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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Their fault (Score 1) 38

That explains why they left the other nasties alone. After all Australia still has all of its 50 pound worms, 100 pound spiders, mosquitos the size of baseballs, snakes the size of oil pipelines, golfball sized versions of those fish that swim up your urinal tract, etc. All poisonous, spiky, slimy, smelly, and very very pissed off.

Comment Re:He's missing the point. (Score 4, Insightful) 133

It would be nice if people could learn to think in terms of threats that fell somewhere between "safe to ignore" and "extinction level event". Or could distinguish between "extreme and expensive" responses and "effective" ones.

9/11 could have been prevented by simple, conservative and inexpensive countermeasures. After 9/11 politicians droned on about how "9/11 changed everything," but the cold sober fact was that it in fact changed nothing. It just showed that some of the things sensible people had already been telling us to do (like reinforcing cockpit doors or getting agencies to work together despite institutional rivalries) really did need to be done. Instead "9/11 changed everything" became the rallying cry for every pet scheme that had heretofore been correctly dismissed as too expensive, hare-brained, or just plain dumb.

Which doesn't change the fact that something needed to be done. Here's the lesson I think we should take into this infrastructure debate: we should take sensible and conservative steps to secure infrastructure against terrorism now, before events put foolish ones on the table.

Comment Re:Good but... (Score 1) 114

Or... what if anytime anyone called a residential number, a nickel was transferred from the caller's account to the callee's account.

That wouldn't stop anyone from making a call where an actual person is likely to be involved; the labor costs for a three minute conversation would swamp that. But it would discourage people from robocalling a hundred thousand people in order to turn up a handful of suckers.

And the public wouldn't have to pay a regulator to try to track down these boiler room operations.

Comment Re:What complete nonsense (Score 1) 289

That's a good point: the banks in Europe did appear to need some help with their reserves. But at some point, the object was no longer to save the banks from collapse, but to improve their reserves so that they could start lending money to businesses and individuals again, thus kickstarting the economy. But proponents in favour of helicopter money argue that the effect of such QE on the economy is slow and limited, and that giving cash in the hands of people directly is a far more effective way to aid the economy.

Comment Re:Agrument in favor of modularity (Score 1) 86

I don't have to do anything. Even stored under ideal circumstances li-ion batteries lose capacity.

What matter is capacity relative to demand. In a phone like the Droid Maxx from a few years ago with plenty of surplus battery the phone will still be usable four years later. But something like a Samsung Galaxy S6 barely has enough battery to make it through the day when brand new and is pretty much unusable two years later even under ideal conditions.

Comment Re:There's a lot more iron much closer... (Score 4, Informative) 289

And there's some twenty million tons of gold dissolved in the Earth's oceans. Jules Verne made it the source of Captain Nemo's incredible wealth.

To put twenty million tons of gold in perspective, all the gold that has ever been mined by humans totals up to about 180 thousand tons. To put in another perspective: sure, it's gold, but at a concentration of thirteen billionths of a gram per liter of seawater it's worthless unless you have unlimited time and energy to extract it.

That's the problem with asteroid mining in general. Until the cost of changing an object's momentum goes down drastically it's not worth doing. If Pysche were a 1000 kg block of pure, refined platinum (market price: $34 million) you'd be hard-pressed to retrieve it and return it to Earth at a profit. Which is not to say asteroid mining is a bad idea; but first things first: you've got to reduce the price of interplanetary propulsion by a couple orders of magnitudes. One thing that never happens in a sci-fi asteroid mining scenario is the hero worrying about running out of gas. Propulsion in stories is always practically limitless and free of charge. Real propulsion will never be that good, but it could get good enough.

Comment Re:May I suggest ... (Score 1) 64

That's pretty expensive. There may be some prepaid plans that are worse ($30 for 1Gb+unlimited V&T is probably hard to beat), but once you get to the regular subscriptions from the big four, especially family plans, it's really poor value.

I was always surprised Google structured Fi that way, it struck me that building a phone service around a price schedule is doomed to failure. Sooner or later everyone else changes their prices (or what you get for those prices) and suddenly your innovative pricing doesn't look so great any more.

Comment Re:How large?!? (Score 1) 289

Living on Mars is certainly not impossible, we have the technology. We just need to deal with risk, accidents and deaths, health issues, the incredible expense of getting a colony set up, and the idea of going without iPhones, health care, toilet paper and any form of luxury so we can pay for the ongoing resupply missions. So sure, it's a little impractical at the moment. But not impossible.

Comment Re:What complete nonsense (Score 1) 289

It's actually not a bad idea if you want a little inflation, and there are cases where you'd want it. This is Friedman's "helicopter money", where a central bank increases the money supply by giving every person a bit of cash, instead of the usual quantitive easing where they buy government securities. The idea behind this method is that it turns out that money generated through QE doesn't make its way into the real economy all that quickly, where it is expected that a one-off payment to citizens will (even if they decide to save or invest most of it). It was actually briefly considered in Europe, but naturally the banks oppose it since it means the helicopter will not be flying over their lawn anymore,and thus Draghi (president of the ECB and former Goldman Sachs exec) is never going to allow it.

Of course it wouldn't be a million but perhaps $1000 or a $300 Tricky Dick Fun Bill.

Slashdot Top Deals

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?

Working...