Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Check out the brand new SourceForge HTML5 speed test! Test your internet connection now. Works on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Intellectual property == delivery system (Score 4, Insightful) 74

Everything I create is non-tangible intellectual property. All biomedical genetic advances are in the end described by sequences and methods. Completely replicable. And without patents or copyrights they would never ever reach their potential as there would be no money to deliver them to people or companies. Companies would not base product lines around things they can't monetize or would expect to be undercut by an overseas manufacturer. SO they rot in the lab.

Because there's no money in selling medicine, like there's no money in selling groceries right? Most things end up as some form of actual product or service that does have value to people. Yes, we need incentives to make people come up with new ideas but we don't need to let them own them. I'm glad I don't have to pay royalty to the guy who invented the wheel and if you discover the cure for cancer, sorry I don't want to pay you and all your descendants in perpetuity either. It's humanity's knowledge and I'm willing to give you some time limited, exclusive rights as kickback for creating it but it's not yours like a man owns a shirt. Copyright, patents, trademarks yes but ownership no.

The difference is fundamental, if it's my car I can choose when, where and how you get to drive it. I can add a GPS tracker and cameras and microphones (with info signs, so it's not covert) and alcolock and speed clamps and whatnot. If it was Hollywood's movie, they could do the same but it's not, they just got the copyright. They can make copies and sell copies, not dictate where, when and how people watch it or at least they shouldn't. I'm not against intellectual rights, but I'm against intellectual property rights. It's newspeak to create owners and an aura of permanence and right to control that doesn't and shouldn't exist. Particularly when you want to shorten copyright and they talk as if that would be stealing from them.

Comment Re:this is the future and for cars too (Score 1) 85

this is the future and for cars too (...) This would also work for cars and would make electric cars a lot more practical.

There's nothing even remotely practical about a complicated and expensive system to hook up cars to an overhead grid while driving at 50+ mph. Right now they're busy making the cars like the Tesla model 3 but I'm pretty sure that when they get a breather they'll design two forms of trailer range extenders:

a) Huge battery that can do on the road charging
b) Generator trailer that can do on the road charging

And since this would be a custom car accessory with a wired connection it could integrate with cameras/sensors on the trailer and trailer parking assist like VW and Ford among others have. Maybe in two versions, one small with just the battery/charger and one as combined cargo trailer since you can't very well have two. And you could either own one or they'll expand the supercharger stations to be rental pick-ups/drop-offs, recharging them for the next customer.

As far as I know, a Tesla tops out at <1 kW constant draw and there's $200 gas generators that can do that. Now I'm sure you'd need a lot more to make it roadworthy and providing DC and getting permission to do live charging but none of that seems like impossible limitations. And once you have that, hook it up to a 100 galleon fuel tank and there's no range limitation. It's probably more cost efficient to buy a gas powered pickup if you'll do that often, but just for making it work at all that seems by far the easiest way.

Comment Re:Why set timelines? (Score 1) 36

Why set timelines? Why not use it until it's completely broken?

To plan. Hubble could fail catastrophically tomorrow, tough luck now the money's available for other projects. For now though that's our planned operational costs, the rest for development. And that after that the budget is available for other things. Opportunity is still roaming on Mars after 5 mission extensions, if it actually lasts longer the sunk cost is so high we'll almost certainly extend the mission but we don't plan for everything to last indefinitely. Because that would be silly, that's why.

Comment Re:Pizza and Hamburgers (Score 1) 175

Pizza and Hamburgers are popular fast food because there's very little actual skill involved in making it. It's bread and cheese and toppings. If your a restaurateur then you want to make food that doesn't need expensive labor so you can maximize profit and have employees that don't need a lot of training. Well trained employees have to be coddled because they've got options. This makes the pizza and hamburger biz ripe for automation.

Somehow, I can't connect the first thing you said to the last. If you have expensive, hard to replace workers that need coddling wouldn't they be the ones ripe for automation, all other things being equal? Robots are really good at three things, mass production, precision and consistency and food processing isn't the first one - then I'm thinking about making a million gadgets to ship in containers. If you just need to get it roughly right and failure is not a big deal - whoops we burned your pizza we'll make you another sorry about the waiting time - then robots really don't have a big edge.

If on the other hand you want to make perfect knife cuts or make a risotto to a Michelin chef's standard that's things you really have to train for. Not too much, not to little, not too brief, not too long, not too hot, not too cold, stir enough, don't stir too much. It seems to me like the kind of task that'd be pretty hard to get right but once you do the robot could nail it every time. I guess a burger or pizza place is a better candidate for full automation though.

Comment Re:Roses need bullshit. (Score 1) 175

I'm not saying this is impossible, but the fact is that a lot of people go to pizzerias because they can easily get special orders, because if you can't, frozen pizzas are less expensive and you don't have to leave home. Say what you will about cardboard and disappointment, but big pizza chains that rely on human help will still do special orders.

Of all the times I've eaten big chain pizza, whether it's with work or friends or family I don't remember anyone ordering a special. At most I seem to remember ordering a half-and-half, extra cheese on the edge, sour cream or salsa dip and such but they're all minor variations where if you've made a robot to handle the 20 pizzas on the menu, you'll easily make the variations too. At most they have a "pick your own toppings" pizza where you essentially make a pizza just from "extra" toppings. Really you can make the interface far more advanced than the demand.

Here in Norway we have this thing called Whopper Labs, a web/app interface for Burger King where you can make your burger exactly like you want it, extra this, hold that, gluten free bread and I'd like a quadruple burger. The video is in Norwegian but it quite visual so you'll understand. It's a fraction of a percent of the sales, most people just want a Whopper Cheese or something like that. But if you're making a robot, it should be pretty trivial to extend it from making a "normal" burger to handle the full selection, assuming you've solved the first part.

I don't think you can really compare frozen pizza with chain pizza, sure they have prefabs and whatnot but I doubt the cheese and ham on a chain pizza has ever been frozen. It's the sort of thing you'd buy vacuum packed but not frozen in the store and with the turnaround chains have they have no problem keeping the supply fresh. And they have proper pizza ovens and all that, what you get heating a frozen pizza isn't exactly the same. So if you could manage to scale it down, I certainly think automated chain quality pizza has a big market.

But of course, because bespoke pizzas are easier to make when the maker can /adapt/, unlike a machine, which must be retooled.

The big industrial robots we've had now for many decades are like that. But there's been a ton of research into making robots more flexible and generic. It's not going to be like one "Eureka" moment, but many baby steps. They don't blindly do things, they have computer vision. They don't have one custom designed grip that can do one custom designed motion. The problem is the speed goes way down and cost also goes way up, until replacing a minimum wage worker seems like a bad idea. But it's constantly improving so just because it doesn't happen today maybe it will in 5, 10 or 20 years.

Comment Re:Unenforceable law is unenforceable (Score 1) 104

The problem is that you think of this from the point of view of a western government that plays fair, requires evidence and respects the rule of law (okay, you can stop laughing now). It's not that you can't get PGP and whatnot in Russia. It's that they'll bend the market so most people use services that cooperate with the government. Like Putin wants people to use instead of Facebook and China wants people to use Baidu instead of Google. And if you can't get them to use a local service, they'll blackmail foreign companies like Blackberry to either comply or lose business or in the worst case get blocked and banished.

When they get 90% to use "their" service, they'll just label the rest as criminals and subversive elements and snuff it out. Or just put anyone using services they can't touch on a watch/shitlist so they can be given the rubber glove treatment. And if you go over people with a fine tooth comb you can usually find something they do that's illegal. Not that they're above planting evidence or framing anyone if that's what it takes. And if someone's really subversive and covert, well they're probably not making enough noise to rally anyone for support. The government doesn't expect 100% loyalty, they just want to find dissent fast enough that it doesn't spread. As long as they can nip it in the bud, they're safe.

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 1) 75

Almost certainly yes, it's a cache of the streaming service and they'll most likely set a timeout no longer than they got rights for. This will not make the service better in any way if you got plenty bandwidth, it'll just let you take movies and series on the road or to your cabin in the middle of nowhere. Like you could bring your disc, if you still used discs. Nothing more, nothing less.

Comment Re:Javascript exploit (Score 2) 77

Tor can only protect you if your machine can't be made to report back information about it. It doesn't help you very much to have an anonymous end point if the server on the other end can simply ask your browser to fetch the actual IP address of your host and other information about it. Javascript allows calls like that to make your browser turn over that information.

No it doesn't. If you use a proxy there's no supported way to get your real IP via Javascript. But Javascript is a huge scripting engine, it has a much bigger exploit potential than a rendering engine. That happens too, I think a while back there was a bug in a font handling library but much less often.

Comment Re:Democracy restored (Score 1) 1482

Elected representatives. I'm not an expert in all the jobs a government does, so I prefer to elect people who I think will be good at those tasks. Elections are basically collective job interviews.

The job interview is fine, but after they're hired they don't answer to their "boss" for 4-5 years and then the only issue you get to decide is whether you'd like to rehire them for another term. I realize you need people to work out proposals to be voted on, but many of the issues comes down to opinion as you can tell because the parties are divided too. We can get the brief run-down of pros and cons and usually quite quickly say for ourselves if we're for, against or undecided.

Comment Re:End of Great Britain? (Score 1) 1482

Well - you might have noticed that the EU isn't in great shape at the moment, and getting 27 countries to accept another member, even if that's an existing member split up, is still going to be controversial and take a long time. We don't even know what the independent Scotland would look like, or how it would get there, before you can start talking about joining the EU.

I don't think it'll be all that controversial, but in a few months the UK exercises their exit clause from the EU long before any independence which means the current membership is done. Even if you could rush a process of independence and membership application so that they in practice could continue as back-to-back EU members, the deal would almost certainly be to fully join all EU institutions like the Euro, Schengen etc. with a transition period, they'll never get back the current UK membership. Only historical members have ever been given permanent exceptions and I'm sure the EU won't change the rules here. And that might swing the pendulum back, after all it's not like a massive majority wanted to leave. If joining back in also comes with a cost, well...

Comment Re:Good for them (Score 1) 1482

Agreed, it was Greece that mismanaged its finances. But Germany did screw up Greece by imposing more and more austerity measures just when the country needed a boost from fiscal spending. Austerity does no good in the short term. Remember, when Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns et al went down, if US govt prescribed austerity where do you think US economy and unemployment would have been?

There's a huge difference between the US saving the US economy and the EU saving the Greek economy. This is more like Rhode Island spending money like a drunken sailor, then expect federal funds to bail them out when they go bankrupt. Germany would be the equivalent of California saying hell no, you caused it you get to suffer for it. That Greece started acting like Germany was the problem and not Greece didn't exactly help matters. If they'd approached it with some humility, maybe Germany would want to help instead it sounded like a demand and a threat.

So yeah, Germany essentially said fuck you. We're going to do just enough that the creditors don't shut you down and no more. And if you don't take the deal we'll kick you to the curb and you can go live under a bridge or something. They could have made a quick fix, but then the Greek attitude wouldn't have changed and they'd soon be back for more. Are they overdoing it? Maybe. I think the point has been driven home now, if you fuck up your economy it's going to be fucked for a long time and nobody's going to fix it for you so don't do it. It's time to get a real recovery started, at least.

Slashdot Top Deals

Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.