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Ask Slashdot: Can Tech Help Monitor or Mitigate a Mine-Flooded Ecosystem?

srmalloy Re:Very low Toxicity (123 comments)

Exactly. The sludge that has entered the river and lake has not yet been converted into forms that permit ready uptake by plants (and from the plants to the fish and other animals in the lake and up the food chain from there). There's no assurance that it won't undergo that chemical change, and attempts to remove the sludge using current technologies are sloppy enough that, while they would remove most of the sludge, they'll spread the rest more widely.

about three weeks ago
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World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

srmalloy Re:The Spruce Goose is your comparison? (85 comments)

The maximum takeoff weight of the Martin JRM-3 Mars is reported as 165,000 pounds, -- more than 80 tons, and Wikipedia's article has a photograph of the Hawaii Mars II and Phillippine Mars on their landing gear undergoing maintenance; to my knowledge, the H-4 Hercules was never equipped with landing gear, which excludes it from the 'amphibian' category.

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

srmalloy Re:Bloodless surgery (1330 comments)

A health insurance plan tuned for the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses would still pay for blood substitutes, iron supplements, and other expenses associated with bloodless surgery.

A better and more sweeping example would be working for a "closely-held business" run by Christian Scientists, who could contend that they should be excused from having to cover any care except from a practitioner.

about 2 months ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

srmalloy Re:Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

So if they clone a human, the clone is not a distinct organism because it's DNA is not distinct from the original, and thus we can do away with it?

This premise would also make killing all but one of every set of identical twins/triplets/etc. legal.

about 2 months ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

srmalloy Re:Good! (619 comments)

I think a tax on gasoline is far easier to implement than a tax on mileage, and makes a lot of sense. The government wants to give incentive to high mileage vehicles and electric vehicles, so unless you have a different rate category for the mileage tax it would effectively punish them.

Pardon? Every vehicle has a weight class, and it gets taxed by mileage based on the weight class; heavier vehicles impose more wear on the roadways. This has been successfully used for long-haul trucks for decades. If the taxes on gasoline are, say, $0.40 a gallon, and the car gets 20mpg, the owner is paying $0.02/mile into transportation funds. A pure-electric car is paying nothing. If they replace their 20mpg car with one that gets 40mpb, they're paying $0.01/mile into transportation funds. If the gasoline tax is raised to $0.60/gal, a 20mpg car is paying $0.03/mile into transportation funds, a 40mpg car is paying $0.015/mile into transportation funds... while the owner of the electric car is still paying nothing. If they're all driving 10,000 miles per year, the 20mpg car pays $300/year in taxes, the 40mpg car is paying $150/year in taxes, and the electric car is paying... nothing. For the same amount of use of public roads.

Now, you can say that this just encourages people to move to higher-mileage cars... and it will -- but in the process of doing so, it will also reduce the tax revenues taken in. Every person converting to an electric car effectively stops supporting road maintenance, because they're no longer buying gasoline, and therefore not paying the gasoline tax. This increases the problem that Corker and Murphy are attempting to solve by increasing the gasoline tax rate. Every person who replaces their car with one that gets better mileage, or that doesn't use gasoline, reduces the tax base -- and increasing the tax rate just makes it more attractive to get out from under it. In order to make up for the reduced revenue, they'll need to raise the tax again, and the cycle repeats itself, while anyone with an electric car is essentially freeloading their street use on the backs of everyone not driving an electric vehicle. Mileage-based taxes are more fairly distributed; you are paying on the basis of the amount of use you make of the roads, and it doesn't matter if you're powering your car with gasoline, propane, electricity, water gas, hydrogen, or happy thoughts.

about 2 months ago
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DreamWorks Animation CEO: Movie Downloads Will Move To Pay-By-Screen-Size

srmalloy Re:Price for Bitrate / Resolution? (347 comments)

Although, ideally, you'd just pay for a movie once to own it in the highest resolution available and then you'd be able to watch it in any quality that or less on any device.

That policy is anathema to the management of the Music And Film Industries Association of America; their goal is to be able to charge you per person and per performance for all of their product.

about 4 months ago
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How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

srmalloy Re:Economic reasons (384 comments)

"Nal komerex, khesterex".

--- John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

about 4 months ago
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

srmalloy Re:Militia, then vs now (1633 comments)

When the Constitution was ratified, it included provisions for the establishment of a standing army. Yet the Founders, having experienced firsthand the depredations that a standing army could inflict on a population, considered it necessary to explicitly spell out the principle that the government should not be permitted to take weapons out of the hands of citizens. _Despite_ the government being given the authority to raise an army, the individual citizens would still be allowed to arm themselves as they saw fit.

about 5 months ago
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Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

srmalloy Re:It will have a better field of view (496 comments)

There was a fad for a while to move the mirrors as far forward as possible such as http://images.johnnycupcakes.c...

The reason for mirrors mounted that far forward, at least for Japanese cars, is that, until 1983, Japan had a law that required that the side mirrors be visible through glass that was swept by wipers to ensure that they would not be obscured by rain. They're still common for taxis, because they provide better visibility; taxi drivers also feel that by reducing how far they have to turn their head to the side to look in the mirrors, they don't create the appearance of trying to look in the back, which preserves their passengers' privacy.

about 5 months ago
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An Engineer's Eureka Moment With a GM Flaw

srmalloy Re:Obligatory Fight Club (357 comments)

Agreed. I might just go along with the corporations-as-people idea just as soon as the first corporation is executed for having policies tantamount to murder, or gross negligence with lethal consequences, such as seems to be the case here.

