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Newly Spotted Frozen World Orbits In a Binary Star System

Fubari bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not useful (34 comments)

We need to try to solve the FTL problem.

r.e. FTL research: you raise some good points.
But nobody (except maybe a Comi-Con panel) is going to get behind funding FTL research.
Our species also has some baby steps to work on first: in no particular order... orbital solar power, fusion, space elevators, mars colonies, asteroid mining. *shrug* Let's solve those things first because they will (eventually) set the stage for interstellar work, including FTL research.

As for basic physics research, I would say China is showing some interest in basic research and advancing the state of the art; with any luck that will motivate some other governments to not be left behind. India also seems hungry to establish itself as a prestigious space power; they're doing some cool things - I hope they are successful.
Likewise I'm optimistic about the progress SpaceX has made; I hope they're wildly successful because it will open new doors for humans.

about three weeks ago

Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Fubari Re:cool inner-wall structure? Re:Plumbing & el (118 comments)

That makes sense r.e. "tilt-up". I've read that with plastic molding getting the mold to let go of the plastic itself can be non-trivial; I wonder how thin one could make the nested structures in cement-based molding and still get the form out of the wall once it had set enough to support its own weight. *shrug*
All very cool stuff; some days I think it would be more fun to work with atoms instead of bits. I suppose there a lots of people doing both these days :-)

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

Fubari "real" innovation? Re:no complelling arguments... (143 comments)

Wisdom indeed. Also... can you elaborate one what real innovation is? Seriously. Do you have an example or two of what opportunities are being crushed by the existing culture of "fake innovation"?

Because if not... if this is really large company, you may be perceived as a "precious little snowflake that also complains a lot."

And if this is a really large company, they're going to be able to coast along on the status quo for LONGGG time and I don't know why anybody would listen or care about a whiny snowflake.

So... can you (OP) elaborate the "real" part of "real innovation" ?
What amazing market opportunities are the current group missing?
What kinds of obvious fraud detection is slipping through their collective fingers?
What tremendous potential for increasing shareholder value is being left on the table?

Look, I'm not saying this incredibly large organization of yours could never benefit from some innovation, but realize this: you're going to be pushing against the inertia of entrenched culture and "we've always done it this way", which makes those "Stop Plate Tectonics" bumper stickers seem like an easy task by comparison.

I'll close with an alternative possibility: "I don't much like SAS. Nor do I like the people who have built a functioning SAS-ecosystem that handles this company's Multi-Billion euro statistical needs 'well enough'... it just doesn't encourage real innovation ('real' being code for 'fun'), instead I have to spend my time reading through thousands of pages of documentation and requirements specs and I have to troubleshoot this existing install base... Boy, I wish we had an opportunity to do real innovation here..."

about three weeks ago

Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Fubari cool inner-wall structure? Re:Plumbing & elect (118 comments)

Well... the tfa had a video (t=20sec) showing a latice-work inside the wall's exterior surfaces. I suspect that lattice would:
1) offer strength-to-weight savings (vs. solid slab cement walls)
2) use less material for a given surface area (yeah, this follows #1),
and 3) allow some extra insulation if warranted by the destination environment.

Also it would probably allow different configurations depending on how tall one wanted to stack (thicker lower-flow pieces; thinner upper-floor pieces). And the other point about embedding services cabling & plumbing stands; I could see them using standard interconnects to splice things together as they get assembled. *shrug* Maybe all that is common place today with prefab walls; don't know ianapfba (pre-fab building architect).

My first thought was "Big deal, another kind of prefab building" but the design + deposit is pretty interesting. This gets into some of the same things for machining I've read about where casting and/or subtractive (cnc milling) runs into limitations; additive manufacturing can create nested structure that were just not possible before. *shrug* It is cool to see people doing neat things with cement++.

And maybe - at some point - it would be cost effective for larger & taller structures to print segments on-site (and possibly at elevation for multi-story units). I don't know that they need to print in-situ; having useful-sized freshly printed & cured components (think just-in-time lego-blocks for the construction crew) could still be useful.

(One downside: I wonder about the "quick-set" additives and how nice (or not-so-nice) it would be to breath anything that off-gassed after it was all put together.)

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Fubari extras... Re:Mandatory features: (427 comments)

Also... I'd consider buying a Smart Watch with any of these capabilities...
* Time travel, +/- 5000 years, with return feature
* Teleportation, up to 50km distance
* Time dilation ("bullet time"), minimum 60 seconds subjective to 1 second external observer.
* 3D copier (3D scanner + 3D printer; synthesize feedstock from atmospheric carbon)
* Flight (up to 30 minutes, max load 200kg, max speed 50km/hr)
* Force shield (deflect rain + bullets), 60 minute runtime
* Transforms into giant Battle Robot
* Underwater breathing support + waterproof (rated to 300 m)
* 2d projector (4m diagonal w/1200 lumens @ 20m)
* Holographic projector that plays "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi..."; monochrome image ok
* Sleep gas feature
* Dog-walking feature

about a month ago

Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

Fubari Re:less useful how? Re:The larger, the less useful (108 comments)

r.e. CJK - that is interesting, and it is something I haven't interacted with directly. The collisions in mapping to unicode sounds like a *significant* headache. Thanks for the heads up (now I'm at least aware that I'm ignorant of this; a small step forward).

about a month and a half ago

Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

Fubari less useful how? Re:The larger, the less useful (108 comments)

Fragmented? I haven't heard of any unicode forks. The people at the Unicode_Consortium seem like they're doing ok. Unicode seems pretty backwards compatible; have any of the the newer versions overwritten or changed the meaning of older versions (e.g. caused damage)? That isn't true for various ascii encodings, which is an i18n abomination on the hi-bit characters. Or with ebcdic, which isn't self compatible. One of the things I love about unicode is the characters (glyphs) stay where you put them, and don't transmute depending on what locale a program happens to run in.

The larger Unicode becomes, the more fragmented the implementations will be.

Maybe instead of fragmented, you mean there won't be font sets that can't render all of unicode's characters?
*shrug* Even if that were a problem, the underlying data is intact and undamaged and will be viewable once a suitable font library is obtained.

The more fragmented it is, the more errors and incompatibilities will compound. It will get less and less useful, and more and more bulky, and will eventually be as useful as Flash. (well, it may not be that bad, but still, Flash was all things to all people, and almost universally installed, until it wasn't.

Can you give me an example of an incompatibility? I'm not saying there are none, just that I don't know of anything and that, in general, I've been very pleased with Unicode's stability - compared to other encodings - for doing data exchange.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

Fubari test drive a simple problem... (466 comments)

I encourage you to test drive the languages that sound interesting. Choose a small slice of a problem (parsing & reformatting a *.CSV file perhaps); something small enough that you solved it with < 1000 lines of C code. Then try coding up the same with Python and one or two more languages recommended here.

One of the scripting things I look for is portability. While Java itself is pretty awful for rapid development (at least for me Java is painfully verbose), if you want to piggyback on Java's virtual machines you can go a long way with Groovy, Clojure, and maybe Python (here's an interesting review of JVM languages). It turns out for my day job there is always a JVM in the environments I need to work in, so I look for easier languages to work with in that regard.

My current personal favorite is Clojure; great leverage, you get a lot of bang for your buck for a line of clojure vs. a line of Java or C.

about a month and a half ago

Ellipto: a DIY Fitness Tracker and Dashboard In 70 Lines

Fubari disclaimer enough Re:Warning: Slashvertisement (32 comments)

Cut the author some slack. The guy pointed out his connection to Keen IO & Electric Imp early in the writeup; that is disclaimer enough for me. It was a fun and interesting read and I appreciate the time he put into the writeup.

r.e. self serving: sure, but it also serves others (like myself) by being educational. I hope Keen IO makes a ton of money and goes on to create more cool things.

...but you really needed a bold "disclaimer" in both the summary and article for me to think this is anything but a self-serving post to advertise something that will profit your wife and, by obvious extension, you.

about a month and a half ago

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

Fubari Re:Well, since it's inevtiable (784 comments)

At a certain point it gets less funny; maybe in 50+ to 100+ years once the ice caps are gone. Or maybe in 20+ years after the central United States aquifers are "inevitably" tainted with fracking side effects (Sorry everybody, move away from the former coastline... also, move out of the middle... it was inevitable you know).
So it seems appropriate that this story showed up near thorium-the-wonder-fuel-that-wasnt article trashing thorium (though the comments there are actually pretty informative).
So... I'll just leave this here:
*shrug* Our species may evolve some long term planning capability; or it may not.
Then again, the we don't need 100% of humans to be capable of long term planning... just enough to make a difference. Which may not need to be much at all, given that most will be distracted by famine or disease or economic collapse or reality tv. Maybe it only needs to be 0.1% that consider the long term and are worried enough to act. (Maybe, at the risk of being too obvious, we can make a difference.)

