Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:so not only and ancient disease? (Score 4, Interesting) 65

by AJWM (#49124761) Attached to: Giant Asian Gerbils May Have Caused the Black Death

Plague is endemic to the prairie dogs of the Four Corners area of the US (where NM, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet). Every year it gets transmitted to a few people. Presumably early diagnosis and antibiotics will take care of it, but occasionally it will go missed until too late.

Of bigger concern in that area is hantavirus.

Comment: Re:Nuclear fission has higher carbon than measured (Score 1) 309

by AJWM (#49107743) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

Considering that I gave a paper on (in part) the use of a beanstalk on Mars in the 1991 Space Manufacturing Conference, and a similar one at the Case For Mars IV (or whichever) conference, I do know a bit about orbital tethers and doing a Mars version.

Since you were the one who mentioned running a mono (greek root, means "single" or "alone") filament to orbital satellites, you were the one implying a single stage version from the surface to (geostationary, unless you're planning on wrapping the planet like a ball of yarn).

Sure, there are other ways to do it. As you suggest, none of them are elegant.

Comment: Re:Yes we should but... (Score 1) 291

by AJWM (#49056637) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

Troubleshooting is a skill applicable to, and learned in, far more than the narrow domain of coding. Your experience is biased by the crowd you hang out with in your chosen profession.

But any good mechanic (taking that as a generic term for electrician, plumber, etc also) is a good troubleshooter/problem solver, ditto any other expert in their chosen field (doctors, lawyers, salespeople, etc). It's a skill you need to be a good programmer, but it's a skill you need to be good at anything. How do I isolate the symptom? What is the real problem? What can I do to fix it? What can I substitute or change if I don't have the right part (library, API) to fix it as is?

I've seen plenty of coders who weren't that hot at troubleshooting (especially if it required some out-of-the-box thinking). I don't think coding teaches that skill, but it may well exercise it and make it stronger if it's already there.

Comment: Teach? No. Play? Yes. (Score 1) 291

by AJWM (#49056559) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

First step is to get kids to have fun developing critical thinking and logical analysis skills. Some of those will go on to want to learn coding and related topics, while the fundamentals will help anyone faced with that sort of problem.

Give grade school kids games like The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis to play, don't force them to memorize the particulars of a programming language that will be obsolete by the time they graduate high school.

More toppings!

Comment: Re:Nuclear fission has higher carbon than measured (Score 1) 309

by AJWM (#49022077) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

You can run monofilament cables to orbital satellites

No we can't. The technology to manufacture mile-long monofilament (I assume you're talking something like buckytubes, nothing else has the strength) cables isn't available yet, let alone manufacturing 23,000+ mile cables.

Now, people might argue about risks, but until the technology is actually availabe -- which it is not -- the point is moot.

Come back when they're building suspension bridges out of the stuff.

Comment: MJPG-streamer, USB cam, and a Raspberry Pi. (Score 1) 263

That's all you need. If you want a better quality image than a cheap USB webcam, use the Raspberry Pi camera, but a $5 USB cam works just fine if you don't need a high frame rate -- and if you're just pointing the thing at a menu, you only need one frame a day ;). The software is FOSS, and works just fine on the r-pi. I use such a setup to monitor my 3D printer from elsewhere in the house. If you need fine-grained control over who connects, well the Raspberry's running linux, so go nuts.

Although that seems ridiculous overkill for a relatively static menu.

Comment: Re:Except inflation (Score 2) 226

by AJWM (#48947657) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

Parallel universes are just slices of the "real" universe offset in different timelike directions from the slice we experience. I.e, think of time as N dimensional where N > 1, if time were 3 dimensional we could call the timelike dimensions t, t', and t". Our perception is limited to t (plus x, y and z). Moving in the t' or t" axes, we get to parallel worlds (also known as travel "crosstime" in many sci-fi stories). QM effects can propagate crosstime, but we can only observe one slice of that.

There's no actual "split" when a wave collapses, the parallel world(s) was (were) always there, it (they) just hadn't differentiated yet. (There's also no preferred t-like axis -- an observer travelling along t' (with fixed x,y,z) will see a progression of changes just as one at the same (x,y,z) would see travelling along t or t" -- but they'd be different changes.)

Niven had the right idea with his "All the Myriad Ways", the TV series "Sliders" was close too. The idea that there's only one (or at most a handful of) parallel world(s), like ST's mirror universe, is just silly.

And yes, I'm making this shit up (although not entirely). It's part of the background to my paratime stories.

Comment: Chtorr (Score 1) 180

by AJWM (#48947503) Attached to: George R. R. Martin's "The Winds of Winter" Wiill Not Be Published In 2015

Hell, I'm still waiting for David Gerrold to release the next in his "War Against the Chtorr" series. The volumes are almost as thick as Martin's, and I don't think he's released one this century. (And I still haven't read the final volume in Tubb's "Dumarest" series, which DelRey dropped with like two volumes left to go. It's now available on ebook, some thirty years later.)

That said, as a writer myself I understand some of the problems in writing a series (one where there's an overarching storyline and character development, rather than just a series of episodes with the same characters and setting.) But yes, in beginning a series you're making a promise to the reader, and the more readers you have, you start to lose the excuses that the publisher dropped the series or that you couldn't quit your day job to write full time.

Comment: Re:Vernor Vinge probably beat him to it (Score 1) 220

by AJWM (#48929171) Attached to: Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Vinge is considered one of the fathers of cyberpunk because of his "True Names", which did precede Varley's chilling (and Hugo-winning) "Press Enter[]" (1981 vs 1985).

On the other hand, Varley's much earlier (1976) "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" was also one of the seminal works of the field.

Been a while since I've read it, but the warlocks (hackers) in "True Names" would never have let their identity (true name) be determined from their coding styles.

Comment: Re:Boiled at 90C? (Score 1) 155

by AJWM (#48911461) Attached to: Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

But "0" being "absolute 0" is what sets it apart.

Well, sort of. There's also the Rankine scale. On it, 0 is also the absolute lowest temperature (0K = 0R), but the units are the same size as Fahrenheit degrees.

The only place I've seen it used is in old rocket propulsion texts and similar non-SI thermodynamics stuff.

Comment: code monkeys vs architects (Score 1) 212

by AJWM (#48911309) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Sure, (almost) anyone can code, just like (almost) anyone can string words together on a page. That's a bit different from being able to write a readable story (let alone novel), or construct a useful program.

I wouldn't trust an architect who didn't know how to lay bricks, but even less would I trust a bricklayer to design a house.

That said, to paraphrase Heinlein, everyone should know how to lay a brick, hammer a nail, write a paragraph and code a program; specialization is for insects.

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 1) 450

by AJWM (#48799441) Attached to: Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

Most run of the mill CPA's are pretty much like the H&R Block guy you'll see at Sears this time of year. They take your data and input it into tax software (like TurboTax!), and ask you some very basic questions.

Well no, I'm pretty sure the H&R Block guys are using H&R Block software ... which is available retail and which I switched to years ago. (TurboTax dropped support for whatever OS version I was still running at the time. Win2K I think, on a PC I only ever booted up at tax time.) Never looked back.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra

Working...