Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 345

Right... Except that you can get a different city government that doesn't waste money on mass transit in situations where it doesn't work by voting for different people.

So, government that provides you with services you like is good government and government that provides other people with things they like is bad government that wastes money.

Let me make a note of that.

Comment Re:core point (Score 1) 177

Such a lifeform could easily engage in interstellar travel, even with the hundreds and thousands of years it takes.

Most sci-fi fans vastly underestimate the difficulty of even getting remotely close to the speed of light. The last, optimized, peer-reviewed design for a pure antimatter-driven ship that I saw - the highest performance you're going to get without beamed power, and beamed power suffers from range problems among others - was to reach about 0,4c. That's pure anitmatter, which vastly outperforms fusion and fission. Making antimatter inherently means turning mass to energy, wherein a very tiny fraction will condense out as antiprotons, which you can then trap. So you're taking E=mc^2, reversing it, and then taking only a tiny fraction of even that. Actually mass producing the vast amounts of antimatter needed for such starships would take a civilization advanced to Type 2 scale. It's nice to fantasize that the universe is full of Type 2 and Type 3 civilizations, but that's a huge thing to posit.

It's also easy to posit generation ships. But as the saying goes, shit happens. The longer you're in transit, the more likely that is to happen. Which means you have to make your ship vastly larger, to be increasingly redundant, parts in one part increasingly isolated from others, much larger crews than just the minimum skeleton crew needed to populate a planet, etc. Unless all you're sending are artificial wombs and eggs. But then you're back to my initial posit, that such information could be transmitted to an alien species directly at the speed of light.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 3, Insightful) 215

Indeed. VW did very egregious cheating, deliberately detecting tests and then optimizing for them. It sounds like these others are not engaging a "test mode"; but have optimized themselves for conditions that are tested for (at the expense of power and fuel efficiency) while optimized themselves for power and fuel efficiency in conditions that aren't tested for. Not as egregious, but still clearly problematic. There's clearly gaping holes in the system.

It also puts to lie this massive increase in diesel cleanliness over the years. It's improved, no question, but not nearly as much as has been marketed, particularly in smaller, cheaper vehicles. The same old choice remains: you can get a ~15% increase in fuel efficiency by mass (~30% by volume), and thus ~15% reduction in CO2 emissions, by going with a diesel, but it'll come at the cost of a more expensive engine (has to be built stronger to handle the higher compression, all issues of additional pollution control systems aside) and will kick out more health-impacting pollutants. And it just comes down to chemistry: if you burn fuel in air at hotter temperatures and/or higher pressures, you favor the production of chemicals like NOx - high temperatures and pressures make nitrogen more reactive. And you're going to kick out more PM for similar reasons. The higher temperatures and pressures help with CO and unburned hydrocarbons (they favor more complete combustion), but the scale of the added NOx and PM problems are much greater.

Contrary to what they've been pretending, a major way that car manufacturers appear to have been reducing NOx emissions in diesels is simply by burning their fuel cooler / less efficiently in conditions that are being tested for, and hotter the rest of the time to keep their performance and efficiency numbers up.

Comment Re:Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 140

You misunderstood me: if you (as the designer/manufacturer) don't want the user to change the firmware, then use a mask ROM instead of an EEPROM (or whatever) so that he physically can't.

As a (wholly intended!) side effect it means that you (again, the manufacturer) can't change it after the fact either, which means it'll have to be perfect the first time.

In other words, the only potentially-valid reason to make it hard for the user (i.e., the owner) to modify his property is that it's built well enough that (in the user's opinion, not the manufacturers!) it never needs to be modified.

Comment Friday Fun (Score 0, Flamebait) 30

Let me kick it off:

"Friggin' SJWs, the lot of 'em. They should just stop the UN from giving these stupid Nobel prizes, because they always go to feminazis anyway, like that Chemistry Nobel last week that they gave to Youyou Tu just because she was a woman. I mean, who even gets malaria anymore?"

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 345

Con-Agra was going to get tax abatement anywhere they went, and in fact, even with the tax abatement, they're going to be paying more taxes than they did in Omaha after the move to Chicago.

Boeing's tax bill also went up after the move to Chicago. However, the Federal subsidies were enormous. And again, those subsidies had nothing to do with the City of Chicago. Every state in the US offers companies sweeteners to move. It's why we have a race to the bottom in this country.

So really, you're the one who's wrong.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1, Insightful) 345

Yea, I've been in Chicago (last week actually) and I'm chuckling too, mostly at you. Yea the "EL" is there and folks do ride the thing, but to get around the windy city and the suburbs, the bulk of people take the extensive number of toll ways in their cars. There is a reason the number of I-Pass holders exceeds the number of public transit riders by an order of magnitude or two.

First of all, it's not the "EL" it's the "L". Second, there are exactly ZERO tollways within the Chicago city limits. Nobody pays tolls getting around Chicago. If you want to come in from Milwaukee or fucking Indiana, yes there are toll roads that start in Indiana and that's only because nobody wants anyone from Milwaukee or Indiana coming into the city because they don't know how to behave.

There is a reason the number of I-Pass holders exceeds the number of public transit riders by an order of magnitude or two.

Yes, it's because the I-PASS is for the entire state of Illinois and public transit customers tend to live in the Chicago area.

Personally, I chose to drive myself while I was there...

May I ask where you're from? I'm really curious. Plus, I want to write a letter to city government asking to build a wall.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1, Flamebait) 345

I'm not sure the city/government is who I want in charge of making sure of my quality of life is good enough

Really? Do you have your own well for water? Who picks up your garbage? If you get into an accident, or are the victim of a crime, you gonna call the police, or Ayn fucking Rand?

This is what I mean about libertarians being stupid. They expect their streets plowed, and potholes fixed, but don't want city government.

The city government that picks up your goddamn garbage and plows your streets in the winter is the same one that builds mass transit.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 0, Troll) 345

Which is my general point about light rail. It never pays for itself though fares, but ALWAYS requires substantial subsidies from local governments to survive.

It's also a huge economic engine. One of the reasons Boeing and Con-Agra moved to Chicago was because of the transit and the reasonable traffic (because of the good public transit).

I know Libertarians hate public transportation, but for the most part, they are kind of stupid.

Comment Re:Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 140

There are very good reasons to make devices for which the firmware is changeable after manufacturing but only by the manufacturer.

Name one that doesn't boil down to either (a) "the user is too stupid to know what he wants to do with his own property, so he needs the manufacturer to be his nanny" or (b) "the user might use his own property in a way that displeases The Powers That Be, and must be stopped."

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 2) 345

Which is EXACTLY the problem with public transit, It's almost never convenient for anybody using it, takes longer than driving yourself, and always requires financial support from tax payers because you never can charge the riders enough.

Public transport is great for what it is, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking it is a solution for traffic congestion or that we can make it convenient and cheap enough to get people who have other options to ride it...

People in Chicago are laughing at you.

He's dead, Jim.