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Comment: Sorry to lose feature phones (Score 2) 141

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47550835) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

I'm actually quite sad to read this. I have little interest in so-called smart phones. I have computers and tablets for running serious software and for web browsing. I don't use a lot of cloud services like those hosted by Google and Facebook, and I have little need for the kind of software that exists only as a smartphone app.

So, for many years, I have just bought a cheap and cheerful Nokia feature phone. They invariably have good battery life compared to any smartphone. They are much smaller in my pocket. They run reliably for their entire useful lifetime, without breaking or shifting everything around arbitrarily during some dramatic firmware update. They don't come with the same level of creepware that smartphones from all the major brands now do. I can buy one for next to nothing at any phone shop, without signing up to pay half my salary on a phone plan with a multi-year lock-in to the same network. And they still let me do what I actually need a phone for: pushing a couple of buttons and then talking with someone, or maybe sending the occasional text message.

I realise that smart phones rule the universe these days and I'm some sort of technological Neanderthal (aside from all the other bleeding edge tablets, computers and software I work with everyday, obviously) but I for one will miss Nokia feature phones. I guess I'll go back to hoping for a resurgent BlackBerry that at least has a business focus and therefore something resembling security and not assuming I want a Facebook icon on my home screen that can't be deleted.

Comment: Re:Don't be silly. (Score 1) 114

by Rei (#47550685) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

I actually totally get Amazon's logic on this one. If there's only a $10 extra profit on each drone delivery (something I'm sure tons of people in range of the service would pay for in order to get their item in half an hour), and if we assume each drone operational cycle takes one hour (delivery, return, charging), then that's $240 a day. Doesn't take a lot of days to justify the cost of a drone with a return like that.

Comment: Re:Every month a new battery breakthrough, but.. (Score 5, Insightful) 114

by Rei (#47550589) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Except that you have bought them; you just haven't realized it. Energy density of li-ion batteries has grown by about 50% in the past five years. Have you seriously not noticed how cell phone and laptop battery mah ratings keep growing while they keep making the volume available for the batteries smaller?

It's big news when a new tech happens in the lab. It's not big news when the cells first roll off a production line.

Most new lab techs don't make it to commercialization. But a lucky fraction of them do, and that's the reason that you're not walking around today with a cell phone with a battery the size of a small brick.

Comment: Re:More Range Needed (Score 2) 114

by Rei (#47550555) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

If everyone last person was going to be driving electric cars tomorrow, yes, that would be a problem.

Given that that's not the case, and for decades it's always going to be such that the people whose situation best suits an electric car are going to be the next ones in line to adopt them, then no, it's not a problem. You really think people can't build curbside/parking lot charging stations over the course of *decades* if there seems to be steadily growing interest in EVs?

As a side note, I don't know those exact neighborhoods in your pictures, but in my experience, most people who live in such places don't own *any* car.

Comment: Re:More Range Needed (Score 1) 114

by Rei (#47550501) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Actually, 800 is quite a sensible number. At an average speed of 60 miles per hour (aka, factoring in driving / bathroom / meal breaks), that's 13 1/2 hours of driving - a good day's drive. Throw in a few more hours driving time / a couple hundred miles more range if you charge while you're taking your breaks. Once you get that sort of range, charge speed becomes virtually irrelevant because it happens while you're sleeping (and getting ready for bed / getting up in the morning). A regular Tesla home charger could handle that sort of load.

I agree with you that a half hour charge isn't actually that onerous, but it definitely will scare off people who are used to filling up faster. And charge stations that can do half hour charges on 300 miles range (150kW+ for an efficient car, more like 250kW for a light truck) are exceedingly rare as it stands. A charger that powerful isn't some aren't some little wall box with a cord hanging off of it, it's the size of a couple soda machines put together (bigger if you add a battery buffer so that you don't need a huge power feed) that feeds so much power that its cable has to be liquid cooled and which costs around $100k installed. Ten minute charges are, of course, around three times that size. I've only ever come across mention of *one* charger in the ballpark of the required 750kW to charge a 300 mile light truck in 10 minutes - an 800kW device custom made a couple years back for the US Army Tank Command. I have no clue what it cost, but I'm guessing "Very Expensive".

I'm not saying that the problem is intractable, by any stretch, I totally believe that we're going to transition over to EVs. I just question the sort of time scales that a lot of people envision. The average car on US roads is 10 years old. Implying an average 20 year lifespan. And many cars don't get scrapped then, they just go to the third world. Even if you suddenly switch all new car manufacturing over to EVs, you're talking decades to replace them. But of course you can't just switch over like that - even if everyone was right now sold on the concept of EVs with current tech, you're talking at least a decade, possibly more, to tool up to that level of production. But of course, not everyone is right now sold on the concept of EVs with current tech.

Realistically, you're looking at maybe a 40 year transition. I hate to say that, because I love EVs, but I'm not going to just pretend that the reality is other than it is.

I'll also add that while fast chargers are big and expensive, the size and cost actually are comparable to building a gas station on a per-pump basis, and the economic argument works out for making them even if there's only a reasonable (50% or less) surcharge on the electricity sold and if they're only selling electricity a couple percent of the time. But you need to get a couple percent of the time usage to economically justify them - one person stopping for 10 minutes every few days just isn't going to cut it. And not every EV is going to stop at every charger even if they're driving on the same route - if your chargers are that far apart, then that means you're pushing people's range so much that they're not going to be comfortable driving that route. All together, this means that if you want to have fast charging infrastructure economically justifiable in an area you need high EV penetration, where several dozen EVs driving long distances will be going by each charger every day - even out in the boonies. And when you're talking at prices on the order of $100k per unit, you're no longer talking about a range where peoples' goodwill toward EVs or interest in having a loss leader outside is going to pay for them.

Basically, while busy interstate routes on the coasts and the like can economically justify them with a small fraction of a percent of people driving EVs, out in the boonies, they're going to be stuck with smaller, cheaper, slower chargers for a good while. Unless people are willing to pay a big surcharge on the electricity sold, that is (500% surcharge instead of 50% = 1/10th as many vehicles needed).

Comment: Re:Oe noes! A compiler bug! (Score 1) 673

by HiThere (#47546873) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

The problem affecting the kernel appears to only be enabled with a specific set of optimizations, and only to matter for a specific class of programs.

Also, apparently the problem has actually been present for a number of iterations of the compiler, but a shift within the Linux kernel code has caused the compiler error to manifest. But the shift within the Linux kernel code was still valid C (C++?) code, so it was a compiler problem, even though it didn't affect most programs.

Comment: Re:Oe noes! "Naughty" language! (Score 1) 673

by HiThere (#47546847) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

I, personally, dislike swearing even when "sanitized".

OTOH, I do realize that this is my personal taste. I feel it makes the communication less clear.

OTTH, written communication lacks the richness of communication by speech. This means that there is no inherent channel corresponding to tone of voice. When someone uses swearing as a substitute for certain tones of speech, it's really hard to say there is a better option. The alternative work-arounds tend to be verbose. Also, swearing via the use of the term "shit" appears to be something we inherited from our common ancestor with chimpanzees, because if they are taught to sign they will automatically use the term "shit" to describe persons and situations that they dislike.

Comment: Re:This is not a religious problem. (Score 1) 492

Theocratic is not fascist. The Muslim groups were originally theocratic, and that is what they appear to be headed towards again.

Just because it's vile and evil doesn't make it Fascist. Fascism involves commercial entities (usually corporations) having power over the government, and the government having power over the commercial entities, in such a tight bond that both do wha tthe other desires. In the original fascism this was the unification on Italy, and the creation of a powerful military so that nobody will laugh at it. (It did unify Italy, but the military wasn't all that great.)

Note that Fascism is not at all the same as nazism. I'm not even totally convinced that nazism is even a form that fascism can take. They did have certail similarities in methods of operation, but many of those are used by most governments, which makes them useless for categorization. Nazism seems to have been a combination of dictorship and theocracy, though I can't really say I understand it well enough to be sure.

Also not that just because I'm saying the Muslims are drifting towards theocracy doesn't mean I think they're heading towards nazism. I don't. What they *are* headed towards might, however, not be any more pleasant. They seem to be headed towards a "reestablishment of the Caliphate" whatever that means, but it seems to include a divine dictator at the center, with his sucessor chosen by a violent internal power struggle whose details are hidden. This seems calculated to pick the slimiest schemer as the successor. The one benefit is that he'll almost certainly be intelligent.

OTOH, just because they are currently drifting in a particular direction doesn't mean that they'll ever get there.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 492

Since my answer is a bit nitpicky, I doubt that you'll be satisfied, and additionally I am not deeply knowledgeable about the current situation, howevr:

First, please note that fascism is not nazism.
Fascism: (from Wikipedia) Most scholars agree that a "fascist regime" is foremost an authoritarian form of government, although not all authoritarian regimes are fascist. Authoritarianism is thus a defining characteristic, but most scholars will say that more distinguishing traits are needed to make an authoritarian regime fascist.

For me the additional factor is that corporations and the government work together in a tight connection.

Given this, I would say that both Israel and the US are fascist governments. Both are a bit weak on the authoritarian aspect, but the US, at least, has been becoming increasingly authoritarian over the past few decades. I'm not sure about Israel. I have a feeling that Israel might be tending more towards a theocracy, but I have no direct knowledge.

OTOH, loosely used (as I suspect the grandparent was using it) fascism is a powerful group that uses its power to oppress those opposed to it. That clearly fits most existing governments, but people usually refuse to see that the definition is to broad to be of any use.

Thirdly, the fact that your family was victimized by some group 50 years ago doesn't prevent some group you currently support from practising the same tactics. I'm sorry if you find that comment distasteful, but it's also accurate.

As for the "anti-semetic" part, most of the Israelis are not Semetic. Many of them are ethnic Russians. There's a tangled history behind that, but most of the Semetic Jews are Shephardic. (Not all, but the Diaspora was a long time ago, and over the centuries there was a lot of interbreeding, joining by conversion, etc. to the extend that the non-Shephardic jews are only very slightly Semites.) So to be anti-semetic in this conflict you would be against the Palenestinians (who also aren't all that Semetic, but are more so than most of the Jews).

Comment: Re:Or maybe you're not so good at math (Score 1) 492

Pardon me if I don't think that would solve the problem. Passing a law doesn't prevent people from violating it, and neither Israel nor the Palestinians have any reason to trust that the other would continue to be peaceful once the foreign eyes were off them.

Israel is already about the minimum size for a viable country. You're asking it to be further reduced in size. And it's not at all clear that if it made the agreement AND the Palestinians kept their part of it AND the Israelie's kept their part of it, no other neighboring country wouldn't decide to expand its borders.

I don't like being pessimistic, but I don't see any decent end to this conflict.

Comment: Re:Or maybe you're not so good at math (Score 5, Interesting) 492

It's not a very moral attidude, but it's a very human one. I'm sorry if your species disappoints you. (I wish it didnt' regularly disappoint me.)

People tend to care more about a friend's daughter's puppy being rescued from a well than they do about 100.000 people they've never heard of being tortured to death. It's not exactly moral, but it's the way people think. They can empathize with the friend and the daughter, and even with the puppy more than they can with the "larger number than I can picture" number of strangers they've never met.

Comment: Re:Or maybe you're not so good at math (Score 1) 492

No. The main difference is that in Syria the conflict as several plausible solutions. In the Israeli problem I see only three, and the most humane would be condemned by every Jewish, Christian, or Muslim on earth. (I.e., conscript 100% of the infants born in either Israel or Palestine, anonymize them, and place groups of them in Kibbutz run by combined groups of the parents, There is a 75% chance that one of the kids they are raising is their own, but they don't know whether or which. If parents aren't willing to participate in the Kibbutz, sterilize them, and let them go.)

Unfortunately, the other answers I see involve one group killing off almost all of the members of the other.

Even more unfortunately, I don't think my "anonymize the kids" approach would work as designed, because the racial stocks are now too different, so the adults would able to determine that there was no chance that they were related to a large number of the kids. And you need to have adults raising the kids, because communal nursuries where that doesn't happen fail miserably. There might be a way to adapt it, but why bother, it will never be tried anyway.

Comment: Re:Like China och USSR (Score 0) 492

How do you know?

I expect that there is a combination of individual effort and organized, and that some of the addresses that apperar to be French aren't really. Etc.

Do note that this is normal. This is true even on /., where comments aren't very significant in terms of political effect. The question is what the proportions are, and we have no way of telling.

OTOH, calling it spam is clearly wrong. Astroturfing would be closer, but even that's not quite correct. Neither is trolling. This is similar to all of the above, but it being done with a political rather than an economic agenda. I don't think I know a word for organized political rants over the internet. This doesn't mean they don't happen, and aren't even rather common. But spam isn't the right word.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson