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Comment: Re:Could be a good idea.. (Score 3, Insightful) 99

One of my favourite interview questions is "What's your favourite data structure, and why?", and when they answer, I ask "How would you implement it?"


Data structures are tools. I don't really have affection for any particular one. It depends on what I need them for.

And does the job require implementing one (assuming you are using that word the way I think that you are)? Or does it involve using them, in service of business goals?

Comment: Re: Niche energy (Score 1) 87

by dj245 (#48471043) Attached to: WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator
Wow that is a ridiculous argument. Ships used wind energy because that was the easiest thing to use with the technology available 3000 years ago (or whenever the first guy to hang a sheet on a boat did so). Harvesting wave energy using ancient technology would have required ridiculous clockwork mechanisms, which would have been extremely expensive for the day, difficult to repair at sea, and probably not reliable either. A piece of cloth attached to 1 or more sticks is far superior in all these practical concerns, and is far more obvious and practical.

Comment: Re: Money how? (Score 1) 118

by dj245 (#48470943) Attached to: BlackBerry Will Buy Your iPhone For $550
Well, my question would be what are they doing with all the phones they get? If they are being destroyed, it's exactly like flushing money down the toilet. If they are being resold (through a 3rd party obviously) then those phones are still on the market and working against the very marketshare they are trying to buy.

Comment: Re:8X cost increase up front (Score 1) 495

by dj245 (#48469321) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

No - it's not even a question. Bury the lines and you will remove a large number of causes for power outages.

Quote correct. Thing is someone has to pay for the upfront cost of burying the cables and it is much more expensive. Where I live stringing wires on poles costs in rough numbers something like $1 per linear foot. Burying the cable costs about $8 per linear foot. (this is semi-reliable info from family who worked in the business and would know) Getting the funds to do any sort of meaningful program of burying wires would likely involve a rate increase which tends to be as popular as a lead filled life preserver.

In the long run buried lines will save money - even if you are in an area where the ground is filled with rocks.

That isn't so clear in a lot of places. Repairs on above ground wires are more common but cheaper when they occur. Roll a truck, look up and get busy. Repairs on buried cable is just the opposite. Even finding the problem is harder and many repairs involve a lot of digging. There are places near where I live (semi-rural 20 miles from a major metro area) where it might make economic sense to bury the cable but also quite a few where it most likely doesn't. You can do a LOT of repairs before you even break even on the buried cable despite its general higher reliability. Plus you are replacing infrastructure that already exists and lots of it so any sort of economically rational replacement program would take decades. Every place that truly needs reliable power has a backup generator anyway so it's not like you are gaining much in practical terms by burying the cables for quite a few customers.

Don't get me wrong, I think a lot more cables should be buried than currently are but it's not as simple an equation as buried = more reliable = cheaper.

All good points, and here is another small one-
The line carrying capacity of a cable on a pole is higher than the capacity of a cable in the ground (according to the codes). So if you decide to bury a power cable, often a larger cable is needed for the same capacity.

Comment: Re:Good for them. (Score 1) 17

by Sycraft-fu (#48464831) Attached to: Samsung Shows 'Eye Mouse' For People With Disabilities

Also sounds like it may be much cheaper, which would be nice. I have repetitive strain injury from computer use and while it is manageable, I'd like a way to be able to not use the mouse when possible. An eye mouse would work well, but they are too much money. However this sounds like it might be in the range of something I could afford, and use as alternate input.

Comment: It sounds like some of them changed testimony (Score 1) 1087

by Sycraft-fu (#48454935) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Now why they changed I dunno, but that can change things. Also there was supposedly physical evidence that contradicted witness statements.

However if you are interested, it sounds like the unusual step of opening up the grand jury records will be taken in this case. So, keep up with it and read the transcript when it is available, and then see what you conclude.

Comment: Re: Education versus racism (Score 4, Insightful) 474

by Loki_1929 (#48451001) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

As some others have said in more colorful ways, being a good cop means doing everything you can under the law to get bad cops off the street. Bad cops doesn't just mean those taking bribes, planting evidence, etc. Bad cops includes police officers who unnecessarily approach situations with undue aggression and who unnecessarily escalate situations. I understand that much of an officer's interactions are either with people who aren't at their best or are with people who are just pain rotten to the core, but if that drives them into a pattern of cynicism and aggression not warranted by the situation, they can either self-report and get behind a desk and get counseling until their head gets back to a better place or they're bad cops.

I'm a law-abiding citizen. Minus some exceeding the posted speed limit here and there, I'm not causing trouble. I also happen to work late quite a bit, which has led to numerous interactions with the police. Nearly all of those have been completely reasonable where everyone was decent and the situation was handled without any issue (usually just a "why are you here at [late time]?" followed up with a reasonable explanation, maybe running plates, in and out in 3 minutes kind of thing). In a very small number of cases, I was met by an adrenaline-pumped idiot who was very obviously itching to rip me out of the car and beat the Hell out of me. I've been berated and goaded by a cop who was doing everything he could to escalate the situation to where he could take stronger action. As I said, it's a very tiny number of issues out of all the times I've had contact with officers and I've always kept my cool and been in the right to the point where it didn't turn into anything. But all it would take is one of those adrenaline-pumped alpha assholes deciding I looked at him wrong and but for a camera recording the incident, he could very easily write up the report such that I was the aggressor and was threatening toward him and resisted arrest, thereby justifying any injuries. With that report and the word of the sworn officer, I end up with a criminal record and losing everything I've earned in life.

And that's why it doesn't matter if there are 99 good cops for every one bad cop. Because that one bad cop can ruin so many peoples' lives. We as citizens are second-class when we file a report or step into a court room trying to stop a bad cop doing bad stuff. What's really needed are for all those cops who are decent people to start standing up against the ones who aren't, start calling them on their bullshit, start reporting them at work, and start testifying on behalf of people who are wronged by them. I understand that that hyper-aggressive adrenaline junky alpha asshole is great to have by your side when you're under fire, but you have a duty and a responsibility to either see that he gets right in the head or see that he finds a new profession where he doesn't have any legal authority. The more you protect assholes like that, the more of them you'll find around you and the more the citizens in your community will distrust and even hate the police.

I support the good cops out there trying to help good and decent people and do the right thing. As for the bad cops out for a thrill? Well at the very very least, I want them off the streets and getting help. Stop protecting them. Stop protecting people who protect them.

Comment: Re:I'm confused (Score 1) 281

At least the editors, who are surely knowledgeable enough about technology to have a basic grasp on what a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell is, likely from growing up reading about the Space Shuttle and thinking decades ahead about how cool it will be to power everything with such an amazing device, were able to catch this absurd inaccuracy and correct it before publishing this idiotic submission. mean to tell me that it was only all of the readers of Slashdot who caught that, not the editors? How did that happen?

Comment: No it isn't that we won't (Score 1) 444

But that we are so far from any kind of AI that worrying about what form it might take is stupid. Yes, there are lots of things that might happen in the far future. Until they are closer, worrying about them is silly. There have been stories from people who are all paranoid about AI and think we need to start making with the rules. No we don't, we are so far away we don't even know how far away we are. We also have no idea what form it'll take. May turn out that self awareness is a uniquely biological trait and we never make computers that are truly strong AI.

Also if you are betting your life (regardless of if this means an actual bet, singular investment of all assets, etc) on something far off, you are a moron. You have no idea when a technology will happen, if it'll even be possible, and if it is if it'll even be marketable. Want a great example? SED, surface-conduction electron-emitter display. Reasonably chance you've never even heard of it. Was a new tech from Canon, basically a flat, large, hig rez take on CRT. Offered extremely high refresh rates (and thus low blur) great contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, etc. Very exciting display technology lots of people looked forward to as an LCD alternative. Wouldn't displace LCD, but would be a better technology for many uses. It was real too, actual working sets were shown at CES in 2006.

What happened? Well as a result of litigation, the financial downturn, and the general market, they decided to pack it in and stop development. They shut down and liquidated that division in 2010, and there's been no further development. So despite it being real and doable, it didn't happen and almost certainly never will happen.

Now compare that to the concept of strong AI, which we have no idea if it even can exist, if it does what form it will take, and if so what technology will be required. Maybe not the best thing to be betting the farm on.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.