Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?
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.
Thanks to Neutrino Detector, We Might Get a Good Look At the Next Supernova
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...
New York City Considers Articulated Subway Cars
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...
Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On
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.
Another Science Facility Bites the Dust, Temporarily
"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.
Intel's Wine-Powered Microprocessor
Unfortunately, places that have wine tend not be short on electric power either.
But I get the good intention of the demonstration.
Microsoft Drops Price on Nokia's 41-Megapixel Phone
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.
California Legislature Approves Trial Program For Electronic Plates
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.
At Current Rates, Tesla Could Soon Suck Up Worldwide Supply of Li-Ion Cells
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...
Particle Physicists Facing Insane Competition For Work
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.
US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy
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.
US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy
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.
AMD One-Ups Intel With Cheap Desktop Chips
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...
Ryanair's CEO Suggests Eliminating Co-Pilots
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!
Smart Trash Carts Tell If You Haven't Been Recycling
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.
Samsung, Toshiba, Others Accused of LCD Price-Fixing
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.
Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich
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.
Hubble Accuracy Surpassed By Earthbound Telescope
There's always complexity behind these stories, and it might be interesting for everyone to understand why this development, although a great and useful accomplishment, is not equally useful for all types of astronomy:
Much of astronomy is being pushed by the need to image deeply in the infrared. For example, to discover the most distant objects in the universe, you need to use near- and mid-infrared wavelengths (because objects that are far away are receeding rapidly, hence redshifted). And for this, mostly what you want is raw photon count, not sharpness (although that would be a "nice-to-have" someday).
Unfortunately (for astronomy), the atmosphere absorbs heavily in the infrared wavelengths (aside from a few windows, which give us our passpands), and as a result, a 1 meter telescope in space still beats an 8 meter on the ground, in almost every respect (putting cost aside for a moment...).
At least for infrared work...
Microsoft Tech Can Deblur Images Automatically
I recall that some other cameras, like a Casio I've seen a friend using, also do deblurring, but rather by stacking of rapid subframes (I guess using bright reference points). If I understand correctly, this new method is operated on a single frame. I wonder if anyone has a useful comparison of the hardware requirement/image quality/useability differences between the two methods?
Airlines Get Billions From Unbundled Services
Then on principle, you should be objecting to the fact that child fares on airlines are typically a fraction of the cost of adult fares. How about we raise their fares so that everything is equal, so that we're not penalizing all adults for weighing more than kids?
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