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Comment: Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (Score 1) 436

by VAXcat (#48913569) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App
You were lucky - here in Houston, if you pass the roadside breath test, the cops routinely charge you with being intoxicated on drugs, rather than admit you weren't impaired and shouldn't have been pulled over. That's one of the reasons lawyers here recommend that you don't take the breath test at all.

Comment: Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (Score 3, Insightful) 436

by VAXcat (#48913549) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App
Speeding is far from the biggest contributor to traffic accidents. Illegal and poorly made left turns are far more dangerous and cause far more accidents - yet you never hear fo the cops setting upa left turn trap. Why? It's too hard and doesn't generate the revenue that issuing speeding tickets does.

Comment: There's a goal they haven't thought of yet... (Score 2) 152

by VAXcat (#48801949) Attached to: Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon
If I was running the Chinese space program, I'd put together a mission to the Sea of Tranquility, and bring bak some Apollo 11 souvenirs. It would be the most intense possible statement that there are now two nations on the Earth that have had the technology and will to travel to the Moon, and the USA no longer has a monopoly on it.

Comment: ESPN as a motivator (Score 1) 196

by VAXcat (#48745459) Attached to: Dish Introduces $20-a-Month Streaming-TV Service
HA! I'm an avid sports non-fan. Years back, when they were starting to roll out cable TV service in Houston, they actually had door to door salespeople going around to sign people up. The packages available were clearly designed to extort as much money from the customers as possible. With that goal in mind, the service tiers that included ESPN and other sports channels were really expensive. I selected one of the less expensive service offerings, as I'd rather go to the dentist than watch a stick and ball game played on TV. The salesman was practically frantic, and threatened me that I absolutely wouldn't be able to watch ANY sports with that selection. I laughed in his face and asked if there was any way he could guarantee that no sports would leak into my channels. He left shaking his head - clearly, he'd never met an avid sports non-fan before.

Comment: Re:I don't really get it either. (Score 1) 433

by VAXcat (#48594013) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand
Yah, you're on to something here. I have thousands of hours of music available in digital form (most of it ripped lossless to FLAC). What I really enjoy listening to, though, is my old reel to reel tape deck. Even thought the fidelity is dramatically less than my digital collection, I enjoy thinking about the magnetic domains gliding by, being picked up by a coil and amplified into music. The dance of the VU meters is also hypnotic to watch, in time with the music.

Comment: Re:What happens to these at the true end-of-life? (Score 2) 143

by mirix (#48541467) Attached to: Using Discarded Laptop Batteries To Power Lights

Lithium cells are pretty benign in general. There are a few variants in chemistry, the worst would probably be the cobalt based ones. (others use various combinations of iron, nickel, manganese, and phosphorous, which are pretty tame). Though the cobalt variants are quite common.

NiCd is far worse, cadmium is fairly nasty... much more than cobalt.

Comment: Re:sorry, all my laptop batteries are dead (Score 2) 143

by mirix (#48541451) Attached to: Using Discarded Laptop Batteries To Power Lights

In every 'dead' laptop battery I've torn down, one cell (or pair, in parallel) is totally kaput, and the remaining cells retain at least 50% of their nameplate capacity. Protection circuitry will lockout recharging of the whole pack, which wouldn't work with the dead cell anyway.

So the battery as a whole is utterly useless for the laptop, but 2/3rds of the cells or more have some life left in them, for other purposes.

I imagine a lot of the too-cheap-to-be-true off-label replacement laptop batteries are in fact combinations of two dead ones, with the remaining functioning cells rewired into one working (but lower capacity) pack. Certainly seems about right judging by the performance of them, anyway.

Comment: Re:Herp a derp fast computers DEEERRRPPP (Score 4, Informative) 197

by mirix (#48537399) Attached to: Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

I noticed that Intersil still makes a rad-hard variant of the awful RCA 1802. (you know, the CPU in a COSMAC ELF).

When I saw that, I figured NASA and or the DoD probably give them enough money to make it worth their while... so they must use that antique for something.

Comment: Operational analysis needed (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by VAXcat (#48524215) Attached to: 'Moneyball' Approach Reduces Crime In New York City
Hmmm...this reminds me of the story about operational analysis of bomber armor in WWII. Briefly, the Allies examined bombers that returned from raids, compiled where they had been hit by flak and machine gun fire, and started a program to armor those spots. Then they realized, that the planes that hadn't returned probably had been damaged in the spots that the returning planes had not been, and that's where the armor was needed. In this case, singling out the people who get arrested over and over, while not a bad idea, is focusing on the incompetent criminals - the people who are good at it will get arrested at much lower rates than the ones who are in and out of the system all the time.

Comment: Neuromancer (Score 1) 57

by VAXcat (#48522443) Attached to: How High-Tech Temporary Tattoos Will Hack Your Skin
With his hands in the pockets of his jacket, he stared through the glass at a flat lozenge of vatgrown flesh that lay on a carved pedestal of imitation jade. The color of its skin reminded him of Zone's whores; it was tattooed with a luminous digital display wired to a subcutaneous chip. Why bother with the surgery, he found himself thinking, while sweat coursed down his ribs, when you could just carry the thing around in your pocket?

"It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I'm wearing Milkbone underware." -- Norm, from _Cheers_