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Comment Doesn't have to be a kill switch (Score 1) 341

Wow, a lot of these posts imply that 'a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable when the device is not in possession of the rightful owner' must be a kill switch.

A decent technological solution might be to sense some unique component of the rightful owner's smell and not work if that isn't present.

Comment Audiences wait to be entertained. That's not /. (Score 4, Interesting) 2219

Look: we're not "the audience", expecting to be amused or enlightened. We're slashdot. The point, which you seem to be missing, is slashdot is its contributors, who come here to interact.

Every time I see the beta design I grope for the alternate link that gets me back to the perhaps-weird but familiar interface I like. That's what I expect. If you want to change it, fine, it's your site, but the contributors will go somewhere they prefer and it won't be here.

Comment Re:Japanese spin (Score 1) 201

It may be you're right but the requirements might have led Yuasa to believe the battery management would be taken on by other system elements. Requirements writing is not all that easy, especially when you're trying to anticipate problems in equipment no one has had to rely on to such an extent before.

Damn fine work by the Japanese MoT nonetheless, aggregating clues from all over the place.

Comment Low cost, high risk (Score 1) 227

Dealing with suppliers or manufacturers of anything in China presents the possibility of low costs but adds risk. The reward/risk calculus is seriously out of whack these days: for example, a tremendous amount of world HDD capacity is located in Thailand, where floods can stop everyone's production. China's industral advancement is going to be short-lived unless they start treating contracts as binding instead of a general idea.

A responsible supply chain manager would second-source everything they bought in China except for plastic toys, shower curtains and flip-flops - and I'm not so sure about the toys because high lead or selenium (or both) levels have been found in Chinese toys.

Comment Re:Eucalyptus trees are a bio terror weapon (Score 2) 160

Eucalyptus trees were implicated in the spread of the Oakland Hills firestorm. They are flammable weeds. There isn't anything except the rapid growth rate and the smell to recommend them for anything at all in the USA, though in Australia it is my understanding that various pests constrain their growth and they're useful wood (for furniture) there.

If every single eucalyptus tree in California died it would bother me not a bit except for the brief time during which they were falling down.

Comment Re:Because it is difficult (Score 3, Interesting) 208

Yup. Samuel Delany tries a little of this here and there and it not only looks strange, it's also difficult to read. Hyperlinking is throwing off some ideas like multiple finishes to a novel. If it's going to flower as a new art form, it has to start with an idea that is really new and not just an obvious mechanism. It's probably even odds that someone has actually come up with genuinely new fiction that is enhanced a lot by its hyperlinking, and it's sitting on a drive someplace with the creator wondering what it is for.

Comment Selling your credibility (Score 2) 571

These days, you only have to whore yourself out once to be fixed for life. Reaching the desired conclusion for money has corrupted so many fields that there is a serious credibility problem with anyone getting funded by entities that have oxen and fear their being gored. It has gotten so bad with the unholy alliance between politics and drug companies that many people have begun giving up paying attention to it altogether.

The way these studies are conducted might be unimpeachable and the conclusions with these particular tests (wherein the changes are said to be "insignificant" (on what basis?)) might be statistically supportable. However, this is one conclusion and not a Fact. Similar studies show that coffee|Brussels sprouts|dietary fiber|control of sodium intake is good | bad for you (related summary here), and reaching opposite conclusions shows either that experiments are not being repeated, or that the effects are not clear.

Comment Re:Lots of red flags, little tech (Score 1) 155

Look at page 4 of this: You can read the founder's Ph.D. dissertation and I guarantee you'll get your geek on if you can follow it. It's a really excellent piece of work, and at the same time it is written in such a pleasant style that it keeps you curious and interested.

Comment Re:Rights? (Score 3, Interesting) 108

In the second link there is a line: This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the jury will see that the unclassified lan- guage has been changed and left to wonder why they cannot see information the government’s expert deems unclassified. The jurors will be completely and hopelessly confused.1. So, if the jurors are completely and hopelessly confused, is the real problem that they won't know it? In the face of hopelessly confusing evidence, it seems as though the responsibility of the jury is to acquit. IANAL, but if I were the defense would it not be entirely reasonable to say just that in the wind-up of arguments?

Comment Re:Admit it... (Score 1) 453

Exactly. English words are consistent for English-speaking people. Icons have no such standard, and having to memorize the functions represented by icons when they are application-specific (take a look at Solidworks 2011 if you want to see some examples) is an unnecessary hurdle.

Comment TFA is way off the mark (Score 3, Interesting) 611

TFA lists as concerns the wrong ones. 1) STEM "education", which is really training. You don't train people to innovate, you train people to push buttons or flip burgers. Education begins with independent, critical thinking and that is less and less fostered by the educational system. 2) Why would a smart student do STEM when the money is in pie-dividing, not pie creation? Besides, B-school is about parties and sex, not cracking books all night and all weekend. 3) The progress toward a knowledge-based economy -should- be slowest for the early adopters, then people can copy it and learn from those mistakes. 4) The benchmark of "green energy" is wrong, it is now viable only because governments mandate it. From TFA: "Clean energy is an industry the government has cited as important to future growth." And the government will piss in your pocket and tell you it's raining. Government initiatives are playgrounds for rent-seekers, perpetual-motion nuts, and con men.

America's tech decline is fostered by a government in thrall to companies that ship profits to Jersey, Bermuda and Monaco; jobs to China and Vietnam; and toxic waste to Africa. Simplification of the tax code, taxing companies and individuals on parity (after all, companies are people) and letting the bastards walk if they don't like it, and a serious crackdown on malfeasance under color of authority are what the government should be doing.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard