. A problem since the legal system is essentially the operating system for our society. I don't see how Xerox is going to survive the wave of lawsuits that is going to follow. They need to immediately warn everyone to stop using their systems, and then recall all affected units. Going forward, I suspect that the name "Xerox" will now mean: "to mangle or randomly distort".

Comment Just read his autobiography (Score 1) 83

I have been reading Jack Vance since I was about 11, many years ago. I knew that he was in his mid 90's and blind, and I never expected him to write anything again. However when I was looking at his works on Amazon a few weeks back, I saw that last year, at the age of 95, he was still in good enough shape to have written (or at least dictated) a biography called "This Is Me, Jack Vance! Or More Properly, This Is I".

So, thinking that this would be a good way to show my appreciation for all the fun his works had given me, I purchased it. Now I am glad that I did. Hope that some other fans also did the same! Not a bad way to go, hearing about your latest Amazon sales figures for work that you published at the age of 95.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.