top My degree of colorblindness:
That's the funniest thing I read on slashdot in a very long time. Well played.
top Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned
At the surface of a reactor pool, the biggest dose of radiation is actually from the tritium created by neutron absorption by the hydrogen in the water molecules. The heat given off by the fuel will create a convective current, so the tritium will be evenly dispersed throughout the pool. Swimming in or drinking the water would obviously not be the best thing due to the tritium contamination (while skin will block the very weak beta radiation, tritium ingested or absorbed through the skin can cause DNA damage). A small amount will also be present in the air around the pool due to evaporation. Would I drink or swim in the water? No. But I have stood over a reactor pool for several minutes without concern.
about a month and a half ago
top New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs
It was 128 KB for smaller, older drives. For instance, the Samsung 840 EVO series use an erase block size of 2 MB. Some devices even have an 8 MB erase block size. 8 KB page sizes are common now, too, much like how spinning rust moved to 4 KB pages. Using larger pages and blocks allows for denser, cheaper manufacturing.
top 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated
Didn't you mean to say.... a phony number?
top Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?
What is the position? Is it to fill a chair? Is it to produce one-off work? Or is it to produce a larger project that's maintainable for the long term?
It's not simply enough to have some skill: for every bit of skill a person brings to the team, there is the additional overhead of communication with that person. After a point, adding more people to a project is simply not productive and even a hindrance, regardless of the calibre of those people. A small number of great programmers can often outperform a large team, and cost a lot less in salary and benefits.
If someone is 5/10 skilled, that person should spend time to get better at something. Read more books. Watch more talks. Study algorithms, design patterns, anti-patterns, etc. Write more code. Get
good at something. I'm not a good C programmer. I like C, but I've never done enough to get good at it (maybe someday). But I built a distributed, fault-tolerant auto-scaling LNMP stack that services thousands of API requests per second, without a rearchitecture, because I studied how to scale and wrote scaling into the system from day one.
Embedded software experience is an in-demand skill. Many programmers can create bloated, slow code, but few can write lean, efficient, and fast code. That's highly valued in the embedded space, of course, as it's needed, but it's also very in demand at scale, because being inefficient costs a lot of money. If I were hiring, I'd look very fondly at someone with this skill, much more than someone who is focused on simply the language de jour. It's easy to find people who can produce code. It's hard to find people who can solve problems well.
I can't speak for every area, but in my locale there are plenty of hardware-oriented startups that have a tough time finding qualified people. The jobs are out there, but I agree the market is smaller than for pure software. One place hardware companies struggle is writing good drivers and application software. Someone who got good at that, along with having the embedded knowledge, would be very in demand.
top China May Build an Undersea Train To America
If building rail line from western Alaska to connect to the continental system, no significant mountain ranges need to be crossed. Assuming the rail lands at the closest point across the Bering Straight, there is an almost flat route following the
Koyukuk and Yukon Rivers over to the Mackenzie River. The North American rail network reaches as far as Hay River, near the south end of the Mackenzie River.
For a shorter route, the
Tanana River could be followed past Fairbanks, and the route could continue paralleling the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. At Whitehorse it could travel next to Teslin Lake and over land to Dease Lake. While Dease Lake is not currently connected to the continental rail network, but the track bed had been fully prepared in the 1970's, and it would be easy to install the necessary bridges and rail.
Still, ships would be more efficient.
top Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains
You're blaming railroads for a lot of things they have no control over:
Railroads don't classify the goods being shipped, shippers do. Railroads can't refuse to take dangerous goods. They're classified as common carries and have to carry anything that's allowed by regulation, including hazardous materials. Railroads do own older, less safe equipment, such as older DOT-111 tank cars and can reasonably be blamed for spotting the cars they own to industries shipping volatile chemicals. However, they cannot refuse to move cars delivered from other railroads, or leased by the industries. Furthermore, the factories making replacement vehicles are backed up for two years. Even so, railroads are replacing the cars they own. They are being responsible. Most rail lines were built in rural areas, and the cities grew up around them. Don't blame the railroad when a city builds up next to a transportation corridor that transports dangerous goods. In the cases where railroads have rebuilt outside of cities, the cities have again crowded around the lines. What do you expect railroads to do? They were there first.
The solution is to put hydrocarbons (and other dangerous liquid goods) in pipelines that are statistically far safer. Pipelines, carrying one a single product, can be routed far away from urban areas. But those in power refuse to allow it,
in cases stalling for over half a decade.
Or blame the shippers, who
purposely make their shipments more volatile and mislabel the contents.
Railroads can be blamed for runaway trains, like the
one that got away in Lac-Megantic (a train that had safely passed through Toronto earlier). Derailments happen, despite the best efforts to prevent them (they cost a lot of money, so no railroad wants them). But most of the blame for the explosive situations that have resulted cannot be placed on the railroads: their hands are tied.
top How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole
Load following with a nuclear plant isn't difficult if you can easily control the moderator. This can be controlled by computer. In designs with large negative temperature coefficients (such as LFTR) the reaction speed can be controlled by the rate heat is removed from the reactor, making load following is as simple as controlling the speed of a pump in a coolant loop. Most (all?) current commercial reactors are not designed to habitually operate this way.
Commercial reactors are usually run full power for capital cost recovery reasons. The cost of fuel for nuclear versus the capital cost of current reactors is such that it is always cheaper than the fuel (or storage) for alternative power generation, so in periods of low demand, nuclear wins. Capital costs are high because it is difficult to handle high pressure water (and the 1700 fold expansion in volume if containment is lost) in current commercial designs. Designs using molten salts operate at atmospheric pressure and will be dramatically cheaper to construct. Companies such as
Terrestrial Energy and Flibe Energy are working on commercialization of molten salt reactors, which are feasible from megawatts to gigawatts. Such a reactor would be ideal for a remote research base.
top The New PHP
Many of the problems with PHP are from the crappy language implementation. I recently came across a Java implementation of the language. It's been around forever, but as I hadn't heard of it, I figure many people reading this thread haven't either. It's
Quercus. It's certainly worth a look as a Zend alternative.
top Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?
Thank you for that
top Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone
Since slashdot is now run by marketing, why not let them know about the beta where they might listen?
Slashdot Media on LinkedIn.
top U.S. Border Patrol Drone Goes Down, Rest of Fleet Grounded
Cheap multicopters have come a long way. While battery life is still a concern, hovering in strong winds
is not. Combine that with an anti-vibration system and get very smooth imaging.
The battery issue is solved by using aeroplanes, which use far less energy to stay airborne, and instead of hovering, circling the target.
top CERN Antimatter Experiment Produces First Beam of Antihydrogen
One could say It matters so little it antimatters.
top Government Lab Uses Smartphones To Measure Gamma Ray Exposure
Easily through airplane skins, which are usually constructed of light materials. Cosmic rays are all over the x-ray and gamma spectra, and while you will absorb some, most of the very high energy gamma cosmic rays will pass right through you. However, the increased radiation is
top Government Lab Uses Smartphones To Measure Gamma Ray Exposure
Radioactivity Counter and it works quite well. With a Galaxy Nexus phone, it's about as sensitive to gamma as my GammaScout. Watch review, or see it in action on a Chernobyl fuel fragment. But I wouldn't make a habit of exposing a CCD camera to ionizing radiation, because it will damage it.
top Building a Better Bike Helmet Out of Paper
One time I was taking a jump on my bike at 25 km/h, but was off balance and landed on my side, including the side of my head, at the same speed in rocks and packed dirt. I still have my left ear because I was wearing a helmet.
top PC Shipments In 2013 See the Worst Yearly Decline In History
On the higher side of things, you find ridiculous and exotic offerings like the Yoga 2 Pro with a 13.3" LCD that has a 3200x1800 resolution (hint: you can't read anything at all unless you squint)
I wish I could have found a laptop like that when I bought a XPS 13 Developer Edition with the 1080p display in a 13 inch form factor, giving 169 DPI. It was the only Linux-compatible laptop I could buy with reasonable pixels for the screen size. The 275 DPI display of the Yoga 2 Pro would pack 63% more pixels in and allow me to adjust my fonts 40% smaller. I still see the pixels in my current display at 18" away from the screen, especially on curved letters, and it's the lack of pixel density getting in the way of smaller fonts. A 300 DPI laptop would be wonderful!
top How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won
In my experience, using public DNS has solved far more problems. Quite often ISP DNS servers are slower to respond, do nasty things like wildcard unresolvable addresses to some dumb search page, and, as you mention, cause CDN requests to be directed to overloaded and bandwidth starved edge servers (and the YouTube CDN in particular when the ISP has its own video service...).
top Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire
Since Bitcoin is deflationary, it makes more sense to stockpile (or hoard) it than to spend it. That is also what makes it more like a commodity than a currency.
But what is the point of stockpiling something if you never intend to use it? You're making the same argument as waiting until next year to buy a computer because it will be cheaper, but for some reason people buy computers anyway. At some point the holder of Bitcoins will value whatever can be bought with those Bitcoins more than the Bitcoins and an exchange will happen -- with another person who values Bitcoins more for what can or could be bought with them at a later date. Bitcoins are a de facto currency, regardless of what anyone wants them to be.
top Cobalt-60, and Lessons From a Mexican Theft
Call me a skeptic all you want, but I'm telling you, if you put your money into Cobalt60 now, you'll be lucky to even have half five years from now. The value of the USD may be eroding, but not at 13% per year! Stay away from it like it were radioactive!
Coins are old school. The future is in gaseous money! And you'll like this: it's also blue! That's right friends, the future is Iodine131! You can't spend it fast enough! There is so much demand for it that you can't keep it around! Not only that, it doesn't weight down your pockets like Cobalt60, no, you can keep it in your lungs!
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