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

Fubari oh the places you'll go... Re:Simulate a micropro (172 comments)

crgrace: r.e. micoprocessor simulator, that is a smashing idea... it sounds very cool.
orignal poster (an anonyous reader): Let's assume you're doing this for fun - as a hobby.
car analogy: I read that you don't need to know how an engine works to drive a car, but a good racers will know something about engines.
So... if you want to really learn programming, learn some assembler - doesn't have to be a lot, but every little bit you do learn will help you. Simpler chips are probably better to get started with than jumping into contemporary laptop CPU's. Maybe Arduino? Sounds like you an get plenty of online help with that (example:, and they have a 8-bit processor that should make a fine research project for you.
Then learn a compiled language, probably some straight up C.
Once you understand how a cpu works you'll have a deeper appreciation of what CPython's virtual machine is doing, or what 'just in time compilation' is doing for PyPy.

othoh, if just coding Python is fun then have fun. Nothing wrong with that; you don't have to learn assembly... but if you can wrap your brain around assembly, it will certainly raise your game.

about 3 months ago

How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

Fubari beta Re:Economic reasons (384 comments)

Leading researchers now believe the fall of Rome was caused by Slashdot Beta.

Fine slashdot fare, if I ever saw it.
It would be better to say, "the fall of Rome was caused by the introduction of Slashdot. Polling shows that..."

about 3 months ago

How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

Fubari r.e. What did the Romans ever do... (384 comments)

A Monty Python reference for those who didn't know.
From Life of Brian; a fun movie.
The quote is from a meeting of the People's Front of Judea where "Reg" the leader rhetorically asked "What did the Romans ever do for us?" Followed by some discussion of all the things the Romans did do...
Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Attendee: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, peace - shut up!
Reg: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.
Dissenter: Uh, well, one.
Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

about 3 months ago

"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

Fubari falling vs powered... Re:Hmm. (109 comments)

Wouldn't a falling elevator "box" have its own terminal velocity? Unless the shaft were air-free (e.g. vacuum).
I suppose the descent could be powered... that would work pretty well, at least once.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

Fubari +1 for "As We May Think" Re:The Atlantic Monthly (285 comments)

As We May Think (1945) is Brilliant, by the way - worth the read.

r.e. main topic of "good print resources": I enjoy Scientific American, recreational reading. I don't know if I could have kept up with The Economist before it was "dumbed down" as mentioned in another post, but it is a good travel magazine for me (airport reading fare) - just not a quick read (for me). I subscribed to Wall Street Journal for a while but just didn't have time to read all of it - I found some interesting things there. I am going to try a Guardian subscription based on another recommendation.

Here's an excerpt from As We May Think: fascinating reading, I encourage you to check it out (same link)if you haven't yet.

Let us project this trend ahead to a logical, if not inevitable, outcome. The camera hound of the future wears on his forehead a lump a little larger than a walnut. It takes pictures 3 millimeters square, later to be projected or enlarged, which after all involves only a factor of 10 beyond present practice. The lens is of universal focus, down to any distance accommodated by the unaided eye, simply because it is of short focal length. There is a built-in photocell on the walnut such as we now have on at least one camera, which automatically adjusts exposure for a wide range of illumination.

Also... we're not there yet on "trails".... has a fascinating section on readers researching and building their own trails; the closest I've seen is browser bookmarks. "trails" are a different thing than pre-canned trails stitched together by authors. This captures WikiPedia pretty well (in 1945!):

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client's interest. The physician, puzzled by a patient's reactions, strikes the trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their physical and chemical behavior.

about 3 months ago

Interviews: Jonathan Coulton Answers Your Questions

Fubari Re:First Question (36 comments)

r.e. "First Question: who are you".... yeah, they could have done a better introduction.
Reading through the answers did give me a pretty good idea though.
Also: the warcraft + spiff videos are amusing. I haven't looked at machinima for a long time, I was glad for the reference. (take home point: some good things buried in the answers)

r.e. slashdot not continuing this way....
You make some good points about weaknesses in the ask-slashdot format.
(editors, worth your time to consider them - don't just toss the observations into the "rant file").

about 4 months ago



writing a tech-book: tools & surprises?

Fubari Fubari writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Fubari (196373) writes "For all you book authors on Slashdot: what writing tools have you found helpful? I want to start my book-idea off right (so I'm pretty sure I don't want to write it in MS-Word). I would love to hear about what has (or has not!) worked well for you.

What I have thought of so far are things like chapter/section management, easy references to figures (charts, diagrams, source code), version control (check in/check out parts like chapters, figures, etc.) and index generation.

I would also welcome advice about what I don't know enough to ask about. Are there any surprises that you wish you had known back when you first started?"

Fubari Fubari writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Fubari (196373) writes "Anybody know when laptops over 4gb might be coming out? Some of the devtools I want to run are just obscene ram-pigs. On the desktop I'm using now (win2003), it sucks up 1.6gb just to boot. By the time I log in and start doing work, it is stretching 2gb.

Move that to vista, add a vm-ware session or two, and I'm worried I'll be pushing 4gb.

I'm torn between buying a 4gb-max laptop now, or some mini-desktop that can fit in a set of luggage wheels. A friend of mine suggested something like this, but my first choice would be something designed to be portable."


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