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Comment Re:Is this Hyperloop or "Hyperloop"? (Score 1) 125

Just out of curiosity, how would an air cushion work in a vacuum tube?

All the Hyperloop designs are of course not vacuum, just low pressure, so an air cushion is physically possible.

However, it's a good question, and Hyperloop One answered it thusly:

It does get pretty tricky to find enough air in a vacuum tube to use for air bearings. We ultimately went the maglev route for a variety of reasons but this was a big one.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies also went maglev instead of air cushion.

Comment Re:Not plugin free (Score 1) 134

Unity, Flash and Shockwave needs to be killed off for good.

Well, good news on one front: Unity Webplayer is officially end-of-life as of last year, and webplayer authoring is not supported at all in the recent 5.4 release of Unity. When it comes to browser gaming, Unity is focused 100% on cross-platform, open standard HTML 5/WebGL, and is working closely with Mozilla on bringing those technologies up to par with native.

(Outside browsers, Linux is a first-class Unity target platform, and the Linux version of the Unity editor is coming along nicely, although it's still considered experimental.)

Full disclosure: I work for Unity Technologies.

Comment Re:can somebody explain (Score 2) 83

Without knowing anything about the particulars of this solution, a likely approach nowadays would be to take an existing emulator writen in C/C++ and compile it to JavaScript using Emscripten.

Emscripten produces JavaScript compliant with the asm.js profile, which is a subet of JavaScript that is easily optimized by the browser JS engine, allowing in-browser performance on the order of half of native speed. Given the age of the emulated hardware, this slowdown is not a problem.

You still have to emulate actual I/O devices in plain HTML+JavaScript, which for these presumably amounts to mapping JavaScript input events to a virtual keyboard, and using a HTML Canvas element to emulate the display. Even joysticks and gamepads can be supported in bleeding edge browsers.

TL;DR: By standing on the shoulders of giants, and adding a bunch of glue code. :-)

Comment Re:End of Great Britain? (Score 4, Interesting) 1592

You can't hold people responsible for the sins of their ancestors.

Sure you can. Not guilty in a criminal law kind of way, but definitely in a civil law kind of way. Many people who are alive today have inherited massive profits from the crimes of their ancestors, and it is at least theoretically possible to put a number on that profit, and award that to the people who inherited the corresponding losses from their disadvantaged ancestors.

Comment Re:Misleading Title (Score 1) 35

Yeah, when I read the title, I was also thinking that for Farnell, the Raspberry Pi was just one item among thousands for sale.

But then I went on and read TFS, which says that "the Pi raked in 16 percent of the company's total revenue last year". So their catalogue may be thicker than your fist, but the RPI still accounts for 1/6 of their business. I doubt any other product in their catalogue comes close.

Comment Re:A little surprised... (Score 1) 202

the litigant [placed] a container, known to her to be filled with a dangerous liquid, between her legs while trying to operate a moving vehicle.

WTF? She was sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car!

Having received life-threatening third-degree burns and undergone a skin graft procedure, she asked for $20,000 to cover the medical expenses.

Comment Re:Multiple Award Winning (Score 1) 357

And that's really what I find strange, because if you think APIs are creative and copyrighted, when if not in the Google case are they infringed?

Well, from a straight-forward reading of the law, it is possible for a method of expression to be subject to copyright, but also essentially always subject to fair use. Which would seem to be what the court has found. I guess a similar case could be made for e.g. a political speech – sure, it's subject to copyright, but by its very nature, any third-party use is almost inevitably fair use.

But I agree, it's still messed up.

Comment Re:They don't know what they're talking about (Score 4, Informative) 357

The GPL has been tested in court numerous times, both in the US and in the EU.

Along with the Artistic License, it is actually the only open source license I know of that has been tested in court. It makes sense that there's not much to go to court over with a BSD-like license, but it'd be nice to have the Apache License or the Mozilla Public License tested.

Comment Re:Multiple Award Winning (Score 4, Insightful) 357

It doesn't matter if designing an API is hard... at least not in the US, which does not follow the sweat of the brow doctrine.

It does matter if API design involves substantial creativity. If the API design is not simple and obvious, and if the work to design the API is a substantially creative endeavor, the API becomes eligible for copyright, and indeed, this is what the courts have now found (at least in the specific case of the Java APIs). As much as I don't like the idea of copyrightable APIs, I can't really fault the ruling.

Fortunately, the court has now also ruled that using APIs is fair use, which is an essential ruling from an interoperability PoV. And despite this op-ed piece, I'm certain that most companies will be relieved that there are limits to Oracle's absurd attempts to squeeze money of out any company that use Java.

Personally, I'm just happy that the company I work for chose C#/.NET as the scripting platform for customers, not Java. It was touch-and-go there for a while, but Microsoft and .NET has turned out to be much more trustworthy platform stewards than Sun/Oracle and Java.

Comment Re:Hydogen is just a way to store energy (Score 1) 630

Actually, hydrogen has its place as energy storage... specifically, as grid-scale energy storage with efficiencies comparable to pumped storage. (Good luck trying to fit that in a car, though.)

Power to gas (and gas to electricity+heat) does not quite reach the efficiency of battery storage, but it is comparable to pumped storage and the storage capacity of the gas network of many countries is so immense that it makes up for it.

Batteries can then be used for short-term load shifting, while pumped storage and P2G can be used for long-term load shifting... even shifting season to season, e.g. using excess solar power generated during the summer to heat houses during the winter.

Comment Re:Hydogen is just a way to store energy (Score 1) 630

Nonsense! To quote then-prime minister of Denmark (and later secretary general of NATO) Fogh Rasmussen, summarizing his government's energy policy, "Hydrogen is a promising future energy source, it is good business and good for the environment".

See, it's not just oil and automotive executives! ;-)

As they say, it's hard to make a person understand something if his job depends on him not understanding it...

(Did I mention that his political party receives significant funding from the oil industry? Or that his government signed a lucrative 40-year concession with the same oil industry over the objections of the government's own experts in what has been described as a $10 billion give-away? Ah, politics.)

Comment Re:Why Don't Scientists Kill The Demon In The Free (Score 1) 287

The only truly dangerous situation would be if someone stole it, mass produced it and intentionally caused a mass infection

Fortunately, a government lab worker with inside access stealing a deadly bioweapon and using it in a terrorist attack is the kind of thing that only happens in the movies. Right?

Comment Re:What is webassembly? Never heard of it before.. (Score 1) 118

The important thing to realize is that this isn't a new VM, nor a new set of APIs. Just like asm.js, it's still JavaScript, executed inside the same JavaScript VM as the browser already uses. WebAssembly is about delivering that JavaScript in an optimized format: binary instead of text (for smaller downloads and improved parse speed), and enforcing a JavaScript profile that enables improved JIT'ing (like asm.js).

As such, the attack surface is the same. There is no new way to fingerprint the browser either (well, besides 1 bit of "Does this browser support WebAssembly, yes/no?").

WebAssembly will benefit all complex JS applications, and is a must for the very complex ones. Currently, one of the big problems with running Unity games in the Chrome browser is the memory and CPU requirements of parsing the game JavaScript code. Not running the game code, but just parsing/compiling it, which will often cause the Chrome tab to crash for larger games. WebAssembly solves this problem (among others).

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