the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Daimler Tests a Self-Driving Truck On the Autobahn

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
Engadget reports that Daimler has tested an autonomous truck in one environment guaranteed to put stress on any car: the German Autobahn. While the Mercedes Actros truck was guided with a mix of "radar, a stereo camera array and off-the-shelf systems like adaptive cruise control," there was a human crew on hand, too, just in case. From the article: This doesn't mean you'll see fleets of robotic trucks in the near future. Daimler had to get permission for this run, and the law (whether European or otherwise) still isn't equipped to permit regular autonomous driving of any sort, let alone for giant cargo haulers. Still, this could make a better case for approving some form of self-driving transportation.

Japan Display Squeezes 8K Resolution Into 17-inch LCD, Cracks 510 PPI At 120Hz

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: By any metric, 8K is an incredibly high resolution. In fact, given that most HD content is still published in 1080p, the same could be said about 4K. 4K packs in four times the pixels of 1080p, while 8K takes that and multiplies it by four once again; we're talking 33,177,600 pixels. We've become accustomed to our smartphones having super-high ppi (pixels-per-inch); 5.5-inch 1080p phones are 401 ppi, which is well past the point that humans are able to differentiate individual pixels. Understanding that highlights just how impressive Japan Display's (JDI) monitor is, as it clocks in at 510 ppi in a 17-inch panel. Other specs include a 2000:1 contrast ratio, a brightness of 500cd/m2, and a 176 degree viewing angle. While the fact that the company achieved 8K resolution in such a small form-factor is impressive in itself, also impressive is the fact that it has a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Not wasted

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Before anyone goes around calling this pointless, the Japanese (as well as many other Asian countries) character system benefits from a higher resolution more than the writing systems used by most all Western countries. The symbols are far more dense, which makes the additional resolution more useful.

Here's a good image that shows off that difference that additional resolution can achieve.


By ArchieBunker • Score: 3 • Thread

If it's 16:9 ratio I'm not interested. You can pry 16:10 displays from my cold dead hands.

Desktop Turing-Welchman Bombe Build

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: I completed a months long project to build my own version of the Turing-Welchman Bombe. My machine uses a Raspberry Pi2 and an Arduino to drive stepper motors to turn the three output indicator drums and to drive an LCD display, to work like the indicator unit on the real Bombe. Everything was custom made by me at home. The unit is built to reflect the style of the real Bombe at Bletchley Park and to run in a similar way but as a portable, desktop sized unit. To demonstrate it I use the same Weather Report Menu as used at BP to demonstrate their real Bombe. The entire build was painstakingly documented over many months but the link given shows an overview and a film of the completed machine in action.


By wbr1 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
For the love of all that is holy, do not take it to a school in Texas.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2015.10: Keeping an Open-Source Solaris Going

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: It's been five years since Oracle killed off OpenSolaris while the community of developers are letting it live on with the new OpenIndiana "Hipster" 15.10 release. OpenIndiana 15.10 improves its Python-based text installer as it looks to drop its GUI installer, switches out the Oracle JDK/JRE for OpenJDK, and updates its vast package set. However, there are still a number of outdated packages on the system like Firefox 24 and X.Org Server 1.14 while the default office suite is a broken OpenOffice build, due to various obstacles in maintaining open-source software support for Solaris while being challenged by limited contributors. Download links are available via the release notes. There's also a page for getting involved if wishing to improve the state of open-source Solaris.

Why all the desktop stuff?

By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 3 • Thread
I know that Solaris did have a workstation presence at one point; back when each vendor with a pet Unix had a line of workstations to run it, usually on their pet CPU architecture; but it seems very, very, strange that they'd be focusing on desktop features at all(especially if they don't have the resources to do them properly; especially with web browsers outdated and/or broken is worse than nothing).

You certainly hear about cool stuff that Solaris has; and others either lack or have only by virtue of pulling from Solaris(Dtrace, Solaris Containers, ZFS, probably some others); but 'desktop experience' sure isn't one of them. Especially when 'the desktop' also tends to imply needing workable support for a variety of desktops and laptops of various degrees of unfriendliness, it seems a strange place to put any resources.

What target platform?

By unixisc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I don't normally get into OS wars nowadays, but in this case, I agree w/ AC. Not wrt FreeDOS, Haiku or Amiga, which don't play in the same space, but certainly wrt FreeBSD, Linux and Windows Server. Particularly if OpenIndiana still doesn't support SPARC.

I'm just wondering - what's the point? Are there still people out there still hung up on SVR4 vs BSD that they'd prefer something like OpenIndiana over several flavors of by now proven BSD solutions - like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, et al? And I've not even touched Linux, which dwarfs even the BSDs. The only place where I see this being an option is on healthy legacy SPARC hardware that Oracle might charge 2 arms and a leg for, and where having something like OpenIndiana enables an existing platform to fork away so that they can keep running w/o the high overhead of paying Oracle maintenance costs.

In which case, if the platform ain't there on the SPARC, then what's the point? If one is looking for an FOSS server platform for x64 iron (since OpenIndiana presumably targets server installations, and not so much workstations, since SPARCstations have been dead for a while now), then one already has choices like Red Hat, Debian, iXSystems and from Oracle itself, Oracle Linux. There ain't a compelling reason to go OpenIndiana unless the original platform is a SPARC to start w/, and one wants to do a gentle migration from Solaris to something FOSS, where alternatives are either abandoned (RedHat or Debian) or largely ignored (FreeBSD). Or if someone is still caught up in the UNIX wars time warp from the 80s - the System V vs BSD crusades, and refuses to have anything to do w/ FreeBSD or NetBSD.

This is not F1 (or NASCAR): High-End Hybrids Race In Texas

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ars Technica takes an in-depth look at some of the tech side of the hybrid racing circuit, in particular the World Endurance Championship . From the article: Hybrid systems are allowed to deploy between 2MJ and 8MJ of energy during a single lap of Le Mans, augmenting the power from an internal combustion engine. Energy can be recovered from up to two motor/generator units (MGUs); usually this means recapturing kinetic energy from the front and rear wheels under braking. To balance things out, cars that recover and deploy 8MJ carry less fuel, and the flow rate at which they can feed it to the engine decreases. Audi's R18, with its mix of turbo diesel and flywheel hybrid technology, was king of the hill for several years, but the hybrid systems were much less powerful. Last year, Toyota's gasoline V8 and supercapacitor-powered TS040 was the car to beat. But 2015 is the year of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Porsche chose lithium-ion batteries to hybridize the 919's turbocharged gasoline V4, and this year is able to capture and deploy the full 8MJ (Toyota is in the 6MJ class and Audi 4MJ). The article spends more space on Audi's approach than the others, but offers a cool glimpse at all three of these companies' niches within the field, as represented at the Texas' Lone Star Le Mans.

Does the submitter know ....

By whoever57 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
... that F1 cars are hybrids these days? Apparently not. They use systems that are referred to as "KERS". In fact, according to this article, the Audi Le Mans car uses a hybrid system originally developed by an F1 team.

Chrome AdBlock Joining Acceptable Ads Program (And Sold To Anonymous Company)

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
basscomm writes: Hot on the heels of the formation of the independent board to oversee "acceptable ads", users of the popular Chrome ad blocking extension, AdBlock, got notice that AdBlock is participating in the program, and that acceptable ads are being turned on by default. At the bottom of the announcement, buried in the fine print is word that AdBlock has been sold, but nobody will say to whom.

Re:AdBlock+ = inferior & 'souled-out' vs. host

By meerling • Score: 2 • Thread
Added to that, his posts look like standard spam. Where did he learn to write posts just like spammers?

