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Comment: Re:that's the problem. 3/16th" hole = opened (Score 1) 364

by hey! (#48935183) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

The issue as I'm sure you know isn't "opened", but rather "opened within a certain length of time." Obviously given unlimited time you can get into anything, and you probably can get into an ATM a lot faster than a decent safe. But once you have the explosion routine down pat, you can probably be away with the ATM money in *seconds*. In terms of practicality and low risk, that's hard to beat.

Comment: Re:Not their fault (Score 1) 396

by hey! (#48918827) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Something worth considering. We associate snow with cold, so it's tempting to see more and frequent snowstorms as disproof that the planet is warning. However temperature is only one of the constraints on snow. The other is moisture.

I have lived here in Boston over fifty years, and in the 60s and 70s the December climate was bitterly cold and *bone dry*. In recent decades there has been a marked tendency toward warmer AND wetter Decembers and Januaries, and thus frequent significant snow storms in December (almost unheard of) and January (rare until the 90s).

This storm was particularly intense, and in my town got two feet or more. This has happened on six prior occasions, once in 1888, and five times since 1969.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 3, Interesting) 429

by Mr. Slippery (#48895471) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Are there any valuable functions mapped to a middle button anyway, that make it so important?

Yes. For people who use real computers, middle button = "paste selected text".

Who puts three fingers on the surface of a mouse?

People who use real computers but have not yet found the one true pointing device, the 4-button Logitech Marble Mouse Trackball.

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 200

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 3, Informative) 304

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

Comment: Re:Popcorn time! (Score 0) 376

by Mr. Slippery (#48892573) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

I've heard claims that one in four women will be raped at some point in their lives, and have yet to hear any sort of data-based rebuttal.

Really? You heard such an extraordinary claim, but apparently made zero effort to look into its validity?

Here you go. And here. And here.

Essentially, that inflated number is based on questionable surveys which often fail to distinguish between a regrettable drunken hookup and rape, and is not just about rape but about behavior ranging from grabbing a woman's butt on up through attempted rape and actual rape. (Yes, grabbing someone's butt is bad. It's assault. It's unacceptable. It is not, however, rape.)

Is rape much more common than most people think? Yes. The data is murky but I would be surprised if the lifetime victimization rate for women was less than 5%, 1 in 20. Is it 25%, "eeny-meeny-miney-RAPE!" common? No.

And a teacher sending a student sexy messages over the internet is certainly a breach of professional conduct...but it's not rape.

Comment: reflects political environment, more like it (Score 1) 145

by SuperBanana (#48878997) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move

It's more that the clock reflects the current global political climate.

Ie when Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers, are duking it out, the clock goes closer to midnight.

I strongly suspect that the announcement is due to strong rhetoric from russian leadership - I believe recently either Putin or one of his lackeys declared that they could "raze" the US. There's also been increasingly aggressive "patrols" by Russian bombers along the US and Europe, the recent sub incident in Sweden, and of course the invasion of Ukraine.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 5, Informative) 820

by hey! (#48878045) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

As a cyclist, I can attest a Prius is not a totally silent vehicle. Nor, I am sure, is a Tesla although I've never encountered one on the road. The reason is tire noise.

For a modern car traveling at 20+ MPH and not accelerating, tire noise is the dominant sound. You can easily hear a car traveling at speed from a hundred yards or more away, almost entirely from the tire noise. The engine of a well-maintained car traveling at a constant 30 MPH might as well be totally silent.

At low speeds such as would be encountered in a parking lot or congested city street the engine noise is dominant, particularly because the car is doing a lot of accelerating and decelerating. At those speeds I think a modest synthesized engine sound is a very good idea, especially when you consider blind people and even more especially service dogs, who would have to be re-trained for some other kind of noise. There would be no need for the artificial sound once the car is at cruising speed.

Comment: Re:Splits the community in half (Score 1) 820

by hey! (#48877805) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

If you play a synthesized noise back through the car's sound system the energy wasted is negligible. And arguably, anything that serves a purpose isn't wasted, so long as it is done with minimum energy needed.

I actually kind of like the idea of synthesized sounds. Think of it as being like haptic feedback. Anyone who's ever driven a car with an exhaust leak knows the powerful illusion it creates that the car's engine has lost power. So why not use sound to convey feedback about what the car is doing -- in this case using lots more gasoline.

In fact I'd take it further. If the oil is low or past due for changing, why not pipe valve tapping sounds into the passenger compartment? Or if the pressure of a tire drops maybe impart a thrum to the steering wheel.

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