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Comment: Scientists failed us? (Score 5, Insightful) 246

by Okian Warrior (#48266403) Attached to: Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

Oreskes argues that scientists failed us, and in a very particular way [...]

What the bloody fuck? Scientists failed us?

Not short-sighted politicians, not lobbyists for climate-raping corporations, not greedy corporate types.

No, of course the Scientists failed us. They didn't warn us strongly enough!!!

Okay, breathe.

Getting over the initial outrage, note that to have an actual effect on modern day policies, Oreskes could have written that the politicians were to blame. If modern-day people are shown that they will be remembered in infamy, it might just cause them to change. It happens with presidents all the time - doing something to be remembered by, leaving a positive mark for future historians, &c.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 193

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265833) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

You know that you don't have to just add useless and uninteresting words to something that already had substance, right? At least borrow some quotes from Socrates' Dialogues to spice things up: There is admirable truth in that. That is not to be denied. That appears to be true. All this seems to flow necessarily out of our previous admissions. I think that what you say is entirely true. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. To that we are quite agreed. By all means. I entirely agree and go along with you in that. I quite understand you. I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. If you're going to say _nothing_, at least be interesting about it, post anonymously, or risk looking more clueless / foolish. This is why the moderation system is in place, and mods typically don't listen to inanities like "Well said" when deciding on what to spend their points.

1. I'm too busy to sit around thinking up additional words to throw in so I can score "mod" points

2. The people I like on Slashdot are too busy to read a bunch of additional words I only threw in so I can score "mod" points

3. It's not in my nature to waste words, or to waste time

Comment: Re:Great. (Score 1) 193

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265487) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

If other posts here on Slashdot are any indication, "Mr. Councilman" is just as likely to lose political points by supporting the poor.

Actually this particular councilman represents an extremely high-rent district--Manhattan's upper east side. I doubt there are many wealthier neighborhoods in the world. He's not doing this to 'score points', he's doing it to do the right thing.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 3, Insightful) 193

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264991) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

It is my opinion that poverty is partially systemic. Our economic system depends on there being a pool of available workers (unemployed and underemployed). So as long as there is capitalism and a functioning free market, there will always be poor people. That being the case, we have a responsibility to make sure the basic needs of everyone are met. Increasingly in order to succeed in school and in life, Internet access isn't really a luxury.

Well said

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 193

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264925) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

shutup. just shut the fuck up. you neither know you are talking about, nor have any valid point to make. its not about solving the digital divide any more than the housing thing is about solving poverty. its been widely and clearly shown that there is an increase in opportunity and outcomes between homes with and home without internet access. you're essentially complaining about improving someones potential opportunities to enrich themselves and make their life better and maybe even get out of that housing you mock. but again, you have no valid point, so therefore theres little sense in talking sense, like pointing out to you that without subsidized housing many of these people would be on street, homeless, increasing both crime rates and homeless and deaths among the impoverished. Theoretically we are a civilized nation. But a civilized nation doesnt advocate intentionally making it harder if not impossible for those most disadvantaged to improve themselves, nor advocate for them to die quickly and get out of the way.

Well spoken, bro

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 193

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264907) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People
The "digital divide" is a real thing. It's the difference between spoiled people like yourself growing up with a computer in your home, and inner city kids who have no computer access at home and have to wait on line at the public library to get a 15 minute time slot.

If you don't recognize that in this society those without computer access are at a disadvantage, you are as stupid as you are uncaring.

+ - Power -- And by that I mean Free Broadband -- To the People

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "Slashdot member and open source developer Ben Kallos @KallosEsq — who is now a NYC Councilman — is pushing to make it a precondition to Comcast's merging with Time Warner that it agree to provide free broadband to all public housing residents in the City (and by free I mean free as in beer). Kallos, along with NY's Public Advocate, Letitia James, are leading a group of state and local politicians calling on Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in NY."

Comment: Comment from an AI researcher (Score 4, Interesting) 581

I've been working on strong AI for the past 7 years. Here's my take on the whole issue:

Military person: We want your software/techniques for an autonomous war machine.

Me: Uh... that's a really, really bad idea. You'll make mistakes, and then...

Military person: We know what we're doing, son.

Government - any government - won't see the problems until it's too late. To take obvious examples from history, government never thought that land mines would pose any sort of problem for future generations, and never thought that randomly bombing terrorist organizations would increase their number.

Having just finished "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality", there's a concept in that book "never reveal the secrets of power to someone who's not intelligent enough to figure them out for themselves", as applied to - for example - the atomic bomb. Einstein and others regretted ever unleashing that level of destructive power on humanity, not for any reason other than it would be misused by short-sighted people. It held promise for a utopian easing of the worlds troubles, while at the same time made it easy to obliterate a city on a whim.

For example Leó Szilárd (IIRC - I may be remembering the wrong name) discovered that graphite can be used as a neutron moderator thus making chain reactions possible. Had he not published his results, the atomic bomb might have been delayed by decades - possibly indefinitely.

I've discovered a few things that might be "results" in strong AI. I dunno if I want to publish, though(*) - the idea of a house-cleaning drone seems pleasant enough, but reading about a sentient tank going berserk in Afghanistan and wiping out a small village puts me to pause.

"No one's to blame, it was a software glitch. We've patched and fixed all the other units."

(*) Moral advice on this issue would be appreciated.

Comment: it wasn't the price (Score 1) 74

by dltaylor (#48227323) Attached to: PCGamingWiki Looks Into Linux Gaming With 'Port Reports'

I have a stack of Loki games. All but the last two were paid full price (those were during the shutdown). The problem was the delay. Shelf life of most games is shorter than the porting delay. Of course, now the libraries needed by the games are incredibly obsolete, although LD_LIBRARY_PATH helps.

Comment: Re:Better solutions (Score 3, Informative) 46

by Okian Warrior (#48226047) Attached to: A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video)

Are there any issues with silicon solar cells that make them (protected against visible light, obviously) unsuitable? Compared to power silicon or anything for computation you can get enormous area for relatively little money.

Huh. I hadn't thought of that. A quick google search shows that solar cells can be used as radiation detectors, and they generally have large capture areas. I'll have to try this out.

This looks like a good background document for detecting radiation using semiconductors.

This is the type of amplifier you need as a 1st stage in your detector, should you want to build your own. (Google "Charge Amplifier" for more info.)

The radiation comes in as quick pulses (3 us or so in my circuits), so normal incident light shouldn't interfere with the detection. You could perhaps get both power and detection from the same cell.

I've been interested in detecting not only the radiation, but the direction it came from. A 3-d array of detectors with an incidence/correlation circuit can give a general idea of the direction of the source, relative to the detector. I haven't done this yet due to the complexity and expense of the detectors, but solar cells being cheap and easily available I might just try this out. Hmmm...

Thanks for the suggestion.

Comment: Better solutions (Score 5, Informative) 46

by Okian Warrior (#48225357) Attached to: A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video)

I've been building geiger counters as a hobby for the past couple of years. I was consulting with some people in Japan right after Fukishima helping to build reliable detectors.

Geiger Muller tubes require a specific "plateau" of voltage to get consistent results. Too low and you're not picking up much radiation, too high and you get spurious results and can burn out the tube. The correct voltage varies with individual tubes.

This isn't normally a problem, except that there's a glut of surplus Russian geiger tubes on the market right now with unknown provenance and unknown parameters. Unless you calibrate each tube to find the plateau voltage, and unless you calibrate the resulting counter with a known source, the data you get will have no predictive value.

It's straightforward for a hobbyist to put together a project using one of these tubes and get it to click in the presence of radiation, and this makes a fine project for electronics learning, but you have to take further steps to get a reliable instrument. No one ever does this. The circuits I've seen have an unregulated high-voltage proportional to the battery voltage - it gets lower over time as the battery runs down. The voltage is chosen from the tube spec sheet, instead of determining the correct voltage for the tube. Circuits have design flaws such as using zener diodes for regulation, but not allowing enough current through the diode for proper function. And so on.

I've seen lots of these hobbyist projects in the past few years, especially since Fukishima. They're fine projects and well-intentioned, but generally not of any practical use.

Does radiation detection(with actual accuracy, linearity, and repeatability, not just a quick demonstration that you can add some noise to a webcam by pointing a small sealed source at it) have currently good, or at least promising for the not too distant future, solid state options?

Virtually any semiconductor will detect radiation. What you want is a semiconductor with a large capture aperture(*), which is the area through which the radiation passes. A 2n2222 transistor will detect radiation quite well, but it's capture area is tiny and won't see much of the radiation (saw the top off of a metal-can version and use a charge amplifier).

Power transistors such as the 2n3055 have large silicon dies and therefore larger apertures - as much as a square centimeter - but this is also quite small for capture.

The modern equivalent is to use a big diode such as a PIN diode. These can be quite large, but also expensive for the hobbyist.

A GM tube has a capture area which is the cross sectional area of the tube. These can be made quite large; and as a result can be made quite sensitive to the amount of radiation flux in the area. Hobbyists can also make their own tubes with enormous capture areas - it's not very difficult.

Large diodes are available for detecting radiation, but a GM tube is simple and can be easily made with a very large capture aperture. Also, GM tube their capture efficiency (the percent of radiation that gets in which is is actually detected) can be higher than the diode solution.

(*) There's capture aperture and detection efficiency. GM tubes have an efficiency of about 10%, meaning that only 10% of the radiation that gets into the tube is detected. Diodes have similar efficiencies, depending on the photon energy and thickness of the silicon die.

Comment: Re:No they're not (Score 2) 163

by dltaylor (#48219645) Attached to: British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

Being wildly creatvie is, however, still discouraged. The men (in the infantry), vehicle commanders, wingmen (in the air) must have some idea what you're going to do, or just you trip over, or kill, each other. Don't know where you're from, but think Amercan football: the defence is typically the more "creative" side of the line of scrimmage; but there are still "plays" (coverage for pass receivers, stunts in the line, blitzes by linebackers and/or defensive backs); yes, it is necessary to adapt to what the offeense is trying to do, quickly and on-the-fly, but missing your assignment while being overly creative more often than not results in good things for the offence.

Comment: Re:The Cult Leader will solve the problem! (Score 4, Insightful) 124

by Okian Warrior (#48215977) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

I'm sure the world's most average Ob/Gyn [Ron Paul] - and most successful living American cult leader - is also a highly qualified expert on Ebola.

That sounds suspiciously like an ad-hominem argument. "Most average" Ob/Gyn? What does that even mean, other than to convey dark undertones?

Shouldn't we be debating the things he says? Shouldn't we be considering the merits of his argument, rather than his background?

Obama's Ebola czar (Ron Klain) is a lawyer and former chief-of-staff. Do you think *he's* qualified to tell us what we're doing wrong?

What the heck are you getting at? What's your purpose in posting this? Is there some way in which you gain by posting such drivel?

You're right about being modded down - your post does nothing to inform the discussion.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350