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Comment Re:GPGPU (Score 1) 45

The main purpose of dedicated hardware video decoders (and encoders) is to save power. Not because it can't be done on the CPU in adequate time. In addition, it saves money from not needing a powerful CPU to drive the process. They are a highly specialised form of hardware.

GPUs do both - they save overall power (compared to a massive clusters of CPUs that could do the same calculations at the same rate), and also they allow the graphics to occur in real time (which a single CPU can't) at a cost similar to a single CPU. GPUs are specialised, but still quite generic so they can be used for compute tasks as well. Video decoders (and encoders) can be implemented on the GPU too, but the power savings from having a dedicated hardware unit are still worthwhile.

HEVC is designed to put most of the work into the encoding stage, hence why it can be decoded in software on a 50W+ CPU.

Comment Re:5 Year Plan (Score 1) 36

So it's really like a vertical Gantt chart of space related technological developments, where a delay* high up the chart could cascade down the chart tenfold (at least that seems to be what happens in reality).

* That delay is usually caused by cost cutting. The eventual price paid of the cost cutting is often 10x the savings from the cost cutting.

But you could make an online version of this chart, where you can change the completion dates to fit your own beliefs, and see how far into the future we can push things.

Comment Re:"...need to be prepared..." (Score 1) 382

Where are you getting this 1000 year 10m higher sea level thing from anyway? Given that we have evidence of Roman and post-Roman settlements a few metres above current sea levels, I suspect this is complete bullshit.

Not that it is important now, we've build our cities to cope with high tides that we were getting in the very recent past. We have an accelerating sea level rise: 8cm in 20 years is in the past, the next 8 cm will occur in 15 years, the 8cm beyond that in 10 years.

Regardless, a 1 metre level in sea directly affects high tide levels too, so it's massive volumes of water overspilling sea defenses and backfilling very large areas of low level land beyond. Some cities build around tidal rivers will be fine - barriers will be built. Cities on the coast will find $$$ flooding events increasing from once a century to once a decade. And then once or twice a year at seasonal high tides.

And sea walls won't save any city built on porous materials. Miami, for example...

Comment Good luck with that Virgin... (Score 1) 113

Hah, as if you could get a signal from a Virgin Media router more than 10 metres away!

This is what happens when you don't own the router yourself. Virgin will use it, and their connection that they also rent to you, to make money on other services.

Hopefully 0.5Mbps will not saturate the shared cable connection! Performance is bad enough already, and I'm meant to get 60mbps.

Comment Re:NASA (Score 1) 60

Yeah, that's what is truly unbelievable!

Space X will get there. Probably a lot later than the recent article suggested of course. And I don't know why they want to do the single-shot to Mars rather than the two-shot LEO, then Mars method. Oh well...

NASA will only get there if the Chinese start a project to get there first, and that would require their economy to turn around :-) - but NASA might get a budget in that case.

Comment Re:Stop. Just stop. (Score 1) 60

The blog isn't a scientific article about living on mars. It's an article about how one proven achiever of a man is putting everything in place to make getting to Mars achievable in his lifetime. The examples are simplistic, because the reality would be tedious.

Compared to the joke that is the Mars One project, it seems achievable!

Comment Re:book was boring (Score 1) 60

Clearly the author needed scientific review of his work, and then he could have gone through and fixed up the amounts to make things work (e.g., he would have 80 litres of liquid O2 up front instead of 50).

Hopefully the movie has fixed things - probably by removing the attempts at being scientific to make it palatable to the audience.

So maybe we can assume the solar panels aren't 10% efficient, but 40%. And that there is another power source besides solar (the article alludes to this). And maybe that growing food in regolith would be a primary experiment for martian travellers, so they would have suitable lighting with them. Doesn't fix the book, but it might fix the accuracy of the movie.

But generally I watch movies for entertainment, and I can suspend disbelief to that end. Otherwise I would not have made it to the end of 2012.

Comment What, this is idiotic! (Score 5, Insightful) 280

The food was cooked to order on behalf of the customer. There is an implied transfer of ownership and all rights from the restaurant (or chef) to the customer, hence the customer is allowed to destroy the chef's work without being sued.

If the chef wanted to retain artistic copyright of his work, then he should have got the customer to sign a contract.

Comment Re:Oh bullshit (Score 4, Insightful) 144

Those are an effect of being in poverty.

Sure, a few rich idiots fall down into poverty each year, but we're talking about multi-generational poverty here.

No "life choice" at all here.

Your parents are poor. You are born. You miss out of toys, learning, experience all through your young life. A parent becomes ill but without insurance or money you have to quit school to look after them. Or your dad is an alcoholic and you have to leave home... basically, you're fucked already and you aren't even an adult yet.

Comment Re:Hogwash! (Score 1) 144

You clearly had an opportunity to pull yourself out of that situation.

However studies have shown that in the main, it doesn't matter how motivated you are to get out of being poor - everything is stacked against you, and in a competitive employment environment you will always be overlooked in favour of someone who had opportunities that you didn't because they simply got further, have experience more, and done more, and are better educated. These differences have been traced back to being a toddler - toddlers in poor families who become better off still do worse than toddlers in well off families. Basically, if you're poor, you're fucked in a society that doesn't equalise and provide opportunity.

And it has got a lot worse since the 50s and 60s, when at least some pretence was made that the "american dream" was doable.

Comment Re:Moor? (Score 1) 179

That depends on whether you are using it as storage, or a main memory.

As a main memory, that is nowhere near enough writes.

And yes, this is being suggested as a solution for main memories in certain applications. However, these applications will not change state as often - in-memory caches, databases, etc.

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked." -- John Gall, _Systemantics_