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Comment: Branches like bells after an ice storm (Score 3, Interesting) 790

by mattr (#48785439) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Tree branches ringing against each other like crystal bells after an ice storm. Once every 1 or 2 years in Northern New Jersey we would have an ice storm. It would completely coat trees in a thick layer if solid ice. The next day the world would be utterly silent, save for the tinkling and chiming of branches as unsern breezes would bang them against each other. For that matter, simply walking unplowed snowy streets with hardly anyone around, snow crunching underfoot is very rare to me. But I think due to global warming perhaps we don't get ice storms that crystallize the tree branches, or the 3 feet of snow I remember.

Comment: Keypunch machine (Score 1) 790

by mattr (#48784313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

The CHUNK-CHUNK-CHUNK of a keypunch machine. It has a keyboard and each time you type a letter, an oblong hole is punched into a Hollerith card. When I was in elementary school maybe 35 or so years ago I was lucky enough to be able to take weekend classes in Fortran at a giant high school that had a whole room sized system. One card for one line of code, and throw out one if you make a typo. You could write on them. You put a stack of cards into a hopper on the reader machine and then could run the program. I Don't remember if it had a screen.
Anyway, let me tell you that was a VERY satisfying sound that makes a visceral thud through the table and your hands on the keyboard. I miss it.
That school - Allendale HS in New Jersey - had a real planetarium with two-lobed projector too where I learned some basic astronomy. It was a wonderful experience that had big impa ct on me.
This seems to be an emulator!

Comment: Augmented sensing (Score 1) 120

by mattr (#47901875) Attached to: The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

Could augment by adding other sensors such as microwave, laser or terahertz imaging, to detect signals being generated by tongue and vocal cords, or even to directly image the organs themselves.
Also it seems possible that since tge whole head vibrates, reflections or motions of eye, nose lips and forehead might provide vibratory cues.

Comment: Re:Cut the bullshit. REAL FACTS FROM THE SITE. (Score 2) 311

by mattr (#47136461) Attached to: Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

p.s. I would just like to add that there is an awesome story by the great Robert Heinlein, The Roads Must Roll. He predicted moving solar powered roads decades ago. Fiction, but a great story about engineers with a can-do spirit like a lot of his stories. I remember it well from when I was a kid and reread it once in a while. I'd like to recommend it to you. Some ideas are neat but just bad engineering ideas, and some of those become better when you figure out workarounds or the science evolves. Like, I am worried about will their IC chips get rattled out of their sockets, shattered, will temperature changes crack it, etc. There probably are a lot of potential ways those things can be solved and if they start working on shopping centers and it takes 10 or 20 years to get to a highway, they or somebody else can probably do it. Maybe it won't really take off until we get ultra nano-bio Diamond Age style things that smartly grow up to become smart roads from pure bedrock, in 50 or 100 years, but the caveman version might be ready for a parking lot next year.

Comment: Cut the bullshit. REAL FACTS FROM THE SITE. (Score 1) 311

by mattr (#47136397) Attached to: Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

Some good points, but if you're going to post such a long rebuttal to the concept you should first watch their videos and read their faqs. A lot of these points have been covered, though there are undoubtedly lots of things that need to be tested and the kickstarter is apparently to help them hire those kinds of experts. I heard about these guys some years ago and am delighted they made so much progress, so I'll take a few minutes to reply (since I just read their faq, watched the videos, etc.). p.s. they completed some Federal Highway Administration tests and raised I think 1.7M dollars, and manufactured a test pavement so it's not bullshit. They appear to be honest, thoughtful and stubborn enough to get this far.

- Regarding "thermodynamically impossible" previous poster wrote, well they did it so it's not impossible. The key points seem to be that power is sent to the grid (or flywheel storage on the highway) and pulled back at night. They did a test putting IIRC about 70kW while panels will generate about 50kW, and got the surface warm to touch when they only need maybe 35F. Anyway, it's not freezing across the country the whole time, but they note it is something each community will need to consider since there will be some latitude above which it doesn't make sense. So people might pay for electricity from elsewhere on the road or a nuclear power plant if it reduces fatalities, if they save money from plowing, etc. but worst case some people might even use sand.

To quickly respond to your questions:
- Regarding weight, it handles the heaviest oil refinery trucks I think a quarter million tons with no problem. The glass is really tough. It is probably going to be anchored into an existing road. I don't know how, I suppose by driving steel into the road. They build a concrete container with utility conduit trench that runs up the whole road and carries off rainwater and cables. But it gets paid off by selling energy. They don't have all the numbers but think it will pay for itself.
- Haven't done a test with a car flying through air. They did think about what happens in earthquakes. Basically they airlift in some panels and hook them back in where the hole is. They want to help people in disaster areas.
- Frame bent? Don't know if they have frame, seems like you are asking about the above question. Chop it out and drop in replacements.
- Have they done AASHTO? How the heck would anybody on Slasdhot know that? They have done some tests and will do more. Perhaps you'd like to help?
- Pulverize concrete, see above.
- Car burns, see above. Same for hazmat.
- Cop chase, car is driving on rims for 20 miles and the rims weld themselves to the rotor, half inch groove? Well I honestly have never heard about things like that, sounds like fiction. But since you have experience I'll say I believe you. in addition to the above, the undisturbed panels around the groove know which panels are broken and the rest of the road is unaffected. They report which panel IDs are dead and know exactly where they are, and they get fixed. If the road is so resilient then you could chop out a whole chunk and cable around it. Might be quicker than fixing a similar problem with an ordinary road.
- Heavy objects falling? Same thing, perhaps. But obviously a lot of things will get figured out as they do more tests.
- asphalt 20 years - they say aiming for 20 to 30 years. That was my first worry, will it wear out because solar panels don't have a long lifetime. But they do say they would use new materials as they are developed and talk about the institute that does that. So maybe lifetime would extend. Anyway beyond 30 years you get a road that hopefully still works and can sense deer on the road but just won't generate power. But it gets power from grid still.
- System screams money and labor. It does, doesn't it. They say this is a good thing as it will give jobs and they want jobs to stay in the U.S. which is why kickstarter not VCs yet. It might not be good for everywhere. There might be better ways to get energy from the environment. But, this provides a lot of ways to get subsidization and it just might work.
- As you are busy shooting it down and hoping it will fail before it gets onto roads, they also plan to put them in parking lots, playgrounds and bike paths. Like, it can reconfigure parking spaces with LEDs and sensors and can display ads. They say they calculate shopping centers can go off grid with it. Sounds interesting.
- "We can't get funding for roads right now who are these jerks" -- Well, they say the same thing and suggest this is a solution. The roads are in bad shape and need an upgrade.
You don't sound like you are wishing them luck at all. This is one of the most successful kickstarters (on indiegogo) and indiegogo asked them to extend it, so they did. It doesn't sound like a doomed idea so far, rather it sounds like there are a lot of answers and most of them equate to doing real work, not bullshitting about it without even reading the fucking site. I dare you to do that.
p.s. I have not donated yet but am thinking about it. You can get a piece of the actual glass which stops cars at 80mph in the rain in a good distance which is very cool.

Comment: Re:Problem solved! (Score 1) 450

by mattr (#47031321) Attached to: Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

I do not know anything about the story but frankly, I think you need to think about it a bit more deeply. There is some very bad problem which led to a desperate person to get a gun, commit a robbery, escape and then get murdered in a shootout in the middle of traffic.

What caused him to develop into such a person, what brought him to the point of desperation? We will never know. What really happened? The police destroyed a life that might have been rehabilitated. The only story we know is that of the murderers. Who got the guy a gun and sent him to steal? We will never know until their next victim appears. Or was he acting alone? If so would the desperation have been solved by providing free therapy / painkillers? Was he going insane from pain, was he mentally ill? We may never know and there is little incentive now for anyone to try and find out.

Yes, it is not that I am anti-police but I would call it murder when a militarized force has the luxury of time and options, a satellite fix and ownership of the entire map, and still they intentionally pick the most highly graphic, most extremely violent, most dangerous solution which was to kill. (I mean dangerous to the murder victim and the people in cars nearby, though also a shootout is dangerous to police of course.)

I really have little understanding of this case, but it seems to me that if a person is highly addicted, economically disadvantaged and stupid, then it would be very easy for him to become desperate and crazy enough to get a gun, steal, even kill to get his fix. I have no experience except what one reads in fiction, sorry to say, so even here I admit I may not have all the information necessary to understand everything perfectly.

In order for our society to somehow cure itself from multiple insanities, we need to roll back the ultra-militarized force and the way of thinking that removes any possible valid story except that of authority, and we need to use the leeway that generates to do some actual investigation into the root causes, and fix them. Maybe organized crime, a past injury, a psychotic episode, who knows what was involved. We are not looking to justify his actions but to understand the train of errors that led to this catastrophe, like the train of errors that almost always exists behind a plane crash. Perhaps there are 100 reasons over the past 30 years why the man who was killed finally got to that point. Perhaps if he had grown up with the same genes in another country than the U.S., he might have gotten a chance to live longer. If we can identify any of those 100 reasons, those 100 errors, we could reduce murder, desperation, incarceration, drugs, and so on. And we might get more productive and happier members of society.

I appreciate that you are telling the way you see it honestly. That means this is an opportunity for you to learn. We are not living in Batman's Gotham City. If you have any respect for human rights or interest in our civilization advancing in maturity and not reverting to animalism or despotism, you must think harder. It is not win-win at all. NOBODY won. We all lost. You can only think of this as a win if you willfully ignore most of the story and subscribe to a fantasy where life is a zero-sum game. Perhaps like monopoly or a card game. Or the way it looks like on a police themed TV series. That is cognitive dissonance and is not reality. There were many opportunities for real win-win, if you think of it as society vs. this individual, or you vs. this individual, in the past. This was not one of them. This is when all opportunities for winning were lost forever and we failed.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.