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Submission + - Peak Copper: The end begins in 30 years (

goombah99 writes: If electrons are the lifeblood of a modern economy, copper makes up its blood vessels. In cables, wires, and contacts, copper is at the core of the electrical distribution system, from power stations to delicate electronics. As consumption has risen exponentially—reaching 17 million metric tons in 2012—miners have met the world's demand for 10,000 years. But that might soon change. A group of resource specialists has taken the first shot at projecting how much more copper miners will wring from the planet. Results of their model, described this month, show that production peaks by about midcentury even if copper is more abundant than most geologists believe. That would drive prices sky-high, trigger increased recycling, and force inferior substitutes for copper on the marketplace.

Comment Wrong measure (Score 2) 381

The total market however more than doubled in that time. Apple is still gaining market. It's just losing it's fractional share of unit sales.
If instead you measure the market in revenue, rather than unit sales. Then apple is rising in fractional market share. Moreover It's margins are also vastly higher. So in terms of profit it has a majority of the market.

Submission + - What alternatives to Net Nanny do slashdotters use

goombah99 writes: Net Nanny is the well known software to shield young children just getting started on the internet. But I figure that maybe computer savvy folks have other solutions or things that can be layered on top. If there was a list of naughty sites one could of course toss that in a Host file but, having tried that approach, those lists can be pretty long (and thus slow) despite being incomplete and they don't filter by content just IP. The other problem is that they are not per-user so mommy and daddy can't browse freely. I don't mind paying and don't require an open source solution. But I do need one for a mac osx computer. All this goes without saying that supervision and participation are important but you can monitor every key stroke and page load even when you are in the same room. Almost every google phrase you can think of has some close by salacious analog: My 5 year old like Ben 10, and I encourage him to use logic to form his own search phases, but there are some naughty Ben's in the world apparently. What do slashdotters do?

Comment Alterataive to fold it (Score 1) 144

If you don't want to play the game but do want to help protein research then there are a couple of ways you can donate some of your unused computer time to researchers in this field. The newest way about to come on-line is a project by Dr. Charlie Strauss at Los Alamos National Lab. He is in the process of setting up a distributed grid of volunteer computers from folks who want to donate cycles on their (intel) mac computers to protein design. It's not online yet but you already have the software installed on your mac. it's part of the mac-OS and it's called xgrid and it's in your sharing preferences. If you have a mac, with a multi-core intel CPU and want to donate some of your underutilized computing power then write to him at cems (at) with the subject line "Joining the Xgrid" for details. He's working on replacements for antibodies and enzymes that can digest wood waste into bio-fuels.

If you have never heard of Xgrid, it's a descendant of the ZILLA project that ran on NeXT computers. One of the earliest volunteer grids. Zilla is credited with pivotal exploration of the 4 color map theorem proof and foundational work in big-computing CGI.

Comment hypervisor != OS (Score 1) 104

Okay so One can protect the hypervisor execution. How do we protect the OS and the software the hypervisor's software storage?

There has to be a way to update the hypervisor, and presumably that update comes over the web. You can guarantee the that code will execute in a protected space but can you guarantee you are executing the right code or that the code itself does not have a security hole.

The there is the OS. Presumably this can still be infected. Also presumably some attacks will run in a layer between the hypervisor and OS. That is they will create a virtual hypervisor of a malicious type.

Still it's a great advance. I expect the military and banking industry will be the early adopters.

Comment back to perl! (Score 1, Insightful) 279

The ultimate glue language. It's not pretty as python but it's a woodchipper when it comes to parsing and re-gluing outputs. Indeed that's what the acronym P.E.R.L strands for. My favorite reason to use perl is that you can do more things more easily with the core language. You don't have to depend upon importing libs. The surprise is that it's also not bloated at the core level: compare the thickness of the perl pocket ref to any other language. it's tiny.

