Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re: Refugees? Not so much. (Score 1, Informative) 276

It's AGW week. "Climate change refugees" for something that hasn't happened yet is more PC than saying they moved to the USA because it's the "land of opportunity", providing jobs and education, with "chain immigration" policies making it easy to import thousands relatives once the first legal immigrant arrives.

Comment Re:The HELL they can't! (Score 3, Interesting) 75

Being in the industry, the reason I was given was (1) the electrolyte is very expensive right now and (2) investors need a demonstration of return. The flow devices scale much better than Lithium batteries, store more energy, and can discharge over longer periods of time. This makes them eligible for capacity markets, but we are coincidentally in a period of over-supply in the energy markets, so capacity clearing prices are not supporting their cost of entry. Secondly, as a storage device, they need to arbitrage the energy prices, charge at low prices and discharge at high prices.

Comment Re:Clickbait title? (Score 1) 168

Minecraft doesn't have any built-in API hooks in the core executable; the entire modding community is built around people who have reversed-engineered the Java to insert hooks for tools like Forge, etc. The modding community has been begging for a clear API for years, but Notch didn't see the value in it.

Having the application coded in Java immediately gives you the cross-platform functionality in the desktop world, but it's a killer for the console world. The XBox version is basically incompatible with the entire modding community, and their feature set is behind the vanilla desktop. Additionally, most modded minecraft launchers (Java) are limited to 2GB of RAM, when 64-bit systems can easily go beyond this. This is purely a limitation of using Java.

Moving the code base to .Net would unify the desktop and console worlds, would unify the modding community, and would do nothing but improve quality for players. Almost all mods are built core 1.7.10, when the vanilla version is already up at 1.8. It's insanely difficult to keep mods up to date, to the point that many popular ones simply say they won't support the 1.8 branch. Most mods are hacks upon hacks, relying on "ore dictionaries" and the like to unify identifiers so one mod doesn't step on another mod's space.

The pre-requisite for all of this is getting a functional .Net framework out on the Mac and Linux, which Microsoft has already committed to do.

Comment Re: Thanks anti-nuke extremists! (Score 2) 148

That's what we feel too. When wind units are allowed to bid negative offers, because their operations costs are offset by government-funded renewable energy credits, it distorts the market to the point that traditional generation cannot compete. This is why the "expiration" of the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit was such a big deal, in that everyone had to "break ground" by 12/31/2014, which is why there is a flood of windpower energy this year. You cannot build transmission this fast.




Comment Re: Thanks anti-nuke extremists! (Score 3, Insightful) 148

As someone who works in the wholesale power industry, the problem is more complex.

We are in a unique period of overcapacity, as new technologies are displacing the old. Nuclear capital costs of new construction are astronomical, which is why in the deregulated open markets of the USA, new construction is natural gas powered and government backed wind. The wind is being build in areas of the country (Illinois) that were historically heavy industry (pre existing ehv transmission), but with factory load moving overseas, the Midwest has more generation than demand. The energy is being bottled due to lack of transmission investment, which is leading to negative wholesale pricing. That's great for consumers, terrible for base load nuclear. New nuclear is being built at an existing site in a regulated southern state, where the costs can be passed on to consumers in the rate base.

Comment Re: I don't understand the big deal here. (Score 3, Informative) 139

Actually, it depends on the time of year. Demand is only highest (peaks) in the daylight hours during the summer, when air conditioning load is at its highest. During the spring and fall, when the temperatures are moderate, it's not uncommon that the peak is in the evening with lighting load (really lights + TV + commercial resteraunt use). In winter, it's definitely evening peaks with higher overnights with electric heating load. So, from a wholesale power perspective, you only need to cover that 7pm to 9pm period before load drops off (bedtimes) to smooth pricing.

Comment Evolution's response to food scarcity? (Score 2) 90

I always figured "fat" triggered the sweet sense, but this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. A primitive creature has to deal with food scarcity, and that means when you find something to eat, you have to make a quick decision on whether this food is going to be nutritious. Sweet tastes are full of glucose/fructose, that provide quick pick-me-up energy. Bitter and sour are good for detecting spoiled food, if eating this thing is going to make you sick. Salty and umami are like a measure of, will this food provide the vitamins that the body needs? Many cellular functions require salts (Sodium, Potassium, etc).

So, a sense of "fatty" gives a fast feedback to the brain that the food will give long-lasting energy. I say fast, because a sense on the tongue is faster than eating and waiting for the digestive system to break down the material, then have the stomach give a signal that the food was good to eat. I've heard that its about 20 minutes for the brain to catch up to the "stomach is full" sense, so digestion sense is not quick. So when you are hungry and something is in front of you, your body needs a fast sense that the food is good to eat, so eat lots of it now.

Comment Re:Adult Diagnosis (Score 2) 131

My now-5-year-old son was also diagnosed as a high functioning autistic, and both me and my wife have many of the traits, with regards to social anxiety and language delays as youths, but neither diagnosed. Born 3 weeks premature, he was always on a track for monitoring. At age 2, he spoke about 10 words, was touch sensitive (hated anything loud or sticky), and got the diagnosis then. I myself was in denial for a while, thinking why did it have to happen to him, he's just a little behind, it will come. I had the same perspective, that every little accomplishment meant the condition was over. But as time went on, it didn't. At age 3, he qualified for our school district's Intermediate Unit, and began pre-school classes 4 days a week.

He will "grow out of it" by constant reinforcement and occupational training, both in school and at home. If you assume it will go away on its own, you are doing a disservice to your child. Find the things that he likes, and use it as a example to teach social skills. Remain calm, because he doesn't know why he does things either. It's a constant battle, where every waking hour of the day is reinforcing "good choices" and being mindful of other people's perspectives and feelings.

Is there a maturity factor, the "growing out of it"? Probably some percent. I wonder all the time, was he inattentive because he's just a 4-year-old boy? No one is born with social skills, so is it my fault? Was I the bad teacher? We recognized that my son wasn't developing eye contact skills, and my wife and I were indirectly enabling this behavior -- he would shout a question across the room, and we would answer it without requiring facial contact. Once we recognized this, we created a plan and broke him of the habit ("I'm sorry, I can't see your eyes . . ."). I wouldn't need to worry about this with my nephews, but my son didn't have that instinct for facial confirmation.

Today at 5 years old, I can't get him to shut up. He is constantly asking questions, and is what anyone would now recognize as an over-average-intelligence child. He is reading at a 2nd grade level, knows basic multiplication, adds and subtracts up to thousands in English, and counts to 100 in Spanish. He loves playing as the "GPS" when we drive, telling us what roads are coming up next and reading every sign.

You are a good parent just by recognizing there's an issue. If this disease really is genetic like current research is showing, there's nothing anyone could have done to prevent it, it's all dependent on how we respond to it. And whether you get a diagnosis for yourself or not isn't a reflection on your parents, it's just your own "medical state". But ask yourself, what can you do with that information? We refuse to let autism be a crutch to excuse away bad behavior for our son. If you have it, or I have it, how can we focus our efforts more productively? If you feel like you have social anxiety, maybe you can push yourself into uncomfortable or unusual situations to (as I was told) "flex those social muscles". The more you practice it, the better you will get. Then it really doesn't matter what the diagnosis could have been at the end of the day, because that doesn't have to be you today.

Comment Shadow IT, aka the computer under the desk (Score 1) 583

Stay inside the IT framework, no matter how dysfunctional it is.

I did this in 1999, told my new boss to just get me a spare PC and I could handle the morning report printout ourselves. Want a change? Done in minutes, not months. Those web postings? Simple, couple lines of VBA to FTP. Another report? Sure. The Access database can manage all those mapping locally outside of Oracle. Corporate goal calculations? Err, why not. Daily compliance reports? Ok... Just give me admin on a SQL Server and I'll manage the tables...

Then it broke on vacation, so I had to modem in from FL. I became tied to this beast as the sole programmer supporting a dept of 8 people. I never got a budget for hardware upgrades, never got awards or credit for project management, since this thing was off the books. It took 7 FTEs to rewrite the mess after personal life & management changes in 2009.

In retrospect, I should have let IT do it and played the beurocracy. It would have made me happier in the long run.

Comment Re:50 Hz vs 60 Hz (Score 1) 54

HVDC tie lines and rotary frequency converters can do this. There are many instances of this in the US interconnection, just look where the Amtrak network (25 Hz) connects to the transmission grid (60 Hz).

