Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Choose Your Freedoms (Score 1) 1146

I think America needs to think long and hard about what kind of Freedoms it wants to have. As there appears to be a choice between two evils here, one is gun control, and the other is media control.

If you can't take the guns away from the crazies, then you need to take away their glory. Ban anything but local press from reporting on it, and stop the presidential statements, I can only imagine that whipping the nation into furious debate only increases the appeal to these perpetrators. Perhaps that will mean that less crazies will get the idea to shoot up their school in the first place, and wont get the glory of getting their face on TV around the nation

Maybe the longer this continues the problem of the media will solve itself, as Obama is right, you've become numb to this

Comment Re:Amazon Warehouse workers should demand more mon (Score 1) 174

The company's robot can "slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible." The robot is "more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour." That's one burger every 10 seconds.

One of these robots in a McDonald's could probably replace 4 or more employees. If McDonald's isn't testing these now, they're nuts.

Someone will be testing these robots, but I would be surprised if its McDonalds.

Contrary to popular belief, the golden arches is not a burger company, they are a branding and supply chain company. The restaurants are all employee owned franchises, who pay a fee to McDonalds corporate for use of the McDonalds brand, the McDonalds supplies, the McDonalds uniforms, and so on. That's where the money is, not making and selling the burgers.

Would an enterprising franchise owner invest in a burger making robot? Or would they sell up their McDonalds franchise and start up their own employee-free business instead? That's the more interesting question I think.

Comment Re:Naw, it's Doctors (Score 1) 696

As a Motorcyclist you have a few distinct advantages over cyclists, namely speed and acceleration.

The problems come about when you have traffic of greatly differing speeds sharing the same roadways. On a motorcycle you can happily travel at (or above) the speed of traffic, where as cyclists top out rather quickly

The answer is of course to separate the cyclists from the roads, and offer them cycleways (not bike lanes) through the city to get where they're going. A good example of this is Milton Keynes in the UK, and their redways which spread throughout the whole area and are completely separated from the roads. This isn't possible everywhere due to historical and landscape reasons, but it should be incorporated when planning new suburbs and major redevelopments.

Comment Re:So, we need to scuttle the TPP. (Score 1) 128

So how do you do that without denying the negotiators any wiggle room? Well, for one, I'd suggest that drafts be published at regular intervals. You can keep the proceedings themselves secret, so long as we get a record of what they have so far at reasonable periods, and can provide feedback based on that.

How it should work should be as follows:
Negotiators negotiate in secret in the hopes of striking a deal
Once a deal as been struck, they go back to their respective parliaments, the deal is posted publicly and public debate happens to decide whether or not to put the deal into law.
If the public debate rejects the deal, the negotiators go back to the table with the new information they have from the public debate and try and strike a new deal

The important part in all of this is that once the negotiators agree to something, then it still needs to pass public debate, not 'fast-tracked' or otherwise rushed through the process. There is little point in releasing the details of a deal that the negotiating parties haven't even agreed to yet, as at that point its purely hypothetical and until the negotiations are complete then there might not even be a deal for the public to debate over in the first place

Comment Re:How is it that anyone supports this? (Score 1) 127

The whole water vapor thing has the nice effect that it should be reasonably reversable, and if it works might buy us a little time.

Time to do what? That seems to be reasonably straight forward at this point, the problem is the political will and the costs involved.

  • Step 1. Build Gen 3+ PWR Reactors to replace all coal power stations currently in service. These are commercial designs that can be built today on a technology that we have 50+ years experience with in a commercial capacity, not some pie-in-the-sky Gen 4 tech that hasn't really succeeded past the research reactor phase
  • Step 2. Build devices to concentrate and remove CO2 from seawater. We have already built research devices that can do this using a series of membranes to concentrate the dissolved CO2 and then using available industrial filters to remove the CO2 from the water. Can this be done on a large enough scale? that is a current research topic, but worth pursuing as the seas are already doing a fine job of removing the CO2 from the atmosphere where the warming effect is, rather than fixing the atmosphere and releasing all the stored CO2 in the ocean again.
  • Step 3. Encourage cattle farmers to change their habits to increase grass growth. There's plenty of available desert in Australia, and no shortage of livestock there either, no doubt there are other suitable continents as well.
  • Step 4. Subsidise electric cars and do a cash-for-guzzlers scheme to reduce inefficient cars on our roads

There are likely other little things we can do that will all add up, but that would make a fairly big dent right there.

Comment Re:all voting should be paper and pencil (Score 1) 393

The reason for not giving a receipt is that in that case, people can demand you to show your receipt to check if you voted for the right candidate.

In a country of 300 million, do you think this is an effective method of rigging an election?

Personally i'm all for a blockchain style public ledger of pseudonymous votes, with each voter being given a receipt of their choices and their blockchain id for independent verification of the electronic result. The election result can be cryptographically verified by anyone, public or private for signs of tampering, and having voters able to check their vote as recorded in the electronic system helps breed trust.

Sure, if someone can match your blockchain id back to you they would know how you voted, but unless there was voter coercion on a mass scale the outcome of the election is likely to be unchanged

Comment Re:Why does anyone care? (Score 1) 117

I think that should be "a very short pulse" -- but pulses used for ignition are much higher energy -- from 70kJ to 2MJ, according to your link.

The HiPER is a proposed project to experiment with this type of fusion, requiring the use of Petawatt scale lasers

A 2 Petawatt pulse over 1 Picosecond isn't quite a 4 Petawatt pulse over 10 Picoseconds, but its on its way. Considering the organisation in TFA are now planning on scaling to produce 10 Petawatt pulse, maybe the timescale can be reduced for Ignition.

Comment Re:Investigating if laws were broken (Score 1) 312

That holds true for most people, but sometimes you are dragged into something you don't want to. For example, if you are minding your own business running a convenience store and some guys come in with guns demanding money, and out of fear for your life, you shoot first and kill one of them. Now you have to spend the rest of your life in jail for something that you never premeditated or wanted to have happen.

Interesting how you define premeditation, is it only premeditated if the whole scenario was planned? One could argue, that by purchasing and carrying a firearm you had already decided, ie. premeditated, that in certain circumstances you would use it to shoot someone.

Whether or not shooting someone for self defense is reasonable or not is up for debate, but why would you carry a gun if you had no intent to use it, under any circumstances?

Comment Re: Screws with users (Score 1) 319

The original poster was discussing the fact that you can hop in any modern car and know with certainty how to actuate the left or right hand turn indicators.

Except you cant. Japanese/Korean cars use the Right Hand Side stalk for turn indicators, and European cars use the Left Hand Side. In a market with equal amounts of both like Australia, either you know your cars well and can guess accurately, or its basically 50/50.

Comment Re:issues with liberals and scientists as well (Score 1) 278

Gen IV reactors are still at the prototype/design phase, and as such you cant really just build one and expect it to compete with proven commercial designs.

China is however building out Gen III/+ reactors like no tomorrow. which are the current state-of-the-art production grade reactor designs. Personally I don't see why the rest of the developed world can't follow suit, replacing the aging plants with outdated designs in the process.

Comment Ponzi Scheme (Score 1, Insightful) 359

Bitcoin works by convincing others to buy into the game for the promise of returns, thus pushing up the price. So take any 'expert' who claims the value of bitcoin is going to boom, or "can only go up" with a bag of salt as its more likely that they are following their own interests and not yours.

Comment Re:Scale (Score 1) 62

To help understand the scale, the cable length is approximately the diameter of the earth (12742 km).

Spanning the diameter is cool and all but perhaps not the most useful comparison until we start laying cables through the core of the planet.

Perhaps a more useful comparison is to the circumference (40,075 km), so slightly over a quarter of the way around the planets surface.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle