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Comment Re:Local minima (Score 1) 197

As such, it can simply stay stuck at a local minima if there is no selection pressure.

More to the point in this case, they can get stuck in a local maximum which is not a global (or even regional) maximum, with no path of continually improving results that will lead away from the local maximum. At which point, natural selection won't be able to drive the system away from the non-optimal solution.

A system might be able to evolve away from such a situation, but it probably relies on "lucky leaps" of evolution, such as gene duplications.

Natural selection is undoubtedly powerful, but is not a panacea.

Comment Re:Tips are frequently non-taxed (Score 2) 97

Unfortunately laws allow wait staff to be underpaid significantly due to the US's tipping culture.

Which part of the OP's

Here in the UK

wasn't clear? Service staff in the UK do not get much in the way of tips, and never have done. They get their wages. It's only the exceptionally good service that attracts a tip at all. I can't remember the last time I added a tip to a restaurant bill, or any other part of the "service economy. But I do routinely remove added or suggested gratuities on the bill.

Same with ratings systems on various sales sites. I someone wants to get more than a mid-range rating, then they are going to have to be exceptionally good. Being competent or workaday will only attract a 50% rating, if I bother with the rating system at all.

Comment Re:The ending comment (Score 1) 60

If you work somewhere where parking is *that* bad, then you're why public transportation is a thing.

Ummm, you do remember that public transport long pre-dates private transport in almost all of the world other than rural America? No, you probably don't, being an AC. Horse-drawn omnibuses were common on the streets of most cities by the 1850s and 1860s when they started to receive competition in some areas from suburban and/ or subterranean railway lines. Around 1880-1890, appreciable numbers of people started having bicycles. Motor vehicles were a vanishing rarity everywhere until after World War 1.

Public transportation is a thing because most people can't and couldn't afford mechanised personal transport, and even fewer could afford personal organic transport. Meanwhile both factories and central business districts needed more people than could be housed within an hour's walk of those facilities. Even with high-density urban (or even "slum") housing.

Comment Re:Queue Monty Python (Score 1) 99

How is it that no one beat me to this post here on slashdot?

I'd like to say that it's because all Slashdot users (yourself apart) know that one waits in the stage wings to hear your CUE to come on stage (as the director would have said a couple of seconds before the "I wish to make a complaint" hit the film/ tape in 1969, "and CUE Cleese..."), while you form an orderly QUEUE of one person behind the other to use the street-corner suicide booths in Futurama.

Unfortunately we both know that's not true. Slashdot seems to be the home of homophone confusion.

Comment Re: $300 or $400 for map update (Score 1) 310

When I interviewed for TomTom they told me a phone was not really a competitor for car navigation because car sensors are so much more accurate. Just saying...

That could only be the case if in-car GPS systems include WAAS, and were being operated in the USA. This being Slashdot, everyone is going to assume the latter is true, but it's certainly not always true. Otherwise, you're going to get the resolution of the GPS system, and that's it. Quality of the sensors in this respect is binary - if it works, it works and if it doesn't, it doesn't.

It's exactly the same argument as was run up a week or two ago about "Smart TVs". You don't buy a "Smart TV", you buy a dumb display to which you connect a disposable smart device of some sort. Likewise, you don't buy a "smart" car, you buy a box of bolts that moves from point A to point B, and put whatever disposable "Smart" technology you want into it.

If this doesn't gel with your dealer's profit margins, get a better dealer.

Submission + - Samsung are investigating the effects of the '7' fiasco on their brand.

RockDoctor writes: I routinely fill out for-pay surveys for a commercial survey company for an earning rate somewhat better than minimum wage.

I had one just now for Samsung, inestigating the effect on their brand's perception of the Note 7 battery fiasco. While I'm not particularly worried — the difficulties of high energy density devices have been known since the Chinese started putting fireworks in their robes and getting burned — it does show that Samsung are worried about the consequences. Contrary to what some of the more hysterical Apple fan-bois say.

Personally, I don't give a shit if $DEVICE$ is a bit thicker. My current $DEVICE$ (an S5) resides in a fold-over wallet which effectively doubles it's thickness, and to no-one's astonishment, it still fits in my pocket, AND it hasn't yet borked it's screen when I've dropped it.

Submission + - It doesn't look too good for Tatooine.

RockDoctor writes: Everyone who has paid even the most cursory of attention to the Star Wars films (I've seen at least two of them. Out of however many.) knows that the planet Tatooine orbits two stars in close binary orbits. But everyone who has paid even the most cursory of attention to astrophysics knows that the evolution of the stars is likely to have ... consequences ... for any planets in orbit around the system's centre of mass.

A paper published yesterday on Arxiv studies the known planets in Tatooine-like systems (PDF). The Kepler telescope has confirmed a number of planets around close binary star systems. So astrophysicists have studied the evolution of these systems.

It doesn't look good for Tatooine-like planets. Of the nine systems studied, five experienced "common-envelope stages" where gas is transferred from the lighter of the two stars to the heavier (which changes the evolutionary trajectory of both stars). This is not good — cataclysmic novae and X-ray outbursts are common outcomes. On the other hand, "two systems trigger a double-degenerate supernova explosion" — which doesn't sound like it'll be good for the sunburn either. Those planets which don't suffer "RUD", don't do much better, as the "common-envelope stage" and the resulting gas drag and close-approaches can lead to 10-fold increases in both orbital diameter and eccentricity. In as little as one planetary orbit. Double-plus ungood.

All in all, Tatooine-like planets would probably not be a place to put a long-term centre of government. So actually, Lucas wasn't far wrong.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 113

This is someone dealing with grief, you autistic shitlord.

No, this is about three levels separated from someone who is "dealing with grief" in a way which many would find very peculiar, and which challenges the meaning of "dealing with" - it's more like "trying to hide from".

The levels of separation are (i) the original article in the Verge (I assume it was not written by te grief-dealer ; the story isn't interesting enough to be worth following) ; (ii) the unnamed person who submitted it to /. ; and (iii) "msmash", the /. editor who decided to put the submission on the front page.

It's very unlikely that the original person who is "dealing with grief" is even aware that the case has been mentioned on /.

(There are several other names mentioned in TFS, which me indicates at least one further layer of reporting beyond the "Verge" article. That doesn't surprise me, as that site raises a "useless clickbait re-posting site" flag in my mind, which is why I really doubt that it's worth clicking on, even if the subject were interesting.)

Comment Re:German car corps simply don't get it (Score 1) 296

Anecdote is not data.

For about 8 months in 2009-10 I had a mid-90s Renault ( a Megane, I think. I didn't know or care then and certainly don't know or care now). Reasonably comfortable, got from point A to point B. When I returned to the vehicle after it had been standing cold for a month (while I was working abroad, and the wife was still learning to drive), it started on the second crank over. Never put a drop of oil into it after my initial "just brought a second-hand car" check-over and top up of everything.

Your German friend may have had a Renault with a fucked engine, but that doesn't mean that Renault can't produce good engines, just that your friend doesn't know how to recognise engine damage, or didn't care to for this machine. Neither of which are Renault's problem.

Comment Critics - didn't they die of starvations yet? (Score 1) 252

Really, who - apart from other critics - cares a dried spit about the opinion of critics. go to the bookshelf, read the blurb on the back, decide if the book appeals to you, then go and read what appeals to you.

If you feel like kicking the beggar in the street by the door, with an empty cup and a sign saying "overblown ego and inflated self-opinion to support," feel free. It's only a critic on it's way to extinction.

Comment Re:You would think science could help (Score 1) 275

There must have been a LOT of very fast growing vegetation to support these huge herds of fast growing herbivores.

Somewhat shaky ground here. There are three main items of evidence for estimating the size of "herds" of herbivorous dinosaurs - the occasional mass footprint ichnofossil traces ; mass-death sites ; and mass nesting sites. Unless you know better, the largest group of multiple trails of sub-parallel morphospecies-similar footprint traces of which I'm aware is for a herd of about 30 conspecifics (obviously, for most ichnofossils we don't have exact knowledge of the trace-maker species, which is why we have to work with morphospecies). For mass-death sites, whether they're lahar, ashfall, or flood deposits, it is not proven that the trapped animals normally lived together. They may as well have been multiple separate "herds" which were driven together into a death trap trying to escape a more widespread event.

Performing population estimates where 99% of your population leaves no traces of it's existence is difficult.

Wouldn't "flocks" be a better description for hadrosaur or sauropod social groups? Since they're more closely related to flocks of birds than herds of sheep?

Comment Re:eFiling? (Score 1) 60

The buffer overflow gets as far as the dot-matrix A4 printer and bowfs because it was expecting an 8.5x11in printer. When the pages are fed into the scanner to get the data into the main system from the e-System, the formatting changes break the attack code, at which point the misalignment code for handling the scannner thows out those pages and the remainder of the record is processed correctly.

How else did you think it would work?

Incidentally, it's a near certainty that the actual answer in the report is wrong. There are almost certain to be machine-control computers somewhere which gets it's instructions on plastic tape (same specification as paper tape, but tougher) to churn out widgets and flange sprockets as it has since the 1950s. Probably in a MOD base somewhere.

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