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Comment Re:Can't wait ... (Score 2) 321

what did the guy expect?

He expected exactly what he got: A chance to publicly drag the various and sundry problems with the terrorism laws out and expose them to the light of day. He expected to be stopped, he expected to be searched, knowing they would find nothing, and wanted the opportunity to make a big deal out of it. Our various governments are either stupid enough to fall for it, or are so arrogant in their new found powers that they just don't care anymore.

Comment Re:System may be working? (Score 2) 321

Politicians drawing up the laws similarly don't want to be responsible for having to let people go just because "didn't smell right" was not acceptable.

Why not? That persons effectiveness as a terrorist just went effectively to zero. You know who they are individually. They themselves can never again take direct part in a plot, or they will expose others. Even indirectly, their involvement in a future plot endangers all of the conspirators. Unless the terrorist is a complete moron, they will avoid any of their former terrorist contacts, thus effectively removing them from the conspiracy. This is far cheaper than imprisonment, and thousands of times as effective at stamping out conspiracies because often you'll get the dumb one who will expose the entire conspiracy for you. Best of all, you have no martyrs to help the terrorist propaganda machine. The smart way to handle them is to let them go (having subsequently been relieved of their weapons), and watch where they go. Just one of these "moles" could be far more valuable than the entire NSA intelligence machine. Nothing can expose a conspiracy like a stupid conspirator...

Comment Re:System may be working? (Score 1) 321

It is unreasonable to expect public debate of every law when understanding such laws in detail (as opposed to misunderstanding it or falling for a caricature the opposition spreads in the popular press) requires considerable legal training.

And therein lies the problem. Laws are a lousy solution to the ages old problem of holding your fellow people accountable for their actions. Just because we have always done it that way doesn't mean it isn't incredibly stupid.

While there will always be some tiny amount of votes who read the text of a law and write in to their representatives to voice their opinion, the general public is simply incapable of following the detailed legalese involved.

The legalese is solely for the purpose of enumerating every possibly situation. This "solution" is patently absurd as any AI software engineer can tell you. It is simply the wrong way to go about making decisions. It is understandable that the concept of law was created the way it was, but we now know a great deal more about how to create decision making process' thanks to Computer Science. Its time to abandon the concept of laws, get the poly-sci guys talking to the comp-sci guys and lets see if we cant come up with something that makes better use of a half century of control theory and information theory...

Oh yeah, I forgot, there is a whole army of lawyers out there who'd be out of a job if we actually made a system that works, and for some stupid reason we had put them in charge...

Comment Re:System may be working? (Score 1) 321

True, but as you say that is true for all laws and we certainly cannot have a society without laws

And why, pray tell, can't we have a society with no laws? How about consequences instead of laws. The only rule of law should be: do nothing that people will take you to task for. People generally know right and wrong, whether there are laws against whatever the are doing or not. Laws serve only to muddy the process of accountability and allow the possibility of consequences not being appropriate to the transgression.

Comment Re:Question asked... (Score 1) 379

Why? this is perfect for CARS. Dishwasher sized will fit into most full size cars right now. creates electricity at low heat, which mean actual practical electric cars.

you change the fuel source to something other than oil.

Even better at 25kw that is enough to run the majority of homes.

The problem is that it isn't the size of a dishwasher, its closer to the size of a fridge. There's a picture of a guy standing next to the prototype from five days ago, and its frickin huge. Calling that dishwasher sized is a gross exaggeration. Plus, when you think about it, your "hybrid" has to have this thing in there, plus a small battery (I would use an ultra-cap for that btw), plus the electric motor, plus a tank for Compressed gas, and soon there's no room left for anything else.

Although they would like it to be ready for transportation use, its just not there yet. Maybe soon, maybe not: It all depends on how much more they can improve the power density.

Comment Re:Unless the amortized annual cost is low (Score 1) 379

I for one recommend you switch to a more efficient form of heating. Electricity is terribly inefficient way to heat a house. (we burn say, coal, (at a energy loss) to generate steam to turn turbines, to turn generators to make electricity, to transmit over lines (at a bit of a loss) to heat up resistor, (at a hilarious loss) to warm air. Or, you pipe gas to the house, burn it, and get warm from all the heat the gas makes. I for one, choose the latter.

Technically, resistive heating is 100% efficient (it converts 100% of the energy to heat). The problem is the transmission and generation, which you mentioned is very low efficiency. Using electricity for resistive heating is pretty stupid these days, What you want is a heat pump. It uses much less energy to move existing heat energy "uphill" to where you want it than it does to create it out of electricity. You can make a gas powered heat pump, but its easier to make electric powered ones. Of all the heating and cooling options, air source heat pumps are the second most energy efficient (and second cheapest under most conditions), and a ground source heat pump is the most efficient and cheapest under all conditions. In 100 years, people wont even be installing fuel sourced boilers or hot water heaters at all.

That having been said, it may be economically viable to install one of these fuel cells to generate the electricity that future heat pumps will use. I sat down and did the math: at a price point of around 10k USD, it becomes worth the cost for me to install a 10kW unit. I can justify more if I assume (which I can) that this will prevent me from having to get a generator for power outages as well.

Submission + - Has anyone seen my rabbit?

geoskd writes: Scientists at the university of Hawaii have created glow in the dark rabbits. Where can I get my hands on one of these critters? It would drive the cats nuts! These guys are missing a bet, they could sell these things for big bucks and use the money to further fund their research. This is the perfect gift for the geek who has "everything".

Comment No amount of unwanted products will sell (Score 4, Insightful) 266

Microsoft is not Apple. People don't wait in line for Microsoft products just because they are Microsoft products. Apple built a cult following around top notch products. They repeatedly made good products. That didn't happen overnight, and it damn near killed apple. Microsoft has to stop producing garbage. Until *All* of Microsoft products are top tier for an extended period of time, no one will trust Microsoft enough to buy into the lock-in. Microsoft has had too many Zunes, and too many Bobs for people to shell out top dollar expecting a good user experience. Now they do the wait and see, and a wait and see product is never good enough to get the top of the market, no matter how good it is because those same customers bought the competitions product already.

Microsoft only has one hope of remaining relevant. They have to make awesome products repeatedly for a period of years to decades, and accept that their products will go unnoticed for a long time. Eventually, a core of loyal Microsoft customers will form, and if the top notch products continue to flow, the core will continue to grow. One piece of junk like windows 8 makes it onto the shelves, and Microsoft is back at square one again. This will be a long and expensive process for Microsoft, but the longer they wait, the more likely the process will kill them.

Comment Re: Lol (Score 1) 212

So, in other words, the first project had to fail miserably before the boss was ready to sign off on solution B for the Y he really wanted because the first time round, the good contractor couldn't get him to sign off on B. he would only sign off on A providing X. (that would be the second sentence of my first paragraph).

I should have made that clearer, they were two unrelated projects.

You're also trying to compare a contract where one contractor was able to actually understand the entire scope in 1 week to a payroll system that nobody there fully understands at all.

I'm sorry, but payroll just isn't that complicated a concept if you take some time to see how its really done. Sure there are lots of interacting rules that have to be observed, but the very first thing the guy would have learned from sitting in the seat for a week is that every so often the rules change, so the software needs to have a dynamic rule update function so that it can be easily adjusted for new laws, labor contracts, etc. down the road. Once that basic functionality has been achieved, updating the system to correct any oversights in the original specification should be relatively trivial. Given that, I would not have quoted $10M for a static "all or nothing" payroll system, I would have quoted $30M for a dynamic rule set driven solution with a quote for updating rule sets as a separate line item at a reasonable cost. Thus guaranteeing a happy customer first and foremost, as well as establishing a very likely steady income stream from a basic maintenance contract down the road. Designing the system right in the first place would make rule changes a snap to implement, and the return on effort would be very high down the road for this simple work. End of the day, everyone wins. Customer gets the system they really wanted, contractor gets another good reference as well as future income from the project. Asking the guy who is going to foot the bill how it has to work is the wrong way to go about designing anything. Asking the guy that has to use it how it should work is marginally better. Performing the actual function yourself to the level of proficiency is the best method of all.

disclaimer: I spent a significant amount of time working payroll at a medium sized (1000ish employes) company at one time in my life, so I have a good idea of how payroll for a good sized company should work.

Comment Re: Lol (Score 1) 212

No amount of expertise will tell you that while the client insists they want X, they really want Y.

You are absolutely wrong on that score, and it marks the difference between a good contractor and a bad one. A good contractor (or contracting agency) knows very well how to extract a functional spec from a customer who hasn't the foggiest idea what they want, what they could get, or how much it should cost. I have recently had experiences with both kinds. The bad contractor came in full of recommendations and suggestions, and basically led my boss down the primrose path, all the while convincing him it was all his idea. The good contractor we got came in for a week *before* meeting with the boss, and learned how to do the job of the folks who were going to have to use the system. As you will undoubtedly be shocked to learn, the first product was a miserable failure, and the second was a resounding success. Both involved my boss (who is not qualified to tie his own shoes without help), and both involved high price contractors. The second one was 10% under budget and arrived a whopping three months early. The bad one arrived on budget and on time but was completely useless, and was never put in service (thank god).

Comment Re:Lol (Score 1) 212

India Business Machines is among the worst information technology outsourcing and consulting services in the world.

You're talking about a completely different company. "IBM" in this context refers to "Itty Bitty Machines". Or the opposite, as in "an elephant is a mouse with an IBM operating system". Take your pick...

I thought he was talking about the American company: "I've Been Misled".

Comment Re:Rupert Murdoch can die in a hole already. (Score 1) 327

There's nothing wrong with letting the capitalists run the efficiency show, as long as we are agree efficiency itself is not the goal, but a fair and fulfilling life for all people. The market outcome is not the end goal, the price system is just a way to rationalize the use of resources. Social justice and equal opportunity is the task of the state. Fuck trickle down and assorted fallacies. Progressive taxes impossible to dodge, government subsidies for education and health, massive intervention in the labor market, rentier euthanasia via macroeconomics, estate and inheritance taxes - this are the tools of the social progressive, not fudging with the incentive structure of the firm.

There is very much wrong in letting the capitalists run the economy. Until very recently, a large portion of the population (90%+) were required to actively participate in the maintenance of society (manufacture goods, distribute them, provide services). Increasingly these functions can be automated, and they will be. This situation should logically lead to a reduction in the amount of people who need to work, and a reduction in the length of service they need to provide. Capitalism however has the perverse effect of ensuring that a lack of need for workers translates into falling value of those workers. This effect causes power to concentrate at the top of society, and ultimately leads to extreme poverty at the other end. When society only requires active participation of 1% of the population, under capitalism the other 99% starve to death. That's just plain F'ed up. Capitalism worked OK (as in better than everything else), when workers were required to maintain society, this worked acceptably well. Today, it is a dismal failure of an economic policy known as "trickle down". Its time to cut capitalism loose the way the more progressive countries have done by moving to a mix of socialism and capitalism. Long term, capitalism will have to succumb entirely to something else. That something isn't going to be socialism because in many ways socialism is worse. I expect it will be some kind of socially enforced anarchy or something entirely different, that we haven't even glimpsed yet.

As a side note, the only reason companies need to grow is to satisfy the capitalists running things. In fact, companies are only needed in order to take products from the idea stage and get the products to the masses. For this, capitalism works exceptionally well, but it is not the only way to achieve this goal, and as labor is less and less needed, its evils are starting to outweigh its benefits.

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