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Comment: Re:The Optimistic viewpoint hade a source (Score 2) 99

by fermion (#49163401) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek
This is it. The original Star Trek, all of them, pretty much said that diplomacy occasionally backed up with defense would end up in the best results. That technology over time helps us build trusts. There are a few bad agents, but we are mostly good.

The new Star Trek says violence is the way. That the violent people win. And brings a new level of suspension of rational thought. That the Earth would have no defenses against a rougue star ship. That a meeting would have no defenses against a rough droid. That we would be running across the city chasing a suspect. That civilization could build a starship, but could not protect the citizenship. It is not so much a dark world, but a world that reflects the fears of technologically illiterate audience.

Life is pretty bad when your star trek movie makes less sense than the Fifth Element, which at least had good actors.

Comment: Re:Submarine versus Viking longship (Score 2) 48

And I could see a longship having a piece break off after getting shot at and having that debris end up in just the right spot to clog the subs engines or torpedo bays or something like that. Sure it's statistically unlikely, and probably not even a 1/1000 chance of actually happening, but for the sake of game play I can accept it.

At that point you're better off imagining the sub had a critical weapons malfunction and blew itself up so the longship wins on walkover. Or that the warrior sneaked into the riflemen's camp and poisoned their water supply.

Comment: Re: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More (Score 1) 176

by Kjella (#49159463) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

Weren't people saying the same sort of things when the "assembly line" was first invented? After all, the main purpose of the "assembly line" was to make the same amount of stuff with fa fewer workers than had been needed previously.

Well first off you're not looking back far enough, during the first industrial revolution there was massive unemployment as machines replace skilled artisans and craftsmen with cheap, expendable factory workers that could receive minimal training in their one task on the line. The assembly line actually comes very late in a mostly industrialized society already and an old fashioned manual assembly line still employs a considerable number of people. And Ford famously doubled wages to get retention up, because the assembly line work was actually getting complex and needed trained workers.

This time we're not just dividing and rearranging the way workers produce their product, we're cutting the humans entirely out of the equation except for meta-roles like designers, developers and repairmen. For example take the banking industry, it used to be huge with branch offices all over the place. ATMs were the first blow, now online banking has reduced it down to next to nothing. I just checked the figures on one bank I know, 250 FTEs (full-time equivalents) supporting 380,000 customers.

Think about it, in how many service industries is the human staff actually a service? When I go to the grocery store, what I want are the groceries. I don't care if robots automate the whole shop if they keep delivering the same service and quality. When it comes to water/sewage/electricity/internet etc. I'd rather not deal with them at all, I pay a bill and it works. If a lot of those jobs disappear at the same time and I don't mind seeing them go, but I'm paying nearly the same for the robot/self-service service there won't be much left of my paycheck to pay whatever new jobs these people have found.

Comment: Re:Xfce 5 should be based on Qt. (Score 1) 88

by Kjella (#49158799) Attached to: Xfce 4.12 Released

If anything, what I want is for my DE not to be based on a major toolkit. This breaks down when it gets to the file manager

And the system settings, that one is much tighter integrated to the DE than the file manager. And it needs to manipulate the pointer. And context menus, arrange menu bars etc. so it need some kind of UI toolkit. I don't quite see what it has to gain by reinventing the wheel, it's not like pulling in Qt/Gtk drains that many resources by themselves.

Comment: Re:Automation is Dependent on Design for Manufactu (Score 4, Informative) 176

by Kjella (#49158007) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

At the assembly level it isn't so easy to automate with a lot of the designs. There are flex cables, adhesive, torque sensitive screws that all rely on a human to be able to manipulate and then quickly respond to misalignment. To automate this, the design constraints placed on the Industrial Designs need to change.

I think you underestimate how far sensor technology has come and will go, here for example is an example of automated salmon processing. Obviously there's a lot of natural variation, do we need to bioengineer a more robot-friendly salmon? No. They're measured out by a laser and intelligently cut. Head/tail/other cuts are dropped out to go on another processing line. Each cut is grabbed by a robot with robot vision and placed in pouches to be sealed. Skip to 3:12 if you just want to see that last part. Fillet-making machines are still in the research phase but there are examples of that too using X-rays to scan and find the pin bones. If they can deal with all that, I'm sure they can apply the right torque to a screw.

Comment: Re: stop the pseudo-scientific bullshit (Score 1) 87

by jd (#49156217) Attached to: Mysterious Siberian Crater Is Just One of Many

The Great Extinction, caused by Siberia becoming one gigantic lava bed (probably after an asteroid strike), was a bit further back in time. Geologically, Siberia is old. You might be confusing the vestiges of Ice Age dessication (which was 10,000 years ago) but which involves the organics on the surface with the geology (aka rocks).

Regardless, though, of how the craters are forming, the fact remains that an awful lot of greenhouse gas is being pumped into the air, an awful lot of information on early civilization is being blasted out of existence, and a lot of locals are finding that the land has suddenly become deadly.

Comment: Re: Authority (Score 2, Interesting) 209

by jd (#49156167) Attached to: As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies

That is a good question. The last time the courts ruled on this, the ruling was that the FCC had ceded power and couldn't claim it back without the will of god. Or Congress, or something.

Personally, I'm all in favour of Thor turning up to the Supreme Court, but he probably wouldn't be allowed in on account of not having a visa.

Comment: Re:And no one cares (Score 2) 181

by Kjella (#49154623) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

And half those sort of "new generation" searchers won't know half the time if they are redirected to a phony site.

Half the "old generation" didn't know half the time if they are redirected to a phony site by a phishing email. Anyway, that assumes you're going somewhere worth scamming. Email, online bank, ebay sure... but in the last 15+ years I haven't seen a single phishing attempt for my slashdot account info. And stuff that you just read, what's to phish? And that's why the important stuff is moving towards two-factor authentication so just stealing your password isn't enough.

It's the same generation

Comment: Re:It's almost like the Concord verses the 747 aga (Score 1) 154

by Kjella (#49154063) Attached to: Hyperloop Testing Starts Next Year

Branching would be really tricky, but there's no physical barriers.

I wasn't talking about branching at (full) speed, just how effectively you can insert/extract trains from the loop though I suppose low speed exit/merge tubes could be built. Say you have stations 1-5 connecting two major cities with suburbs at 2-4, could you effectively have a schedule like:

1-5 express
1-5 express
1-5 express
1-5 express
1-4, same time 4-5
1-3, same time 3-5 (and maybe 3-4 local following)
1-2, same time 2-5 (and maybe 2-3 local following)
(pause long enough for train to get out of way at station #2
1-5 express

Then it would be a real boon to the people living at #2-4, because I think the "every 30 seconds" is to get volume up, I don't think it's very significant if you have to wait 5-10 minutes for your route to come into rotation.

Comment: Re:It's almost like the Concord verses the 747 aga (Score 1) 154

by Kjella (#49153669) Attached to: Hyperloop Testing Starts Next Year

What I'm interested in about the hyperloop is that unlike airplanes, high speed rail and traditional tube is that in the concept you'll have 6-8 passengers/capsule and 3 capsules/train = 18-24 passengers/train, which hopefully means you can have many more dedicated routes and/or a mix of long-hop/short-hop routes using the same infrastructure that'll serve the whole 3000 miles and not just the endpoints.

Around here the train is used for a lot of regional travel instead of bus, shorter than airplane and every time there's talk of building out high speed rail the problem is that it'll actually serve the regions worse since you don't have time to stop, so effectively you're just building a grounded airline. It's a lot easier to find 20 passengers going somewhere at the same time than 400-800 so that could be a major game changer if the technology works out.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.