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Comment Re:So uh (Score 1) 964

>I imagine (and this is an uneducated opinion) all the junk coal and oil plants pump out under regular circumstances is probably going to kill more people than the japan nuclear crisis over the long run

Not only that, but the junk that coal and oil plants pump out has killed/will kill more people in the short run too.

Coal power kills a million people per year worldwide. That's ~2700 a day. Half of those are in China, and ~9/10 of the rest are elsewhere outside the western world. Still, ~45 people will die in the USA today because of coal power.

The coal power plants in the Soviet Union killed more people than the Chernobyl disaster every day while it was happening. The coal power plants in the United States kill more people every day than all the civilian nuclear accidents in the USA combined. The coal power plants in Japan currently kill (much) more people than the Daichi plant every day.

The most casualties indirectly caused by Daichi will be in Germany. Because the accident caused enough political pressure to force Merkel to shut down the seven oldest nuclear plants in Germany for 3 months. During those 3 months, they would have produced 17 TWh of energy. Replacing that will kill 250 people. In those 3 months.

The entire discussion on nuclear makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Google Found Guilty of Australian Privacy Breach 105

schliz writes "The Australian Privacy Commissioner has found Google guilty of breaching the country's Privacy Act when it collected unsecured WiFi payload data with its Street View vehicles. While the Commissioner could not penalize the company, Google agreed to publish an apology on its Australian blog, and work more closely with her during the next three years. Globally, Google is said to have collected some 600 GB of data transmitted over public WiFi networks. In May, the company put its high-definition Australian Street View plans on hold to audit its processes."

Comment Re:Maybe missing the point (Score 3, Interesting) 263

The GP might have missed the point, but you certainly did. Let me put it more bluntly: Comparing the price of an ssd to a disk by $/GB is idiotic, and there is exactly as much point in it as comparing the price of your processor to the price of your ram by $/MB (looking at the size of the cache). His point wasn't that you get better $/GB in a smaller ssd -- it was that the very metric of $/GB is completely and utterly stupid when evaluating the usefulness of an ssd as an upgrade.

A SSD is not an upgrade that buys you more space. It's an upgrade that makes your computer faster. In that, practically all of them are great value; for normal desktop use I'd much rather have an Intel ssd and the crappiest still-in-production dualcore from AMD than no ssd and the most expensive available quadcore from Intel. And I have actually used both kinds of systems. That is how awesome the difference is.

(well, the high-end Intel rig was actually a mid-range i7, but it was overclocked way past any of the models they sell.)

PlayStation (Games)

Sony Finally Turning a Profit On PS3s 117

When the PS3 launched in 2006, estimates pegged the price of producing the consoles to be as much as $250 more than the price at which they were sold. Production costs have dropped since then, but there have been several price cuts as well. Now, almost four years later, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida says they're finally turning a profit on the hardware. "This year is the first time that we are able to cover the cost of the PlayStation 3,' Yoshida said. 'We aren't making huge money from hardware, but we aren't bleeding like we used to.' In May, Sony began shipping new PlayStation 3 consoles with smaller and more cost-effective graphics chips. Now, Yoshida said, Sony is looking at replenishing retail stock that has been running on empty since January rather than cutting the price. 'When we bring the cost of hardware down, we are looking at opportunities to adjust prices if we believe that will increase demand,' he explained. 'At the moment, we are trying to catch up our production.'"

Comment Re:Sometimes it's more mundane (Score 5, Interesting) 163

Everybody knows that if you can design an economically viable improvement on present-day batteries, you are going to be wildly, obscenely rich. There are plenty of applications where people would be perfectly willing to pay several times more for a battery than what they are paying now if there was a significant improvement in capacity/mass. This leads to a lot of research being concentrated even on very wild potential ideas. Many are viable in the lab, but are too expensive to produce (by a margin of several orders of magnitude), too dangerous, too short-lived, or any combination thereof.

No matter how many misses there will be, this situation is more or less the ideal case for a free market to optimize for -- if it is possible to safely store more electrical energy in a smaller mass, it will be found eventually.

Comment Re:Large sector size good? (Score 2, Interesting) 165

You can fix this on the filesystem level by using packed files. For the actual disk, tracking 512-byte sectors when most operating systems actually always read them in groups of 8 is just insane. (If you wish to access files by mapping them to memory, and you do, you must do so at the granularity of the virtual memory page size. Which, on all architectures worth talking about, is 4K.)

Comment Re:Many boffins died ... (Score 1) 205

The potential energy is stored as the mass of the nucleus. If you measure all the relevant masses before and after the explosion, E=mc^2 does predict the outcome perfectly. In other words, the mass of a nucleus is the mass of all the particles in it plus the energy-equivalent mass of the energy of it's bindings. In the same way as the mass of an atom is the mass of the nucleus, the electrons, and the mass of the potential energy stored in the electrons.

Game Industry Vets On DRM 372

An anonymous reader points out an article at SavyGamer in which several game industry veterans were polled for their opinions on DRM. Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact. "Maybe a few of the more honest people now buy the game rather than pirate it, but this sort of thing is impossible to measure. You can see how many people are cracking and uploading your game, but tracking downloads is harder. It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway. People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway." Nihal de Silva of Direct2Drive UK said his company hasn't noticed any sales patterns indicating customers are avoiding games with DRM. Richard Wilson of TIGA feels that customers should be adequately warned before buying a game that uses DRM, but makes no bones about the opinion that the resale of used games is not something publishers should worry about.

Comment Re:Missing a detail (Score 1) 71

No-one is saying that RDRAM is better than what we have now -- but it contained some individual innovations that have not been utilized as a part of modern memory interfaces. Perhaps finally they will. And frankly, when looking at all the interfaces of a modern computer, the memory bus is the odd one out -- It's about time we switch to a proper differential signaling packet-based point-to-point link there. Perhaps the peace in memory markets will allow the next memory standard to actually modernize the link?

Comment Re:Dammit... (Score 1) 494

how does your borrowing argument relate to dictionaries?

I'd bet that the borrower would simply ask to borrow it again when needed. People are lazy, and if they can get it for free and minimal effort, they will. Reference books go out of date quickly, so many would be just for historical reference rather than actual use. And it would largely depend on the subject area. I have a ton of biology textbooks which are painfully out of date, especially those on genetics.

I actually find that published books written by experts are better than some random blog or website when you want to learn about something.

For the most part, I'd totally agree, but it's awfully hard to beat the convenience of hammering something into google for a quick result. Personally I love books, have more of them than shelves at the moment, and my preference will always be reading something of actual paper than a screen.

As for the industry, I feel little in the way of pity for them. Recently when the Canadian dollar was on par with the USD there was some complaint about the pricing of some products. Prices on books, particularly, were still significantly more expensive in Canadian funds than the listed price in USD. The industry response? They stopped printing the US prices.

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