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Comment: Re:Solar Panels (Score 1) 250

by vivian (#48329699) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

The gravitational potential energy in a ton of water - a cubic meter (ie. 1000 litres) elevated 3 meters, the typical 1 storey roof height, is about 8.1 watt hours. you would need a 1200000 litre tank to store the typical household load of 20 kWh., even assuming 100% efficiency in energy conversion to electricity.

Comment: Re:Six Missoins Each (Score -1) 188

I think that while it is iportant that the greatest nation on earth should have it['s own spaceflight capacity, it really just isn't worth the return on investment for Australia - we are better off spending the money on bbq's and beer.

Good idea for the US though.

Comment: Re:Asian-only team? (Score 5, Insightful) 90

by vivian (#47915563) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

One of the things that makes US reasearch strong is the ability of it's universities to attract te best and brightest from all around the world. This is nothing new - it has always been thus - though perhals this is incresingly so as the state of secondary education seems to be in decline compared to opter parts of the world.

When researchers stop coming to the US, the state of
research there will go into rapid decline.The US isn't alone though - it's the same story in Australia too.

Given the already established centres for excellence in the US, it's a favoured destination for smart and motivated people from India and Asia, as well as other parts of the world to further their education and opportunities.

Half the world's population is Asian or India/Bangadesh/Pakistan, so naturally you are going to see many from those regions. Be glad for it - or they would be busy innovationg wherever they came from instead of the US.

Comment: Re:Another huge battery market, Robots (Score 1) 245

by vivian (#47803217) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Wy not just have a simple "remote control" type bot and offload al the computing power via wifi? Systems like ROS easily support having your expensive processing nodes running remotely, and you can even run ROS on a very low powered raspberry PI for on-bot computing for your drive controllers.

Running GPUs is certainly going to eat your power fast, so all image processing, planing, task scheduling and control should be offloaded to a mains powered computer or an off-bot stationary computer powered by solar panels for something like an agri-bot.

Comment: Re:Rupert Murdoch Streisand (Score 2) 132

Shrimp and prawns are infact two different and distinct beasties, though easily confused, because they look superficially similar.
This handy guude might help:

Since the adds were run in the US, where shrimp was the delicious type of crustaceon ready to throw onto afore mentioned cooking surface, that was the right word to use.
No doubt, when back here in his native Oz, Hoges reverts back to the more locally appropriate 'prawn' nomenclature.

Comment: Re:3 laws deleted (Score 1) 180

by vivian (#46987925) Attached to: UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

As a software engineer that daily works on developing robot control software and algorithms for industrial robots, (yes, I love my job) I can assure you that we are very far indeed from even having robots that know they are scratching their own arses, let alone having anything like the reasoning capacity embodied in the three laws.
Robots of today are dumb - sure, there are clever planning algorithms that make them flexible enough to work in a relatively predictable dynamic environment, but we are no where near the point of having robots implement the first law.
As for the second law - wel computers (and by extension robots) are infamous for doing exactly what they are instructed - even if the result is garbage. Part two of that law is problematic given we can't really do part 1.
For the third law, actually that's almost the oppsite of what we try to achieve - we try our hardest to make sure that the robot will flat out refuse to do something that will harm it, even if told to do so by a human. if the robot gets given an instruction to start plasma cutting it's tracks or the cabinet containing it's drive controllers, it damn well better ignore that order. At bese, we can do collision avoidance of stuff in the environment to prevent harm, but I don't see us any time soon have them having behaviour programmed in to ufulfil the 'inaction" clause - for example, rush over and stop me cutting myself on broken glass, or recognising I am in danger from a falling beam and catching it (or even beeping a warning) , or something like that.

Comment: Re:We know why true net neutrality cannot happen (Score 1) 282

The problem with this math is that if as per your example, there is a total fixed capacity of100Mbit, @$1000 per month, and that is shared between 10 customers as 'up to 100Mbit,' then by definition, they can not all get 100Mbit 'most of the time' - infact, they can each only get 100mbit 10% of the time, and nothing at other times, or something similar. Statistically, they will each on average get 10Mbit , (possibly up to 100Mbit, but sometimes mabey only 1 Mbit) so it should be marketed as something like 100Mbit/10 to indicate it's 100 Mbit maximum speed, shared between 10 customers.

Comment: Re:Jiji press? (Score 3, Insightful) 283

I think perhaps when we get down to the last billion or so people we can start talking about extinction then. In the meantime, what we really need to do is figure how to build an economy that does not depend on perpetual growth forever - which in turn depends on an ever growing population and ever increasing resource availability.
We need to be able to reach a stable equilibrium, or at least a dynamically stable system where the highs and lows are not too great.
Part of that is keeping people employable past the age of 65, if we want to enjoy longer lives, and not declaring anyone over 50 as unemployable.

Comment: Re:Memories do decay (Score 1) 426

by vivian (#46953947) Attached to: Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

That happened to me once after a particularly boozy sayonara party (I was in Japan) with a system password for a remote machine I only had to access every now and then.
About a week later when I was a bit foggy and hung over again from another occasion, I just sat down and logged into it "automatically" with my fingers typing the password without me really thinking about it. As soon as I realised what I had done I then re-played in my mind what I had just typed to see what the password was.
Solution: Go and have a good night out then then try and log in first thing in the morning without thinking about it too much.

Comment: Re:What are these shiny discs you speak of? (Score 1) 250

by vivian (#46481401) Attached to: Sony & Panasonic Next-Gen Optical Discs Moving Forward

In the case of optical drives, it is certainly not a one time cost. I hate to think how much I have spent on various CD and DVD drives over the years - at an average $40 a pop, which get only used half a dozen times or so, to burn the occasional bit of data or watch a few movies. I think since the 80's, I have averaged at least one or two per year - and am currently now the owner of none that actually work (though I have a small stack of devices I keep telling myself I am going to harvest the lasers out of one of these days)

I look forward to a future when this abomination of a mechanical-opto-electrical data storage device dies forever and is replaced with solid state technology.

Comment: Re:This is what Thatcher was good at (Score 1) 712

I don't get it. you are saying they are doing a terrible job of managing their wealth when they are still ahead of their national debt - yet just about every other western country is in massive debit?

Last I heard, the US clock has something like 17 trillion dollars debit - that's zeroes on it I don't even know what to call it - but it's about 58000 per person in the US (based on about 300 million pop.)
My country is doing it's damnedest to imitate that too, but we still have a ways to go before we rack up that much debit per person.

I'd say compared to that, Norway's looking pretty good! - they still rank in the top 10 of the best places in the world to live. (actually #1 on the list I saw)

Comment: Re:bad engineering? (Score 2) 526

by vivian (#46204885) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

No, the problem is with the design.
A recording of a triangle wave or square wave from a synthesizer at max volume would cause it the same problems. If the speaker really is so crappy as to not be able to handle these transients, all they need to do is add a small 20 cent capacitor to filter out the very high frequency components in parallel with the signal somewhere - either at the output or input. That will reduce the sound quality, but then it's a laptop speaker so sound quality already sucks pretty hard, and convenience and portability is obviously the listeners priority rather than sound fidelity.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.