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Comment: Re:don't need to look it up (Score 1) 53

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49427943) Attached to: Back To the Future: Autonomous Driving In 1995

Earlier boxes had turbo buttons because they could shift back into a nominally PC/PC/XT compatible 4.77mhz (in the case of 8088/8086 boxes) or PC/AT compatible 6 or 8mhz (in the case of 286/386 boxes). It actually had a good reason - many early games were highly dependent on the system's clock speed.

Yes. I remember playing a flight simulator game on my 386 that did assume that you were on a PC/AT for timing. As the game didn't have a "fast forward" mode to cut down on the long flights to/from missions/target the turbo button actually came in handy. However, since that meant that everything went faster you had to be really light on the stick in "turbo" mode or you would end up in a smoking hole in the ground.

In my minds eye the game play was military simulatior grade and graphics was near picture perfect, but neither was probably pretty far from both. I doubt graphics was even 640x480, though it might just have eked over that resolution... :-)

Comment: Re:other stuff matters also? I claim it does (Score 1) 330

One thing I can't for the life of me understand is why the manufacturers don't install an Eberspaecher or similar good old fashioned fuel burning heater for those of us in colder climates.

The fuel consumption is a deciliter per hour or so, so a 5-10 litre tank (2-3 gal) should be plenty, and you could fuel it with bio diesel or similar if you're CO2 averse. It's well known technology that's already available and popular e.g. here in Sweden, so it should be a no-brainer that you don't use precious battery power to make heat in a car.

Comment: Re:Have you actually tried using Rust? (Score 1) 211

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49415645) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

Indeed. I think these people are so in love with their own genius that they have overlooked that their tool is probably going to do a lot more harm than good. After several decades of research into software reliability and security it is clear that it is not a question of the tools used, although that flawed idea is strong in some academic and industrial quarters. What these people are basically saying is that if you have just the right kind of hammer, then you cannot hurt yourself with it anymore. Of course, that would be a Styrofoam hammer (or similar) that is also completely unfit for its primary purpose. The same is true for programming languages.

Well, having done (some very small part of) that research I think you're over egging your argument. While its true that tool users make the difference, and it's a poor carpenter etc. etc. the fact of the matter is that some tools are more likely to be used correctly in certain situations than others. If you look at the human factors work in e.g. aviation, esp. military aviation, then that becomes apparent. Much thought, research and experience goes into designing the cockpit interface for a fighter pilot, for example, and for good reason. The workload is already overwhelming and one mistake can kill you so anything that makes that mistake less likely is sought after. This has gotten to the point that one sticking point of buying a fighter aircraft from another country is that the interface won't necessarily fit, not your pilots, but your doctrine on how to fight! Your doctrine of course affecting how you train your pilots. (I have a nice reference for that, but unfortunately its in swedish.)

Now, I can't see why the same wouldn't be true of programming languages in spades, as the task is at least as complex, and probably orders of magnitude more complex in many cases as flying an air plane. Now, we basically don't know anything, at least in a structured way, of how a programming language should be designed to best fit certain programming task, but the anecdotal experience is telling (look for example at Ericsson's work with Erlang, experience that matches my own). Put another way, that 'C' should already be "perfect" by random chance is completely unlikely. We both know more about how to implement programming languages today (and hence can make more concessions to the programmer), and know more about programming in general.

Now of course, if you're argument is, to paraphrase the Erlang FAQ, that you can "still mess up an Erlang program by having hour long meetings about the colour of the project napkins" that's of course true. The best rifle doesn't win the fight, if you put it in the hands of untrained troops, especially if you have the worst trucks to take them to the front. BUT, all else being equal, the troops with the best rifles win, not every time, but more often than not. That's what it means to have a better tool, and its generally a worthwhile endeavour.

Comment: Re:Not gonna happen (Score 1) 383

Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Argentina 1976, and that's just naming a few of the more egregious ones.

Or was your point that they used the own troops, instead of bribing/cajoling/threatening/funding/organising someone elses? Some people would say that doing your own dirty work is the stand up thing to do, but that's some people...

Comment: Re:Not gonna happen (Score 1) 383

MAD only worked because both sides of the conflict were rational and relatively sane. Iran has no such encumbrance.

Nope. They're sane enough. Turns out you can't stay on top of that game without being of a rational bent. Hell, even Mao Tse Tung of all people got really smart really fast as soon as he got nukes, and he was as inept and crazy as they come. His starving 40 million of his own people to death through sheer incompetence is still the world record, but even so he changed his tune when the realities of nuclear warfare sunk home.

Comment: Re:Cool idea with a problem (Score 1) 226

While that is true, when you actually want to move armour over long distances you actually load them on a train. Next best is a truck, granted, but a modern tank is really a bit too heavy for that to be your primary choice.

You don't drive a tank (or other armoured vehicle) if you can help it. The wear on the vehicle and the fuel consumption is out of this world. What an armoured unit actually does all the time is maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. In fact, being at war doesn't change the maintenance requirements that much, as in; they're constantly high all the time, whether someone is shooting at you or not.

Of course, the Russians already have a rail road to Vladivostok, so while a road wouldn't hurt, it'd be an extremely poor choice for moving armour from Europe to eastern Siberia. You'd have to have supply and maintenance depots every few miles just to keep the trucks carrying the tanks working. Tanks are just too damn heavy for anything but rail or sea transport.


Comment: Re:There is a comma (Score 1) 148

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49355043) Attached to: First Nuclear Power Plant Planned In Jordan

Ah, OK. It was more the "building" a reactor in Sweden that caught me off guard. We're not allowed to build any new reactors by law. We weren't even allowed to do research into building a new reactor, or technologies that could be applied to such, but that law was fortunately stricken a few years back.

But yes, we do "upgrade" our reactors to the extent that if they're reported as "building" in foreign sources that's arguably more correct than our current doublespeak.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

No of course they (probably) know if they break even today. But since they're not paying the cost, the loss of fish is an externality for them, that doesn't matter much in the final analysis.

Now, that no-one would actually build a new plant in the old spot when the old one is removed for purely economical reasons, is a given in most of these places. The economics have changed in the last 100 years, so they only make economical sense given that they're already there. They don't make enough to pay for their replacement, but since turbines lasts for several decades, current owners don't necessarily see that.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

You're assuming that these power plants are run by a commercial entity that knows of and can perform proper economic analyses. This is far from always true. Many of these are run by small co-ops, single farmers that inherited it, and the like. Thus many are run as a "hobby". So "duh" indeed.

And we have done the analysis, that's why we're forcing them closed. Since they don't generate any power to speak of, it's almost enough with a single fish to tip the scale against the plant.

And when it comes to reliability, the system isn't set up to take these tiny plants into account, that would cost too much to install after the fact. In case of "high tension" distribution failure, these plants would be shut down. They can't run in island mode, due to lack of control, and linesman safety concerns. But we only have a major distribution failure ("high tension" in your words) every decade and half, so that's not the problem anyway. Like I said, our problem isn't lack of generation (local or nation wide), or major distribution lines/network, it's that local distribution lines are cut by trees. We'd need every farm to have their own plant to make the system fine grained enough to make a difference. And that won't happen.

As a general rule though, the Swedish grid is very well run and maintained, with among the highest availabilities in the world. Since electricity is one of our exports, it's in the power companies interest to keep it up and running. (Our production is cheap, clean and abundant with about an even split between hydro and nuclear).

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

Sure they made sense, but this was way back when. These generators were put in place when Sweden was only just being electrified, aka 100 years ago. Many, not to say, most weren't connected to the grid, and have just been left running more or less, as the cost is already sunk and hence they're "free" to own and operate. So they were economically viable the same way a Ford model-T was. Today, not so much. Like I said, we get 94% of our hydro power from 10% of our plants. These are of course a lot more recent (and much, much bigger).

However, this being southern Sweden, the grid is now orders of magnitude more powerful and widespread. While we have a problem of people losing power during storms, it's due to trees on the lines, we're not losing any production capacity. This is why we're busy burying the local lines. Diesel is strictly for backup, and the local hydro plants we have don't help one bit, as it's the local (subscriber) lines that are affected. Regional and higher are so high up that trees can't affect them.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

Yes you slept through classes alright, I guess (macro) economy being the major one.

There you would have learned that the conversion in this case is "money". As in we don't get enough value from the electricity from this recipient to motivate the cost of destroying the biology to the extent that the power station/dams etc. do, for most smaller plants.

Like I mentioned in another post. We get 94% of all our hydroelectricity from 200 of our ca 2000 plants. That many of the remaining 1800 could be closed down with no noticeable effect on power generation should be pretty obvious.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

Presumably they did before they constructed them.

Not really. This is in Europe with a long history, many most of these power plants started out as mills (water weels) several hundred years ago where these questions (whether economic or ecological) were not understood.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

Yeah, well, the dirty little secret in the business is that fish ladders don't really work, and never have. Same with turbines. Fish don't survive them in any appreciable numbers. Leaving the river in place, makes a small plant even smaller, so not much future in that.

Of course you could make an "artificial" pump only station without even caring about fish, but then there's the problem of placing it somewhere. There's not a lot of places that are suitable.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

We did exactly that with our large northern rivers. Developed half of them, and left the other half. When it comes to the south, there's only one that's worth the bother, the rest we are trying to restore. As I mentioned in a previous reply, we get 94% of our energy from 10% of the plants. The rest are basically a nuisance. Tear them up for the fish.

"Oh what wouldn't I give to be spat at in the face..." -- a prisoner in "Life of Brian"