Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati

kanweg Re:Very far from practical application (95 comments)

"Interesting, but not revolutionary by any means."

To the contrary, it is fucking brilliant.
1) Instead of having to heat up bulk of water (like what you do if you use a boiler), they only heat up the water that is actually going to be converted into steam. So, the start-up time is greatly improved.
2) The steam generated passes through the foam up, where the foam is even hotter. The steam gets heated to a higher temperature, making it more useful to generate power. Another way of looking at the foam, is recognising that it flows in counter current with the heat source, just exactly what you want if you want to transfer heat in the best way.

And the questions you pose? They're more of the engineering type. The direction is determined by the above principle.

As an aside: Instead of water you can use another liquid, such as hexane or something. Reaching high pressures with that should not be a problem.


11 hours ago

Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

kanweg Re:Basic questions (133 comments)

1. Is a sleight that's not worthy of a reply. Just a glance at TFA shows how much research went into it. And you think you can wave it away without any evidence.

2. Solve it by a process called thinking. Try this: Humans are spread all over the planet (Africa etc.). They'd all have to lose that very gene, except the Tibetans. Odds of that? Probably in the same order of magnitude as the likelihood that a person making statements of this caliber is convinced by reason.


about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

kanweg Re:I'd like to give swift a try (466 comments)

Swift is also a good choice because nobody has a head start on you.


about a month ago

Interviews: Forrest Mims Answers Your Questions

kanweg Astounding answer on Evolution (161 comments)

What cracks? The Piltdown man? It was debunked. Constant review and scrutiny is part of science. You make a name by discovering something new/.show someone else was wrong (with facts, not with assertions). With today's tools (DNA sequencing) etc. it wouldn't have taken 40 years.
Missing fossils? Missing evidence? WTF. Ask him to produce the arc of the covenant, etc. The important thing about evolution is: There is nothing contradicting it. Every newly found fossil matches the pattern. Never do we find a rabbit with a piece of a T-rex tooth in it . No one is claiming it is complete, that every piece of evidence is there, but there is no evidence against it. EVERYTHING independent line of evidence points to the same thing: geology was used to predict where one of the missing links could be found, and was indeed found (read about it here). Every scientist would love to falsify the theory of evolution. I know I would. What a way to make a name for yourself. But the theory of evolution is bolstered every day.
ERVs show that man and apes share a common ancestor. Learn about it here:
Tiktaalik, a transitional fossil was found at the predicted location. Read about it here:

Mims posits a Creator. Not zero creators. Not many creators. A (one) creator. The amount of evidence for that? Zilch. He has no qualms about that. If you want to spot a crack in a line of reasoning, there's one. And why does Mims give himself a free pass on a super powerful creator out of nothing but is stymied by photochemical system?

Every molecule has properties, such as a boiling point, a solubility in water etc. etc. Water vapor can form a variety of ice crystals (snow flakes). None of his electronic components did that (although resistors might self-align a bit).
Complex molecules exhibit more elaborate properties. The molecules he's so amazed about, like molecular motors? They self-assemble upon formation. They arise by transcription from DNA and translation from RNA. Not a single deity involved in that. If these molecules didn't have that property, the molecules wouldn't be there. All those molecular behavior in the end determine what you do. If you think a god is pulling the strings at a molecular level, then he can't hold you responsible for your actions.

Sure, none of Mims' electronic circuits has every self-assembled. But atoms and molecules have different properties than electronic components. They self-solder, i.e. react. And the universe is a gigantically big place (multiply the number of galaxies by the number of stars per galaxy) times a couple of planets. That's a gigantically erlenmeyer flask with a gazilion reactions taking place. Most of them leading to nothing special. I place my bet on a freak chemical event taking place leading to life in that chemical soup than a deity that self-raised himself as a super-von-munchausen.

In his own field/related to his own field of electronics, genetic algorithms have resulted in very strange-looking antennae that are better than human designed ones. Yes, the algorithm was programmed. That is because antennae don't procreate, otherwise they could have evolved to look that strange yet be so efficient.

I liked the Q&A quite a bit. But I don't think he's a man to go to on evolution, as to take him serious there, he either has to present evidence for the creator he posits or provide evidence (like a rabbit bone with a T-rex tooth in it) that falsifies evolution. That's how it works. His work on ozone got accepted not because it was his strong opinion but because it was correct.

about a month and a half ago

As Crypto Mining Grows, Data Centers Begin Accepting Bitcoin

kanweg I don't get it (94 comments)

If it is profitable to pay for computer capacity for mining bitcoins, why aren't the datacenters doing it themselves (especially since they'll have spare capacity anyway)? I mean, the miners want to make a profit. So, if they can make a profit by paying for the data center equipment, the data centers would make (more) profit doing it themselves.


about 2 months ago

Apple To Face Lawsuit For iMessage Glitch

kanweg Re:Anti-competitive (238 comments)

Well, sending iMessages is a free alternative to SMS messages. This helped to drive prices of texting down after many years of excessive pricing for that. She enjoyed both of these benefits. Thanks.


about 2 months ago

Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers

kanweg Re:It's not a doll (342 comments)

So, you must be happy that they want to have their baby when they have time for it, not squeezed in a too tight time schedule because of some biological clock ticking.

Who can only hope that you know the difference between an egg and a baby

about 3 months ago

It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

kanweg Re:Why? (470 comments)

"Why are scientists increasingly concerned about what some people in our society think and believe?"

Well, if you're an astronomer studying the effects of asteroid impacts and their likelihood, you may come across evidence that it has happened in the past and that their effects are rather devastating. As we may well be able to develop the technology to divert an asteroid on a collision course. People running around that the earth is only 10 kY old are not helpful then.

Climate change same thing.


about 4 months ago

Religion Is Good For Your Brain

kanweg Re:Religion... (529 comments)

"God is only invisible to those who choose to ignore him."

Like camera's.


about 4 months ago

Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

kanweg Re: If you don't like it.... (431 comments)

Women won't forget the day they delivered a still-born. While they won't forget that they had one or more miscarriages, they won't burn a candle that day (they may well forget which day it was exactly. It won't be on the calendar). And there are certainly no candles in the toilet being burned for a discarded fertilized egg being flushed down the drain.

It is a mental, developing process. So, at some point a line can be drawn. Sure, for some people line will be at a different time than for others, but it is simply not true that there is no difference in how growing life is viewed during pregnancy. You'll have a hard time finding someone pro-abortion that will be in favor of an abortion time limit at 7 months.


about 5 months ago

Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

kanweg Re:Firrrst post the noo (286 comments)

Successive Tory governments have been absolutely ruthless of stripping Scotland of it's assets

As evidenced by the fact that they don't wear briefs.


about 5 months ago

How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?

kanweg Re:Predictions were made in the 1970s then? (560 comments)

If you face a campfire, your front will be hotter than your back.
That holds true if you were a planet facing the sun.
If you rotate it would spread more evenly.
But at the top and bottom areas of the sphere, still very little sunlight would shine. Thus, these two pole areas would colder than the part in the middle.

There you have it: You have made a qualitative model of a climate cold at the pole and warm in the center area. And you didn't predict what the weather would be tomorrow in any of these areas.

Brains, they are fantastic instruments (if used).


about 5 months ago

Two Ubuntu Phones Coming In 2014, Aiming For Top 50 iOS/Android Apps

kanweg Re:Third-rate devices (141 comments)

In the beginning, it was mostly wrong at understanding me, but these days it is remarkably correct. Very useful feature for creating reminders on the go (or at night, in bed. No need to find writing material/leave bed).


about 5 months ago

The Search for Life On Habitable Exoplanets

kanweg Cold (69 comments)

With tidal force locking, I'd expect the edges to be rather uninhabitable too, and the center that's facing the sun comparatively hot. There air will rise up, move towards the other side of the planet, cool down and drop. It would cool even further down, get even colder and move towards the lit side. When it enters that region, there is little light there, and the air is very cold. So, even though there is some light, it is uninhabitable. Then the air starts picking up heat when it moves back to the center. It would in particular in that region you could expect life to be.

However, what if that life requires CO2. It might condense on the other side of the planet.
Perhaps if there's a lot of it, you'd get a greenhouse effect, and sufficient CO2 for plants anyway.

And you thought life on earth was tough.


about 5 months ago

Apollo 8 Astronaut Re-Creates 1968 Christmas Broadcast To Earth

kanweg Re:Religions (152 comments)

"Religion has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution."

I think it has.
- people have a greater chance of survival if they cooperate. If there is a further possible bond (apart from being family), than that can help.
- it can also help against power. Suppose the chief of your clan is a grumpy strong man. You could lose your life. But if you tell him that you're in contact with higher powers that will punish him if he doesn't alter his behavior, then that can help you survive.
- it made for good stories in a time without internet. What have you been doing today? Herding the goats. Oh. Well, let me tell you a story (in the bible, there's a story about a well that was sealed off with a rock that required three people to move it. Or a bald guy who was yelled at by kids and bears came out of the wood and killed the kids. What do you think: It is something that god really wanted to tell us or was a good story at the campfire?).

So, while only my hypothesis, I think that there may well be a genetic component to religion/the ease with which humans can be deluded.


about 7 months ago

90 Percent of Businesses Say IP Is "Not Important"

kanweg Re:Shockingly? (185 comments)

Patents/patent applications are open source knowledge before the term open source was coined. You are free to build on those ideas (and are free to take a patent on any non-obvious improvement, if you want that or not if you don't want that). Patent databases are freely accessible (as in beer); they may even have free machine translators so you can read the information in a language you don't speak. Want to know how something can be made, alternative ways of solving problems? Patent documents are your friend. No books to buy. No subscriptions needed. The documents are well-organized, in a standard format and can be searched using keywords from the comfort of your home. (You don't need to register and sell your soul to get the information you want.).

The information in patents becomes freely available to the public in on average about 7 years (drugs take longer, other stuff shorter). No shitty near-infinite term like copyright.

The applicant paid quite a bit to put an accurate description of the invention into words, and it becomes public after 18 months. That may be before the actual product hits the market. You couldn't have know about it otherwise.

Patent attorney (oh, and patents on software? Yes, I agree. They're a bad and unnecessary thing)

about 7 months ago

Clear Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power

kanweg Blue screen of death (87 comments)

And in case of crashing windows, you can see the blue screen of death.


about 7 months ago

NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove

kanweg Re:Yeah, sure... (383 comments)

If you read about the role of general Groves, Oppie's boss, his personal need to be more than a bureaucrat .

Googled quotes:
While Groves credited President Truman with the decision to use the atomic bomb, he qualified this by saying, "As far as I was concerned, his decision was one of noninterference - basically, a decision not to upset the existing plans".

Groves was a prime mover in getting the atomic bomb built, on where it would be used, and on when it would be used.


about 7 months ago

The US Now Faces the Same Dilemma Over Drones As It Did Over Nuclear Weapons

kanweg Re:Drones for Defense (211 comments)

I never understood that.

I once talked to the captain of a boat (that sailed from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean islands) that in the straight of Gibraltar his GPS was inaccurate. He said that it was because of the satellites. But the GPS satellites don't know where you are; you're just receiving signals from them. AFAIK for military purposes the satellites introduce inaccuracies in the timing signals they broadcast, and only military GPS knows how to correct for those. But how is it possible to have a particular region on earth have inaccurate positioning.

Do you know how that works?

BTW, thanks Bill Clinton for removing (most?) of the inaccuracy and making GPS navigation in cars possible.

about 7 months ago


kanweg hasn't submitted any stories.


kanweg has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account