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How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap

Waffle Iron Re:the first built in the US (124 comments)

No, Colossus was General Purpose

True, but only as long as all your purposes are restricted to cracking the codes from a particular model of Nazi mechanical encryption device.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Waffle Iron Re:Environmentalists is why we still pump carbon (628 comments)

It's because Republicans know a WMD proliferation risk when they see it. They just don't want to talk about it because that would make it look like they agree with the smelly hippie environmentalists.

If fission power were a viable solution to the world's energy needs, we'd already be selling centrifuges to Iran.

2 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

Waffle Iron Re:Problem? (185 comments)

And more animals in them, producing more CO2.

Those animals got all of their carbon from the fields they were standing in. If the animals hadn't been there, that same carbon would have been turned into CO2 by organisms like insects or fungi. The overall amount of CO2 released would have remained almost exactly the same.

3 days ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Waffle Iron Re:Is it wrong to wish for it to crash? (418 comments)

there's no way for the train to derail, considering the design (the thing literally runs in a 3 ft deep ditch)

Yet by my calculations, the train has enough kinetic energy to lift itself over 3100 feet up into the air. So the depth of any ditch isn't really going to help.

I assume it's "locked" into the track, but at these speeds the entire train could probably disintegrate into confetti if it hit a solid enough obstacle, so it's not impossible for the majority of the mass of train to come off the rails.

about two weeks ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Waffle Iron Re:Can't trust robots (223 comments)

What state would the man be in after 10 years in space?

With adequate life support, as good as new,

Hardly. Cosmonauts returning from Mir after only one year in space could barely function once they returned to earth. I kind of doubt that anybody would physically survive 10 years in zero-G, even assuming they've survived the long-shot odds of no fatal spacecraft malfunctions in 10 years.

Not to mention that they would gone bat-shit insane by that time, after they realized that they've sat in a tiny tin can eating stale cat food and being blasted by cosmic rays for over a decade just so they get a sample of some crappy small-time comet; a job that could be easily done by a robot.

about two weeks ago
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Five Years of the Go Programming Language

Waffle Iron Re:For those interested... (82 comments)

Due to the inherent design of C/C++ header files and their "compile units", building any large project in C++ takes almost forever. The work to build grows significantly more than linearly with the number of source files.

Many things in C++ feel very "brittle" largely due to the limitations of its type system and generics.

C++ reference counting is better than fully manual memory management, but still often requires careful attention to "ownership" issues, leaving a risk of leaks or segfaults.

Most recommedations from the experts advise against using most of the actual features of C++ because they are so poorly conceived, poorly supported, or cause safety or compatibility problems. Best to stick with a bare-bones subset that's not very satisfying.

Many of these problems were addressed by languages such as Java and C#. However those both require a heavyweght "virtual machine" runtime. The nice thing about Go is that it creates self-contained executables that run without needing to install anything special on the target machines (at the cost of the executables being larger than most people are used to).

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:I'm surrounded by morons (613 comments)

Was it working fine before congress added the extra month to it as well?
My company runs a lot of hardware that still runs on the old rules we (our department has 5 people) have to go manually adjust the time on them 4 times (When clocks change but the device doesn't and again when the device finally changes and needs to be set to the correct time) a year at 150 sites.

Congress has been fiddling with DST since it was invented. If you were somehow under the impression that congress would never change DST again while you evaluated equipment for purchase, then you deserve what you get. I'm not going to give up a couple of hundred hours of useful daylight per year to help you compensate for your short-sighted technology buys.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:I'm surrounded by morons (613 comments)

Your job doesn't have any set hours? You're the one who sounds like a part-time burger flipper.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:Where do you live? (613 comments)

I've been an adult for decades, and I've never met anybody who is not a mother-in-law that regularly goes to bed at 9pm.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:How early do you go to bed? (613 comments)

Unless you go to bed before 9PM that is a non-problem.

The earlier you go to bed, the *less* of a problem it is. But most people go to bed somewhere around midnight or a little before. Having the sun come up before 4:30am in much of the country would just be silly, IMO.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:Is there anything to show benefit/harm from it (613 comments)

Perhaps you've heard of this great new invention. I think they call them "curtains".

Window treatments are generally not that effective unless you buy expensive and ugly "total blockout" versions. Why should I have to do that just to appease DST whiners?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:Is there anything to show benefit/harm from it (613 comments)

As far as I can see now it just screws with people's sleep cycles and schedules to no particular effect.

You don't think that bright sunlight streaming into bedrooms for an extra hour all summer won't screw with peoples' sleep cycles even more?

Before clocks, people probably naturally implemented daylight savings time by waking up at sunrise. Now that our whole lives are tied to external schedules, not having DST is more artificial than having it.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Waffle Iron Re:I'm surrounded by morons (613 comments)

Then wake up earlier!

Nobody in their right mind is going to wake up one minute earlier than necessary before work. And if they did, they'd have a looming deadline to get to work right as they start to get into whatever morning activity they're doing, which would negate much of the value of that time block.

People worry about a few extra heart attacks once per year with DST. What about entire neighborhoods being woken up on mornings where some jackass early-riser thinks that the extra morning daylight hours would be a great time to mow their lawn and blow leaves? Who is going to count the heart attacks caused by that?

Other people want to stay on permanent DST. Who is going to tabulate how many kids get run over going to school in pitch black mornings?

DST as it's currently implemented works just fine. Keep it as it is.

about a month ago
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OwnCloud Dev Requests Removal From Ubuntu Repos Over Security Holes

Waffle Iron Re:Packages can't be removed? (126 comments)

Because ubuntu dosen't allow new major versions to be added to a distro that has already been released.

Do they allow packages to be ranamed? Then changing only 5 bits woudl rectify the situation.

If they just leave the code as-is, but change the name from "ownCloud" to "pwnCloud", then the actual functionality of the package would be clear to everyone.

about a month ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

Waffle Iron Re:Cashiers (720 comments)

Wonder if the cashiers would even be able to do that today...

They weren't able to do it back then, either.

Any large order had an almost 100% chance of having an arithmetic error. It was always unfathomable to me how more than a century after the invention of the cash register, a multi-billion dollar company could predicate all of their income on high school students' scribbling. Not to mention having to wait in line while all these errors were tediously generated by the staff then checked over by irate customers.

It was a great thing when McDonalds finally dragged themselves into the 19th century.

about a month ago
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Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

Waffle Iron Re:Glad society is stable for that long (218 comments)

Second, people can read signs even after revolutions. If you put "severe radiation, stay out" on a concrete building, it'll be fine.

An additional advantage to those signs is that in a dystopian future, the terrorists are usually the good guys. The info will help direct those good guys to where they can find materials helpful in the fight against evil governments.

about a month ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Waffle Iron Re:Isn't "Cutting the Wind" cheating? (254 comments)

It's not cheating if it's part of the strategy of the event. See also: NASCAR, speed skating, bicycle racing, etc. It just means that in addition to raw speed, the runner needs to effectively manage the interactions with other runners.

At any rate, this arbitrary milestone would have been achieved long ago if the wavelength of light emitted by exited caesium 133 atoms were only a tiny fraction of a percent longer.

about a month and a half ago
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A Garbage Truck That Would Make Elon Musk Proud

Waffle Iron Re:Distance and Charge Time (174 comments)

I can't wait for to be woken at 5 AM when the turbine generator fires up outside my bedroom window ;(

The garbage trucks active at wee hours are usually emptying dumpsters. The engine noise is least of your worries compared to the sound of them slamming a half ton steel box up over the truck then down onto the pavement.

As a former weekly 3:00am victim of this practice at an apartment I used to rent, I think that operating any garbage truck between 11:00pm and 6:00am should be made into a felony.

about 2 months ago
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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Waffle Iron Re:Time to retire bash! (329 comments)

Python? You serious? Bye bye one liners with for loops or anything else. I really doubt anyone wants to have pretty code enforced on them for something as simple as iterating through a few numbers one time, ever.

$ python -c 'for x in range(3): print "One"; print "Liner!"'

about 2 months ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

Waffle Iron Re:No, who cares? (267 comments)

A single human on Mars could do in a week more than every previous rover on mars put together has accomplished to date.

Sure. And at only 100X the cost of all those missions, it would be such a bargain.

about a month ago

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