It's all a matter of how much money are you willing to spend for the additional reliability. Until the nukes went offline, Japan's two grids were self-sufficient enough that transferring energy between the two wasn't cost effective to justify a highly connected interface. By the time you needed it, it was too late to build.

Heck, there are only 24 transmission lines above 200 kV that connect New York to the rest of the eastern interconnection.

Comment Why elevate a Celebrity in the first place? (Score 2, Interesting) 144

I'm having a hard time seeing their point, when all I can think of is counterpoint. Prior to the Information Age, we lived in a world where our media was spoon fed to us, editing everything to make us believe a narrative. Kennedy was King of Camelot, not a womanizer. Hollywood was sparkles and success, not addictions and failures.

This tool the Internet lets us bypass all the BS and see these people for who they are, just people with problems and opinions, no one worth elevating to a point of authority. Lohan isn't a Mouseketeer anymore, she's an addict. Clinton isn't President anymore, he's tripping off to overseas underage sex parties. In the past, we'd never know the facts, just someone else's "Truth". The IRS had all of the missing backup tapes of Lerner's emails all along, perjuring themselves for the last two years. It isn't revisionism when the truth was hidden in the first place.

Comment Taking it in the back-end (Score 1) 208

My guess is that Microsoft will rewrite the multiplayer server modules first, replacing Java with C#. They will introduce standardized APIs (that the game sorely needs). Expect to see micropayment systems introduced. Then I would expect a move to Azure cloud services, replacing the dozens of multiplayer server farms that are out there. Games will finally support more simultaneous characters per world, larger worlds, etc. and actually scale.

By this point you will see a schism in the developer community, those that hang on to the old server code and those that begin migrating to the new cloud-based (supported) code. XBox will enable access to Azure-code servers (today you can only access a world hosted by another XBox player), and that mode of play will quickly become dominant. Mods will be developed in Visual Studio 15, with a new project type.

As Microsoft continues to extend .Net to Apple and Linux environments, they will release new clients for those environments in .Net only. Expect some tie-ins with Microsoft Phones to check in on your Azure-hosted worlds, etc like Microsoft SmartGlass does for Xbox.

The Minecraft Client will be updated slowly, in a way that most people won't realize that Microsoft is tweaking it. When they finally release a v 2.0 client, I imagine that all existing accounts will be converted to Live accounts, whether you like it or not. One day out of the blue, it will block access to Java-based servers citing a "security risk to your Live account". You can keep playing with your old client on old servers, but you wont get the new widgets, textures, etc. The server hosting community will continue to dry up, until you convert to the new client through inertia.

Comment Bigger question - mandatory "vaccine" (Score 1) 243

The bigger question is . . .

How long is it going to be until there is a mandatory "nut allergy vaccine" in the form of a required patch / injection of peanut dust in order to allow nut-allergic children to go to school?

If nut-allergies are shown to be preventable in the same way as measles, etc., why should a school have to be completely on edge about a child going into shock because some other child brought a sandwich to lunch? The economic benefits alone of doing away with the nonsense of nut separation in snacks, parties, cafeteria choices, medical equipment on-hand, etc. would pay for making this part of the immunization package for kindergarten entry.

Isn't it a form of child abuse to allow your child to live with a curable allergy that could kill them in a moment's notice?

Comment Lies & Damn Lies (Score 3, Insightful) 208

A wise politician one said, "Never let a crisis go to waste". If the public isn't agitated, they won't give up their liberties and control to the government.

Crime rates are down, yet cops are more militarized than ever. Police shootings are rare. Gun violence is down. College campus sexual assault rates are actually 0.61%. The earth is not warming in 20 years. There is no missing heat in the oceans. Hurricanes and tornado count are at a historical low. Unemployment counting those not looking for work is at a 40 year high. Inflation in food (not counted) is huge, yet commodities (gold / oil) are deflating. College debt is crippling high, but so is general credit card debt.

If you dig into the numbers behind the "official" numbers, everything is topsy turvy. That's why the public sees doom and gloom - everything they experience is counter to what we are being told, including articles saying "Don't panic".

Slashdot Top Deals

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton