Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Hopefully the actual plan defines the terms (Score 1) 520 520

$60 Billion for 500 million panels = $120 per panel. Of course, panel size is not specified (not a needed detail when hawking votes), but the present incentives are more than that per panel if you are talking $1kw panels or larger. Is she proposing a reduction in incentives?

My first impression is that this is the standard politician trick of promising something that is already highly likely to occur or inevitable. Most successful politicians, regardless of political party, use these kind of promises all the time. Especially in areas where the measurement of progress can be boiled down to a single or a small number of numerical values.

Comment Re:More Republican corporate welfare (Score 1) 241 241

sure, and we didnt have the tech to send us to the moon in the 60s...but we did it

So what are you trying to say here? He3 is only useful in a fusion reactor and we don't have a working design. People have been working on one ever since they invented the H-bomb and come up short, we have enough He3 here on earth to experiment/test with. Maybe we should see if we're able to do something useful with it before we spend billions trying to build a moon mining operation?

I completely agree with you and it is sad to see this tired old argument every time there is a moon story. There are plenty of good reasons to go to the moon, He3 isn't one of them. There is no reason to even bring up the subject given the numerous other reasons to go to the moon.

Comment Re:First thing I thought of (Score 5, Interesting) 446 446

The first thing that came to mind when I heard of this site is "This is a prime target for a hacking/blackmail scheme." The only surprise here is that it didn't happen sooner.

As someone who has data in there (out of curiosity), it couldn't have happened to better people. The people that run AshleyMadison are worse than the lowest spammers. Not because they sanction marital cheating, but because they are exceedingly scammy in every aspect of the way they operate their business. They make Paypal and Stamps.com look like saints.

Comment Re:Hard to believe (Score 2) 116 116

I find that hard to believe. I have had 4 legal experiences in my time.

1) a divorce - (family law) 2) a labor dispute over a layoff - (labor law) 3) a private investment - (securities law) 4) A copyright filing - (intellectual property law)

In every case, there were some areas that could have been algorithmic, but in many dimensions on each one there were things that came about from advice from the attorney on how to position myself and under what laws I could make a case, which has a lot to do with language parsing and the definitions of the words used and their context. Unless this was paired with something like Watson which can determine meaning from context, I don't see this as being anything more than a paralegal replacement, but not a lawyer replacement.

Yes, but the vast majority of cases are fairly straightforward. Laws are nothing but a set of rules, and computers are great tools to track rules and figure out which apply. Precedents are set which further define what happens when the law falls short. Law (at least US Law) is chock full of "tests" which are fairly easy to apply. They come in the form of "If this AND this AND this, then $ruling". Unless you are in a precedent-setting case, which is rare, then I absolutely believe that a computer can be fed the results of a bunch of yes/no questions, asset values, and come up with the right answer with very high accuracy. If the two parties can agree on the answers to the yes/no questions and the asset valuations, want to reduce costs, and are not at each other's throats, then why not use a computer?

A computer doesn't have an interest in wasting time and accumulating billable hours like a lawyer does. No matter how much honesty and integrity the lawyer has, getting paid is always going to be on their mind.

Comment Re:as always.... (Score 0) 204 204

How would insurance save money? Another middle man to pay. The only justification for insurance is when you need to smooth out the bumps in your spending - an individual may not have $30,000 sitting around to replace their crashed car. NASA can almost always slip a schedule; self insurance makes a lot of sense for them.

f SpaceX had to pay the premiums for each launch separately, but NASA had a contract that didn't allow cost increases due to insurance premium increases, then insurance would be a great idea.

As it stands, NASA shoulders the costs for SpaceX's mistakes. The only reason that situation is allowed to stand is because it is common in government work. It shouldn't be.

Comment Re:Statism vs. Libertarianism again (Score 3, Interesting) 123 123

There's a world of difference between an adobe flash exploit and the availability of a gun that can mow down a large number of people in a matter of seconds.

There is not. Shutting down NYSE [slashdot.org], for example, cost billions of dollars. At $10 mln per life [wikipedia.org], that's hundreds of lives right there...

Are you making a serious argument in comparing people getting shot and the NYSE shutdown? This is the hill that you're going to make your stand on?

It's a very poor example but a valid point. A much better example would be fraud [identity theft], ransomware, spam, etc. With computers you can easily steal time from people on an unimaginable scale.

Suppose someone hacks me, and I get off relatively "easy". I may spend 1 hour of my time canceling a credit card, activating the new card when it comes, and changing all the passwords of all the accounts that the credit card number is associated with. That's probably on the very low end of what a hack can cost an individual.

The hacker doesn't stop there. They repeat their act 1,000,000 times. That's a fairly successful and prolific hacker, but not unheard of, espeicially if the attack vector is a business. At just an hour apiece per victim, 1 million victims is 114 total man-years spent cleaning up. Nobody died, but an entire lifetime has been stolen.

The Target hack(s) affected "up to 110 million people". If we take that figure at face value, and each victim spent only an hour dealing with it, that's 12,557 years or roughly 148 lifetimes. Even if I count injured people, I can't find a mass shooting that comes anywhere near 148 lifetimes.

Comment Re:Algorithm (Score 3, Interesting) 233 233

The ads that Google shows you are based on your search terms most of the time.

Except when it's not. Which in this case clearly indicates there's a profile that's made up of more than just search terms.

The search terms were identical for all profiles, male or female. The authors of the paper admit in the abstract that they don't know who is responsible for the different results, but since the only difference was the "gender" setting it is clear that at some point in the chain (Google, advertisers, recruitment companies) there is a rule that says "favour males", just like there is a rule that says "favour females" for tampon adverts.

Right, confirming that it's not just search terms. So we agree, there's a profile involved, not just search terms.

The difference between those two examples, and why one is a problem, is hopefully obvious.

It's really not obvious. Are you suggesting that advertisers shouldn't be allowed to target ads? Are you suggesting freedom to engage in advertising should be modified by rules? You're implying that. On what basis do you justify telling corporations how to spend their ad money?

Google generally shows ads that they think you want to see. They learn from feedback- which links you click and which you scroll by immediately. They aggregate that data, then slice it and dice it into different personas (or profiles). I am sure they have categories which all people fall into 2 broad categories, and they have a separate profile for every user. All their data mining and AI research result in a weird reflection of humanity. If that results in women not seeing certain ads, I can only conclude that that is because women generally don't want to see them, or prefer to see other types of ads instead. Perhaps the majority of women prefer to see ads for jobs with more schedule flexibility. That would be a reasonable conclusion since only women can carry fetuses to term, and doing so requires some amount of schedule flexibility. More than 50% of women have children, and determining who does and does not want children is probably not easy- even people with very strong opinions on the matter (like myself 10 years ago) do change their mind suddenly, for a variety of reasons which may defy profiling.

Comment Re: Fear (Score 2) 364 364

The DOW Industrials are at a P/E of 16.2, historical averages since the 1880's is 16.6, there's no huge bubble or crash coming unless it's an international contagion from Greece or China that halts world economic progress.

The DOW is not a good benchmark for investigating if there is a bubble or not. It is comprised of just 30 companies, mostly huge conglomerates and industry titans. There are also little to no "new" businesses on the list. The tech companies on the list are very mature, and include Apple, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft. As far as companies that are trading at a "fair" price, I would say the 30 companies in the DJIA are priced very fairly because of all the eyes on them.

If there is a bubble, it is almost surely not reflected in the DJIA. Let's say, for argument, that there is a bubble (you don't have to agree, just for the sake of argument). Where would it manifest? Technology companies founded in the last 10 years? Tech companies founded in the last 3 years? Those are the likely candidates in my opinion, but they are not represented in the DOW 30 AT ALL.

Maybe you think the next bubble will again be in banking? In that case, only Goldman Sacks, Visa, and Chase represent the banking industry on the DOW 30. I have the opinion that if there is a serious disaster brewing, those 3 companies can keep it from affecting their balance sheet until the last possible moment. They were fairly successful in doing so in 2009 so I have no doubt they could and would do it again.

My point is that if you are looking for a bubble, looking at the DJIA is a complete waste of time. P/E ratios may not be the best indicator either- in 2008/2009 the P/E ratios didn't make alarming moves until *after* everybody knew there was a big problem. You're relying on every other investor to tell you that things are OK (by assigning a fair Price), but every other investor may well be stupid. The best indication I think is what companies are paying when they buy other companies. Are they paying reasonable prices that will allow them to earn a profit on their investment? If they are buying a company to protect market share, is their investment at least as much as the potential losses if they hadn't bought the company? If the answer to either question is no, that's a big problem. It means they have so much money that they don't know how to manage it, or it means that they are basing their decisions on emotion, and not numbers. Either of those is a recipe for disaster.

Comment Uplift 900 is pretty good (Score 3, Informative) 340 340

I have the Uplift 900. My company was very generous with the desk budget, so I went all out and got an 80" wide top. The 80" width is big enough for all my work, but if I were buying it again, I would *not* buy the desk top from Uplift. The price is too high for the quality- I think it probably costs a fortune to ship a big heavy desk top. The digital memory keypad is well worth the money. The Uplift castor wheels are also worthwhile. The Uplift keyboard tray is solid, but nothing special. There are better keyboard trays out there, and I definitely recommend getting a keyboard tray. The cable management kit is overpriced and next to useless.

Keep in mind that at standing height, the desk does have a little bit of wobble, especially if you use the castor wheels. My monitor was unsafely wobbly and I had to use a wood clamp to clamp it to the desk for safety. Part of this is due to my monitor- for a 28" screen, the included stand has a small (too small) footprint and odd weight distribution. For most monitors this probably won't be a problem.

I tend to stand until after lunchtime, then sit the rest of the day, depending on how heavy a lunch I eat. My back problems from a car accident 2 years ago have nearly disappeared. Best feature of a standing desk is eating lunch- your lap isn't in the path of falling food objects. If there is a spill imminent, you can simply dodge out of the way. I haven't spilled lunch on my pants since I got the desk.

Comment Re:Pao Wants "Safe Spaces" for Shills and Ideologu (Score 1) 385 385

I am hearing that several subreddits that went private were forcibly reopened by the admins, and the mods were unable to do anything about it after. I don't have sources, but if it's discovered that it true, that would be the final nail in the coffin for me. The Reddit administration is interested in one thing, and one thing only right now: Milking the site for as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, and fuck the users. Well, fuck them then, as a user. We'll see if they can make their sweet cash when no one wants to use their site anymore.

Dice probably deserves some credit for not being *that* bad, despite all the complaining.

Comment Re:Incineration (Score 2) 371 371

My municipality tried this whole incinerating thing.

The short version: the technology wasn't up to the task, the amount of energy they got out of it was woefully inadequate, the company went out of business.

Incineration technology just doesn't sound like where it needs to be, and it doesn't produce energy in a way that is worth actually doing.

It may be a good idea in theory, but in practice, I don't think it works very well.

Without having the whole story, I will say this- power plants should be designed by power plant engineers. Many of the smaller power plants out there which burn %byproduct or %unwanted_materials are not designed by people who design power plants. There are a lot of Engineering/Procurement/Construction (EPC) companies out there who think "we did a recycling facility before, we put in some gas compressors and diesel engines at that landfill on the other side of town to burn landfill gas, a steam power plant is no problem!".

But solid fuels are a lot more tricky to combust compared to gas. They are trickier to design transport for- conveyor systems that don't have inherent blockage points are an art and a science. The ash is also a solid, but very corrosive, abrasive, and toxic, and needs special conveyors. Pollution controls are a whole 'nother science and improperly designed systems won't stay operating long without serious problems. The owner doesn't know all this, however, and doesn't have the experience to know that they should be rejecting some bidders for lack of experience. They go for the lowest reasonable bid and then when things don't work, the EPC finds every excuse under the sun on why they couldn't possibly have known better.

Comment Re:that's funny... (Score 2) 368 368

She is a pop-country singer that comes up on a regular basis with catchy tunes with clean lyrics, and she did not build a career on dressing like a prostitute or releasing sex tapes. Already that makes her quite unique in that industry.

Not everyone likes pop music of course, but in that genre she is definitely top shelf, and her fight against bad music streaming deals is in line with pretty much everything she does. This is not U2 phony or Metallica greedy, this is someone using leveraging her position to help fellow musicians.

Taylor Swift's vocal range is among the narrowest of any pop artist in the last 20 years. Many of her songs sound almost monotone to me. Vocal range may not be the only indication of a talented singer, but someone with a very narrow range doesn't seem to me like a 'top shelf' performer.

Comment Re:Inevitable escalation of a broken philosophy (Score 1) 609 609

let's here about all these scenarios; as someone with extensive unsupported experience in eastern Alaska and Yukon. I know of only one situation. It does not favor a long gun. Out of 50+ encounters, I've never needed a gun. Of the several stories of acquaintances that have used their gun on a bear, I know of one that sounded legitimate. The rest wanted to take down a bear and its better with a cool threatening story. I'm interested in other threats in addition to one encountered by at most a few thousand people per year that should dictate national gun gun policy. I'm very pro-gun (I own 31), but this is patently ridiculous.

I grew up in a fairly rural area. After my sister and I reached a responsible age, we kept a .22 next to the back door at all times. It was used frequently to intervene in fights between our cats and foxes. Also to scare off any animals in the garden. The number of gunshots I heard on a weekly basis was proof that we weren't the only family shooting guns off the back porch on a regular basis.

Comment Re:The downside is taxpayers... (Score 1) 283 283

Why are you trying to waste other people's money? It costs money to run an office or man a phone to provide government services, and I'm sure you appreciate that at least some minimal services are necessary. So the more people who have internet access and can fill in forms online, receive emails instead of letters and get advice via wikis, FAQs, forums and live-chats the less of our money the government has to spend on call centres and offices.

You didn't think this through, did you?

Most people in government don't think about that. The USPS is a great example. You can buy priority postage for packages on USPS.com, but not for regular packages. It's certainly possible to offer it, USPS even has API's which support this functionality! But the only way to do it currently is through the horrible company stamps.com ($16/month subscription service) or through the equally horrible Paypal.

Weekend, where are you?

Working...