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Comment What DVR are are you using? (Score 1) 141

And between "you cannot tape this show" and "you cannot fast forward through this part", the whole DVR has become obsolete for most applications unless you know how to remove that bullshit from the equation.

I haven't run into a commercial yet that my Tivo can't fast forward through. I can't be bothered with services like Sling that won't let you skip commercials. Just not worth the money to waste my life watching ads.

Comment There will be commercials (probably) (Score 3, Interesting) 141

Netflix's boom in subscribers is a sign that the world is accepting internet TV, meaning without commercials and on-demand, said CEO Reed Hastings

Yeah we've seen the "no commercials" promise before when cable TV was becoming a thing and it was bullshit then too. They'll only stay away from commercials long enough to get a subscriber base. Commercials are where most of the money is and it will be hard for them to ignore that fact. I have a hard time imagining Netflix being immune to the siren's call of that much cash forever.

Comment US debt holders (Score 4, Informative) 249

China owns something like a third of the total foreign held US debt

The amount of US debt China owns is less than 10% of the total amount outstanding. Currently around $1.3 Trillion which is a big number but only a single digit percentage of the total debt. Most of the US debt is actually held by Americans. Of the $12.9 trillion chunk of debt owned by Americans, $5.3 trillion is held by government trust funds such as Social Security, $5.1 trillion is held by individuals, pension funds and state and local governments and the remaining $2.5 trillion is held by the Federal Reserve. Basically most of the debt is IOUs to the American people.

Interestingly Japan owns almost as much US debt as China does at $1.1 Trillion. But Japan isn't so scary so people gloss over that fact.

Although China needs the US as badly as the US needs China, if we try to bluster our way into something stupid, just calling the debt will make for a rather unpleasant time as the world economy topples.

China has no ability whatsoever to "call" the US debt. Treasury bonds don't work like that. China bought those treasuries to keep their currency exchange rate under control. Furthermore even if China wanted to get rid of their US denominated debt, they have absolutely no one else they can sell it to. There simply are no buyers for that much US debt at anywhere close to face value. If they hold a fire sale they absolutely screw their own economy in the process.

Comment Two parties are here to stay (Score 3, Insightful) 255

My hope is that the Trump administration will continue to highlight the inequalities that are baked into the current system.

Unless there is some path to actually do something about them what exactly would be the point of that? I have close to zero confidence that anything will meaningfully change any time soon.

The two party system must come to an end.

Only way that will happen is if we change the voting system to be something other than First Past the Post and we get rid of Gerrymandering. However since both of those things support the interests of the two major parties neither is likely to see any meaningful reform any time soon.

Comment Trump is worse (Score 5, Insightful) 255

So, the Russians made the democrats, Hillary and all the rest do all those unsavory (criminal??) things just to get Trump elected.

Whatever "unsavory" thing you imagine the Clintons to have done, Donald Trump can match it or top it for sheer asshattery. And judging by the Bond villians he's nominating for cabinet positions he's just getting warmed up on the unsavory activities. Is Hillary a saint? Hell no. Nobody who runs for high office is without sin. But Trump is worse in pretty much every imaginable way when it comes to being a criminal and an all around terrible person.

Sorry, but the Hillary loss can be placed at the feet of Hillary, the Democrats, the MSM and the RINOs who were conspiring against the american people.

"Conspiring against the American people"? Snort... That's rich. I think you might be off your medications if you think the republican party is any more concerned about the well being of the American people than the democrats are. Doubly so if you think Trump has the best interests of you and me at heart.

Comment Budget perceptions (Score 1) 45

Still, the public perception is that NASA's budget is far more than it actually is.

True. And yet ironically much of the public thinks we don't spend enough on our military despite it accounting for close to a quarter of the national budget and is . $597B in 2015 alone which is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, India and Germany COMBINED. Interestingly the US military budget is very close to the same amount as our annual deficit which also is right around $600B. So we are borrowing the entire US military budget every year and forcing future generations to pay for it. Talk about misplaced priorities.

Comment Self driving != accident free (Score 1) 140

I think the key phrase is "Self-driving".

