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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

mattr Branches like bells after an ice storm (790 comments)

Tree branches ringing against each other like crystal bells after an ice storm. Once every 1 or 2 years in Northern New Jersey we would have an ice storm. It would completely coat trees in a thick layer if solid ice. The next day the world would be utterly silent, save for the tinkling and chiming of branches as unsern breezes would bang them against each other. For that matter, simply walking unplowed snowy streets with hardly anyone around, snow crunching underfoot is very rare to me. But I think due to global warming perhaps we don't get ice storms that crystallize the tree branches, or the 3 feet of snow I remember.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

mattr Keypunch machine (790 comments)

The CHUNK-CHUNK-CHUNK of a keypunch machine. It has a keyboard and each time you type a letter, an oblong hole is punched into a Hollerith card. When I was in elementary school maybe 35 or so years ago I was lucky enough to be able to take weekend classes in Fortran at a giant high school that had a whole room sized system. One card for one line of code, and throw out one if you make a typo. You could write on them. You put a stack of cards into a hopper on the reader machine and then could run the program. I Don't remember if it had a screen.
Anyway, let me tell you that was a VERY satisfying sound that makes a visceral thud through the table and your hands on the keyboard. I miss it.
That school - Allendale HS in New Jersey - had a real planetarium with two-lobed projector too where I learned some basic astronomy. It was a wonderful experience that had big impa ct on me.
This seems to be an emulator!

about three weeks ago

The Airplane of the Future May Not Have Windows

mattr Re:Fine, if (286 comments)

I recently was given a business class trip on Cathay which was great except last legon a narrow jet the seats were arranged diagonally. That was horrible. Even when you can tilt all the way down. Look you want to be aligned with the axjs of flight.

about 3 months ago

US Army May Relax Physical Requirements To Recruit Cyber Warriors

mattr Re:Good luck with that (308 comments)

Battle Programmer Shirase (BPS)
might be more realistic.
It might draw more talent? :/

about 3 months ago

The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

mattr Augmented sensing (120 comments)

Could augment by adding other sensors such as microwave, laser or terahertz imaging, to detect signals being generated by tongue and vocal cords, or even to directly image the organs themselves.
Also it seems possible that since tge whole head vibrates, reflections or motions of eye, nose lips and forehead might provide vibratory cues.

about 4 months ago

Netflix Open Sources Internal Threat Monitoring Tools

mattr Only problem is the name (20 comments)

Honestly they couldn't change the name before open sourcing it?
I cannot see any company saying oh yeah let's use scumblr. And it might even be a good tool, who knows.
I wouldn't even want to propose it, and my customer actually uses similar systems.

about 5 months ago

Damian Conway On Perl 6 and the Philosophy of Programming

mattr Re:syntax (132 comments)

Says someone who is posting on a fabulously successful discussion site written in... Perl.

about 7 months ago

Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

mattr Re:Serously? (398 comments)

Be sure to add the mayor of Hiroshima to that list.

about 7 months ago

Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

mattr Re:Cut the bullshit. REAL FACTS FROM THE SITE. (311 comments)

p.s. I would just like to add that there is an awesome story by the great Robert Heinlein, The Roads Must Roll. He predicted moving solar powered roads decades ago. Fiction, but a great story about engineers with a can-do spirit like a lot of his stories. I remember it well from when I was a kid and reread it once in a while. I'd like to recommend it to you. Some ideas are neat but just bad engineering ideas, and some of those become better when you figure out workarounds or the science evolves. Like, I am worried about will their IC chips get rattled out of their sockets, shattered, will temperature changes crack it, etc. There probably are a lot of potential ways those things can be solved and if they start working on shopping centers and it takes 10 or 20 years to get to a highway, they or somebody else can probably do it. Maybe it won't really take off until we get ultra nano-bio Diamond Age style things that smartly grow up to become smart roads from pure bedrock, in 50 or 100 years, but the caveman version might be ready for a parking lot next year.

about 8 months ago

Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

mattr Cut the bullshit. REAL FACTS FROM THE SITE. (311 comments)

Some good points, but if you're going to post such a long rebuttal to the concept you should first watch their videos and read their faqs. A lot of these points have been covered, though there are undoubtedly lots of things that need to be tested and the kickstarter is apparently to help them hire those kinds of experts. I heard about these guys some years ago and am delighted they made so much progress, so I'll take a few minutes to reply (since I just read their faq, watched the videos, etc.). p.s. they completed some Federal Highway Administration tests and raised I think 1.7M dollars, and manufactured a test pavement so it's not bullshit. They appear to be honest, thoughtful and stubborn enough to get this far.

- Regarding "thermodynamically impossible" previous poster wrote, well they did it so it's not impossible. The key points seem to be that power is sent to the grid (or flywheel storage on the highway) and pulled back at night. They did a test putting IIRC about 70kW while panels will generate about 50kW, and got the surface warm to touch when they only need maybe 35F. Anyway, it's not freezing across the country the whole time, but they note it is something each community will need to consider since there will be some latitude above which it doesn't make sense. So people might pay for electricity from elsewhere on the road or a nuclear power plant if it reduces fatalities, if they save money from plowing, etc. but worst case some people might even use sand.

To quickly respond to your questions:
- Regarding weight, it handles the heaviest oil refinery trucks I think a quarter million tons with no problem. The glass is really tough. It is probably going to be anchored into an existing road. I don't know how, I suppose by driving steel into the road. They build a concrete container with utility conduit trench that runs up the whole road and carries off rainwater and cables. But it gets paid off by selling energy. They don't have all the numbers but think it will pay for itself.
- Haven't done a test with a car flying through air. They did think about what happens in earthquakes. Basically they airlift in some panels and hook them back in where the hole is. They want to help people in disaster areas.
- Frame bent? Don't know if they have frame, seems like you are asking about the above question. Chop it out and drop in replacements.
- Have they done AASHTO? How the heck would anybody on Slasdhot know that? They have done some tests and will do more. Perhaps you'd like to help?
- Pulverize concrete, see above.
- Car burns, see above. Same for hazmat.
- Cop chase, car is driving on rims for 20 miles and the rims weld themselves to the rotor, half inch groove? Well I honestly have never heard about things like that, sounds like fiction. But since you have experience I'll say I believe you. in addition to the above, the undisturbed panels around the groove know which panels are broken and the rest of the road is unaffected. They report which panel IDs are dead and know exactly where they are, and they get fixed. If the road is so resilient then you could chop out a whole chunk and cable around it. Might be quicker than fixing a similar problem with an ordinary road.
- Heavy objects falling? Same thing, perhaps. But obviously a lot of things will get figured out as they do more tests.
- asphalt 20 years - they say aiming for 20 to 30 years. That was my first worry, will it wear out because solar panels don't have a long lifetime. But they do say they would use new materials as they are developed and talk about the institute that does that. So maybe lifetime would extend. Anyway beyond 30 years you get a road that hopefully still works and can sense deer on the road but just won't generate power. But it gets power from grid still.
- System screams money and labor. It does, doesn't it. They say this is a good thing as it will give jobs and they want jobs to stay in the U.S. which is why kickstarter not VCs yet. It might not be good for everywhere. There might be better ways to get energy from the environment. But, this provides a lot of ways to get subsidization and it just might work.
- As you are busy shooting it down and hoping it will fail before it gets onto roads, they also plan to put them in parking lots, playgrounds and bike paths. Like, it can reconfigure parking spaces with LEDs and sensors and can display ads. They say they calculate shopping centers can go off grid with it. Sounds interesting.
- "We can't get funding for roads right now who are these jerks" -- Well, they say the same thing and suggest this is a solution. The roads are in bad shape and need an upgrade.
You don't sound like you are wishing them luck at all. This is one of the most successful kickstarters (on indiegogo) and indiegogo asked them to extend it, so they did. It doesn't sound like a doomed idea so far, rather it sounds like there are a lot of answers and most of them equate to doing real work, not bullshitting about it without even reading the fucking site. I dare you to do that.
p.s. I have not donated yet but am thinking about it. You can get a piece of the actual glass which stops cars at 80mph in the rain in a good distance which is very cool.

about 8 months ago

Terran Computational Calendar Introduces Minimonths, Year Bases, and Datemods

mattr Re:ISO 8601 (209 comments)

I use 2014-0531 on everything. Backups are always name.2014-0531-1530JST.bak

about 8 months ago

Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

mattr Re:Problem solved! (450 comments)

I do not know anything about the story but frankly, I think you need to think about it a bit more deeply. There is some very bad problem which led to a desperate person to get a gun, commit a robbery, escape and then get murdered in a shootout in the middle of traffic.

