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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

gman003 Re:wouldn't that be... (376 comments)

Mr. Steele is my porn name. Am I exempt?

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

gman003 Good thing there's renewable storage (436 comments)

Why does everyone seem to think that the only way to store electricity is in a battery?

Flywheels are a thing. They might not scale up as effectively but they're definitely an option. But really, anything that stores electrical energy as potential energy will work.

But there's a better solution - hydropower storage.

Near where I live, there's a nice artificial lake made by a hydroelectric dam. Not too far away is a big nuclear power plant. During the night, power demand is very low, but nuclear reactors don't throttle down very well so there's an excess. You know what they do with that?

They pump water upstream, back into the reservoir, thus storing that electricity for when the demand is high the next day and they let it drop back down. That artificial lake basically gets artificial tides - every day the water level drops, and every night it rises back up.

Guess what? Most renewables are also at their highest output during the day. Why not use clean, renewable storage for this clean, renewable energy? Why does everyone seem to assume the choices are "nasty expensive chemical batteries" or "zero storage requiring demand-side hacks to keep things from falling apart"?

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

gman003 Checked my own state (264 comments)

For Virginia, I skimmed through and found:
* Basically every county, city and even college police were involved. Specifically which department got each thing isn't listed.
* 2 "laser range-finder/target designators". They listed laser range-finders with a different name, so these are definitely ones that could illuminate a target for bombing. Scary.
* 4 explosive ordnance disposal robots
* 1 mine-resistant vehicle
* 23 5.56mm rifles, 14 7.62mm rifles, 4 .45 pistols and 3 12ga "riot-type" shotguns. I did not notice any other arms, specifically .50 rifles. Interestingly, there were no multiple transfers of weapons - either only one gun was given to each department, or they're logging individual serial numbers, or they're lying their ass off.
* On a lighter note, a single electronic calculator, a bicycle, two golf carts and a "mule" were also listed. Whether that mule was an M274 truck or an actual mule is unspecified - the M274 was obsoleted in the '80s while mules continue to be used in Afghanistan, so an actual mule isn't that implausible.

5 days ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

gman003 Pssssh (197 comments)

It's not even a fad - it's dead on arrival. Most people don't even use 5.1 speakers. Hell, most don't even use 2.1. Anything that requires that much dedication of the room to audio is not going to sell to the mass market. Period.

3D TV at least had a vague hope of succeeding in the mass market. If they can ditch the glasses, they might actually succeed. But people are lazy and don't want to put any effort into their mindless entertainment. Putting glasses on to watch a movie was too much for them. Do you really think setting up a shitload of speakers all around the room is going to pass?

5 days ago
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Processors and the Limits of Physics

gman003 Re:Density limit - not computational limit (168 comments)

Odd that TSMC is so pessimistic, because Intel claims their 22nm node was their most high-yield ever, and even their 14nm yield is pretty high for this early in development. Perhaps the multi-gate FinFETs helped? I know TSMC is planning FinFET for 16nm later this year. That's not a "radical manufacturing breakthrough" but it is a pretty substantial change that could change their yields considerably.

5 days ago
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Processors and the Limits of Physics

gman003 Density limit - not computational limit (168 comments)

Congratulations, you identified the densest possible circuits we can make. That doesn't even give an upper bound to Moore's Law, let alone an upper bound to performance.

Moore's Law is "the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years". You can accomplish that by halving the size of the transistors, or by doubling the size of the chip. Some element of the latter is already happening - AMD and Nvidia put out a second generation of chips on the 28nm node, with greatly increased die sizes but similar pricing. The reliability and cost of the process node had improved enough that they could get a 50% improvement over the last gen at a similar price point, despite using essentially the same transistor size.

You could also see more fundamental shifts in technology. RSFQ seems like a very promising avenue. We've seen this sort of thing with the hard drive -> SSD transition for I/O bound problems. If memory-bound problems start becoming a priority (and transistors get cheap enough), we might see a shift back from DRAM to SRAM for main memory.

So yeah, the common restatement of Moore's Law as "computer performance per dollar will double every two years" will probably keep running for a while after we hit the physical bounds on transistor size.

5 days ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

gman003 Re:why STOP in telegrams? (144 comments)

Morse code did not originally have punctuation. A period is also referred to as a "stop" or "full stop", so they would just use S-T-O-P in the place of a period.

about a week ago
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California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

gman003 Re:This isn't 'nam! (327 comments)

Irrelevant. By your logic, the only thing worth doing is whatever magically solves the problem on the planet, and anything else is useless. If I could snap my fingers and suddenly homophobia no longer exists (a limit case of zero penalty, large gain), you would be arguing against doing so because it doesn't create any jobs.

My argument is sound. The laws being waived are environmental laws - their goal is to help the environment. In unusual cases, it may be in the interests of the environment to waive those laws in order to get a bigger gain.

Further, this factory would have a significant impact on poverty, regardless of location. Modern factories are highly automated, with very few human staff. And those who do work there are going to be skilled laborers, ie. not people who are currently poor. The time for making thousands of jobs by opening a factory is over. You want a thousand jobs? Finance a hundred small businesses, or maybe re-institute the draft if you're really desperate for jobs.

Finally, you are ignoring secondary effects. More Tesla batteries means more electric cars, which means reduced transportation costs, which means any business relying on transportation has improved profit margins, which means you get economic growth and hiring, which means less poverty. Location doesn't even really matter - the economy is global.

about a week ago
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California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

gman003 Re:This isn't 'nam! (327 comments)

On the other hand, an exception could be made on the grounds that it would make electric cars more common, which would be a net gain for the environment even with a polluting factory. This really doesn't sound like they're using this justification, but it's a possible one.

about a week ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

gman003 Re:Cheaper drives (183 comments)

It's falling prices, but it's a measure of how fast they're falling. Not too long ago, $1/GB was the "barrier" everyone wanted to cross. Before that it was probably $5/GB or something. Next we'll be looking to break $0.25/GB, then probably price parity with hard drives.

It's like the 1GHz barrier on CPUs, back in the day. It wasn't so much a barrier as it was a milestone, a mark of how far we've progressed.

about a week ago
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Maryam Mirzakhani Is the First Woman Fields Medalist

gman003 The proof (75 comments)

I skimmed TFA to find the actual math she earned it for. The summary they give is actually pretty interesting, even though they don't go into much detail on the math. Definitely doesn't seem like a bullshit hey-look-we're-giving-awards-to-minorities-too-now award.

This seems to be the actual paper, although to be honest it's so far above my knowledge that it could be about something completely different and I wouldn't be able to tell.

about two weeks ago
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Errata Prompts Intel To Disable TSX In Haswell, Early Broadwell CPUs

gman003 Re:Not all that surprising... (131 comments)

I'm sure there are some Opterons laughing right now.

Yes, but some of them take a while to get the joke because their TLB had to be disabled.

(Certain releases of the "Barcelona" Opterons had a bug that could lock up the system. A workaround would prevent it, but had a stiff performance penalty. Later steppings had it fixed.)

about two weeks ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

gman003 11 out of 11 (393 comments)

Let's see...
Ariane 1 - second and fifth launches failed
Ariane 2 - only 6 launches, first failed
Ariane 3 - fifth launch failed
Ariane 4 - eighth launch failed
Ariane 5 - first launch failed, two partial failures in first 11
Atlas A - only 8 launches, 5 failed
Atlas B - only 10 launches, 3 failed
Atlas C - only 6 launches, 2 failed
Delta - first launch failed
Delta II - first eleven successful
Falcon 1 - only five launches, first three failed
Falcon 9 - first eleven launches successful, although a secondary payload on the fourth launch was aborted as a precaution
Long March 1 - only 2 launches, both successful
Long March 2 - first launch failed
Long March 3 - no complete failures in first 11, but 1 and 8 were partial failures
N-1 - only four launches, all failed horribly
Proton - third launch failed
Proton-K - second, third, fourth and sixth launches failed
Proton-M - eleventh launch failed
Saturn I - only ten launches, all successful
Saturn IB - only nine launches, all successful (unless you count Apollo 1 - it didn't launch but still killed three astronauts)
Saturn V - second launch (Apollo 6) failed, Apollo 13 doesn't count because it was a payload, not launcher, failure
Soyuz - third launch failed, with fatalities
Soyuz-U - seventh launch failed
Soyuz-FG - first eleven launches successful
Space Shuttle - first eleven successful (19th was first partial failure (ATO), 25th was first full failure)
Titan I - fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and tenth launches failed
Titan II - ninth and eleventh launches failed
Titan III - first and sixth launches failed
Titan IV - seventh launch failed
Zenit-2 - first and second launches failed

Yep, getting zero failures in your first eleven launches is pretty damn rare.

about two weeks ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

gman003 You keep using that word (393 comments)

In the letter, they keep going on about anomalies. They don't understand what those are.

Anomalies are not (necessarily) defects, or errors, or problems. Anomalies are deviations from the norm - something that isn't perfect.

I tried to find an example Space Shuttle mission that I could use to compare, but I can't even find a comprehensive list of "anomalies". I can find rollbacks, where the problem required bringing the vehicle back to the assembly building, but I can't find a list even of countdown stops.

Rockets are expensive. When you see a potential problem, you fix it even if there's a 90% chance of it being fine anyways. You don't take risks. For SpaceX, their caution has paid off in a near-100% success rate (one secondary payload was lost after an engine failed on CRS-1. NASA forbade the second burn to insert the secondary payload because the engine failure had reduced the odds of success to 95%).

Further, these are civilian launch vehicles, not missiles. A missile, you expect to be high-reliability, low-maintenance and weather-tolerant. You can't cancel a battle just because a hurricane is coming and you're not sure it can stand up to the wind. But these are civilian rockets - the increased payload and decreased cost you get from not having to battle-harden everything is worth the cost of having to delay the launch if something looks a bit iffy and they want to make sure it's not going to break and wreck your multi-million-dollar payload.

Oh, and then they somehow argue that having several billion dollars worth of flights sold is a bad thing. They frame it as "SpaceX is too slow to keep up with demand", when really it's "the demand is too high for SpaceX to keep up". They have missions sold out to 2019, and on many of them the payload isn't even ready yet. Replace SpaceX with even a perfect ideal, with an infinite supply of ready-to-launch rockets, and those seven Iridium-NEXT launches won't be happening until the actual payloads are done, the next five ISS resupply missions won't happen until the ISS needs the supplies, and the Falcon 9 Heavy test launch won't happen until that rocket is ready.

about two weeks ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

gman003 Re:I don't get it. (540 comments)

Let's think of it from another perspective - physical strength. Genetics does play a part in this, obviously, but training and exercise is easily the dominant factor.

Hair and eye color does not change significantly based on life experiences. Physical strength and intelligence does. For intelligence in particular, my experience has been that any genetic influence is almost unmeasurable compared to training and experience (this is in part because we have no good objective measure of intelligence).

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

gman003 Re:Confusing the issue (337 comments)

I still think RT could have worked as a corporate tablet. Make it integrate 100% with AD and everything, give it built-in Office, and give bulk discounts when buying over a dozen of them. But no, Microsoft was blinded by the dreams of the consumer market, despite it being owned by Android/iPad, and so they missed the one niche they really could have nailed with it.

about two weeks ago
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For Fast Internet in the US, Virginia Tops the Charts

gman003 And yet here I am (98 comments)

Here I am, in downtown Richmond (capital of Virginia). I *should* be getting some blazing-fast internet, right? Perfect conditions for it.

Nope. 3Mbps DSL. I can't switch ISPs because my apartment gave a monopoly to Telcom Communications (seriously, that's their actual name - they seem to be reselling CenturyLink). Sure, they don't call it that, but I checked every ISP and none of them will provide service to me except some DSL that's just as slow as what I've got.

And yet my parents, living twenty minutes away from anywhere in the empty part of Chesterfield, are getting 50Mbps FttH. I really want to see the economic explanation for that - it's too expensive to run fiber literally a block from Main Street, but a 20-mile run past several farms and lumber fields is somehow profitable.

about two weeks ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

gman003 Get the facts straight (409 comments)

Quite odd how, out of the first eighteen comments (not counting replies), five are about decommissioning costs, and five are about meltdowns? They seem to repeat the same talking points, almost as if on a script.

I'm not saying they're shills, but at the very least a lot of people seem to be getting their information from the same place, which leaves them missing several crucial facts:

1) Nuclear power works at scale. It's proven, and it scales perfectly. The biggest solar plants on the planet are 500MW (Topaz Solar Farm, PV) or 400MW (Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, thermal). A single nuclear reactor is well above that - scroll down this list and you'll see very few sub-500MW, and quite a few 1GW+ reactors. And remember, most plants have more than one reactor. 66 nuclear plants are enough to give us 20% of our energy. 947 wind plants are only enough to give us 3%, and 553 solar plants (PV and thermal) don't even break half a percent.

2) Nuclear power would be a hell of a lot safer if new designs were actually approved. The regulations are pretty much ridiculous - they don't approve new reactor types that are designed to solve all the problems we've found with the old designs, but they still allow old designs with known weaknesses to be extended long past their designed lifespan. Add to that the ridiculous costs of dealing with the bureaucracy and the weak requirements for cleanup/decommissioning, and it almost seems like the regulations are designed both to make nuclear power unprofitable, and to keep public opinion against it. Hmm...

3) Nobody is arguing for pure nuclear power, because that doesn't work for all the reasons people say it doesn't work. Nuclear (and geothermal, where possible) makes for an excellent base load. Nuclear meshes well with hydro - excess capacity can be used to run the dam in reverse, pumping water up to store that energy for later use. And if positioned right, it provides both cooling water for the reactor, and a single point to close off flow or install filters if something does go wrong. Wind, tidal and solar can supplement this as locations allow, with solar in particular taking the edge off the peak load.

4) Every power plant can go wrong. What happens when a hydro dam fails? Thousands of people die. What happens when a solar plant fails? We don't know yet, but it probably won't be that good considering how much damage they can do even when working properly. Same for wind, and tidal, and geothermal. They do some minor damage even when working perfectly - frying or chopping up migratory birds or fish, or altering the geology in the case of geothermal. Nuclear has the benefit, at least, of being perfectly clean when working perfectly. Yes, if things go wrong it can be absolutely horrible, but that's why regulations need to focus on redundant containment and fail-safe designs, not on constant inspections.

about two weeks ago
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Valve Discloses Source 2 Engine In Recent DOTA 2 Update

gman003 Re:So I guess all that Leaves is Alien Swarm (97 comments)

Alien Swarm: No sequels
Counter-Strike: one remake (Source), two sequels (Condition Zero, Global Offensive)
DOTA 2: No sequels, sort of a sequel itself though
Day of Defeat: One remake (Source)
Deathmatch Classic: No sequels
Half-Life: Three expansion packs (Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Decay), one remakes (Half-Life: Source), one deathmatch version (HL:DM), one remake of the deathmatch mode (HL:DM:S), one direct sequel (2), one sequel to the deathmatch mode (HL2:DM), three expansions to the sequel (Lost Coast, Episodes 1+2)
Left 4 Dead: One sequel (2)
Portal: One sequel (2)
Ricochet: No sequels
Team Fortress: One sequel (2)

This isn't counting the multiple non-Valve licensed variants of Counter-Strike, or the arcade version of Half-Life 2.

about two weeks ago
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Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

gman003 Picture in my head was better (406 comments)

The image I had in my head, for some reason, was the driver leaving the car itself, which drove off without him. Apparently he wasn't stupid enough to do that, which is unfortunate because that would have been absolutely hilarious.

about two weeks ago

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