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Comment Re:Advertising ROI (Score 1) 158

You think that companies are naively throwing money at advertising because they don't know any better.

I think companies are throwing money at advertising because they are using advertising revenues to construct their business models. So the more they collectively spend, the higher advertising prices go, and the better their business models look.

Comment Re:Advertising Bubble (Score 1) 158

Step back and look at the wider picture though. What sets the price of X? Why is it, say, $1 to get 1 more customer and not 1c? If all the advertisers were companies that built fridges, then the value of X would settle at a price at or below the profit on every fridge they sell. If they go any higher they will be paying people to buy fridges which is not sustainable. However, if the advertisers are companies that are trying to acquire users so that they can make money from advertising, then each time they spend some more of their investor's funds on advertising, their revenue projections, which are the other side of X, go up. This makes their business plan look more viable and draws more investor money into the market. If these companies come to dominate the market, then you essentially have a ponzi scheme developing.

The only guard against this should be fiscal prudence by VCs and investors, but interest rates are zero the stock market is so awash with money it doesn't matter if this is all unsustainable as long as you exit through an IPO/sale before the music stops. In fact, it is an ingenious way to make obscene profits in an otherwise moribund economy.

Comment Advertising Bubble (Score 5, Insightful) 158

I think the whole advertising situation will get better once the tech bubble bursts. Just look at many of the tech companies now - they are giant advertising platforms, but spend most of their revenues and investor money on user acquisition through advertising. This is like a giant ponzi scheme really.

Google worked, and will probably keep working for some time now, because one of the main use cases for search is to find stuff you want to buy. When you go to the site and start searching for a particular product, it isn't a big deal (and sometimes is useful) when ads come up for that product or equivalents you might not have heard off. The advertising has actual value in informing you about what is available. Other sites, such as Facebook, might have more information on me, but I go there to look at pictures of my friend's dogs and kids, not when I want to find something to buy. For that reason I find their ads incredibly annoying, and despite Zuckerberg going on about how they make them relevant, he would only be true if I was some kind of consumption machine that wonders around the internet like a virtual godzilla eating up every product that is shoved in my face.

My prediction is that eventually the industry will fall apart as companies realise the ponzi nature of current advertising prices, and that much of this expenditure is not converting in to sales. In that regard, the better tracking/conversion tools that the internet allows may be the industries own downfall.

Comment What's the benefit? (Score 1) 140

I don't really see the benefit of them having ICBM capabilities. At the moment, for people in the USA and Europe, NK is just an annoying abstract threat. Nobody wants to go start anything there because they could probably take out Seoul and parts of Japan quite easily, so it is better to just monitor the situation and leave them alone. It would seem that they are getting some support from China as well, so doing something preemptive could end up getting messy very fast.

But if they get long range missile capabilities, we basically enter a new cold war standoff, and it is likely a lot more attention would be put on finding ways to shutdown the regime. Provoking the West into action just doesn't seem like it would be in their best interests. Having said that, the guy sounds like a complete crackpot, so maybe he is just bored.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 456

Pretty much agree with you. I grew up with a similar old man, except it was on motorcycles. Do you have any idea how hard it is to ride a motorcycle fitted with a road front tyre and a knobby rear tyre on wet grass? Taught me a lot about how to recover losing the front end though. Something that has saved me a couple of times in the wet and having hit diesel.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 456

Nope no reason it isn't possible. You were towing a broken vehicle, so I assume your speed was low and you weren't "yank hard on a lever or push as hard as you can down on a pedal to engage a mechanical emergency brake" like I was responding to.

You're not going to lock wheels if you use a hand brake with control and when you have thought about it. If however you are going to say you were going 55mph and the safari's handbrake managed to overcome the engine on the S15 that for some reason was in runaway mode I might be saying something different.

Submission + - A second Little Ice Age uncovered

An anonymous reader writes: New data, compiled from tree rings in Russia, suggests that a previously undetected little ice age occurred in the 6th and 7th centuries, caused by a combination of volcanoes and low sunspot counts.

This cold spell would have preceded the Medieval Warm Period centered around 1000 AD that was followed by the already known Little Ice Age centered around 1600 AD. Note that no fossil fuel regulations or carbon taxes were used in creating this cold period. Note also this description of the consequences of that cold period:

The poor climate may been one of many factors contributing to societal changes of the era, including widespread crop failures and famines in Central Asia that may have triggered migrations from the area to China and Eastern Europe, thus helping spread an episode of plague (depicted in this 15th century painting) that originated there.

Famine and plague, caused by extreme cold, illustrating starkly that cooling is a far greater threat to human survival than climate warming. Meanwhile, the Medieval Warm Period saw a flourishing of American Indian culture in the American southwest.

So why do our modern climate doom-sayers fear warming so much, when there is no data to justify that fear, and plenty of data to suggest otherwise.

Comment Congrats on the efforts so far. (Score 4, Informative) 319

Off topic I know but I wanted to say I appreciate the changes that have happened to slashdot as well. I look at the front page and there is only 1 story I would remove (The Anthropology sexual abuse one) and the rest are ones that I was actually interested to read about. I compare that to a fortnight ago and the difference is massive.

So thank you Whiplash.

And if you are interested these are the reasons why I would remove the Anthropology story
* Click bait headline - There is no way a single incident would "Rock" an entire global sector or industry.
* It isn't related to science, technology or anything that I would call Nerd worthy. You could change the word Anthropology for anything and the story doesn't change. It is a people story.
* Read the comments. There isn't anything to really discuss. Either you think the guy was a fuckwit or you think someone over reacted. There is no grey zones to discuss. No expert that could come in and give me a nugget of information that I didn't know.
* Sciencehabit is a posting bot. He / She / It isn't part of this community. I suspect there is a multi-poster somewhere with their credentials loaded into it and the only thing they are doing is trying to drive traffic to having posted the same stuff to every site they could.

Comment Re:Great, another inflationary new statement (Score 1) 316

I don't understand. The plasma has to reach 100M K for there to be any energy output at all. The whole project is a massive energy sink at this stage. There is absolutely no efficiency to measure, or at least none that matters. The idea is you get the plasma to that temp and THEN you trigger fusion inside the plasma. Right up until that point there is no energy coming out of the plasma at all (other than the heat you wish it wasn't dumping).

Think about this as cranking over an engine without having any fuel in the system. They are spinning the engine at half the required RPM with an external power source to see if the engine is going to come flying apart. Next step will be to test it for longer, then to test it at full speed and then finally to pour the petrol in get it running under its own power.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 456

This wasn't to change gear, this was to change drive modes. As I said I could be remembering it wrong but I'm sure it had park in the middle, press it down once and it went into neutral, press down again and it went into drive. Then you had to push up up up to get to reverse and I'm sure the level returned to the starting point every time.

Just looked for a youtube video - here The lever returns to the center every time.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 456

Please don't ever ever ever pull on your hand brake while moving. They aren't emergency brakes they are parking brakes. Firstly they have significantly less braking power than your standard brakes and your standard brakes will almost certainly overwhelm the power production of your engine. Secondly they only operate on the rear wheels, so if your parking brake did have enough power to stop the rear wheels turning your would instantly lose control of the vehicle, the rear end would try to over take the front end and all of a sudden you are spinning.

Finally most modern automatic cars don't have a physical connection to their gear box any more anyway. The lever is like it is through legacy, not because it needs to be.

As for your comment about direct mechanical connection to the brakes we are starting to see Brake-by-wire systems in consumer cars though they aren't that common outside of hybrids. Toyota's LFA is brake by wire.

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