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Comment: Re:Expert?? (Score 2) 431

by jenningsthecat (#47692709) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Engineering is merely the slow younger brother of physics.

Robert Heinlein defined the difference between a physicist and an engineer as something like this - warning, mild misogyny ahead:

"Put an engineer and a physicist across the room from a beautiful woman, and tell them that if they approach the woman each step must be no larger than half the distance of the previous step. The physicist gives up because he knows he can never reach her, while the engineer starts walking because he knows he can get close enough for all practical purposes".

I once worked for an engineer who previously had a physicist working for him. The physicist couldn't understand why a couple of 6-volt lantern batteries in series wouldn't start his car - after all, they were putting out 12 volts...

Comment: Re:It isn't only Windows 8 (Score 3, Informative) 292

There's more than one Linux, and it's very easy to choose a stable distro that doesn't live on the bleeding edge.

Do you mean like Debian Testing, (Jessie), that broke both my sound and my ability to suspend during the last dist-upgrade? Or do you mean like Debian Stable, (Wheezy), which won't work with my wired network hardware so I can't even install it in my new machine without a bunch of CD's and a few prayers? Or perhaps you mean Ubuntu, (I moved to Xubuntu when I got fed up with trying to get Debian working), which prompts me to reboot after updates a couple of times a week like some crappy Windows box?

I don't think I could ever really go back to Windows, (especially given my recent experiences with 8.1 on my GF's new laplet), but recently there have been days when I've toyed with the idea...

+ - Swedish dad takes gamer kids to warzone->

Submitted by Z00L00K
Z00L00K (682162) writes "A Swedish father has come under fire for taking his two sons on a trip to Israel, the West Bank and occupied Syria in order to teach them the reality of war.

Meet Carl-Magnus Helgegren, a journalist, university teacher, and proactive dad.

And like so many other dads, Helgegren had to have the violent video-game conversation with his two sons, Frank and Leo, aged ten and 11 respectively.
"We were sitting at the dinner table last autumn, and my kids started telling me about this game they wanted to play, the latest Call of Duty game, and told me about the guns and missions," Helgegren told The Local on Friday.

So Helgegren struck a deal. The family would take a trip to a city impacted by real war. The boys would meet people affected, do interviews, and visit a refugee camp. And when they came back home, they would be free to play whatever games they chose."

Link to Original Source

+ - Overzealous Management Corp Removes, Impounds Bicycles Parked on Public Property

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In an instance of apparent corporate over-reaching, $50-billion Brookfield Office Properties has been cutting locks and removing bicycles from what appears to be public property in Toronto Canada.

A bicycle owner who had locked her bike to a Toronto Transit Commission sign pole just outside the city's Hudson's Bay Centre, returned 90 minutes later only to discover that it was missing, and that it had been removed by a security guard. Brookfield Properties says that the pole is on its property, while City Manager Andre Filippetti confirms that the pole is in fact on public property.

In an email statement Brookfield says:
“As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians. It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole.”

It's unclear how many bicycles in total have been removed by the company, but three had been removed on the day in question, and a security guard working for Brookfield is reported to have said that they "get several angry cyclists a day complaining about bikes being taken". It is believed that many cyclists simply assume that their bikes have been stolen — which, arguably, they have.

It will be interesting to see if Brookfield receives anything like the legal punishment that a private citizen could expect for exactly the same actions; I suspect they won't be charged, or even very much inconvenienced."

Comment: Re:Try it! (Score 1) 226

Your lawyers and their lawyers can argue about fair use, while your bank account is drained.

That's why we need crowdfunding campaigns in the 'free' world that are directed at collecting money to fight 'everything you see are belong to us' law suits like the one this bit of nonsense is just begging for. And while we're at it maybe we can crowdfund campaigns to convince people to boycott organizations run by shitheads who try to claim ownership of the whole world by raising their hind legs and pissing on everything in sight like dogs that need obedience training.

BTW, the irony of a crowdfunding campaign to convince the crowd to do something is not lost on me.

+ - Is California Going To Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla?

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "We all know Tesla is working on its Gigafactory, and it has yet to announce officially where it will be. But the automaker did announce a shortlist of possible locations, and California wasn't on it. The state has quickly been trying to lure Tesla to get back into contention. Now the state may waive environmental rules which would normally make construction of such a large manufacturing facility more difficult. Apparently, Governor Jerry Brown's office is currently negotiating an incentive package for Tesla that would waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act. Not only that, but state officials are reportedly considering letting Tesla begin construction and perform damage mitigation later, along with limiting lawsuits that could slow down the project. Let's not forget some massive tax breaks to the tune of $500 million. Is California stepping out of bounds here? Is it about to be in hot water, or does this all sit just fine with everybody?"

Comment: Stuff that matters? (Score 1) 220

I suppose this qualifies as News for Nerds, but really, don't we have better things to talk about than the "premium feel" of a gadget? I don't see much in the way of fun so far in the comments, and it's not like this latest bit of shiny is going to have any significant impact on anyone beyond Samsung's shareholders.

TFA seems more like a Slashvertisement than a news piece to me.

Comment: Chicken and egg situation (Score 1) 2

by jenningsthecat (#47661693) Attached to: The Danger of Over-Reliance on the Net

While I agree that the loss of the 'Net could be part of the regression to a Dark Age, I suspect that it would be a secondary symptom and a component of a cascade failure of civilisation, rather than a precipitant. Even if major solar activity took down most of the Web and destroyed a lot of the infrastructure, we would be in a position to re-build it. It would cost us a lot of productivity and lives, but I think we'd return to the status quo fairly quickly.

On the other hand, the worldwide socio-political situation is highly unstable and getting worse. The result of this turmoil could eventually be the loss of a major portion of 'Net connectivity, and this would hasten the descent into further chaos from which we might not recover for decades or perhaps centuries.

So really, I think the scenario you're suggesting is a kind of a chicken and egg proposition. Personally, I'd like to see humankind concentrate on economic/social/political stability first. If we can get our shit together on that front we'll be less vulnerable to disasters such as the loss of critical infrastructure. As it stands I feel we're at a tipping point. Any major disaster - a world-wide plague or environmental catastrophe, or yes, the loss of the Internet, could put us over the edge.

User Journal

Journal: The Danger of Over-Reliance on the Net 2

Journal by Taco Cowboy
Since its inception the Net has taken over much of human civilization's attention and it has become the main viaduct for much of the communication and information flow, so much so that the act of letter-writing has become an ancient (and almost extinct) art

In other words, an over-reliance on the Internet has developed, and the problem is getting more and more serious

Internet will not last forever, and if that happen, what will human societies become?

+ - Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In yet another example of the quality of Comcast's customer service, a story surfaced today of a Comcast customer who was over-charged for a service that was never provided. At first, the consumer seemed to be on the losing end of a customer service conversation, with Comcast insisting that the charges were fair. But then, the consumer whipped out a recording of a previous conversation that he had with another Comcast representative in which not only was the consumer promised that he wouldn't be charged for services not rendered, but the reason why was explained. Suddenly Comcast conceded, and the fees were dropped. But most telling of all, the Comcast rep implied that she only dropped them because he had taped his previous interaction with Comcast customer service."

Comment: Re: +1 for this Post (Score 1) 426

by jenningsthecat (#47633823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

No one seems to take the other approach--raspberry pi with hostapd. You can do whatever you want with it then, including anything beyond simply routing and firewalling.

You can also do something you probably DON'T want to do with it, namely waiting for what seems an eternity while it reboots on those occasions when a reset is required or you have a brief power failure.

+ - Photo Editing Tool Shows Viewers What the Camera Couldn't See->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Many people are already annoyed when characters on TV cop shows "zoom in and enhance" on a photo, to reveal a level of detail that could never really have been captured by the camera. Thanks to software developed at Carnegie Mellon University, however, it's now possible to actually turn objects in a photo around ... seemingly revealing sides of them that were facing away from the camera when the picture was taken."
Link to Original Source

+ - Gore warns markets coal stocks will lose value ->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Former Vice President Gore is warning investors to pull their stock in coal assets or face devastating financial consequences.

In a Financial Times column Gore argues that it would be smart to divest from coal "for purely financial reasons," setting aside the harmful impact he says it has on the environment.

In an attempt to reach investors, Gore makes the case that three "disruptive forces" will hurt stock in coal companies and other investments in the fossil fuel in the future.

First is the growth of renewables, Gore says, such as solar, which are becoming more affordable.

Next, are regulatory changes. Citing the Environmental Protection Agency's latest proposal to cut carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants, Gore says the changes are "curbing demand for coal."

Lastly, he cites the "rising discontent with negative consequences associated with carbon pollution" further adding to the reasons why investors should divest.

"These three disruptive forces significantly increase the probability of a major market correction that will reprice coal assets unfavourably," Gore writes in the column.

"In fact, the repricing of carbon-intensive assets is likely to happen more suddenly and turbulently than many investors expect, as the growing negative effects of carbon emissions — and the market’s reaction — will be neither gradual nor linear.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Good, I say (Score 2) 502

Anything that reduces the average home owner's reliance on the grid is good in my book...especially as the infrastructure is so dated and fragile.

Dated and fragile? Where on earth do you get that impression?... The technology of power transmission hasn't fundamentally changed in 100 years...

You said it yourself - the technology hasn't changed in 100 years. It was never designed with terrorism and climate change in mind. To continue relying on a grid that is vulnerable to cascade failures and can be taken down by an ice storm, (or a few well-placed bombs), thereby rendering a large part of the continent powerless, is silly and irresponsible.

Sure, continuous improvements are being made to the grid, and tech advances are making it more reliable and less vulnerable. But the complexity of the newer control systems constitue their own Achilles heel - see 'requisite variety' to understand why. The grid will never be as resilient and fault tolerant as widespread local power generating capacity will be.

Add in the fact that distributing solar capacity is more efficient than centralizing it, then consider the carbon footprint of coal-fired plants, and solar plus batteries starts to look damned good.

A Fortran compiler is the hobgoblin of little minis.