Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon
I once worked at a place where we produced a lot of waste contaminated lubricant. We securely set this barrels, and a nice guy would come by and pump it out and reprocess it and sell for whatever it could be used for. It cost the firm a bit in storage costs, but also save us a bit in waste disposal.
If you RTFA, and even the headline, there is no problem here for the brewers, except for the one example in which the waste was sold to a broker. In this case the waste would be worth less so they might not be able to get any money, so the extra $30 might be amortized over the ton of beer. This, by my calculation would add a penny or two per beer.
So the problem is the farmer. If there is demand,and assuming that giving away the waste to a broker is cheaper than landfilling it, which in my experience it is, then there will be a marginal additional cost to the farmer. For the small farmer, who can just go to the brewery and collect the waste, the cost will just be transportation and labor. We used to do this for the cash crops we grew, collect waste, bring it to the farm, compost it, and use it for free.
For bigger operations, they will have to pay a broker and processor. This is a consequence of mass produced food. We have to have extra precautions because when something does happen, no one is really held responsible.
Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?
Excel is about the only component in the MS Office suite that is still arguably superior. When it came out on the Mac almost 30 years ago it was revolutionary. And this is from someone who was quite adept at Visicalc and Quattro. OTOH, it is my wish that no one use MS Powerpoint anymore. It is dated and ugly. MS Word is truly useful in a few use cases, buy mostly it is just that people know how to use to get simple tasks done and teaching them how to complete those tasks differently is cost prohibitive.
Due to the way MS products are licensed, and the cost of training, and the fact that the average person gets confused easily with software, it is cheaper for large organizations to buy the MS products for use by the minority of users that actually need it.
SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon
if you are talking about throw away worker drones or server machines, then no. There is no data on these machine, the costs to swap them out are minimal. I recall a place that had racks of a few hundred machines, a dedicated person to swap them out, and two died a day. Putting anything but the cheapest product in there would have been a waste of money. But the data machines, those were special. Probably cost more than the combined servers the fed to.
Likewise, worker bee machines that are pretty much dumb terminals are not going to use SSD. But other machines that people actually do and store work on, that may be something different.
Look, tape is on the order of penny per gigabyte. Hard disks are somewhere between 5-10 cents a gigabyte. SSD is about 50 cents a gigabyte. Many people still back up onto hard disk even though tape is more reliable. We are going to use SSD because there are benefits that justify the order of magnitude increase.
Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
One thing that surprises me is that every talks about Byte, but not the spin off of a great column in Byte, Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar. Circuit Cellar is a bit expensive, and very technical, but if you like really making hardware it is a must. Circuit Cellar is the part of byte that was hardware making. There was another part that review and broad industry connections, another part that was software, and of course the musings of Jerry Pournelle.
If you are into reading international English fiction, Granta is also a must have.
GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless
And this brings up charity versus philanthropy.
Charity is something you do because you believe you are wealthy enough to give someone money with no strings attached. This is what the salvation army wants you to do during Christmas. Not thinking that your money is going to be used to promote hate, teach people that science is bad, and generally ruin the minds of children. But many people still give because charity is good.
Then there is philanthropy. That occurs when people with money want to control the world. They decide what is best for everyone, and use their funds to make it happen. It is no better or worse than charity, just different.
Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago
This was not really an innovative product for the time. The Apple Newton had full network capability, for instance. I know I had it connected to the internet and think I had a basic web browser. When the internet was pushed to the public, there were a number of dedicated machines, or internet appliances, that were introduced to the market, most few have heard of because they were failures. WebTV was a big one, I only know how it worked because I had to visit a dealer to fix a bug on a website I was working on. there were others during the 2000 time frame, but mostly the technology was not there.
Microsoft Brings Office Online To Chrome OS; Ars Reviews Windows Phone 8.1
When I converted a family member from MS Office to Pages years ago it was a struggle. The expectation was that there was only one way for a such an application to work, and that was defined by MS Office. Everything that was different was wrong, everything that missing was a glare. I get that. Most people in the US at least were trained on MS Office and they don't know anything different. OTOH, I got through the struggles, and Pages did the job as well as anything.
I have seen a similar situations with open textbooks. I have seen lately several that have clearly used MS Word. The layout and formulas are awful. I do technical work in LaTex. Obviously, because these authors have never used anything else but MS Office, and when all one has it a hammer everything is a nail, they just assumed that MS Word is the best thing to in which to write a book.
