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Every Weapon, Armored Truck, and Plane the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

real gumby Re:Why only to police? (191 comments)

It's probably worth pointing out that these are not "given" to police. They are "loaned".

Therefore police depts that accept this gear are required to pay for maintenance [...] and are forbidden from selling them [...]

And they are required by 1033 to use the equipment and (according to that wikipedia entry) are allowed to sell some of it.

about two weeks ago
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IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

real gumby Re: Really? (196 comments)

I'm sympathetic to the marketroids on this one. Most people think a "computer" is a thing with a keyboard and display (hence the strange confusion over whether a phone or tablet is a "computer"). And people do understand that a network is a way for computers to talk to each other.

But the idea that you might have a microprocessor in a light bulb is plain weird to most people, hence the new name. And at least it's better than "the washing machine network". Now if only they would turn their thinking caps to the part where you actually think up uses for networked frogs that normal people care about....

As for "cloud", yeah, that's a perfectly good technical term stretched and abused by marketards. At least it bears some resemblance to its original meaning (unlike, say, "broadband", much less "narrowband" -- you mean "baseband" you fuckwits).

about two weeks ago
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You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

real gumby Re:obviously they should track the sun (327 comments)

Actually, trackers are pretty expensive in $/W, and this is even after you take advantage of the increased yield (you're paying money to avoid the cosine effect so you better generate more power than the cost of your tracker). If you're going to do this you might as well use higher yield panels, which again increases capital cost, thus...

The economics of PV solar went this way:

  1. First the panels were expensive so the cost of installation was not a big deal. Thus plenty of 2 axis (typically azimuth/elivation) tracker companies sprung up to optimize the produced electrons/m2.
  2. Then the $/W fell below a dollar (panels were so lucrative a huge amount of factory capacity came on line in China and drove the cost down, just like the DRAM business). Now the cost of installation (still a couple of bucks back in 2012 IIRC) was the dominant cost.
  3. At this pont the panels are so cheap that cutting installation by 2/3 and just putting in more panels was cheaper than a tracker.
  4. Plus trackers had op ex (maintenance) much more than a fixed installation

For a while single axis tracking was worth it, but the price of PV has come down so far it no longer matters.

There are specialized applications (mainly where space is required, or concentration can benefit in other ways) where tracking is worth it and smoe people are still at it. Since the tracking motor itself is expensive, one strategy was to make a robot that went along moving each panel one by one. (QBotix). I don't know how well that has worked out.

about two weeks ago
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Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones

real gumby Re:So, it is hard and flexible? (203 comments)

Yeah, you're quite right that I overstated it by saying they are orthogonal. They are coupled (diamond is not particularly flexible) but not 100% correlated. Different manifestations of the underlying structure.

about three weeks ago
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Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

real gumby Not really sure why this means they're not snobs (376 comments)

They simply foolishly don't fear our feline overlords. While Americans practice, training themselves to recognize the enemy.

Seriously, having lived in both France and the USA: most people in France will ignore the critics but yes, books and culture are seen as more important to people then they are in the USA. Being a public intellectual is considered a reasonable and high profile job.

Note I said "seen as more important" -- don't forget we're talking about the country that invented celebrity culture and "celeb journos", and in which the most popular restaurant is McDonalds. Nevertheless, the French are anti- a lot of things, but being intellectual isn't one of them.

about three weeks ago
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Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones

real gumby Re:So, it is hard and flexible? (203 comments)

Please tell us how they achieved this feat or materials engineering.

Oh you silly slashdotter. Sure, you may have studied materials science and engineering, but do you have the real world experience? In the modern corporation it's all about teamwork. Well-managed teams can do more than any one person possibly could. In this case, the engineers make the glass hard. Then marketing adds the flexibility. See? Teamwork. Oh yeah, and management makes it all happen and does extra janatorial tasks like mopping up the excess bucks.

(Actually, cynicism aside, it's simply that hardness and flexibility are orthogonal axes in materials science).

about three weeks ago
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AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data

real gumby TFA misses the point (60 comments)

The way to end this is not to say, "Would be nice to hear something similar from Verizon" like it's some sort of game.

TFA (and the summary) are silent on the real question is which is, "What right do they have to fuck with my traffic?"

It's like they are asking to be reclassified as a Title II common carrier.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

real gumby Re:population control through fear mogering and in (698 comments)

This is a sensible comment. Although I disagree with your conclusion (since they are so rare, almost any precuationary defense is a waste of effort - and I say this as a parent), your reasoning is good.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

real gumby population control through fear mogering and intim (698 comments)

From TFA:

Suzanne Kennan, a resident who lives across from the school...supported the investment anyway.

‘‘Unfortunately we’re at a point where we have to do something like this,’’

Yes, we're at a point where the level of violent crime is at its lowest in 40 years but apparently a crazy response is needed regardless.

Needless to say, there's no discussion in this article. Simply a visit to the school for the demonstration, a quick chat with the cops, and a thoughtless quote from the neighbor.

I have a kid in school and frankly I think all this pseudo "security" is more dangerous for shaping future civic involvement than the anhistorical gibberish in the history books.

about a month ago
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Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

real gumby Uhh...I doubt it (252 comments)

These are the same analysts who said that apple needed to make a netbook or they would die (or who each quarter predicted a netbook was coming).

Apple has placed an alternative bet: that the devices can overlap capabilites and responsibilites (e.g. via handoff, or less intensely as with iwork) but have fundamentally different jobs to do, and try to make each do its job well. I don't commute to work in a tank, but some people find tanks useful. The surface, and W8, are neiher tank nor motorbike, and really do neither job well.

Apple changes their mind (and never admits it, as with phablets!) and they also make brain damaged decisions, but there is some method to their madness. Analysts generate quotable sound bites; that is the method behind their madness.

about 2 months ago
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How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

real gumby Re:Journalists have less time... (165 comments)

If you want evidence that current journalism is worse than previous generations, just look at the number of absurd hoaxes that get reported as fact. Back when it took a little effort to gather information, people took it more seriously.

There have always been hoaxes, small and large. I'm just saying I haven't seen any study (though I would hope such a study exists) showing if the quality has gone up or down or is unchanged. My comment (and yours) are simply anecdote.

A sense of declinism (things were better "in the old days") has been a recurring theme for millennia.

about 2 months ago
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How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

real gumby Re:Journalists have less time... (165 comments)

...because they're busy doing what?

At first I read this comment as throwaway snark about listicles and the like, but then it raised for me a pretty interesting question:what evidence do we have that current reporting is less rigourous than it was in the past?.

I recently looked up the newspaper from the day after I was born and found it full of trivial stuff (except my birth announcement of course!) and articles that looked like they uncritically repeated what one source had told them. I am not sure the quality of reporting, in reality, was ever any better than now.

about 2 months ago
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Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy"

real gumby OK then (302 comments)

So Mr Fyfe, ban what you like within the Square Mile. That should make you popular with the banks!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

real gumby Re:Job market does not like PhDs (479 comments)

A non-tenured adjunct lecturer became President of the USA, so there's that, too.

True but I have friends who make more consulting in engineering than that guy does. I suspect they have more fun too.

about 3 months ago
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Willow Garage Founder Scott Hassan Aims To Build a Startup Village

real gumby Re:What's all this startup trends? (62 comments)

Some startups are still what I consider (and it sounds like you consider) classic startups. Most these days are like TV shows (essentialy the MVP is the “pilot” and then they “get picked up” — run for a little while and then fade out or get bought in an aquihire. In that they are simply a high tech version of starting a corner shop, which is still the most common kind of business around the world.

about 3 months ago
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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

real gumby Turns out the Koch brothers were right (789 comments)

Climate change is not going to kill us all, or anyone, really.
 
Nuclear war will do it first.

about 3 months ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

real gumby Not Data Caps (341 comments)

Nosir, these are Data Hoodies.

No wait, they’re Data Mufflers. That’s right, Data Mufflers.

Not the same thing at all. In fact we offer them free to our customers. They love them! They aren’t canceling the service (and we know they have a choice) — in fact they call and add new services!

Here’s $50,000, half for you and half for ALEC. Now go run off and get re-elected. I’m off to play golf with Obama.

about 4 months ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

real gumby The school did the right thing (421 comments)

Pet dinosaurs are quite rare. In fact I’ve never seen one. So to kill it is a crime against humanity.

At least this kid had enough remorse to need to admit his crime.

I know his message was a cry for help but the school must pursue criminal action as a warning to others who might kill dinosaurs. Thank God we live in a country that takes “If you see something, say something” seriously.

about 4 months ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

real gumby Oh Boo Hoo (267 comments)

Gosh, some advocates of a competing currency and libertarian fantasy are now cowed by competition? Say it ain’t so!

I’m rooting for some online cash to become viable, but don’t know if Bitcoin will be it (I suspect not since it has the same liquidity / shock issues as gold standards do) but let’s have a bunch of experiments and see what the market says.

about 4 months ago

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