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Comment More importantly (Score 5, Insightful) 424

Every vote for a third party is a threat to a major party's political power.

As long as it's not enough of a threat to swing an election, they don't care.

What it DOES do that's useful, though, is tell them:
  - Here's someone who cares enough to take the trouble to vote, but that (both of) you weren't able to attract to your candidate.
  - and THAT (the STATED position of the minor party) is the direction you have to change in order to attract this voter later.

Comment I don't think that's what he did. (Score 1) 1004

So you don't think the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the US inviting a foreign power, one that is at the best of times in a rather tense relationship with the United States, to hack into US systems just to gain dirt on the other party's nominee is reasonable?

It's obvious to a native speaker of English (who isn't astroturfing the Democrats' talking points) that Trump was NOT inviting the Russians to initiate a new crack on his opponent's servers.

He was ribbing his opponents, and keeping their lax security (and their "The Russians are aiding him!" attempt at distraction) in the public eye, by pointing out that the Russians probably ALREADY have the emails that Clinton's people "can't find", and inviting them to dig them out of their own archives and provide them to investigators and/or the press.

People claiming he is inviting new espionage don't just look foolish. They also play into his hands, by keeping the issue in the face of prospective voters.

But feel free to continue. B-)

Comment Re:From where does the FAA get power to regulate i (Score 1) 44

Having a patchwork assembly of differing state and local regulations and restrictions to follow while in the air would absolutely affect interstate commerce. There's really no good rational argument against that.

Yet we have just such a patchwork assembly of differing state and local regulations and restriction to follow while on the roads: Speed limits and rules for setting them, turn restrictions, stop and yield sign placement, various rules of the road and its amenities (turn-on-red, where - if at all - U-turns are legal, lane-change frequency restrictions, lane restrictions on trucks (and no-truck routes), passing on the right, maximum durations at rest stops and activity there (such as sleeping or cooking over a fire), and a host of other rules - not to mention their enforcement) all vary from state to state.

It's dependent on each state's government(s) to pass the individual regulations. Yes, there's a lot of standardization, and following federal rules. But the federal rules are followed voluntarily when it's in a state's interest, enforced as a condition of federal funding for construction and maintenance of roads bearing US or Interstate route designations, or encouraged by federal blackmail composed of the withholding of the state's share of funds gathered by the federal gasoline taxes.

Any argument that flying at all is interstate commerce goes double for driving - where long-haul trucks, passenger cars, and even bicycles and pedestrians share common roads. So why does the Federal government have to blackmail the states into legislating their way for regional and local roads, yet can claim it has the right to totally control flight, not just of interstate traffic and/or at interstate altitudes or in the glidepaths around federally-funded airports, but of battery-powered gadgets, with range far to limited to reach a state border from most parts of a state, lighter than the average dog, and all the way down to the grass in your back yard?

Comment Re:From where does the FAA get power to regulate i (Score 1) 44

Where does the FAA claim it gets the power to regulate drones which are only engaged in INTRA-state commerce and flying too low to interfere with interstate air traffic? Seems to me that's the state's job

From 49USC app 1301 - the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 ...

No, no, no. Not what I meant.

From where in the Constitution, in the face of the 10th Amendment and Norton v. Shelby County 118 U.S. 425 (1886), does the Federal Government's Congress claim to get the power to delegate to such an executive branch agency?

Comment From where does the FAA get power to regulate it? (Score 1) 44

I'm curious:

Where does the FAA claim it gets the power to regulate drones which are only engaged in INTRA-state commerce and flying too low to interfere with interstate air traffic? Seems to me that's the state's job.

(Similarly with the FCC and radio signals that are too weak to be decoded outside the state of origin or substantially interfere with reasonable interstate services. Sure "radio goes on forever". But so does sound - with the same inverse-square law and similar interference characteristics - and we get along just fine without federal regulation of speech and bullhorns.)

Comment Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 129

Sure, but unless you've developed a superconducting substrate, or come up with a reliable, efficient 3D cooling system, or are willing to run the 3D transistors only at very low speed/power, you're going to run into serious heat dissipation problems.

Back then I was proposing a diamond semiconductor - supported and powered by water-cooled silver busbars. Diamond is extremely conductive thermally. The bandgap is 5.5V, corresponding to the deep ultraviolet, so you can run it very hot without fouling the electrical properties (though you have to keep; it below 752 F or it will gradually degrade.) I'd want to put it in a bottle with an inert atmosphere so it wouldn't oxidize at high temperature, either.

The flip side of the big bandgap is that it consumes more energy - and generates more heat - when switching than current silicon designs which run at about a third that voltage.

These days I'd probably go for layers of graphine, which conducts heat even better than diamond.

With a rectangular solid you can get a LOT of transistors (and their interconnects) into a few cubic feet. The original proposal was for a six-foot cube - 216 cubic feet. Powering and cooling on two faces gives you 72 square feet of heat and power transfer serice, with 432 square feet on the other two faces for optical I/O fibers. Nowadays I'd take a page from Gene Amdahl and go a tad smaller: so, like the 1960s-era cabinets for IBM compter components, the block of logic and its supporting structures would fit into a standard elevator.

Comment What took them so long? (Score 1) 129

The report adds that processors could still continue to fulfill Moore's Law with increased vertical density.

What took them so long?

I've been pointing out that a three-dimensional arrangement off components could continue FAR longer than an essentially single-layer arrangements since at least the 1970s.

Comment Re:How Much? (Score 1) 79

I thought that much was obvious, but for those who have not been paying attention, we are close to using up our hydrocarbons.

Maybe four centuries for all sources of fossil carbon, hydrogenated or otherwise, depending on usage rate.

Remember that "reserves" means "the stuff we already found while exploring". Nobody with a financial clue spends today's private money exploring for stuff they won't be digging up and selling for decades. So you only have more than about 20 years of "reserves" when there have been giant finds, the known reserves are too expensive to exploit and there might be easier stuff out there, or too much of the known reserves are unexploitable due to things like government intervention. There's no doubt quite a lot more out there, though it's still finite.

Running out is not a disaster. We can easily make all the stuff that's made from oil and there are other energy sources - including more coming down the pipeline. We're only digging/pumping up most of our energy and much of our chemical feedstocks right now because it's CHEAPER than the alternatives.

But it's not cheaper by much. (Photovoltaic is now becoming competitive with grid power in many areas, even without government market distortions, and the tech just keeps improving.)

By the time the fossil fuels run out we'll have lots of alternatives, and they'll run out by gradually getting more expensive, so people will smoothly transition to alternatives (thanks to Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand"). The main problem (if the CO2->global warming conjecture is true and substantial) will be keeping the Earth from crashing into the next orbital-mechanics driven Ice Age (as humans MAY have been doing for about the last 10,000 years or so, as the orbital climate-forcing has been curving down steadily.)

Comment Caller id spoofing already broke that. (Score 1) 120

The real way to handle it is to create an open source shared black list, have people sign up for a service, and vote when they answer a call on whether or not it is a telemarketer or robo-call.

Caller ID spoofing already broke block lists. By the time a call gets to your local telco there is no way even for them to tell where it really came from. They regularly spoof their identity - often as others they're robo-calling, or even as the phone they are calling.

IMHO the only way available currently is to trace back a particular call, from telco to telco, to see where it DID come from - then go after the actual robocaller. (Good luck getting that implemented, though. Or getting it to work across all countries, rather than letting the spammers run from safe havens.)

Comment Re:I really don't understand this drone applicatio (Score 4, Insightful) 43

Why would you use a heavier-than-air craft to essentially hover? Wouldn't an aerostat accomplish the same goal at a much lower cost, and lower risk of bodily harm should it fall from the sky?

I don't know why they chose it. Here's my take:

An aerostat requires tethers, which are points of failure, and has enormous wind drag. Lose the tether(s) and you lose control. Then you have a large, failing, floating device at the mercy of the winds, dragging first broken tethers, then its own large structure, on an uncontrolled path along the ground, wreaking unknown havoc.

A powered heavier-than-air (but still ultralight) has little drag and can also be made to change locations easily. With good design, if it begins to accumulate failures that jeopardize its continued operational ability, it can be made to fly to a repair site and land - after its backup has arrived to take its place.

If you have catastrophic events - like huricaines, tornadoes, or forest firestoms - it can easily be moved away (to land for shelter or fly around or above the storm) and brought back when the environment is calmer. You don't even have to take it out of service. Just fly it above the tropopause. The stratosphere is probably a good place for it to operate anyhow: Negligible weather, no cloud shadows for solar-powered planes, and gives you a lot of coverage per drone. (Balloons can get there, too, easily. But 50,000 feet or so is a LOT of tether.)

Comment But will they play Badger Badger Badger? (Score 1) 156

Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins.

But will they play Badger Badger Badger?

Until that can be emulated on the "replacement functionality", removing Flash is a fundamental impact on the Internet Experience. ;-)

Comment Look huge to me. (Score 2) 41

Google has how many subscribers now? Somehow, these numbers look astonishingly small

Google has how many employees to process these requests now? Somehow, these numbers look annoyingly huge.

How much does this cost Google to process? How much more does this cost to resist if Google wants to try to protect its customers' data, how much more to research whether each particular customers deserves this effort?

Can Google bill the governments for this service? Does this qualify as a fifth-amendment "taking"? Can google sue for reimbursement of these costs?

How much does this cost Google in lost revenue from people who bail out, or don't join, rather than leave their sensitive data where it is subject to search without their knowledge, and potential disclosure?

How much does incurring these costs result in raised costs or reduced services for Google's customers? How many, and what, services might they have to terminate, or never deploy, or never even develop, because the money that might have provided them is instead eaten by servicing government information requests? How badly does this impact their business models, their stock price, their investors' returns?

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