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GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

supernova87a Re:Helping the poor (311 comments)

You must be kidding me. San Francisco has more resources for homeless people than any other US city. Food, shelter (Tenderloin), treatment, charity. That's why they flock here. It's like we're asking for it. And indeed, people voluntarily come, or get sent by other cities to come here. Haven't you had enough of it?


GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

supernova87a Reality has an unfavorable bias? (311 comments)

Maybe, just maybe, showing how many resources and $ are being spent to give homeless people options, especially in San Francisco, only to have that money pissed away and people still soiling our streets and public transport systems, tends to decrease how sympathetic you feel towards the chronically homeless?


Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

supernova87a Re:The Economist (276 comments)

I'm sorry, and maybe this is just an American bias, but the writing style of the Economist is highly irritating. I finish reading a third of it, and I feel like I've just been given a lecture. Then I toss it in the recycling.


Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?

supernova87a analogy (465 comments)

Take this analogy:

What if, as a condition of financially supporting your decision to get married / begin a family (with a boatload of money you couldn't pass up), your parents required that you post an ad to Craigslist and evaluate all reasonable potential spouses who replied? Despite you already having met the person you already want to marry?

I imagine you'd be pretty specific about what you were looking for too.

Not trying to trivialize the situation, just trying to illustrate that it's almost as complicated as dating. There's a lot of things about a candidate that can't be captured in simple qualifications or experience. And staying with a known quantity is way easier than searching for something that may even be better, but highly uncertain.

about 5 months ago

Thanks to Neutrino Detector, We Might Get a Good Look At the Next Supernova

supernova87a willing to work, for observing time (85 comments)

It's good that the Japanese are funding this, because at the rate European and US basic research funds are going, I doubt we'll be able to detect much of anything by 2016...

about 5 months ago

New York City Considers Articulated Subway Cars

supernova87a Doors between cars aren't the problem to be solved (237 comments)

More than doors between cars, what NYC needs to bring itself into the modern age is automatic train control and platform doors. It would allow a whole host of benefits, such as less reliance on human drivers (controversial, I know), air conditioned platforms, increased reliability, increased frequency, etc.

When you come back from Asia or Europe and see the subway systems they have, and see what we have in New York, you actually get embarrassed, and wonder how we're still #1...

ps. oh, please do all that, plus grind the rails properly so that I don't have to go deaf when the cars go around any type of curve...

about 6 months ago

Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On

supernova87a economics generally don't work out (228 comments)

There have been lots of these gasification setups in the past. Two problems are always:

1) Aside from a colocation with an agriculture / waste facility, you will have to scour a large radius to get the amount of biomass to burn reliably. There is significant transport cost to that.

2) For low grade biomass that you're talking about, you're incurring additional fuel and $ to gasify the biomass, to then burn it. This doesn't really make sense. If you're just generating power, you would probably just burn the biomass material itself. Maybe a stirling engine.

Very few applications using gasification have gone anywhere.

about 6 months ago

Another Science Facility Bites the Dust, Temporarily

supernova87a Re:So the government is a victim of itself? (193 comments)

"Both sides won't compromise so it's both their fault?" What a moronic statement. I hope that if you ever get mugged on the street, the police will sit back and declare that it's your fault you got shot because you refused to compromise.

about 6 months ago

Intel's Wine-Powered Microprocessor

supernova87a rich people problems (126 comments)

Unfortunately, places that have wine tend not be short on electric power either.

But I get the good intention of the demonstration.

about 7 months ago

Microsoft Drops Price on Nokia's 41-Megapixel Phone

supernova87a megapixel fetish (197 comments)

Who wants 41 megapixels taken by a shitty sensor? There's little point in pumping the pixel density up that high when the read noise and lens aren't good enough to distinguish it.

about 7 months ago

California Legislature Approves Trial Program For Electronic Plates

supernova87a Technology is the last step (185 comments)

Sigh, these policymakers always want the answer to come from some technology that they don't have to do any work for, on a problem that doesn't affect many people

How about we first start with the things that are bigger problems for every day drivers? Highway design and traffic control? Road works and maintenance? How about the condition of public transit? Then after that, get to things like policing of carpool lanes, or people who drive around with license plates obscured. Maybe after all that we can get to your fancy electronic license plates.

These Sacramento politicians love to do anything that doesn't require their own state agencies to improve. Or anything except examine the way that they spend our money.

about 7 months ago

At Current Rates, Tesla Could Soon Suck Up Worldwide Supply of Li-Ion Cells

supernova87a Re:Analogy to Apple (351 comments)

Yeah, but the thing with storage is that memory density increased by orders of magnitude, and the same previously sized 10GB disk could now store 10TB. Battery storage density doesn't increase very much, aside from changing the chemistry...

about 7 months ago

Particle Physicists Facing Insane Competition For Work

supernova87a Re:why not work for wall street? (226 comments)

Unfortunately, as a former physics-related PhD, I can tell you that there was a time when pure scientists with no finance background were hired and thrown at new quant trading problems. Those were the early days. Now, there are entire grad programs in quantitative finance -- I'm sure any quant fund would be interested in those first.

about 8 months ago

US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy

supernova87a Re:Less than $1m each? (132 comments)

And just to follow on -- at a certain point where the technology has gone as far as it can, and still costs this much, you are better off putting those research dollars into other technologies or removing barriers to the ones that are at least affordable in the commercialization stage.

about 8 months ago

US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy

supernova87a Re:Less than $1m each? (132 comments)

It's a good thing that we fund more alternative energy development projects, especially given the absolute crap kinds of things that we as a country are throwing our tax dollars into recently. However, it is important to be upfront that wave power has among the worst cost effectiveness of any of the alternative energy technologies, i.e. solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

If you look at the LCOE (levelized cost of energy, basically the evened-out cost per energy taking into account installation, operation, transportation, etc), wave energy is an order of magnitude bad.


That being said, of course any technology needs research to help to bring it down in cost and become a reasonable option. But the current cost also just reflects that there is a portion of cost that cannot be easily reduced, because of the inevitable difficulty of the marine environment, generating power there (maintaining these contraptions), and getting the power to land.

about 8 months ago

AMD One-Ups Intel With Cheap Desktop Chips

supernova87a It always amazes me... (362 comments)

Just as a side thought, amidst all this talk of how $900 is an obscene price for a 6-core processor --

It always amazes me how much we have grown to expect the price of amazing things to approach mundane everyday objects. Just think about how little you get for $900 in some of the other things you buy. For $900, you could probably buy a leather couch, a piece of hardware that you yourself could probably build if given a few months, no experience, a hammer and some wood.

Yet we still gripe about we can't believe how a 6-core processor is selling for the extortionate price of $900, a piece of hardware that took trillions of dollars in investment, many hundreds of thousands of people to develop, the great minds of our generations.

By some measures, then, $900 is cheap. But of course, it's all relative to what you come to expect...

more than 3 years ago

Ryanair's CEO Suggests Eliminating Co-Pilots

supernova87a "this ship is unsinkable!" (553 comments)

sigh. I know it's a bit of an advertising ploy, but still --

It happens so predictably that we try to cut processes to the bare minimum, even when our lives are filled with examples of the rare outlier being not so rare. We assume that because everything is going fine, we can design our control systems/thinking/regulation around the median, and then when the unthinkable happens (more frequently than expected), we're surprised that it turned out so bad.

Let's have one pilot because one pilot only ever lands the plane anyway!

Let's lend to high credit risk borrowers, because ours never default more than one at a time anyway!


more than 3 years ago

Smart Trash Carts Tell If You Haven't Been Recycling

supernova87a as always, fixing the wrong thing (622 comments)

What a great solution, and as always, fixing the wrong problem just because we have a technology to do it. We penalize people for having more than a certain fraction of recyclables in the trash, but do nothing about how much absolute amount of trash there is.

Every kind of recycling incentive program we have is a bandaid to what is really needed -- the prices of things that reflect their true cost to society.

more than 3 years ago

Samsung, Toshiba, Others Accused of LCD Price-Fixing

supernova87a what really is price fixing? (269 comments)

Perhaps someone can explain/frame for me the whole notion of regulating anti-competitive behavior, and how legal authority to regulate is derived/justified from consistent principles, in a nascent industry? Because it seems very case-by-case to me, as well as pick-and-choose based on "what we don't like".

What I mean is that I sometimes don't understand cases like the following:

- Companies making LCD screens are accused of price fixing for charging high prices, yet Apple, which is the only producer of the iPhone, does not count as a monopoly and is not similarly found to be price fixing a (at one point) $600 phone.

- XM radio and Sirius merged, to much scrutiny of the SEC because this would consolidate the industry and "reduce competition". But how was consolidating into one player any different when there was only one player in the industry at the beginning of this technology? Why is government interested now, but not back then?

I guess I'm confused about fundamental questions. When does it become society's right/responsibility to say that a service/product has evolved such that you cannot use your competitive advantage to gain as much as possible from it? Is it when something rises to the level of being a public good / commodity / right?

Wouldn't you be frustrated that if you had a technology you basically created, you were told that you must allow someone else to compete with you and benefit from your work?

Some things are confusing.

more than 3 years ago

Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich

supernova87a disagree... (589 comments)

This is one issue on which I have to disagree, be unpopular, and say that these kinds of subsidies are necessary. If we leave everything to the cheapest and most affordable existing technology (so that the poor could afford it), we will never get out of being slaves to oil. Having energy/vehicles too cheaply is what is keeping us in all this mess.

In this sense, poor people are the problem (in the sense that most of us non-rich people use gasoline vehicles). Sometimes improving things comes with an upfront cost. And of course rich people buy new technology first. duh.

more than 3 years ago



Cat has uncanny ability to fortell patients' death

supernova87a supernova87a writes  |  more than 6 years ago

supernova87a writes "The New England Journal of Medicine has reported on a cat with an uncanny (and perhaps disturbing) ability — the ability to predict within a few hours when a person is going to die. Oscar the cat, has been correct in 25 consecutive cases so far on the geriatric dementia ward where he resides in Rhode Island. The sight of him curled up next to a patient signals the nursing staff to call family to accompany their loved one, as death is imminent. Is it biochemical, feline alertness, or just warm blankets? BBC, local sources, and others have picked up the story."


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