Comment bad analogy (Score 1) 435

It's a weak analogy to compare super weeds to superbugs.  In the case of bugs we have a  huge limit.  There is only one species we are defending (us) and we can't just arbitrarily medicate ourselves.  With the plants we a defending, they are replanted every year, we can treat the soils and the plants arbitrarily, and even genetically modify the plants if crop rotation itself is not sufficient.  For example plant corn to share them for several years.

So I think we do understand  a lot of the externalities as far as the battle between wanted and unwanted plants goes.

The place where we don't understant the externalities is in the consequences outside that battle.  Will BT plants also kill good bugs or bugs that birds like to eat?  Will pesticide runoff get in the fish we eat or water we drink?  Will putting animal proteins in plants someday create prions?

Comment telecom (Score 3, Interesting) 790

Remember the FCC is the Federal Communications Commission.   Notice the word Communications.  So it seems like they might have some authority here.

One place we know they do have authority is telephony.  And the largest immediate threats posed by the decision I think are to 1)  VOIP  and 2) Netflix.  For brevity, I'm going to ignore bittorrent because at present while a big bandwidth hog, it's not a commercialized bandwidth hog like the other two.

it will be easy for comcast to squeeze out all VOIP and streaming video providers with simple QOS tweaks.  Already Netflix is barely tolerable and it would not take much for me to give it up.  Likewise Comcast is now in the VOIP market so why not prefer their own packets over others?

You can't even call it Anti-trust since they are not leveraging one market to enter another.  Indeed Comcast has been in the movie providing market longer than netflix.  You might make the anti-trust argument for voip however.

Which brings me back to the FCC.  the FCC might not have the authority to regulate all of the internet but surely they can regulate VOIP since that is telephony.

I sure hope they do, because once all the VOIP and netflix competition is squeezed out to either comcast itself or to people that partner with comcast  it's going to be hard to decentralize it again.

I'll make one other prediction.  the fate of bit torrent.  right now bit torrent is nothing but cost to COmcast.  if it went away people would not stop paying for their internet connection so there's no downside to squeezing it out.  I suspect the future of Bittorrent is how it becomes monetized.  If comcast could profit from bit torrent then they will be happy for it because, when done correctly, bit torrent more efficiently broadcasts across the edges of the network rather than the backbone.    I suspect the way it will be monetized is that someone will start selling movies using some set top internet box (roku, apple-tv, etc...) that uses bit torrent rather than limewire to deliver the content.  you park the top 200 movies in slices out on people's set top boxes-- these are not movies they ordered, you are just parking them there for delivery.  then you distribute this from these boxes.  You could even compensate the box owners for using some of their bandwidth.  THe key is you do this in a locked down DRM way where one company is selling the service.  now it makes money and costs less infrastructure wise than direct streaming.  Comcast will get a cut.

I suspect that's the future of peer to peer.


Submission + - Is the free VOIP business model sustainable?

goombah99 writes: VOIP provider ooma offers no-charge, no-strings-attached, commercial-free, VOIP to anywhere in the US. While the service is free forever, you do have to buy their unit. Unlike Magic Jack or Skype, this is a stand-alone unit so it does not need your PC to operate and behaves like a regular hassle free phone. Moreover, reviews say the voice quality is consistently as good or better than Vonage, my current carrier. Since the price of the unit on Amazon is less than about 7 months of Vonage+taxes & fees, I'm thinking of making the jump. But somehow this seems too good to be true: given the quick payback period why is everyone not using this? So I'm asking Slashdot users about their experience. A summary and links to reviews can be found here and the most in depth ones are on Amazon. They claim there is no catch: it will stay free forever as long as ooma stays in business or your voip modem does not need to be replaced (e.g. you break it or want to upgrade it) I note that since 2005, there have been regular unfulfilled predictions they would shortly be out of business, but webmeters show their traffic has grown 450% in the last year and they are now up to about 1/8th Vonage's website traffic, so it seems like they have taken root. On the otherhand ooma's bundled services (voicemail, local calling, etc...) have changed from year to year so what you get depends on when you bought into it. Is there a catch?"

Comment 4 lines of python and faster (Score 1) 311

fixed logic bug. now 4 lines.

This essentially proves that badly written python is almost as unitelligible as badly written perl.  Interestingly badly written python is easier to debug than badly written perl.  But then again perl-golf is played for characters not lines!  for example, bzip2 is done in 55 perl characters.

def recurse((position, visited),xdim= int(__import__("sys").argv[1]),ydim=

        map(recurse,sorted([(t,visited+[t]) for t in (lambda t: [ (t[0]+2, t[1]+1), (t[0]+2, t[1]-1), (t[0]-2, t[1]+1), (t[0]-2, t[1]-1), (t[0]-1, t[1]+2), (t[0]-1, t[1]-2),(t[0]+1, t[1]+2),(t[0]+1, t[1]-2)])(position) if 0<=t[0]<xdim and 0<=t[1]<ydim and t not in visited],lambda x,y:cmp(len( [1  for t in [  (-1,-1),(-1,0),(-1,1),(0,-1),(0,1),(1,-1),(1,0),(1,1)]  if (x[0][0]+t[0],x[0][1]+t[1])  in visited ] ),len( [1  for t in [  (-1,-1),(-1,0),(-1,1),(0,-1),(0,1),(1,-1),(1,0),(1,1)]  if (y[0][0]+t[0],y[0][1]+t[1])  in visited ] ))))

        if len(visited) == xdim*ydim: print "success: %s"%str(visited).strip("[]"),__import__("sys").exit()

for ii,jj in [ (i,j) for i in xrange((int(__import__("sys").argv[1])+1)/2) for j in xrange( (int(__import__("sys").argv[2])+1)/2) ]:  recurse(((ii,jj),[(ii,jj)]))


Submission + - Meteorite Causes Illness in Peru (

eldavojohn writes: "A meteorite struck in Peru on Saturday leaving cinders, rock & water boiling out of the ground. Villagers nearby reported headaches & vomiting and attributed it to the event. From the article, "Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said. Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache." It's not yet clear whether this is from the meteorite, gas trapped underground that was released or a chemical reaction between the two."

Submission + - What is the best java sceintific numerics package?

goombah99 writes: What's the best high performance numerics and scientific environment library in Java? I've been using Python lately because the numerical lib numpy has some very coherent and easy to use matrix syntax, is quite fast, and there are scientific analysis (scipy) and interactive ploting (pylab) packages built on the same data types as Numpy. However, I'm still not always satisfied with the speed since too often the python glue between the calls to numpy becomes the limiting step. I'm evaluating the possibility of shifting to Groovy+Java. That way I get the dynamic script language rapid development advantage (Groovy) and a seemless ability to hand code some java at any glue language bottlenecks. This is a lot more seamless than say Swig or pyfort.

The problem I'm having is I don't know what's the state of the art in Java Numerical libs, science packages and plotting libs. When I google I get a bewildering list of numerical packages, most of which turn out to have ceased development. With others it's not clear which scientific analysis packages share what underlying numerical libs (and thus would be interoperable). Thus I'm asking slashdot for advice.

I don't require the numerics package be native java (I'm willing to compile the libs for the native processor and use optimized array storage formats if there's more than a factor of 3 in performance boost and it's handled transparently in java). The arrays access should have an easy syntax that permits slicing and functions distributed over array elements in a manner reminiscent of matlab or numpy. I should be able to generate automatically sized and labeled 2 and 3-d plots of data easily without converting data types. And there should be a standard scientific library that includes things like fft, and non-linear solvers. Finally, I need either a non-commercial solution or one whose runtimes I can distribute freely, and it needs to be able to compile on linux and hopefully a mac too. I'd be willing to substitute R or Gnuplot graphics if I can easily call them from inside java without too much data format conversion. Any solution needs to be Groovy compatible or it defeats the purpose. Advice?

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For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken