Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Take A Bow For Your Accomplishments (Score 4, Interesting) 218

It's not proven that any particular pesticide or agro-chemical is to blame. The fact that urban bees are thiving in cities such as Paris and London, despite all the pollution in those environments, is inteesting. One mooted possibile reason is that cities have lots of different species of plants in their gardens and parks, blooming at differing times, so that there is always nectar available from some of them. In the countryside by contrast, with modern, vast, single-crop farms, it may be that there is only one species of plant in the bees environment, and once that crop finishes blooming, in sometimes a pretty small window of time, there is no more nectar. So it could be farming practices and lack of rural biodiversity that are to blame, at least in significant part.

Comment: Re:As long as you don't count CO2... (Score 2, Interesting) 395

by Tx (#49645865) Attached to: 25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution

CO2 emissions are proportional to fuel consumption, so I guess there's no point measuring that figure; the fuel efficiency of vehicles is a known quantity. I guess it would have been interesting to have CO2 figures included for comparison with the other numbers though.

CO2 level was actually used to automatically identify the exhast gasses in the study, so maybe they actually had those figures, without reading the full paper it's hard to say. From the abstract;

"Based on carbon dioxide measurements, over 100 000 vehicle-related plumes were automatically identified and fuel-based emission factors for nitrogen oxides; carbon monoxide; particle number, black carbon; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX); and methanol were determined for each plume."

Comment: Re:Seeing is believing (Score 3, Insightful) 114

by Tx (#49630875) Attached to: Europe Vows To Get Rid of Geo-Blocking

The loophole is right there in the article;

Among other things the Commission plans “to end unjustified geo-blocking,” which it describes as “a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons.”

We only have to wait to find out what kind of geo-blocking is classed as "justified", but I'd bet on most of the kinds that really cause problems for people.

Comment: Re:Not Holograms (Score 1) 99

by Tx (#49586635) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows Holographic Platform

It's being augmented reality does not have any bearing on whether it is holographic or not; augmented reality means that the generated display is overlayed on the real world, so that the user sees both real and virtual objects simultaneously. This could be done with a holographic display as well as with a conventional stereoscopic display.

Heven't seen any convincing info that Microsoft is using a light-field display in HoloLens, although they are trying to make out that they are doing something clever, but the chances are it's not actually holographic.

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 1) 356

by Tx (#49519531) Attached to: 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today

OTOH if mobile-friendly happened to mean, amongst other things, no Flash, I for one would not be unhappy about this. That is the one thing still sadly common on "desktop" sites, that is not supported on mobile browsers. I suppose I will have to go and read the article to see what kind of mobile-friendly we are really talking about here.

Comment: Might have bottomed out (Score 1) 72

by Tx (#49518377) Attached to: I predict that by next Earth Day Bitcoin will ...

To me, it seems like the value of BTC so far in 2015 has stabilised at approximately the level it would have been at if the 2013/14 bubble had never happened, and it had maintained the slow growth trend that it was on before that. So I voted for "Be worth more, but by less than 25%" option, since if the value stays stable for a while, it's quite likely to start to creep up a bit. Of course I don't attach much certainty to that; another big hack or exchange failure, or some governments banning bitcoins or whatever, such things are perfectly possible, and that makes such predictions a bit of a mugs game.

Comment: Re:The UK Government Are Massively Out Of Touch (Score 3, Informative) 191

by Tx (#49509757) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

"Fortunately the UK has judges of the calibre of Lords Gill, Neuberger and Hodge who, on trusts, would require an actual criminal offence or some other lawful reason, and evidence sufficient to meet the requisite standard of proof, before deporting anyone."

It's important to note that the British courts have already upheld Assange's extradition at all levels up to the highest courts in the land, and so all of those judges you list would also chuck him out in a second if he wasn't hiding behind diplomatic protection in the Ecuadorian embassy. Actually it's more correct to say that they already have done that, since no further legal action is required or indeed possible to effect his extradition. But I take your point on my opinions of Assange, that wasn't the most constructive bit of the post.

Comment: Re:The UK Government Are Massively Out Of Touch (Score 4, Insightful) 191

by Tx (#49509461) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

Firstly, the UK judiciary is not the UK government. I case you haven't grasped the concept of an independant judiciary, this is something we take quite seriously in the UK, and judges fiercly defend their independence from government (often to the chagrin of the government, c.f. the governments struggles to deport certain islamic preachers).

Secondly, what part of "Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice" do you not understand? That is a legal fact, and judges are bound to act appropriately. It would be entirely inappropriate for judges to sit there and be addressed by someone who has a current valid arrest warrant for a serious crime outstanding against them.

Thirdly, speak for yourself. I don't like Assange, and I'm certainly not the only person in the UK who feels that way. WikiLeaks may have done some good by bringing certain information to light (although even there it could have done better, a bit more care about what was released and how it was released would have given a lot less ammunition to people who don't want to respect people's freedoms and rights, and possibly lead to better outcomes for people like Bradley Manning), but Assange himself is a hypocrite and a coward, and I'd deport him in a second if I had any say in the matter.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 365

by Tx (#49470533) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Yes, we have technology that can replace any single thing, but as a whole, there is not a solution here that doesn't involve cutting the world's population back to levels we've not seen since the turn of the 19th century. Yea we could go back to THAT era, you'd just have to eliminate the bulk of the population gain since then.

The question was whether you could reboot a technological civilization without fossil fuels. There was no stipulation that the rebooted civilization must have the same population levels as the world currently has. The population would reach the levels that conditions would allow, which might well be a small fraction of the current world population.

Comment: Yes (Score 4, Insightful) 365

by Tx (#49469179) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

I don't see the problem. Switching to e.g. bio-fuels is a problem now because you're diverting established agricultural output from food crops to bio-fuel, reducing the supply of food in the existing market, and driving up prices. If you're "re-booting" civilization, then you don't have an established market to upset, so there aren't the same issues. It might slow things down a bit to have to generate your fuel in renewable ways, but you'd still get there in the end. Burn wood (and re-plant the trees), make ethanol from grain, maybe make the switch to battery power sooner, with solar/hydro/tidal/geothermal sources of energy.

The first electric cars were made in the 1800's, but they didn't get much of a chance then, because fossil fuel powered cars were there. Without fossil fuels, they would probably have been developed faster and become much more significant. Lighter-than-air aircraft were swept aside by fossil fuel powered airplanes, but without the fossil fuels, that type of craft might have developed and prospered, and the skies might be filled with Zeppelins.

Sure, history would take a very different course, but there are plenty of technological paths for human ingenuity to follow without fossil fuels.

Comment: Re:Sensors wrong (Score 1) 460

by Tx (#49421651) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

No, meaning that some of the times that the remote pilot got confusing responses, the remote pilot would crash when the local pilot would not.

Possibly true, but there have been plenty of crashes where the on-board pilot was confused by his senses, or in the heat of the moment unable to correctly priotiritize conflicting alarms, where a remote pilot might have better perspective, or more opportunity to as for a second opinion, so I think that could work both ways.

Personally, I would feel safer with a fully automated plane than one that's remotely operated. And that's not even considering the possibility of remotely hijacking the plane or the remote link failing.

On that, we agree. If not fully automated, then at least implement a "refuse to crash" system that just will not allow the pilot to fly a plane into the ground or whatever.

Comment: Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 460

by Tx (#49421569) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

I kind of agree on the monitoring, but then again it is actually exceedingly rare that planes "disappear", and even in those exceedingly rare cases, monitoring alone wouldn't have changed the fate of the flights in question, so there is bound to be some question about the cost/benefit of such a system.

As to your proposed solution, there are obviously a lot of factors to be weighed up. Personally I'd tend to feel that the whole remote-piloting thing might introduce as many problems as it solves; not only do you need to worry about your pilot's ability to control the plane, now you have to worry about whoever has access to the remote piloting facilities. And you have to make whatever communications gear is required on the plane to enable that 100% tamper proof, otherwise you just made it easier for that one pilot (or a hijacker) to take over. Anything is possible, but it's certainly not clear that any given solution is a magic bullet.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain

Working...