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Comment: Re: just put a motor on the elevator itself (Score 5, Interesting) 241

by pavon (#48920551) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

No, you could use a conductive rail, like a subway, and rack and pinion system to move the elevator. The rack and rail would add a fair bit more total weight to the building compared to a cable. But more importantly, the motors would have to be much much more powerful! Modern elevator systems have a counter-weight balanced on the other side of that cable, which means the motor only has to overcome friction and the small difference in weight between the elevator and counterweight (which varies depending on current payload). The motor on an elevator like Noah is suggesting would have to provide enough force to counteract the entire weight of the elevator + payload + motor + friction, which is at least an order of magnitude more than a traditional elevator.

Comment: Re:I don't think so. (Score 1) 154

by pavon (#48836053) Attached to: The Anthropocene Epoch Began With 1945 Atomic Bomb Test, Scientists Say

No, good scientists understand significant digits. As far as geological epoch go, the time elapsed between the start of the industrial revolution and the start of the nuclear age is insignificant. Furthermore, while the technology began at the industrial revolution, the impact of that technology didn't have global environmental scale until later on. We don't mark the other geological boundaries at the point where precursors to change appeared, we mark them when change became significant. If you look at graphs of human energy or CO2 output, the knee in the curve does occur at around the mid 1900s. The fact that there happens to be an easily observable geological marker that occurred at that time makes it a convenient dividing point, and as good as any other of the arbitrary dates picked to divide otherwise well-distinguishable geological epochs.

If anything, I would argue they risk jumping the gun too early, not setting the date too late, as there may very well be a much bigger global change in the next 10's thousands of years of which the last millennium will just be regarded as a precursor to.

Comment: Re:Open Source Tax Preparation Software (Score 4, Insightful) 450

by pavon (#48798203) Attached to: Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

Tax preparation software is not a good candidate for open source software. You need domain experts (accountants and lawyers) to be involved to validate the interpretation of the Tax Code; open source projects have a difficult time attracting these sort of contributors. The law changes every year and if you don't keep on top of the changes becomes worse than useless; it becomes a liability. You have solid deadlines; you can't just release when it is ready.

NES (Games)

Rare Recalled NES Game Stadium Events On Ebay For $99,000 138

Posted by timothy
from the chasing-the-elusive dept.
An anonymous reader writes Via Eurogamer comes news of possibly the rarest of all NES games selling on the auction site Ebay for a staggering 99,000 Dollars at this time, with 4 days left to go. The game in question the 1987 NES game Stadium Events was released then pulled only 2 days later. Stadium Events was released by Bandai as a test title for its Family Fun Fitness Control Mat — an early version of the technology now found in Dance Dance Revolution floor pads. But Nintendo acquired the technology for itself, just as the game was being released. The company ordered an immediate return of all copies so the game could be rebranded with Nintendo's version of the controller mat, now named as the NES Power Pad .

FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate 556

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-into-it dept.
v3rgEz writes In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism — even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics.

Comment: Fixed capacity (Score 1) 81

by pavon (#48619357) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

One important point that others above have alluded to but haven't outright stated:

While the exponential scaling of rocket equation is an important limiting issue when building larger and larger rockets, for any given rocket (or rocket configuration) the payload capacity is fixed. If you have a payload that is too large for a Falcon 1Pegasus, but doesn't need the full capacity of a Falcon 9, all that extra capacity goes to waste. It costs essentially the same amount to launch a Falcon 9 at 60% capacity as it does to launch it at 90% capacity. You can share payload with multiple customers, but that limits which orbits they can use.

Space X can calculate how much weight the recovery system and fuel requires and how much money they can save by reusing the first stage, and give a discount to customers who give up that additional payload capacity. If there is a market for those lower cost launches, then great. If not, then keep treating the 1st stage as disposable.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 2) 81

by pavon (#48618231) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Running a business like this takes a lot of work, and for it to succeed well enough to actually get working rockets off the ground you need to attract top-notch engineers who believe that working for you isn't just a waste of their time (more than a billionaire's plaything), and management that can create the right environment for them to succeed without blowing through your money for nothing. It is much less expensive, less risky and less time consuming to just pay Russia for a thrill ride than to create your own rocket company. So I can understand why most would choose to go that route, and leave the latter for those who genuinely want to shake up the market.

Comment: Re:it can be air filled (Score 2) 200

by pavon (#48617897) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

That said, the total payload mass that the ship could support is roughly the same whether it is inside the airship or outside in a gondola, and the more space you want to make available for use, the more mass you would have to dedicate to structure rather than payload. So it would be less cramped than a tiny capsule, but you would still need large expanses of mostly empty space to provide the needed buoyancy.

In practice, it might be better to have a balloon filled with a less dense gas to decrease the total volume needed to support the desired payload, and then have an attached air-filled "gondola" that is nearly as large as the balloon.

Comment: Re:JPEG2000 replaced JPEG (Score 4, Informative) 377

by pavon (#48571807) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

You don't have to wait for someone to pop out of the woodworks. BPG is nothing but a still frame of HEVC video which is patented up the ass. Bellard and other open source video authors are accustomed to ignoring the patent situation because they don't really have a choice if you want to be interoperable, but that isn't an excuse for creating patent problems in a field where there are already widespread royalty free standards (JPEG, PNG).

Comment: Re:Phew (Score 1) 191

by pavon (#48527707) Attached to: Every Weapon, Armored Truck, and Plane the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Yeah same here. The only bad thing I saw were the MRAPs which have already been in the local news. I can't imagine that there are enough situations where such a vehicle would be needed to justify the high maintenance costs. They are mostly used for show, as projections of power.

Other than that, it's a bunch of useful items. The larger police departments got explosive ordinance disposal robots, scopes, utility trucks, helicopter. The forest service got a bunch of night vision supplies. The department of corrections got a big ol power distributor. One of the more rural tribal departments got a road grader, some generators, welders, and even a field kitchen.

Good to see that tax payer funded equipment going to good use.

Comment: Re:Comparison to Wikinews (Score 1) 167

by pavon (#48511345) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

Well based on the current interface, it will differentiate itself by making articles a series of disconnected statements, with no editing for flow at all. This makes it easier to link back to the original source of each statement, but kills any sort of readability like the worst of the inverse pyramid writing style rising again after its near death.

Comment: Re:US Centric? (Score 1) 167

by pavon (#48511301) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

I still don't know what to make of this since it wasn't just one paper, but all the ones I looked at. I'm no conspiracy nut, but how does that happen?

If they were all wrong in the same way, it is possible you were just reading slightly edited versions of the same account provided by a news feed like the Associated Press.

Comment: The speech synthesizer was not changed (Score 3, Informative) 56

by pavon (#48510939) Attached to: Stephen Hawking's New Speech System Is Free and Open-source

From the second link:

Wood showed WIRED a little grey box, which contained the only copy of Hawking's speech synthesiser. It's a CallText 5010, a model given to Hawking in 1988 when he visited the company that manufactured it, Speech Plus. The card inside the synthesiser contains a processor that turns text into speech, a device that was also used for automated telephone answering systems in the 80s.

"I'm trying to make a software version of Stephen's voice so that we don't have to rely on these old hardware cards," says Wood. ...

Hawking is very attached to his voice: in 1988, when Speech Plus gave him the new synthesiser, the voice was different so he asked them to replace it with the original. His voice had been created in the early 80s by MIT engineer Dennis Klatt, a pioneer of text-to-speech algorithms. He invented the DECtalk, one of the first devices to translate text into speech. He initially made three voices, from recordings of his wife, daughter and himself. The female's voice was called "Beautiful Betty", the child's "Kit the Kid", and the male voice, based on his own, "Perfect Paul". "Perfect Paul" is Hawking's voice.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.