Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:Microphonics? (Score 1) 37

That is a very interesting proposal. If the amount or errors can give any additional information, and this could be used to locate seismic activity, why not exploit this indeed. Looking at the cable map, I have the impression most of them are roughly in the same region, so I have my doubts about the accuracy, but then again, I am no expert. It may tell more than nothing, as you remarked. Obviously, this is very different from the suggestions of the article, to install active sensors.

Comment Re:Microphonics? (Score 1) 37

If you can influence the error rate of a disk drive by yelling at it (, then can't you measure earthquakes with a long optical fiber

No, because you don't know where in the cable the event occurs. One possibility would be to dedicate a fiber to these measurements, using OTDR (optical time domain reflectometry) to detect an event. But this would only work on cables without repeaters. Given that these microphonic effects are most likely increadibly weak, and the attenuation incredibly high it probably wouldn't work.

Long story short: these cables were meant for no other purpose than transmitting data -a task daunting enough in itself- and their only "interest" is that they are more or less situated around the area where someone would like to have something else installed.

Comment Not peanuts (Score 3, Insightful) 37

From TFA:

In terms of rote economics, implementing these sensors into the cable system would be “peanuts” compared to what telecom consortiums are already paying to lay cables across oceans. According to the October ITU report, adding these sensors would add an additional 5-10 percent to the cost of laying a new cable, which generally cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

5-10 percent of hundreds of millions of dollars is not peanuts to me. While this may be an interesting idea, I can imagine that telecom operators are not enthusiastic to implement something this costly, which adds complexity to their installation with limited benefit for themselves.

Comment Re:No compelling evidence? (Score 1) 663

Remember, poop transplants can make people fatter or skinnier. Once you realize that, it's all a bunch of shit.

I am beginning to understand the etymology of your username.

(obvious) Jokes aside, this is a very important remark. We carry a lot of bacteria around. More specifically, our own body cells are outnumbered by a factor of 10 by bacteria. It is clear that these have a tremendous impact on out metabolism, resistance against disease, body odor etc. I am not an expert, but can imagine that in Dawkins' "extended fenotype" style, gut bacteria may not only be influenced by one's diet (vegetarian/carnivorous/fatty/sugar/...), but may in turn influence our own appetite using hormones or whatever. At that point it becomes a positive feedback system. (again, this is just wild speculation from a non-expert)

Comment Of course they don't do it alone... (Score 2) 273

It is obvious that a company's success also depends on the efforts of many anonymous workers and governments. However, that doesn't alter the fact that visionary leaders are needed to inspire them. I can imagine that, statistically, all large companies have, on the average, an equally competent workforce. These statistics don't apply to the small group of top management, let alone the CEO. These are the people that set out the company course. Therefore, I refuse to believe e.g. Apple's success is purely coincidental. Same holds for Virgin, Tesla etc. Whether the personal adoration and cult status is desirable, is another matter altogether, but the importance of a CEO goes without saying.

Comment Misleading title (Score 1) 466

What he actually says is that he cut down his power consumption so drastically that he is self-reliant with a small solar panel and some batteries. Using only low voltage devices and consuming a small power, indeed there is no need to convert to AC.

However, his biggest achievement is being self-reliant (insofar this is true...) and has nothing to do with AC/DC conversion. AC is being used, mainly because it is easy (and highly efficient!) to change its voltage using transformers. There are some other advantages related to shutting down arcs, and disadvantages related to skin effect, but using transformers is the main one.

For any realistic electrical power consumption the currents at low voltage would be so ridiculously high that very thick conductors would be needed to limit the losses (and fire risk), self-reliant or not. The reasonable thing in that case would be to use an invertor to go to 120/230V AC. The losses would easily be offset by the lower demands on the cabling. It is no coincidence that the power grid and, to a lesser extent, homes operate at high voltage.

Comment Larry (Score 2) 381

30 years ago, the game Larry, about a guy's romantic endeavours, used a list of questions only adults were supposed to be able to answer. The result of the test determined the X-ratedness of the game. Something like that might work here too. It would not be perfect, though, and horny adults may not be in the mood for answering questions like "what president succeeded Nixon?" etc.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 830

I know some people won't quite get my point, or they'll say, "But metric is so much easier once you know it!" Really though, metric is only much easier when you're doing math. On a day to day level, most of us don't need to do enough math for it to matter.

Read: Those other people are wrong and I am right. Because.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 830

The usefulness of a scale that is "roughly the range of temperatures that is habitable for people" seems to me much less than the usefullness of a scale that indicates the freezing and boiling point of water. People using the Celsius scale also realise that a -15 or a +40 climate is not very pleasant, but the exact number: who cares? At zero degrees Celsius, however, water turns into ice: that is significant for plants, freezing of water tubes etc. In my opinion that is much more useful than quickly being able to tell whether a country is habitable for people (by a vague standard).

Comment Re:Referring to leaders of 1800's or 2000's ? (Score 1) 286

While my statement may also hold for those wealthy leaders of 1800 (thanks for that piece of info, btw), I was referring to today. The people from 1800 are no longer alive and can no longer ponder on this. Judging from your comment, I don't expect you to do so either, and maybe it was poorly formulated. "flaming error" did a better job, and I regret he is not modded higher.

The point I wanted to make, is that one of the reasons why the western world is doing relatively well nowadays, is because we stole from other countries (colonies) in the past and continue to do so today. Let the Chinese pollute their country and buy stuff cheaply. Buy cheap resources from Africa and South America. And feel good about ourselves because injustice is not literally carried out by our own hands. That these things happen is sad. Explicitly saying one "no longer feels guilty" (which, as mentioned, probably never happened before either) is ignorant and imho unfair.

Comment I doubt... (Score 1) 286

I doubt you ever felt guilty in the first place. Too often are people unaware that their wealth, their success, which they attribute to themselves, is actually the fruit of suppressing others, in the past and in the present. And then we don't care anymore. As others remarked, this is sad.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.