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Comment What will the market bear? (Score 4, Insightful) 75

Last year Uber quadrupled their prices for people trying to leave downtown Sydney during a hostage standoff. Uber style phone tariffs means that if terrorists kill 100-1000 people in a town, it will cost $50 for people to communicate their survival to concerned family members, because after all, that's what people will pay, right? So it's all good.

Comment Re:temporary (Score 2) 363

Almost all of the wood used for building in the last 5 thousand years has burned, either accidentally or from war, or after being replaced by stone, the junked wood was burned or exposed to the elements, where it rotted. Exceptions are shipwrecks and creosote-soaked rail ties. How many 1,000 year old wood buildings are left? What happened to the rest?

Comment Re:temporary (Score 5, Informative) 363

Parent beat me to this, but has score zero. Trees are great. But trees (and plants) are not carbon sinks. To be a carbon sink, you got to cut it down and bury it so deep that it'll never come out again in geological timescales. Like the abyssal ocean. Into a subduction fault. Turn it into limestone. Clathrate.

Some dead plants turn into peat. This is a great carbon sink, for millions of years, until some humans find out you can burn it. Or global warming melts the permafrost and it starts to rot. Most plants don't keep for millions of years, they just rot right away.

Plants are carbon neutral. That's why bio-fuels are a (marginally) good idea, if you can, grow, harvest, and transform the plants into biofuel using only biofuel and renewable sources.

Comment Stop. Posting. These. Articles. (Score 3) 99

Most recently:

Any story where the Majorana fermion is "inside" something isn't the earthshattering discovery these mis-representing stories say it is. It's just a bunch of electrons moving around as a group. It's interesting to people interested in such things. It doesn't redefine our understanding of the universe as the discovery of THE Majorana fermion would be. Which probably doesn't even exist, so you should already be looked at these submissions with a skeptical eye.

Everytime you post one of these, it's like seeing "RSA BROKEN" and then reading the article to find the footnote "for 64 bit keys". Just stop.

Comment Re:bottom pop up ads on slashdot? (Score 1) 152

Many years ago I uninstalled and boycotted NoScript because the author started pushing out pointless updates to get advertising hits on his post-upgrade splash screen. Two weeks ago I reinstalled it, because ads that block the content they are supposed to be supporting are unconscionable and obnoxious. Now I don't see any ads.

Comment Perfect reproduction is difficult / undesireable (Score 1) 226

This came up before with Java, which, in its original incarnation, demanded exact reproduction of floating point results...with horrible horrible results. Generally, when people perform floating point calculations, they want AN answer, not THE answer, because they know there isn't a unique exact answer.

This issue was described far better than I can in William Kahan's essay, How Java's floating point hurts everyone everywhere

Comment What is the story here? (Score 1) 388

1) the NSA is recruiting?

2) the NSA is spying on everybody and recruiting by injecting banner ads into TCP streams to recruit TechCrunch readers?

3) a banner ad company (unnamed) is serving NSA ads to anybody that searches or surfs pages where NSA occurs more than 5 times, then uses cookies, flash cookies, unique browser characteristics, and any other form of persistent storage and leaked information to continue to serve these ads across browsing sessions?

4) That Dan Tynan, a TechCrunch writer and O'Reilly author, doesn't understand how ad distributors do business?

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.