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Comment Re: Not gonna happen (Score 1) 160

His point is that there aren't really any oil companies left anymore. Most of the 'big oil' companies are now fairly diversified energy companies. Fusion would be great for them, because it has very large capital costs, but huge return on investment, meaning that only companies with experience in power systems and a lot of spare capital will be in a good place to be first movers. They wouldn't want to kill this, they'd want to own it and be the first to provide electricity in the kinds of quantities promised by fusion.

Comment Re:Reads Like An Ad (Score 3, Interesting) 158

I'm in my 50s, and I've been hearing that practical fusion generators were only 10-15 years off since I was a little nerdling

There was an article a few years back that put these in perspective. They pointed out that N years in the future really means $M dollars more spending in the future and that these predictions have been quite consistent: if we'd kept funding at the anticipated rate in the '60s, we might have working fusion already.

Comment Re:So do the employees get to write that off? (Score 2) 361

I'm sure Alphabet wrote it off on their taxes. So your present was a donation to charity and a tax break for your parent company.

Well, it's a writeoff either way. Spending money on employees or donating cash to charity, either way it reduces a company's net profit and reduces tax liability.

Comment Re: Ahh (Score 1) 67

From one device, you're right. From a few tens of thousands or more, it does, and the costs of storing it all on the server add up very quickly. Even if it's only 9.6Kb/s (enough for telephony), ten thousand users adds up to around 100MB/s, or about 7.7 TB/day. With a million users, that's a pretty difficult cost to justify.

Comment Re: Ahh (Score 1) 67

Typically, these things use a very low-power DSP to recognise the pattern of plosives and sonorants that match the trigger word. They keep a very small ring buffer of audio and wake up a more power-hungry chip if there's a possible match. They won't record all of the audio, because it would be too power hungry and they won't stream it all to a remote server because the bandwidth costs would be too high.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 262

And California would be sucking pretty badly without Silicon Valley too.

Without Silicon Valley, California would still have Hollywood, which adds a lot to the state's economy. California would look pretty bad if you took out San Francisco, Los Angeles, and their surrounding areas, but most states would look pretty bad if you took away 75% of their population.

Comment home cinema (Score 1) 335

The main reason left to go to a cinema is that the screen is bigger and the sound system is fantastic. Everything else you can have at home.

With a good home cinema setup, you can come close, and you have none of the expensive popcorn, queues, guy next to you getting on your nerves, obnoxious advertisement and other bullshit. Plus you can pause the movie to get a drink from the kitchen and cuddle your cats while watching.

Cinema is on the way out. Once Hollywood understood the lesson that the music industry had to understand, things will get better.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

The equivalent of "stop outsourcing" would be like Wyoming blocking imports of almonds from CA just because it wants its own local almond farmers to have business.

I agree that the question isn't borders. If you are in Texas, northern Mexico is more "local" than NYC. But in either case, China is not local.

People *are* permanently unemployed. Not a large percentage of the population but unemployment has never been 0. Ever. I'd say what well-intentioned tariffs we've passed to try to keep unemployment down aren't working very well. And with the upcoming onslaught of automation...I don't see how you *can* keep people from being unemployed for long periods of time.

The part that's never zero is called "structural unemployment", and was mentioned in the part that you cut. People between jobs, people who are moving, etc.
But unemployment-because-you-cant-find-a-job is not god-given, and in fact in various countries around the world there have been periods when this unemploymend was zero.

"the upcoming onslaught of automation" - the 60s called. They want their argument back.

Rather than cling onto the idea that everyone needs to be employed (when reality obviously isn't letting that happen), perhaps it's time to revisit how we make sure every citizen is taken care of in a post-industrial society and this idea that "everyone needs to work".

Oh, I agree on that. I've had periods in my life without a formal job (self-employed, my own small company, not working very much) that were wonderful except for the not-much-money part. If that were somehow covered, I'd immediately go back to working 20 hours a week, or 80 hours a week on stuff that I love.

Trade and technology are the 2 pillars that create wealth

How we are all caught in the Silicon Valley mantra and the Venture Capitalist religion. Most of the really large and powerful companies in the world are not called Google and Facebook. They are energy companies, food companies, and a dozen others. Trade and technology matter, but you buy an iPhone every year while you buy food every day.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 262

Every GOP dominated state has severely failing economies. See Kansas as a perfect example.

Define "failing". Red states, by and large, have lower economic growth because they are more rural, and urban centers generate more economic activity. That's a generality, though. If you look at a list of states by GDP per capita, some red states rank very highly. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Li....

If you're talking about fiscal responsibility, it's pretty much exactly the opposite of what you say. The states that are on the edge of bankruptcy are nearly all blue states, while those with the healthiest governments are red states. https://www.mercatus.org/state...

Kansas, BTW, is firmly middle of the pack on both measures. Kansas is #25 of 50 in terms of GDP per capita, and according to the Mercatus rankings, they're #27. So Kansas isn't a perfect example.

Comment Re:More likely medical practice, not evolution (Score 1) 275

What I considered really interesting was the question: if cesarean became the normal method of delivery for an extended period of time (many generations) could humans end up at a point where natural birth was not possible?

I think it's likely that before too many more generations the normal process will be to grow babies in artificial wombs, and that could eventually make it so that a significant percentage of women become unable to bear children the old-fashioned way. Although we'd lose the evolutionary pressure for wide hips for birthing, it doesn't seem like there are any evolutionary pressures against wide hips, so I don't see why they'd disappear.

Comment Re:People use this? (Score 1) 73

Anyone who defends this convenience-over-privacy should download and print Jihadi-type information, nuke plans, bio-weapons info, etc. through this service and see how long it is before there is a knock on their door.

Sure. Got a link? I have absolutely zero concern about any sort of problem like that.

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