As an aside, I did write a short, 60 pagish, book back in the late 90's. I specifically chose OO.org because it had some features at the time that made putting together such a thing very easy. Also, 10 years ago, OO.org was much better at open old MS Word files than MS Word. Ms Word is still the absolute best way to right a Memo. MS Excel is still the best spreadsheet, but it is no longer so good that it is the only choice for many projects. MS Powerpoint is the worst presentation creator that I have used. OO.org, Libreoffice is better, and Keynote used to be way better before Apple shoehorned it into the iPad and made that the official version.
MS Ofiice is the defacto format for file transfer though, and because MS is horrible at managing such a thing is becoming increasingly difficult to see such files with an MS tool.
Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
There is certainly a fantasy that militias are unregulated and are there to defend the local population against the government, but much like Mitt Romney and the South, the anti-federalists lost. Get over it. The amendment says 'well regulated'. As far as militias go, it did have a pretty good definition, I think it was in the Virginia charter or some other document relating to incorporation. Therefore if we did have militias, the people would have to be recorded, and there would have to be further regulation to insure that order was maintained.
Consistent with this fantasy, it would theoretically be perfectly legal for these groups to attack federal officials as was done in Waco and currently done in Nevada where a criminal has groups of militias defending his right to be a criminal. This really hurts no one because, as in Waco, if we had someone who was as forceful as Janet Reno, the feds would just go in and kill everyone and be done with. Which is really the issue here. Superior forces win. And as long as the militia can't own working tanks, or rocket propelled grenades, or tactical nuclear weapons, it is unlikely that a 'militia' is going to be anything but hamburger.,
Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"
This device detects a flash and then overcomes the image with and LED. I don't know if it every made it to market,but this is the only way I can think of to detect a camera. Detect the infrared from the active sensor, and flash a high intensity LED back. I assume that the camera using the Google Glasses uses such an active sensor.
Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge
The interactions between children are not the same as the interaction between adults. Even in high school there is judgement call. If we are honest, we admit that there are these kids running around being aggressively annoying and the solution is not only to punish the bully, but to teach the person who is being bullied how to act in civilized society. This is probably not what happened here, but the point is we don't have all the facts. It could be that it is a simple case of group aggression against a individual perceived as not having the power to stop it. The fact that the school felt they needed to protect the bullies speaks to the possibility that this was some sort of group with status and they were showing that status by bullying.
That said, bullying, especially at the high school level, is not going to be solved by inspirational PR campaigns. It is going to be solved by identify bullying as a precursor to future criminal behavior and treating it as such. Right now aggressive behavior, especially in boys, is seen as something to be cultivated. The physically strong who are willing to use their strength for evil are considered superior to those who are actually creating things and making the world a better place. As long as those who go to class and learn to be productive and informed citizens are seen as inferior to those who are merely willing to do anything to show strength, nothing will be solved.
This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions
And it is the innovators that can imagine the context in the present that make the future. This idea that we might all like a computer on our desk. That radio might be supported by more interesting things than just reading out a list of prices. That a punch card might be used for more than making cloth.
BTW, I think Heinlein got it right with the waterbed.
How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
Some people don't enjoy work and paying them more might get them to work on time or to work the whole day. Or you could just fire them and hire someone who has an understanding that they have agreed to do a job for a rate of pay.
Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?
A hovering car certainly has applications. It would require less expensive roads and would be, in principle, much more self driving than a car on wheels. It would have to be as it will likely be difficult to control purely by human means. But a flying car. We essential have those. You just need a pilots license and have begin and end locations near an airfield for takeoff and landings. Of course air fields are not nearly as prolific as they used to be.
Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com
Not sure what this has to do with anything, even though it is true. I order through amazon from independent book dealers. The books appears to come from the dealers, packed by the dealers, often with a nice note from the dealers.
The article states that the workers in the amazon warehouse are frequenting the book sellers in the area. Whether they are treated badly, these workers have the disposable income to buy a book. I am big book buyer, but there have been times in my life when I went to the library instead of a bookstore. So as badly as these employees are treated, they are paid, though probably not as much as they should be, enough to have some expendable income.
And honestly, no matter what no independent retailer can compete with the big box or online stores. I used to pay extra just to support the local book and music dealers. Ultimately there were just not enough of us and they went out business.
Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com
Although not in Seattle, from what I can see most people who do not shop from Amazon shop at Powell's. I guess they think Powell's is cooler. But here is the rub. I often order books through Amazon from other book dealers. Amazon gives these bookstores the online infrastructure and allows them to reach an audience outside of the neighborhood, and an Audience, that, like me, hasn't spent hours in a bookstore going through books, at least has not done so in a decade or so. I read the reviews, and but the books.
So it is good that the Amazon sweat shop pays enough so people can buy books and helps the economy in this way. I am sure it helps the economy in other ways. That does not mean that bookstores have any long term potential.
it simply has to do with stock. New stock is too expensive as publishers have always punished the independent bookstore with higher prices. Used stock is going to become increasingly hard to come by.
Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry
Innovation is always built on the back of others. Nothing pops out of the blue. It is only the lack of education that makes on believes otherwise. The entire affordable microcomputer industry is based on Compaq's reverse engineering(stealing) of the IBM OS. The free browser for everyone is due to MS conning a profitable firm, then giving away the browser and forcing that firm into bankruptcy. Innovation has never been about pulling a product out of you ass. A knife was not suddenly one day made. We had to figure out how to mine the melt, smelt it, and then how to make it a knife that is not brittle.
Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project
No, it's not. It is just that they can't rent hotel room to meet their hookers and keep their mistresses on staff.
How much is this really. As a comparison, our football stadium was supposed to cost $400 million in today's dollars. It actually cost closer to $600 million, also in today's dollars. About $350 million of that is paid by extorting fees from visitor to the city. I can't imagine how making visitors pay for something they have no use for makes, sense, but there it is.
This reminds me of people who complain about the $400 million cost to launch the Space Shuttle. The same amount of a high end movie. But what does a movie give us?
NYC Considers Google Glass For Restaurant Inspections
I would hate any municipality t waste $1500 on a such an untested device. The lack of usefulness and high price point of this product is indicated by the fact that, as far as I can tell, anyone who applies to the explorer program gets in. I sent an application a while back, just saying I was going to play with them, and I got an offer. I did not know that they cost more than my first car.
Now of course they have a "sale", where apparently anyone can buy the glasses for the low, low price of $1500.
Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover
Galileo was circa 1600. This is where, arguably, modern physics begins. Observation, rejection of common beliefs such as giants, geocentric ideas, and inherent properties such as motion, heat, and such.
Issac Newton was 1700. Not a huge step forward, but embedded physics in a mathematical base. He was able to do some things that Galileo could not because of the math.
Between 1700 and 1900, there was much refinement, many extensions, and then the ultraviolet catastrophe among other things
So 1900 saw Relativity and Quantum Mechanics which solved some real problems with the classical physics that dominated in the 18th and 19th century. It explains so much, has lead to so much, but there is so much to know.
QM and Relativity don't work well together. Black Holes are infinities in real space. In the 21st century, for the first time, we have an expatiation for mass, it is no longer just an inertial concept. I don't know if we yet know why inertial mass is the same as gravitational mass.
We thought that if we could sequence DNA we would know everything. We don't. So there is a lot to find out.
Study: Video Gamer Aggression Result of Game Experience, Not Violent Content
As we grow up we learn to deal with, and solve, problems. Some of these problems are technical, some are social, some are personal. For social problems we learn from various models. Video games, by and large, model the solution to social problems as violence. Yes, there can be models of teams solving social problems by violence, but for the most part it is a narcissistic and individual fantasy of absolute power and lack of normal social consequences.
This, of course, does not in any mean that these violent models imprint themselves on the player. But there is credence to the idea that if a person practices using aggression and violence to solve social problems, that she or he may use those same methods in more authentic interactions.
As I am sure we all know, a digital computer represents all information by either an on or off state, which is typically represented numerically as 0 or 1, respectively. As the digital state is often implements as an analog current, there is often some firm threshhold value, above which the state is said to be on.
Therefore to represent a peice of information, such information must first be encoded in as a number, then the number encoded into a series of off or on states to represent that number. This is where binary notation comes from. Using only 0 an 1, in principle we can represent any number as easily as using the 0-9. For instance, using base 2, the number representing in decimal form as 4 would be 100. Perhaps a bit verbose, but quite adequate when one can complete thousands of operations every second.
The verbosity, however is a problem for humans. For instance, to represent the decimal number 9 requires us to write 1001. While a digital device has no problem with this, and humans working to hardwire code have no problems, as the amount of information to encode becomes greater, humans wish to have more information density.
