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Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 4, Informative) 1197

No they can't. The pellets are accelerated out of the gun by the power an the explosive charge. They then loose velocity due to gravity and (far more importantly) air resistance. While the loss due to gravity is reversed once the pellets reach the top of their arc, the loss due to air resistance continues until they drop below their terminal velocity (the point at which air resistance and gravity cancel each other out).

Any sufficiently elevated shot will have the pellets reaching the earth at their terminal velocity (which is a fraction of the velocity that they leave the gun barrel at).

Comment Bad test or is it the headline (Score 1) 486

This is a REALLY mind boggling stupid test (or at least headline). Of course it is faster to immediately write stuff to disk as it becomes available, than to build the string in memory and then flush it to disk. Keep the IO bus full while the next write is prepared.

That doesn't change the fact that you should avoid touching the disk as much as possible, it just illustrates that if you must touch the disk, you should try to do it while the processor is busy doing other things (if possible).

Comment Re:So presumably..... (Score 1) 208

Software purchases run into a huge problem versus hardware purchases. Buy hardware and once it it bough it is yours. Buy software and you inevitable learn the lesson M$ teaches, you have not yet finished buying it and you will have to buy it, again and again and again and again and again and again and again, gees how many versions where there of windows.

Whereas hardware lasts forever...

The problem with Windows isn't that you have to spring for a new version every now and then. Its that you only have one vendor for that upgrade.

Comment Re:Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 2) 287

Building a car that gets a new traffic light right 99% of the time is probably trivial

Maybe. But considering that I go through about 15 traffic lights on my way to work (and then the same 15 again on my way home), a car that handled them correctly 99% of the time would have about a 1 in 3 of messing at least one of them up EACH DAY.

We're looking for five nines here, minimum.

Comment Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 3, Interesting) 38

This is wrong on all counts. It is very much traditional for us Icelanders (yes I'm from Iceland) to transliterate eth (ð) as d and accented characters like á without the accent.

Th is only used to transliterate the thorn (which Slashdot refuses to render).

What is annoying is when the eth is transliterated as o. I have one in my last name and I've had trouble with checking in to flights booked via Expedia due to this nonsense.

Comment Re:Actually... (Score 3, Informative) 123

Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

You must have checked it a VERY long time ago. It is true that the rate of complication is about 2-3%, but the MORTALITY rate (i.e. the number of people that die as a result of the surgery) is

estimated at one to two per 1,000,000 cases of appendicitis

(Source: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia...)

Not 1 in 50 as a 2% mortality rate would indicate.

Comment Re:n/t (Score 5, Insightful) 278

No, all of science is debatable. Even Newton and Einstein.

The ones insisting that science is "settled" and undebatable are the same old religious authority figures dressed in new clothes.

Newton is a good example. We know for a fact that his 'laws' (or more accurately, models) of motion are wrong. We've known that for a very long time (that is why relativity was needed, Newton's model, for example, failed to predict the orbits of the planets accurately).

Now suppose you are building a bridge. It needs to withstand certain strains. Plugging the details of your plans into Newton's models shows that it will not withstand them. Claiming that since Newton's models are wrong, you can safely ignore this result and build your bridge anyway, is clearly nonsense.

The reason it is nonsense is because the limitations (or inaccuracies) of Newton's models are irrelevant to its application in this scenario. To wave away Newton, in this instance, you'd need to present extremely compelling evidence that we've been wrong these past 300 years in believing Newton's laws held any value at 'human' scale.

This would be an extraordinary claim, requiring extraordinary proof. Given how unlikely that is, we say that Newton is 'settled'. In that we know the limits of his models and have a mountain of evidence to back them up where we believe they do apply. You can't just point at the known limitations of his models and in a handwavy manner extrapolate that since his models aren't perfect, they are useless. You must provide extraordinary proof they Newton's models are wrong.

So lets move over to climate science.

Its a younger field, but it does rely on a number of fairly simple and testable models. Including that carbon dioxide (CO2) traps heat in the atmosphere. This can be easily tested (and has been repeatedly). Claiming that this is false, requires extraordinary proof and this can generally be considered settled.

The claim that us humans are releasing immense amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and have been doing so to an ever greater degree for over 200 years is also easily proven and can be viewed as 'settled'. That is to say, you'd need extraordinary proof to claim otherwise.

There is a mountain of these small, 'settled' issues that, when taken together, lead to a fairly unassailable (barring extraordinary evidence to the countrary) conclusion; We are having an effect on the global climate.

The exact effects are what is left for (real) scientific debate. But even there we know that the overall temperature of the planet will rise by some amount due to the presence of more CO2 in the atmosphere (claiming otherwise requires, again, extraordinary proof, although the exact amount of heating is still subject to some debate).

TL;DR Climate science is far from settled. However, the fact that we are having an impact on the climate is settled and arguing otherwise requires extraordinary proof.

Comment Re:Aluminium (Score 1) 365

...but you can turn off the plant to free more of the existing electricity...

No you can't. Aluminium plants take time to shut down. A sudden loss of electricity will destroy the equipment used to smelt it. So you'd need many hours to wind production down and then many hours to get it started again.

The last thing any aluminium smelting plants wants is downtime. That is why they are run 24/7. Shutting them down takes a very long time and costs a lot of money.

Comment Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (Score 2) 245

The banks, on the other hand, are very easy to "kill" — just stop using them. Unlike the government, they have no way to compel you.

Yes, "just" stop using them. Like we can "just" stop voting in all these rubbish politicians.

Most people can't stop doing business with them because they are already in debt and clearing that debt will take decades. Even if not in debt, not having a bank account and debit/credit card(s) and other financial services can cause you all manner of difficulties.

Banks, on top of providing essentially services, have built a money sucking machine. And they've made very sure to entangle the leeching part thoroughly in with the good bits.

The only way to address this, without plunging the economy into chaos, is for the government to step in and untangle it (cutting the proverbial Gordian knot). "Just" not doing business with the banks will either accomplish nothing (because you can't get enough people involved) or will precipitate a financial collapse.

Unfortunately, getting the government to do something about this "just" requires us to vote some decent people into office *sigh* yes, "just".

And it should be the law: If you use the word `paradigm' without knowing what the dictionary says it means, you go to jail. No exceptions. -- David Jones