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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

rolfwind Re:240km/hr? (418 comments)

Yes.

Fast trains need well maintained tracks, specially built for the speed, and the curves also have to take that in mind. The advent of cars and later planes have pretty much undermined rail in America in terms of people transport and many lines are only suitable for slow-moving cargo trains, some as low as 10mph.

We're talking track that will bounce up and down out of the ground a good 18 inches into the air. I've seen this often enough with an approaching train in some sections. That track couldn't take 60 mph trains, let along several hundred mph.

America, may as well be trackless for the most part for rail that is in any condition and design for high speed rail. Buses have pretty much put an end to trains as a serious passenger mover, too bad they will never reach speeds that would make it a serious distance mover for anybody but the person with time on their hands, a tourist or sightseer.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

rolfwind Re:Don't plan on reading too much (223 comments)

Heard the same. Because company is branching out in India itself, I'm expected to travel quite a bit, so I'm not sure on every region, plus mobile internet in between.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

rolfwind Don't plan on reading too much (223 comments)

I'm going to India for over a year, coming up soon. Although my company is sending me to essentially train my replacements, and then another round after that... sigh, at least the money is good.

I expect to have internet (I don't see how not) but Idk how steady or fast it is in that area so I'm downloading wikipedia on a usb drive just in case. I have my own favorite books, like Pointers on C by Kenneth Reek but that's book specific. As well as some Lisp history and underlying math (original paper).

There is the classic SICP, Knuth's Art of Computer Programming, Concrete Mathematics, etc.

Of course this is all heavy, so I'm putting it in a kindle or tablet. A b/w kindle with some type of manual charger as backup would be ideal.

But you know better than I what your goals are. Don't pack too much, especially dead tree books. Just 1 or 2 of those. You're going to the Himalayas! Enjoy it. Plan on getting through 1 challenging book and don't waste the rest of time reading. It'll still be there when you get back.

about a week ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

rolfwind Roomba for skyscrapers (203 comments)

I'm going to say there will be a window roomba for skyscrapers within a decade. It's too lucrative a market not to pursue.

The improvement in suction cups have been here for a while. Short of some innovative cleaning system that require little/no water, resupply and dirt offloading can be handled by some ancillary robot that runs back and forth to some main hub.

All that will really be needed is some safety system to keep it falling from pedestrians. If it's a cable, then the ancilliary robot might be done away with as tubing can feed solution downward although I'm dubious about a capable pump upward without weighing the robot down too much.

What will stop it is that human labor is still cheap. Unless insurance costs price them out of the market, robots are doable but fall under that "more trouble than it's worth" niche. So while someone may develop something, not sure on uptake.

about two weeks ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

rolfwind Re:RTGs not feasible for small probes (223 comments)

I know Nasa anticipated smaller RTGs in the mid-90s for probe Missions to Pluto and beyond, just wasn't sure if that wish ever went anywhere.

about two weeks ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

rolfwind Solar? (223 comments)

Why was this designed to use mainly solar instead of a radioisotope thermoelectric generator like the voyager probes?

A comet's trajectory out of the solar system would have been interesting thing to ride on, but then solar wouldn't be a viable option.

about two weeks ago
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Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

rolfwind Re:No. (237 comments)

It will not. It's much cheaper to take public transportation in most cities; the only time it would make sense would be on longer trips, because you are saving alot of time by taking Lyft or Uber, but you sure the hell aren't saving money.

I think it will hurt because people will always pay a reasonable convenience fee. Oh, you're right on steady customers of public fare that take public transit daily. But there's all those people taking special trips and the like.

When I was a college student, I had no car, and a 7 minute car ride to the grocery store, 20 mins and checkout, and 7 minute ride back turned into a 1h30m to 2hr15m with the bus depending on time of day. Would I have taken lyft or uber over the bus for a few bucks? Hell yes. It's not as if the bus ride allowed me to study, it was too short for that, 15 mins at most, it was the waiting at a stop not really conducive to study.

But why is this phrased on /. that it be a problem if the answer is yes? Competition is a good thing. And even government monopolies shouldn't be protected forever.

about two weeks ago
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fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

rolfwind Re:analog computer (91 comments)

On a brain cell level, but if we zoom out, so to speak, there should come into scope some system we can label where the brain does multipe things at once reliably: balance, process sound and vision, etc.

What interests me the most are the levels of subconscious/consciousness and where all this combines to create our singular, waking awareness.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

rolfwind Re:The number one thing (250 comments)

Highly disagree, OP sounds like a ripe candidate for solar water, not to be confused with photovoltaics. Solar thermal is highly efficient and pretty cheap in comparison.

A modest setup would need only three hours a day sun just to supply hot water for daily use, and a bigger setup or more time for supplying hot water for heat (radiant heat using water is extremely common there).

He's asking for heat and not electricity per se, solar water is ideal for that and many times cheaper than PV for the same results.

about two weeks ago
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Photon Pair Coupled in Glass Fiber

rolfwind This could be a game changer (91 comments)

We might be seeing a major milestone towards the march to quantum computers. Getting 2 photons to interact with each other via a single rubidium atom is a big step. The process still has high noise but I think that can be overcome, but wow, strong interaction between photons.

about three weeks ago
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HP Unveils Industrial 3D Printer 10X Faster, 50% Cheaper Than Current Systems

rolfwind Where will decent software come from? (111 comments)

Eh, I think the weakspot in any 3d printing will be the software. As a hobby engineer, I use Solidworks which is several thousand dollars (luckily already on some of my employer's computers so they foot the bill).

But at home, I tried FreeCad, Cubify Invent, and several other free or cheap options and I find them invariably terrible, at least as far my limited experience can discern. FreeCad in particular, asides from UI nonintuitive issues and heaps of bugs (various cuts and operations simply disappearing for no reason), is only up to v0.14 since launching in 2002. It's like the Gnu Hurd of that genre.

I don't see how the 3D printing revolution will remotely come to town without something decent on the software front that's $200 or less.

*Posted this yesterday in a thread, but was too late for anyone to see it.

about three weeks ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

rolfwind Re:There is no free anything (262 comments)

Educate me.

Because as far as I'm aware most subsidies usually prop up corporations one way or another or come in the form of stealing from future generations to benefit ours (borrowing).

about three weeks ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

rolfwind There is no free anything (262 comments)

You don't help the poor by giving them more free handouts. All that will occur is the middle class will pay for it through price hikes and something similiar.

Time and again, history has shown a healthy middle class is the best road to alleviate poverty on a grand scale. Well guess what? It's the middleclass that has to pay for entitlements by and large (especially through fica taxes), taxing them more after decades of no real wage increases (since the 70s iirc) will have the opposite effect.

The best road would be to block the merger, encourage legislatively more competition, prices will drop, and it will help everyone (except Comcast and Warner of course).

about three weeks ago
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XYZPrinting Releases All-In-One 3D Printer With Internal Laser Scanner

rolfwind Re:terrible (46 comments)

Eh, I think the weakspot in any 3d printing will be the software. As a hobby engineer, I use Solidworks which is several thousand dollars (luckily already on some of my employer's computers so they foot the bill).

But at home, I tried FreeCad, Cubify Invent, and several other free or cheap options and I find them invariably terrible. FreeCad in particular, asides from UI nonintuitive issues and bugs, is only up to v0.14 since launching in 2002. It's like the Gnu Hurd of that genre.

I don't see how the 3D printing revolution will remotely come to town without something decent on the software front that's $200 or less.

about three weeks ago
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A Library For Survival Knowledge

rolfwind Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (272 comments)

Cheap mass shipping to the other side of the world will be among the first luxuries to go, meaning we will need to start to produce most of our goods locally again, starting from the basics and working up to more complicated ones.

I disagree with some of this from sheer opportunity cost. Mass shipping often uses heavy fuel, the type that we have in abundance (tar sands, etc.) And this can be supplemented with wind. It's not infeasible that a future generation of shipping will return to some type of clipper ship or even kite design to help alleviate fuel.

And refridgeration is electric heavy, something we will have in abundance still besides fuel, so shipping food will still be feasible.

And trains and trucks are still more efficient than hundreds of individual cars.

If such a thing were to pass, one of the first things to go will be suburbias. A luxury of land and wastes of driving far more than distribution shipping. Since we are talking in point of the last and most wasteful step of distribution anyway, from store to home.

Such a future may come or not, not sure. Just my way of thinking.

Now, endpoint to endpoint consumer shipping from Amazon... that may be a different story. Unless quadrocopters are involved.

about a month ago
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Ex-CBS Reporter Claims Government Agency Bugged Her Computer

rolfwind Re:Both are bad but not comparable. (235 comments)

What are you talking about? Nixon could only have wet dreams over what the US Government can and does do now.

The only two extenuating circumstances is that Obama certainly didn't build all this up on his own, nor was the first president to do so, but was in the building for many decades. The second being that the entire government is in on it.

Nixon is a great big boogie man to hold up, but his crimes pale against modern day government.

If the government was truly of the people, and concern with the 4th amendment - it would have decades ago ensured secure protocols and encryptions instead of backdoors into everything. But the concentrated shouts of law enforcement and the planners in power is typically louder than the diffused power of the majority. And instead of doing the right thing, it always choosing the lesser of 2 evils at that very moment (and there is always some "crisis), guess what? It still went bad.

The only point of your post is to act as an apologist. Sure, in the days of Nixon, when the government had its shoes covered in shit, and Nixon ankle deep in it appeared to be the worst guy out there. But now that the government is knee high in it, that point is long moot and gone.

And I say this all because we already experienced a guy who had the reach in his day somewhat comparable to today. Hoover. That guy had info on everyone and stayed in power so long because of it. I can't even guess at all the behind-the-scenes crimes he committed but since he wasn't a figurehead president and doesn't appear to have a party badge affixed to him, no one brings him up or attack him for shortterm gain.

Now the NSA is in the same position. And they have way more power to affect elections or politicians than Nixon ever had. Some Senator wants to defund the agency? Slip a brown envelope under her door full of her browsing history with a note saying "No $ Already?" and she'll get the message.

All it needs is the wrong director.

about a month ago
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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

rolfwind Re:Prison time (275 comments)

Probably was a case of civil forfeiture while vacationing.

about a month ago
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How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

rolfwind Re:Lol... (296 comments)

Japan drowned in it's own marketshare is everything corporate view a while back - there will always be someone that comes along that offers it cheaper. Customers ain't loyal and monopoly lockdown in a previously open market is frowned upon.

But you're right in the sense that this is just a small part of Apple's business now. Still, they make a decent buck on each one they sell, which at the end of the day, isn't bad business.

about a month ago

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