Which is where Octal, or base 8 representation emerges. Octal notation groups three states, or bits, in one. In octal instead of only using the digits 0 and 1, we use 0-7. This means that to write the decimal number 7 instead of writing 0b111, we write 0o7, i which the 0o prefix means octal.
Octal was nice when bits were base of the computers, but soon information grew so much that we began to group bits together. The smallest traditional grouping of bits is the nibble, which contains 4 bits. This means the biggest number that can be held is 0b1111 or the decimal number 15. This lead to the idea that we might want a numbering system that can represent numbers up to decimal 15, and the hexadecimal system was used. In this system, digits go from 0-F. Therefore the decimal number 7 is written 0x7. The decimal number 15 is written 0xF, 0o17 or 0b1111. One can see that even though the computer does not care, it is easier for people.
Hexadecimal was quite used prior to the mid 80's. While programming tasks were easily handled through the alphanumeric keyboard, with minimal special keys, formatted text processing required copious use of the entry of special codes. Even in programming, it was useful to direct many function directly through the hardware using hex.
So, obviously, with the huge bit capacity, it is quite easy to see why we use hexadecimal to represent numerical values. What is not so obvious is why we represent using the longer form hex09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0 rather than 0x09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0.
Beware of gifts with stange Apples?
It has been a strange ride over these 20 years. Shape tables on the Apple ][. A EPROM burner in another Apple ][ to program an EEPROM for use in a Z80 controller for flight. Printing WYSIWYG documents for the first time from a Mac to an imagewriter. Horrible fonts and resolution. Embarrassing. But such excitement to not have to embed the Epson codes directly into the AppleWriter document.
And then Macs that actually ran fast enough to do work. And then Macs with harddrives, separate monitors, expandable innards. Appletalk replaced with ethernet. And then SCSI gone and all my stuff had to be replaced with Firewire stuff.
But through all this time I have never felt betrayed. Until today. Yesterday I happily installed the MacOS update. I have complained a bit in the past week about the fact that they combined security and feature updates, and I hope they have learned from this experience, even though the probably have not, but i am over it. Sort of.
But today I noticed something strange. Moving advertisements on my web pages. Could it be that my preferences for images got messed up? No, checked my pref files everything as I left it. Could it be that more sites are manually changing images? Unlikely but i looked at the page source just to be sure. No, nothing there. The source for the web pages is essentially what it has been for these sites. Check for flash, try some scripts, then give up with a static images. So could it be Flash? I don't have flash on my computer. It eats up too much time. Do a search for the file, not there. Forgot where the file was stored, so i just go back to double checking preferences and the source of the web pages. Maybe I missed something. It sure looks like flash, though.
Finally get a brainstorm and go to the macromedia site. Yep, it starts playing a flash movie. I definitely have been infected by the annoyware virus. But how, and where it is? I finally find a web page with the directory location. It is in the library directory. Not the user one, but the main one. The one that needs administrator access. Find the file, check the date. It was the date and time I installed the MacOS update.
Now, i have no proof that the update came with a flash payload. I could have accidently installed it some other way. All I have is circumstantial evidence and i do not want to make false accusations. But the install time was during the time i was installing the update. I go through great pains not to install flash and avoid sites that require it.
On the other hand flash is becoming tricky, and someone may have set up a trojan that got it onto my computer. Could have been Apple could have been someone else.
And the only thing that the knowledge base lists is Safari enhancements. Which of course brings a whole separate set of problems, like what if I don't want to use Safari.
I am telling you. I am so close to getting a Intel piece of crap, installing Linux on it, and just running the command line with the occasional X for the rest of my life. It was not so bad when all we had was the command line.
The following is some thoughts on altering the /. moderation system. I do not believe any of these ideas are novel or unique, but the application of these ideas may help with issues such as scalability and the promotion of long term discussions within an article posting. The main concepts in this modified moderation proposal are moving to labels instead of numbers for moderation, continuously variable starting moderation points based on karma, and non linear moderation scoring.
First, I believe /. should move to labels for moderation in leu of the current numbers. These labels could be 'horrible', 'unrated', 'default', 'fine', 'great', 'terrific', and 'super' , respectively corresponding to moderation of -1 to 5. The labels will need to be tweaked with the idea that labels will reflect the status of a comment. For instance, a current '1' comment would be unrated because this is the default posting for a logged in user. I do not use the karma labels to avoid confusion.
Underlying these labels would be an expanded, and scalable counter. To determine the range of the counter, one would set the increment for a category. If we select the increment to be 20, for instance, the counter would go from 0 to 101. A comment at 0 is 'bad', a comment at 101 is 'terrific', and everything else is evenly divided into groups of 20. For instance, the structure might look like
In the discussion below I will assume that moderation counter starts at zero. I will also refer to the increment as defined above. As an aside, is feasible to make the increments nonlinear, and there are reasons to do this, but I believe the such functionally can be incorporated into the moderation procedure.
The next issue is the starting moderation based on Karma. Currently logged in users start at 1 and eventually get a point. If the user is subsequently very bad, they will lose the point. This system is effective, but imprecise. I feel it gives a new user excessive benefits, delays additional benefits until the user reaches top status, and does not quickly punish bad behavior. My suggestion is that anonymous users start at the low end of unrated, which in general is 1. All registered users would have their starting moderation calculated based on karma, as described below.
If we assume that the underlying karma count sets a neutral karma to zero and goes positive and negative with increasing and decreasing karma, we might calculate default moderation as
default_moderation=offset + karma*scale.
This equation has two variable. The first is offset, which is where we give logged in users a boost over anonymous users. For instance, if the offset is equal to the increment, a new logged in user will still start with 'unrated' comments, but a single moderation would guarantee the comment would become 'default'. The other variable is scale. To be consistent with the current system, this should cause a user with maximum karma to in the 'great' rating. This could be done by having each label change in karma add half the increment. Therefore, a karma of 'positive' and 'good' would make the moderation increasingly 'fine', while a karma of 'excellent' would have moderation in the middle of great. The application of this is that the default moderation is a continuous function based on karma, which we assume also changes continuously with user behavior.
Moderation itself should not change from the point of view of the moderator. The moderator will still choose a label and moderate. However, /. will now have fine control over the points awarded. For instance, each moderation might only award 3/4 of an increment. Or perhaps we want to encourage users to look for new good comments rather than just continue to moderated existing highly moderating comments, so we might only award 1/3 of an increment to any comment that is already 'terrific' Maybe we see that most comments posted in the first 5 minutes of an article are useless, so the moderators on those articles on get to award 1/3 of an increment until the comment reaches 'fine' status. Maybe we want to encourage moderators to look at new comments, so a moderator will only be able to award 1/4 increments to any comments that is past a certain time threshold. It may be decided that a funny comment is less valuable than an insightful comment, or an overrated tag is less valuable than a insightful tag. In summary, because moderators will still only have a certain number of moderations, regardless of the actual points awarded, the moderator can be discouraged from certain actions by making those actions less forceful.
There are several possible pitfalls in this proposal. First, the moderation of a comment will not necessarily lead to the change in moderation status for an article. This may confuse moderators. Second, communicating the variable moderation points may be prohibitively difficult. If such information is not communicated to user at the time of moderation, this proposal may not be an improvement over the current system. Third, an increased amount of computation may be necessary to display as moderation page. This increased load on the web-server may prove excessive.
A final comment on the '3 day limit' for moderation. I believe this limit is excessive and does not encourage the important activity of moderation. My suggestion is based on when the user logs into /. First, if a user does not log into /. within 24 hours of being awarded moderation points, the moderation points go back into the pool. If the user logs in within the 24 period, the user will then have 24 hours to use the points. If the points are not used in that period, they go back into the pool.
out come the freaks
I received an email recently about my sig. The email asked what was a freak. I wanted to answer that question in my journal. In addition, I also wanted to discuss why I chose to put Freaks in my sig instead of Fans.
First, what is a freak. If we look at the FAQ, we see that a freak is a person who has chosen you as a foe. This, in my opinion, is a much more significant event that another choosing you as a friend.
To get excessively philosophical, the act of choosing a foe is also an act of preparing for conflict. For some people this choice may be a petty expression of violence. However, for others it may a genuine declaration of the willingness to grow, learn and become a more complete person. As the quote above indicates, a foe can be the ideal way to discover what one should do. I hope to have the time to look at comments carefully enough to chose quality foes.
Yet once again I saw a perfectly reasonable post marked off-topic, and I had to mark it as unfair. It was not exactly on-topic, but it was a valid and useful reply to the comment. Why a moderator would waste points marking it off-topic is beyond me. Were there not enough good comments that day? Are there some whose only mission in life is to to promote personal agendas? I do not know.
I try very hard to limit my negative moderation to truly harmful posts(goatse, etc). It seems if a post relates incorrect information, that post will invariable attract comments that correct the error, and those replies will usually get modded higher than the original comments.