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Stephen Hawking's New Speech System Is Free and Open-source

_Sharp'r_ Re:what kind of hardware requirements? (56 comments)

Don't forget to push each of your versions of this through the FDA's medical device approval process....

about three weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

_Sharp'r_ Re:US Centric? (167 comments)

Ever read mainstream news reporting about a topic you were very familiar with? Perhaps something related to technology, or a local issue you were in the middle of?

Most people have had that experience. The more you know about something, the less the story seems to be accurate.

Yeah, all the rest of the news stories are about that accurate also, people just mostly don't notice.

Think about it.... it's mostly some j-school grad who asked a couple people some questions to get quotes, then threw the "story" together. Usually they're lucky if they understood what they were told, let alone can explain it in a manner which actually enlightens their audience.

My best luck as been with subject matter experts who blog on news topics related to their subject. So I get my economics news and analysis from economics professors (not the pet ones in the NY Times), my legal news from law professors and judges who blog, my technical news from a technical site focused on that part of the industry, etc...

Even then you have to be willing to read multiple viewpoints to try and see a bigger picture than one voice is going to paint for you.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

Operating systems for gaming computers? I suppose your Playstation and your Wii and your Steam Machine run windows and WINE doesn't exist? Dude, don't confuse a monopoly with having a big market share.

De Beers managed to get to 85-90% of the world market for diamonds, not quite an actual monopoly... but as the diamondmarket is international, couldn't get all the governments to protect their market position by granting an actual monopoly and requiring their customers to purchase only their products. Guess what their market % is now? 40%? Lower? I guess they didn't have a natural monopoly after all.... market forces and all that.

Monsanto? No need to even go there in terms of IP. There are hundreds of seed companies farmers can buy from. Yeah, Monsanto is one of the biggest (at around 35% of the corn and soybean market share, just below DuPont) because many of their customers like their product combinations (pest control + seeds that resist it), but if another company came along tomorrow offering a better deal, how long would their market share last? One season, two? You're reading too much anti-GM propaganda and not looking at the actual facts.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

Show me a monopoly in the United States that isn't enforced by the government and you might be able to start to make a point here.

The reality is that power company monopolies exist most everywhere in the U.S. today because the government legally requires things to be that way.

Companies have no power to enforce a monopoly without the government making laws giving them a monopoly. Even if a capitalist managed to achieve a local monopoly on something, the only thing keeping their competitors away is if the barriers to entry are larger than the potential profit.

You can claim that there are some natural monopolies, but if these are actually natural monopolies, then why would it require a law to prevent anyone from competing with them?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Simple answer. (516 comments)

When you have government price controls (see for example, your local public utility commission), the natural result is that the company they've setup as a monopoly has only an incentive to deliver the worst possible service they can get away with, spending the least possible on everything, and pocket the rest.

It works that way in every industry it's been tried, so there shouldn't be a big surprise it works that way in the local electricity market. The real question is why do we keep having our government set things like this up... oh, that's right, most people are ignorant of basic economics and public choice theory.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

Why do people keep conflating complete government control of an industry, to the point where the government outright decides who your local power company is and exactly how much they charge you, with capitalism? You could make a good case for calling that model socialism, or communism, or even fascism, but it's the exact opposite of any sort of market-based capitalism...

Sure, when the people in government decide to take complete control of an industry, the people in the industry become reduced to working their government masters for their own benefit, but the issue there isn't a lack of government power.

Ever heard of a public utilities commission? They're the ones who approve rates, expansion, rules for how the power company functions, etc...

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

_Sharp'r_ Re:Environmentalists is why we still pump carbon (652 comments)

Fukushima and Chernobyl are deadly enough reminders.

Would it surprise you to learn that the deaths from producing renewables is orders of magnitude higher than the deaths from all the reactor meltdowns combined?

If so, do a little research and prepare to be surprised.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

_Sharp'r_ Re:What BS. (454 comments)

Exactly. The biggest issue is that it's difficult for a PHB, even a technical one, to reliably determine ahead of time who is worth 2x what everyone else is getting for a particular technology job and who is worth 1/2.

Then once someone is hired, in most companies HR makes it impossible to either give appropriate raises to those who actually deserve it or to get rid of those who aren't worth their salary as long as they're minimally performing.

about three weeks ago
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Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Government is evil! (135 comments)

Unregulated last mile wiring looks like this [ggpht.com]. It's a "natural monopoly" because the alternative is a dangerous, unmaintainable eyesore.

Except of course, as best as I can tell, your image appears to be from India, where the companies responsible for those poles are chosen as regional monopolies heavily regulated by the government. That short of undercuts your argument....

I agree that a co-op is a decent middle ground, especially in rural areas where the residents may be more interested in the services than might be otherwise profitable for companies to create the infrastructure. The key for me to that is that the co-op actually be voluntary, not a co-op in name only, but really just another required-by-the-government organization that they decided to name a co-op.

about a month ago
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Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Government is evil! (135 comments)

What stops you from competing with an ISP in the last mile? You could do it right now..open your own competing cable internet/copper wire internet/fiber internet provider to the premises.... except of course that's currently illegal in most parts of the U.S.