Self driving isn't equivalent to accident free. Self driving vehicles will still get in accidents. They MIGHT get in fewer accidents but the number will not be zero. And the fewer accident notion is a very big IF at this point. Until we get such vehicles on the road we won't know if their accident rate is better or worse under real world conditions.

If there's any significant collision risk, the car could simply go straight up to avoid it.

I think you've been watching too many movies. Real world physics doesn't work like that. Some obstacles simply cannot be avoided. Some road conditions will prevent collision avoidance. Good luck going up when you have power lines overhead for instance. Sometimes obstacles appear faster than it is possible to maneuver to avoid them.

Comment State of the art (Score 1) 140

Um, then we must already be living in a "Tony stark's fictional arc reactor" universe then since there are droves of flying car prototypes out there

"Droves of flying car prototypes"? Hardly. There are a few light airplanes that technically can be driven on a road in good weather at modest speeds. Get in a fender bender and they instantly are no longer air worthy. None are safe to drive in bad weather. None are practical in any sense of the word. None have ever become viable products that could be sold in meaningful quantities because there are WAY too many engineering trade offs. None are operable without a runway and a pilot's license. None are going to be sold to the general public in quantity any time soon because they are utterly useless in real life. It's more economical to have a car and a plane than a single vehicle that does both badly.

There are even a few prototypes in the works that have some short runway/vertical takeoff capabilities.

There always are "a few prototypes in the works". That's a LONG way away from saying they are actually viable products. We don't have a power source of sufficient energy density to make a useful flying car. End of story. Until we do a flying car will remain a mythical beast.

Comment We lack the power supply (Score 2) 140

We don't have flying cars for a number of reasons.

Actually we don't have them primarily for one reason. We don't have an energy supply of sufficient power to weight (including fuel) to enable a robustly built vehicle to get off the ground and travel. Basically we need something like Tony Stark's fictional arc reactor to make a flying car feasible. We can build a "car" that flies but with the state of the art in power plants there are simply too many engineering trade offs to make something more than a crude prototype.

All the other problems you mentioned are to a large degree already solved today. They would require large economic investments but they are possible. The only problem that so far is intractable is the power supply for the vehicle. Our current ones are FAR too heavy even if you don't include the fuel.

Comment Is it a car or a drone by another name? (Score 1) 140

Airbus plans to test a prototype for a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads by the end of the year, the aerospace group's chief executive said on Monday.

If it doesn't drive on the roads then it is not a flying car. It's basically a form of a drone that happens to carry people.

I'm curious how they think they have repealed the laws of physics sufficiently to allow a car that is robust enough to survive travel on normal roads AND still remain airworthy. All the so-called flying cars anyone has come up with so far lack power plants with sufficient energy to avoid massive compromises in design. A car that is light enough to get off the ground is too fragile to survive a collision of any consequence. I'm not aware of any breakthrough in propulsion technology that would enable a normal car to get aloft or a single person aircraft to drive like a normal car.

Comment We are tool makers (Score 1) 127

These are the technologies threatening jobs in the short term. We don't need AI robots with consciousness for workers to be displaced.

There is always some new tool that will render certain jobs obsolete. We're tool makers. That probably our most defining characteristic. We've been displacing workers from jobs since before we became a distinct species. I see no technology in the near term future that I think has any reasonable probability of causing mass unemployment greater than we've seen in previous generations and in previous technological eras. Yes some people will have to change what they do just like has always been the case and always will be the case.

Comment Ideaology misplaced (Score 0) 127

But I fear this transition may be different. (And I say this as a Free Market, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand Capitalist.)

I suggest you learn why Ayn Rand is nothing but a bunch of selfish preposterous nonsense. Her writings obviously have a visceral appeal to many who cannot be bothered to think about them very deeply but they mostly are selfish ideology with no basis in evidence or factual reality. Christopher Hitchens does a rather eloquent takedown of her malarky.

We may need to come up with a different solution.

Every scenario requires a different solution. I have good faith in human ingenuity and self preservation that we will come up with one.

Tech can bring a dystopic future or interestingly enough fuse the Marxist and Libertarian dreams and come up with something very interesting and good.

You seem to be presupposing that Marxism and Libertarianism are inherently virtuous somehow and that somehow tech is supposed to reinforce either or both. No idea where you are going with that. Whatever your argument is I'm not sure we're going to find it here.

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