What caused him to develop into such a person, what brought him to the point of desperation? We will never know. What really happened? The police destroyed a life that might have been rehabilitated. The only story we know is that of the murderers. Who got the guy a gun and sent him to steal? We will never know until their next victim appears. Or was he acting alone? If so would the desperation have been solved by providing free therapy / painkillers? Was he going insane from pain, was he mentally ill? We may never know and there is little incentive now for anyone to try and find out.

Yes, it is not that I am anti-police but I would call it murder when a militarized force has the luxury of time and options, a satellite fix and ownership of the entire map, and still they intentionally pick the most highly graphic, most extremely violent, most dangerous solution which was to kill. (I mean dangerous to the murder victim and the people in cars nearby, though also a shootout is dangerous to police of course.)

I really have little understanding of this case, but it seems to me that if a person is highly addicted, economically disadvantaged and stupid, then it would be very easy for him to become desperate and crazy enough to get a gun, steal, even kill to get his fix. I have no experience except what one reads in fiction, sorry to say, so even here I admit I may not have all the information necessary to understand everything perfectly.

In order for our society to somehow cure itself from multiple insanities, we need to roll back the ultra-militarized force and the way of thinking that removes any possible valid story except that of authority, and we need to use the leeway that generates to do some actual investigation into the root causes, and fix them. Maybe organized crime, a past injury, a psychotic episode, who knows what was involved. We are not looking to justify his actions but to understand the train of errors that led to this catastrophe, like the train of errors that almost always exists behind a plane crash. Perhaps there are 100 reasons over the past 30 years why the man who was killed finally got to that point. Perhaps if he had grown up with the same genes in another country than the U.S., he might have gotten a chance to live longer. If we can identify any of those 100 reasons, those 100 errors, we could reduce murder, desperation, incarceration, drugs, and so on. And we might get more productive and happier members of society.

I appreciate that you are telling the way you see it honestly. That means this is an opportunity for you to learn. We are not living in Batman's Gotham City. If you have any respect for human rights or interest in our civilization advancing in maturity and not reverting to animalism or despotism, you must think harder. It is not win-win at all. NOBODY won. We all lost. You can only think of this as a win if you willfully ignore most of the story and subscribe to a fantasy where life is a zero-sum game. Perhaps like monopoly or a card game. Or the way it looks like on a police themed TV series. That is cognitive dissonance and is not reality. There were many opportunities for real win-win, if you think of it as society vs. this individual, or you vs. this individual, in the past. This was not one of them. This is when all opportunities for winning were lost forever and we failed.

about 8 months ago

Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

mattr Then again... (450 comments)

I've never used drugs, am not pro-guns and don't mean to make a political statement, but I've been thinking a bit more since a relative's young friend died from heroin overdose. If you take a step back though, eliminate the guns and robbery and whatever turned the guy into what he was until he got himself killed, you've got to admit:
- That's a rotten way to die, getting yourself addicted then having to commit armed robbery to sustain it.
- The other side of the coin is what if he was just stealing to sell it on the street, then fuck him?
- But if the police were capable of any kind of restraint or strategic planning, couldn't they have invented a way to arrest him without precipitating a shootout in traffic? They *knew* he would likely be armed. They *knew* the traffic and the route he was on. Couldn't they have followed him in advance of is car, thrown gas into the car, etc.?

about 8 months ago

First Arrest In Japan For 3D-Printed Guns

mattr Saw this on Japanese TV (274 comments)

This was on TV in Japan a couple days ago, and they showed a pretty in-depth report.
The film crew talked to the guy who was arrested and looked at his home lab setup.
The guy looked like a typical geek but was very pro-guns, saying guns are necessary in case someone you know is getting beat up and since he could easily get one on the net he thought he should. Guns are prominent in entertainment in Japan though.

His nice looking 3D printer was shown printing something and the guy has developed his own parts they said.
Three people were solicited for their viewpoints about the story, which is a common approach of Japanese news shows. This is roughly from memory, but one was a smart and sensitive appearing woman who said "We [Japanese] have grown up in Japan but live now in a world that is permeated with these cultural values" and I think suggested we need to adjust the laws or find some way to harmonize the gap between law and contemporary culture. Then they showed how high-end 3D printers being used in a fab where a skull was being printed, though I don't remember if they talked about 3D printing for surgery. A second person was a 3D printer user (a man in his 30s maybe) who said, "This was very regrettable... As these kinds of machines spread into homes all over the country, we need to concurrently learn how to use them ethically." Finally they had the third person, a man in his 50s who was some famous professor IIRC. They usually pick such a person to give a socially acceptable comment. I found it interesting that this person did not go down harshly on the victim but rather suggested that laws needed to be changed even about guns perhaps.

Personally I am interested in 3d printers though I have never used them. I am not interested in guns at all. I wish those people had not uploaded gun plans to the net causing all kinds of problems for people like this guy who has no need of a gun, who they would never try to help, and ignite a controversy that could end up forcing licensing or vetting of 3d printer owners for no good reason.

The person who was arrested seemed to be a pretty naive, introverted otaku kind of guy and he was obviously an idiot for posting to youtube or whatever. I felt bad for him since he seemed a bit disturbed and he seemed to have fallen into a pitfall, and I wondered what kind of experience he must have had which led him to print, use and brag about guns when they aren't even legal in Japan. Perhaps it was even a call for help of some kind.

It was interesting to me that the news show emphasized that he only fired empty rounds and had never actually fired a real bullet in them. The whole spin on the show was a big difference from the way I would have expected a Japanese news show to act which would usually have the pretty announcer frowning with crinkled brow, etc. The two announcers did at the end seem to sort of shrug at each other sort of like "what a weird story" (didn't catch what they said) but considering the comments they aired by the defendant and the other people they had rounded up, it came out quite positively it seemed on the side of the defendant, 3D printing, and even the question about guns. This is all a huge change from what the attitude would have been 10 years ago.

FWIW Japanese culture still is extremely highly influenced by U.S. culture though it does not share the love of the military and police, personal weaponry, force makes right, and so on. My impression is that when technology makes it possible Japanese geeks will without question build gundam-style giant robots (one group in Kyushu has actually built a rescue robot a man can ride in even), so anime is a major influence and guns are undoubtedly a romantic object. This does seem to point to a dissonance such as the woman mentioned, where Western media influence causes desires and thought processes that conflict with Japanese culture and legal system. This probably will continue to grow.

Even comic-style books in the local convenience store sometimes provide links to apparently dangerous websites as a form of titillation (there are other similar book-sized comics about the underworld, gambling, secret hidden projects, horror stories that really happened, etc.) so there are probably a ton of people in Japan who were aware of the 3D printed gun website but did nothing about it. Anyway, just thought I would share this with you. Personally though I love freedom, I happen to live in a very safe place and I think those guys who uploaded gun plans to the world did a great disservice to the world and 3D printing in general. They always struck me as being duplicitous grandstanders whereas there never has seemed to be a shortage of real guns in the world, including those that might blow up in one's hand.

about 9 months ago

Google Shifts Editing From Drive to Docs and Sheets In 'Confusing' Switch

mattr Re:Google stop f*ing up Google (89 comments)

Definitely. While search is extremely useful, I would say integral to the way I use the net now, I absolutely do not trust Google 1) to not abuse my data, history or anything important to business and 2) to maintain a usable service without wrecking it in a year. Due to their bizarre philosophy Google is constitutionally incapable of launching a trusted service. Everything on the menu is subject to destruction / morphing at whim. I have seen my decision not to use Google justified 2 or 3 times already. I was burned twice before I got to that point. One product I am involved in uses Google Charts API and the only reason I am not scared of it is the low cost of retooling it in the event they screw that up. As it is I am investigating a local library replacement for that too. The only solution I can see is they should at least make it clear how much it will cost to continue that service indefinitely for a business application you have built on it. You can start a negotiation, but until you actually have a contract there is no way to guarantee apis won't change. As it stands currently, if we have a web service we sell to a customer, if we make a multi-year contract we will have to understand there is a risk we may have to rebuild parts of it, or else limit our contracts to the number of years we can expect Google to maintain a service. So yes I would say that Google is their own worst enemy because what they think is some kind of wonderful enlightened agile engineering approach actually is a piece of shit because nobody trusts them not to fuck everything up without notice. Which is too bad as they have a lot of nice stuff and they certainly could afford to become a reliable API purveyor instead of trying to convince users that what looks nice is really just hack flavor of the month.

about 9 months ago

Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video

mattr Re:No different than asking... (201 comments)

Which is why shit beers taste good when icy cold. Next?

about 9 months ago

Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw

mattr Re:now wait... (345 comments)

What if the last windows OS you purchased was XP, then you bought a mac and never looked back.
You (I) have an XP machine that could be used for something, but don't want to pay MS anymore money. Patches for security vulnerabilities in XP exist and could be distributed at no cost (they could even be put in an open repository with MS just providing a signature key).
Instead, Microsoft has decided to try to make a business around handing out critical patches.

Another way to look at it though, is that for a monopoly to refuse to provide security patches for free is a combination of criminal negligence (abetting a nuisance or point of contagion) and cynical pressure on past customers to make new purchases. And newer OS versions also have security holes, I'm sure after XP they will do the same for Windows 7 users one day. Personally I use mac and linux now if at all possible. Though one large company I consult for has XP all over their network. And I do still have some XP VMs, and some old computers with XP on them that are in a closet. They might be useful to someone if they weren't insecure.

Here's what I think is stupid. A gigantic company makes a very widely used product that is riddled with dangerous flaws. They say they stop supporting it, but also refuse to provide for free any security patches that they do develop. Actually, in another era it would be called criminal as in obstructing users from conducting safe operations. Providing security patches to fix manufacturing flaws should not be a business model, especially when failing to patch a system makes a creative nuisance to others.

At the risk of saying something sane in this thread, I would like to suggest that the department of homeland security provide a budget to a small number of expert software engineers to solve and distribute signed unbloated security patches, if Microsoft finds itself in the poor house and cannot afford to assign some people to this task. Instead of using security vulnerabilities to drive profits, MS should be incentivized to develop secure systems to drive profits.

about 9 months ago



Obayashi to Build Space Elevator by 2050

mattr mattr writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mattr writes "Japan's Obayashi Construction announced plans to build a space elevator by 2050. They are famous for wrecking skylines with the stupidly too big bullet train station in Kyoto, world's tallest self-supporting tower Tokyo Sky Tree and just starting now, Taipei Dome. It will take a week at 200 kph for your party of 30 to reach the 36 km high terminal station, while the counterweight sails by at 96 km, a quarter of the way to the Moon."
Link to Original Source

Google hacked?

mattr mattr writes  |  about 4 years ago

mattr writes "Google.com seems to have suffered either a DNS admin mishap or hack! Access to www.google.com has been returning
"Site Update
Funnyjunk.com is being updated to a new version. Please try again later."
and search from the browser bar returns, " Not Found
The requested URL /search was not found on this server.
Apache Server at www.google.com Port 80 "
Service is available normally at
But dns for www.google.com is poisoned and seems to me to be redirected to a server called www.l.google.com"

Link to Original Source

mattr mattr writes  |  more than 8 years ago

mattr writes "Last week I participated in a gathering of 300 developers in Tokyo called the Lightweight Language Ring (LLRing), discussing over 20 languages and frameworks from Perl, Python and Ruby to Haskell, ML and Concurrent Clean, in a real boxing ring. It included a number of famous Japanese programmers, the creator of Ruby with news of a fork, a bot shootout, language updates, a panel on functional programming, a mysterious scifi conspiracy, and more. So I'd like to invite you to read Boxing in the LLRing. Photos on Flickr, Video on YouTube, downloads. Fight!"



mattr mattr writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Land in sight! This user makes the awesome discovery of being able to run his own blog on slashdot's overloaded server. After what, 2 years on slashdot? More?

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