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Comment Re:Taking CO2 out?? (Score 1) 295

the total system cost for an advanced nuclear energy facility to be $108 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced, compared with solar energy at $144 per MWh; and offshore wind at $221 per MWh. Onshore wind is less costly, at $86 per MWh, but it’s also less efficient. The estimated total system cost for natural gas plants varied widely, depending on the type, from a low of $65 per MWh to a high of $130. The variable costs for a natural gas plant are highly sensitive to fluctuations in fuel price, since fuel accounts for nearly 90 percent of its production cost. Fuel represents just 31 percent of a nuclear energy facility’s production cost, and the price is relatively stable.

Nuclear is cheaper than solar, off-shore wind, and middle-cost natural gas. Fossil-fuel-based steam turbines actually cost 46% more to operate, maintain, and fuel than nuclear; the up-front capital cost is higher for nuclear, though. Coal-fired plants can range $65 to $150 per MWh, so advanced nuclear facilities are actually cheaper than most of those. Nuclear is probably next-generation's base power.

Comment Re:Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 2) 33

While I would very much like to see improvements in the security of these services; it's also worth remembering that the 'alternative' is usually either POTS or cellular, provided by the local monopoly and/or cozy-cooperator-with-the-state.

That doesn't diminsh the fact that, when doing communications software on a global scale, something that counts as 'eh, bug' in silicon valley may involve a one-way trip to the basement of the interior ministry for a bunch of users somewhere; but secure communications is something where the 'default' option is somewhere between 'completely useless' and 'actively hostile'. Phone networks were never built with privacy or security(aside from anything needed for billing purposes) in mind; and they've since sprouted all manner of surveillance tools.

Just shrugging and saying 'Meh, the other guy is worse." isn't a good excuse; but it is worth remembering that people considering it to be a bug or vulnerability when eavesdropping succeeds is a pretty new feature.

Comment Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 3, Insightful) 33

I feel like Amnesty International has failed to put these various services in context.

Skype makes no claims that it is an anti-government service. It is subject to and complies with Lawful Intercept in the US and other countries. You should not treat it any differently than the local telco, because that's all Skype is trying to be.

Comment Damage is not binary (Score 1) 295

People need to realize that the effects of global warming are at this point unstoppable. No conservation effort and certainly no carbon dioxide removal program could possibly show an effect for decades. At which point the damage will already be done.

You have just written a false dichotomy; dividing "damage" into a binary: either there's damage or there's no damage, with no significance to degree of damage. That's not the real world. There can be more and less effect; less damage or worse damage.

Some effects of global warming are unstoppable.

At which point the damage will already be done. .

Some damage will already be done.

Money would be much better spent preparing for sea level rise etc than trying to prevent it.

False dichotomy: you can do both. Or, more particularly, different people and different organizations can do either, or both.

Comment Re:Zero Risk (Score 1) 198

Let's do something nice on Slashdot for a change: a Colorado breweries love-in!

I'll start: GREAT DIVIDE. Probably my favorite from that state, right now. (Maybe because it's not distributed in my state, so I treasure it like I treasure other hard-to-gets.)

Avery and Oskar Blues are other near-favorites. Steamwork (though I'm not sure they package). Ska can be good.

What's yours? I wanna go on another CO shopping trip in a few weeks. Help me out.

Comment Re:In Soviet Russia (Score 1) 343

1. Very few of the emails are DKIM signed. Check for yourself.
2. Even where DKIM is signed, it relies on the following assumtions.
A: The attacker has not compromised the Google private key
B: The attacker has not compromised DKIM or any of the technologies it relies on
C: The attacker had not compromised the sending account at the time of sending.

The requirement of assumption C is applicable regardless of who the attacker is. Assumptions A and B fail when considering a highly motivated state actor. It should go without saying that everyone here knows that major powers actively work on things like A & B, and C is their bread and butter.

Do I think that a power like, say, Russia, has compromised DKIM itself, or any of the technologies it relies on? Probably not, but I certainly wouldn't put it past them. Do I think that said entity has compromised the Google private key? Probably not, but again, I certainly wouldn't put it past them. I absolutely would not put C past them - but it depends on the importance attached to the topic at hand.

