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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 823

by xfade551 (#48878177) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret
I drive a vehicle with a modern V-8 Hemi. It's incredibly quiet, except when I really stomp on the gas, and even then it's not that loud. I suppose I could swap the exhaust for Magnaflows or something, but it's kind of fun having a sleeper vehicle, especially when a couple tricked out Hondas pull up on you on the freeway when you're already doing 70mph at merely 1600 rpm.

Comment: Re:parachute (Score 1) 248

by xfade551 (#48834473) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released
The shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters always had a bunch of salt water damage that had to be cleaned up and refurbished before being reused, and that refurbishment process costs only slightly less than manufacturing from scratch. The Falcon 9 is a liquid fuel rocket, so that same saltwater has even more things it can damage like pipes and pumps. SpaceX is trying to avoid any major saltwater clean-up, yet still have a place to put the rocket down that's unlikely to hurt anyone when the landing still fails every so often: "Oops, I guess that part was only good for 6 landings, not 7", "Crap, the forecast was wrong! The rocket is now incoming and we got high winds", etc.

Comment: Re:Jury of your peers (Score 1) 303

That you have a right to a "Jury of your peers" is a misunderstanding; it is nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. That concept was a British common law one, established by the Magna Carta, wherein nobles would be tried with a jury composed of nobles, and commoners with a jury of commoners. Since titles of nobility, etc. are blocked by U.S. Constitution, that means everyone is a "commoner", so everyone is your peer.

However, if I ever found myself being prosecuted, I would certainly much rather the jurors be composed largely of engineers and similar professions, but those tend to get booted during jury selection (lawyers don't like people who can see through their bullshit).

Comment: Re:Summary video (Score 1) 319

by xfade551 (#48769205) Attached to: How Close Are We To Engineering the Climate?

The deep ocean, where the clathrates are (because methane requires high pressure to hydrate in the midst of liquid water) really doesn't have much variation in temperature. Water, salt water included, is at it's densest at just a few degrees above it's freezing point, so you get an approximately constant temperature at the bottom (neglecting thermal vents and thin areas of crust, and the like). Tectonic/volcanic events are much more likely to release the stuff, and we don't have much control over that (okay, there is some debate about oil fracking, but that is land-based).

With respect to the "exponential system", the old "hockey stick" graph has been repeatedly shown to be false. Not to say there is no warming going on, but whether it's linear, exponential, or cyclic has yet to be proven. I'm more inclined to lean "cyclic" as there have been multiple ice ages and warming periods. Anyone know of any studies that have run Fourier Analysis/FFTs on climate data?

Comment: Publicity stunt (Score 2) 220

by xfade551 (#48767913) Attached to: EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS
They sat down at a meeting, Junior PR Guy: "We should make some mobile apps!"
Senior Manager: "That's a great idea!"
Principle Lobbyist: "Apple's TOS sucks, we can't do that!"
Senior PR Guy: "Wait, wait... we can use this. We'll do the Android app, then make a public complaint that we can't release the iOS app because of Apple's TOS. But we don't actually have to build the iOS app."
Senior Manager: "I approve, go for it!"

Comment: Thermodynamics (Score 1) 325

by xfade551 (#48766229) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?
A laptop is a hard thermodynamic environment. There's not much space to move air around, so with the low volumetric air flow rate, you get lower heat exhaust, so the internals tend to get hot. The hotter the components get, and the more often they stay that way, the more likely you are to get failures due to heat fatigue, which is pretty much inevitable with any laptop. If portability is required, you are pretty much stuck dealing with the issue, otherwise get yourselves some desktops (if still necessary, you can add water- or cryo- cooling to a desktop).

Comment: Re:What about "The Day After Roswell" book? (Score 1) 197

by xfade551 (#48699607) Attached to: CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us'
Do you realize that 200 years ago was still 10 years after the first railway journey, 21 years after the first untethered flight of a hot air balloon, that weaponized rockets were in common use by British armed forces and others (later inspiring Jules Verne to write science fiction about going to the moon), and that early versions of electrical telegraphs were in testing?

Comment: Re:Macs Don't Seem To Handle Heat Well (Score 1) 304

by xfade551 (#48698993) Attached to: Putting a MacBook Pro In the Oven To Fix It
I had a Radeon card fry in a PowerMac G5 (1st gen) several years back... at first I thought I had an electrical fire in my house. I'm pretty sure in that case it was the fan on the card that failed, as by the time I extracted it, the heat sink had warped and peeled halfway off the GPU chip. I ended up putting the OEM card back in, and donating the machine to my church, where it is still going strong to this day.

Comment: Re:Hope they win this case. (Score 1) 484

by xfade551 (#48635021) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Maybe because white guys arent pointing the long guns at cops.

Mostly true, but more true is that when a white (or any race) guy with a gun points said gun at the cops and gets shot by the cops, other white guys with guns usually say, "Dumbass! What the hell was he thinking would happen!?! Better nominate him for a Darwin Award!"

This is neglecting now too frequent edge cases like "cops get warrant for wrong house, homeowner dies in ensuing firefight" or "child with obvious fake gun gets shot by police"

Comment: Re:Dry Counties? (Score 1) 484

by xfade551 (#48634867) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

"I don't care if you go to Colorado and smoke pot, but it's still illegal here and if I catch you with it, I have to arrest you." Law enforcement officers I know are mixed on whether they think pot is okay or not, but they all agree that if you're caught with it, they can't just let you go.

But the police have argued all the way to the Supreme Court that "discretion" is a right of the cops, and they are *never* required to enforce any law.

I'm pretty sure the GP was speaking with officers working the beat, not the city police chief, county sheriff, or prosecutor, in whom that full discretion actually lies. "Don't let marijuana violators go, or else you lose your job" is pretty strong motivation to enforce.

Comment: Re:Not solid state... (Score 3, Informative) 81

by xfade551 (#48283483) Attached to: Integrated Circuit Amplifier Breaches Terahertz Barrier
There are two articles linked. The first article is about a new integrated circuit amp. The second is about a year old and is about a separate vacuum tube amp. The first article mentions that the new IC amp broke the record of the earlier vacuum tube amp. So, for once, the summary is correct.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe