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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

DutchUncle Re:Flawed analysis (273 comments)

You may have missed the word, "volunteer". Maybe they can't add staff. If there's only one staffer at a time, then one-at-a-time is the only way.

9 hours ago
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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

DutchUncle Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (273 comments)

Many supermarkets in New York City do this, partly because they have limited physical space for people to wait in front of each register. In turn, it allows registers to be packed closer together, potentially meaning more registers at peak time.

9 hours ago
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An Air Traffic Control System For Drones

DutchUncle They're not autonomous. Who talks to ATC? (77 comments)

My apologies if it seems I'm duplicating the post "Name" saying "Drone or RPV?". These things are not autonomous drones; they are actively controlled by people. There is no ATC of the things in the air; it's all about the various people wherever they happen to be on the ground.

There's a park near us where people fly RC planes. Fun to watch, and people keep them over the park, and there's no question they're controlled. The first time someone put up a multi-rotor, though, someone asked, "Is that a drone? Can it go by itself?" No. It's an RC plane just like everything else. And if you keep it over the open land in the park, and stay away from people's windows, you'll be fine.

3 days ago
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Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

DutchUncle Re:You have to have an inexpensive wedding for 200 (445 comments)

Second the motion. My wife and I were in the wedding party of a dual wedding - two brothers marrying two sisters - held at a college chapel with the reception being a backyard open house (the mothers were both great cooks), with well over 200 friends, relatives, classmates, and random neighbors. Both couples still married 35+ years later. It's about the sort of people who have a large social circle.

about a week ago
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The flying car I'd like in my garage first:

DutchUncle Re:Saturn Weekender (151 comments)

Are you thinking of Larry Niven's "Safe at any speed"? in which the car gets eaten by a roc? "Your car is perfectly safe, provided it was built later than 3100 A.D." http://bookre.org/reader?file=...

about two weeks ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

DutchUncle Re:Greater Internet F***wad Theory (993 comments)

Maybe we think the internet's worked fine for 30 years ....

Yes. And maybe some people think it was *great* that their parents hit them with a belt, and it's *right* that plebes and pledges should be abused. OTOH maybe some people reach for other old behavior models like "chivalry", and feel that the world would be nicer if more did. One can disagree vehemently without threatening personal injury; one can be blunt and truthful about pointing out error without being an a**hole. Poor behavior is not harmless. The fact that we can't do much about it should not lead us to accept or encourage it.

about two weeks ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

DutchUncle Re:Lots of cheap carbon stuff (652 comments)

You are ignoring the fact that people are a resource by itself.

Of course, they're the main ingredient in Soylent Green!

about two weeks ago
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Tetris To Be Made Into a Live Action Film

DutchUncle The Monolith from 2001 has a major part (137 comments)

Different shapes in our iconography and languages turn out to be influenced by the True Shapes, as our world is but a shadow of the True Realm.

But where are the curves? Where are the non-right-angles (mustn't forget the pyramids)? Perhaps it's all a question of which True Shapes visited our world, like Babylon 5's explanation of all our religions as a proxy war between the law-and-order Vorlons and the what-do-you-want Shadows. (As opposed to Stargate's "chariots of the gods" theme of a proxy war between . . . other aliens.) Or maybe it's about how shadows falling on Earth's curved surface become non-Euclidean (what Tetris shape gives a shadow like a yin-yang symbol? Hmm . .)

about three weeks ago
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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

DutchUncle Re:What's so hard about using the time-honored (242 comments)

With ticket numbers being assigned by the register / receipt printer, they could be successive Fibonacci numbers or whatever else people want.

about three weeks ago
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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

DutchUncle Re:What's so hard about using the time-honored (242 comments)

Wasn't there a magazine article years ago suggesting that one should never make restaurant reservations under one's real name? Instead, use a name appropriate to the cuisine of the restaurant - or, if traveling, the local language. It's more likely to be recognized, and may get you more karma points in advance.

about three weeks ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

DutchUncle Re:The Lost Fleet and B5 (470 comments)

