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Comment Re:Not much of a change (Score 4, Interesting) 64

Because it's apt. As much as people like to paint the Chinese government as a cartoon evil, for the most part they're more of a fumbling, incomprehensible bureaucracy, just like every other government. I've watched people at my company deal with the same kind of stuff, trying to meet government requirements for online software, and the distinct impression I got was of jumping through arbitrary hoops.

The Chinese government is still doing some scary things, but it's not like 30 years ago, that's for sure.

Comment Re:i don't know about radio, but i find (Score 1) 298

But if the light were being converted to food energy that efficiently, wouldn't the plant necessarily grow faster? If it didn't end up bigger, it would have to be burning the sugar and turning the energy back into heat...? <head explode>

(I suspect the real reason is the "600W" LED lights are actually "equivalent in brightness to 600W incandescent grow lights" that draw 100W.)

Comment Re:I've always really liked that idea (Score 1) 584

If I don't replace my sparking electrical wiring, the insurance co will buy me a new house when it burns down.

Right, of course they'll try to prove you negligent so they can not pay out.

The problem is you can't use the same procedure in health care because (a) you need to use every incentive to get people to go to the doctor because they just plain don't like going and (b) it's inhumane; you shouldn't refuse to pay for a lifesaving amputation just because they might have been okay if they'd got that skin infection checked a week sooner. And really, (c) it's a cost-benefit people can't really be trusted to make correctly anyway.

Comment Re:Big fucking deal. (Score 1) 402

It doesn't matter what the personal motivations of the PhD are, what matters is that they're going to publish data and we'll all indirectly benefit. The yahoos aren't going to publish; therefore, the greater good is served by giving the PhDs priority access.

It's simple fucking common sense! And letting someone who has a job to do do it is common courtesy. Would you be happy if people were driving the delivery routes of UPS trucks and slowing them down? What if it was your package in the back of the truck, and you knew it was going to come a day late and $5 more expensive because a bunch of dicks thought tracing that route was a grand time?

I'm not saying we should outlaw getting in the way of a data collection truck, but the people doing it are still kinda dicks.

Comment Re:248 mile range? Big deal. (Score 1) 192

Yes, until you actually apply the brakes, or use engine braking, at which point you're wasting the energy you accumulated as potential energy and turning it into heat. So, of course the spread will depend a lot on how steep the hills are, how many of them there are, how much energy you can recover from regenerative braking, and how the efficiencies of your gas and electric motors change under heavy load vs. light load.

I've never driven to Alaska, if the roads up and down this pass are relatively flat it may make no difference. If they're quite steep, they might not be able to recover enough energy with their regenerative braking and they might not make it to the next town anyway, even though they're doing better than the gas car. If you're going to look at the problem holistically, you have to care about road conditions and temperature, too.

I just think it's cool they're trying. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Comment Re:248 mile range? Big deal. (Score 3, Informative) 192

248 miles is measured using the EPA test, which includes a lot of braking. On open highway alone, they'll do better. Besides, they might not get wonderful mileage in a pass, but with regenerative braking on the downhills, they won't be as affected by it as a gas powered car.

I just drove through the rockies in a second-gen Prius, and the regenerative braking seemed to do a pretty good job of smoothing out the consumption: I'd get worse consumption on the uphill and better on the downhill, and it seemed to average out to just the same as what I got on the flat; within 10% if you believe the meter in the car.

Comment Legal questions should be answered by a lawyer (Score 4, Informative) 504

This is a question that can only really be answered by a lawyer familiar with your circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction. For example, by default, in Canada, if you're hired as a contractor to produce a work, you retain the copyright on that work (or so I was taught in my 100-level Business Law class). However, I don't believe this is true in the US. It's also not true in either country if you're hired as a salaried employee.

But really, plenty of other people will be offering legal advice, and the reality is that this matter won't go to court because it's not worth the time or money for you or the university. You can get a lawyer's opinion that you're in the clear to release your work, but even that's only so helpful to you -- if you threaten or bully your employer, that may just set them against you. (On the other hand, it may be just the thing! Maybe they need to see that you won't be pushed around. Different people respond to different tactics.)

The most elegant solution to your problem is politics. Convince your boss's boss and your boss's respected colleagues that your work would be better off shared -- people's opinions are ultimately derived from the opinions of the people they respect. You've made good use of an open-source base, right? Make sure they understand that there's value in tapping into that community. Allay their fears. Show them the positive side. Get people on your side.

If you can swing this right, it won't matter what the legalities are because the one of the university's officers will sign a waiver disclaiming interest in the code and you'll be in the clear for sure -- and your boss will be pleased at having done something good.

Sure, you should have got the signature before you started working; then you wouldn't have to spend cycles on this problem. Still, it may be fixable.

And if that doesn't work, just remember: the implementation is twice as good and ten times as quick to write when you've done it once before!

Comment Re:Not counterintutive for anybody who is, well... (Score 1) 149

This is actually still the way it works for many higher-value items. It's not always the manufacturer that offers the information, but sites like PowerBook Medic give disassembly instructions and sell part so you can do simple repairs yourself. Some laptop keyboards can be replaced with just a pen knife!

The components are still modular, it's just the idea of what makes a component that's changed. Now it's an entire mainboard assembly with a transistor count in the billions, rather than a single tube.

Also, I don't know if you've looked inside your large appliances recently, but my washing machine had a wiring diagram tucked inside when I opened it to get at a bad bearing. My motorcycle came with a simplified one in the owner's manual and a detailed schematic in the shop manual. For machines that are simple enough where a schematic is useful for troubleshooting and repair, schematics are actually still the norm.

Comment Re:Questionable claims (Score 1) 182

Sure, but you don't have to sue them. You just have to ask nicely, "could you please sign a license agreement?"

Unless they were asked, and they refused, or they insisted on conditions GW couldn't abide. I mean, companies don't usually jump straight to litigation without even sending a letter or making a phone call first, but that doesn't tell us about this particular case. The claim from Curse is that that's exactly what happened.

Reading the complaint does turn up some interesting information. Among other things, it asserts that the warhammeralliance.com domain was registered in 2009 using false WHOIS information, which would make this particular iteration of the site, at least, *way* younger than 5 years. A cursory check on archive.org, though, suggests that the site's been in existence at that URL since 2006.

It's hard to call, from here. It sounds like GW's being at least a little inept, but on the other hand the site doesn't disclaim a relationship with GW anywhere obvious. I could totally have believed it was the official GW Warhammer forum site if I were a little more naive than I am; the logo's obviously a little unprofessional, but otherwise...

Comment Re:Not true (Score 1) 973

The gunner was mistaken about the RPG. He's referring to the camera -- when he says it's pointed around the corner, that's the camera being used to photograph a Bradley. The report makes this clear, apparently they found photos on the camera whose timestamp agrees with the object being pointed around the corner.

The infantry just also happened to find an RPG round. The gunner did correctly identify the AK-47s, though, which is better than I did on my first watch through the video.

Comment Re:Did you even watch the footage? (Score 5, Insightful) 973

I dispute the "clearly shown" part, but there was definitely a guy holding something about the size and shape of an AK-47. In the ~18-minute video embedded on BoingBoing, look at the guy just above the crosshair at 3:39, and the guy left of him; those are the probable AKs that I see. Comments in the video refer to these people being near US ground forces: 4:28 in the video, "he was right in front of the Brad".

Considering the released report claims the ground troops actually found these weapons at the scene, as well as the cameras which apparently contained photos of the Bradley, the narrative that the photographers were walking around with a group of people who were intending to do violence to US forces and were near US ground forces seems at least adequately supported.

If you want to know why they weren't ducking and covering, did you see the delay between the gun firing and the hits? The bullets must have been in the air a good 2 seconds. That puts the person shooting like a kilometer away! The guys on the ground probably had no idea where the shots came from. They were too busy looking at the Bradley right next to them, and thought they were perfectly shielded.

The audio track is certainly pretty ugly, and what happened to the kids in the van is tragic -- but in context it all seems pretty understandable. Once it was decided that this war would be fought, there were bound to be tragic incidents like this.

I am, at the moment, willing to believe the government line that this was a small number of civilian casualties in the heat of battle, and I'm a lot unhappier about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. If this is what it takes to get people talking about the real issues again, fine, but I don't see that this is one of those issues. This is the cost of war. Apparently there was probably an ROE violation when they shot the van -- which is sad, and the attitude of the soldiers is ugly, but this is no My Lai massacre.

Comment Re:Lazy Fucking Slashdotters (Score 1) 351

Why do you think a rotating light won't put 10W/square meter on the wall? Those lights focus their light into a very narrow beam, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the spot they projected was in the neighbourhood of 10W/square meter. Say a 1/2 square meter patch from a 50W light at 10% efficiency?

Comment Re:So here's a radical idea... (Score 1) 518

... instead of focusing all your energies on creating fancy graphics for your latest title, why don't you try something different like making the game actually compelling and fun to play?

I guess you haven't noticed, but that's actually what's happening to the PC. That's what the article is complaining about, basically: nobody's really investing in graphics that work exclusively on the PC high end.

PC games are still a very risky market. If you're going to make a PC game (rather than a cross-platform game that also runs on the PC), you're probably not investing very much money in an expensive graphics engine or tons of art -- you're going to make a Flash game, or a tiny MMO or free-to-play game that starts small and adds content incrementally. In that arena it's far better to aim low to reduce the production costs, and to make sure everyone can actually run your game; boil the game down to its core gameplay.

The games that get big graphics budgets and engine development are cross-platform console games that sell a lot more reliably, but they're tied to yesterday's hardware.

Oh, and it doesn't help that MS ties the latest versions of DirectX to the latest version of Windows. It's super annoying to make a DX10 or DX11 game that can also run on XP, which is DX9 only. You have to make two completely independent rendering pipelines.

Comment Re:When to use "agile" methods. (Score 1) 149

Unfortunately the "always have something deliverable" part is actually one of the least useful parts of Scrum for game development, in my experience.

The concept is too vague. Any larger game has a quality bar for shipping -- there's no point if it's not at least so good. So saying "deliverable" actually ends up confusing the team; "not completely broken" is what you want to communicate, but the programmers should already be keeping the game runnable. If they weren't doing that, the designers and artists would be screaming that they can't get any work done!

I have yet to work on a game project where it wasn't implicitly understood by the programmers that unblocking the content team was top priority.

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