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Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 4, Interesting) 195

SYS V needs to go open next, not that overloaded slowlaris, but lean mean SYS V

I was under the impression that the entire POINT of SYS V was for the major UNIX vendors to re-implement the guts of Unix as a clearly, enforceably, proprietary product (after the CONTU recommendations and the resulting copyright law changes explicitly extended copyright to software), then move to it and orphan the original development thread. (This might make opening it a hard sell to the members of the consortium.)

There were at least a couple issues with the proprietary status of the AT&T code:

One issue was that AT&T was still a government-regulated utility monopoly and there were some requirements about disclosing and releasing non-telephone-related inventions they came up with.

The big issue was that, before copyright applied and before software patents were hacked up (by recasting software as one embodiment of, or a component of, a patentable machine or process), the only protection was trade secret and the related contract law. Trade secrets generally stop being enforceable when the secret out of the bag (with some details about whether the claimant contributed to the leak). Bell Labs had shipped code to a LOT of educational institutions. When the U of New South Wales used the System 6 kernel code and an explanation of it as the two-volume text for an Operating System class, the textbooks became an underground classic. This, along with AT&T's benign-neglect licensing policies, led to the burst of little, cheap, generic UNIX boxes, as this was also when microcomputer chips were just becoming powerful enough to do the job.

Up to then a big barrier to entry was that every new machine needed a custom O.S. to deploy, and these were enormous, machine specific, and mostly in assembler. That made it an expensive, undertaking, suitable only for financial giants. But all but under 2,000 lines of Unix was in C, and the entire kernel, which included essentially all the platform-specific code as a subset, was well under 10,000 lines of code. If you had a C compiler and assembler for your new machine, it was a matter of a few man-months to port it and get it up and running. Essentially ALL the utilities and applications came right over. You didn't have to train users, either, because they all worked pretty much just like what they'd used in college.

The game was:
1. Grab a bootleg copy of the code.
2. Port it to your machine and get it working.
3. Go to AT&T and ask for a license "to port Unix to our new machine and sell it."
4. AT&T, as a matter of policy, completely ignores any "violations" you may have committed during the porting phase and cuts you a license at a very reasonable price.
5. You "port Unix in an AMAZINGLY short time" (like the ten minutes it takes to tell Sales to go to market) and you're in business.
6. You (with your new business) and AT&T (with their small cut) slap each other on the back and laugh all the way to the bank. PROFIT! for you. (profit) for AT&T.
7. Because of the policy in 4., everybody ELSE manearly everbody's king a new machine knows they can do the same thing. So many do. AT&T gets a rakeoff from ALL of them. PROFIT! for AT&T. Far more than if they went dog-in-the-manger, held up the first few for all the traffic would bear, and got no more customers for Unix.

And because of this, it was in nearly everbody's interest to NOT challenge the AT&T-proprietary status of Unix. And it stayed this way until SCO's management screwed up and altered step 4. (Even then the case turned on other issues, so it never did come to the point of attacking AT&T's claim that Unix code was proprietary.)

Comment Re:Why only trees? (Score 1) 73

piezo generators have less than a percent of efficiency is why.

I thought it was closer to 80%, at least theoretically. Can you give me a reference for that "Less than 1%" number?

Whether this maps into anything like that number in a practical device for converting "found" mechanical power - such as tree sway or vibrations - is another matter entirely.

Comment Re:Just a thought... (Score 3, Insightful) 271

", per the observation that there is evidence of discrimination against women when gender is identified."

Not sure how they come to this conclusion when they indicate that when the gender is identified, BOTH genders see a significant drop and men see a *greater* drop when they're known to the project. It's only when the women are unknown that their acceptance rate is lower... but even then, the acceptance rate of men and the acceptance rate of women's error bars overlap... it's entirely possible there's no difference between the genders when the contributor is unknown.

In fact, the only place in their pull request acceptance rate error bars don't overlap on p15 is where identified male insiders are rejected at a greater rate than women.

"We hypothesized that pull requests made by women are less likely to be accepted than those made by men."

Seems like bad research... start with a hypothesis and highlight areas of your study which weakly support it, ignore areas which strongly refute it.

Comment Can this be co-installed with the stock version? (Score 1) 168

Can this be co-installed with the current version (for instance, on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the latest Long Term Support Ubuntu release)?

Or do you have collisions which require you to purge the old one in order to try the new one, or which cause foulups if you don't?

(Honest question. I've seen a lot of that kind of thing with other projects. So now I'm a bit shy of trying the latest-and-greatest release of any tool on the production machines I depend on for time-critical work.)

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 70

3D printed objects aren't the strongest due to the way the layers are laminated together. I imagine the last place you'd want a weak join is on a 150+ foot long blade swishing through the air.

You betcha.

Especially since a spinning blade gets more efficient as it gets faster. Higher speed = lower torque for a given horsepower density, so a higher tip speed ratio (TSR) wastes less energy "twisting" the air downwind.

Efficient wind turbines run at a TSR of 6 or higher - which means that in windy conditions the tips are running at an appreciable fraction of the speed of sound.

If one of those puppies breaks off it's NOT the kind of baseball bat or boomerang you want coming toward you, whether flying or summersaulting along the ground. (Imagine a caber toss with giants and redwood logs.) Not to mention what the resulting unbalanced spinning does to the other blades and the pylon.

Comment Re:Silencing science (Score 1) 550

Just a few months ago, actually. It's the new guy, Malcolm Turnbull. He's not quite a denialist, exactly, but the Liberal Party is the rough equivalent of Canada's Conservatives. ("Liberal" and "Conservative" mean different things in different places.) They've been kinda lukewarm on climate change (pardon the pun); his predecessor acknowledged it and even praised Obama's efforts to do something, but those efforts are heavily hamstrung by a Republican Congress and what he can do is heavily influenced by that. The new guy had made some noises in the same direction but is apparently being pushed in a Harper-like way.

Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 154

Could it be useful in powering cars? Power density has been an issue for mobile power plants. It's only half the energy density of gasoline, and a bit less than ethanol, though perhaps it would be a good feedstock for making one or the other? (I'm not a chemist; I've never entirely understood why making fuel out of low-energy carbon compounds requires so much more than just the energy input.)

Comment Re:Math is a Chore (Score 1) 215

The way math is taught, Math is a chore

Well, it is being taught by teachers who don't actually understand it all that well, so that is the way it has to be.

Now, I don't actually know what goes for "advanced maths" in primary and secondar education in the States, but I hope it is something that tries to dive into the actual, intuitive foundations of the subject and tries to impart real understanding of mathematical reasoning. Take elementary set theory as an example; when I learned about it in primary school, it was rather vague and hard to find interesting; compare that to Halmos' famous book: Naive Set Theory (, which is the same thing, but with loads of insight into why it is the way it is - how the intuition results in mathematical concepts.

Comment Re:I am not a physicist but... (Score 1) 329

At any rate, WTF are you going to actually *do* with a citation? This is Slashdot, not Wikipedia, and you're not a scientist - I know because this is endemic across the entire board of studies, you'd know about it if you were a scientist or even just an enthusiast. Either way, there's a whole shit-ton more articles (and actual published research) on China's reputation in all things science.

As you can already see from somebody else's reply to your comment, there is in fact controversy, when it comes to China's status in science. In my opinion the fact that you would not even have thought it necessary to do a search is a symptom of intellectual laziness; and when you did, it was only for "chinese scientific fraud" - try substituting "chinese" with, say "american" and so on, it isn't hard. But the results don't prove your point, which is to say "Look, China is Bad".

I know applying your intellect in arguments isn't the popular style on /. - but that doesn't mean that it is bad style trying to do so; and if you had bothered with trying to understand what I was talking about, maybe you would have found that I didn't actually say that I don't know about fraud in Chinese research. I was simply hoping to raise the level of discourse to one where you don't just spew out the same old, tired prejudices, but instead bring something new to the table - something worth reading. But never mind - you can't win them all.

Finally, as for being a scientist: what do you know about that, actually? Not a lot, it would appear - you argue like a teenager: start with your conclusion, then find the "facts" that match.

Comment Re:I am not a physicist but... (Score 1) 329

There have been some "big announcements" in other hard science fields from China in the past decade or two that have turned out to be bogus.

Examples, quotations, please. There continues to be a lot of ill will against China and too much preparedness to accept stories that claim everything coming from there is crap. The same used to be said about Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and in fact all emerging economies, so to rule out the suspicion of bias, quotation is needed, IMO.

Can someone comment on the likelihood of this being real?

It sounds real enough to me - it is progress on the kind of scale that you would expect, I think. 'Progress', to the extent that one can define and measure it, seems to tend to happen on an exponential scale, at least in the beginning - at first, the steps are very small, but for a while they tend to double in size over constant time intervals; just think of integrated circuits, or gene technology. It isn't that long ago that they idea of having what is essentially a 80es supercomputer in your pocket was beyong science fiction, or the idea that you could read whole genomes and edit them was ludicrous at best. If this rate of progress holds for fusion research, we may think of it as something trvially obvious in less than 50 years' time.

I have found that all too often what holds us back from making the best of what we could potentially have is simply lack of courage and vision. I have absolutely no doubt that we can, quite easily, overcome all the troubles that lie ahead - if only we don't cower down in the face of having to make changes to the way we do things.

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