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Comment: Re:BLUE ray (Score 2) 83

by pavon (#48470487) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

If you look at the absorption and efficiency plots in the linked nature abstract, the improvement is pretty broad spectrum as it is. Based on the Fourier analysis plots, it does seem like a slightly wider pit spacing would better concentrate the energy in their desired sweet spot, but CDs and DVDs would be too wide. HD-DVD actually looks like it might have the most ideal pit spacings.

Comment: Re:BLUE ray (Score 3, Insightful) 83

by pavon (#48470359) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Now that they have a proof of concept, it is an obvious thing for researchers to try different pit sizes and patterns in order to optimize the efficiency

Actually, that already happened. As the abstract of the paper notes, previous research has already identified how to theoretically optimize patterns, but arbitrary patterns require expensive photo lithography equipment to create. This research shows that an existing inexpensive mass production technique generates results that are almost as good as the optimized patterns, but not quite as good because the spacing of the pits is a bit too periodic (especially across tracks rather than along them).

Comment: Re:Recognize the crisis in US Big Pharma... (Score 1) 63

by Rich0 (#48470081) Attached to: Canada's Ebola Vaccine Nets Millions For Tiny US Biotech Firm

That's the point people generally make -- but look at the context of the article you're commenting about -- the drug in this case was invented in Canada, paid for by Canadian taxpayers, and then rights were sold pretty much at-cost to a US company to test and develop it

Setting aside the breach of contract angle, keep in mind that the cost to test and develop a drug is actually the vast majority of the total cost to bring it to market.

It is a bit like saying that I sold my conceptual art drawing of a flying car to Ford for $100k and they went on and made millions on an actual flying car. The art drawing might have gone into the design, but there is a lot more to a flying car than a painting. Even an untested design isn't worth a whole lot, because the company buying it may test it only to find that it doesn't work.

The work required to bring an Apple Newton and an Apple iPad to market could very well be the same. That doesn't mean that the rights to market either are going to sell for the same price.

Comment: Re:Recognize the crisis in US Big Pharma... (Score 1) 63

by Rich0 (#48470063) Attached to: Canada's Ebola Vaccine Nets Millions For Tiny US Biotech Firm

Canada creates a highly viable experimental vaccine for a very dangerous and scary virus, and US pharmaceuticals seek to pwn it up in their own market.

The distinction is that Canada did NOT create an FDA-approved vaccine. The difference between a vaccine and an FDA-approved vaccine is that you have to start with about 15 of the former and spend $100M on each to end up with just one of the latter, typically.

Commercial pharma companies sell each other early discovery compounds on the cheap all the time, so it isn't really a scandal when governments sell them. Early drug candidates don't cost much because it turns out that 95% of them don't work.

Imagine that a hurricane floods out a car dealership. A week later the water has drained away. An auction is held for all the cars on the lot. Do you think they will sell for their sticker prices? They'll certainly sell, but for a fraction of what they would get in undamaged condition.

Now imagine that you take a lot full of 1000 flooded cars. You perform a complete teardown and inspection on all of them. You end up with 990 cars that are in horrible condition, and 10 that by some miracle happened to get through with minimal damage. Now if you auction them all individually the 990 will sell for their value as scrap (even less than the average price paid sight unseen), and the 10 will sell competitively to ordinary used cars. The cars didn't change at all, but the knowledge of them did change.

Another example is buying vintage packs of baseball cards and such. The pack sells for a value that represents the average likely value of its contents. If you open it up the contents instantly become either much less valuable, or much more valuable.

It is no different for drugs. If you take a bunch of research leads they might all look equally promising, but after you invest millions in clinical trials it becomes apparent which ones will make money. If you sell your lead at the beginning you get a lot less for it. On the other hand, if you hold onto it you might find you held onto a bunch of junk cards when you could have gotten a portion of the value of a prized card for it.

Comment: Re:Can Iowa handle a circus that large? (Score 1) 338

by lgw (#48469895) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

While I agree with you about " a GOP w/o the religion", do you have the first clue what the Citizen's United case was actually about? It was about a group of people who pooled their money to show a film critical of Hillary. The ruling was that you do not lose your freedom of political speech simply because you form a partnership or corporation to manage the funds needed for that speech. There have since been many similar ruling that a closely held corporation is no different from a partnership in not restricting the protected rights of the owners.

Political speech in America has always involved money (and always involved anonymous speech). From the time when people in the British colonies were angry at King George to today, you can't spread your political message beyond the reach of your voice without money. Anonymous pamphleteering was a big deal early on, and you needed to buy a printing press to make that work. Buying a newspaper company in order to ensure your spin was heard was all the rage in the heyday of newspapers, much like starting your own cable news network was in the late 20th century.

Assuming you want someone other than the very rich to have a political voice, you can't restrict buying ads. Most of us can't afford to buy an entire newspaper company or cable network, even if we pool our resources, but we might be able to buy a political ad. And if that's not freedom of political speech, I don't know what is.

Comment: Re:Super-capitalism (Score 1) 448

by HeckRuler (#48469437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Show me a monopoly in the United States that isn't enforced by the government

Sure, I want to play the top of the line computer games. AAA titles. Because let's say I'm a gamer.

Now which operating system do I have to buy? Do I really have any choices?

Diamonds. Debeers had a global diamond monopoly that extended to the USA. Huh, this has apparently gotten better in the last few years.

Monsanto has the seed market. But oh, let me guess. Because the US government enforces IP laws, that means that the big bad evil guy is actually da gobermint.

Companies have no power to enforce a monopoly

...Other than market dominance. And all the things they can do to keep competitors out of their market. Remember "embrace, extend, extinguish"? Come on dude, your'e on slashdot, are you just going to pretend companies don't do things like this?

You can claim that there are some natural monopolies, but if these are actually natural monopolies, then why would it require a law to prevent anyone from competing with them?

Yeah, some natural monopolies, like the power grid and the cables connecting my house to the grid.
Your question is backwards. They don't have laws keeping out competition (pft, hell with all the regulatory capture, they probably do, but hey, I'm talking about in general here) they have laws regulating HOW that natural monopoly is used. Someone wants to buy a section of the power grid? Go for it, but the regulation applies to them just the same.

The "natural monopoly" of the power grid is that there's just the one. Alright? I don't have the choice to connect my house power to a number of competing grids.

Even if a capitalist managed to achieve a local monopoly on something, the only thing keeping their competitors away is if the barriers to entry are larger than the potential profit.

"Even"? "EVEN!?" That by itself is some pretty bad mojo. No competition means shitty service, no price competition, and the consumer can suffer the entire cost of the barrier to entry, every year. If anyone tries to enter the market, the monopoly holder drops the price down to unsustainable until the new guy is dead and gone.
And in case this concept is entirely foreign to you, companies strive to increase the barrier to entry for their market. You're absolutely right that one of the ways they do this is by getting the government to pass regulation that is difficult to meet. And when those regulations dance to the monopolies tune, that's regulatory capture, and it's a terrible thing. But don't pretend that the government is the root of all evil, or companies are all saints, or the market will cure all ills. It doesn't always work everywhere. Like essential utilities with natural monopolies.

Comment: Re: Market forces don't work on essential utilitie (Score 1) 448

by HeckRuler (#48468895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

. . . The entire reason they deregulated anything at all was to lower the price to the consumer. That's the goal. That's why they did it. They argued all the way to capitol hill that "trust us, market forces will work their magic and prices will come down".

They deregulated generation and transmission, specifically splitting companies to separate the two. The two sides were supposed to compete and buy/sell power amount themselves to compete for the lowest price. The maximum prices were a safeguard in case it all went to hell.

Listen, Enron found they could manipulate the industry and create artificial scarcity and drive up prices. If there was no regulated maximum price, the price would simply be pushed off to the regular people who have zero choice about who to buy from.

I understand what they were trying to do. A competitive capitalistic market is fantastically good at finding out how to eat each other's lunch, deliver better products, and make a buck. This is a REALLY ROCK SOLID example of a deregulation clusterfuck. And not for the reason you pointed out.
In general, I'd agree that market forces don't work on essential utilities (because not delivering is not an option, as well as the natural monopolies aspect)


Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes A judge rules that a county has to turn over the IP addresses that were used to access a county mayor's Dropbox account, stating that there is no valid security-related reason why the IP addresses should be exempt from a public records request. I think the judge's conclusion about IP addresses was right, but the reasoning was flawed; here is a technically more correct argument that would have led to the same answer. Keep Reading to see what Bennett has to say about the case.

Comment: Re:Need automatic "loser pays" in jurisprudence (Score 1) 140

by Rich0 (#48468667) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

I think a potential solution is to have the court mediate costs.

There is a lawsuit. The court evaluates the size of the claims, and determines what a reasonable total legal expenditure is for a case of that size. Obviously a billion dollar patent lawsuit will involve more legal fees than a $100 bent fender dispute. The court then divides that amount in two and allocates half for each party.

The two parties then can select lawyers who bill their services to the court. It would be illegal for any lawyer to collect a fee directly from a client to support a trial. The goal would be to avoid making finances a factor in the outcome of a trial.

After the conclusion of the case the court would pay the reward to the winner immediately out of the state treasury. The loser would then become indebted to the state for the amount of the judgment plus costs. Apportionment of costs might not be 100% to either side.

There would be no games with collections on judgments - the IRS can go after the loser just as they do after tax evaders. If the lower doesn't have any money, the winner still gets their settlement. That combined with the inevitable changes in the laws would get rid of a lot of legal abuses. If losses by patent holding companies with no assets cost the state and not just innovators, then you'll see patent reform in no time.

The biggest benefit is getting rid of the whole pay to win system we have today.

Comment: Re:How about over 10 years? (Score 1) 206

by lgw (#48468467) Attached to: Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam?

With factors like that going on all around your number, I'm not quite sure what value you can expect out of your salary stats

Software developers who don't work on web UI frontend stuff: infrastructure and systems programmers, kernel developers, and so on, were barely affected by all that. 2007-08 was rough for everyone, but even then it wasn't that bad for us backend devs.

Now, if your expertise was DB internals, hard cluster internals, or user-mode storage software, those fields have gradually faded over the past decade, but many of us just moved on to the new hotness: the backend for the cloud, and massively parallel systems that can run in the cloud (external or internal).

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 259

by Rich0 (#48468113) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

You're talking about a used market to start, and a drive that takes up quite a bit of space physically (it makes sense in a rack, but not so much otherwise).

Then $20/tb is not much cheaper than you get with hard drives.

At that price point the tape drive almost makes sense if you have a fair bit to back up. However, a more reasonable price point would be 6TB per tape at $30 per tape and $100 for the drive new. Once upon a time that was the sort of price point tape drives ran for in the consumer space. I doubt we'll ever see it again.

Comment: Re:Microsoft Windows only (Score 1) 141

by Rich0 (#48468005) Attached to: Highly Advanced Backdoor Trojan Cased High-Profile Targets For Years

You're focusing on a specific piece of software, and missing the reason the software was written in the first place.

I'm focusing on what I quoted in my response.

You quoted, "targeted attacks like this are OS agnostic."

Then you said "In the case of Regin (did you even read the lead before shooting your idiot mouth?) it is not OS agnostic."

He didn't say that Regin was OS agnostic. He said that targeted attacks are OS agnostic. Heck, you can perform a targeted attack without the use of a computer at all.

The people who wrote Regin weren't out to break Windows. They were out to obtain information. If it was easier to obtain that information by sending in ninjas at night, they would have done that.

If the sole point of your whole argument is that Regin only targets Windows, well, congratulations, I guess you can win the internet tonight. :)

Comment: Re:Relativistic Species (Score 1) 295

by HeckRuler (#48467999) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

The big bang didn't have an origin? Doesn't the universe have a discreet edge that's approx 15 billion years * speed of light away from the origin point? I'd consider the mid-point between those two edges to be the origin of the big-bang. I mean, I know the big bang happened in all of the universe, kinda per it's definition. But a second after the boom, you've got this roughly spherical ball of a universe going and that sphere has a center-point.

I was under the impression that the galaxies that are nearer to that rim are going faster than we are, and they'd experience less time. The rim itself going at the speed of light, and the stuff near the center of mass going... some sort of universal zero velocity that experiences the least amount of speed-based time dilation possible.

Comment: Re: Market forces don't work on essential utilitie (Score 1) 448

by HeckRuler (#48467085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

On the contrary, market forces work fine.

Pft. Their attempts at inserting additional market forces worked SOOO well.

And there is no market force from the consumers. They have no choice about where their power comes from. There are natural monopolies at play. The only thing they can do is complain. That's a political force, not a market force.

nohup rm -fr /&