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Comment: Re:So what? Feel free to move into a cave. (Score 1) 138

by Chas (#49627397) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

Okay, what do you expect? NYC (in one form or another) has been there for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS (the area was first settled in 1624). It's been a massive metropolitan settlement for the better part of the last two hundred.

It's not as if someone went back to 1700 or so and started out with a city planning commission and 2015-level civil engineering technology.
So yes, the city's going to be ANYTHING but efficiently run, plumbed, or laid out.

As opposed to London, Paris, and Tokyo, which were designed and built during the last 50 years, and thus are more efficient.

Okay, what do you expect? NYC (in one form or another) has been there for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS (the area was first settled in 1624).

There was settlement in the area of Paris TEN THOUSAND years ago. And 200 BC (2200 years ago) they were already building forts.
Same with London, two thousand years old (Londinium founded AD 47).

Sigh. Why do people take an argument and ad absurdum it without trying to understand what is being said and what isn't?

I didn't say there weren't older cities out there. I'm simply explaining part of why NYC is the way it is.

If you look at Paris, London and Tokyo, they're all wasteful as well.

Maybe not AS wasteful as NYC. But that could simply be a function of something else as well. There's no straight-line formula for this.

Comment: Google doesn't help itself either. (Score 1) 338

by Chas (#49626821) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

Part of the problem with adoption is that many of these releases are radically different from the previous versions.
And of COURSE the carriers are falling down on the job!
When you have to completely replumb an OS over and over and over again, as they do to make sure it's locked down for their network?
They're not equipped for meaningful updates to existing equipment. Small firmware and software updates? Sure. Whole new OS? No fucking way.
They're set up for static hardware and mostly static software release. Then they focus on the next generation. Retrofitting doesn't fit for them.

Comment: So what? Feel free to move into a cave. (Score 3, Insightful) 138

by Chas (#49626765) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

Okay, what do you expect? NYC (in one form or another) has been there for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS (the area was first settled in 1624). It's been a massive metropolitan settlement for the better part of the last two hundred.

It's not as if someone went back to 1700 or so and started out with a city planning commission and 2015-level civil engineering technology.
So yes, the city's going to be ANYTHING but efficiently run, plumbed, or laid out.

There are also 8.5 MILLION PEOPLE in the NYC metropolitan area.
As part of the US Northeast Megalopolis, it's the center of a population of 53 million people.

Even if everyone was a card-carrying Greenpeace member, that's STILL a metric fuckton of waste. Urban living simply can't be environmentally neutral.

But, for that matter, living in a cave isn't environmentally neutral either.
Even with the cleanest, most environmentally conscious methods of living close to nature, over time a primitive community's garbage midden will overwhelm it.

But hey, if you want to volunteer to be one of the people forced to shiver in a cave because modern society is so wasteful, be my guest.

A better and more humane course of action would be to adapt over time. Nothing lasts forever, not even NYC. It can, slowly, be rebuilt and repurposed, given a long enough time frame.

Comment: People have been talking about this for years. (Score 3, Interesting) 338

by hey! (#49625637) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

The Android fragmentation boogeyman.

What nobody's ever explained to my satisfaction is why I should give a flying f*ck. As far as I can see "fragmentation" is simply the result of users and developers not all being forced to upgrade to the latest and greatest when the platform vendor demands it. This is actually a *good* thing.

It means I can find a $40 Android tablet running KitKat, which is perfectly fine for things I want to use a $40 tablet for. I'm out of the developer business now, but I still dabble to keep up with developments, and far as I can see the Google tools do a really nice job of allowing developers to target a range of platforms and still look up to date on the latest and greatest. So I don't have to shut out people who bought a smartphone last year if I want to use Material Design (which is cartoony for my taste but does a nice job setting out consistent UI guidelines).

If this is fragmentation hell, all I can say is come on in, the the lava is fine. Sure it would be *nice* if the adoption rate for the latest and greatest was higher, but as a long time user and developer I have to say that not being pushed over the upgrade cliff on the platform vendor's orders is nice too.

Comment: Cross Play (Score 4, Informative) 99

by pavon (#49624959) Attached to: GOG Announces Open Beta For New Game Distribution Platform

Crossplay-enabled games offer online play between GOG and Steam. Because where you buy your games shouldn't prevent you from playing with friends.
Cross-play doesn't require any setup or configuration. Steam users won't need to create accounts or install GOG Galaxy, while users won't need to create Steam accounts. Just log in, launch your game, and start playing online!

That is the killer feature, IMHO. I was scrolling through expecting to just ignore this like I did the downloader, but that actually provides something of value above what you can do with the website.

Comment: Re:I cut my teeth on the ARPANET. (Score 1) 536

by hey! (#49624827) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

Go really retro and have token ring and round robin instead of ethernet....

No, that's for after I've sold them all ThickNet. Then I'll have them bying STP-A cable by the spool to run to the MAO. Maybe I'll package a whole concentrator rack inside a vintage Frigidaire unit so that anytime anyone wants a Pabst they'll see you're more retro than thou.

Comment: Remember that Windows XP virus? (Score 3, Interesting) 135

by squiggleslash (#49623323) Attached to: Microsoft: No More 'Patch Tuesday' For Windows 10 Home Users

...the one that seemed to be impossible to get rid of, that at least once PC in every office had, that would suddenly, several times a day, put up a pop-up announcing the PC was going to reboot in 30 seconds? (Was it Blaster, or was Blaster the easy-to-remove version?)

Yeah. Welcome to the new update regime for Windows 10 Home Edition...

Comment: Quick summary of the papers involved here. (Score 5, Informative) 300

The summary conflates two papers, a review paper in Science which summarizes the state of knowledge about fracking the Marcellus Shale (Vidic et al. 2013), and a study of an individual incident published this month in PNAS in which researcher purport to have found a single instance of minor contamination from a fracking well (Llewellyn et al. 2015). Neither paper is particularly damning or inflammatory, so at first blush it's not immediately obvious why the fracking PR flacks have gone to DEFCON 3 on this. The key is to read the review paper first. This is almost always the best way to start because review papers are supposed to give a full and balanced overview of the current state of scientific knowledge on a topic. TL;DR, I know, but stick with me for a few paragraphs and I think I can make the problem clear.

Vidic paints a rather favorable picture of the fracking industry's response to problems that have arisen during the fracking boom in the Marcellus shale. It absolves them of any responsibility for the infamous "burning tapwater" we've all seen in Youtube videos. It states they have been quick to respond to wastewater leaks and well blowouts before contamination could spread. It says the industry has redesigned wells in response to concerns that they might leak fracking water as they pass through the aquifer. And it says that fracking water that returns to the surface ("flowback") is treated and re-used for more fracking -- an expensive environmental "best practice".

Vidic does raise some important concerns, however, and the most important is this. At present recycling flowback into more fracking water is practical because production is booming. But at some point production will level off and begin to decline, and when that happens the industry will be producing more flowback than it can use economically. In Texas, where fracking was pioneered, flowback was disposed of in deep wells -- a process not without its drawbacks, but better than leaving the contaminated water on the surface. Pennsylvania doesn't have enough disposal capacity to handle today's flowback, which helps make recycling fracking water attractive at the present time.

We now have enough context to understand Llewellyn, and why Llewellyn is so upsetting to the industry. Llewellyn's paper documents a single instance of minor contamination which matched the chemical fingerprint of flowback from a nearby well. This contamination was well below a level that would be cause for any concern. Llewellyn concludes the most likely cause was a small spill from the flowback holding pit, although it can't rule out the possibility that the contamination occurred inside the well. Taken with the picture Vidic paints of an industry that is generally on top of stuff like this, the occurrence of a single mishap with negligible consequences is hardly damning. So why has the fracking industry unleashed its flying PR monkeys on this?

Because the fracking industry apparently has made no plans for when the day comes it can no longer recycle all the flowback it uses, and it doesn't want the public to think about that.

It would be sensible for them to prepare for the flowback problem now on the upswing of the boom, for the same reason the industry has been able to be so responsive to date: these are good times for the industry in the Marcellus Shale. They're flush. Although preparing for the problem now would be expensive, it wouldn't slow the boom appreciably, and it would add jobs. But... if the industry can kick the flowback can far enough down the road, we'll have to ask it to fix the problem while production and probably the regional economy is in decline. Doing something about the problem then will cost jobs and require money nobody will have.

  So if the industry isn't forced to do something about the looming problem soon, it will become politically if not financially impossible to make them do that ever. That's why the industry is allergic to the very mention that surface contamination from flowback is even possible. In the scheme of things the Llwewllyn incident is negligible, but when fracking starts producing more waste than the industry can use surface contamination is going to become a lot more common and a lot worse.

Vidic raises some other serious long term concerns. Nobody knows where most of the fracking water used goes. The geology of the area is complex enough, but it is further complicated by many old gas and oil wells, quite a few of which are not fully documented. Contamination of the aquifer is a quite plausible possibility that needs further scientific study -- study that has been hindered by lack of research funding and industry transparency. More research might lay this concern to bed; or it may require changes in the industry's operation. We don't know. But we do know that some day we'll have a wastewater problem, and if we wait to address that it will be politically impossible to do anything about.


Vidic, R. D., et al. "Impact of shale gas development on regional water quality." Science 340.6134 (2013): 1235009.

Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, and Susan L. Brantley. "Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development." PNAS 2015 ; published ahead of print May 4, 2015,

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 47

Were you trying to say:

"LOL, nei, (th)að var ekki augljóst að "here" ((væri?)) Ísland og að (th)ú værir íslensk. En ((??????)) Google Translate get ég látið eins og hálfviti á tveimur tungumálum. Ef gert er ráð fyrir auðvitað að Slashdot ((sé ekki að flækja Unicodeið?))"

That is:

"LOL, no, it wasn't clear that here is Iceland and that you were were Icelandic. But (????) Google Translate I can come across like an idiot in two languages. If one assumes of course that Slashdot isn't screwing up the Unicode"?

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents