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Comment Rules and fools (Score 2) 55

And how are you going to enforce this registration requirement? Jump up and grab an unregistered drone with collision avoidance software that is 100 ft in the air, and traveling at 30 mph? if you catch it, are you going to throw the drone in jail? You going to throw a spider-tracer on the drone, and follow it?

Good luck with that. That law should be as simple to enforce as anti-marijuana regulations. I bet you have this whole problem solved by Friday.

Comment Re:Limit of Energy Density (Score 1) 138

Electric cars lose on the energy storage, but win on the engine. Instead of 300 kg of engine and 70 kg of fuel in a petrol car, you can have 30 kg of motor and 340 kg of battery in an electric car without increasing the mass. (Note that those masses are guesswork on my part.)

On top of that, it is hard to sell cars with 100 mile range, so electric cars dedicate more of their mass to propulsion+energy storage than fossil fuel cars.

Comment Re:What's in the future for batteries? (Score 2) 138

There are many reasons why this isn't ever happening. A very big one is that such a 'battery' would be producing heat all the time. Say your device has 10W peak demand, and your radioisotope thermal generator (nuclear battery) has efficiency 10% (better than we've yet achieved), then you'd need an RTG which was emitting 100W of heat all the time. (On the plus side, it would do a fine job of heating the interior of your car on cold days.) (If your device only uses 10W occasionally, you could pair a 1W output RTG with rechargable batteries, but now all you're saving yourself is the need to plug it in each night.)

Further reasons:
* Cost - even with efficiency of scale, producing radio isotopes will be very expensive
* Scaling - the technology works (sort of) for 100W power generation, it may be hard to scale down to 10W or 1W
* SIze - a 100W RTG is the size of a person.
* Safety - they contain really nasty radioactive sources. If you use alpha emitters, you can make them 'safe' with very thin shielding, but once the material escapes into the environment (e.g. in a house fire, or someone chops the battery with an axe) it is very nasty indeed.

Yes, future technology can help somewhat with any of these - but it needs to improve all of these problems, each by many orders of magnitude, before nuclear batteries will be practical.

Comment Re:Just looking at the first few questions... (Score 2) 138

The five stages of name-pun reaction:
1) Amusement. This stage starts at age about 4 to 6, when the punee first gets the joke. It typically lasts about 30 minutes.
2) Tedium. This stage typically lasts a few months
3) Anger. Will you stop with that stupid joke already?
4) Bargaining. If you stop making those stupid jokes, I'll stop pummelling your ribs with a baseball bat.
5) Acceptance. Let the jokes flow through you, omnipresent yet harmless like the air. Find your inner peace. Make it your life's mission that everyone who has ever made this joke will be carrying in their pocket a chemical bomb of your design.

Comment Will there always be a demand for lithium? (Score 1) 138

Demand for lithium is soaring and supply is scrabbling to keep up. If I was contemplating constructing a lithium mine/extraction facility, I would be worried that my investment might do fine for five years and then suddenly become worthless when some new battery chemistry came along. Is this fear justifiable? Is it reducing current or near-future lithium supply?

Comment Ya, and that will hold up... not (Score 4, Informative) 341

Here's the deal: All proprietary software has that in there as well. Every piece of software has an EULA that says they are responsible for nothing. Have a look at the MS EULA if you wish, there's all kinds of shit that supposedly limits liability, requires arbitration, etc, etc

You can say it all you like, doesn't make it true. I can write an EULA saying "By using this software you agree I get to take your first born child," and yet if I tried, I'd still go to jail because just saying it in an EULA doesn't make it so. You can't disclaim all warranties, all damages, etc by law. For some info on it look up the Uniform Commercial Code.

Ok well all that aside when it comes to an issue like this courts are not known for applying the law one way in one case, and a different way in another. They don't say "Oh we like this nice OSS" and give it one rule and "We don't like this mean commercial software" and give it another. Thus if courts find that software makers are liable for incidental data loss then it will apply to ALL software. OSS has no special get out clause. You don't get to have it both ways where OSS gets a magic liability shield just by putting something in a text document but commercial EULAs aren't worth the bits used to store them.

In fact, OSS will be MORE vulnerable. Commercial companies have lawyers to help them wrangle out of things. They also can always go the real contract route, where you sign an actual contract up front with them before buying (you see this with some enterprise software) which can enforce more stringent terms. OSS that is just distributed on the web doesn't have all that.

Comment You don't want this to succed (Score 4, Insightful) 341

Even if you are a rampant MS hater, this would set a really bad precedent: That software companies could be liable for data loss caused by things only incidentally related to their software. Talk about a ripe field for bullshit lawsuits.

Don't think OSS would be immune either. The argument of "but I didn't charge for it" doesn't eliminate liability. In fact, it would be something companies could use to try and bully OSS out of existence through bullshit lawsuits.

Comment This is such a bad argument (Score 2, Interesting) 155

Every time there's a story about OSS software being less than perfect, someone always trots this tired crap out. "Oh if it isn't want you want you can just fix it!" That is complete bullshit and you should know it. If you don't, you are hopelessly naive.

First off, most people are not programmers and many do not even have the request problem solving, analytical, and mathematical skills to become one. If you aren't a programmer, you can't just go and fix software. Becoming a programmer isn't magic either, you don't go and read a book and then you are good. It takes years of experience to get proficient, and decades to really master and is something you need to spend a lot of time on. If you think you are some hot-shit programmer and you "picked it up just by reading" and "just do it in your spare time" then guess what? You aren't near as good as you think you are.

Second, even if someone is a programmer they may not have the requisite skills or knowledge to deal with a piece of software. Not all software is created equal, not all problems are the same to solve. Someone might be a programmer who's actually pretty good, but knows about making database code because that's what they do. However if they are trying to implement an algorithm for processing audio they might be lost because they don't understand how that works, it is another set of knowledge.

Finally, even if someone does have the skills, knowledge and experience to do it, maybe they just don't want to spend the time. We all have only so much time to spend in a day, maybe they are not interested in dropping a bunch of time to fix something that is to them just a tool. They'd rather pay to have one that works and spend their time on other shit.

So knock it off with the "oh it is open just do it yourself" crap. That is extremely silly, and you know it.

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Mathematicians practice absolute freedom. -- Henry Adams