One of the earliest episodes involving Captain Sheridan involves Starfuries rotating around their axes while translating (moving) in a different direction, so Sheridan can look "backward" https://www.youtube.com/watch?.... White Stars similarly rotate into position to strafe a "cut" along the length of their target (again while translating in a direction at 90 degrees to the direction they are facing and aiming). Except they also swooped around in curves that only work with aerodynamics, and often did both swooping and realistic-physics moves in the same battle. ;-) Gotta allow for the expectations of the audience. :-) :-)

about three weeks ago
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Statistician Creates Mathematical Model To Predict the Future of Game of Thrones

DutchUncle Re:Hodor (127 comments)

After the first few deliberate shockers, I came to the conclusion that GRRM is saving time on role-playing the story, and just rolling dice every so often. The reason it's taking so long for the next book is that he's been accepting deliveries from Chessex by the container-load, and he can't roll them all any more.

about three weeks ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

DutchUncle Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

OTOH Come to the United States, where people in more populous states and cities find that their "one person one vote" is worth a lot less in the Presidential election thanks to (1) rounding error in dividing population into congressional districts, and (2) equal representation in the Senate meaning that states with low population get huge percentage bonuses in the electoral count. The 11 most populous states get one electoral vote per 600K+ people; since the lower limit on electoral votes per state is 3, the three LEAST populous states get one electoral vote per 200K people - in other words, their individual votes count THREE TIMES AS MUCH as mine in the final electoral tally.

about a month ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

DutchUncle Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

Slightly OT, but: I have trouble believing in the validity of a vote in which 98% of people agree on anything more complicated than "Air is good to breathe". Either the count was invalid, or the opposition was actively prevented from voting, or the opposition was too afraid of the repercussions of voting (suggesting that it wasn't as secret as one would hope).

about a month ago
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I think next winter will be:

DutchUncle Re:New Zealand (148 comments)

*Over* a year? you mean, you have more than a year between the same season? ;-) BTW we're from the NYC area, visited NZ last February. Absolutely beautiful everywhere we looked, and also nice people everywhere we went. And lots of sheep - I'm an Icebreaker convert.

about a month ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle Re:It's a relationship argument about control. (323 comments)

So did you force them to get the proper cultural education? Beach Boys, Beatles, all the good stuff? And make them watch black-and-white films, like the Marx Brothers (so they'd know what Animaniacs was referencing)? :-) :-) I did. My son has since thanked me profusely. Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

about a month ago
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

DutchUncle Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (165 comments)

Or maybe NOT a malfunction, but a deliberate effort to mislead. One of the stories posited robots serving a human a poisoned drink, despite their programming, because of careful commands and incomplete information: one put poison in a container, another transferred containers, the third took the drink to the human. EXACTLY THE SAME SETUP was used in the very beginning of "Downton Abbey", when a sequence of miscommunication caused a server to (almost) carry a bowl of rat poison to the dinner table. It's also a similar setup to "which cup is poisoned and/or who drinks the wrong cup" in numerous plays and movies ("Hamlet" for a start).

about a month ago
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

DutchUncle Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (165 comments)

I think you missed the point of many of Asimov's stories. Edge cases are the normal situation - human beings are always on an edge case in some dimension. Any simplistic set of rules, including all the great slogans and sound bites of capitalism and marxism and socialism and every other political system, are just too simple because the real world is complex.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Slashdot finds a way to keep me from bothering to check it today

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  about a year and a half ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "By making everything unreadable without lots of extra effort, Slashdot has found a way to keep me from wasting as much time today. Thanks!"
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Can you patent a steak?

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Someone at Oklahoma State University has "discovered" a new steak. By now I would have thought that every possible part of a cow was already discovered, not to mention used for something. I can understand trademarking a name for a particular cut of meat; I can understand copyrighting the published instructions on what to cut where; but can this be novel enough for a patent?"
Link to Original Source
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No termination fee if Verizon terminates *you*.

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Just received the following email announcement from Verizon. Nice to know that if they cut off my service, I won't have to pay extra:

"The following is an outline of an important change to the Verizon Online
Terms of Service, which is effective as of November 30, 2009. ...

1. If you are on a term plan and Verizon ceases offering service to
your location prior to the end of your term commitment, you will not
have to pay an Early Termination Fee.

Please take time to review the complete Verizon Online Terms of Service.
Thank you for being a Verizon Online customer."

To which I add: For now."

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