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Comment Re:Sounds like bullshit (Score 2) 242

Anything that moves or vibrates radiates some energy. Hence such crystals would provide "free" energy and that is very, very, very unlikely to be possible in this universe.

Nope, not necessarily. The state of the material is its lowest energy "ground" state. Quantum mechanical ground states can easily have overall dynamical motion, but avoid interaction with the electromagnetic field that would cause radiation because there's no state with lower energy. These will act the same as normal matter - they'll give off energy from breaking bonds when you break them, but are otherwise inert.

Comment Re:No. of people with dementia dropped by 2.8% (Score 1) 105

Clarity is what's important, and the notion of absolute percentage isn't necessarily universal.

The statement "No. of people with dementia dropped by 2.8% between 2000 and 2012" is wrong given a standard interpretation of the base of a percentage. In an average population, where 4 people once would have gotten dementia, now only 3 will. That is absolutely a drop of ~25%. Your statement would imply that out of a 100 people who would gotten dementia, now only ~97 will, which understates the effect.

Again though, this is best solved by a clear explanation in the first place. I didn't think the summary was unclear, but it appears to have caused some confusion.

Comment Re:Good thing you have a choice (Score 1) 537

However, they do define a jammer thusly: "A radiocommunication jamming device, also known as a signal silencer, blocker or disabler, is a radiocommunication transmitter designed to interfere with, disrupt, or block radiocommunication signals and services. "

Basing that conclusion around the adjectives seems pretty thin. The main definition, "is a ... transmitter", is pretty unambiguous. A Faraday cage is in no way a transmitter. It is a wire mesh, hooked up to nothing but ground. It transmits nothing, and any possible scattered or evanescent waves are miniscule.

Comment Re:What's the big problem? (Score 1) 675

while the initial adoption was a bit rough

Okay - so the initial adoption here is also rough. That sounds like pretty much the same experience.

Reader says "insert chip in the bottom".
You insert chip in the bottom.
Reader says "enter pin".
You enter pin.

This is not how it's rolling out. Nowhere in the US has that happened to me. There was no PIN rollout; my cards (5 of them) might have PINs but I haven't been informed. Instead, with every retailer, it is a guessing game of if they want me to use the chip reader that's there. Sometimes it's inactive, sometimes it's active but they want me to swipe anyway. Always the verification is a signature.

Painstakingly slow

I've noticed some readers are slow, but this probably has nothing to do with the chip, the merchant just has a shitty system. If you're talking about the process being slower, ok yeah, by about 10 to 15 seconds or so.

The chip and the systems are a pair - it's not like I can use the chip without a reader - and all systems I've seen are slow. 10 to 15 seconds is indeed agonizingly slow. Retailers should care. After 5-10 customers that adds up.

What alternatives? Getting a signature that no teller ever verifies or checking the name against your ID (which again, never actually happens)?

Not saying chip and pin is perfect, but I really don't get why this is such a big "disaster".

Again, no PIN.

Comment Re:Lets be clear (Score 4, Informative) 182

That is demonstrably incorrect. For the city limits by population, it's in the mid-20s.

For metropolitan area population, it's sixth.

The only place is comes in below 150th is in land area, which is *not* a good proxy for energy consumption. Population is a far better one, except for incredibly efficient outliers.

Comment Re:Star Wars should cease (Score 1) 203

Disagree entirely. They have similar *settings*. Their stories share the goal of entertaining, but beyond that have entirely different purposes. Shaun of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead are both movies about a zombie plague. One is a horror comedy, the other is horror drama. "Hard sci-fi" is an extra descriptor that indicates a goal of the movie is to explore impact of X technology. It's just not something that applies to Star Wars.

Comment Re:Star Wars should cease (Score 2) 203

No, it's not phony. Fine, say hard sci-fi rather than real sci-fi, since it may seem less snooty, but it makes the same point. Star Wars is focused on an adventure in a society with advanced technology, not so much the societal implications of a particular imagined technological advance. I'm not sure why you consider "space opera" pejorative, it's just focused more on a personal journey than on a narrative about the effect of hyperdrive on a society, for instance. I love Star Wars, but I don't think the cast and crew consider it a priority to deeply consider the ramifications (or even consistencty) of the technology it presents.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 1) 451

If you speed in the left you are also technically violating the law and in many more places than you would be violating it by doing the speed limit in the left lane.

So yes, people going at the speed limit are violating the law in some places (which I never disputed so you can kindly stop pointing it out repeatedly) but they are not particularly dangerous unless mixed with other people violating the law.

When speeding in a residential area the danger created by a single driver. When traveling in the left lane this is rarely the case, ergo you are arguing from personal annoyance than any regards for the danger created by the driver.

I was attempting to be informative; someone stated that it wasn't their job to be "accommodating". Legally, you are absolutely supposed to be accommodating in many states by staying out of the left hand lane when it isn't necessary for passing or turning. Not sure what you mean by "repeatedly", as that was the first time I posted on this issue.

Again, your last point is correct. It's more dangerous to speed in a residential zone. I wasn't taking issue with it.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 2) 451

Not sure where you live, but in my state, the left lane is for passing. If you linger there while not passing or turning, you are technically violating the law. Here's a map:

Many other iterations of the law specify that you should not block the "normal flow of traffic", specifically distinct from the "speed limit".

Speeding in a residential area can be more dangerous, but you're still often in the wrong if you're doing exactly the speed limit in the left lane.

Comment Re:HOME ownership is key (Score 2) 688

You have to be able to float that much money to wait for the rebate, correct? (I was pretty sure that car maker doesn't apply on your behalf.) Plus paperwork, and the uncertainty of a car type you are unfamiliar with.

With all that, I would choose a known quantity like a used gas car as well. It's rational to minimize expected variance of outcome when buying a potentially necessary item like a car.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 352

What the heck? Is it improper to even describe the issue? I'm 'white', which is ultimately a silly name, since I'm actually some variation of pale tan. The word 'black' to describe people isn't exactly uncommon or inappropriate. Race is a constructed thing, but that doesn't mean people don't use it, and on average, being 'black' implies skin colors that range from light to dark brown, but almost never total obsidian black or grey. As GP mentioned, the point is that the color balance looks off in the initial image anyway. These colors matter because they're reduced to a floating point number that becomes an input features for the (likely) neural net.

Can you explain why GP's statement is wrong? The scope of 'we' clearly includes everyone, black and white. If you thought it was awkwardly phrased, that's one thing, but jumping on the GP seems to indicate you gave him no benefit of the doubt in the first place. I mean, it's the Internet. If we can't start from the assumption that people are posting in good faith, discussion here isn't going to work.

Comment Re:Cost analysis (Score 0) 371

True. You have to test at about the 20th percentile to be a bean counter.

Hint: Because it is difficult to you, doesn't make it difficult.

Ahh, needless putdowns. Slashdot, I've missed you.

Submission + - Uber seeking patent on surge pricing (

mpicpp writes: Uber is seeking a patent for its "surge pricing," in which riders are sometimes charged exorbitant amounts at times of high demand.
The company submitted a patent application in September 2013. Uber initially had that application rejected by the U.S. Patent Office, but it is appealing that decision.

New guidelines announced by the Patent Office just last week could change the way the office rules on its application, according to a patent expert. The new rules seek to strike more of a balance between rewarding innovators and promoting free commerce, said Michael Messinger, a director at the law firm Sterne Kessler.

The Uber case is the type of case that could show how the Patent Office implements those new guidelines.

The surge pricing is one of the innovations that separates Uber from traditional taxi services, which charge a fixed rate that is generally set by a city's taxi commission. Uber argues the surge prices can attract additional drivers to handle periods of peak demand.

But it came under harsh criticism just last week when it was charging as much as 200 Australian dollars ($165), to passengers who wanted to flee central Sydney as a hostage crisis unfolded in the city. In the face of the criticism for those prices, the company offered refunds and free rides.

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"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354