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Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

cognoscentus Re: what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

No, we declare it more efficient with perfectly spherical, rational humans operating as a coordinated whole. It would be nice to believe this sort of cooperation could be a naturally emergent behaviour but city planners exist for a reason.

about 4 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

cognoscentus Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

I have experienced the same sloth, albeit on fairly full buses. 1 hour to get 8 miles. Why? Because the bus stopped every 5 minutes to drop people off. It wound round nearly every single estate in town. Even though the volume of traffic on shared routes would support many more alternate services with fewer stops, if everyone were to abandon their personal vehicle.

Of course, that's a big if.

about 4 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

cognoscentus Re: what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

I suppose I should have qualified my statement. I was referring to a situation where a significant fraction of people taking a journey actually choose to use mass transit to do so. From the same page:

"A commuter service in Santa Barbara, California, USA, found average diesel bus efficiency of 6.0 mpg-US (39 L/100 km; 7.2 mpg-imp) (using MCI 102DL3 buses). With all 55 seats filled this equates to 330 passenger mpg; with 70% filled, 231 passenger mpg.[60] "

Additionally, it need not be combustion-powered mass transit, but rather shuttle-or-train type transport, similar to the Chinese concept mentioned above. Again from Wikipedia:

"Considering only the energy spent to move the train, and taking as example the urban area of Lisbon, train seems to be on average 20 times more efficient than automobile for transportation of passengers, if we consider energy spent per passenger-km.[57] Considering an automobile which has a consumptions of around 6 l/100 km (47 mpg-imp; 39 mpg-US) of gasoline, the fact the on average cars in Europe have an occupation ratio of around 1.2 passengers per automobile and that one litre of gasoline amounts for about 8826 Wh, one gets on average 441 Wh (1,590 kJ) per passenger-km. On the other hand, a modern urban train with an average occupation of 20% of total capacity, which has a consumption of about 8.5 kWh/km (31 MJ/km; 13.7 kWh/mi), one gets 21.5 Wh per passenger-km, 20 times less than the automobile."

Think about all the traffic jams that exist in busy cities, and how much less congestion there would be with an organised public transport system where each passenger takes a fraction of the space.

about 4 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

cognoscentus Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

This - so much this. For popular journeys, mass transit is going to be considerably more efficient.

But keep the bubblecars for trips to rural/remote locations, and the elderly and disabled who need door to door service.

Perhaps a shuttle-type tram/train with 'pod docks' would be the ideal combination, maximising takeup, reducing stop frequency and offering end-to-end service for those who needed it.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

cognoscentus Re:Simple fix: Air gap. (423 comments)

Of course, an air gap isn't enough to defeat all malware:

I guess if they have no speakers and the internal beeper is disabled, the black hats will have to find another covert channel, though. Watch out for steganographic TCP/IP-over-Osciloscope.

about 6 months ago

UK Town To Get Driverless 'Pods' Mixing With Pedestrians

cognoscentus Re:Really? (111 comments)

Well, I lived there six years, and for the first four I couldn't wait to leave, but grew very fond of it in the last two. Not the architecture or the public transport hostile, spread out grid system, but the cultural side of Milton Keynes appeared to be flourishing in that time, and appears to continue to do so.

Numerous art centres, live music venues and leisure facilities, an active centre of business of commerce, and engulfing and adjoining various very pretty, but relatively affordable towns such as Stony Stratford, Woburn Sands and Newport Pagnell. But perhaps that's a grass-is-greener view now that I'm stuck in a sleepy town in South Bucks. If nothing else, you could get the hell out of the place really quickly using the express train on the Euston line.

I think part of the cultural expansion is the financial vortex effect of London, pushing prices up throughout the home counties. It's about the first place outside the London ring of property inflation that the unsavoury artistic classes can afford. But I guess I shouldn't say any more, lest it becomes the next Hoxton...

about 10 months ago

World Population Could Reach Nearly 11 Billion By 2100

cognoscentus Re:Fearmongering in 3...2...1... (322 comments)

Perhaps we could survive, but I doubt we could flourish in such a world.

about a year ago

Fruit Flies Medicate Offspring With Alcohol

cognoscentus Time flies like an arrow (64 comments)

Fruit flies like a Bacardi.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Do Most Programmers Understand the English Language?

cognoscentus Re:Developpers... (330 comments)

Shame about developers though...

about a year and a half ago

LibreOffice 4 Released

cognoscentus Re:But what if Java is the next WAIS? (249 comments)

Not seen any evidence of this, other than the lack of security updates for browser-plugin based vulnerabilities on Oracle's part. Out of curiosity, if you mean server side Java as well as client-side java, could you cite references? This is not to doubt there are big issues with the JVM, and the seeming sloth of response of Oracle to some of them - I'm just wondering what the vast amount of server-side infrastructure would do if the JVM were to be EOLed. In terms of relatively high performance, managed platforms, given Microsoft's flight from CLR, what are the alternatives? And why does Oracle seem so indifferent?

about a year and a half ago

Internet-Deprived Kids Turning To 'McLibraries'

cognoscentus Re:Libraries (331 comments)

He was referring to liberals as the hissy-fit throwers, and actually casting Christians in a beneficent light. As a liberal I could report the former, but I believe too much in free speech. As an atheist with qualms about organised religion I do object to them taking over the role of the state, but I'm glad that someone is providing people with the means for self-education. As long as there is no interference on the subject matter (evolutionary biology for example) and no attempt to proselytize this is a good thing.

about a year and a half ago

Typingpool: Human Audio Transcription Parallelism

cognoscentus Excuse Me While... I Kiss This Guy. (41 comments)

Seems an interesting idea for long recordings needed in a hurry, but the transcriber will be losing possibly important contextual cues by reducing the length of the utterance. Also, there is a great overhead per-person in terms of manual labour (waiting for audio to buffer, HCI interaction, etc). On the upside, it might be less dull to listen to shorter, more varied recordings than one long one. But it would suck to transcribe half a murder-mystery.

about a year and a half ago

Windows XP Drops Below 40% Market Share While Windows 8 Passes 1%

cognoscentus Good going (310 comments)

39% market share ain't bad at all for a nearly twelve year old OS. Glad to see that a superior product (albeit rather bloated by default) has already overtaken it though.

about 2 years ago

Apple Considering Switch Away From Intel For Macs

cognoscentus Re:Crap. (530 comments)

This. In the music production world, VST and Audio Unit hosts on OSX are still transitioning to x64, as third party authors drag their heels. RPC proxies are required to run x86 plugins on x64 hosts, or vice versa. Basically all in-process plugin architectures get screwed over every time the architecture changes. And anything realtime-sensitive or processor-intensive gets hosed as rickety emulation layers are used as a shim. I guess the solution is to move to a server-client plugin architecture, and/or to provide GPL-friendly SDKs to allow Open Source authors to contribute extensions, which can be ported by volunteers to new architectures indefinitely. Ardour is certainly a very fine example of what can be done by a dedicated open source evangelist.

about 2 years ago

Oatmeal Fundraiser a Success; Non-Profit Buys Land For Tesla Museum

cognoscentus Re:Truly looking forward to this (67 comments)

None of that was true even before the respective Apple products came onto the market.

about 2 years ago

Comments On Code Comments?

cognoscentus Re:Write clear code, remove comments (472 comments)

This should be a prerequisite, but is half the battle with a lot of code. The rest is explaining how all those descriptively-named functions do what they do, why they do them in a specific way, and known issues and gotchas. But generally, the more human-readable meaning we can impart to the actual commented code, the more meaningful our stack traces, logs and diagnostics will be. The more code can be written in an easily human-readable form without comments, marking the intended purpose and context of use, the harder it is to hide (and write) buggy code. See BDD, where one defines pre- and post- conditions for every function. In an ideal world, we would express tasks in a precise declarative language, with the minimum of hints as to how to perform them, and the compiler/runtime would deduce the implementation. Unfortunately, Prolog and constraint programming languages have so far fallen short of this dream. In the meantime - the 'what' should be in the code, the 'how, why and watch out' should be in the comments.

about 2 years ago

Has the 3-D Hype Bubble Finally Popped?

cognoscentus Re:More like not enough hot air (261 comments)

Agree. I barely met anyone excited about 3D stuff, other than those with more money than they knew what to do with.

more than 2 years ago


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