Unfortunately, applying criminal law evenly to corporate persons creates a fundamental inequity. While execution -- dissolution of the corporation -- can be applied evenly, incarceration -- a forcible suspension of all business operations -- can't. Nintendo, for example, could lose $250 million a year and not run out of reserves until 2050 or so, a smaller corporation subjected to, say, a ten-year suspension of its ability to operate might as well be a 'death sentence'. And this isn't considering the impact on the employees of a company that's dissolved or suspended.

about 5 months ago
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Water Filtration With a Tree Branch

srmalloy Re:Pour water through the branch? (205 comments)

I would expect that you'd need something like a large pottery vase or jar with a tapered hole in the bottom. You cut the length of sapwood, wrap one end with a fiber cord until you can push it down into the hole and have it fit tightly with the branch sticking out the bottom (a rubber gasket would be better, but may not be readily available), then pour your 'raw' water into the vase and hang it over another container to catch the water that passes through the branch. A higher-tech solution would use some sort of pump to raise the pressure on the source side to push water through the branch faster, but that would require a greater investment of material; pottery and fiber cord should be products available in even subtechnological cultures.

about 6 months ago
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Horseshoe Crabs Are Bled Alive To Create an Unparalleled Biomedical Technology

srmalloy Re:Bled Alive? (159 comments)

Marking their shell with the date of their harvest doesn't do you any good if you don't know how long it will be until the next time they moult; anything marking or attached to their shell will stay with the shell at moult, so if you harvest a crab, bleed it, mark the shell, and it moults a month later, you might pick up the same crab before it has a chance to recover.

about 6 months ago
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I'd prefer military fiction books that are ...

srmalloy Re:..about World War One (236 comments)

The 'no parachutes' directive was a simple piece of high-level idiocy; it was felt that aviators would not press home their attacks with sufficient determination if they were given an avenue of escape from their plane, so that they might choose to bail out of only lightly-damaged aircraft. Early in the war, aircraft were at a premium, and the cachet of air service was such that they had all the volunteers they could ask for -- and early parachutes were bulky and heavy, hard to fit in the cramped cockpits of early aircraft (space for a chute pack not being designed into the pilot's seat the way WWII aircraft were). For most of the war, neither side's pilots had parachutes; they only began to be issued to German pilots in 1918 -- so the short-sightedness can be laid at the feet of both sides in the war, although the Germans eventually did decide that giving a pilot a chance to save their own life was better, particularly as they had begun to suffer from a lack of experienced pilots.

about 6 months ago
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Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

srmalloy Re:Exactly what I was thinking (365 comments)

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

That depends on what your warhead/payload is. With a hypersonic missile to disperse it, how much territory could you effectively cover while dispersing, say, a hundred kilos of weaponized anthrax spores?

about 7 months ago
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Super Bowl Ads: Worth the Price Or Waste of Time?

srmalloy Re:Ads are toxic. (347 comments)

Advertising is a way to let people who may be interested in purchasing your product or using your service that you exist, nothing more, nothing less.

Bullshit. They are about stretching the truth to the point where a lawyer can't tell if your lying through your teeth to try to make your piece of crap look better than someone else's piece of crap while at the same time making damn sure you realize you simply cannot live without it.

From what I've seen, the vast majority of ads can be described as either "You are hideously careless with your health, nutrition, or hygeine if you do not use our product" or "You will become instantly more attractive to the opposite sex if you purchase/use our product", with the occasional "If you have enough money, you can avoid feeling as if you're just another sardine crammed into this aluminum cigar tube when you fly" ad, and the self-referential "Our retelling of this basic plot is better than the other 10,000 retellings of the same basic plot, because our retelling has better/more exposed skin/special effects/explosions/action/makeouts/big-name actors, whether or not any of that is relevant to the plot." ads to get you to watch movies or TV programs that themselves are vehicles to keep you in your seat to be exposed to more ads.

about 7 months ago
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Voynich Manuscript May Have Originated In the New World

srmalloy Re:Why is this so hard to decipher? (170 comments)

After five hundred years, the likelihood that any of the terrorist plots outlined in the Voynich Manuscript have either been carried out or abandoned approaches unity; there's nothing in it that would be useful for extending control over the current population.

about 7 months ago
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Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

srmalloy Re:Huh? (1216 comments)

I like how so many of these posts on slashdot make the CEO job look easy.

Well, of course it's easy -- look at what they're teaching in the Business Administration department in colleges: that it doesn't matter what a company does, or what it produces, or what any of the individual employees do in their jobs; someone trained in modern business management can walk in off the street and competently manage the people under them at any level from the work group all the way up to CEO.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Cheap Second Calculators For Tests?

srmalloy Re: My 2 cents (328 comments)

I had to buy a HP 35S because my 50g wasn't allowed in some tests in my engineering school and I simply can't use a calculator that doesn't do RPN anymore.

More properly, using calculators that lie about being "algebraic" and use a bastard mix of algebraic and RPN are confusing to use. Why do I say this? Think about it. with an RPN calculator, dyadic functions are (number) (number) (function), while monadic functions are (number) (function). With so-called "algebraic" calculators, while dyadic functions are (number) (function) (number) (equals), monadic functions are (number) (function) -- which is RPN.

about 9 months ago
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Google Starts Tracking Retail Store Visits On Android and iOS

srmalloy Re:surprised, yet not surprised. (157 comments)

Yet another reason not to opt-in to data collection...

about 10 months ago
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Movie Review: Ender's Game

srmalloy Re:Orson Scott Card (732 comments)

No problem -- Tolkien wrote these a long time ago, so all Jackson has to do is wait a few more years until the copyright lapses and they become public domain, then he can... oh, right.

First he's got to get past Disney lugging another shipping container full of money to Congress to further extend the Mickey Mouse Perpetual Protection Act... err... copyright duration.

about 10 months ago

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