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Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

ibwolf Re:If dimples have this big an effect (136 comments)

Because they only reduce drag at low speeds. At high speeds (commercial airlines fly at Mach 0.8-0.85 usually) they would increase drag, not lower it.

4 days ago
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The debate over climate change is..

ibwolf Re:n/t (278 comments)

No, all of science is debatable. Even Newton and Einstein.

The ones insisting that science is "settled" and undebatable are the same old religious authority figures dressed in new clothes.

Newton is a good example. We know for a fact that his 'laws' (or more accurately, models) of motion are wrong. We've known that for a very long time (that is why relativity was needed, Newton's model, for example, failed to predict the orbits of the planets accurately).

Now suppose you are building a bridge. It needs to withstand certain strains. Plugging the details of your plans into Newton's models shows that it will not withstand them. Claiming that since Newton's models are wrong, you can safely ignore this result and build your bridge anyway, is clearly nonsense.

The reason it is nonsense is because the limitations (or inaccuracies) of Newton's models are irrelevant to its application in this scenario. To wave away Newton, in this instance, you'd need to present extremely compelling evidence that we've been wrong these past 300 years in believing Newton's laws held any value at 'human' scale.

This would be an extraordinary claim, requiring extraordinary proof. Given how unlikely that is, we say that Newton is 'settled'. In that we know the limits of his models and have a mountain of evidence to back them up where we believe they do apply. You can't just point at the known limitations of his models and in a handwavy manner extrapolate that since his models aren't perfect, they are useless. You must provide extraordinary proof they Newton's models are wrong.

So lets move over to climate science.

Its a younger field, but it does rely on a number of fairly simple and testable models. Including that carbon dioxide (CO2) traps heat in the atmosphere. This can be easily tested (and has been repeatedly). Claiming that this is false, requires extraordinary proof and this can generally be considered settled.

The claim that us humans are releasing immense amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and have been doing so to an ever greater degree for over 200 years is also easily proven and can be viewed as 'settled'. That is to say, you'd need extraordinary proof to claim otherwise.

There is a mountain of these small, 'settled' issues that, when taken together, lead to a fairly unassailable (barring extraordinary evidence to the countrary) conclusion; We are having an effect on the global climate.

The exact effects are what is left for (real) scientific debate. But even there we know that the overall temperature of the planet will rise by some amount due to the presence of more CO2 in the atmosphere (claiming otherwise requires, again, extraordinary proof, although the exact amount of heating is still subject to some debate).

TL;DR Climate science is far from settled. However, the fact that we are having an impact on the climate is settled and arguing otherwise requires extraordinary proof.

about two weeks ago
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Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

ibwolf Re:Aluminium (365 comments)

...but you can turn off the plant to free more of the existing electricity...

No you can't. Aluminium plants take time to shut down. A sudden loss of electricity will destroy the equipment used to smelt it. So you'd need many hours to wind production down and then many hours to get it started again.

The last thing any aluminium smelting plants wants is downtime. That is why they are run 24/7. Shutting them down takes a very long time and costs a lot of money.

about a month ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

ibwolf Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (245 comments)

The banks, on the other hand, are very easy to "kill" — just stop using them. Unlike the government, they have no way to compel you.

Yes, "just" stop using them. Like we can "just" stop voting in all these rubbish politicians.

Most people can't stop doing business with them because they are already in debt and clearing that debt will take decades. Even if not in debt, not having a bank account and debit/credit card(s) and other financial services can cause you all manner of difficulties.

Banks, on top of providing essentially services, have built a money sucking machine. And they've made very sure to entangle the leeching part thoroughly in with the good bits.

The only way to address this, without plunging the economy into chaos, is for the government to step in and untangle it (cutting the proverbial Gordian knot). "Just" not doing business with the banks will either accomplish nothing (because you can't get enough people involved) or will precipitate a financial collapse.

Unfortunately, getting the government to do something about this "just" requires us to vote some decent people into office *sigh* yes, "just".

about a month and a half ago
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The Disappearing Universe

ibwolf Re:FTL or Wormhole Travel (358 comments)

Mod parent up!

Most insightful thing I've read on Slashdot in quite some time.

about 2 months ago
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Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

ibwolf Re:Everyone prepare for Armageddon! (182 comments)

As if cutting/reducing services does not place a burden on its citizens?

If something can be cut without the citizens noticing it, then cut it (regardless of overall financial health, it's just waste).

But most services are there for a reason. It may be a lesser burden (especially if you take the long term view) to raise taxes than to allow certain services to degrade past the point of utility.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon Turns Off In-App Purchases In iOS Comixology

ibwolf Re: Are they allowed to do that? (244 comments)

Sounds more like a reason not to buy in to the Apple/iOS ecosystem.

about 3 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

ibwolf Re:"Fully Half Doubt the Big Bang"? (600 comments)

Now we are at 13.77B, the next may narrow it down to a date and time...

I bet it was a Monday.

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

ibwolf Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

In most democracies there are usually two parties that most people vote for (Both of which are different shades of shit).

Citation needed!

Most (European anyway) democracies are parliamentary democracies with 4-6 major parties plus some number of smaller/fringe parties. Typically, no one party has a majority and coalition governments are the norm.

about 3 months ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

ibwolf Re:Tracking` (233 comments)

It's estimated to be $200,000 per plane for live tracking. "Billons" would be a huge exaggeration.

That's 5000 planes per one billion. There are almost one thousand Boeing 777s in operation today. Add in all other comparable, i.e. long range aircraft (757, 747, 787 plus the Airbus equivalents) and you are quickly into the (very low admittedly) billions.

about 4 months ago
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Measles Outbreak In NYC

ibwolf Re:Obvious Answer (747 comments)

Remember, those who do not vaccinate their children put their children at risk, but these are THEIR children, not 'ours'.

This is simply not correct. There are a number reasons some children can not be vaccinated, including allergies and other health problems. Generally, if vaccinations are widespread, those that can not be vaccinated will benefit from the herd immunity afforded by general vaccination. When the number of non-vaccinated kids goes up, the effect of the herd immunity goes down putting the children that can not be vaccinated at risk.

about 4 months ago
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Ukraine May Have To Rearm With Nuclear Weapons Says Ukrainian MP

ibwolf Re:How are nuclear weapons going to help though? (498 comments)

I don't give a flying fuck who invaded. Starting a nuclear war over some local pissing contest is NOT an option.

What is to you a "local pissing contest" is to the Ukrainians a foreign invasion.

How would you feel if Putin had decided that Alaska should really go back to Russia and sent troops there? That is exactly what has happened in the Ukraine.

about 5 months ago
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Microsoft's IE Is the Most Targeted Application By Security Researchers

ibwolf Re:Give credit where its due (96 comments)

Atleast from IE9 onwards (OK and IE8 a bit) they started to notice that standards are a good thing

No, they just stopped being able to ignore standards due to their shrinking market share.

about 6 months ago
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Thousands of Gas Leaks Discovered Under Streets of Washington DC

ibwolf Re:Private enterprise to the rescue (292 comments)

Why should gas infrastructure be public when surely it isn't as critical, or at least no more so, than food, water, medicine, logistics, drilling for oil?

If a grocery store isn't doing a good job it will likely go out of business. Setting up a new grocery store is fairly simple and doesn't require much capital.

Now compare that to setting up a competing gas infrastructure.

It's not about "being in the public good" per se. But being of an inherently monopolistic nature. Private gas infrastructure makes about as much sense as private road infrastructure.

about 6 months ago
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If I Had a Hammer

ibwolf Re:or maybe (732 comments)

Jobs are not infinite in number,

Actually, they are. If you want to limit it to 'necessary jobs' only, those are finite, but already most of us don't do necessary jobs. We've expanded beyond that.

That implies that human appetites are infinite (as someone must be willing to pay for the work). I'm not quite on board with that.

about 6 months ago
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If I Had a Hammer

ibwolf Re:or maybe (732 comments)

... the amount of potential work is limitless.

Is it?

That's no easier to prove than the assertion that jobs are disappearing.

Us humans have considerable appetites, but they are not infinite. We only require so much living space, clothing, food or entertainment. If automation continues to improve productivity there will come a time when the labor of some fraction of the population is capable of fully satisfying every human being alive. The only question is at what point does that happen.

It will happen a lot sooner if you define it as "fully satisfying all basic needs". But if we ever crack real AI, the only constraining factor on what we can provide each individual will be energy, not human labor.

This tipping point may be centuries in the future or it may be a few decades away and we're seeing the start of it. It's impossible to tell until after the fact. But denying that it can ever happen isn't helping. Increased automation will inevitable lead to the redundancy of human labor if automation continues to grow unbounded.

There is, of course, the possibility that automation will stop growing for some, as yet, unknown reason.

TL;DR We can't know how much of an issue automation replacing human labor will be. But blithely ignoring the issue isn't helpful.

about 6 months ago
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How long do your computer mice last?

ibwolf Re:meeses (361 comments)

I bought a Logitech mouse/keyboard package in 2002. The thing lasted, without any issues, for 10 years. Loved it. Wound up replacing the mouse with another Logitech mouse, not six months in the middle button started failing. Sounds like this isn't an isolated incident and that Logitech isn't making mice like they used to. Shame.

about 8 months ago
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US Government Embraces Bitcoin in Hearing on Virtual Currency

ibwolf Re:When is the government actually right? Ever? (233 comments)

You are forgetting another deflationary pressure on bitcoin; increased adoption. As more people want to use bitcoins the demand for them goes up. Demand goes up, so does the price of bitcoins and thus the commodities prices expressed in bitcoins go down. Deflation.

Given how little bitcoins are actually used today this is a very significant hurdle to more widespread use.

about 8 months ago
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Google to Pay $17 Million to Settle Privacy Case

ibwolf Re:$17M? (109 comments)

$17M to g00gle

That would be like $.17 (seventeen cents) from a normal person's pocket, right?

Actually, assuming the average person earns about fifty thousand dollars a year, a comparable amount would be 17 dollars, not 17 cents. This is easy to see as Google's 2012 revenue was about 50 thousand million (i.e. 50 billion) dollars.

about 8 months ago
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Internet Archive's San Francisco Home Badly Damaged By Fire

ibwolf Re:Why is the archive worth preserving? (104 comments)

Aside from the chuckle I get from visiting geocities pages once a decade, what reasons are there for helping to preserve it?

Is the preservation of old internet sites anything more than a curiousity that will end up in museums? Is it useful to the human race in some way?

Is the preservation of old manuscripts anything more than a curiousity that will end up in museums?

Is the preservation of old books anything more than a curiousity that will end up in museums?

Is the preservation of old newspapers anything more than a curiousity that will end up in museums?

Is the preservation of old films anything more than a curiousity that will end up in museums?

The internet is just the latest evolution of information sharing. We've found (often the hard way) that information is generally worth preserving. While a lot of what is on the Internet today will never be of interest to anyone, it is impossible to guess very accurately at what will be of interest. Often the things no one thought had any long term value at the time of their creation, wind up being the most valuable to future generations of researchers.

about 9 months ago

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