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Comment Re:Tipping? (Score 1) 879 879

Or drive by's.

A few years ago the U.S. military were evaluating a new hybrid vehicle to replace the Hummer. Their main interest was logistics, since Hummers aren't the most economical vehicles to operate. They couldn't help but notice that in electric mode their new vehicle was quiet.

Around here the Toyotas are positively noisy. The Teslas, on the other hand, only make a faint whirr from their tires.

...laura

Shark

Researchers Demonstrate the World's First White Lasers 118 118

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists and engineers at Arizona State University, in Tempe, have created the first lasers that can shine light over the full spectrum of visible colors. The device's inventors suggest the laser could find use in video displays, solid-state lighting, and a laser-based version of Wi-Fi. Although previous research has created red, blue, green and other lasers, each of these lasers usually only emitted one color of light. Creating a monolithic structure capable of emitting red, green, and blue all at once has proven difficult because it requires combining very different semiconductors. Growing such mismatched crystals right next to each other often results in fatal defects throughout each of these materials. But now scientists say they've overcome that problem. The heart of the new device is a sheet only nanometers thick made of a semiconducting alloy of zinc, cadmium, sulfur, and selenium. The sheet is divided into different segments. When excited with a pulse of light, the segments rich in cadmium and selenium gave off red light; those rich in cadmium and sulfur emitted green light; and those rich in zinc and sulfur glowed blue.

Comment Surplus (Score 1) 294 294

We're collectively producing more rice than we eat. Japan is stockpiling unused rice every year, and the world markets are flooded with cheap rice. Food insufficiency (starvation, malnutrition) is currently a problem of resource allocation, not production.

At the same time, the consumers in the big rice consuming countries aren't eating just "rice". You can typically find many dozens of very specific breeds of rice with differences in flavour, texture, firmness, size and so on. And that's within a single type (Japonica, say).

I suspect this would only be useful for rice grown for feed or as an industrial crop. But for feed, source of starch and so on there are already other, well entrenched crops available, so I don't see much of a practical impact of this development.

Comment Re:A simple proposition. (Score 1) 380 380

What is the alternate solution? Are you willing to pay for a subscription to every site you visit? Do you want more "native content" intermixed with all these articles?

Or, you know, less content. It's not as if we're all sitting around wishing there was more stuff on the internet to read, right?

We pay a monthly subscription for our online daily newspaper. I occasionally pay for things such as printed anthologies of online comics I follow, buy books by authors whose blogs and articles I read. I subscribe to a couple of websites.

At one end there is high-quality content such as newspapers (which is high quality in my home country) and other stuff like I listed above. Stuff that is good enough that people really do want to pay for it.

At the other end a lot of people out there are creating good stuff completely for free. You've got academics, programmers and other professionals with a day job that write to spread what they learn. You've got hobbyists sharing their passion. Small businesses publishing good stuff to promote their name and skills. Factual events are widely and freely reported.

The content farms, clickbait sites and the rest out there is squeezed between these two. The high-quality stuff sets the bar for what people expect in order to part with their money. The free stuff sets the bar on what people accept before they abandon you and leave for better sources.

If your business depends on having so much advertising that it drives people to block stuff or leave, then you have no business being in business at all.

Comment Debian on an Ultra 5 (Score 1) 152 152

The standard desktop at the company I work for used to be a Sun Ultra 5, and when the company imploded I picked an Ultra 5 with a fast processor (400 MHz), put some more memory in it, took it home and put Debian on it. It worked fine. Entirely decent interactive performance, like a fast Pentium 2. Not a box for video editing or other high-CPU/bandwidth activities, but fine otherwise.

I was amused to note that it wasn't a Windows box, so it was immune to Windows attacks. It wasn't an x86 box, so it was immune to x86 attacks. I guess I amuse easily. :-)

We had a pile of 32 bit SparcStations. We (literally) couldn't give them away.

...laura

Comment Re:Pre-cambrian computing (Score 1) 191 191

And I am guessing that spaceyhackerlady does, in fact, know she is surrounded by linux machines.

My employers pay me to do cool shit, and we use Linux to do it. Company standard is CentOS, but my personal research/playpen box is Slackware.

FWIW, I've run Linux on x86, 68k, ARM and UltraSPARC. My home computer, the one I actually spend my own money on, is a Mac. It shares desk space with an x86 Linux box and a Raspberry Pi.

...laura

Comment Pre-cambrian computing (Score 4, Informative) 191 191

Prior to the IBM PC there was enormous diversity in computing. I have some early issues of Byte and the hardware in the ads is all over the place. Most of the names are long forgotten now.

The BBC did Micro Men, a cute (and mostly historically accurate) program about the rise and fall of Acorn, which happened in the same time period. They too got broadsided by IBM, but managed to develop the ARM processor before they imploded.

...laura

Comment Re:What about Data in Star Trek TNG (Score 1) 236 236

Yup. There are some examples of good AI in tv shows. Data and the hubots in Real Humans stand out in my mind.

I remember the scene in The Offspring where Data's daughter Lal was complaining about not being able to feel emotions. While doing an awfully good imitation of anger and frustration...

...laura

Comment Re:And when she is questioned by CBP... (Score 1) 334 334

1. I am an American citizen, and I have the right to enter my country.

You do. Just as I, a Canadian citizen, have the right to enter Canada. I do not have the legal right to enter the United States, but can do so with official permission. Which usually amounts to the Customs agent at the border or airport telling me to have a nice day.

If the government want to be difficult, your citizenship must be verified. Then Customs can give you the once over: yes, you can enter the country, but they want to know what you're bringing with you.

...laura

Comment I ride the bus (Vancouver, Canada) (Score 1) 654 654

I ride the bus to work. It's a non-issue. It's the right thing to do. No parking required, let somebody else deal with the traffic. I have a car that I drive on weekends. One day a week I drive to work to remind myself why I take the bus the other four days. The bus takes a little longer than driving, but not enough that I worry about it much. I save up mid-week errands for the day I drive my car.

If I'm going to downtown Vancouver I take the bus. Parking is scarce and expensive. The traffic is impossible. UGH!

...laura

Comment Re:Scary? (Score 2) 63 63

Now if only video ads in general caused epileptic seizures, so we could get them banned too.

Sadly, for me, they only trigger an irresistible desire to close that browser tab.

Sure - I understand a website that is providing interesting content for free has to have advertisement to support it - and I am mostly ok with that - I just wish it was static text and pictures, instead of bloody annoyingly intrusive video ads.

Comment Re:It only works without humans (Score 5, Insightful) 503 503

Greed is infinite, and is ultimately about power and control. If it were possible, I am sure there would be those who would own the entire galaxy, if for no other reason that to say it's theirs.

Even now, you have executives that earn multi-million dollar salaries, with super yachts and homes that they use for a fraction of the year. What's the point? There is little additional benefit from having a 100 ft yacht compared to a 200ft yacht, but there is a huge difference in the money you have to have to pay for them.

All those dollars have been paid to a single executive to afford such things has been done so instead of making goods and services cheaper for the customer, or by paying better salaries to the rest of the company's employees.

Executive salaries in the 60s were typically 25x the average salary.
Now they are more than 200x the average salary. More efficient production is not going to change this.

Comment Re:Scratching your head? (Score 1) 107 107

How the hell did the motor manufacturer prevent the flight?

As you say, it's a prototype on loan for testing, and the contract terms explicitly say Siemens get to say what they can and can't do with it.

The Airbus thing is complete bull; they'd have zero interest in preventing a test flight like this, and plenty of professional interest in seeing it fly.

Comment Re:"as a Service" = you have to buy it Every Year? (Score 1) 189 189

I dont think they will go to a paid subscription model. That would change them from being the only mainstream OS that costs money to the only mainstream OS that charges subscription fees. ms is losing really badly inthe phone/tablet market. Even their console isn't doing too well this time around ( http://www.techradar.com/us/ne... )

I can believe windows 10 will be the last version of windows and it will just be continually patched. ms sees the writing on the wall and when 10 is out they will be pushing their app store hard to get more pc programs into there so they get a 30% cut. All those sales will add up to more than they will ever get from a single customer in a OS sale. The app store will help their struggling phone and tablet line too.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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