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Comment Re:Oh Boeing... (Score 1) 403

My grandparents lived on the landing approach path to JFK, out in Floral Park. When the Concorde came in, you freakin' knew it was the Concorde. It was a lot louder than the other airplanes on that approach, and it was nice that it only went over twice a day (It was a very cool airplane, and we'd go out to look, at least for the morning landing).

I dunno about "normal cruising speed", but on "approach to JFK" it was a hell of a lot louder than the 747s, DC10s and similar of the late '70s and early '80s. Looking at the approach profiles I see that the aircraft were probably at about 2k feet over Floral Park. I reject your statement, from experience.

Comment Adaptive Cruise Control can already help a whole l (Score 1) 648

See, for example, "Effect of adaptive cruise control systems on traffic flow.", Davis LC., which suggests that if just 20% of drivers used ACC we'd eliminate traffic jams (although traffic would flow more slowly at high densities, it wouldn't have the non-laminar jam behavior it does now). So, yes, depending on how you define "congestion", it could happen with a fairly low adoption rate.

And others have mentioned that you could also have closer follow distance, so you could probably at least double vehicles per lane-hour throughput.

Comment What about unequipped participants? (was Re:NO!) (Score 1) 115

The heck with hacking, does this mean we're going to equip deer with WiFi, and fine children who ride near the street on tricycles that aren't equipped?

Cooperative communication can be used for things like platooning and adaptive cruise control, but it has to be augmented by enough situational awareness to understand what's happening without cooperation. So the "safety" thing doesn't make any sense to me: If you're depending on inter-vehicle communication for safety, all it takes is an unequipped roadway participant, or a failed transceiver, to create a dangerous situation.


Aussie Attorney General Says Gamers Are Scarier Than Biker Gangs 409

Sasayaki writes "South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson claims, in an interview with Good Game, that gamers were more of a threat to his family than biker gangs. This is the man who has been the biggest opponent to Australia receiving an R18+ rating for video games and who has the power to veto any such law introducing it."

Comment Calculate the orbital periods of Jupiter's moons (Score 1) 377

It takes several nights (and several hours per night) of viewing, but the most dramatic "wow, there's really stuff happening up there!" class project I've seen is calculating the orbital periods of Jupiter's moons. With just a 'scope, if you look at Jupiter, and then use a stopwatch to find the times for each of the moons going out of frame, and then have your kids plot those points out on graph paper. Do this at hour intervals for 3 nights running, you can then fit sine curves to the points and see what the orbital period of the moons is.

You can also do this with a digital camera with a decent sized lens (most of the SLRs with the 1.6 or so multiplier and a 300mm lens will work well), just counting pixels of separation.

The "wow, that's not just static" realization can be profound.

I haven't built a web page yet for this experiment, but I do have a spreadsheet to do the graphing automatically, drop me an email if you'd like further class materials and maybe that'll get me to build the page for this.


Failed Games That Damaged Or Killed Their Companies 397

An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

Comment Re:Will it help the internet? (Score 1) 183

It seems like it could, provided that the lines can handle the bandwidth (which you claim, I'll take your word for it). As for the other end, if I got it right the process can be reversed to restretch out small chunks of the signal into something slow enough to be readable.

I wonder something though, can't they just send a bunch of parallel signals each at different frequencies instead of bothering with serialising the whole thing onto the same carrier? I mean it would use the same bandwidth in the end, so why bother making it all be on one carrier?

Comment Re:Is this good news or bad? (Score 1) 239


I pull up Slashdot with no Javascript and get a nice comment list. It works, and that's all there is to it.

I pull up Slashdot with Javascript enabled and sit there and wait for the browser to grind code for five seconds (bringing everything else on my computer, including Folding@Home, to a stall), just for a stupid little box that floats along the left side of the page like a stray dog that's decided to follow you around for some reason and has a bunch of sliders that are supposed to show and hide content but don't work at all.

I'll take the no-JS version of the page, thanks.

And don't even get me started about the Preferences...

Comment Re:Open Source is Customer Driven (Score 1) 275

It seems you've never worked with "enterprise software"

At my previous company we built 'enterprise' software. Generally the 'stagnation' you describe was a customer effect, not a vendor effect. The customers had an integrated enterprise system and refused to upgrade, even if it meant new features. We were on Version 6, but still had to support Version 3 (which amusingly required IE6) Kind of like my dad and his old volvo - If it ain't broke, they didn't fix it.

Comment Re:Open Source is Customer Driven (Score 1) 275

Hard to tell what that list means for the largest players in the software industry, since I can't find software in there anywhere.
Also, margins and profits are not the same thing. I believe what the poster meant was that the actual cost of producing the software (not including things like marketing and sales) is around 20% of the selling price. I don't know about most companies, but that is true for MS Windows and MS Office sales. MS's overall profits are much less than 80%, because they lose so much money on other things.

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Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?