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Comments

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Using Handheld Phone GPS While Driving Is Legal In California

minogully Re:Distracted driving (142 comments)

If you take your eyes of the road for any amount of time at all you *are* distracted, and a hazard to others.

And yet you are supposed to check your mirrors, and blind spots (while changing lanes) so as not to be a hazard to others.

about 2 months ago
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Using Handheld Phone GPS While Driving Is Legal In California

minogully Re:This doesn't make much sense. (142 comments)

Sounds just like when my 3 year old is asking me questions while I'm driving. He has no idea how to STFU. Yet, nowhere is it even remotely considered illegal to have talking children in the car while you're driving.

I honestly don't know how a person driving and talking on the phone who approaches a dangerous situation can't (and doesn't apparently?) just STOP TALKING, deal with the situation, then continue the conversation when the danger has passed.

about 2 months ago
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How About A Spherical Solar Collector ?

minogully You're missing the main point (5 comments)

The gain in efficiency is that the sphere is acting like a magnifying glass. So, yes, the photovoltaics have the same efficiency as normal, but they can produce more electricity if the effective amount of sunlight shone on them is increased through concentration.

about 2 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

minogully Re:They aren't being excluded (545 comments)

you (like myself) are a man, and simply will never have this problem

Men have this problem too. Look at the field of nursing.

I recall my wife telling me about the 2 guys in her nursing class. All the girls thought that they must be gay for going into nursing, because guys just don't go into nursing. And out of a class of around 200 students, there only being 2 guys was a pretty telling statistic. Once they found out that one of them was straight, they instantly all got creeped out by him, which is one hostile environment for a guy.

What's worse, is that she ended up in the field of labour and delivery. A new male nurse just started in the post partem area (where they go after the baby is born), and they all immediately thought this guy was gay too. Then they found out that he was straight and now they're all weirded out that a straight guy CHOSE to go into the unit where he helps new mothers breastfeed all day.

Now personally, I'd never WANT to go into nursing, but maybe I've just been conditioned into thinking that it's a woman's job? Probably it's just that I'd rather go into something I'm interested in.

about 3 months ago
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Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

minogully Re:Canadian driving (723 comments)

you really can't compare driving on snow to driving on a sheet of ice

I'll admit, I didn't RTFA since I had heard news reports about this on my local radio station. And those combined with this summary only mentioned snow. So, I wasn't talking about driving on ice. But now, let me talk about that.

Folks far north rarely get the kind of ice that occasionally causes snarls in the southeastern US

Just this month we had freezing rain. And I would not say that we "rarely" get it.

But nobody can drive in these ice conditions in a typical 2wd car that has no winter tires

My car, in fact, matches your 2wd and no winter tires description (it's not required by law in Ontario to have them). The winter experience I was talking about would have us AVOID driving in these ice conditions, but, it still is possible, if you give yourself enough time to stop. The key is to never use your brakes (only coast) and turn your wheel as little as possible. This requires a lot of patience, which is why I would rather avoid driving until the salt trucks have gone by.

But as I was saying, we would bounce back from these conditions quicker, since we have loads of salt trucks to deal with it. So, I feel for Atlanta, I really do.

about 3 months ago
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Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

minogully Re:Canadian driving (723 comments)

Being a Canadian, I feel I should weigh in on this topic.

When you say that Canadians will drive in much worse conditions, that's only partially true. In the winter, we have salt trucks and snow plows going (seemingly) constantly. So, the 2-3 inches of snow dumped on Atlanta would have been cleared simply because we're prepared for that kind of snow. Also, Canadians are well experienced in dealing with snowy roads so we would have faired better for that reason too.

Don't be so hard on Atlanta, this is quite a lot like what happens to us every year on the first snow fall, BEFORE the salt trucks and plows have gotten out and before people have remembered what it's like to drive in the winter.

What sucks for them is that they can't recover as quickly as we can due to lack of experience and infrastructure.

about 3 months ago
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Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"

minogully How about video games? (110 comments)

I wonder if a similar thing happens when playing video games?

about 4 months ago
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Imagining the Post-Antibiotic Future

minogully Re:terrorism! ha! (453 comments)

I'm not sure why they should be trying to "convince the public" either - they should be convincing those that are handing out the anti-biotics.

In Mexico, many (if not all) antibiotics are over-the-counter. If this remains true, it is definitely the Mexican public that need to be convinced.

I wonder how many other countries sell antibiotics without prescriptions?

about 5 months ago
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Bizarre Six-Tailed Asteroid Dumbfounds Scientists

minogully Possible astroid belt origin? (134 comments)

From the article:

P/2013 P5 has been ejecting dust periodically for at least five months. Astronomers believe it is possible the asteroid's rotation rate increased to the point where its surface started flying apart.

All they said was, "At least five months". If we worked backwards, how big would this asteroid have been, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years ago?

about 5 months ago
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Most Sensitive Detector Yet Fails To Find Any Signs of Dark Matter

minogully Re:Check the Phlogiston Compensators (293 comments)

You seem like you know what you're talking about, so I'll ask you...

Why is it not possible that dark matter is simply just a hell of a lot of things like planets, comets, asteroids, gas or dust? Why can't these things exist outside of galaxies?

This is an honest question

about 6 months ago
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Most Sensitive Detector Yet Fails To Find Any Signs of Dark Matter

minogully Honest question (293 comments)

I really hope someone on here can explain what I'm missing here...

Why is it not possible that "dark matter" is not simply just regular matter like asteroids, comets, planets, nebulae, and neutrinos?

I mean, they're discovering exoplanets at an alarming rate lately and we're still discovering asteroids and comets in our own solar system. Extrapolating these findings to all the other stars out there has got to add up to something substantial, right?

What about stars that have exploded and spewed their contents across the universe? Would not these contents become dark after they cool, thereby making them invisible to us? That would be the entire mass of a star that we couldn't see, right? And there's got to be billions upon billions of these, depending on how far away into the past we're looking, right?

Then there are neutrinos, which we know exist because we can detect them, but do we really know how many of them are out there?

Surely, the mass of all of these normal types of matter would add up to something substantial... right?

about 6 months ago
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How Safe Is Cycling?

minogully Re:only? (947 comments)

if the cyclists behaved like the vehicles that they are classified as

This is one big problem I have with the law. I think it's a mistake to classify bikes in the same class as cars. There are many pertinent differences between the two. Such as:

  • Cyclists have greater visibility, since they are closer to the front end of their "vehicle", and they do not have the frame of a car blocking their view
  • Cyclists do not pose the same threat to people or objects, should a collision occur
  • Car drivers do not need to put their foot on the road when coming to a complete stop to prevent the car from tipping over
  • The top speed of the average cyclist is slower than the 'school zone' speed limit for cars. A limit that is designed to allow the driver enough time to react to children suddenly on the road
  • Cyclists cannot hit bumps, holes, or cracks in the road that cars can safely drive over without popping their tires (happened to me the other day, in fact)
  • Cyclists cannot ride on gravel without instability and the threat of crashing.
  • Not that this is done often, but a cyclist can quickly get off and walk their bike allowing the possibility for a cyclist to be legally treated as a pedestrian and thereby legally circumventing traffic laws.
  • Cyclists have a natural concern with conserving momentum, which is a major deterrent against slowing/stopping. This is due to the amount of energy required to get the bike going again. The amount of energy required for a driver to speed up after slowing/stopping is negligible.
  • Cyclists don't require a license to drive, so if they fail to follow the laws of the road, there is no threat of demerit points (if that's in your state, at least)

I'm not sure how the law should treat cyclists differently, but to lump cyclists and car drivers under all of the the same rules doesn't make sense. Personally I like the stoppage laws in Idaho for cyclists.

about 6 months ago
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How Safe Is Cycling?

minogully Re:How safe? (947 comments)

I don't dispute that you have encountered bad cyclists. However, to generalize all cyclists as bad drivers is not correct.

The fact of the matter is, there are bad drivers on bikes just the same as there are bad drivers on the road.

The bias happens when people encounter a bad driver in another demographic, they attribute the bad quality to that demographic (ie. their a bad driver because they're old, or their Asian, or they're a cyclist). But when they encounter a bad driver in their own demographic, they make excuses (ie. they must be having a bad day, or their wife is in labor, or they have diarrhea and need to get to a bathroom immediately, etc.)

Also, the good drivers get ignored because they don't stick out and as a result the positive examples never get attributed to any particular demographic.

We all do this to some extent, I believe, because it's in our nature, but that doesn't mean that it is correct.

about 6 months ago
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Signs Point To XKCD's Time Ending

minogully Re:Antares (226 comments)

Having followed the "Time" comic from the start, I am amazed that this level of detail was put into the artwork. But what amazes me even more, is that fans such as you have managed to connect the dots!

Thank you so much for sharing!

about 9 months ago
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Florida Keys Prepare For Sea Level Rise

minogully Re:perspective (101 comments)

This is seriously one of the best comments I've read on Slashdot on this topic. It's a shame that you aren't modded higher.

about 10 months ago
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Dr. Dobb's Calls BS On Obsession With Simple Code

minogully Re:To quote Einstein (381 comments)

In the name of dumbing everything down to a level where *literally* a four-year-old can handle the thing. ... That also is *literally* the intelligence level of a chimp!!

