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Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

jcupitt65 Lawrence Lessig on this (475 comments)

Pre-2000, the US had "open access", meaning that cable owners had to sell use of their infrastructure. This made it relatively easy for startup ISPs to enter the market: every time you sign up a customer, you just need to buy time on the extra bit of cable you need to serve that person. Almost every country in the world uses this regulatory model.

Under intense pressure from lobbyists the US changed to a closed model in 2000. Now cable owners are also ISPs and have exclusive rights to the bits of wire they own. There are only a few ISPs, it's very, very expensive for anyone else to enter the market, and they can charge what they like, not only to customers, but upstream as well, as we're now seeing.

tl;dr: this is a failure of regulation.

Lessig talking about this:

http://blip.tv/lessig/america-s-broadband-policy-3505079

3 days ago
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Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

jcupitt65 It's lightfield, it is holography (sorta) (171 comments)

It's not using simple stereo screens, they have lightfield projectors:

Project HoloLens is built, fittingly enough, around a set of holographic lenses. Each lens has three layers of glassâ"in blue, green, and redâ"full of microthin corrugated grooves that diffract light. There are multiple cameras at the front and sides of the device that do everything from head tracking to video capture. And it can see far and wide: The field of view spans 120 degrees by 120 degrees, significantly bigger than that of the Kinect camera. A âoelight engineâ above the lenses projects light into the glasses, where it hits the grating and then volleys between the layers of glass millions of times. That process, along with input from the device's myriad sensors, tricks the eye into perceiving the image as existing in the world beyond the lenses.

http://www.wired.com/2015/01/microsoft-nadella/

They track eye movement and adjust for that as well. I think you need the lightfield stuff so that the eye if forced to adapt focus for different distances, it's a depth cue that Oculus don't have.

It'll be interesting to see what frame rate and latency they achieve. It sounds like they have a lot of hardware in the headset, so it could be quite good. Plus they only need to render the bit right in the centre of the field of view at high quality.

about two weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

jcupitt65 Re:islam (1350 comments)

Ooop, sorry, Indonesia and Turkey do not have Islam as the state religion, but they are majority Muslim countries.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

jcupitt65 Re:islam (1350 comments)

Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey are the obvious ones. They are not perfect countries, of course, but they are large, multicultural democracies with Islam as the state religion.

about three weeks ago
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Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do

jcupitt65 Re:Why don't they ever try to "link" good stuff? (222 comments)

The temperature graph in that article is not very useful. It ends in 1850, before most of the modern warming, and in any case it's only the temperature for Greenland, it's not global temperature.

The Wikipedia page on Paleoclimatology is probably better:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology

They have this graph for the global temperature for the last 10,000 years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology#mediaviewer/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

about a month and a half ago
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Prospects Rise For a 2015 UN Climate Deal, But Likely To Be Weak

jcupitt65 Re:Too weak because humans are not the cause (145 comments)

I think all the solar activity graphs look like that, they are based on the same satellite data. For example:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Solar-cycle-data.png

How can increased solar activity be causing global warming if solar activity is not increasing? Isn't it more likely that the huge increase in CO2, a strongly-warming gas, is the cause?

about 2 months ago
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Prospects Rise For a 2015 UN Climate Deal, But Likely To Be Weak

jcupitt65 Re:Too weak because humans are not the cause (145 comments)

Are you sure? Here's the usual solar activity / climate graph and there's no clear correlation between the Sun's activity and temperature, but a very obvious link to CO2.

The article you link shows how cosmic rays can seed cloud formation, which may well be correct, but I don't think there's any evidence of the next step, increased temperature.

about 2 months ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

Ah you're right, thanks for the correction. I had ~10bn for expenditure and ~8bn for tax in my head, but I'd clearly got the tax mixed up.

about 3 months ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

That's only the figure for the national road network, ie. motorways and some A roads (but not all, I think?). Local authorities spend bucketloads of money maintaining minor roads, more than enough to wipe out the direct taxes motorists pay.

Or that was all true last time I looked into it, perhaps things have shifted since.

about 3 months ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

The UK road system is subsidised by general taxation, ie. gas tax + road tax + VED + VAT on vehicles sales < cost of UK road network.

It depends a bit what you count as the road network: just the national highway system, or highways plus major roads, do you include roads paid for by local authorities etc. etc.

about 3 months ago
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16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

jcupitt65 Re:What difference will it make? (125 comments)

UK weather forecasts have become much more accurate over the last few decades as the computers that do the forecasting have become more powerful. This new machine will continue that trend.

For many years we have verified our forecasts by comparing forecasts of mean sea-level pressure with subsequent model analyses of mean sea-level pressure. These comparisons are made over an area covering the North Atlantic; most of western Europe, and north-eastern parts of North America. From this long-term comparison an average forecast error can be calculated.

The graph shows how many days into a forecast period this average error is reached compared to a baseline in 1980. This graph shows that a three-day forecast today is more accurate than a one-day forecast in 1980.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/7/2/capIndPlot-600.jpg

about 3 months ago
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More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

jcupitt65 Re:how pretty (209 comments)

I'm a working scientist. I have a Mac at home for playing, but work is all Linux. OS X has a very slow filesystem, no working package manager (or rather it has at least four, none of which are much good) and only runs on relatively expensive hardware. Good luck building a compute cluster from imacs. Windows is even worse, of course.

about 3 months ago
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NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

jcupitt65 Re:Everyone should just say "interesting" (295 comments)

NASA and its climate partners (like GISS, NCDC) have been saying that. I don't know who else is saying that, unless they're quoting those sources.

For a long time I think NASA had the only satellite that could measure ice mass accurately. ESA launched their one a couple of years ago, quite a bit fancier than the NASA one, and it's showing the same thing:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27465050

West Antarctica continues to lose ice to the ocean and this loss appears to be accelerating, according to new data from Europe's Cryosat spacecraft. The dedicated polar mission finds the region now to be dumping over 150 cubic km of ice into the sea every year. It equates to a 15% increase in West Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise.

about 4 months ago
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NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

jcupitt65 Re:Everyone should just say "interesting" (295 comments)

Antarctic ice recently set a historic record. And not just sea ice, either. Satellite data has been showing the land volume to be growing too.

Are you sure about that? People usually say the sea ice is increasing in extent, but that the land ice (the bit that might raise sea levels) is shrinking rapidly. For example:

http://climate.nasa.gov/news/242/

Gravity data collected from space using NASA's Grace satellite show that Antarctica has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002. The latest data reveals that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, too.

/. had a recent story on this too, based on data from the same satellite:

http://news-beta.slashdot.org/story/14/09/30/2351213/antarctic-ice-loss-big-enough-to-cause-measurable-shift-in-earths-gravity

about 4 months ago
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Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

jcupitt65 Re:It's the Windows Installer's fault (577 comments)

The big problem with the Windows model is that everyone can directly modify the registry and one badly-written installer can really mess it up.

OS X's solution is for programs to simply declare (for example) what associations they'd like (there's a small XML file called info.plist in the app bundle), and then for the file manager to update the associations for them as programs are installed and uninstalled by being dragged around.

Because the list of associations is being managed by one (hopefully) sane program, the chances of some random installer causing havoc are removed.

about 4 months ago
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GNOME 3.14 Released

jcupitt65 Just turn off dynamic workspaces (250 comments)

I agree the gnome3 dynamic workspaces are annoying, but fortunately there's an option to turn them off. You can turn off the top-left-corner gesture too. I use ctrl-f1 - f8 to switch workspaces, it's nice.

I suppose you could argue that the defaults are not great for experienced users, but most experienced users would expect to have to customise their desktop a bit, I think.

about 4 months ago

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