To reiterate: the majority of the leak will be real. But there is an active, demonstrable history this cycle, of the attackers salting the leaks with fakes, using the real content to try to legitimize the fakes, so try not to be naive about all this.

Comment Re:No you don't (Score 1) 193

All of those are bad examples, because the latter form factor is better in every way except its ability to fit hardware inside. If you could make a laptop that contained the same hardware as a desktop, for the same price, then it would obviously be better. A decade ago, laptop sales outpaced desktop sales and so the economies of scale started to tilt things in favour of the laptop. As desktops become increasingly niche, the prices will keep going up and a lot of desktops now are just laptops without the built-in screen, keyboard, or battery.

If you take a desktop and scaled everything down so that you had the same amount of storage, CPU and GPU power, and RAM in a laptop form factor, for the same price, then obviously the laptop is better for most people (people who need PCIe slots being the exceptions).

If you took a laptop and scaled everything down so that you had the same amount of storage, CPU and GPU power, and RAM in a phone form factor, then you'll have a very powerful phone, but it won't replace a laptop. There are a lot of things where you can open up the laptop and start working immediately, but the phone will need connecting to an external monitor and keyboard before it's equally useful. Even putting a picoprojector in the phone won't entirely solve that, as you often don't have a useable projection space.

Comment Re:Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 2) 51

One application that could be rather useful, for this standard(or even ones that use spectrum with even worse distance issues) would be the possibility of reducing the number of delicate connectors for devices that are docked/undocked frequently.

It's hard to beat copper for transferring power(yes, the various wireless charging schemes do work; but efficiency isn't pretty); but, particularly for low voltage, modest current, DC applications where ensuring safety is less of a challenge; you can use simple, robust, cheap connectors.

Connectors for high speed data are less pleasant, requiring some balance between very careful construction to allow high speeds over a limited number of lines and densely packing a whole lot of signal lines into something that still has to survive hundreds to tens of thousands of mate/unmate cycles and hopefully doesn't attract grit, pocket fuzz, and so on.

If you have a very high speed wireless link, even one with lousy penetration and high attenuation in air; you can potentially replace a complex and delicate data connector with one radio-transparent spot on the device chassis and one on the dock: no hole in the chassis, no connector to get damaged or full of crud, no fiddly pins getting bent or corroded; and since the two radios are very close together(ideally in a known position) power levels can be fairly low; and interference and noise would be less troublesome.

Given the issues with atmospheric attenuation; never mind walls, these very-high-speed wifi systems get rather less interesting at greater distances(though yes, SFP ports are creeping into APs, and that's consumer trash, not even some enterprise thing); but if the price isn't too high I'd be delighted to never see another laptop docking station connector again.

Comment Re:of course the do! (Score 1) 69

That may be less of an advantage than you'd think, because you need to know by about half way through the first season whether it's worth commissioning a second. It's definitely an advantage for longer-running things (if people are still discovering it when you're in the fifth season and starting from the beginning, then it's probably worth a sixth, for example), but it might be a disadvantage at the start of the process.

Comment Re:Hardware is so much better? (Score 1) 77

Well, I still have to disagree, at least to some extent. And not with a -1 mod (I hate that too, btw).

I think the biggest difference is in whether you buy bottom of the barrel priced and quality stuff or not, even with computers. For example:

I purchase my computers from a custom PC boutique dealer and probably pay half again as much as a comparable brand from a box store, maybe even more. But these guys analyze each component for failure rates out in the field, and only sell the highest-rated parts in terms of reliability. They also do more extensive burn in tests, thermal and airflow analysis, etc. Yes, they're the same components everyone else uses, but there are many differences in quality among those common components, and even in how carefully a PC is built, and how stable a system is without a bunch of crapware installed. So, generally speaking, the computers I buy tend to last a long time, and that includes the PC I purchased earlier this year as well (a Linux dev machine).

