Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment It depends (Score 1) 202

It depends entirely on the nature of your business If your business primarily reselling an existing product or making modest customizations of an existing product then most of your costs will be related to marketing and sales. Apple for it's size spends comparatively little on R&D, but a lot on marketing and sales. If you're business is at the cutting edge of technology constantly pushing new boundaries then you would expect a lot more in R&D and less in marketing. Intel for example spends quite a lot on R&D for it's size. It's like asking what's the right size of building for a company

Comment Re:Speed? (Score 1) 103

SpaceX was founded on the the "cost-is-everything" perspective as well. Elon's whole purpose in founding SpaceX was to substantially reduce the costs of payload to orbit. BTW, Falcon 9.1 prices to orbit are currently ~$4000/kg, while Falcon 9 Heavy should be half that, also if they are successful recovering and reusing stages, prices should drop below $1000/kg

Comment Re: Proportional representation. (Score 1) 694

It's not the party that gets 15% of the vote that concern me. It's the one that gets 2%, gets 5 seats and then effects significant shifts in national policy as other major parties solicit its support. I'm not American, but I shudder to think of the kind of fringe parties that would wield a disproportionate amount of power in the US if this were ever enacted. While "winner take all" election systems do encourage larger parties, they also encourage more inclusive parties that have broad platforms that encompass the numerous issues needed to rule a country. Proportional representation encourages single issue, or regional parties that. The problem with the list approach, is that the most connected political insiders and hacks are the ones at the top of the list. If you don't vote the way the party leader instructs you, then come next election you'll find yourself way down the list. As a politician your main mechanism for ensuring re-election is to ensure you're near the top of your parties list. In Canada like most first past the post, parlimentary systems, it's possible for a party to win, while defeating the party's leader, or right hand man (this has happened several times). Ultimately since it is politicians that vote in their respective houses or parliments, I would rather have the ability to vote for a person, rather than the abstract concept of the party

Comment Re: Proportional representation. (Score 2) 694

Proportional representation isn't a panacea. Sure it gives small parties a chance to win seats, but it that also means the "I love cheese" party and all sorts of other wack-a-doodle parties get their voice. As well, since you're more likely to have minority governments, these minor parties often have a disproportionate amount of power since they're needed to get anything done. Sounds great for the Pirate party and Green Party, but works just as well for the neo-nazi and right wing religious extremist pary of your choice. The worst problem with proportional representation however is that candidates are chosen off of prioritised lists prepared by the parties themselves, meaning it's all political insiders beholden to the party rather than those who elected them

Comment Re:Oh Canada... (Score 1) 205

More like if JFK had a son that never did anything except for ride on his dad's name. Like or hate Pierre Trudeau, he had an impressive background. A successfull lawyer, he studied at Harvard and London School of Economics. He helped lay the intellectual foundations of the quiet revolution in Quebec. As a politican he served as Minister of Justice and introduced sweeping legislation to decriminalise homosexuality, and legalise contraception. When he ran for leadership of the Liberal party, he didn't win until the 4th ballot with 51% of the vote. Justin on the other hand, while very charismatic, he is not his father. His background is a few years as a high school teacher and a few years as an opposition MP and yet he wins leadership of the party on the first ballot with 80% of the vote.

Comment Re: talent! (Score 1) 512

The MBA degree was initially developed specifically to give engineers a business background so they could move into executive management. When I did mine a full 70% of students were from an engineering or tech background. In the 3 years since I graduated almost everyone I keep in touch with is now in management

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 599

Tesla's power plant was only capable of producing 75 MW of power. Not exactly awe inspiring. While the modern plants around Niagra falls can produce updates of 4,000 MW (about the same a a modern Nuclear generating complex), it's not like Niagra falls are a time a dozen. While run-of-river stations do not impound significant amounts of water, they either suffer from variability and are usuited for base load power, or they are dependent on large upstream dams (that do impound a lot of water) to regulate the flow.

