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Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 605

> Nor is it likely to ever happen.

I appreciate the general sense of disgust at humankind's continuous and pathetically predictable foibles from which this remark emanates, but come on now. We have no way of knowing this. 'Ever' is a pretty damn long time.

There are a lot of very intelligent and insightful people who've been saying for a long time that a society without a powerful, centralized authority is the only kind ultimately worth striving for. Personally, I doubt we'll survive as a species unless we accomplish some form of this.

Comment: Did I just wake up in 1950? (Score 1) 453

by slfnflctd (#46958837) Attached to: Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet
Seriously, TFS could have been taken 60+ years ago, word for word, right out of some pulpy newsstand rag with respectability in the middling range. I mean, it's great stuff, and I'm glad we're adding to the conversation... it's just that the essence of the conversation doesn't seem to have changed much.

Comment: Not useful enough yet (Score 1) 180

by slfnflctd (#46638169) Attached to: A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them
These things are a joke. Their shortcomings are much like those of consumer robotics-- not enough sensors, not enough automation, dumb software and finicky interfaces. Until I can slap one on my body with minimal to no manual configuration and get accurate, reliable data complemented by accurate, reliable, non-obvious analysis (plus an easy way to get it all in tabular form for my own uses), all they do is add hassle to my life with insufficient justification.

Comment: Re:Why two wheels? (Score 1) 144

by slfnflctd (#46519795) Attached to: Lit Motors, Danny Kim, and Changing How Americans Drive
Furthermore, what specific value is there in paying $24k for a two-wheeled vehicle which only fits one person and is by all appearances far more dangerous than the four-wheeled, fuel efficient vehicle I can buy for half that price, which fits five people plus drinks, snacks, luggage and more? This thing is absolutely ridiculous and completely impractical for the vast majority of people.

Comment: Re:FAR better than fossil fuels, and even better t (Score 1) 191

by slfnflctd (#46261909) Attached to: Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way
I still don't understand why so many people have their head in the clouds about battery tech. Yes, it's an extremely important, key, vital piece of the puzzle in terms of a better future. However there is absolutely zero reason to believe that advances in energy storage will be in any way similar (in scope or in pace) to advances in microprocessors. It's not magic.

Electric cars, as they are currently being marketed, will simply not be competitive with their ICE brethren in any remotely near-term scenario without advances that are extremely unlikely. Furthermore, if such advances were to occur, the disruption to the global economy would be immense, and there are a lot of major players with a nearly unimaginably tremendous vested interest in slowing - if possible, even stopping - such disruption.

It sometimes almost seems like the public is being lulled into a false sense of security about what sorts of things are going to be possible in the near future (and what aren't).

Comment: bridging the abstract-practical gap (Score 1) 594

by slfnflctd (#20871083) Attached to: SAS CEO Blasts Old-School Schooling
My biggest pet peeve about education - and the reason I think fewer kids are interested in math & the other sciences than should be - is that most of the time, there is little to no opportunity for the conveyance of useful or interesting knowledge about how stuff works.

Yes, this is a complicated problem, because it's very difficult to find the balance between illuminating the function of a device or program enough to spark interest and overwhelming a child with too much technical information (so much knowledge is dependent on so much other knowledge and it gets exponentially more complex at every layer), but I really think that if more effort was made to craft useful summaries of how their iPods, PSPs and phones actually function, at least some kids would be more excited about learning the underlying 'abstracts'.

When one has at least a glimmer of understanding about how a seemingly dry subject connects to something with a higher 'coolness' factor, it's motivating, as I'm sure most people here know. Once a student grasps that it will give them more control over the tech tools they love so much (whose underlying operation is usually obscured by their interfaces) to be more fluent in math & physics, I think it might just give them the extra push to pursue those subjects a litte harder.

In keeping with this idea, I also think more schools should teach a lot more software design a lot earlier... just the other day I was helping install a Cat-6 network for a local middle school, and I asked what kind of programming classes they offered kids. The answer? None. I think that really sucks. The technology world would make more & better advances sooner if we would just give young people a chance to peek into it under the guidance of properly-equipped teachers & curriculums instead of forcing those who wish to learn more about it to pursue that knowledge only in their distraction-packed free time. Whether on a PC or via chalk on a blackboard, content that relates directly to the fascinating things happening in the real world is something I think schools need to give their charges a lot more of.

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