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Comment: Re:It will have a better field of view (Score 1) 496

by srmalloy (#46652497) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

There was a fad for a while to move the mirrors as far forward as possible such as http://images.johnnycupcakes.c...

The reason for mirrors mounted that far forward, at least for Japanese cars, is that, until 1983, Japan had a law that required that the side mirrors be visible through glass that was swept by wipers to ensure that they would not be obscured by rain. They're still common for taxis, because they provide better visibility; taxi drivers also feel that by reducing how far they have to turn their head to the side to look in the mirrors, they don't create the appearance of trying to look in the back, which preserves their passengers' privacy.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Fight Club (Score 1) 357

by srmalloy (#46623535) Attached to: An Engineer's Eureka Moment With a GM Flaw

Agreed. I might just go along with the corporations-as-people idea just as soon as the first corporation is executed for having policies tantamount to murder, or gross negligence with lethal consequences, such as seems to be the case here.

Unfortunately, applying criminal law evenly to corporate persons creates a fundamental inequity. While execution -- dissolution of the corporation -- can be applied evenly, incarceration -- a forcible suspension of all business operations -- can't. Nintendo, for example, could lose $250 million a year and not run out of reserves until 2050 or so, a smaller corporation subjected to, say, a ten-year suspension of its ability to operate might as well be a 'death sentence'. And this isn't considering the impact on the employees of a company that's dissolved or suspended.

Comment: Re:Pour water through the branch? (Score 1) 205

by srmalloy (#46368845) Attached to: Water Filtration With a Tree Branch

I would expect that you'd need something like a large pottery vase or jar with a tapered hole in the bottom. You cut the length of sapwood, wrap one end with a fiber cord until you can push it down into the hole and have it fit tightly with the branch sticking out the bottom (a rubber gasket would be better, but may not be readily available), then pour your 'raw' water into the vase and hang it over another container to catch the water that passes through the branch. A higher-tech solution would use some sort of pump to raise the pressure on the source side to push water through the branch faster, but that would require a greater investment of material; pottery and fiber cord should be products available in even subtechnological cultures.

Comment: Re:Bled Alive? (Score 2) 159

Marking their shell with the date of their harvest doesn't do you any good if you don't know how long it will be until the next time they moult; anything marking or attached to their shell will stay with the shell at moult, so if you harvest a crab, bleed it, mark the shell, and it moults a month later, you might pick up the same crab before it has a chance to recover.

Comment: Re:..about World War One (Score 1) 236

by srmalloy (#46279713) Attached to: I'd prefer military fiction books that are ...

The 'no parachutes' directive was a simple piece of high-level idiocy; it was felt that aviators would not press home their attacks with sufficient determination if they were given an avenue of escape from their plane, so that they might choose to bail out of only lightly-damaged aircraft. Early in the war, aircraft were at a premium, and the cachet of air service was such that they had all the volunteers they could ask for -- and early parachutes were bulky and heavy, hard to fit in the cramped cockpits of early aircraft (space for a chute pack not being designed into the pilot's seat the way WWII aircraft were). For most of the war, neither side's pilots had parachutes; they only began to be issued to German pilots in 1918 -- so the short-sightedness can be laid at the feet of both sides in the war, although the Germans eventually did decide that giving a pilot a chance to save their own life was better, particularly as they had begun to suffer from a lack of experienced pilots.

Comment: Re:Exactly what I was thinking (Score 1) 365

by srmalloy (#46188369) Attached to: Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

That depends on what your warhead/payload is. With a hypersonic missile to disperse it, how much territory could you effectively cover while dispersing, say, a hundred kilos of weaponized anthrax spores?

Comment: Re:Ads are toxic. (Score 1) 347

by srmalloy (#46141117) Attached to: Super Bowl Ads: Worth the Price Or Waste of Time?

Advertising is a way to let people who may be interested in purchasing your product or using your service that you exist, nothing more, nothing less.

Bullshit. They are about stretching the truth to the point where a lawyer can't tell if your lying through your teeth to try to make your piece of crap look better than someone else's piece of crap while at the same time making damn sure you realize you simply cannot live without it.

From what I've seen, the vast majority of ads can be described as either "You are hideously careless with your health, nutrition, or hygeine if you do not use our product" or "You will become instantly more attractive to the opposite sex if you purchase/use our product", with the occasional "If you have enough money, you can avoid feeling as if you're just another sardine crammed into this aluminum cigar tube when you fly" ad, and the self-referential "Our retelling of this basic plot is better than the other 10,000 retellings of the same basic plot, because our retelling has better/more exposed skin/special effects/explosions/action/makeouts/big-name actors, whether or not any of that is relevant to the plot." ads to get you to watch movies or TV programs that themselves are vehicles to keep you in your seat to be exposed to more ads.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 1216

by srmalloy (#45504653) Attached to: Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

I like how so many of these posts on slashdot make the CEO job look easy.

