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Comment Re: Hmm (Score 4, Insightful) 954

Yup it was touch and go whether america would join at all. Just had to wait until the old world powers had bankrupted themselves and destroyed their industry. It all worked out very nicely for the new world order.

The boon of having all the brightest displaced people move to the USA certainly didn't hurt either. The US was at that time, and still is, the safest place to be if you're worried about either terrorism or a real fighting war. The US reaped the benefits of importing a whole lot of german engineers and scientists for decades. Too bad we lost our balls at some point and are afraid of immigrants now.

Comment Re:Subsidies (Score 1) 301

Exactly.. We spent $2 trillion dollars and over 4,000 lives to protect Oil Company interests in the middle east.

That's a huge subsidy that doesn't get counted as a subsidy.

I agree that some part of the middle east wars were about oil, but there is a lot more going on also. I think it is important to realize that due to the hydraulic fracturing innovation and resulting boom, the US has more natural gas than we know what to do with, and oil prices remain very low. This may be part of a strategy to destabilize some other powers (Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc) since a large part of their national budget is related to oil income. If the cost of oil is 1/2 or 1/3 what it used to be, those countries are most certainly either feeling a heavy pinch now or are concerned about how long their savings will last.

On the issue of terrorism, we have created a location in the world where the people who want to fight about their religion can go fight. That location is really far away from the USA. The number of people who have died of terrorism in the US since 2000 is incredibly low compared to the amount of angst that the US government has generated. Probably because there is a 3500 mile wide ocean in between. Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting their proxy religious war in their own backyard, relatively out in the open. That's not a great outcome, but it might be the best of a lot of potentially worse outcomes.

I'm not saying any of this is good, or that I agree. But saying that these conflicts are based on oil is a very narrow viewpoint. There's a lot of things to consider. In my opinion the oil issue only a small part of the chessboard.

Comment Re:it's a terrible SUV (Score 1) 136

Those gull wing doors were always a gimmick, a "hook" to ensure coverage for the vehicle. I'm sure it's neat to watch them ponderously open and close via sensors, hydraulics and motors but there is a simpler, cheaper and practical solution - a regular car door, and if necessary a little catch on the mid row seats that slides them forward or tilts them. The regular door keeps out the rain, opens and closes more quickly, doesn't need a bunch of electronics to function and does the same job.

It's notable that the gull wing doors are always demoed in tight spaces because that's about the only place they tenuously offer any advantage, but since the front row has regular doors I'm not sure how that's supposed to make sense either.

Regular car doors are awful. The only advantage they have is that they are forgiving to design and build, and relatively cheap. I've never had enough garage space to open a car door fully. Parking lots are the same, with the added drama of other people possibly bumping your car with their doors.

Sliding doors are the best option I have seen. The door opening is enormous and makes loading goods, children, or persons of reduced mobility a lot easier. You only need about 8" of room to open a sliding door. Car companies seem to have sliding door technology pretty much matured, I haven't heard of widespread problems since the 1980s/1990s. If someone could figure out how to do sliding doors for the front doors of a car that didn't look too silly, it would probably be a real winner.

Comment Re:It's not the FWD that are the real problem (Score 1) 136

And auto-opening doors in general... just how fucking lazy do you have to be that opening your own car door is more effort than you're willing to exert?

It's a convenience thing. I never saw the value in sensor-based auto-unlocking doors until I had them. I never saw the point of auto-adjusting seats and mirrors (based on key fob ID) until I sold that car- sharing the car with my spouse became a lot more contentious. Luxury isn't (all) about feeling superior to other people. It is often about removing the small discomforts and inconveniences of life.

Comment Re:It's cool. It's also going to be a while. (Score 1) 88

No, there's a lot more than providing an arcade experience involved. Thinking in three dimensions isn't quite as built-in to humans as you seem to think. Hell, half the drivers on the road can't handle thinking in flatland. What do you expect to happen in cubeland?

People better be thinking in at least 3 dimensions when they are driving on land because most control actions take a non-zero amount of time to take effect.

Comment Re:Monopolies are bad (Score 1) 70

I've found pretty much all of that and more, higher quality, usually much lower prices, at my local Costco.

There's more than one 800 lb gorilla out there.

Costco sells a lot of crap too. I've been burned enough times that I ignore all their durable goods unless I have done the research in advance.

It also seems that just when we find a good commodity food product there (yogurts especially), they will drop it suddenly without an equivalent replacement.

Comment Re:6.8 Billion (Score 2) 343

From a physics standpoint, this is not true. Larger reactors help you have higher total neutron cross sections, both for elastic scattering / moderation and fission. A "small" nuclear reactor is defined by the IAEA as one that's less than 300MWe, although even reactors as big as 500MWe are sometimes referred to as "small". Per-reactor, not per-plant. Don't get me wrong, you can make reactors at any size - some companies are looking at modules as small as 25MW (per reactor). But it makes your already problematic economics even worse.

That said, I still do have more hope for small reactors than large ones, just simply from the standpoint of getting some degree of mass production and refinement through use. Still, the "nothing may go wrong" situation one faces with nuclear reactors and the "need to start from scratch if some flaw is developed in the basic design that prevents you from 'nothing may go wrong'" still bites.

Not to mention the effects of scaling on the steam turbine. In general, the larger the turbine, the more efficient it is, both thermodynamically and from a total cost of ownership standpoint. The choice of technology / vendors in any power plant today is generally picked by accountants running Net Present Value-type calculations.

Comment Re:Ask Slashdot (Score 1) 186

Nonsense. There would be enormous use of fully open source alternatives to Google search, Gmail, Call of Duty, Starcraft 2, Destiny, and dozens of other similar projects. The best, to my knowledge, fully open source search engine is Yacy and it totally sucks. Running your own email server isn't too hard, but getting your mail to recipients on Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo mail without relaying through one of the big services is all but impossible. There are plenty of nice graphical fully open source video games out there, but nothing with the artwork or the voice acting or the visuals on par with a top of the line AAA game. Nobody is making them because it's too damn difficult.

To be good, these things need experts in the field following good business and engineering practices. It's difficult, costly, and takes a lot of time, so only large international companies have much of a chance at being competitive. The forces of capitalism or government development seems to be the best ways currently to solve these kinds of massive undertakings. The internet has shown a lot of promise in allowing loosely-connected entities to collaborate, but once a project starts to look like it has value, somebody always takes the bone (or their part of the bone) and tries to personally benefit. Everybody needs to put food on the table at the end of the day.

Comment Re: Dr Yang Chen-ning (Score 1) 141

People should listen to him.

People do listen to him. Most Americans would be challenged to name a living Nobel laureate. But in China, everyone knows who Chen-ning Yang is. He is a national icon. He is as well known in China as Kim Kardashian is in America. When he married Weng Fan, it was huge news. An American equivalent would be like when Brad Pitt married Angelina Jolie.

If he is speaking out against the collider, that carries a lot of weight. There is no way he can just be silenced. He has too much stature for that. Even Xi Jinping would not want to butt heads with him.

If he is that famous, all you would have to do is associate him with drugs. In 2010, [Charlie] Sheen was the highest paid actor on television. Now nobody respects him or cares about anything he says. Charlie Sheen actually is/was an addict but faking such a controversy can't be that difficult.

Comment Re:rotten at the top (Score 2) 341

Yeah, well, when you see this many people engaging in such widespread consumer fraud and malfeasance, it comes from the top. It has been documented and interviews with these employees recorded that they were under such pressure from bank managers (and they from VPs, etc) under threat of losing their jobs, that they felt they had to make their numbers in any way they had at their disposal. Including taking people's information that they'd been given for other legitimate purposes, and misusing it to create fake accounts. 1. Volkswagen engineers being pressured to have their vehicles pass emissions 2. Bank employees being pressured to sign up customers regardless of how infeasible 3. Cable/credit card company call center agents being pressured not to let a customer go under any circumstances 4. etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on -- these all come from the assholes at the top demanding something that's not possible and effectively incentivizing / requiring front-line employees to lie, cheat and steal from consumers. Those are the people who should be even more aggressively prosecuted.

This attitude is common across many industries. Maybe I was naive in my 20s but the idiots you went to high school with never smartened up. There is no miraculous supply of intelligent people who manage companies. The people who manage companies are usually the people who are best at overselling, overpromising, underdelivering, screwing people to make a buck, and don't think the rules apply to them.

Comment Re:Goodbye, World Wide Web. (Score 1) 282

What's so bad about that?

Ever use a search engine (in particular image searching)?

A string like "" is just a *fact* and should not be copyrightable. It simply *is not* the information that has been copyrighted.

To make this point even more clear- A URL is just an address. I can't copyright, for example, the address of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It just happens to be:

Palais de la Cour de Justice
Boulevard Konrad Adenauer
L-2925 Luxembourg

That's just a shorthand way of saying N 49.621036, E 6.143116 (which is actually posted on the Court's own website It's where you locate the copyrightable thing, and if an address is copyrightable, then giving directions is a crime. If you want to protect your copyright from public public view, you need to build a wall so people can't swing by the address and just look at it. People living in glass houses need to either put up curtains, or accept that people are going to look at them.

I have linked these addresses (both to their website and physical addresses) without permission. Calling that a crime is unworkable in both the physical and internet world.

Comment Re:Won't work in America (Score 2) 630

These people have no money yet they walk around with expensive cellphones..

That is not a problem limited to "the poor". 47% of Americans cannot come up with $400 to meet an unexpected expense.

I know many people like that. Some of my well paid co-workers will tell me they have to "wait until payday" for a purchase or even to go out to lunch. My sister, who makes $80k and owns a house, occasionally needs to borrow money from me for some minor expense, like fixing a flat tire on her car, because she has already spent her paycheck. She has zero savings, and no financial cushion whatsoever, yet she just got back from a Mediterranean cruise.

I couldn't live like that. The stress would drive me nuts. When I was 18, and got my first paycheck, I invested half of it in an index fund, and my savings have increased monotonically since then, even through college (I worked part time and had a military scholarship).

The idiots you went to high school with didn't suddenly get smart. People are quite dumb, on average.

Comment Re:Young engineers ... (Score 1) 244

That and they have less to loose in case of failure. So they are willing to take more risks and perhaps get bigger rewards. Having a family while personally rewarding forced you to play it safer as failure will effect more than themselves.

Anyone with a foot out the door of the company they are working for is in the same boat. Once I realized that the company needs me more than I need them, I was a lot more willing to stand up to management and forcefully push for needed changes. I just didn't care if I lost at that point since I wasn't planning on sticking around.

I have been assigned a lot more responsibility since then. Maybe that's what it takes to be in management- boldness on the edge of recklessness.

Comment Re:Uh, no you're not (Score 1) 157

"We are building a citizen-fueled clean power plant,"

Uh, no you're not. You are running an energy saving campaign. You are not creating anything new power here.

I agree, but under some current regulatory models, such shenanigans are treated similarly as an actual power plant. To the grid, adding 50MW of supply is the same as subtracting 50MW of demand (in most cases). There are several things about this that greatly concern me, especially the part about a tech company entering the energy market and extracting large amounts of money while providing very little benefit.

Despite the reforms after Enron, the energy market is not regulated very well, regulation varies by location within the US, and some of the tricks being pulled would make Wall Street blush. It's a complicated system that requires a lot of specialized experience to understand. I work in the energy industry and we have a saying- "Whenever there is confusion, someone will exploit it".

Comment Re:Censorship? (Score 1) 146

Ok, abcnews does have it on front page, CNN, wsj, nytimes do not.

Blame readers.

At the end of the day newspapers are in the business of attracting readers. A story about NSA hacking tools is too esoteric for most of their readers and lacks the cool characters or personalized villains that drive narratives.

Even the last /. story only had 130 comments, and it's a story specifically about the NSA and hackers. If it barely interests the /. audience I don't imagine it's going to be a hit with the general public.

130 comments is a pretty good discussion on Slashdot. It may even be above average.

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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"