Last mile is not a natural monopoly... if it was, the government wouldn't have to make it illegal to try, people just wouldn't be willing to waste their money trying without any possibility of success.

Are there first mover advantages in many of the last mile connectivity markets? Sure there are, but If your city only allows one cable company to lay any cable, it isn't the market nor private enterprise preventing competition. There's only so much crap customers will put up with from the first mover before they're willing to look elsewhere, but when they're not legally allowed to....

about a month ago
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Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

_Sharp'r_ Re:Which way are the bits going? (97 comments)

I know it's unusual, so I apologize for the shock, but while I was replying to your post, I was actually agreeing with you.

Specifically, "I really hate how cynical I'm getting, but our corporate and government overlords keep taking our freedoms and most people are cheering them on. Good consumers. No need to be a citizen. Just be a good little consumer.", but just expanding on the mechanism a bit.

The FCC will inevitably kowtow to the corporate and other interests and lock in their vision of what the Internet is and is for, discarding the reality of what it can be and what the rest of us would like it to be.

So, carry on...

about a month and a half ago
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Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

_Sharp'r_ Re:Which way are the bits going? (97 comments)

Once you invite the FCC into regulating the Internet, you end up with a few appointed non-technical guys whose first loyalty is to a political party (In this case, Democrat, but I'm not saying GOP-controlled FCC would do a much better job of regulating) or to the special interest groups they support defining the various parts of the Internet in ways that make no technical sense, but allow them to accomplish their supporters very financially and power-based objectives.

As a result, the Internet becomes required to stagnate under their defined model, severely restricting the ability of the people who actually run it and use it to innovate in order to serve people better and slowing improvements in technology until they can be made to fit under stupid artificial distinctions like "end user" and "edge provider".

They're not actively trying to mess up the Internet, it's just a known side-effect of allowing them power to do so under public choice economic theory.

So for all of you who kept advocating for the FCC to get involved in regulating the Internet under the naive belief they'd impose your personal vision of Network Neutrality, this is the type of regulations you really get, plus distinctions between land lines and wireless, and all the other crap they're going to keep "refining" the rules to cover over time.

Those who kept pointing out the reality of the FCC regulating anything (that it really just puts Verizon, et al in charge) every time a network neutrality discussion occurred on /. will just quietly think "Toldja so" and hope people remember this the next time they advocate for a government commission which will inevitably suffer regulatory capture to control something else.

In the meantime, you'll eventually wish you could just purchase from a provider the service you actually want to have, but by the time they tell you that sort of service is now illegal, it'll be too late.

about a month and a half ago
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EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:...and everybody gets to be right (172 comments)

If you are wondering about the impact of carbon dioxide on say, forests, this type of question is easy to research with a quick Google search. In 30 seconds, I found this NSF study by Harvard researchers, for example, not exactly normally a hotbed of pro-GHG folks.

It's actually quite well-established that increased carbon dioxide levels are very good for plant growth. As it turns out, it also enables them to grow while needing less water, for example.

about 2 months ago
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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

_Sharp'r_ Re:IBM no longer a tech company? (283 comments)

Ballmer's grandstanding. I'm pretty sure he understands the numbers in Amazon's 10-K filings.

Amazon made $745 million in income from $74 billion in sales last year, for a net income of $274 million.

That even seems understated, because they're obviously spending way more to expand their capacity than they need for just supporting their current operations. Last year, they have a net cash flow of $5.5 billion from operations, then spent $ 3.4 billion on purchases of property, equipment and software. Even after spending that much geared towards growth, that still leaves $2 billion in free cash flow to spend.

Let me put it another way, Amazon's net worth (assets minus liabilities) has gone from $17 Billion in 2010, to $23 Billion, then $27 Billion, now $33 Billion end of 2013. You don't do that without being profitable each year along the way, regardless of what they decide to do with the profit, which is clearly currently to reinvest the cash in order to expand quickly and grab as much market share as they can.

Ballmer's just jealous that no matter what Microsoft does or who they purchase, they can't convert their windows/office cash cows into a worthy reinvestment, because they're essentially out of new ideas, having mostly missed the ground floor of the Internet revolutions. So Microsoft's best bet is to act like a mature company and pay dividends so their stockholders can use that money to invest in something like Amazon.

about 2 months ago
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EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:The bad news... (172 comments)

Nice try, but feeding people (or even draft animals) calories to perform manual labor produces more GHG than using more efficient methods like coal power plants. :)

Not that there's anything wrong with more GHG production, but broken window fallacy and all that as well...

about 2 months ago
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EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:...and everybody gets to be right (172 comments)

Because you're assuming the conclusion.

Have you considered the possibility that increased carbon dioxide emissions are good for the environment, because it encourages more plant growth? That it's good for people, because it enables them to live a better lifestyle? Even the possibility that a few fractions of a degree of warming would be a net benefit? I'm not suggesting you accept those positions based on a /. post, but have you actually looked into it yourself, maybe talked to an economist or a agricultural biologist about the tradeoffs? From your post, it seems your assumption is that both sides agree on what would be "better", but they don't.

The "leaders" who supposedly agree that carbon dioxide emissions are bad show by their actions that they really don't think so. If you look at what the global warming/climate change/climate disruption/whatever environmentalists actually advocate for and do personally, it's obvious that their goals have more to do with the means of controlling emissions more than the actual emissions themselves.

Why would anyone who disagrees with them take the position that they should empower that crowd to control their lives, when they don't even agree reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a good goal, let alone agree with the proposed means for reaching the goal?

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

You should have started at the top of the thread.

The FDA ordered Zmapp to stop testing back in July and ordered TMK-Ebola research suspended in January.

These were private companies trying to create treatments and vaccines who were literally stopped by the government.

As the government was actively preventing Ebola treatments, before having them "do this vital task", perhaps we should look at their record on the issue?

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

You apparently didn't read the whole article:
"On Tuesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) had to outsource efforts at an Ebola vaccine to the Baltimore-based Profectus BioSciences Inc. The company will receive $8.6 million to research and test their vaccine, a fraction of NIH funding that went to the above projects."

NIH is part of HHS. It is "the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research".

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

Are you attempting to disagree with me, or agree with me? It's not very clear...

What is your statement about the CDC in reference to? I don't see anyone here suggesting the CDC is the NIH. Was this meant sarcastically, like, "Well the NIH is no CDC", to imply that despite how screwed up the NIH is, at least they aren't as screwed up as the CDC has demonstrated itself to be recently?

The NIH is the government agency responsible for funding an Ebola vaccine research project (which they've recently assigned a budget of $9 million), which is why wasting $39 Million on other things instead of Ebola in the recent past is relevant.

In terms of the DOD, yeah, I agree that they waste tons (literally) of money, along with pretty much every other government agency, but unless you're trying to make that general point, the relevance to this discussion escapes me... The NIH obviously has the money for funding researching related to Ebola, they just chose not to spend it on that until very recently, previously having "higher priorities", like discovering why fat women go on fewer dates than skinnier women. I mean, hey, these are apparently deep mysteries to everyone in the government which require serious academics to delve into...

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

Pretty sure if you have the money to spend $39 million on researching why obese girls have a tough time getting dates, developing origami condoms, etc... the problem with not starting a $9 million research effort earlier isn't related to overall funding levels so much as to incompetent administration and politics driven priorities.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Google Engineers - Renewable energy "simply won't work" to solve climate change

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  about three weeks ago

_Sharp'r_ (649297) writes "Two Standford PhDs, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, worked for Google on the RE<C project to figure out how to make renewables cheaper than coal and solve climate change. After four years of study they gave up, determining "Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach." As a result, is nuclear going to be acknowledged as the future of energy production?"
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Brazilian Judge orders 24-hour shutdown of Google, Youtube and Executive arrest

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 2 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Judge Flavio Peren of Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil has ordered the arrest of the President of Google Brazil, as well as the 24-hour shutdown of Google and Youtube for not removing videos attacking a mayoral candidate. Google is appealing, but has recently also faced ordered fines of $500K/day in Parana and the ordered arrest of another executive in Paraiba in similar cases."
Link to Original Source
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Touchable Holograms Demonstrated

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 5 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Physorg reports that researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed holograms that can be felt with bare hands. Acoustic radiation is used to create pressure on hands tracked by two Wiimotes and an IR marker. Judging by the videos it's still pretty crude, but "researchers demonstrate how a user can dribble a virtual bouncing ball, feel virtual raindrops bouncing off their hand, and feel a small virtual creature crawling on their palm.""
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Computerized Election Results With No Election

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 5 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "According to breaking Spanish language newspaper reports, (translations available, USA Today mention), Honduran authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for the constitutional election Zelaya wanted, but that never took place. The "certified" and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."
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_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "I'm trying to design the least expensive way to make OpenOffice, email, and a web browser available to students in a new charter elementary school. In my past experience working with charitable computer donations, I can usually get three to four working computers out of five donated "broken" computer systems, usually with plenty of monitors, keyboards and mice left over. I'd like to use one computer for multiple students by attaching multiple monitors, usb keyboards and mice.

The infrastructure is FreeBSD, with only a few MS Windows systems for certain staff. We're planning to use either FreeBSD or Linux with remotely stored home directories for the donated student desktops. These are multi-user operating systems in terms of physical resources required and operation, but only one physical console per machine. What drivers/OS versions support multiple local input devices and monitors that can be attached to a specific login session? Will this require virtualization? Is there a config I haven't found that you can use to assign these devices to specific ttys? Have you done this before?"
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_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Nethercomm has offered proof that they can use commercial gas pipelines to homes and businesses as waveguides for wireless broadband. The pipelines attenuate the wireless signals and allow for Terabit wireless links to last-mile customers over their existing natural gas connections. What's next, broadband over water pipes?"

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