Well, of course it's easy -- look at what they're teaching in the Business Administration department in colleges: that it doesn't matter what a company does, or what it produces, or what any of the individual employees do in their jobs; someone trained in modern business management can walk in off the street and competently manage the people under them at any level from the work group all the way up to CEO.

Comment: Re: My 2 cents (Score 1) 328

by srmalloy (#45446591) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Cheap Second Calculators For Tests?

I had to buy a HP 35S because my 50g wasn't allowed in some tests in my engineering school and I simply can't use a calculator that doesn't do RPN anymore.

More properly, using calculators that lie about being "algebraic" and use a bastard mix of algebraic and RPN are confusing to use. Why do I say this? Think about it. with an RPN calculator, dyadic functions are (number) (number) (function), while monadic functions are (number) (function). With so-called "algebraic" calculators, while dyadic functions are (number) (function) (number) (equals), monadic functions are (number) (function) -- which is RPN.

Comment: Re:Orson Scott Card (Score 2) 732

by srmalloy (#45350057) Attached to: Movie Review: <em>Ender's Game</em>

No problem -- Tolkien wrote these a long time ago, so all Jackson has to do is wait a few more years until the copyright lapses and they become public domain, then he can... oh, right.

First he's got to get past Disney lugging another shipping container full of money to Congress to further extend the Mickey Mouse Perpetual Protection Act... err... copyright duration.

Comment: Re:God forbid someone proposes something useful (Score 1) 603

by srmalloy (#45329093) Attached to: TSA Union Calls For Armed Guards At Every Checkpoint

Aren't all spellings "made up"? All languages evolve; English more than most. Certainly the English you speak today is markedly different from the English spoken a few hundred years ago. Go back just a bit further and the English spoken then would be nearly incomprehensible by you and me.

"Ye knowe ek that in forme of speeche is chaunge
Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh hem, and yet thei spake hem so,
And spedde as wel in love as men now do;
Ek for to wynnen love in sondry ages,
In sondry londes, sondry ben usages."

-- Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Cressida

("You know also that in (the) form of speech (there) is change
Within a thousand years, and words then
That had value, now wonderfully curious and strange
(To) us they seem, and yet they spoke them so,
And succeeded as well in love as men now do;
Also to win love in sundry ages,
In sundry lands, (there) are many usages."
-- Translation by Roger Lass in "Phonology and Morphology." A History of the English Language, edited by Richard M. Hogg and David Denison. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008)

Comment: Re:This is why I'm keeping my truck for forever (Score 4, Insightful) 658

by srmalloy (#45204665) Attached to: Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile

Actually, if you are working off the premise that gasoline taxes go towards maintenance of the roads, to offset the damage caused by those vehicles, then there should be no taxes on gasoline.

Leaving aside issues of axle weight and the wear on the road infrastructure, every time I take my car in for its smog check, the mileage is recorded along with the VIN and engine number. That happens every other year, and averaging that distance across the interval since the last smog check would give an average miles per day, which produces an annual miles-driven value for a per-mile tax without any ability to track the location of the vehicle. And for the inevitable 'but this doesn't account for the car being driven out of state' objections, neither does the proposed mileage meters; you can't tell where the car is being driven without being able to track where the car is. And this data is already being collected; there is no additional recordkeeping involved.

Comment: Re:How I see it... (Score 5, Insightful) 1144

by srmalloy (#45055035) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

Now, the House is passing smaller, targeted spending bills that make the things this guy s talking about unnecessary.

Oh, yes; the Democrats should agree to doing it this way so that they can lose the fight over the Affordable Care Act without a chance to preserve it. If they let the House pass bills that fund the government on a program-by-program basis, then the House Republicans will slowly work their way through bills that fund every government program except the Affordable Care Act. And by the time this happens, the Democrats will have already conceded on every other funding issue, so they'll have nothing to use to bargain with the Republicans to preserve the President's signature program, and the Democrats will have allowed the Republicans to kill the Affordable Care Act by inches. And the last few funding bills will be over clearly niggling-cost but high-visibility programs, so that if the Democrats try to get up on their high horse and demand funding for the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans can point at them and laugh at how they're willing to hold up these minor programs in order to get this much bigger program funded, making them look ridiculous. The Democrats can't concede on an a la carte funding process.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.