Comment Re:Is there any hope left? (Score 1) 73

Part of the problem is that NASA is so hamstrung by political interference, it's hard for them to change anything. NASA HQ has been trying to divest itself of unneeded real-estate assets for years or close marginal centers, but each time it tries, the congress person representing the district in question raises holy hell. Never mind the Senate Launch System, the $40 billion dollar rocket NASA doesn't want

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 73

It's not quite that simple. With the Mir approach, each module needs to be a self contained spacecraft with engines, batteries, docking and guidence systems (as they have to fly them selves to the space station). All of this stuff is no longer needed once docking is completed, meaning half your module is wasted. Just compare the cramped Russian modules to the wide open US, Japanese and European modules on ISS. The biggest problem with ISS (just like the Shuttle before it) is that Congress and the OMB are penny wise and pound foolish. To save a few hundred million in the late 90's, they cut funding to the ISS utilization office. This office was supposed to work with Universities to develop the pipeline of scientific experiments for the station. So now we have an under utilized $150 billion asset, rather than a fully utilized $151 billion asset. Same thing happened with the Shuttle. NASA engineers said it would cost $10 billion to develop a fully reusable shuttle that could fly 50 times a year. OMB gave them $5billion and said to build it twice as big to support one misstion that the USAF might have flown at some point (The KH-11 polar once arround mission). So to save $5 billion in the 70's we instead spent hundreds of billions over 30 years on the expensive hanger queen that was the Space Shuttle

Comment Re:rocket up and down video (Score 1) 167

This is actually the whole point of what SpaceX is trying to do. The numbers aren't as bad as you make them out to be, but they plan to deliberately trade performance for re-usability. The economics of launching 25,000 lbs to orbit 10 times using the same rocket, rather than 40,000 lbs to orbit once is the whole point. If you're legacy space, getting cost plus contracts from the DoD or NASA, then building a cutting edge rocket you toss into the Atlantic each time is a great gravy train.

Comment Re:This is potentially not so good news (Score 1) 416

49 million years ago, CO2 levels were 2-5 times higher than they are today, methane concentrations were 2-3 times higher. 500 million years ago CO2 levels were 20 time higher. In neither case did run-away global warming occur that allowed "our atmosphere to bleed off" A "destroy the Earth's capacity to support life" scenario is not realistic by any stretch of the imagination. What we need to be worried about is the economic impact of shifting acricultural regions, rising sea levels and potentially more active weather. Mother Earth has been through catastrophies far beyond anything the human race can currently inflict. Life survived Chicxulub, Sudbury, and Vredefort, it survived the Oxygen Catastrophe. It will survive us, the question is, will "we" survive us

Comment Re:Nuclear Bias (Score 1) 255

Great, they can pull out the Li, Mg and Zn. What about the Arsenic, Mercury, Vanadium, Boron, Hydrogen Sulphide and Benzine? Some of the concerns about Fracking don't come from the hydraulic fluid being pumped into the ground, but the crap that's already down there. Dewatering shale gas reservoirs brings up all sorts of nasty stuff. The Geysers in California has had a number of problems in disposing of heavy metals in the past. With Arsenic and Benzine contamination detected down wind. The problem is folks anointing one power source as the be all and end all. The reality is we need a balanced approach to power generation, every method of generates pollution, has drawbacks, and is better suited to different locations.

Comment Re:Nuclear accidents shouldn't be possible (Score 1) 255

Plutonium 239 is not highly radioactive. It's an alpha emitter which you can hold it in your hand without concern. Sure, you don't want to inhale any dust as long term exposure to soft tissue can cause cancer, but its not "melt your face off" radioactivenas depicted in the movies. Beyond that it is a toxic heavy metal, but gram for gram, caffeine is far more poisonous.

Comment Re:Way to thread jack the first post (Score 1) 198

I think it's important to recognise that they way Watson works is by assigning probabilities, it just happened that it assigned a sligtly higher probability to Toronto than Chicago, and overall Watson wasn't very sure of its answer (30%). Unfortunately you only get one question in Jepoardy This is where something like Watson could be very powerful. After describing the symptoms the system would provide a top-5 list of most likely diagnosis, how confident it is in those diagnosis, as well as the chain of resoning that let to those items. Ultimately the Human doctor would be the once to determine if any of them were applicable and decide on a course of treatment.

Slashdot Top Deals

On a clear disk you can seek forever.