Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Misleading and false (Score 1) 133

The easiest way to get up around 32% efficiency is to stop using semiconductors and use concentrated sunlight to drive a turbine instead. Glass mirrors are fairly cheap per square meter.

Solar concentrators don't work for residential solar, because of the need to track the Sun. But utility-scale solar panel farms beat residential by 2.5x on cost anyway. The panels cost the same in both cases, but all the other costs are much lower for a solar farm when you install them at ground level by the hundred thousand, than on a home rooftop by the dozen. Rooftop solar is nice to have, but not really cost-effective.

Comment Re:Nothing like fudging the number (Score 1) 97

If I round up, it makes the game look better than it is. If I round down, I am being giving an inaccurate portray of how I really feel.

You are but one drop of rain in a monsoon. Ratings *should* appropriately dither over the aggregate, so the few who are in the middle will likely half vote up, while half vote down.

While up/down may not be entirely fair, there's really more options for manipulation in a star rating system. By removing zero-star ratings as an option, they can artificially inflate scores. By changing the textual labels (what if 4-stars was described as "Just Okay"?) they can manipulate people into rating higher. And in general, companies are biased to WANT higher ratings, so you'll be more likely to stay around longer, spending more money, so whatever system they design is going to err or the high side.

Comment Re:age 30 is old and $60K is "wealthy" (Score 1) 153

> And having a penny would make me the richest person on Mars.

Then the Curiosity rover already took the top spot, because they included a Lincoln penny in the camera reference target. Why a penny? It doesn't weigh much, copper isn't expected to degrade in the Mars environment, and they know what it looks like. There are also color patches and grids of black and white lines. The point of the reference target is to calibrate the cameras with known objects, so they can tell the actual colors of the Mars environment, despite lighting changes as the Sun moves, and the occasional dust storm and cloud.

Comment Re:FreeBSD, Hackingtosh, or Linux (Score 1) 281

For folks who like WinXP, PCLinuxOS "full monty" is a fairly close drop-in replacement.

Any KDE or LXDE desktop is functional enough, if not quite XP, but some are definitely closer than others. Run the "Live CD" version for a pretty good looksee.

Mint or Puppy aren't bad as simpler desktops.

If you actually like Win8/10, then you might like Gnome, and may God have mercy on your soul.

I've had zero luck getting Hackintosh/iATKOS to run, but count it as small loss since I can't stand MacOS anyway.

ReactOS is practically XP again but still too alpha for everyday use.

Comment Re:Where is the Federal Criminal Probe on the CIA? (Score 2) 236

Judge Napolitano on the debacle:
"Here is the back story.

The president can order the National Security Agency to spy on anyone at any time for any reason, without a warrant. This is profoundly unconstitutional but absolutely lawful because it is expressly authorized by the FISA statute.

All electronic surveillance today, whether ordered by the president or authorized by a court, is done remotely by accessing the computers of every telephone and computer service provider in the United States. The NSA has 24/7/365 access to all the mainframe computers of all the telephone and computer service providers in America.

The service providers are required by law to permit this access and are prohibited by law from complaining about it publicly, challenging it in court or revealing any of its details. In passing these prohibitions, Congress violated the First Amendment, which prohibits it from infringing upon the freedom of speech."

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I'm more inclined to agree with Tyson: while the rover(s) were great news and certainly generated exitment, if a manned landing had been done at the same time, *no-one* of the large public would have even noticed. That is to say: manned missions will *always* generate more excitement than robotic missions.

But, don't get me wrong, I'm all for going to Mars too, and I think purely as a PR stunt (though gathering enthusiasm of/from the public is worthwhile) it's not worth its money, unless you open it up to the private sector and get the economical factor playing. But I just wanted to say that the public, politics, economics, etc. and, indeed, science, all play a part in any decision NASA takes.

It's never going to be one sole thing. Some people - scientists included - will think one thing is a pity, while others think another things is wasted money. For instance, as one can see, some scientists are against manned spacetravel, because it cuts in the available budget and thus it means less science for them. Purely from the premise and viewpoint that NASA is there for them to get scientific data, I can understand their complaints. But I think they're mistaken, when taking a more global approach. I think taking steps to actually colonize other planets and become a multi-planetary species is important too. But everyone has his opinion on it, I guess. Politicians see NASA as a means to have and keep jobs and employment in their region, for instance. That's not a worthwhile or useful goal in my book, but I guess politicians see it differently. Etc.

Anyway, I wish they wrote into the constitution that NASA gets a minimum of 1% of the GNP. :-) That way, things would become less cut-throat, and NASA would be assured of stable finances, allowing to plan long-term.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I'm not a real proponent to waste much time and money on a moonbase, certainly not if it's to be intended as complete moon-infrastructure to make and refuel rockets for Mars. I could mayhaps see some use if it's a kept as a testbed for a colony to Mars. But I don't think it's really necessary.

However, I was making a general point. NASA, and it's goals, have never been, and will never be, solely and purely about science and scientific return. It could be as simple as PR; making the public at large interested in spacetravel again, for instance (public = politics). That succeeds better with manned flights than unmanned, and rather with moonlandings then with a station in LEO.

Of course, Mars would achive that too, but not in the same timeframe and with the same cost. It's still more cheaper and less far off to have a moonbase, then a Mars-base.

And, let's face it, it's been such a huge-ass time... if they were going to land on the moon again, I would take leave from my work and watch it live if I had too. ;-) 'Done before' (40 years ago) or not.

Though, personally, if it's that or a Mars-landing during my life-time, I'd rather have the latter.

Slashdot Top Deals

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.