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Comment: Re: just put a motor on the elevator itself (Score 5, Interesting) 182

by pavon (#48920551) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

No, you could use a conductive rail, like a subway, and rack and pinion system to move the elevator. The rack and rail would add a fair bit more total weight to the building compared to a cable. But more importantly, the motors would have to be much much more powerful! Modern elevator systems have a counter-weight balanced on the other side of that cable, which means the motor only has to overcome friction and the small difference in weight between the elevator and counterweight (which varies depending on current payload). The motor on an elevator like Noah is suggesting would have to provide enough force to counteract the entire weight of the elevator + payload + motor + friction, which is at least an order of magnitude more than a traditional elevator.

Comment: Re:Lot's of bad ideas here... (Score 1) 237

by dgatwood (#48919389) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

At more than 8 cents per gigabyte, archival DVDs are horribly expensive. You could cycle your backups across three hard drives for about the same amount of money, and then you have three backups instead of one.

Not to mention... have you ever tried backing up your 4 TB hard drive onto a spindle of 1,000 DVDs? Have you ever seen a spindle of 1,000 DVDs? It's slightly taller than an average person. Yes, if you don't have much data, you can do what you're proposing, but....

Hard drives are really the only viable backup medium unless you have a big enough collection of data for tape drives to make sense—maybe Blu-Ray, but only if you don't have more than about a 100-disc spindle worth of data (2.5 or 5 TB) to back up (and really, most people lose interest at more like ten or fifteen discs).

Comment: Re:Pair of external HD's (Score 1) 237

by dgatwood (#48919305) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

I think the point was that after you clone your backup drive to a new one, you can reuse the drive to replace or expand your main system drive, whereas once you burn an optical disc, "reburning" means throwing away the old plastic (or keeping an extra copy around). This effectively makes optical media a lot more expensive than magnetic media.

Comment: Re:why is the cap a good idea? (Score 1) 146

by Tom (#48917635) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Hypothetically speaking, if I'm desperate to get somewhere, and I'm willing to pay *whatever it takes*, why is it a good idea to limit the surge pricing?

Because other people will pay for your desire.

Or what about having an auction system where each person that wants a ride indicates how much they're willing to pay for it? Would you want to cap that as well?

Economists are big fans of auctions and say that's the most fair method to distribute resources. Economists, however, are not known for taking social, cultural or human values into account in their simple models.

So yes, I would. Man, it really isn't so difficult. Get some history lessons on when and why the taxi business became regulated.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 2) 146

by Tom (#48914375) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

In Econ 101 you also learn about horizontal and vertical pricing.

Basically, if the surge price is reasonably high, most drivers will be available. From 1.0 to 1.5 you may raise the number of drivers considerably, but from 3.0 to 3.5 you will probably not motivate many more drivers to go out and drive - most available drivers will already be on the road, and the few who decide against it will not change their mind here because if 3.0 doesn't motivate them, then 3.5 most likely won't because they have important reasons to stay home.

A cap on such elastic pricing is almost always a good idea.

Comment: Re:Escaping only helps you until a war. (Score 1) 324

by Tom (#48914325) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

This exactly.

Why do rich people not live in Africa and Asia where the climate is good? Safety and convenience. If you don't want to spend your life in a castle defending your riches, you go somewhere where culture, society and government will do that job for you.

Strangely, many don't see this as a service worth paying for, which is largely a semantic problem. Maybe we should tackle it there, and instead of taxes, we should collect a "wealth-protection service fee".

Comment: Re:"They" is us (Score 1) 324

by Tom (#48914267) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

From the very article you link to:

But Credit Suisse's report doesn't tell the whole story.

It doesn't take into account how much it costs to buy goods in each country, for example. Half a million pounds might buy a one-bedroom flat in central London, but in other countries it could buy a mansion.

It also doesn't take into account income. As a result, many well-paid young people in Western countries may fall into the bottom 50% of wealth - either because they still have student debt to pay off, or because they know how to live well, and spend all their income.

Comment: never believe PR (Score 1) 324

by Tom (#48914189) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I am extremely sceptical about all these doomsday scenario media reports.

If you do not know something for sure, "follow the money" is always good advise. For example, why would someone who makes his money on the stock market give free advise to the rest of the world by warning them about an imminent market collapse? It makes no sense. If I knew (or were sure about) such an event, I would put my money into short options and become mega-rich.

But, of course, if you expect the opposite, such a press statement can lead a critical mass of people to disinvest, temporarily lowering prices, convincing others that you are right and the crash has begun, so they do the same, and then you buy at the low point.

The same with all the "super-rich are investing in getaways" bullshit. It's a really great tool to convince the wannabe-super-rich (aka the simply rich) to follow (or believe they are following), because that's what they do. In all layers of society, people tend to emulate the next-higher-up from their own status, because that is where they want to be.

Maybe I'm overly cynical or just blind, but thinking about not only what is being said, but also who is saying it and why seems to me to be a good idea.

Comment: Re:Lack Of Faith (Score 1) 87

by Tom (#48914101) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Could be, as I rent and don't buy, I don't drive cars older than a few years.

I know the Toyotas and Hondas are famous for their reliability. My first car was a used Honda and it had almost no signs of being used before.

That said, old Mercedes cars are also legendarily reliable. My GF wants to buy a used SLK for exactly that reason - they are cute and almost as good as new, for a fraction the price.

Comment: Re: JMS didn't get to run it like a movie director (Score 1) 463

by dbIII (#48912045) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Thompson's character got killed off not too long after that came out.

Yes, executive interference. JMS had plans and had set up a story hook in "Deathwalker" for her to be in a later plot involving personality alteration. HR killed those plans because, 1950s style, they didn't like the workplace romance between her and Jerry Doyle even though their wedding should have been enough to avoid offending prudes.
However see "Crusade" for truly epic levels of executive interference.
It's really a wonder anything got made at all.

Comment: Re:I don't get why but some people hate VMs (Score 1) 133

by dbIII (#48911983) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update
It's always been full screen for me and pissed people off. I'll have to look at it again and see if I can get it running that way. Of course that still doesn't help with the stuff that still needs 16bit (AutoCAD), but I can see a use with a whole lot of label printing abandonware etc.

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory