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Comment: Just Do Prizes (Score 0) 68

by Baldrson (#47792021) Attached to: NASA's Competition For Dollars

Prize awards have high leverage on private investment. Moreover, prize awards aren't spent only for the desired returns -- thereby relegating risk management to the private sector where it belongs.

Oh, I forgot, NASA's money comes largely from political considerations about which districts get how much government pork.

Never mind.

Comment: Re:It's made of plated steel (Score 1) 49

by Guppy06 (#47790863) Attached to: Watch UK Inventor Colin Furze Survive a Fireworks Blast In a Metal Suit

known for its superb conductivity of heat

Exactly: pinpoint heat sources will see that energy rapidly disbursed throughout the entire suit rather than stay concentrated in a hot spot.

Water's heat conductivity, its ability to spread heat out into meaninglessness, is one of the reasons why it's effective at extinguishing fires.

Comment: Re:Given current tensions, ... (Score 1) 154

by Guppy06 (#47786115) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

I think they would be very happy if the rest of Europe were utilizing GLONASS, a system they can shut down or manipulate if they need to.

But they themselves can't get it to work, as was highlighted in the link I posted. So why would a Europe unable to deploy Galileo use GLONASS instead of GPS?

And it certainly isn't like Europe doesn't have its own space launch capabilities.

Russia has absolutely nothing to gain and much to lose by trying to fuck with this launch.

Comment: Re:Very subjective (Score 1) 382

by malkavian (#47695917) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

In a discussion, the aim, for a debate on a subject, is to reach an objective approximation.
There's a world of difference between actually striving to get to the crux of a matter and saying "You suck.. So I'm not listening to what you say, because I'm right because I say I am, and you're all idiots for just believing me.".
Philosophy is the attempt to achieve rational objective approximations, and is at the heart of striving to get things better. Saying that nobody has the requirement to attempt to be better while discussing is merely an excuse for laziness and trolling. I know you don't mean it as that, and it's no slight, but that's the way it ends up.
Really, I thoroughly enjoy a discussion with someone who has a different viewpoint to me on something. It's rare I don't learn something from that. But these days, there's an awful lot of ad hominem attacks used in place of actually having an argument or point of view.
You may still wish to perceive something a particular way, but it helps to have your view widened by actually having someone else's well rationalised view on it as well..

Comment: Business relationship (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by demachina (#47684425) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

So does ./ have some kind of promotional relationship with startswithabang? If so you should disclose it.

The blog does have interesting material, and its appropriate for /., so its not like its bad that every article on there is making the /. front page. But its kind of odd that every article on there is making the ./ front page.

Comment: Re:Can we rid the word of "Gelling"? (Score 4, Insightful) 127

by JanneM (#47682897) Attached to: Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

One function of special vocabulary is for specialists to easily communicate. But another, important, social function is as a badge of in-group membership. If you use the words correctly (from the point of view of the group) you show that you belong, and that you probably know and understand all the other explicit and implicit rules of the group. If the word use spreads too far it loses this function and the group needs to find new words and expressions instead.

You dislike "gelling". You dislike "paradigm shifts". It would probably be a fairly risk-free bet on what you think of expressions like "optics" (as in "the optics of this decision is good") and the like. You dislike these words and refuse to use them. Which signals to management people that you are not management and should not be treated as part of their in-group. "gelling" works exactly as intended, in other words.

Asking for words to not be used like this is futile. It would be like asking people to no longer care about fashion (another in-group signal) or to not form groups of like-minded people at all.

Comment: Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 341

by JanneM (#47676017) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Not many other countries intentionally bankrupt accident victims the way the US does.

I don't live in the US, and I agree. But, if you're found liable for an accident you will tend to pay a lot of money in any country; the accident victims likely have life or accident insurance and their insurance company will want to get reimbursed.

So good, comprehensive accident insurance is a very good idea no matter where you live. Usually we have that as part of our home insurance or other thing like that, and if you own a car you have mandatory insurance for that.

But in a case like this you may well be completely uncovered. The vehicle insurance is likely not valid for commercial traffic, and your home insurance may well not be valid either. As I said, I would never, ever get into a car like this without first being absolutely sure that the liability situation is crystal clear.

Comment: Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 341

by JanneM (#47675527) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

So require that the drivers have it, outdated or not. It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all. If they really don't like it, they're free to lobby and argue for a change to the relevant laws. Just arguing that "but we don't wanna follow the law!" gets tired really fast.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.

That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance. Remember, you may potentially be economically liable for several injured, permanently disabled or killed people, property damage and other costs. And again, as the one that commissions and pays for the trip, you just might find yourself shouldering part of the criminal liability too, if you didn't check that the guy you hired had a valid license for commercial traffic.

Comment: What are they complaining about? (Score 5, Insightful) 341

by JanneM (#47675177) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license; require the vehicles to comply to commercial safety standards; and provide the needed insurance. It's not as if the deck is stacked against them - the other services they compete against all follow the same rules.

For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident. It's not just medical and other costs for myself; if the driver is not licensed you, as the one paying for the ride, may be regarded as co-responsible if your driver caused the accident in the first place. You want to risk hundreds of thousands of Euro in damages to save a few bucks on a taxi ride?

Comment: The basic problem is (Score 1) 249

by JanneM (#47673917) Attached to: Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

The basic complaint of the poster seems to be that in a store of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of titles, only a very small number ever get discovered and successful. Huge numbers of very worthy apps never get a chance.

That problem can't be solved by any reasonable reorganization. We users (I use the Play store, but the same situation applies) have only so many minutes of time to spend looking for and using new stuff. However you make new apps visible to users, you're punishing apps that would have been visible otherwise. Competing for user attention time is a zero-sum game.

The Play store "people you know" ratings are surprisingly helpful. Unlike general user ratings this is not easy to game by the developers. But of course, those people may only have tested that one app because it was already more popular already.

I guess the only way to really fix it is to show each user only a random 0.1% subset of all apps. That would give every app a good chance of being seen and tried. But it would rather annoy all those people looking for irritated avians and not finding them.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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