By contrast, do you remember Packard Bell computers, popular a few decades ago? Those were absolute pieces of crap, and I'll bet few of them managed to last five years. Relatives that bought those computers seemed to have nothing but problems with them.

As far as early failures go, yes, you're going to have some failures at the relatively low prices we pay for electronics these days, but I'm not sure it's any grand conspiracy to deliberately make things more fragile. I just think that failures are more likely to occur as our devices push technological boundaries and get more complex, meaning they simply have more potential points of failure, while at the same time dropping dramatically in price from what we used to pay for these items. And yes, occasionally, you find a brand that is just badly designed - junk from the outset. A bit of research helps to avoid most of those issues.

Smartphones are a different matter - I agree there's some planned obsolescence forced on us, simply because the carriers and manufacturers stop supporting perfectly good hardware with updates. But that's not really a technological matter, but a policy issue. My three year old phone was top of the line when I bought it, but now is apparently "obsolete", which is ridiculous. It still can run nearly any app or OS version just fine, only it's no longer being updated.

Comment Re:Fruits and vegetables (Score 1) 329

Because herding cattle across a wide area requires managing a wide area. That means more cattle-hands, more moving from place to place, more expending fuel, more maintaining machines, more trying to extinct wolves for eating your cattle (estimate total population in Washington is 90), and, essentially, more wages paid per pound of beef, meaning more cost and higher prices at the grocery store.

I'd rather pay those wages to buy another month of Spotify than employ 40 fewer engineers at Spotify and 40 more ranchers herding cattle and not have anything to replace Spotify.

Comment Re:Taking CO2 out?? (Score 5, Interesting) 295

Actually, with excess nuclear power, we can produce eDiesel. We've got new catalysts and high-pressure processes making eDiesel highly-efficient, about 70%; that means pipelines fed from eDiesel plants placed near nuclear and geothermal power plants would come in slightly less-efficient than electric cars at 15% transmission loss and 85% charging efficiency.

We can stockpile eDiesel; we can use it for airplanes (no way to make those battery-powered); we can generate eMethane or otherwise use eDiesel to run fuel cells, creating liquid fuel electric cars (possibly airplanes, but it's a tough job for an electric motor); we can use it to drive factories which need more power than the grid provides.

Newer tweaks to battery technology are targeting high-surface-area electrodes. Lithium ion batteries grow tin whiskers internally, creating more surface area for reaction, thus higher and longer power output; current research targets new structures and new battery chemistries to maximize this, essentially attempting to create an activated-carbon-style surface as the battery consumes itself. The processes in eDiesel similarly use catalyzed hydrolysis, and it's non-consuming: if we can manufacture high-surface-area electrodes using current or improved catalysts, we can raise eDiesel efficiency. The two efforts are semi-parallel, in that efforts in one give insight to the other, yet they're distinct in significant ways and so can't directly translate.

That means more-efficient batteries and more-efficient eDiesel generation in the future. If the overall efficiency exceeds 85%, eDiesel will beat any electric vehicle: transmission loss is 15%. At the same time, low-cost eDiesel will immediately replace more-expensive petroleum, as it's compatible with current, unmodified gas turbine technology; and eDiesel can feed or be modified to feed hydrogen fuel cells, which provide electricity, giving a method of feeding electric vehicles with a liquid or heavy gas (not hydrogen, which has storage and transport issues) fuel tank rather than a battery.

At the same time, plant and atmospheric petroleum (e.g. eDiesel) products such as polyester, rayon, plastic, and lubricating oil (PAO, Group-3) will sequester oil. Recycling carries costs and complexity; cheap atmospheric petroleum, once expended, can be incinerated for power or dumped into expended oil wells. Deep well dumping provides an attractive option: the expended liquid petroleum becomes a feed stock for later mining and refining, while effectively removing the carbon content from the atmosphere.

This is all stuff that will happen naturally, eventually. eDiesel will scale; a reduction in cost of nuclear, geothermal, and solar will outcompete oil; and refining waste oil into recycled stock will be less-efficient than producing new oil at the point where atmospheric petroleum has become cheaper than oil. The only question is when.

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