And if you can, it's mind-boggingly convoluted and unless somebody actively tells you, you can't even find it!! (Try deleting somebody on Skype for iOS. Try moving an icon on a different screen on iOS. Where's the fucking menu, so I can see what I can actually do? Where's the labels so I can tell what the damn symbol means and avoid wrecking something? Holding your finger on any icon for x seconds until they wiggle? Hidden double-taps under special conditions? Hidden *areas* where you have to drag and hold something for x seconds, *under special conditions*?? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??)

I see a contradiction here, unless you're implying that you *literally* have the intelligence level of a chip.

about 10 months ago
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

minogully Let's do a Slashdot survey! (1105 comments)

We should do a Slashdot survey and see if the proportion is roughly the same on here as it is in TFA.

I've often been quite interested to learn if it's just a few loud people or just a lot of people on either side of this argument, since it seems to come up so frequently on here.

about a year ago
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India Rolls Out Central Monitoring System To Snoop On All Communications

minogully Re:This is necessary to defeat terrorists. (87 comments)

If people incorrectly call Native Americans, "Indians", what would they call Native Indians?

about a year ago
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Video Game Industry Starting To Feel Heat On Gun Massacres

minogully Re:Why not attack the real problem (1006 comments)

On the minus side, the public will never really know for sure that the use of the mental health resources prevented mass killings (though for me personally, I have no doubt that they would).

People who get the help and don't kill anyone may not have killed anyone anyways. And then there's the fact that certain individuals who need the help won't get it, either by slipping through the cracks or by deliberately avoiding getting help, and the mass killings will likely continue for these people regardless. So then the public perception is that the mental health resources are not doing anything.

1 year,26 days
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"Lazarus Project" Clones Extinct Frog

minogully Re:LAZARUS?! Really?! (154 comments)

The interesting thing here is that if you didn't already know about the story of Lazarus from the Bible, you wouldn't be offended.

about a year ago

Submissions

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A Solution for Broken Patent Law?

minogully minogully writes  |  more than 2 years ago

minogully (1855264) writes "After a patent is awarded to a person or company, that company must, within the following [perhaps 3?] years, either: 1) sell rights to use that patent to or 2) sell an object that applies the idea of the patent, and such an object must not include other features that are currently patented.
Either of these sales must be made to a third party (ie. not in some sort of agreement with the patent holder to circumvent this law). And the sale price must be consistent with all future sales.
If a sale is not made within the time period, the patent is revoked and the technology is considered public property.

This idea came to me the other day and I wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on it — and if it turns out to be good, perhaps some of the slashdot readers who have a capacity to affect change in this area could do so (as I do not).

I'm hoping this would give competitors the option of either waiting out the time period for the patent to expire, purchase the rights to build the object themselves, or purchase an object that they can, hopefully, plug into their technology. And I'm also hoping that the company that owns the patent would be motivated to keep the price for the sale reasonable to promote a sale.

So what do you think?"

Journals

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Parallel Memoization

minogully minogully writes  |  more than 3 years ago

What if memoization was done on all calculations by a separate processing unit and memory?

So you'd have the main CPU that would do calculations, and the Memoization Processing Unit (MPU) that would look to see if the calculation was already done, and if so, return the result, and if not, wait for the result from the main CPU. If the MPU is able to return a result faster than the CPU, than the CPU cancels the calculation. If the CPU returns the result faster than the MPU can set up a new hash lookup, then the MPU stops where it is and starts with the next calculation (we don't need to record something that the CPU can do faster). The MPU would have it's own dedicated memory so there isn't an issue with using up system RAM. The MPU's memory should be flash so that it won't lose results when powered off, but due to the speed reduction in using flash vs. RAM, this could be supplemented with RAM in some configuration to get a best of both worlds situation.

The aim is for the MPU to save everything and to deal with the limit on the memory, the MPU can discard low priority items, which it would prioritize based on the length of time it took to do the original calculation, and also how long it has been since the result was accessed.

The inspiration for this idea is how I perceive our brains to work. We don't do complicated calculations in our heads when we, say, make an estimate on whether or not we have enough time to cross the road before the car that's coming will hit us. No, instead, we've seen objects moving towards us before and based on past experience we can estimate how long it will take to arrive at our position from how fast it looks like it's going. So our brains are constantly matching up current experiences with past ones, and when our brains find a match we know what to expect out of the current experience. This isn't doing calculations, this is recalling the result from a previous experience.

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