Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment TFA betrays Ray Henry 's ignorance of planning. (Score 5, Insightful) 258

There is no reason the design of a waste hauling train should wait until a site is identified, thus delaying the removal of the waste from many scattered temporary storage sites. The hauling design and the site identification can proced in parallel.

Indeed: The characteristics of the hauling solution may limit the selection of sites to which the waste could be hauled with acceptable levels of safety. That would argue for the design to PRECEED site selection.

Comment UUCP Mailnet (Score 1) 635

I still have several machines that interchange mail with each other and the Internet via uucp mailnet. I poll an ISP twice an hour (or use an alias to force a poll if i don't want the mail to wait.)

I even check my personal mailbox on that domain every couple months. (Every three weeks or so I get another offer to buy my domain name, which has been around since the list of machines that exchanged email fit on three typeset pages.) But you wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of spam that accumulates on an account that has been around since before the first mass mail-merge spam scripts were offerd for sale. (I think I still have a saved copy of that original piece of spam - advertising spam software.) The spammers STILL include that address in their mailing lists.

If the NSA or ISIS ever kills the connected Internet, UUCP mailnet will still work, merrily bucket-brigading email among the hadnful of machines whose mail transfer agents still interconnect by routes that don't just hand the mail off to an Internet hop.

Also: Back when we ran mailing lists over UUCP, the polling delay limited the deluge of mail when someone on the list accidentally forwarded his mail to the list. This gave us time to catch it manually and suspend the account before everybody was buried in repeated messages. B-)

Comment Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping. (Score 1) 635

vi for me, too.

Not that I have anything against emacs. But I bought my first unix computer in the 80s, and it only had two megabytes of RAM and used an early member of the 68xxx series that couldn't do demand paging to act like it had more. This was too little to compile and run emacs.

After about three years of heavy bulletin-board participation I had the vi commands "wired into my brainstem". I tried emacs several times over the years and each time discovered that certain common things I did (and still do) with vi took about twice as many keystrokes.

Once I tried using its vi emulation mode - only to discover that it (the version at the time) had TWO of them, in true emacs kitchen sink style, and each had different deltas from getting the vi commands right. With only one I might have gone on to use it, and learn the deltas, while edging into native commands. But with two, and no obvious selection, I didn't bother.

Nowadays I use vim, which is close enough. (Especially if you tell it to act like vi in a couple important places.)

Comment Re:Take 'em to small claims court. (Score 1) 355

This is going to go no where unless he can get an independent expert to certify that his measuring technique is accurate.

We're talking small claims court here (where proceures are much more relaxed due to the small amount of the dispute) and civil procedure (where the standard of proof is "preponderance of evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt".

Also: A suitable expert shouldn't be THAT hard to find, and (with open source and things like the Raspbery Pi and Beagle Bone available for platforms), independently engineering a meter to check the first one should be quick work - and something a customer of another ISP might want to do, as well.

Heh. Once it's done it could be published open-source, bringing the tool into the hands of the technically-literate masses. A couple thousand small claims cases a month might be more effective than a class action suit for getting their act cleaned up.

Comment Re:That almost happened a while back. (Score 1) 141

A pitty, thugh. By the time this was discovered I had done an outline for a five-volume fiction cycle, working through at least four genres, based on the sun going "putt" from time to time. B-b

The Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi novel "The Songs Of Distant Earth" (1986) used the Case Of The Missing Neutrinos as the opening premise [followed by "the sun is about to nova" and humanity having] a few hundred years to develop interstellar-travel technology before the Sun went nova. 'Twas a good story.

Indeed it was.

In mine, though, there was nothing wrong with the sun at all. It's just that the high neutrino flux makes other physical phenomena more apparent and (by book three) usable at a practical level. FTL interstellar travel IS developed by the fifth book (when things are fully sorted out), which is in hard science fiction space-opera form.

Of course, by that time "magic" is hard science (though its engineering is more like animal husbandry), religion has merged with psychology, and one of the crew members (or is he the FTL engine?) is (and must be) a literal god. (For the engineering crew chief think "Scotty in Druidic Robes"...) Using a god plus a nuclear reactor for the engine leads to complications (but not the ones you're probably thinking of right now).

No, not like Clarke's story at all. More like Keith Laumer collaborates with Larry Niven. B-)

Comment Take 'em to small claims court. (Score 1) 355

Take them to small claims court.

Ask for the difference between the billing tier your meter says you should be in and the one they charged you for. Dump your data in a reasonably clear format and show and explain it to the judge. Be prepared to swear that it is correct.

If they overcharge you next month, do it again.

Keep it up until they fix the meter so the agreement is close enough for you to be happy with it (or until the judge gets tired of it and issues an order - either to you or them - to make the cases stop.) It's not barratry - no matter how vexing to the utility - if the suits are legitimate, with real grounds asking for restitution for real damages, nor if the the suits are repeated because there are new instances of the tort.

First time through, ask for all the months for which you have data that shows overcharging. (If you can demonstrate a rule for the systematic overcharging, ask for the overcharges back to the instalation of the system, but be prepared for the judge to reject that.) Up to the small claims price and time limits, of course.

Be polite to the judge. Assume he's smart enough to understand this if you explain it clearly. (Judges don't get to be judges without being smart and good at figuring these things out.)

Comment That almost happened a while back. (Score 2) 141

The other interesting result would be if the expected neutrino type was not detected by this experiment, invalidating the hypothesis. This would raise further questions such as: is there some other mechanism powering the Sun? Is there something deficient in our understanding of neutrinos that prevented us from detecting them despite them being there?

That almost happened, in the early days of neutrino dectection - before things like old mines full of purified water and 3-D arrays of photodetectors running for months at a time, and you could count the number of detected neutrinos on two hands (in bi-quinary so you could go a bit higher than ten). This was when the detectors could only detect the type of neutrino directly generated by fusion reactions, and before the discovery of neutrino oscillation, when it wasn't yet clear whether neutrinos had no, or very very little, rest mass.

Early numbers, and their error bounds, made it clear that there weren't enough neutrinos being detected. (This was known for years as the "missing neutrino problem".) But the earliest ones WERE about right for a situation where all the stars EXCEPT the sun were running by fusion and the sun was out.

That may sound odd. But there was a very cute explanation that made it plausible:

The gradual gravitatonal collapse of the sun, as heat is radiated away, could power it for millenia. It's nowhere near enough to power it long enough to explain the fossil record, but it IS enough to have kept it running for historic time. Meanwhile, if a fusion reaction were to start up near the center of such a ball of collapsing gas, it would also take many years for the heat to make it to the surface. Neutrinos (which go through the sun like marbles through a light mist) are about the only signature of what's going on in there NOW.

But suppose, instead of fusing continuously, stars were reciprocating engines. They might run without fusion for centuries, or millenia, until they were compressed enough to "light up" at the center. Then the fusion heat and reaction products might make the reaction ramp up. They'd burn for a little while (which would heat them up and expand them mabye a few inches), until the decreased density and/or reduction in fuel and/or accumulation of reaction products "put the fire out" again. Repeat for the life of the star.

In this scenario, if our sun happened to be between "putts (and the very nearest stars didn't happen to have an unusual distribution of where they were in their cycles), you'd see the same neutrio flux from the rest of the sky as if all the rest of the stars were running continuous fusion. That's because it's the average of stars that are "on" and "off", and comes out to the same amount of total fusion and neutrinos.

Of course later data, both larger samples and detectors that could "see" the other neutrino types, put the kibosh on that model. A big part of it was the discovery of neutrino oscillations, allowing a stream of neutrinos that started out as one type in the sun to arrive as a mix of the three types. (This means that neutrinos have a non-zero rest mass, fly slightly slower than light, and thus experience time and are ABLE to change from one type to another.)

A pitty, thugh. By the time this was discovered I had done an outline for a five-volume fiction cycle, working through at least four genres, based on the sun going "putt" from time to time. B-b

Comment Re:And there is the matter of (Score 1) 141

But, again, neutrino oscillation can't nullify these results, because oscillation only makes neutrinos harder to detect (by changing their "flavor"). It doesn't create neutrino signals where none originally existed (at least not in this sense).

Sure it can: By "oscillating" other flavors of neutrino into the type they're looking for, when they weren't there in the first place (or not in sufficient number).

They'll need to look at the ratio of the various types and back-calculate to eliminate other possible signals, or combinations of them, to see if there is a way for other (possibly unexpected) reactions to produce a signal that looks like the ones expected and/or observed.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 5, Interesting) 341

We ALL know how Politicians get bought and sold so let's cut the "total" bullshit here.

Yes, they do. But not all of them and certainly not in the manner that the GP presented. One needs to actually understand how the system works before one condemns it and/or proposes fixes for it. Incidentally, most of the people in politics hate the system as much as you do. You think they enjoy spending so much of their day begging people for money so they can fund their campaigns? The real world isn't House of Cards, most people actually enter public service for noble reasons, ranging from the mundane fixing of potholes to the desire to advance a social cause. The problem is two fold:

1) Campaign finance reform is inherently suspect because it's passed by people who have an incentive to make it harder for incumbents to lose elections. There's a reason why opponents frequently referred to McCain-Feingold as the "Incumbent Protection Act"

2) Meaningful campaign finance reform would require a Constitutional Amendment; the idea I most liked was the notion of precluding private donations but giving every American citizen X dollars to allocate as they see fit. It's an awesome idea but one that's utterly unconstitutional. Perhaps you should start building a network for this concept rather than spouting talking points about money going into Senators pockets?

Comment Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

Having everybody live off a high protein diet is unsustainable. There are whole segments of American society that couldn't afford it, never mind the third world, and even if money was no object it would be completely unsustainable from an environmental standpoint.

It's cute though that you took what I was saying and morphed it into "cutting sugar is unsustainable"; all I did was condemn your silly paleo diet, not the notion of cutting sugar or making other healthy lifestyle choices. One can cut out soda (or even enjoy it in moderation) without adopting a made up diet that claims to be what our ancestors ate.

Of course, physical activity is even better. I eat whatever the hell I want. You can do that when you're averaging 30 miles a week of running. Pass the cheesecake, mmm'kay?

Comment Re:Sigh (Score -1, Offtopic) 341

Of course they will, while comcast is telling them this, they are stuffing wads of money in the senators pockets.

You know that talking point is total bullshit, right? What you describe would be a felony offense in the United States. Nor can corporations give money directly to campaigns. They can donate to PACs, which are a special animal in the American political system, but they can't donate directly to campaigns or candidates. When people tell you that "Big oil/telecom/Hollywood/whatever gave X dollars to Y candidate" they really mean that the employees of those industries gave X dollars to Y candidate. Work at a gas station and donate $20 to your State Assemblywoman? That's added to the total donation from "big oil" when her opponent needs a talking point.

I realize such intricacies don't make for good talking points but it would be extremely helpful if people would at least learn how the system works rather than spreading FUD that only serves to undermine the tenuous amount of faith we have left in our system.

Comment Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

Try doing any cardio of moderate to heavy intensity (which you really ought to be doing, if you want to live a long life) without carbs. Your diet is a fad and an utterly unsustainable one (from an environmental standpoint) at that. If you really want to live like our ancestors did start having sex at 10 and forgo modern medicine. You'll be dead in your 20s and the carbon impact of your selfish lifestyle will cancel itself out.

Comment Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

she says this while sat there drinking coffee

What's wrong with coffee?

If she doesn't change her lifestyle, i'm estimating she will be bedridden within 5 years and dead within 10, whereas if she put some effort in, she would have a chance of living a lot longer.

Except she won't be. And that's the problem. If they take their blood pressure and cholesterol meds they fucking live forever and just keep on eating. Meanwhile the rest of us get to subsidize their lifestyle choices because our healthcare system doesn't allow insurance underwriters to take lifestyle choices into account. The 40 year old sedentary fat ass pays the same as the 40 year old marathon runner.

Slashdot Top Deals

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_