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+ - How the Elevator Transformed America 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes "For most city-dwellers, the elevator is an unremarkable machine that inspires none of the passion or interest that Americans afford trains, jets, and even bicycles. But according to Daniel Wilk the automobile and the elevator have been locked in a “secret war” for over a century, with cars making it possible for people to spread horizontally, encouraging sprawl and suburbia, and elevators pushing them toward life in dense clusters of towering vertical columns.

Elevators first arrived in America during the 1860s, in the lobbies of luxurious hotels, where they served as a plush conveyance that saved the well-heeled traveler the annoyance of climbing stairs. It wasn’t until the 1870s, when elevators showed up in office buildings, that the technology really started to leave a mark on urban culture. Business owners stymied by the lack of available space could look up and see room for growth where there was previously nothing but air—a development that was particularly welcome in New York, where a real estate crunch in Manhattan’s business district had, for a time, forced city leaders to consider moving the entire financial sector uptown. Advances in elevator technology combined with new steel frame construction methods to push the height limits of buildings higher and higher. In the 1890s, the tallest building in the world was the 20-story Masonic Temple in Chicago. By 1913, when hydraulic elevators had been replaced with much speedier and more efficient electrical ones, it was the 55-story Woolworth Building in New York, still one of the one-hundred tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. "If we didn't have elevators," says Patrick Carrajat, the founder of the Elevator Museum in New York, "we would have a megalopolis, one continuous city, stretching from Philadelphia to Boston, because everything would be five or six stories tall."

But the elevator did more than make New York the city of skyscrapers, it changed the way we live. “The elevator played a role in the profound reorganization of the building,” writes Andreas Bernard. That means a shift from single-family houses and businesses to apartments and office buildings. “Suddenly . . . it was possible to encounter strangers almost anywhere.” The elevator, in other words, made us more social — even if that social interaction often involved muttered small talk and staring at doors. Elevators also reinforced a social hierarchy; for while we rode the same elevators, those who rode higher lived above the fray. "It put the “Upper” into the East Side. It prevented Fifth Avenue from becoming Wall Street," writes Stephen Lynch. "It made “penthouse” the most important word in real estate.""

Comment: Re:Can this be disabled? (Score 1) 115

by hackertourist (#48662873) Attached to: Apple Pushes First Automated OS X Security Update

It is infinitely preferable to the Windows way of doing things, where the update process can basically say (using the default settings) 'Fuck you and your open documents, we're going to reboot NOW'. The mind boggles at the level of disrespect that shows.
Can things be improved? Probably. But until they are, I prefer the OS that lets me reboot on MY schedule.

The Media

Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics' 718

Posted by Soulskill
from the intellectual-brand-recognition dept.
Layzej writes: Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, are calling on the news media to stop using the word "skeptic" when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers. "Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry."

Comment: Re:'it is out of stock now; try to ask next year.' (Score 1) 115

by hackertourist (#48607695) Attached to: The Personal Computer Revolution Behind the Iron Curtain

Uh, no. West Germany largely recovered on its own. They didn't have access to Marshall Plan funds until after their economic recovery had started. In fact the US and its allies started the postwar period by removing lots of valuables (coal and steel industry, patents, scientists) from Germany.

Comment: Re:Or just make the A-pillar narrower. (Score 2) 191

by hackertourist (#48607557) Attached to: Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

Small A-pillars were SOP when behavior in a crash wasn't subject to legislation. As a result, you'd have A-pillars that buckled into the passenger compartment at the slightest provocation.
These days, the goal is a door frame strong enough that you can still open the door after a crash.


Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services 281

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-snooping-zone dept.
jfruh writes Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told a conference on surveillance at the Cato Institute that Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA spying shocked the company's engineers — who then immediately started working on making the company's servers and services more secure. Now, after a year and a half of work, Schmidt says that Google's services are the safest place to store your sensitive data.

Comment: Re:Meh. (Score 1) 175

by hackertourist (#48594109) Attached to: 3D Printer?

Then you haven't been paying much attention wrt creativity. 3D printing is transforming my hobby (building scale models).
The drawback of the traditional machine shop is the long learning curve. I've had a lathe for about 2 years now, and I still feel I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. This is caused by fear: getting it wrong means potentially wrecking the machine. And lack of time (to go on a metalworking course, for instance).
The same thing has held me back from buying a CNC mill: it'd take years before I could do much with it.
I've had a much easier time getting into 3D printing. Now part of that is the fact I can outsource the actual printing (Shapeways) so all I have to do is learn how to draw in a 3D CAD program. I haven't found places that offer one-off CNC jobs in the same vein.

Comment: Re:bring back the green IBM 3270 (Score 1) 241

by hackertourist (#48588489) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

This drivel is scored +5, Insightful?
A text-only terminal is barely adequate for basic data entry, and useless at anything else. Guess what, basic data entry's about 1% of what office workers need to do these days. On an average day I write documents, create and edit drawings, and I create programs and scripts. All of which benefit from having 24" pixel-addressable screens and a decent GUI. Force me to work on a fucking terminal and my productivity goes through the floor.

Your job is to SUPPORT the users, not hinder them at every turn.

Comment: Why is 3D NAND better? (Score 4, Informative) 127

by hackertourist (#48549627) Attached to: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

TFA says:

The move to 32-layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash brings pricing down to the .50 to .60 per GiB range, but doesn't adversely affect endurance because the cell structure doesn't suffer from the same inherent limitations of planar NAND, since the cells are stacked vertically with the 3D VNAND.

which didn't make sense to me. Luckily Anandtech has a non-gibberish explanation:

Rather than increasing density by shrinking cell size, Samsung's V-NAND takes a few steps back in process technology and instead stacks multiple layers of NAND cells on top of one another. ...In the floating gate MOSFET, electrons are stored on the gate itself - a conductor. Defects in the transistor (e.g. from repeated writes) can cause a short between the gate and channel, depleting any stored charge in the gate. If the gate is no longer able to reliably store a charge, then the cell is bad and can no longer be written to. Ultimately this is what happens when you wear out an SSD.

With V-NAND, Samsung abandons the floating gate MOSFET and instead turns to its own Charge Trap Flash (CTF) design. An individual cell looks quite similar, but charge is stored on an insulating layer instead of a conductor. This seemingly small change comes with a bunch of benefits, including higher endurance and a reduction in overall cell size. That's just part of the story though.

V-NAND takes this CTF architecture, and reorganizes it into a non-planar design. The insulator surrounds the channel, and the control gate surrounds it. The 3D/non-planar design increases the physical area that can hold a charge, which in turn improves performance and endurance.

The final piece of the V-NAND puzzle is to stack multiple layers of these 3D CTF NAND cells. Since Samsung is building density vertically, there's not as much pressure to shrink transistor sizes. With relaxed planar space constraints, Samsung turned to an older manufacturing process (30nm class, so somewhere between 30 and 39nm) as the basis of V-NAND.

By going with an older process, Samsung inherently benefits from higher endurance and interference between cells is less of an issue. Combine those benefits with the inherent endurance advantages of CTF and you end up with a very reliable solution. Whereas present day 19/20nm 2-bit-per-cell MLC NAND is good for around 3000 program/erase cycles, Samsung's 30nm-class V-NAND could withstand over 10x that (35K p/e cycles).


'Moneyball' Approach Reduces Crime In New York City 218

Posted by timothy
from the precrime-works-citizens dept. writes The NYT reports that NY County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s most significant initiative has been to transform, through the use of data, the way district attorneys fight crime. "The question I had when I came in was, Do we sit on our hands waiting for crime to tick up, or can we do something to drive crime lower?" says Vance. "I wanted to develop what I call intelligence-driven prosecution." When Vance became DA in 2009, it was glaringly evident that assistant D.A.s fielding the 105,000-plus cases a year in Manhattan seldom had enough information to make nuanced decisions about bail, charges, pleas or sentences. They were narrowly focused on the facts of cases in front of them, not on the people committing the crimes. They couldn't quickly sort minor delinquents from irredeemably bad apples. They didn't know what havoc defendants might be wreaking in other boroughs.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke