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Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 1) 361

Probably not in '79, but from what I read somewhere on UP's site, they've apparently had them for quite a while.

They also have track-condition sensors on trains -- I've seen those at work; caused a loose rail to get fixed within a couple days (I lived across the road and had noted the different sound when it got loose) rather than when it caused an incident. You couldn't tell there was a problem by looking at it.

My impression is that everything about rail is hideously expensive, and busted stuff is even more expensive, so they already spend more than the average effort. I was reading about some relatively new regulations that cover stuff UP has done for decades, but now have to be done according to some federal rulebook rather than with an eye to what needs doing. UP said this won't improve safety (it doesn't actually fix anything) but will increase costs (by about 60% in that part of their operation). Which seems about par for the course with incident-driven "OMG Safety!" regulations.

Comment Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (Score 1) 52

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

It's far from obvious what Google is claiming based on that paragraph. Do these social profile networks have anything to do with the athlete, or are they avatars for 'friends' of the user? Why does the fact that they are adding the linking a capability to a diagramming convention commonly seen broadcast sports make this a patentable invention? If the linking itself is novel, then why is the invention purportedly about pictures of athletes?

They can go shove this patent in a plurality of the Google employees' arses where it belongs.

The links have to correspond to profiles in an online social network. The thumbnails are selected by a first user who is in the same social network as a second user, and the second user can see the thumbnails selected by the first user. It doesn't matter whether the thumbnails link to profiles about the athletes. They could just as well link to pages for friends (like some kind of fantasy sports league).

Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Low-Latency PS2/USB Gaming Keyboards? 177

An anonymous reader writes "I've a cheap but low latency mouse (A4Tech) and I noticed my trusty old wired Logitech PS/2 keyboard seems at least 50ms slower (if not more) than the mouse when I test with those reaction time sites. I even increased finger travel distance over my mouse button to make it fairer and the difference still remains. So either the tests are slower with keyboards or my keyboard is high latency. Assuming the latter any suggestions for a good reasonably priced gaming keyboard? Extra function keys might be nice but since my hands aren't big what would be better is being able to output a custom key/combo if you hold down (special?) keys while pressing another key. For example I could configure it so if I hold down "Special Key 1" with pinkie or thumb and press 4 it actually outputs 9, and if I hold down shift as well it outputs shift+9 (and not just 9). Being able to replace the capslock key function and have it behave as another key (or a special modifier) would be a bonus — I've never needed capslock and have probably used it more by mistake than for its normal function, or to test how badly a PC has hung."

Comment Re:Salvage? (Score 1) 361

True, but like the AC I was wondering about the economics of salvage, which historically has been a viable industry. Is the manifest available for analysis? And how much salvage makes it into the Dollar Store and seconds market worldwide? how much of it is more damaged by salt water than is immediately visible?

Comment Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

I'd have to agree with the parent post; farming/ranching is being squeezed out. It ultimately supports everything else, but get a couple tiers removed and people forget the importance of agriculture, and it becomes okay in their minds to urbanize good farmland and force out those smelly dairies and stockyards and sugar-beet refineries.

About 30 years ago someone researching the loss of arable land to urban sprawl concluded that about 50% of the best cropland has already been built over. It's only gotten worse since then. :(

Comment Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

Good insights. I hadn't heard of Johann Heinrich von Thünen's hypothesis but it's certainly what I observe from here in the boonies. (Tho I'd say additionally, cities tend to grow in optimal locations for transportation and water resources, which in turn attracts the first and second tier agricultures. Maybe these optimal-for-cities locations function as rancher repellent. ;) )

Comment Re:Hold on! (Score 1) 217

When I was a student lo those many decades ago, we had ID in high school and college, but it was used solely for admittance to student-only affairs like dances and concerts. Basically, to keep party crashers out of special events.

Despite the lack of daily IDs, locked doors, or security guards, we all managed to survive and graduate.

Methinks it's not so much security theatre as the school systems getting into the helicopter-parenting business, because by now the helicopter-parent generation is also running the schools. And as we all know, our special unique little snowflakes might MELT if they were subjected to the Real World or left unguarded for a single instant.


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