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Comment Re:Saving the world with a Tax. (Score 3, Insightful) 151

The idea of a tax isn't as silly as you make it sound. The problem with most forms of pollution (from a purely economic standpoint) is that one person or company gains the benefits from polluting, but everyone pays the costs. This is known as an externality. Taxing pollution fixes this and means that the polluting technology becomes more expensive to operate and makes the barrier to entry for non-polluting technologies higher. If something is producing a lot of carbon dioxide but costs $5/widget, and you add a tax that amounts to $2.50/widget, then a replacement technology that doesn't emit any CO_2 but costs $7/widget is now cheaper to use. This means that you can bring it to market before you've got the economies of scale to push the price down below $5/widget.

Comment Re:solar/wind talk is spin - France vs China (Score 1) 151

Size doesn't really matter, because most renewable schemes scale with area. Population density does. France has 116/km^2, China has 145/km^2, so almost a 25% higher overall population density. That translates to a little bit less space for wind, solar, hydro and so on per capita, but not by enough to make it infeasible. Add in nuclear power, and the scaling is quite easy - building a nuclear power plant is hard, but doubling the generating capacity doesn't come close to doubling the land area, as long as you have a supply of uranium (China has uranium mines, France doesn't).

Comment Re:White Power Rangers...ASSEMBLE! (Score 1) 223

A big part of the problem is that race and wealth correlate strongly in the USA and the rhetoric from the Democrats has been about race and not poverty, even though the latter is the real problem. This leaves people who are both poor and white feeling that the party only cares about poverty when it happens to black people and, worse, that it feels middle class black people deserve more help than poor white ones. This is made even worse by the fact that there's a black President: clearly being black isn't a complete barrier to success, but being born poor often is.

Comment Re:How's that feel Texas? (Score 2) 100

The key word in the summary is 'hundreds'. It brings the total that Tesla is planning on hiring to 7,000. Nevada is giving Tesla $1.3bn over 20 years, so that works out at $65m/year, or $10K/worker. It's a pretty big gamble that the state will take $10K/year more in tax revenues per worker than if the factory were not there. They're betting that the existence of the Tesla factory will spur other job-creating manufacturing industry.

Comment Re:so old! (Score 1) 50

1. Do you have to go out of your way and invest significant time and effort to avoid the use of these Oracle-owned libraries when you want to develop software in Java?

I'm quite happy to go out of my way to not add an extra 'use expensive commercial features' flag when I invoke the JVM.

2. Are you able to write good software without the Oracle-owned libraries? (good = robust, efficient, secure, ...)

I'd first like to see an existence proof that robust, efficient, and secure software exists, but assuming that axiom, any Java program that works with OpenJDK (i.e. the reference Java implementation) will work without any Oracle-specific things.

Comment Re:Mac OS based espionage malware (Score 3, Informative) 50

It's also probably difficult to get a user to accidentally install it. Java used to be installed by default on MacOS X, then there was a thing where, on first use, it would prompt the user and ask them if they wanted it. Now there's a thing saying 'you need Java to do this, go to this web page and download and install it, then try again'. Most casual users will say 'that looks hard, I can't be bothered'.

Comment Re:That doesn't change anything (Score 1) 112

Making money here means net profit. For a growing business, this should be negative. If you can borrow money at a 5% interest rate and use it to grow the business at a rate of 10%, then you report a loss but your company value increases. Amazon's strategy has been along these lines for most of its existence: all gross profits are reinvested in the business, so they always show a loss and their increase in value gives them the access to more capital through loans or by issuing more stock.

Comment Re:Can it beat the doctors (Score 4, Informative) 146

This is a common problem with most AI announcements. Is 80% accurate better than a simple statistical model? Often not. Does it scale up from a small sample size? Remember the recent face recognition thing that managed with only a hundred or so pixels? Sounded impressive, until you realise that the training set and the testing set were the same and that they only included around 1,000 faces, so simple information theory tells you that you only need 10 bits of information to identify each one and 800 bits doesn't sound quite so impressive.

Comment Re:Don't realize who the robber barons are, do you (Score 2) 112

And yet, in the UK where it is illegal to make union membership compulsory, unions seem to work better. If people see the unions working on their behalf, then they're generally happy to pay the dues (sure, you get a few freeloaders, but not enough to break the system). If a union is not representing the interests of the majority of its members, then it will quickly see its funding dry up. Importantly, voluntarily paying union dues is a big signal to the employer that the union actually does have negotiating power: it implies that the the union is trusted by the majority of the employees to bargain on their behalf. In many places, you have two or more competing unions (though the law says that any deal reached by one union must be offered to all employees, irrespective of whether they are members of that union) and so not only does a union have to represent its members' interests to retain its income, it has to represent those interests better than the competition.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 1) 291

Only if you never use suspend to RAM. 32GB of DDR4 will use 12W, constantly, for as long as the machine is storing data in memory, including in sleep mode. Currently, the sleep mode uses around 1W, so you're cutting the sleep time to 1/12th before you even start using the machine. In fact, with the current FAA rules on battery size allowed on flights, you'd only get about 8 hours of standby time in the model you're describing - not even enough to leave it overnight without needing to suspend to disk. In idle use (CPU and GPU not doing much, but screen on), you'd double the power consumption. In heavy use, you'd increase it by about a quarter. Unless you're spending basically all of your time with the CPU and GPU saturated and swapping heavily, you'd see far less battery life with 32GB of DDR4 than with 16GB of LPDDR3 (the choices that current Intel chips provide).

Comment Re:a little late, no? (Score 1) 291

The batteries in the MBP are as big as the FAA allows on planes. Even if you're not using it in the cabin, you're not allowed lithium ion batteries in the hold at all, so they'd have created a laptop that no one could take on a flight. That makes it useless for a lot of Apple's current customers and having two lines, one for people who might want to fly and one for people who definitely won't would be a pain.

Comment Re: They said they want us to die... (Score 1) 291

A C++ compiler will happily use 2-300MB of RAM. A MBP has 4 cores plus hyperthreading, so to make sure that you're using the CPU you're doing 8-way parallel builds. That will easily fit in 4GB, until you get to the small handful of template-heavy files that use 1-2GB each, and suddenly you're at 16GB and swapping, which kills performance for the whole build. The linker will take 4GB or so if you're not doing LTO, if you are then it will happily chew through 16GB.

Comment Re:Ha-Ha! (Score 1) 277

Windows is the last remaining bastion of the keyboard-accessible GUI. Mac never had it,

Huh? OS X is completely keyboard accessible (though there's a thing that you need to flick in System Preferences to enable it). In any OS X dialog that uses the standard NSAlertPanel interfaces, enter will perform the okay action and escape the cancel action.

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