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Comment: Re:10% ethanol also means 20% MPG lost (Score 5, Informative) 77

by dgatwood (#46802585) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

E85 is 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline, not the other way around. A 10% ethanol blend (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) is called E10, not E90. Using E10 reduces your fuel economy by about 3–4%, and a 15% blend reduces your miles per tank by about 4–5%, assuming a modern, fuel-injected engine. I would expect the impact to be worse for an engine with a carburetor, but I don't know for certain. Either way, I'm pretty sure it's nowhere near 20% even with older engines.

Yes, if it were legal to sell E90, it would reduce your fuel economy by somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%. Of course, your car wouldn't start in the winter, and in most cars, parts of your fuel system would likely rust out pretty quickly, spewing fuel all over the hot engine, thus ending your life in a blaze of glory, so fuel economy would be the least of your problems....

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 121

by dgatwood (#46799265) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

I'm a little bummed about this. My first reaction was, "Oh, cool. This is just like the idea I had a few days ago." Then, I realized they're trying to do it from a single photo instead of taking advantage of the camera hardware to obtain actual depth info.

You have a lens that can focus. Take your shot, throw the focus off as far as you can (in whichever direction you can move the focus farther, by some definition of farther), then take a second shot. You can then compute some reasonable approximation of distance for every pixel without guessing. You can also likely compute a reasonable bokeh based on the size and location of bright areas in the out-of-focus areas and based on how much they spread in the out-of-focus shot. It's not perfect, but I suspect you could get close enough to fool just about anybody.

Comment: Re:Human beings are not born with smartphone attac (Score 2) 184

by dgatwood (#46743873) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Google's self-driving cars have gone 300,000 miles without an accident. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 30–42 average-teen-driver-years worth of driving. Statistically, about 1 in five teenagers reports having an accident in any given year. So we would expect that the same number of miles driven by teenagers would have resulted in, on average, 6–8 accidents—more if we're talking about teenagers in their first year of driving.

In other words, Google's self-driving cars are already at least an order of magnitude safer than teen drivers. That's probably a statistically significant difference.

Comment: Re:Old news (Score 2) 144

You missed one major technical rule: all browsers on iOS that support local rendering are required to use the system rendering engine.

Actually, no, I'm pretty sure they're just not allowed to use any JavaScript engine other than the built-in JavaScriptCore. And as of iOS 7, it's theoretically possible to actually do so without using WebKit.

Comment: Re:Good! (Score 1) 328

by dgatwood (#46666907) Attached to: Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

It's not willful ignorance. It's actually a legitimate question. From everything I've read, there are roughly two types of revenge porn:

  • Fake revenge porn, in which someone pretends that he or she is getting revenge on a former significant other so that people will be more turned on, but in reality, it's just commercial porn, and legal.
  • Fake revenge porn, in which someone surreptitiously cracks into the victim's computer and records that person in his or her own home, which is already illegal. And this is what the lawsuits have mainly been about.

I suspect that the real revenge porn, if it even exists, is just about lost in the noise caused by the two forms listed above.

Comment: Re:Freedom of Participants trumps Picture Owner (Score 1) 328

by dgatwood (#46666813) Attached to: Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

... the homeowner does NOT automatically gain the right to record the guest WITHOUT permission.

If that were true, then "NannyCam" footage would be inadmissable. Different states have different laws that carve out specific places where recording is not allowed—most forbid recording in bathrooms, for example—but as a rule, if you're in someone else's home, you should generally assume that you have little or no right to privacy.

Comment: Re:Its called paying attention (Score 1) 364

by dgatwood (#46658417) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

I was referring to normal traffic lights that lack any indication of when the light is about to change, not the rare lights with countdown timers or the hypothetical lights with a dashboard assist. The split-second decision to floor it or slam on the brakes is a bigger problem when you're accelerating from a stop as the light changes to yellow, not when you're going way over the speed limit, for two reasons: A. there may not be any choice that doesn't result in either getting rear-ended or being in the middle of the light when it turns green in the other direction, and B. your foot is on the wrong pedal to stop, adding critical latency to that decision, should you choose to stop.

Comment: Re:Its called paying attention (Score 1) 364

by dgatwood (#46641269) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

Actually, it's the opposite. The worst speed to be entering a traffic light is near zero. You've slowed down to a low speed because of someone slowing to turn right ahead of you. The traffic behind you collapses to be nearly bumper to bumper at 15 MPH in a 40 zone. The light is timed for 40 MPH. You don't realize that the light is about to turn yellow, so rather than just coming to a stop, you decide to enter the intersection. Then the light turns yellow and you're moving at a speed that will put you and the two cars behind you in the middle of the intersection when it turns green in the other direction. Whether you floor it to get through the light legally or slam on the brakes and get rear-ended, the car behind you is screwed.

Comment: Re:Stop using JavaScript! (Score 1) 1482

by dgatwood (#46632579) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

There's nothing wrong with JavaScript, language-wise. I mean, sure, I'd prefer for closures to be explicit rather than implicit, in part because it tends to confuse the newbies a bit, but otherwise, it's a reasonable language. The problems mostly stem from:

  • All the built-in functions—the JavaScript DOM, XHR, etc.—which are designed in strange ways that assume everyone understands closures
  • The single-threaded design (not inherent in the language, but mandated by the DOM spec, IIRC)
  • Overuse of completion handlers even for things that really don't need them, mainly to workaround the lack of threading

None of those things would improve with a different language except possibly the first one.

Comment: Re:Can I vote for.. (Score 4, Insightful) 512

by dgatwood (#46612957) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

... all of them? Seriously the inclusion of a trained Shakespearian actor (Stewart) was the only saving grace of that branch-off of TOS.

come on... it's not like the series didn't have any redeeming qualities at all... is it?

I can think of one really good episode. It involved the captain getting his brain rewired and living an entire lifetime on another planed in a dream induced by an alien probe. Why was it good? Because it focused on one character (played by Patrick Stewart) and really developed him.

The one with Picard leading the kids up the lift shaft was also good.

And I enjoyed the whole "Sometimes a cake is just a cake" episode. I mean, it was absurd, but it was amusing.

Worst episode? Anything with Wesley Crusher. They were almost all painfully written. How many times can a single kid put everybody in mortal danger and then somehow manage to save the day in some contrived fashion?

Center meeting at 4pm in 2C-543.

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