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Comment: dupe dupe dupe... (Score 1) 496

by cellocgw (#49740117) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

I know people don't RTFA, but apparently nobody RTFP(osts) either. we've got, what, 30 identical wrong answers (north pole only), 30 people who don't understand the difference between 1 mile from the South pole and 1mile+ X/pi ?

Just for that: imagine a Beowulf cluster of starting points in the Southern Hemisphere...


Four Quasars Found Clustered Together Defy Current Cosmological Expectations 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the standing-out-in-a-crowd dept.
StartsWithABang writes: Get a supermassive black hole feeding on matter, particularly on large amounts of cool, dense gas, and you're likely to get a quasar: a luminous, active galaxy emitting radiation from the radio all the way up through the X-ray. Our best understanding and observations indicate that these objects should be rare, transient, and isolated; no more than two have ever been found close together before. Until this discovery, that is, where we just found four within a million light years of one another, posing a problem for our current theories of structure formation in the Universe.

Comment: speed isn't everything (Score 1, Flamebait) 241

by cellocgw (#49710079) Attached to: How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook

Granted, for many users, speed matters. But, here are some other concerns.

1) The Registry File. Enough said.
2) Under OS X, open any kind of file in any kind of editor. Go back to the Finder window, rename the file, move it to a different folder no problem. Can't be done under Windows. Half the time, even after you close the file (not the editor app), the app fails to 'release' the lock and you STILL can't rename the file.
3) None of Microsoft's pseudo-shell implementations come close to bash/csh/ksh in useability.

For most users, most of the time spent on a computer is in dealing with the UI/GUI/UX (whatever you want to call it). That's what matters; raw speed of calculation is the primary need of a rather small subset of users (who probably buy time on a cluster node :-) )


The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks 615

Posted by Soulskill
from the honk-if-you-have-free-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Last week we learned that self-driving big-rig trucks were finally being deployed on public roads in Nevada for testing purposes. Experts consider trucking to be ripe for replacement with AI because of the sheer volume of trucks on the road, and the relative simplicity of their routes. But the eventual replacement of truck drivers with autonomous driving systems will have a huge impact on the U.S. economy: there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers, and millions more are employed to support and coordinate them. Yet more people rely on truckers to stay in business — gas stations, motels, and restaurants along trucking routes, to name a few.

Now, that's not to say moving forward with autonomous driving is a bad idea — in 2012, roughly 4,000 people died in accidents with large trucks, and almost all of the accidents were caused by driver error. Saving most of those lives (and countless injuries) is important. But we need to start thinking about how to handle the 10 million people looking for work when the (human) trucking industry falls off a cliff. It's likely we'll see another wave of ghost towns spread across the poor parts of the country, as happened when the interstate highway system changed how long-range transportation worked in the U.S.

Ask Slashdot: After We're Gone, the Last Electrical Device Still Working? 403

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-the-robots-that-killed-us dept.
Leomania writes: After watching a post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi short on YouTube (there are quite a few) and then having our robot vacuum take off and start working the room, I just wondered what would be the last electric/electronic device still functioning if humans were suddenly gone. I don't mean sitting there with no power but would work if the power came back on; rather, something continuously powered, doing the task it was designed for. Are we talking a few years, decades, or far longer?

Will Robot Cars Need Windows? 435

Posted by timothy
from the they-can-dream-without-them dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Atlantic has an article asking whether autonomous cars need windows. If there's no driver, will the passengers want to look outside? In the summer, will anyone want to endure the relentless heat from the sun? The robot cars offer us a great opportunity to rethink the platform which is largely devoted to supporting the driver. But if a computer is in charge and it sees with dozens of cameras ringing the car, what else can we change? What else don't we need? What can improve?

Comment: alternatives (Score 3, Insightful) 203

by cellocgw (#49652949) Attached to: Critics Say It's Time To Close La Guardia Airport

I find it far easier and more pleasant to take the train from Boston. Presumably the same holds for folks from Philly.

I'd also like to see more business travellers learn to use video conferencing instead of blowing off a few gigajoules on the theory that face-to-face is the only acceptable way to hold a meeting.


Critics Say It's Time To Close La Guardia Airport 203

Posted by timothy
from the it-would-make-a-cool-mall dept. writes: George Haikalis writes in the NYT that last week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey put off, yet again, deciding between two proposals for a nearly $4 billion project to rehabilitate the dilapidated Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport. But piling billions of taxpayer dollars into upgrading La Guardia, which has been likened to an experience "in a third world country," won't solve its fundamental problems. "It can't easily expand," says Haikalis. "Its two runways and four terminals are surrounded on three sides by water, making landing difficult and hazardous. Parking is a nightmare."

There are precedents for replacing airports close to the center city with modern, more outlying airports. Hong Kong and Denver are two examples; Berlin will soon follow suit. With the consolidation of the major United States airlines and the sluggishness in the global economy, the much larger Kennedy and Newark airports could accommodate La Guardia's passenger load, by adding more frequent service and using larger aircraft, if the F.A.A. were to lift the caps on the number of flights allowed there. Kennedy, with its two sets of parallel runways, could handle many more flights, particularly as new air-traffic control technology is introduced in the next few years. The money budgeted for the La Guardia upgrades would be better used to create a long-proposed one-ride express-rail link between Manhattan and J.F.K., by reviving a long-disused, 3.5-mile stretch of track in central Queens and completing the modernization of the terminals at Kennedy. "By avoiding the costly replacement of outmoded terminals at La Guardia and by creating a new express rail link and upgrading terminals at Kennedy, the increased economic activity could more than make up for the lost jobs," concludes Haikalis. "New York's importance to America's economy demands a first world vision to shutter this third world airport."

Comment: Re:Stupid sudoku solver? (Score 1) 230

by cellocgw (#49623011) Attached to: Singapore's Prime Minister Shares His C++ Sudoku Solver Code

hmmm.... solving fizzbuzz....
( code is in the R language BTW)

fbfun1 <- function(xfoo) {
fbfoo <- 1+(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(as.logical(mod(xfoo,5))) + 2*(as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,5)))+3*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,5)))
fbbar <- unlist(lapply(fbfoo, function(x) switch(x,0,'fizz','buzz','fizzbuzz')))
fbfun3 <- function(xfoo) {
fbfoo <- 1+(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(as.logical(mod(xfoo,5))) + 2*(as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,5)))+3*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,3)))*(!as.logical(mod(xfoo,5)))
fbbar <- fbtab[fbfoo,2]
fbfun4 <- function(xfoo) {
fiz<- rep(c('','','fizz'),length.out=xfoo)
fbbar <- unlist(lapply(1:xfoo, function(j)paste(fiz[j],buz[j]) ) )
# or completely sleazy:
fbfun5 <- function(xfoo) {
fiz<- rep(c('','','fizz','','buzz','fizz','','','fizz','buzz','','fizz','','','fizzbuzz'),length.out=xfoo)

Comment: so far so good (Score 1) 179

by cellocgw (#49613661) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

An awful lot of scientists (at least us old guys) like Asimov & Heinlein and various other scifi authors who gave us all sorts of words which have graduated to general useage. (not to mention, say "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor" and "reverse the polarity")

OTOH, I shudder to think that maybe in 50 years someone will write "all scientists love GoT and name things after the characters."


The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the backseat-engineering dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Malcolm Gladwell has an article in The New Yorker about how automotive engineers handle issues of safety. There have been tons of car-related recalls lately, and even before that, we'd often hear about how some piece of engineering on a car was leading to a bunch of deaths. Sometimes it was a mistake, and sometimes it was an intentional design. But we hear about these issues through the lens of sensationalized media and public outrage — the engineers working on these problems understand better that it's how you drive that gets you into trouble far more than what you drive.

For example, the Ford Pinto became infamous for catching fire in crashes back in the 1970s. Gladwell says, "That's a rare event—it happens once in every hundred crashes. In 1975-76, 1.9 per cent of all cars on the road were Pintos, and Pintos were involved in 1.9 per cent of all fatal fires. Let's try again. About fifteen per cent of fatal fires resulted from rear collisions. If we look just at that subset of the subset, Schwartz shows, we finally see a pattern. Pintos were involved in 4.1 per cent of all rear-collision fire fatalities—which is to say that they may have been as safe as or safer than other cars in most respects but less safe in this one. ... You and I would feel safer in a car that met the 301 standard. But the engineer, whose aim is to maximize safety within a series of material constraints, cannot be distracted by how you and I feel."

Don't panic.