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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

mrvan Re:The Dangers of the World (783 comments)

There is a lot of things that I dislike the US* for, but as a European, I'm really grateful that they put their bodies on the line *twice* in the previous century to bail us out, even if both cases they would be completely right to say "you had it coming"**. So, a big "Thank you" to NotDrWho's parent and all his brothers-in-arms.

*) And the same holds for my country, and for Russia, and China, Israel, Egypt, Germany etc etc. Politics are messy
**) For WOI by entering in ridiculous alliances, letting minor incidents escalate, and thinking that War would be a great way to reinvigorate the continent; for WOII by not following the US'/predisent Wilson advise and instead enforcing draconian measures on Germany (looking at France), for electing and keeping in power a maniac (looking at Germany) and for trying to placate said maniac instead of doing something about it when it would have been easier (looking at all of us)

about two weeks ago

Using OwnCloud To Integrate Dropbox, Google Drive, and More In Gnome

mrvan Re:IceWM == frosty (30 comments)


Switched to xmonad a couple years ago, and I realized that all I ever need is (shortcuts for) multiple workspaces, terminal, and a program launcher.

(Interestingly, I actually much prefer the way floating windows are handled in xmonad in the rare occasions that they are useful (move with super+drag, resize with super+right-drag, what more do you need... plus those small and difficult to reach resize handles or title bars are a really stupid idea)

~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-desktop-environment
After this operation, 441 MB of additional disk space will be used.

non, merci!

about 2 months ago

Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon and MATE Editions Released

mrvan Re:Cinnamon and MATE (89 comments)

If you have an "obscene amount" of money, for a sufficiently obscene definition of obscene, you can add any feature you like to any open source project and get all the support you would even need, including a butler to click the buttons on the screen for you.

If you think that the price of a windows/adobe/matlab license qualifies an obscene amount of money, well, you're out of luck.

about 2 months ago

Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

mrvan Re:combining micropayments with hefty sticker pric (473 comments)

Do you know whether it is pay-to-win (i.e. in-app purchases have a significant effect on gameplay) or mainly cosmetic (buying a paint job on your ship)?

If I pay real money for a game (>20 EUR) I expect it to be playable without subscription fees, microtransactions etc. For free or almost free games, I can understand either subscription OR microtransactions, but certainly not both...

about 2 months ago

Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

mrvan combining micropayments with hefty sticker price? (473 comments)

Is that the game that I can buy for 60 EUR and then have the privilege of paying another 12.50 EUR to get a "cutting-edge" freighter ship, and another 12.50 to get a 'viper chrome'? Why would I do that??

about 2 months ago

Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

mrvan Re:Ok but that's electricity, not energy (488 comments)

Heating and cooling is not symmetrical.

For one, it gets coldest during the night, when most people are in bed and blankets are a good tool to stay warm. It gets hottest in the middle of the day when most people are up and about (in countries without a siesta culture).

Also, isolating a house to keep in heat is much easier than isolating it to keep heat out, especially if you want to keep windows etc.

Third, warm clothing allows you to operate comfortably even if it is cold, a warm sweater means a room of around 18 celcius / 65 fahrenheit is comfortable. Stripping down is more difficult, but especially less acceptable in a business environment. Current business fashion originates in Northeastern Europe during the 'little ice age' of the 18th century, wearing a three piece suit with shirt, undershirt and tie is much more suited for 18/65 than for 25/77 degrees.

I live in Amsterdam and have the thermostat set to 19/66 degrees when I am at home, it cools down to something like 16 degrees during the night. I don't have A/C but in the summer the temperature easily goes up to 25/77 degrees in house, which is fine with light clothing. On hot summer days it can go up to 30/86 degrees, which is too hot to be comfortable for me, but that is quite rare.

Finally, Denmark might 'see' 15-30 degrees below zero once every century, but average low (night) temperature in January is more like -2. So, a delta of also around 15-20 degrees from room temperature.

about 3 months ago

Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

mrvan Re:Home storage (488 comments)

Avg US household use is in 2012 was 10,837 kWh per year, or about 29.7 hWh per day, so 50kWh is less than 2 days..

This is a story about Denmark, not the US. America has one of the highest per capita electricity uses in the world*. According to the wiki, Americans use almost three times more electicity than Danes, probably due to air conditioning and low energy prices (US is listed as .08-.17 $/kWh, Denmark 40.38)

Anecdotal evidence: I just checked my electricity consumption, which is around 4,000kWh for the past year, including a large TV and more computers than any sane 2 person household would need. According to an energy cost comparison site, the average 2+2 person household consumes 4,500 kWh per year.

So, assuming that an average Danish household consumes around 5,000 kWh per year = 13.7 kWh per day, that battery will last them 3 days.

*) Interestingly, Norway and Iceland are listed even higher - presumably because they have lots of hydropower and electric heating.

about 3 months ago

Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

mrvan Re:Just moves a choke point (395 comments)

Aire de Berchem is Luxembourg is (according to Dutch wikipedia) the busiest gas station in the world (mainly because Luxembourg has the cheapest gas in the region and it is on a number of busy roads). It pumps 850.000 liters per day, enough to fill up 17000 cars*. If every car needs 70% of 85KWh, this requirs 85k * .7 * 17k = 1GWh per day. If they can spread perfectly over the day, it means they need a 50MW power plant, which I guess is not too far out there. This will probably require some impressive capacitator / battery setup to get enough peak power though, no clue if something like that is feasible.

(the total amount of energy in 850k liters of gasoline is 42.4 MJ/kg * 0.77 kg/L * 850kL = 27 TJ = 7.5GWh. So it seems that the total efficiency of electric cars is about 8 times higher, assuming equal range, which is probably false. But a factor 5 might be around right...?)

*) the wiki mentions it's 80% diesel, and while diesel cars are pretty common here, I would assume that means that the majority of liters goes to trucks. Now suppose your Tesla truck with 500KWh needs to charge in 5 minutes....

about 3 months ago

Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

mrvan Re:News at 11. (282 comments)

This is nonsense. You can still buy paper single use cards, but now they have a little chip in them (and they cost a bit more).

I do think that the single use tram cards are way too expensive (2,70), but that's a different matter.

about 3 months ago

Google's Security Guards Are Now Officially Google Employees

mrvan Re:Wow (134 comments)

Our cleaning is outsourced and the cleaners generally have little command of the local language. I know most of them by now, however, and have a little chat when I can. I leave my wallet and phone on my table if I go grab a coffee to allow them to clean my office (I work late a lot of times). Nothing untoward ever happened and I've not heard any of my colleagues complain.

about 4 months ago

Microsoft Revives Its Hardware Conference

mrvan Re:Frosty pasta! (47 comments)

I really like the Metro UI as well, especially for desktops.

My wife is finally migrating to linux :-)

about 4 months ago

Where Whistleblowers End Up Working

mrvan Re:Future wars (224 comments)

Existentialism is the enemy. Existentialism has always been the enemy.

about 4 months ago

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

mrvan Re:Proper Science is hard. (795 comments)

Scientist here - by geekoid's definition at least.

Scientists use jargon for the same reason sailors do - to efficiently communicate a very specific concept. In a sailing vessel at sea in a storm, you really don't want to take a minute to explain that you mean the green-white striped rope that connects the beam to the hull - you say mainsheet*.

Now, there is a lot of nonsense going on in science, with ridiculous performance metrics, a discouragement of actually innovative high-risk research, a sometimes religious worship of established names and theory; and a lot of stuff gets published not because it is particularly innovative, enlightening or even robust, but because it uses the right buzz words and cites the right people. However, that does not make science as an endeavour less wortyh - it's a bit like** how democracy is a good idea even if a lot of politicians (the ones in high places, at least) are dodgy.

* if my English sailing jargon is correct - not a native speaker
** my next analogy will be about cars, I promise

about 4 months ago

Ireland To Host Robotic Sailing Championships

mrvan Re:A Little Perspective (14 comments)

This doesn't matter that much. Larger yachts sail more or less the same as smaller yachts; the main effect is that all forces are multiplied. For humans this makes a lot of difference: needing winches instead of pulling ropes by hand, being hit by the boom during a jibe changes from unpleasant to lethal, the ability to push off against the wall is greatly diminished, etc. For automatic sailing, however, the main effect will probably be cost rather than difficulty, as none of those factors are really important until material strenght becomes a problem. Smaller boats can even be more difficult to handle since the intertia is smaller compared to the wind forces (mass is cube of size, wind area square), making a smaller boat less stable.

about 5 months ago

Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

mrvan Re:is it better than random? (177 comments)

That is correct, but not what the GP meant. If you can model the distribution (e.g. you 'know' that B is 90%) then you can weigh your random guessing such that it is correct in >50% of the cases, even without looking at the case itself (it is still 'random' in that sense)

Extreme case: I can predict whether someone has Ebola without even looking at them with >99.99% accuracy by just guessing "no" every time, since the prevalence of Ebola is >.001%.

Suppose the supreme court has 70% chance of overturning (e.g. because they choose to hear cases that have 'merit'), then an algorithm that guesses 'overturn' 100% will have a 70% accuracy. A random guess that follows the marginal of the target distribution (e.g. guess 70% overturn) also scores >50% (58% to be precise).

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

mrvan Re:wow great (637 comments)

Wow could you please not downvote me please thanks? That's really rude.

Why don't you impose a $500 fine?

about 6 months ago

Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

mrvan Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (138 comments)

It was meant neither as an excuse nor as an explanation.

Let's just say that apparently Toady has the kind of skills and character that enabled him to implement DF in the current fashion. And that is both a big compliment and a big gripe...

about 7 months ago



Python creator Guido van Rossum leaving Google for Dropbox

mrvan mrvan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mrvan writes "Guido van Rossum, the proclaimed python Benevolent Dictator For Life, is leaving Google in january to work for Dropbox. He is currently employed by Google, where he spends half his time developing the Python language. In their announcement, DropBox state that they relied heavily on python from the beginning, citing a mix of simplicity, flexibility, and elegance, and are excited to have GvR on the team. While this is without a doubt good news for DropBox, the big question is what this will mean for python (and for google)."
Link to Original Source

E.U. Fines Microsoft (another) $1.3 Billion

mrvan mrvan writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mrvan (973822) writes "The New York Times writes: "European antitrust regulators on Wednesday fined Microsoft $1.3 billion for failing to comply with a 2004 judgment that the company had abused its market dominance. Microsoft had earlier been fined after the commission determined in 2004 that the company had abused the dominance of its Windows operating system to gain unfair market advantage. The commission imposed the new fine Wednesday, it said, because the company had not met the prescribed remedies after the earlier judgment. "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of E.U. competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said in a statement."

Electoral Compass for 2008 Presidential Elections

mrvan mrvan writes  |  about 7 years ago

mrvan writes "The Electoral Compass was launched today by political scientists from the Free University Amsterdam in cooperation with the Wall Street Journal. On this voting aid website, you can fill in your position on a number of issues and compare it with that of the various candidates. Most importantly, at the end you can compare the differences per issue and see the debate transcripts or newspaper articles that contain the issue position of the candidate. An interesting point is that the researchers did not ask the candidates for their position, which carries a risk of getting optimized or manipulative answers. Instead, they coded the statements of the candidates found in the media and debates. More information about this compass and similar efforts for the last Dutch general elections can be found here."
Link to Original Source


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