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Comment Electric is Evolution. Driverless is Revolution (Score 5, Insightful) 858 858

The move to electric is a natural evolution, and will have a significant impact. The economies of scale in terms of pollution mitigation at power plants will utterly dwarf anything cars have ever been able to do themselves, transmission losses nonwithstanding.

Even if they only displace urban drivers (fewer per-trip miles, more population density facilitating more charging stations), the impact will be transformative. Watch the AQI loop around New York, and you can see air pollution rising and falling along the commuter roads into the City in lock step with the morning commute. I can't even imagine a New York with 50-80% fewer gas-powered cars on the road.

But that's still just evolution. Electric is just a natural step.

Driverless cars are the revolution. Electric makes existing car use patterns better. Driverless makes an entirely new paradigm. It may eliminate mass car ownership. It might eliminate parking lots. It might eliminate light rail in suburban areas. Taxis. Deliveries. Shipping. Police reponses.

Electric makes things better in well-projected ways. Driverless changes everything forever in ways we can't yet even imagine.

Comment Pluto's Glacier (Score 0) 33 33

The rate at which pictures are being released by the project are pathetic. I don't want to hear how low the data rate is from Pluto. Paranoid scientists are witholding dozens or hundreds of them to keep from being scoped. Spunik Planum is a glacier. Of what material, who knows? CO, N2, or some weird mixture. You can see that the region covers the darker terrain by the many embayment relationships at the meeting of terrains at its edge. The patterned ground is also a giveaway, but who can explain the large size of the patterns? What is the dark stuff? Organic gunk, not unlike light crude oil or LNG at fantastically low temperature. In processed approach images you can see the path that gas sublimating from the glacier takes as it sublimates and migrates to the pluto dark side from the sub solar latitude. It faintly stains the terrain. My guess is that glaciers like Sputnik Planum accumulate on the dark side during Pluto's pronounced winters, as the erode from the light side. They seem to be 100's of meters if not kilometers thick. The complex seasons produced by Pluto's elliptical orbit and high inclination surely disrupt the surface asymmetrically. Pluto is in southern summer and just passed perihelion. The south cap should be near its minimum extent. Pluto is a freaky place. Release more pictures greedy scientists!

Comment Re:Pure marketing jargon (Score 1) 33 33

I disagree.

Firstly, there's a difference between "public cloud" and "private cloud," where 'public' implies "someone else's computer," but given this, and given that you can do private clouds, clearly the ownership of the hardware is not the defining characteristic for "cloud."

Rather, I'd argue the definition for "cloud" has to include -- perhaps more importantly than any other part of the definition -- the ability to request a resource from the system via an API and get it automatically (barring resource constraint issues or artificial limits) without human involvement. THAT is what makes it "cloud," irrespective of whether you're making that API call against the systems your own IT folks set up to get a resource within your datacenter or you're making that call against AWS.

Comment Clear embayment features (Score -1) 98 98

The spots are clear embayment features. The dark/light transition seems to follow the countour of topography. This suggests that the stuff was liquid or saturated sediment, like the dark regions on Titan. We may be looking at lake deposits on Pluto.

Comment Should be called (Score -1) 41 41

The first thing everyone does when they learn OpenGL is texture map a map image in rectangular coordinates to a 3d sphere. Have fun.

/* Apply a texture image, a planetary map in a simple cylindrical
   projection in RGB format*/
static void
texture_map (const char *fname)
  GLubyte *image;
  GLint width, height;
  GLenum format;

  /* What are the valid sizes for the texture image? */
  /* glGetIntegerv (GL_MAX_TEXTURE_SIZE) */
  image = LoadRGBImage (fname, &width, &height, &format);

  /* check image size to see if suitable as texmap */
  info ("Texture image: width = %d, height = %d, format = %x\n",
     width, height, format);

  /* texture map is ok to apply */
  glPixelStorei (GL_UNPACK_ALIGNMENT, 1);
  glTexImage2D (GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGB, width, height, 0,
        format, GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, image);
  glEnable (GL_TEXTURE_2D);

static void
solid_sphere (GLdouble radius, GLint slices, GLint stacks)
  glEnable (GL_CULL_FACE);
  glCullFace (GL_BACK);

  GLUquadricObj *obj = gluNewQuadric();
  gluQuadricDrawStyle (obj, GLU_FILL);
  gluQuadricNormals (obj, GLU_SMOOTH);
  gluQuadricTexture (obj, GL_TRUE);

  glNewList (Sphere, GL_COMPILE);
  gluSphere (obj, radius, slices, stacks);
  glEndList ();

define_globe (const char *teximage, float radius)
  texture_map (teximage);
  solid_sphere (radius, 36, 18);

draw_globe ()
  glEnable (GL_LIGHTING);    /* in case they aren't already */
  glEnable (GL_TEXTURE_2D);
  glCallList (Sphere);

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks