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Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

srmalloy Re:I see a lot of fatties in those photos and vide (465 comments)

Or they could just kill themselves and everyone to save the planet.

I am reminded of the fortune-file entry "/earth is 98% full. Please delete anyone you can."

5 days ago

Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

srmalloy Re:wow (571 comments)

And just think -- with the waste products from a fusion reactor, we can alleviate the increasing scarcity of helium.

However, we'll have to start dealing with all the environmentalists pitching a fit about people inhaling reactor waste products, or filling balloons with them and letting them float off across the countryside.

about 2 months ago

Microsoft Announces Windows 10

srmalloy Re:If the new Windows is so good... (644 comments)

Then why are they playing a video of what it will do instead of actually demonstrating the product?

"Any advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo."
-- James Klass

about 3 months ago

Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

srmalloy Re:A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare (488 comments)

You still have a 60Hz grid? I'm waiting for the 0Hz grid.

There's still some DC power distribution by PG&E in San Francisco for elevators and the like, but Con Edison cut off the last DC supply in New York on Nov 14,2007.

about 3 months ago

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

srmalloy Re:The article is more extreme than the summary (795 comments)

No, science is not the pursuit of Truth, that would be philosophy down the hall.

Actually, science is the pursuit of Truth. Unfortunately, what we get from that pursuit is not Truth, but a useful approximation that works well enough for practical use within the limits defined by the parameters of the experiments. When your use moves outside those limits, the approximations may or may not hold, and experimentation to discover why this happens let us extend those approximations further.

about 3 months ago

I think next winter will be:

srmalloy Re:Arizona: No. 1 in DHMO-Free Lakes and Streams (148 comments)

And don't forget: inhaling DHMO is usually fatal.

It's not generally fatal if it's been properly aerosolized, but you're correct that inhaling quantities of liquid or thermally-vaporized DHMO is often fatal.

about 3 months ago

The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

srmalloy Re:I HATE multiplayer (292 comments)

In multiplayer games you often need someone to lead to get good results. This in no way means that the other teammembers are less respectable, being in charge is simply "part of the job". A good leader gets the most out of each teammembers strengths while covering their weaknesses. This should make the game more fun for everyone.

There is a difference between playing up teammates' strengths and covering their weaknesses, and demanding precise-to-the-microsecond-and-millimeter performance from team members and denigrating them for not being robots when they aren't perfect. Most MMORPGs go the route of end bosses that do predictable things at predictable times, with predictable responses, so fairly quickly a 'recipe' for defeating the boss gets put together... and then gets carved in stone so that it must be adhered to without variation, and anyone who dares deviate from it in any way, no matter how small, is therefore entirely and solely responsible for any negative outcome (i.e., team wipe). Each player has to have precisely the right gear to maximize their effectiveness, and has to adhere slavishly to the rotation that's been tested to eke out an additional .00000017% extra DPS... And somewhere in all of the number-crunching, the people who fixate on this sort of 'efficiency' lose sight of the fact that you play an MMORPG to have fun, not to be a fungible asset shoehorned into one of the Tank/DPS/Heal categories of a 'holy trinity' that itself limits your ability to play the way you want.

about 3 months ago

Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

srmalloy Re:She doesn't mind the state controlling everthin (166 comments)

Note that in TFA she was warning about "Orwellian" surveillance, which specifically tends to refer to a world where the government is spying on you, not just private citizens.

I think that the world described in the three stories in David Drake's Lacey and His Friends might be a better analogy -- a world where everyone is under constant surveillance from multiple angles and by different organizations, where buying 'privacy' pays for a room with only the single mandatory government camera, and the ability of the police to roll back surveillance footage to track the movements of a criminal result in the overwhelming majority of criminals captured within hours of their crime. I think it better describes the extreme end result of the expansion of technology allows capturing more and more actions and communications until, by law, everything anyone does must be recorded.

about 3 months ago

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 4 months ago

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 5 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 8 months ago

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 8 months ago

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 8 months ago

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 8 months ago

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 9 months ago

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 10 months ago

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 10 months ago


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