Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Prep for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Save 95% on the CompTIA IT Certification Bundle ×

Comment Re:Narrowminded Fools (Score 5, Insightful) 313

Just like in the good old days!
s/spammers/bad guys/g
s/spam/autonomous weapons/g

Dear Musk, Woz, Hawking, and Robotics/AI Experts

Your post advocates a

( ) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting autonomous weaponry. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Bad guys can easily use it to harvest weapon designs
(X) Defense systems and other legitimate uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the bad guys
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop autonomous weaponry for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of weapons systems will not put up with it
(X) DARPA will not put up with it
(X) The military will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from bad guys
(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many weapon producers cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
(X) Bad guys don't care about illiegal weapons in their arsenals
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for weapons
(X) Open relays in foreign countries
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
(X) Unpopularity of weird new treaties
(X) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of arms control
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes (!)
(X) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of autonomous weaponry
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with bad guys
(X) Dishonesty on the part of bad guysthemselves

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your treaties?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(X) I don't want the government limiting my arsenal
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Comment Re:Easy grammar (Score 1) 626

Around here, we call that a "40" (1.1829 liters), although only the worst beers are available in that size. I think it's because drinking that much beer before it goes warm largely implies you aren't very interested in the taste.

If you let it go warm you're not doing it right....

Comment Re:Most ambitious (Score 2) 132

Highway driving is also the most boring part of driving, and on longer trips often the largest part. City and local driving is kind of fun, you have to pay attention and hopefully you get some nice scenery and usually takes at most 30 minutes. Highways are just boring and can easily take 10+ hours. Fully automated highway driving (even requiring me to stay behind the wheel but letting me read, work or sleep until/unless an alarm goes off) would certainly be a killer feature.

I guess adaptive cruise control plus lane assist or whatever they call it comes close, so it should be possible to get it on the market soonish?

Comment Re:Write-only code. (Score 1) 757

There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.

So, tell me, should I prefer

borbs = []
for orn in orns:
    x = compute(orn)
    if x > 12:


borbs = [compute(orn) for orn in orns if compute(orn) > 12]

And please note that this is from someone who is actually Dutch, so it should be obvious to me, right?
(and it comes from someone loving and professionally using python for >10 year)

Submission + - Solar eclipse puts Europe's power supplies at risk

mrvan writes: An eclipse of the sun next month could disrupt Europe’s power supplies because so many countries now use solar energy, electricity system operators have warned. “The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out,” the European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity said on Monday, adding the eclipse on March 20 would be “an unprecedented test for Europe’s electricity system”.

Normally, it is generally cloudy in some parts or Europe while the sun shines in other parts: “Within 30 minutes the solar power production would decrease from 17.5 gigawatts to 6.2GW and then increase again up to 24.6GW. This means that within 30 minutes the system will have to adapt to a load change of -10GW to +15GW,” if it is a sunny day and all solar power stations were producing at full load. Solar power covered just 0.1 per cent of all the electricity produced in Europe from renewable energy sources around the time of the last large solar eclipse in Europe in 1999, according to the network, known as ENTSO-E. But since then solar power generation has soared to at least 10.5 per cent, as countries subsidise green power to meet EU renewable energy targets.

Comment Re:Electric not the answer (Score 3, Informative) 212

1500 Tesla's were sold in the Netherlands last year out of 400k in total, or around 0.4% [link]. However, in total electric+hybrid cars were about 4.3% of total [link]. So, while they are obviously not the majority, they are certainly not rare either. Amsterdam has almost 500 public charge locations [link] and in the center (where parking space is scarce) there are designated parking spaces for electric cars where they can charge, see e.g. this street view of what would be the closest parking spot to my house if I had an electric car. There are two taxi companies that use electric vehicles exclusively, which is good news since taxis have disproportionate impact on air pollution, one drives Nissan Leaf and the other Tesla. As far as I know they are not directly subsidized apart from general subsidies on electric cars, so they must be commercially viable.

All in all, electric cars are not some sort of pipe dream, they are out there and have small but growing market share, and infrastructure is growing with it. For each consumer a different tradeoff will be in order (e.g. I use my car a couple times every month so got a small gasoline car instead, while a friend commutes 50km every day so he got a Tesla). It still uses some government subsidy, but honestly, so do oil and traditional car makers.

Comment Re:The Dangers of the World (Score 2) 784

There is a lot of things that I dislike the US* for, but as a European, I'm really grateful that they put their bodies on the line *twice* in the previous century to bail us out, even if both cases they would be completely right to say "you had it coming"**. So, a big "Thank you" to NotDrWho's parent and all his brothers-in-arms.

*) And the same holds for my country, and for Russia, and China, Israel, Egypt, Germany etc etc. Politics are messy
**) For WOI by entering in ridiculous alliances, letting minor incidents escalate, and thinking that War would be a great way to reinvigorate the continent; for WOII by not following the US'/predisent Wilson advise and instead enforcing draconian measures on Germany (looking at France), for electing and keeping in power a maniac (looking at Germany) and for trying to placate said maniac instead of doing something about it when it would have been easier (looking at all of us)

Comment Re:IceWM == frosty (Score 1) 30


Switched to xmonad a couple years ago, and I realized that all I ever need is (shortcuts for) multiple workspaces, terminal, and a program launcher.

(Interestingly, I actually much prefer the way floating windows are handled in xmonad in the rare occasions that they are useful (move with super+drag, resize with super+right-drag, what more do you need... plus those small and difficult to reach resize handles or title bars are a really stupid idea)

~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-desktop-environment
After this operation, 441 MB of additional disk space will be used.

non, merci!

Comment Re:Cinnamon and MATE (Score 1) 89

If you have an "obscene amount" of money, for a sufficiently obscene definition of obscene, you can add any feature you like to any open source project and get all the support you would even need, including a butler to click the buttons on the screen for you.

If you think that the price of a windows/adobe/matlab license qualifies an obscene amount of money, well, you're out of luck.

Comment Re:combining micropayments with hefty sticker pric (Score 1) 473

Do you know whether it is pay-to-win (i.e. in-app purchases have a significant effect on gameplay) or mainly cosmetic (buying a paint job on your ship)?

If I pay real money for a game (>20 EUR) I expect it to be playable without subscription fees, microtransactions etc. For free or almost free games, I can understand either subscription OR microtransactions, but certainly not both...

Comment Re:Ok but that's electricity, not energy (Score 4, Insightful) 488

Heating and cooling is not symmetrical.

For one, it gets coldest during the night, when most people are in bed and blankets are a good tool to stay warm. It gets hottest in the middle of the day when most people are up and about (in countries without a siesta culture).

Also, isolating a house to keep in heat is much easier than isolating it to keep heat out, especially if you want to keep windows etc.

Third, warm clothing allows you to operate comfortably even if it is cold, a warm sweater means a room of around 18 celcius / 65 fahrenheit is comfortable. Stripping down is more difficult, but especially less acceptable in a business environment. Current business fashion originates in Northeastern Europe during the 'little ice age' of the 18th century, wearing a three piece suit with shirt, undershirt and tie is much more suited for 18/65 than for 25/77 degrees.

I live in Amsterdam and have the thermostat set to 19/66 degrees when I am at home, it cools down to something like 16 degrees during the night. I don't have A/C but in the summer the temperature easily goes up to 25/77 degrees in house, which is fine with light clothing. On hot summer days it can go up to 30/86 degrees, which is too hot to be comfortable for me, but that is quite rare.

Finally, Denmark might 'see' 15-30 degrees below zero once every century, but average low (night) temperature in January is more like -2. So, a delta of also around 15-20 degrees from room temperature.

Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.