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Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Subsidies? (516 comments)

How many tax subsidies finance into your average power plant? How much are the indirect costs (ignoring CO2 emissions, let's just focus on locally increased health care costs from coal pollution, long term storage costs for nuclear waste, military adventurism for oil, etc.) of "traditional" fuels?

about a week ago
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Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Who pays for the infrastructure costs? (516 comments)

Demand for power is lowest midday? Funny how time of use metering charges you more for daytime usage due to high demand. Must be a scam.

about a week ago
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NYT: Privacy Concerns For ClassDojo, Other Tracking Apps For Schoolchildren

ShadowRangerRIT Re:LOL hypocrites. (66 comments)

More like the "personal privacy" bandwagon, which Slashdot (and most internet denizens) have been riding for over a decade.

about a week ago
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Internet Voting Hack Alters PDF Ballots In Transmission

ShadowRangerRIT Code execution privileges allow code execution! (148 comments)

How is this even noteworthy technologically? He's assuming he can modify the router firmware. "If I completely replace the software handling my data, I can change the data!" Seriously? That's the dumbest, most obvious thing possible.

about two weeks ago
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GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Trademark breadth (268 comments)

How does that make sense? The risk of brand theft is higher with a more widely recognized product. If I introduce Coca Cola branded headphones (to name one of the few things Coca Cola doesn't stick their name on yet AFAIK), my sales would be boosted by the brand name association Coca Cola built, not the merits of my product. That's why trademark protections exist; to avoid borrowing/stealing/damaging (if the product sucks) other companies' reputations unfairly.

about two weeks ago
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I expect to be conventionally alive ...

ShadowRangerRIT Re: 3 to 5 Years (187 comments)

Except mortality rates have stalled out in many first world countries; shitty nutrition is canceling much of the advances in modern medicine.

about two weeks ago
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Brain Patterns Give Clues To Why Some People Just Keep Gambling

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Or are pathological gamblers just habituated? (59 comments)

The reason I don't like gambling is because statistically I know I will lose. I mean sure you could hit a big jackpot or something but you have better odds of being hit by lightening and killed when you step out of the casino . I don't play against odds like that for the same reason I don't expect to get struck by lightening.

You're far more likely to win a big jackpot than to die on exposure to moderately increased illumination, near a casino or otherwise.

about a month ago
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PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

ShadowRangerRIT Re:its why devs cringe. (180 comments)

Most high level scripting languages (can't speak for PHP, but it's true for Perl, Ruby and Python) implement simple user defined objects as dictionaries. That said, the lookup cost, while obviously much higher than pre-compiled v-tables, are not as expensive as you might imagine; attribute access uses interned strings, and strings cache their hash code on first hash. If you don't actually have to recompute the hash, and equality checks are (for attribute lookup) a simple reference identity test, the CPU costs are basically nil, you just have the issue of page faulting due to "random" access into the hash table (and Python at least optimizes for that case; the collision chaining algorithm in recent versions of Python tries to chain into the same cache line if it can, alternating with chains by "long steps" to avoid issues with consecutive hash codes).

Stuff that kills Python performance includes: Minimal optimization of code by the byte code compiler, and none by the byte code interpreter (while each hash table lookup is cheap, a loop will perform it over and over again, even if you're accessing the same attribute on the same object, because the compiler and interpreter aren't sophisticated enough to recognize what's happening); inability to parallelize CPU bound tasks using threads thanks to the GIL; lack of "primitive" types, so even basic math involves substantial memory allocator overhead and memory fragmentation, etc.

TL;DR: Python's performance problems aren't primarily a result of hash tables.

about 4 months ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Catching the big choices (710 comments)

Gets worse if you own an electric vehicle. My power company has a neighbor comparison tool, where it compares my electric usage to similar neighbors (the nearest 100 houses of roughly the same size, same heat/AC systems, same number of occupants). I reliably came in between #2 and #5 lowest electric usage. Until I bought a Leaf. I'm still in the top 20% "most efficient", but only barely, thanks to the $20-30 of electricity it takes to fuel each month. Because I got rid of a 20 MPG rusting to pieces junker for a 115 MPGe vehicle, my performance on the one metric of "home electric use" went down.

about 4 months ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Java or Python (415 comments)

The ability to seamlessly use + with mixed text and numeric types in a language without explicitly declared types is usually considered a design flaw, not a positive feature. Perl uses separate operators for strings vs. numbers to avoid ambiguity, while Python and Ruby require explicit type conversions. Java defaults to string concatenation, but Java requires explicit types, so you get a compile time warning if you make a mistake like adding a String and an int and expecting an int. Even PHP, the go to standard for poor language design, which explicitly rejects separating operators for strings and numbers, made a concession for addition vs. concatenation and borrowed Perl's approach of using + for addition and . for concatenation so the operator itself selects the operation.

The sole exception to this rule that I can think of is JavaScript, where + is type dependent, and it lacks explicitly typed variables. The fact that you're allowed to use addition with silent coercion to String if either operand is a string is explicitly called out as one of the Awful Parts in JavaScript: The Good Parts, which should tell you something. Basically, implicitly typed scripting languages should prohibit implicit type conversions when they use + for both addition and concatenation. The alternative is to behave incorrectly silently.

As for the ternary operator, really? That's your big gripe? The fact that it reads like an English sentence? Guido hates excessively concise/cryptic punctuation as language elements, so they chose something that reads a bit more like English; if you read it aloud, e.g. "a if a is not None else b", it makes sense. You could also view it as a stealthy attack on the ternary operator, which many people despise as encouraging cryptic code. Either way, we're not talking about something truly ridiculous here; it's a reasonable design decision. This isn't PHP's left associative ternary operator or anything.

about 5 months ago
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The World's Best Living Programmers

ShadowRangerRIT Re:damned multi-page (285 comments)

Odd that Anders Hejlsberg's more recent (and at this point, probably more widely used) lead role in developing C# isn't mentioned. Turbo Pascal is ancient, and doesn't hold up so well.

about 5 months ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Which raises the critical question: (415 comments)

I really hope 3.x, if only for the fact that your code tends to work with non-English text by default, because str supports the whole Unicode range, so it works with non-English input by default. Compare to 2.x where you have to make a conscious effort to work with Unicode. Particularly important for third party libraries, where they aren't producing a final application, and often don't think about Unicode at all even for text based APIs. Heck, the Python built-in csv module in 2.7 doesn't work properly with Unicode; you have to load or convert as UTF-8 bytes, parse, then decode to the 2.7 unicode type. It's a mess.

For teaching purposes 3.x is even better, since you have a proper distinction between binary data and text, rather than the mushy 2.x situation where str is sometimes binary data and sometimes handicapped text, while unicode is always text, and sometimes interoperates with str, while at other times it explodes. Teaching languages should be consistent, and 3.x is simply more consistent than 2.x (largely because of cleanup decisions like this).

about 5 months ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Adults are the carriers (387 comments)

I wouldn't have normally bothered, but the distinction is relevant given TFA. The switch to an acellular version of the pertussis inoculation is what reduced the duration and efficacy of protection. It's not that the old pertussis vaccine was ineffective, it's that we've been using a different vaccine for the last 20 years, give or take, and the new vaccine ended up losing a lot more efficacy than they expected.

about 5 months ago
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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

ShadowRangerRIT Re:nissan or mazda? (137 comments)

I agree that a good shared standard might allow for efficient production of batteries by removing the market fragmentation that dissuades people from starting up "gigafactories".

That said, Tesla hasn't demonstrated a superior battery technology. The 2013 Leaf's range was rated lower than it really should have been. It offered a "Long life" charging setting, where it would stop charging at 80% instead of 100% to extend battery life. The EPA decided to base the estimated range on a 90% charge to split the difference between the two options, because the 80% charge was "recommended". Tesla allows you to stop charging at any 10% increment between 50% and 100%, but because lower charges aren't "recommended" the EPA assigned a range based on a 100% charge.

Factoring that in, at 100% charge, the 2013 Leaf should have a range of ~84-85 miles. Assuming 84, on a 24 kWh battery pack, that's 3.5 mi/kWh. The Tesla gets ~3.1 mi/kWh. The Tesla is heavier thanks to all those extra batteries, which is a big part of the difference; I suspect that if you made a Tesla with a 24 kWh pack, it would have similar efficiency to the Leaf. Battery tech is hard to improve; Tesla and Nissan are using the same basic tech.

TL;DR: Stacking more batteries is hardly a demonstration of superior technology.

about 5 months ago
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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

ShadowRangerRIT Re:nissan or mazda? (137 comments)

Not according to Nissan's website. The base S model has a 3.6 kW charger. You can add a charge package for $1250 that upgrades it to a 6.6 kW charger and adds a Quick Charge port, but the base model doesn't support 6.6 kW charging or a Quick Charge port by default (similarly, the mid-level SV model comes with a 6.6 kW charger, but requires an add-on package to get Quick Charge). Might be hard to find a completely base S model without the charge package, but Nissan claims it's an option.

about 5 months ago
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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

ShadowRangerRIT Re:nissan or mazda? (137 comments)

Nissan doesn't have problems with charge times (at least, no more than Tesla). The base model takes 8 hours to charge from empty, but they offer a 4 hour charge option (that runs off the same Level 2 charging stations) and a Quick Charge option that gets an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Pretty similar to Tesla.

about 5 months ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

ShadowRangerRIT Re:Adults are the carriers (387 comments)

The "ap" part of "Tdap" stands for "acellular pertussis", not just "and pertussis". The acellular variant of the vaccine has fewer side-effects, but also provides less protection, and less long lasting protection.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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"Convergence" to provide wi-fi, wolfpigeon

ShadowRangerRIT ShadowRangerRIT writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) writes "To provide ubiquitous networking, Qualcomm has created Convergence a program to spread wi-fi enabled wolfpigeons to every corner of the globe. Worried about the effects of a wolfpigeon insurrection? Well they've got a sharkfalcon army available to deal with that possibility. And don't worry, there are contingencies for the inevitable predation of the sharkfalcons, visit their page to find out more."
Link to Original Source
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Elderly Chinese Women Sentenced to "Re-Educati

ShadowRangerRIT ShadowRangerRIT writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) writes "Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, went to Chinese police five times between Aug. 5 and Aug. 18 to seek approval to protest [outside the Olympics]. The Chinese government decided the resolve the situation by sentencing them to "labor re-education camp". China's side of the story? "I'm glad to hear that over 70 protest issues have been solved through consultation, dialogue. This is a part of Chinese culture," said Wang Wei, China's top Olympics official.

On the heels of previous stories about protesters disappearing I think we can safely say that any claims that China would improve human rights conditions as a result of hosting the Olympics were painfully misguided."

Link to Original Source
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Protesters "mysteriously" absent from Olym

ShadowRangerRIT ShadowRangerRIT writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) writes "The Chinese set up "protest pens" in three Beijing parks. They are going unused. Do the Chinese have nothing to protest? Apparently not: Some of those applying to protest are being harassed and sent home without a permit. Others are detained or simply "going missing".

I can't believe anyone would question the assertion that the Olympics might cause China to improve human rights..."

Link to Original Source
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No charges in Justice Dept. Hiring Scandal

ShadowRangerRIT ShadowRangerRIT writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) writes "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Apparently no one. Mukasey has announced that he won't pursue charges relating to the partisan hiring practices in the Justice department. With no repercussions and a civil service pool polluted with ideologues, we can look forward to yet another Bush legacy that extends well beyond his time in office."

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