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Comment: Re:Submarine versus Viking longship (Score 2) 42

And I could see a longship having a piece break off after getting shot at and having that debris end up in just the right spot to clog the subs engines or torpedo bays or something like that. Sure it's statistically unlikely, and probably not even a 1/1000 chance of actually happening, but for the sake of game play I can accept it.

At that point you're better off imagining the sub had a critical weapons malfunction and blew itself up so the longship wins on walkover. Or that the warrior sneaked into the riflemen's camp and poisoned their water supply.

Comment: Re: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More (Score 1) 164

by Kjella (#49159463) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

Weren't people saying the same sort of things when the "assembly line" was first invented? After all, the main purpose of the "assembly line" was to make the same amount of stuff with fa fewer workers than had been needed previously.

Well first off you're not looking back far enough, during the first industrial revolution there was massive unemployment as machines replace skilled artisans and craftsmen with cheap, expendable factory workers that could receive minimal training in their one task on the line. The assembly line actually comes very late in a mostly industrialized society already and an old fashioned manual assembly line still employs a considerable number of people. And Ford famously doubled wages to get retention up, because the assembly line work was actually getting complex and needed trained workers.

This time we're not just dividing and rearranging the way workers produce their product, we're cutting the humans entirely out of the equation except for meta-roles like designers, developers and repairmen. For example take the banking industry, it used to be huge with branch offices all over the place. ATMs were the first blow, now online banking has reduced it down to next to nothing. I just checked the figures on one bank I know, 250 FTEs (full-time equivalents) supporting 380,000 customers.

Think about it, in how many service industries is the human staff actually a service? When I go to the grocery store, what I want are the groceries. I don't care if robots automate the whole shop if they keep delivering the same service and quality. When it comes to water/sewage/electricity/internet etc. I'd rather not deal with them at all, I pay a bill and it works. If a lot of those jobs disappear at the same time and I don't mind seeing them go, but I'm paying nearly the same for the robot/self-service service there won't be much left of my paycheck to pay whatever new jobs these people have found.

Comment: Re:Xfce 5 should be based on Qt. (Score 1) 81

by Kjella (#49158799) Attached to: Xfce 4.12 Released

If anything, what I want is for my DE not to be based on a major toolkit. This breaks down when it gets to the file manager

And the system settings, that one is much tighter integrated to the DE than the file manager. And it needs to manipulate the pointer. And context menus, arrange menu bars etc. so it need some kind of UI toolkit. I don't quite see what it has to gain by reinventing the wheel, it's not like pulling in Qt/Gtk drains that many resources by themselves.

Comment: Re:Automation is Dependent on Design for Manufactu (Score 4, Informative) 164

by Kjella (#49158007) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

At the assembly level it isn't so easy to automate with a lot of the designs. There are flex cables, adhesive, torque sensitive screws that all rely on a human to be able to manipulate and then quickly respond to misalignment. To automate this, the design constraints placed on the Industrial Designs need to change.

I think you underestimate how far sensor technology has come and will go, here for example is an example of automated salmon processing. Obviously there's a lot of natural variation, do we need to bioengineer a more robot-friendly salmon? No. They're measured out by a laser and intelligently cut. Head/tail/other cuts are dropped out to go on another processing line. Each cut is grabbed by a robot with robot vision and placed in pouches to be sealed. Skip to 3:12 if you just want to see that last part. Fillet-making machines are still in the research phase but there are examples of that too using X-rays to scan and find the pin bones. If they can deal with all that, I'm sure they can apply the right torque to a screw.

Comment: Re:And no one cares (Score 2) 181

by Kjella (#49154623) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

And half those sort of "new generation" searchers won't know half the time if they are redirected to a phony site.

Half the "old generation" didn't know half the time if they are redirected to a phony site by a phishing email. Anyway, that assumes you're going somewhere worth scamming. Email, online bank, ebay sure... but in the last 15+ years I haven't seen a single phishing attempt for my slashdot account info. And stuff that you just read, what's to phish? And that's why the important stuff is moving towards two-factor authentication so just stealing your password isn't enough.

It's the same generation

Comment: Re:It's almost like the Concord verses the 747 aga (Score 1) 153

by Kjella (#49154063) Attached to: Hyperloop Testing Starts Next Year

Branching would be really tricky, but there's no physical barriers.

I wasn't talking about branching at (full) speed, just how effectively you can insert/extract trains from the loop though I suppose low speed exit/merge tubes could be built. Say you have stations 1-5 connecting two major cities with suburbs at 2-4, could you effectively have a schedule like:

1-5 express
1-5 express
1-5 express
1-5 express
1-4, same time 4-5
1-3, same time 3-5 (and maybe 3-4 local following)
1-2, same time 2-5 (and maybe 2-3 local following)
(pause long enough for train to get out of way at station #2
1-5 express

Then it would be a real boon to the people living at #2-4, because I think the "every 30 seconds" is to get volume up, I don't think it's very significant if you have to wait 5-10 minutes for your route to come into rotation.

Comment: Re:It's almost like the Concord verses the 747 aga (Score 1) 153

by Kjella (#49153669) Attached to: Hyperloop Testing Starts Next Year

What I'm interested in about the hyperloop is that unlike airplanes, high speed rail and traditional tube is that in the concept you'll have 6-8 passengers/capsule and 3 capsules/train = 18-24 passengers/train, which hopefully means you can have many more dedicated routes and/or a mix of long-hop/short-hop routes using the same infrastructure that'll serve the whole 3000 miles and not just the endpoints.

Around here the train is used for a lot of regional travel instead of bus, shorter than airplane and every time there's talk of building out high speed rail the problem is that it'll actually serve the regions worse since you don't have time to stop, so effectively you're just building a grounded airline. It's a lot easier to find 20 passengers going somewhere at the same time than 400-800 so that could be a major game changer if the technology works out.

Comment: Re:Perception (Score 3, Interesting) 363

by Kjella (#49153505) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

As such it's not the brightness, it's the color temperature. The spectrum of light ranges in color temperature from 1850K at sunrise/sunset to 6500K on an overcast day to 15000K under a clear blue sky. The eyes adjust to this, if you look at someone using a cell phone at night it'll probably seem to have an eerie blue glow as it has daylight color temperature. So with "nightvision" the dress looks blue/black, with "dayvision" it looks white/gold.

The people trying to read the RGB values to determine the "truth" forget that the color space assumes you have a D65 white point. Basically your LCD screen is trying to show you correct colors for overcast daylight. If you stare at the red sunrise/sunset or the blue sky for a while and then look at the LCD screen, your color perception will be off. Apparently this picture is in just the right sweet spot to confuse a lot of people.

Comment: Re:Climate change phobia (Score 2) 318

by Kjella (#49153331) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

I'm no expert on the matter either. But I can imagine that a sea level rise of a few meters (at the turn of the century) will results in tremendous economic damage (relocation of hundreds of million of people *and* real estate, as most of the population on Earth is housed in large cities in coastal regions)

I live in a city in a "coastal region" and what's generally recognized as the city center is 10m above sea level with most areas trending upwards, 2 meters would affect <5% of the city. So there's coastal cities and there's "flat as a pancake cities that are 1 meter above sea level", you can take a look for yourself here. Note that the links in the top bar is showing you pretty much the worst case locations, zoom out and you can see the whole world. Take for example New York at 2m, the bulk of the city is intact. Even at +60m(!) you'll still have Manhatten and Staten Island peaking up above sea level.

I would worry about climate change and resource conflicts as a consequence, but the loss of land as such? Most people would do just fine relocating <1 km further inland. We're on all the beaches because we want beachfront property, maybe that's a bad idea in a 100 year perspective but feel free to buy the second row 50 meters back and 2 meters further up. Of course there's a few tropical islands where that's not an option, but they're <0,01% of the world population.

Comment: Re:Just damn (Score 2) 398

by Kjella (#49149327) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

I loved his acting as much as anyone, but I disagree that it was necessarily a sad day. He was, after all, 83 years old. He beat the average life expectancy in this country by a wide margin. He made an impact on a huge number of people, as well. He was ready to check out and move on. Really, what could you reasonably expect an 83 year old man to do beyond this point anyways? I'm happy for him and all he's done.

Dying old beats dying young I guess, but dying sucks overall. The only ones "ready to die" are those where age or illness has already sucked the life out of them. I'm not going to chase the singularity or cryogenics or any other mumbo-jumbo promising eternal life, but heck I hope I'll be like this when I'm 89.

Comment: Re:Wrong conclusion (Score 4, Funny) 131

by Kjella (#49149017) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

Living in Norway + artificial light + student life with no real commitments I found that my natural cycle is more like 24/12 = 36 hour days than 24. In fact, without alarm clocks I'd have a helluva time staying on the same page as everyone else. The problem is that that sooner or later that clashes with real life and you must get up in the "middle of the night" for a family dinner or you get up in the "morning" and start drinking at a party which messes you up. On Mars making it another 40 mins would be the least of my worries.

Comment: Re:About time... (Score 2) 151

by Kjella (#49147839) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

Nothing is better than your own code. But given the choice between my predecessor's hairy ball of custom code and a hairy ball of clue between documented frameworks, I'm not so sure anymore. Because the other side to being generic is "will probably continue to function in a sane fashion if I tweak it a little" while one-off code tends to make a lot of assumptions that may have been true when it was written but falls apart in surprising ways when you try to change it. Unless your predecessor actually made clean, documented code but I know with myself that if you're in a hurry that won't happen. I had to walk a colleague through some systems we use once a year to update various coding schemes and such and to be honest it's an ugly mess. But we do it once a year and we're busy fixing the stuff we use often, so....

Comment: Re:More of this (Score 5, Insightful) 166

by Kjella (#49142839) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

I think this is because in the olden days having CRLF meant being able to dump a raw text file to a printing device. Unix had a tty driver that could handle adding the missing CR. CP/M and DOS didn't have any such thing. That doesn't mean I haven't spent 20+ years being annoyed by CRLF though.

That's not it, CRLF was a feature. How do you make strike-through text on a type-wheel printer? It automatically advances to the next position and it only has a fixed number of characters, you don't double it with strikethrough-a in addition to regular a. So you send a CR - carriage return - to return to first position, space your way over to the text to be striked out and make a ------- over it before you CRLF to the next line. And you have no idea how old knowing that makes me feel.

Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach. -- S.C. Johnson