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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Offtopic but...wth happened to /. layout? (Score 2) 100

by gman003 (#49151927) Attached to: Google Reverses Stance, Allows Porn On Blogger After Backlash

It's not Beta. It still works, more-or-less. Beta had a comment section that was completely impossible to browse or work with - considering the comments are the only real draw, it's no surprise it was dead on arrival.

This looks like just some styling to make Slashdot look less 2002. Still odd that they don't talk about it, but that's Dice for you. We're no longer the "community", we're the "audience"; we're supposed to just sit there and take it.

Comment: Is the decision-maker sapient? (Score 2) 162

by gman003 (#49127907) Attached to: Should a Service Robot Bring an Alcoholic a Drink?

Making decisions like this requires consideration of the consequences, which is the very definition of sapience.

If the robot is non-sapient, but simply has a configured list of users who it may or may not serve alcohol, the decision was made by the person who configured it. This would be an acceptable solution, although cumbersome and inflexible. Probably wouldn't work well enough for public bartending, but a robo-butler could work this way.

If the robot is sapient, it would be capable of making such decisions on its own. In fact, you might see robots refuse to serve alcohol at all, claiming moral reasons. On the other hand, you might see libertarian robots refuse to *not* serve someone alcohol, if they value people's right to self-determination. This would also be acceptable, but we are nowhere near this level of AI.

If the robot is non-sapient, but still expected to identify children and alcoholics on its own, problems will result. Detecting children is possible, with some false-positives (it's hard to tell a 20-year-old from a 21-year-old by appearance) and false-negatives (dwarfs/midgets/little people/hobbits/whatever the current PC term is), but how do you detect an alcoholic by their appearance?

The obvious solution for non-sapient robots requiring more flexibility than simple whitelists/blacklists, since alcohol is already a controlled substance, is to have robots require you to present ID for alcohol, and perhaps add a feature to IDs to show "recovering alcoholic, do not give alcohol" if we decide that's something that's important. Then again, we've not felt the need for that yet, with human bartenders, so maybe this whole debate is over something we've already as a society decided isn't an issue.

Comment: Re:Submarines are the undisputed... (Score 4, Insightful) 439

by gman003 (#49058575) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

I'm not going to argue your main points, but as a less partial party I need to raise some points of my own. This is less aimed at you (I'm sure you know everything I'm about to say), and more aimed at the other readers, to give them a more objective viewpoint.

1. The natural counter to a submarine is another submarine. Russia and China may not be able to match us fleet-for-fleet, but assuming they're the aggressors, they'll be able to bring all their force to bear at one point, outnumbering us in the battle but not the war. Do we have half our submarine fleet or more near Taiwan at all times? If not, they can make a reasonable attempt at crossing.

2. Submarines and aircraft basically can't touch each other (specialized ASW aircraft notwithstanding). If the entire Russian Tu-95 fleet flies over the entire US submarine fleet, neither one will do anything to the other. They might not even notice each other. Fleets and aircraft carriers are declining in primacy as aircraft ranges increase. We flew a B-52 combat mission from America to Iraq and back without landing - aircraft carriers, and thus navies in general, are no longer the sole way to project power. If America and Russia finally go to war, the winner will probably be the one who wins the air war, not the one who wins the sea war or land war. (Of course, with nuclear missiles in play in a US-Ru war, the real winner would be China, unless one of us decides to nuke them anyways while we're at it).

3. Consider the effect of naval drones. How many small boats is an aircraft carrier able to fight off? Imagine a USS Cole scenario, except instead of just one suicide boat masquerading as a civilian, it's dozens or even hundreds of suicide drones. You don't need to take my word for how effective these would be, there were Navy wargames for asymmetric warfare that had a "fleet" much like I proposed take out the entire Blue-team fleet, which was basically a full carrier group (the brassholes decided this was "cheating" and ordered the wargames to continue according to a script guaranteeing Blue-team victory) [citation: look up "Millennium Challenge 2002"]. Surface drones may be no threat to our subs, but our subs are similarly no threat to them, and eventually someone will get submarine drones usable. At that point, they're basically just really smart torpedoes with trans-Atlantic range. I'm not sure what the counter for *that* is, except for "not being in the water" (see point 2).

Comment: Re:MH370 (Score 1) 439

by gman003 (#49058461) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

When your main means of detection is listening, yes, it is.

Submarines, when they really don't want to be found, shut down. If diesel-powered, they shut the engine down and run off battery. If nuclear, they run the reactor at as low a power as possible. They turn off as much machinery as possible. They stop the screw and stay still - resting on the surface, or just floating in the middle of the ocean.

Comment: Re:Speaking of display issues (OFFTOPIC) (Score 1) 51

by gman003 (#48972865) Attached to: Graphene Based Display Paves Way For Semi-Transparent Electronic Devices

Addendum: this is no longer the case on the front page, but page 2 is now broken in the same way. It seems to be caused by the image on "Listnr Wants to be 'Your Listening Assistant' (Video)".

I do not recall having problems with video posts before, so I still suspect some recent CSS changes are breaking things that were once working. Was the lesson not learned after Beta? Don't break things that currently work.

Comment: Speaking of display issues (OFFTOPIC) (Score 2) 51

by gman003 (#48968509) Attached to: Graphene Based Display Paves Way For Semi-Transparent Electronic Devices

Did nobody at DICE test the CSS changes? Because the front page is broken on a 960px-wide window now, and it wasn't yesterday. Since that's a window pinned to half of a 1080p screen, and /. doesn't come close to actually needing a full 1920px, I'm sure there's a lot of people browsing the same way, and I'm sure a lot of them won't be browsing back if you keep fucking basic shit up like this.

Comment: Re:cOOKING? rEALLY? (Score 1) 88

by gman003 (#48954355) Attached to: DARPA-Funded Robots Learning To Cook By Watching YouTube Videos

You're right - different robots have already replaced humans for much of the fast-food process. All the humans do is slap the meat into a cooker for a precise amount of time, then piles all the ingredients in the right order. The meat, the sauce, the buns, were all made by machines.

Besides, this robot wouldn't be cooking fast-food. This would replace the actual chefs at actual restaurants, at least the low-end ones at first. Think "Applebees", not "McDonalds".

Comment: Lasers (Score 1) 333

by gman003 (#48926223) Attached to: The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

Think about it. We're not going to discover alien life by having it drop by for a visit. We're going to discover them by long-range communications, and reply the same way.

Lasers might not be a bad way to get a decent amount of bandwidth between stars, and we'd need a big freaking one to be visible at astronomic distances.

Comment: Re:Car Analogy (Score 2) 113

by gman003 (#48911397) Attached to: NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

Both of you suck at car analogies.

Let's say Nissan makes an engine. V6, 3.8L. They advertize it as being 250HP, promote it mainly by putting it in racecars and winning races, and a whole lot of other technical specs get handed out to reviewers to gush over, but nobody really reads them except nerds.

They then make a variant engine. Same V6, but they cut the stroke down so it's only 3.0L. They advertize it as being 200HP, promote it with some more racecars that don't win the overall race but are best in their class, and again they hand out a small book worth of technical specs, this one with a minor error in the air flow rates on page 394. Somebody forgot to edit the numbers from the 3.8L engine, so even though the actual airflow is more than enough for the smaller engine, the numbers originally given look bigger. Nobody from marketing was told about the airflow change, because it was a weird side-effect of something they got rid of related to turbocharger compatibility, and nobody thought to ask the engineers to double-check all of their numbers since only like 200 people would see it worldwide anyways.

Once actual customers get their hands on the new engine, most of them are pretty happy. The 3.8L is better, but it costs like twice as much as the 3.0L, so whatever. One customer is driving on this godawful, decrepit highway that hasn't been repaved since the Eisenhower administration built it, and obviously has some issues. Rather than blame the shitty conditions, he takes a look at the engine, and finds that if you take an air compressor and blow air through the intakes, not as much gets to the engine as in the 3.8L. He then bitches about it online, and other people find the same thing. Motorheads being just as collectively retarded as any group, they build a standardized test set that completely ignores realistic driving conditions and pretty much only identifies this particular oddity in this particular engine, and take to the streets waving torches and pitchforks when they find the air flow value on page 394 isn't the airflow they're getting.

Someone at Nissan hears the noise outside, checks with their internal books and finds the typo. They start explaining as quickly and loudly as they can, but the mob's angry and nobody's going to stop it with logic at this point.

Meanwhile, the smart motorheads are sitting back, waiting for Nissan to drop the price on the "tainted" engine so they can pick one up for cheap themselves, since it's actually a perfectly fine engine, already a pretty good one for the price, and way more fuel-efficient than Audi's equivalent.

Comment: Re:Better article (Score 1) 113

by gman003 (#48909831) Attached to: NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

I won't make any assumptions about you, but I've *never* looked at the marketing for the product I work on. I don't check to make sure their numbers are accurate, because my job is to build the damn thing, not proofread. If someone from marketing *asks* me to check something, I will, but I don't go around reading reviews to make sure all the numbers are right.

Further, it's a compromise in a part that's already compromised. In any video card, there are several parts that need to be roughly proportionate in power - memory bandwidth, ROP units, shader units, at the most basic level. Adding extras of any one part won't speed things up, it'll just bottleneck on the other parts. The 980 was a balanced design, perhaps a bit shader-heavy. The 970 took the 980 chip, binned out about 20% of the shaders, binned out about 13% of the ROPs and slowed down one of the memory controllers by segmenting it off. The part that you're complaining is "compromised" is still *over*-engineered for the job at hand. They could have completely removed that memory controller and still been bottlenecked on shaders, not bandwidth.

Finally, you missed the most crucial part. You are assuming malice, and ignoring any possibility of incompetence, despite it being a very pointless issue to lie about, and very easy to mess up on. In fact, you seem to be ignoring all evidence that it *was* incompetence, and blindly assert that it was malice for no other reason than that you want it to be malice.

Force needed to accelerate 2.2lbs of cookies = 1 Fig-newton to 1 meter per second