Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment I'm going for the Pi... (Score 4, Informative) 99

Because it can EASILY be integrated into a project that needs very thin and small space used. No I am not interested in desoldering the headers. Plus the built in storage is useless. I would rather swap out a microsd card to update a system than upload changes to it.

And nobody sane believes the advertised prices.

Comment Re:Hydro = from the sun (Score 1) 172

Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective

The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.

Comment Consumer ignorance (Score 1) 470

It's beyond me in this day and age of ubiquitous information available at one's fingertips that anyone can walk into a dealership and NOT know what they want to buy (or at least have it narrowed down to one or two models and/or trim levels). You should do all your research BEFORE going to the dealership. The only point of going to the dealership should be to actually drive the car and confirm or refute what you already know about it.

Dealerships HATE informed customers because it basically removes the need for a salesperson. I don't WANT some smelly guy in a bad suit trying to tell me what I want. I already KNOW what I want. The only reason I'm even there is because I can't order one from the factory directly. I have my financing worked out with my credit union before I set foot in his doorway. The salesperson's total interaction with me ought to be "Here is a filled-out build sheet for the car I want along with all options I would like. Here is the price I'm willing to pay which ensures a modest profit for you and your dealership. I will not negotiate one penny above and beyond that, nor do I want to be sold on additional options or extras I have not already specified. Please locate the car in your database. If you have one on the lot that matches it, I'll take it today. If not, please have it delivered here and let me know when it arrives. Thank you. Goodbye."

Why in the hell can't we just ORDER these things from the factory??? Oh, dealerships have local politicians blocking that sort of thing. Land of the free, home of the brave-but-not-so-brave-that-we-want-actual-competition.

Comment The True Problem With Commercial Space (Score 1) 345

As the person credited for the first law commercializing space launch services (credited by the law's sponsor, Ron Packard during his introduction of my Congressional testimony on space commercialization) there truly _is_ a problem with privatized space and it is a capital market failure.

This capital market failure systemically suppresses technology investment and it derives from something that should be obvious to anyone in venture finance:

Economic activity is taxed rather than liquidation value of net assets.

A venture financier, or angle, or anyone else who takes dollars out of a bank account and puts it into a high risk venture, is rendering their capital illiquid. If you cease taxing economic activity (income, capital gains, sales, value added, inheritance, gifts, etc.) and instead tax only the liquidation value of net assets, for all practical purposes high risk investments cease being taxed.

This is why, the year after I testified before Congress on the initial legislative direction for companies like SpaceX, I wrote a white paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" wherein I proposed a shift away from centralized government provision of technology development and, at the same time, a shift away from politically biased government delivery of social goods (ie: the welfare state), by taxing net assets at the rate of interest on the national debt and distributing tax revenues as an unconditional citizen's dividend. Later I clarified the assessment mechanism to be liquidation value as well as some of the further aspects of government to be privatized.

Its obvious why so-called "liberals" don't want this since by-passing the welfare state without regard to any politically defined criteria other than citizenship, it would gut their political base.

Conservatives, in particular neo-libertarians of the Austrian School, on the other hand, have much to answer for here. A net asset tax, so assessed, is a big step toward the anarchocapitalism of the American school of libertarian thought exemplified by Lysander Spooner in his definition of "legitimate government" as "a mutual insurance company". Protecting property rights is according to the American school of libertarian philosophy (as contrasted with the Austrian school), the primary role of government and it is entirely legitimate to charge for that service just as it is legitimate for a property insurance company to charge a premium that is approximately proportional to the value of the property being underwritten. Moreover, it is entirely legitimate for any company to pay dividends and a mutual company would pay dividends to its members -- members who, quite reasonably, could be called on for service in times of emergency such as war and could, therefore, quite reasonably be assigned one share and exactly one share each.

Indeed, I view it as a moral responsibility for men like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg -- particularly as beneficiaries of network externalities aka network effects that could not exist in the absence of government protection of those monopolistic property rights -- to at the very least lend their vocal, if not material, support to such a capital reform.

It would be smart for risk investors like Elon Musk to do so.

Comment Seems unlikely (Score 1) 148

Because, for every person like you, there are 10 that would just say "Speaker not work. Must buy new speaker."

Perhaps they would say that, but why on earth would they then buy a speaker from a manufacturer who had screwed them over like that?

In fact if a manufacturer did that to me, I'd tell friends not to buy that brand, and be inclined to tell future generations not to do so also. To this day I don't buy Sony audio equipment because of bad experiences in college.

So I hardly think it likely they would produce something crappy in this way on purpose.

Comment Apps on TV will be huge, but mainly linked (Score 1) 232

Apps as a new way to stream on TV is not that interesting and will not really do anything much to increase traditional TV watching.

What will be much larger is the potential for apps on TV to add lots of context around what we are watching, which will mostly occur by linking mobile apps to TV apps driving the display. Then you can have more of a shared experience, or direct feedback related to the video which the video producer could also use live...

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.