Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Porsche != 'Luddite' (Score 2) 213

I agree with what you said pretty much.

I don't like driving at all and if someone gave me a Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini etc I would sell it and if I could get a self driving car I would otherwise I would just save the money for now. I look at cars as a way to get from point A to point B and I don't want to be bothered in any way by them.

What I want is a safe self-driving electric car that can take itself to the repair shop or call for help when needed and arrange a replacement so I can worry about other things.

The only problem is that insurance is based on risk pools. This means that as people switch to self driving cars the risk pool for cars that people drive shrinks and by definition they are the most unsafe drivers compared to the autodrive cars. This will mean insurance will go up and move people will stop driving their cars for money reasons and the insurance will keep going up.

Eventually very few people will be able to drive their own cars no matter what their views on on it since they won't be able to afford the insurance. Not sure if I really like that endpoint very much but it would end up with a much safer world and much faster transport.

Maybe there should be more tracks and designated areas for people to drive for themselves or something.

Comment Re:trying to figure out how to survive (Score 1) 293

You will have the freedom to do this if you can afford the insurance.

Insurance is based on risk pools. Over time the risk pool for people that drive themselves will become smaller and smaller and end up as the highest risk category and so insurance will be much more expensive.

The government won't have to stop you from driving a car yourself. Insurance will end up pricing most people out of that market before government is ever involved.

Comment Re:My conclusion is that linux sucks for games (Score 2) 115

How fast MATLAB runs will vary based on how much CPU time it can get. If Xorg+WM takes more CPU time than Windows does then MATLAB won't have as much CPU time to run with.

Anything that makes the OS offload more work or do work more intelligently will increase the speed of any cpu bound operation. Just like you do the same total number of operations if you use a triple nested loop to multiply two matrixes or you use xGEMM. However the xGEMM version will run almost 100x faster since it uses the CPU FAR more efficiently. If Microsoft has made their system more highly optimized and better at offloading that would make MATLAB faster.

Comment Re:My conclusion is that linux sucks for games (Score 3, Interesting) 115

Actually the grandparent is right. Windows has gotten much more performance over the last few versions. With Windows 7 MATLAB ran about 20% faster on Linux than Windows. With Windows 8 the Windows version was very slightly faster and with Windows 10 the different is about 5% now in favor of windows.

Overall I suspect it is nothing magical. Microsoft has just worked very hard to offload more work to the GPU and also to optimize many other aspects of their systems for power usage. I get about an hour more battery life on windows vs linux.

Comment Linux and OSX are not ANY different on this issue (Score 5, Informative) 458

Skylake chips support some new power management features that allow the chip to throttle based on load far more efficiently than older chips. Microsoft is not adding special support to that to Windows 7 for example. The chip will still work on Windows 7 but not all features will work.

If you use a Debian install from 5 years ago it also won't support any of those new power management features and they are not going to backport those features. You can install a new kernel and a new version of some of the power management libraries, that will probably involve rebuilding a lot of user space and in the end you are probably going to break something else. What you would have to do is just use a distribution new enough to support all the features on your new processor.

OSX is going to do EXACTLY the same thing. Apple is not going to backport skylake power management to a 5 year old version of OSX and all the risks that could have. They are going to take the newest version, work out the details on that, validate it and support it.

Intels and AMDs new processors will continue to work on older Windows and Linux versions just like before. It is just that Microsoft has officially announced they are not going to backport new processor features to older operating system versions.

Comment Re:Drug trials (Score 1) 232

I've been on Fentanyl for over 2 years for chronic pain that can not be surgically corrected. The first year, I didn't need any sort of extra for break-through pain; even the lowest dose was strong enough to keep me both pain free and mobile (if a little sleepy now and then). More recently, I've gotten morphine instant release added to the regimen, even after increasing the dose of the fentanyl a little (by accounting for metabolism and skin in how/where/when I wear a patch) it still doesn't provide the same amount of relief. Rather than double the dose of the main medication, which is unfortunately the next available step, I get an adjunct.

Not to disparage, but 4 or 5 months around a known accident is not chronic pain. Chronic pain would be if your hand continued to hurt (even a 5 out of 10 is considered "treat this") years later. Level of pain is only an issue in how much treatment a person needs, not the kind of treatment that's used. What sucks is that our options for treating low level chronic pain are tylenol (which causes liver failure in large doses), aspirin (causes gastric bleeds in some), and . . . that's about it. A step up you have tramadol and tordol, the first a synth-opioid that can't make you high but can raise serotonin levels so much that it can't be prescribed with most psychiatric medications (and if you have chronic pain and aren't depressed about it, you are rare) while the second is a very strong version of aspirin that causes even worse gastric bleeds if you are prone to them. Above that, opioids, just opioids. Well, there is burenorphine, a synth-not-quite-opioid that can be used for pain if you aren't too tolerant of the other drugs, but it's only got a small therapeutic index for pain (starting dose is 1/4th the max dose) and switching from the lowest fentanyl patch to butrans patches required the second strength level, so not a lot of room to go up.

Comment Re: Interesting - TTP = FAIL (Score 1) 179

Yeah, your view isn't universal. There are people out there trying to trace dissidents and political opponents electronically because those dissidents know they'll be in jail for a long time or killed if caught. That law enforcement "should" only get involved when dissent becomes violent is a nice thought, but in China the police become involved if you happen to mutter that the local cops are corrupt, or if someone mentions that you practice meditation and believe that materialism isn't the bees knees.

So yeah, ideally this is how internet communication would work. But if that was how it worked, why in hell would we have needed to start encrypting dissent and opposition in the first place?

Comment Play any instruments with Line Out? (Score 1) 135

Guitar distortion pedals can be a cheap and easy thing to build. The simplest form is just an amp (either op-amp or single transistor) followed by clipping diodes. One potentiometer to control the voltage out of the amp stage (higher voltage means the diodes clip more, means more distortion) and another controls the output volume by dropping the signal to ground. And if the kids are the ones playing the instruments, they might enjoy the different effects that can be gained by just using one diode, or mismatching them (silicon one way, germanium the other). Any instrument can be run through a homemade one, even a microphone if someone plays non-electric instruments.

Comment Re:psycho Acoustic imaging headphones (Score 1) 135

That last degree of freedom is the combination phase and volume. Louder on the right than the left? Must be to the right of the listener. The brain then processes the phase of the soundwave to determine the angle forward or backward, up and down.

Now, the brain can't use that information alone to determine if some sound came from 45 in front or 45 behind (vision helps that), but height above ground can be approximated by echo and interference. Truthfully, the subconcious 'sound map' of the place you are at also informs the brain where a sound came from. A large soft object behind you means a loud sound roughly 30 off axis with no echo or distortion probably came from in front of you. A hard object behind you would instead cause an echo of sounds from the front, but the brain just does that processing without you even taking note.

As for implementing it on the cheap? Only if research time is free; that's a very deep rabbit hole.

Comment Re:Faith Required (Score 1) 308

I disagree. Mental illnesses are visible if you have the empathy to look when someone tells you they have one. There are even physical ailments that can't be seen on an image or diagnosed by quantitative measures; chronic pain from nerve inflammation, fibromialga, chronic fatigue. It doesn't take faith to see that a person with depression can't get out of bed some days, that is plainly visible. It takes empathy to believe them when they tell you why they can't get out of bed. Empathy lets you believe a person gets anxious when there are too many people around them.

I don't know why empathy is something so lacking in people. I understand the generation that believed mental illness meant someone needed to be locked-up; they were misinformed. But this generation has access to all sorts of information to learn about mental illnesses and understand each other better, and simply doesn't. I used to assume that I was the odd one, since I had to teach myself to be empathetic towards other people as I had no natural inclination to be. I know other people feel empathy at a young age, I've seen plenty of kids get sad when their friends get hurt; something either erases that as they grow, or I'm not as odd as I thought and people really do need to be taught how to be empathetic towards each other.

Comment Re:The herd's moving (Score 5, Insightful) 508

It is even worse than that. If you provide a host population for a virus it will mutate over time. It could mutate around the vaccine the others have taken and become generally infectious again.

One of the things many in medicine are worried about is that anti-vax people are going to provide a host population and something like measles will mutate and go back to killing millions of people. It is unlikely that we will come up with a new vaccine very quickly and even if the government makes this a crash project and devotes insane resources to it progress could still be slow.

For many of these diseases that we can vaccinate against we have nothing else. The diseases are still deadly and we don't really have a way to treat them.

The worst problem is that this outcome is inevitable if you have a host population. Anti-vax people put EVERYONE else at risk and it is just a matter of time until it happens.

This is why vaccines should be 100% mandatory unless there is a valid medical reason. I don't care what your religion, personal beliefs etc are. If you are going to live around other people you have to be vacinated.

Comment Re:Why does a web browser need GPU for basic (Score 1) 148

Using a GPU to render a website allows faster rendering with lower power usage.

Think of all the elements on a page that can be composited with something designed to do it with different levels of transparency.

If you want laptops and mobiles to run faster and last longer on battery power then part of that is using computer resources more efficiently. Lots of stuff right now is wasted and the CPU is busy with memory IO due to poor algorithms.

Slashdot Top Deals

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman