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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

egarland Evacuated tubes (300 comments)

Evacuated tubes have much better economic dynamics than sub-orbital flight. It's high-speed rail without air friction with potentially incredibly fast speeds. You could work in New York and have a lunch at midnight in Tokyo and be back to NY for dinner. It would be amazingly expensive to build, but it could be incredibly cheap to run.

about three weeks ago
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Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

egarland Re:Does the job still get done? (688 comments)

Automation replaces work with rent. It's has a negative macroeconomic effect, amplified by the fact that work pays taxes, and rent doesn't. The solution seems obvious, reverse that dynamic. Make things that earn money for their owners pay taxes instead of workers.

about a month and a half ago
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How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

egarland Re:What about long-term data integrity? (438 comments)

Drive Writes Per Day is *the* important metric for judging the write load capabilities of a drive. 1 DWPD is perfectly adequate for consumer/desktop use and many fileserver applications but impractical for backing a database, where 5 DWPD is more appropriate. You pay about 50% more for a 5 DWPD drive than a consumer level one, but if it saves you from having to replace the drive 5 times, it's worth it.

Inaccuracies aside, this is an important property of SSD's to keep in mind when procuring them.

about 2 months ago
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Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

egarland Were pre-mixing humans really modern humans? (128 comments)

The summary refers to the time when neanderthals and modern humans intermixed, but can we really call what came before the mixing modern humans? It seems that something about the combination sparked huge evolutionary changes that allowed us to rather rapidly (evolutionarily speaking) develop modern society. As far as I'm concerned, the history of modern humans starts with the mixing.

about 3 months ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

egarland Re:The best quote from the article (942 comments)

> especially since they all say the exact opposite.

I always find it funny how conservative talk radio hosts seem to like pointing out how much more intelligent they and their listeners are than everyone else, almost as if they think that by saying it enough, it will make it true.

There's no monopoly on intelligence on either side of the isle, and regardless, a right and noble idea supported by stupid people is still right and noble. Arguing that an idea is stupid because it's supporters are stupid is invalid.

about 4 months ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

egarland Theism breeds entitlement and apathy (937 comments)

Immorality is much easier to excuse when you believe there is a divine order to things. When someone is poor, or suffering or has had a bad run of luck, belief in a divine plan makes it easy to see that as deserved, instead of unfortunate. When someone is rich, powerful and/or fortunate, you're more likely to see them as superior and deserving of their good fortune if you are religious.

Every time you hear someone thank god that for answering their prayers and blessing them with something, keep in mind that intrinsically behind that statement is the idea that god has made a judgement call and found them deserving of having their prayers answered. It's a round about way of saying "God chose this for me, because he thinks I deserve it." It always rubs me as subtly arrogant to imply that whatever good fortune you are enjoying isn't simply good fortune, but it's a reward you earned because god found you deserving of it, and thusly found everyone else who doesn't receive that same thing, undeserving.

about 5 months ago
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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

egarland Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

I thought that evidence was pointing to us being the product of about 9.5 billion years of evolution. Given that we live on a 4.5 billion year old world, life would have had to survive some sort of space-gap before getting to earth.

If sentient life takes 9.5 billion years to evolve, and the universe is only 13.5 billion years old, life would have had to start evolving relatively fast for it to get this far. The earlier you go in the universe's history, the more rare planets become. Even more rare would be a planet orbiting a star hot enough to fuel life, but also in continuous operation for that long. If it really does take 9.5 billion years for life to reach this level of complexity, and in our case it survived the destruction of a planet to spread to a new one, then the Fermi paradox all-but disappears and likelihood that sentient life is currently extremely rare, or even unique to our planet increases dramatically.

about 8 months ago
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Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again)

egarland Thats a good name (568 comments)

Global warming was always a terrible name because the imagery was all wrong.

Global climate change is more accurate, but still nebulous.

Climate disruption evokes a more accurate picture of what seems to be happening. I personally liked the name "Santa's revenge" from this winter's breakdown of the polar vortex. Melt the north pole, and you'll all get a taste of the cold!

about 9 months ago
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The Ways Programming Is Hard

egarland Re:"there's not much to indicate difficulty" (278 comments)

> I despair of ever managing to lay a good caulk bead.

It definitely looks like something any idiot can do, but I fail every time.

about 8 months ago
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Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

egarland We made it through the great filter. (608 comments)

The universe is 14 billion years old. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Extrapolation shows that life has likely been evolving for about 9 billion years. We also know that very shortly (in geologic terms) after water arrived on our planet, green slime started spreading. I thought the current dominant theory was that life's origins are extraterrestrial and that somehow it jumped from wherever it started through space to a newly formed earth. If life traveled here aboard the shattered remains of the planet it evolved on, this would seem to indicate that we are the descendants of an extremely unlikely chain of events, which might make us the only life to have survived this long.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

egarland Re:Egarland's law (702 comments)

I think you're confused.

egarland's law states that only pompous windbags have their names associated with obvious phenomenon that everyone has always known.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

egarland Re:Anything built before 2001 (702 comments)

We always get a false impression of the reliability and quality of old stuff, because the stuff that sucked and broke got thrown out years ago, and the only things that we still encounter are the ones that were well made. It's true with old houses, old cars, old furniture, pretty much everything. I'm sure there's a law for this phenomenon with some pompous dude's name on it but it's a well established and discussed phenomenon.

about 9 months ago
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Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

egarland There aren't infinite bugs (235 comments)

If you start with the assumption that you can't make secure software, then you shouldn't make any software at all.

about 9 months ago
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SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

egarland Re:not really (256 comments)

This is why the current generation of MLC SSD's is so disruptive. A single, cheap, consumer grade drive has IOPS and longevity that used to cost 100x as much. There are big changes coming in the storage industry.

about 9 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland Re:Technology does not destroy jobs.. (581 comments)

Natural resources provide squishy, easy to overcome limits. In reality, most of what limits our economy are flaws in how we implement capitalism.

about 10 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland Re:Technology does not destroy jobs.. (581 comments)

> Jobs are determined by us wanting to do things.

The desire, *and* the resources. I may want an indoor pool, but if I can't afford it, and neither can anyone else, there's no indoor pool market.

That's why an economy that's constantly drained of its money, withers. Once we fix the forces draining ours, employment won't be the issue it is today. That's why I love Ratigan's classic rant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... He outlines the problem well. Not perfectly, but well.

about 10 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland You can, but you shouldn't (581 comments)

There isn't that much coding work in the world. High demand is not infinite demand.

about 10 months ago
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Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

egarland The play store needs categories (181 comments)

* Ad supported
* Pay to win
* Microtransactions
* Completely free

They should change the "Free" button where the cost usually would be to one of these.

This information is important to to know up front and I should be able to filter out "pay to win" because screw that.

about 10 months ago
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Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

egarland Good idea. (273 comments)

This idea is basically a super-simple hashing algorithm, which are commonly used to turn big hard problems into smaller easier ones.

I see no arguments against this guy's ideas, just ad-hominem attacks and people being insulted that someone try and come up with new solutions to old problems. Don't be that guy. If it won't work, explain why.

about 10 months ago
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Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

egarland Misleading title... (641 comments)

"I'm not accepting any patches until you fix your bugs" is hardly suspending someone, it's re-focusing them. This is an important part in any software project, and Linus is doing it well here. There's no ambiguity or hyperbole, just straightforward communication identifying issues and prompting action to correct them.

"Start fixing your shit" isn't even remotely the same thing as "stop doing things".

about 10 months ago

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