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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

serbanp Re:Red Queen (115 comments)

Silly, the overhead administering it is very, very low. Much lower than the private retirement funds.

Are you really arguing against a system that helped old people live a little more decently? There is no denying that SS provided (and probably still does) a great social service.

If you're lucky, you will get old too and it's very likely you'll see it differently from now.

yesterday
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

serbanp Re:Red Queen (115 comments)

Sorry Bill, but this time you seem to be off mark. As a percentage of the federal budget, "Defense" is some 17.7%, to which I would add the DHS and NSA, for a grand total of about 20%. That's not spare change.

When compared to the efficient way the other two agencies that command a large portion of the US budget (Health and SS) are run, it's hard to justify spending so much money on an endeavor so wasteful.

In the end, the US military adventures in the last few decades have put the country in a tough place. Some of the actions have been unjust and for that the US is loathed by quite a few, some other created the impression of the US being the World Cop, therefore many expect it to act at a finger snap (e.g. in Syria and I still remember the debacle over *not* intervening in Rwanda). In the long run, this is a losing situation, no matter how many resources are thrown at it.

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

serbanp Red Queen (115 comments)

You have to run faster and faster just to stay in the same place... The only beneficiary is the MIC, at the expense of everybody else.

2 days ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

serbanp Re:wont last (284 comments)

unless they would check the actual link, the price matching based on a lousy printout is unworkable. It's rather easy to photoshop the displayed price to an arbitrarily low value.

about a week ago
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Machine-Learning Algorithm Ranks the World's Most Notable Authors

serbanp *something* in, rubbish out... (55 comments)

Bram Stoker being #1 in the 1910 decade, way ahead of someone like Mark Twain? In what universe?

The list is full of mediocrity floating at the top, while profound authors being ranked way lower (Calamity Jane > Chekhov for instance).

The complete failure of this ranking experiment just shows how true AI is still 20 years in the future (as it has been for the past 50 years)...

about a week ago
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How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

serbanp Re:How big a fuss is it, really? (415 comments)

Yes, yes, yes, we *all* saw that movie (some more than a few times)...

about a month ago
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Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

serbanp Re:Overstated or misrepresented? (403 comments)

My 17yo Civic has a complete mileage log for all of the 205k miles it traveled, i.e. how many gallons to full (I never do partial refueling) and how many miles traveled. If anything, the mileage is consistently better than what was on the windshield when I bought it new.

In fact, looking at the numbers I can see the seasonal patterns (2MPG lower in winter), probably caused by my state switching to the winter blend (more Ethanol).

about a month and a half ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

serbanp Re: I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (602 comments)

No LED-based lighting fixture uses a voltage regulator and a series resistor to limit the current through the LED.

The LED is driven by a current regulator; yes, it usually has a small sense resistor to measure and adjust the driving current, but that's something totally different from a resistor used to limit the current.

Remember, the 'D' in LED stands for (semiconductor) "Diode", which means that in forward conduction it has an exponential relationship between current and voltage. The only way to control the brightness is to control the current, you can't rely on the equivalent "resistance" (i.e. Vd/Id).

The premature failure of the LED bulb is caused exclusively by the embedded electronics degrading at high temperature. Since the LED is still dumping a lot of heat when working, the heat must be dissipated (hence puny LEDs and bulky, machined Al heatsinks) or the electronics get fried.

Guess what the drive to reduce the manufacturing cost will do to the quality of the LED bulbs?

about 2 months ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

serbanp OTOH (441 comments)

the Idiocracy syndrome cuts both ways. Yeah, the official reaction was a little over the top. However, I pity the young lad for having no imagination whatsoever. Nothing in the wide world to write about but more gore in a school setting? Right.

about 3 months ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

serbanp Re:The US slides back to the caves (528 comments)

The number 12 is involved only in the foot/inch ratio. Other stuff (lb/oz = 16, yd/ft=3, mi/yd=1760 - wtf!) is even whackier.

Although I agree that woodworking is much better in inches than in millimeters.

about 2 months ago
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Entire South Korean Space Programme Shuts Down As Sole Astronaut Quits

serbanp Re:reminds me of the old joke (186 comments)

You're actually talking about today's Albania, isn't it? Wikipedia does mention that all fixed-wing aircraft have been retired from their Air Force in the last couple of years.

about 3 months ago
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Entire South Korean Space Programme Shuts Down As Sole Astronaut Quits

serbanp reminds me of the old joke (186 comments)

Q: Why did Albanian airforce not participate in WW2? A: The pilot was sick.

Sounds similar to SK's Space Program issue.

about 3 months ago
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Nokia Buys a Chunk of Panasonic

serbanp Re:Nokia still has products? (54 comments)

Repeat slowly after me: Elop, Stephen Elop. Elon Musk is a different (way different!) person...

about 4 months ago
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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

serbanp Re:so... (260 comments)

The input is DC so there is no need for low frequency input decoupling

Unfortunately, that's not true. The output is AC and the input-referred current will reflect it, i.e. will be quite high when the output reaches its highest (340V). Since the input source has an equivalent internal resistance of 10Ohm and would droop too much, some bulk capacitance is needed to provide these 120Hz current surges.

I agree with you that the design revolves around the placement of power components (capacitors, inductor, power switches and some sort of heatsinking), then the control circuitry be crammed in the spaces between them.

about 4 months ago
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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

serbanp Re:so... (260 comments)

Having read the actual spec, I realized that my question was stupid. Input voltage is 450V, therefore the inverter is just a full-bridge DC/DC converter

The challenge is actually perfectly doable, with the only difficult points being the size of the switching inductor and the input bulk (most likely tantalum) and output filtering (must be ceramic) capacitors. IOW, the winner will be the one with the best connections to component manufacturers.

about 4 months ago
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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

serbanp Re:Why? (260 comments)

Having read the actual Spec Document, the input voltage is 450V DC, with an equivalent series resistance of 10Ohm. Definitely not 12V DC.

about 4 months ago
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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

serbanp so... (260 comments)

what is the state of the art w.r.t. the 12VDC->110VAC/60Hz 1kW inverters?

about 4 months ago

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