Re:Symbiotic parasite

By Kjella • Score: 2 • Thread

The answer you end up with depends on who you think started it, yes some websites took advertising too far and users hated it. But instead of using the sites that had "acceptable" ads and stop using the sites that had "annoying" ads, the solution was to start blocking ads. Now I don't subscribe to the whole "blocking ads is stealing" tripe but obviously the whole point of ads is that people see them. If everybody blocks them, there no point in paying for them and so the sites don't get any funding and the model breaks down. And it was the low-hanging fruit that mostly got hurt, the scummy sites with annoying ads were also the ones who'd most quickly resort to circumvention techniques to shove the ads in your face anyway.

The assumption here is that at least some users will be nice and accept to see som ads, if you're going to do that why not go for a real opt-in system? Tag all the advertising elements on your page with an <div class="ad">(ad goes here)</div>. Publish an advertising policy, like robots.txt Kindly ask ad blockers to replace ads tagged as such with "This website relies on advertising revenue to operate. You are currently blocking ads. Please click here to unblock and support our site."

If you click it, you get a dialog saying:
"This site has requested you to unblock ads. Their advertising policy is as follows:

Banner ads: Yes
Animated ads: No
Ads with sound: No
Interstitial ads: No
Pop-ups: No
Pop-unders: No

[Unblock ads] [Cancel]

You may at any time block ads again by.... (explanation)"

Of course you could have dick ad blockers that just remove the ads, but I think the popular ones could be convinced to play nice. Sites wouldn't have to get on any approval list tied to any particular blocker and everyone would decide for themselves what sites they want to support. No money for just being click bait, users have to actually like you enough to unblock. Not sure it'd work, but if that won't work then "acceptable ads" won't either.

Re:AdBlock+ = inferior & 'souled-out' vs. host

By Pikoro • Score: 2 • Thread

Yah, your host file software (30k lines of code to manage a text file? WTF?) obviously doesn't work or it would be blocking you. You post more spam and ads for your software on here than other 3rd party ads. If your goal is to help cut down on spam and such, you're doing a really shitty job of it.

You've posted your stupid shit in here 25 times and counting (as of this comment's writing). Just get off the internet already apk.

Copy/Pasting your drivel over and over again doesn't make it any more true.


By Archfeld • Score: 2 • Thread

Why would you share that link ? The point is YOU wanted a personalized experience. If am going to have to see ads, and on a lot of sites I accept that fact, I'd just as soon see ads in which I might be the slightest bit interested. I am for sure not interested in seeing ads for feminine products or other such items like I do know following my GF's use of my computer. I can honestly say I have never clicked through an ad in my lifetime, but I HAVE seen things which have compelled me to go to a site and check something out.

Re:Can we get a resource here in thread?

By cfalcon • Score: 2 • Thread

Score +3, Troll? For asking for a list of adblock options that don't accept payments for advertising? Pretty incredible lol. I mean, it's an article about that very thing!

It's amazing that people don't want anyone talking about how to support and use products that don't allow an "acceptable ad list", as determined by a company that takes payments from advertisers- or more relevantly, an adblocker that defaults to not blocking ads.

So far we have uBlock Origin, uBlock, and maybe the start64 apk list? Hard to have a conversation about that last one though, with apk spamposting everywhere.

Ask Slashdot: Best Country For Secure Online Hosting?

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: I've recently discovered that my hosting company is sending all login credentials unencrypted, prompting me to change providers. Additionally, I'm finally being forced to put some of my personal media library (songs, photos, etc.) on-line for ready access (though for my personal consumption only) from multiple devices and locations... But I simply can't bring myself to trust any cloud-service provider. So while it's been partially asked before, it hasn't yet been answered: Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information? And does anyone have a recommendation on which provider(s) are the best hosts for (legal) on-line storage there?


By TechyImmigrant • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

A small plug for Tahoe-LAFS.

It doesn't matter where it is. It uses cryptography to give you what you want. Mirror in many places including on your own machines for redundancy.


By John.Banister • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I recently read that Huawei is supplying their infrastructure hardware, so I guess it's a matter of picking which government you don't want to have your info.

At your home

By Lennie • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Keep the data at your home, they need a warrant to get into your home.

Eben Moglen was pretty clear about that (no I don't know at what minute exactly he said this):

If you are going to store your data with somebody else, encrypt it before you upload it and you keep the encryption key.

Nothing wrong with keeping a backup with someone else as long as you encrypt it:

I'm forgetting about an other provider which also has an open source program with encryption.

Re:The great nation ...

By postbigbang • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There's Long Key, which is pretty good.

I otherwise am of the firm belief that so long as a machine is connected to the Internet, or we can hear the keyclicks nearby, that it's total folly to believe any data is safe, many air gaps included. There's a variant of Murphy's Law stated thusly: with a big enough hammer, you can break anything.

Perhaps your router was slipstreamed some code enroute to the data center. Maybe it was your little RAID 6 array. Perhaps the kernel has had a long dormant back door or nice stack overflow to hijack. Ever plugged in your smartphone to your machine to maybe, synch something?

My guess is that in one way or another, we're all already infected, it's just a matter of hassle to get what's needed by those desiring to smash you. You may believe this to be dystopian, but once you take a long look at the CVEs out there, multiply them by two for the probably-unknowns, and even machines living their life solely in Faraday cages become suspect.


By Zocalo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You jest, but that's actually not a bad idea. Picking a country that you have absolutely no connection with and that has a less than friendly relationship with your own government is probably the best you can do in the current mass-surveillance climate - provided that you don't do anything that violates the local laws of your hosting country in a major way. Sure, they might well be monitoring your data, but they almost certainly won't care about it, and if your own country's law enforcement/copyright cartel/whatever comes knocking for any reason they'll almost certainly get nowhere.

When Fraud Detection Shuts Down Credit Cards Inappropriately

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
reifman writes: On Sunday, Capital One declined a $280 travel reservation I charged at India-based and immediately shut off my card for all transactions until I contacted them by phone. It wasn't the first time that CapitalOne had shut off my card after a single suspect transaction. But, I'd actually purchased from using my CapitalOne card on two prior occasions. It was an example of very poor fraud detection and led me on a tour of their pathetic customer service. The banks want to cut their losses regardless of how it impacts their customers. Having had my own credit card suspended out of an abundance of caution on a different credit card issuer's part (for legitimate charges), but having recently had some widely known scam charges get accepted, the fraud protection algorithms that the credit companies use certainly seem inscrutable sometimes, and so do the surrounding practices about communicating with customers. How would you like it to work instead?

my credit union calls me in seconds. Cashiers shou

By raymorris • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I've been happy with my credit union's fraud prevention and detection (which is outsourced to some company). Sometimes I'm 100 miles from home when I spend about $800 on electronics at Fry's or Microcenter. (The datacenter is 100 miles from my house, for now.) The transaction sometimes returns a "call to verify" code. The merchant COULD call, they are supposed to, but most cashiers just say "it didn't go through". This is a training issue on the merchants' side, in my opinion.

At the same time that the cashier is saying "it didn't go through", my phone rings. It's the fraud department calling to verify the purchase. The cashier re-runs the card and it works fine. It seems to mainly happen when buying from an electronics retailer, as I also remember the same thing at Best Buy. I'm fine with that. I know that if a crook gets my card, the bank is watching out.

Occasionally, they'll call about an internet purchase or some other purchase after it happens (fraud detection). It's quick and easy to verify the transaction.

I used to do another type of fraud prevention and detection, not directly related to credit cards, and I know our false positive rate was under 0.1%, probably under 0.01% - we stopped at least a thousand fraudulent instances for every one we declined in error.

Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism

By demonlapin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Chase really has wonderful service. Card declined? Call customer service, it immediately rings to an American call center with people who have the authority to fix your problem. Five minutes later, the transaction goes through.

Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism

By brxndxn • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
This would probably fix 99.99% of all credit card fraud.. Will they do it? I doubt it. I swear there is somehow a business in allowing certain fraud. If there wasn't, the credit card companies wouldn't be so shitty in preventing it. Fucking Discover.. I travel a lot (usually within the states). I go to San Francisco and try to buy dinner for clients (after making a previous purchase successfully in San Fran).. DECLINED.. right in front of my clients. Make a phone call to Discover and they 'fix it' and I tell them I want my card to work. Then I go to pay the bar tab at LAX for a layover on my way back.. DECLINED.. right in front of everyone at the bar. It's so fucking annoying that I started carrying cash. Fuck these credit card companies.. I wish Bitcoin was accepted everywhere.

Don't use 'em

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

I just don't use credit cards anymore.

'course, the bankruptcy helped with that decision ...

Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism

By IamTheRealMike • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Instead of rejecting the payment outright and freezing the card, text message my phone IMMEDIATELY and I can read a 6 digit code to the cashier to allow the transaction

How about an even better solution - insert your card into a reader, type in your PIN and that's the two factors right there. You know...... the system that's already used everywhere in the world except for America? It works pretty well. I think the USA is starting to roll it out now, albeit a slightly crippled form of it (they managed to take the 2-factor system everyone else uses and make it 1-factor).

Stolen Patreon User Data Dumped On Internet

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
After the personal data breach at crowd-funding site Patreon reported a few days ago, there's some worse news: the information isn't just in limbo any more; Patreon reported Saturday that the compromised information has been leaked in the form of a massive data dump. (The slightly good news is that no credit card information was leaked.)

Re:Expect drama

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It makes sense. Thunderf00t made little from his videos until he started spouting bullshit about Anita Sarkeesian.

What Thunderf00t "spouted" about Anita Sarkeesian was anything but "bullshit". I checked a lot of the stuff in his videos on Anita Sarkeesian and the fact is that pretty much everything he said checked out. And it's easy to see it why it checks out because all he did was take clips of her speaking and played them verbatim.

You can do the same and you'll likely come to the same conclusion if you aren't already committed to a particular point of view.

Remember, Anita Sarkeesian is the one who said "EVERYTHING is sexist, EVERYTHING is racist, EVERYTHING is homophobic, and you have to point it all out." That statement of hers is simply not true by ANY stretch of the imagination. Seriously, give me a fuckin' break. Everything is NOT sexist, racist, and homophobic and only a demagogue would say shit like that.

Re:data dump link

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The SQL file in the dump contains all the private messages sent on the site. It's likely that many Patreon users will be embarrassed by the nature of those messages, e.g. they are getting paid by unsavoury individuals, being encouraged to harass and abuse other people for money, or speaking candidly about their motivations (e.g. bigotry) while trying to maintain a respectable public face.

There is also information on who is funding whom, so a lot of people who might have wished to remain anonymous will now be exposed as e.g. supporting GamerGate or anti-rights speakers. As well as social repercussions they might lose their jobs etc. Remember how people reacted to Eich's support of an anti-gay-rights bill.

Re:Expect drama

By etnoy • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

By the way, she never said what you claim she did. If I'm wrong you will provide a reliable source, I'm sure.

This enough for ya?

Post your name and address.

By khasim • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Who is harmed by this?

A quick experiment to demonstrate that you have not thought about this ... post your name and address here. Right now.

If you do not, then your question really was stupid.

Re:Expect drama

By ArylAkamov • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Vostochny Launch Building Built To the Wrong Size

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 writes: The Russians have just discovered that their Soyuz 2 rocket does not fit in the building just finished at their new spaceport at Vostochny: "The cutting-edge facility was meant be ready for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets in December, but an unidentified space agency told the TASS news agency late Thursday that the rocket would not fit inside the assembly building where its parts are stacked and tested before launch. The building 'has been designed for a different modification of the Soyuz rocket,' the source said, according to news website Medusa, which picked up the story from TASS." The rocket had just been delivered to Vostochny for assembly, so this report, though unconfirmed at this time, fits well with current events.

Is building in danger of being crushed by a dwarf?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"Putin gave me a drawing that said 18 inches. Now, whether or not he knows the difference between feet and inches is not my problem. I do what I'm told."


By Dan East • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

One group was using Putin's left arm length for Russia's official designation of the meter, while another group was using his right arm. Apparently he isn't perfectly symmetrical.

Well there's your problem

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 3 • Thread

"I cut it three times and it's STILL too short!" - Russian construction worker

Re:Well there's your problem

By Rei • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The funny thing is that in 2013 they actually lost a Proton-M and $1.3B of technical equipment because a technician installed the angular velocity sensors upside down. There was one problem in doing so, in that they didn't even fit upside down - but no worries, he was able to hammer them into place ;)

Re:In soviet russia

By Rei • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Great, now I'm picturing a Russian version of the "Monorail song", with the Lyle Lanley guy having a heavy Russian accent.

The Soyuz will not fit in there
"The building's tall, like Russian bear!"
What if perchance the roof should bend?
"Not on your life, my Yakut friend!"
What about us cleptocrats?
"Your wallets will grow very fat!"
My vodka's gone and now I'm sad.
"Have another, dear comrade!"
Were you sent here by the Kremlin?
(displeased voice) ".... Next question please." (waves for undercover agents to take him out of the room)
"You see it's Vostochny only choice. Now throw up hands and raise the voice."
Cosmodrome! Cosmodrome! Cosmodrome!

Hour of Code Kicks Off In Chile With Dog Poop-Themed CS Tutorial

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
theodp writes: In an interesting contrast to the Disney princess-themed Hour of Code tutorial that 'taught President Obama to code' last December, Chile is kicking off its 2015 Hora del Codigo this week with a top-featured Blockly tutorial that teaches computer science by having kids drag-and-drop blocks of code to pick up dog poop. "Collect all the shit you have left your dog," reads the Google translated instructions for the final coding exercise. In its new video for the Hour of Code 2015 campaign, tech billionaire-backed notes that it's striving to reach 200 million schoolchildren worldwide by this December. Presumably towards that end, warns that it will penalize Computer Science tutorials that "work only in English."

Down under

By pushing-robot • Score: 3 • Thread

"Collect all the shit you have left your dog"

The southern hemisphere never ceases to amaze me.

On the other hand...

By CODiNE • Score: 3 • Thread

This is a pretty accurate description of how management views coders. Who's behind again? Oh right... Better get the kids used to the idea of digital poop scooping so they can expect appropriate pay when they grow up.

If they want more girls to go into programming...

By Nutria • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't think that shit-gathering contests are the way to stir up that interest.

Legionnaires' Bacteria Reemerges In Previously Disinfected Cooling Towers

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 writes with the New York Times' unsettling report that 15 water-cooling towers in the Bronx that this week tested positive for Legionnaires' disease had been disinfected less than two months ago. From the NYT: After an outbreak of the disease killed 12 people in July and August in the South Bronx, the city required every building with cooling towers, a common source of the Legionella bacteria that cause the disease, to be cleaned within two weeks. ... [The] city found this week that bacteria had regrown in at least 15 towers that had been cleaned recently in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. The testing occurred after a fresh outbreak in that area that has killed one person and sickened at least 12, and spurred an order from health officials for the towers to be disinfected again.

The bacteria are found in the cooling towers

By mark_reh • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

because it provides a good environment for them. It is not at all surprising that the bacteria would be found in a recently disinfected cooling tower. The only way to stop that from happening is to somehow make the cooling tower environment a less friendly one for the bugs.

Re:Bacteria spread via the air

By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I'd be curious to know if the design of these cooling towers(unfortunately, results for 'cooling towers' tend to be heavy on the really big ones used by power plants, which aren't terribly relevant except sharing certain basic principles of operation) would allow for UV sterilization.

The idea that you can actually 'disinfect' something in the real world, outside of a cleanroom or high end operating room, for more than a few minutes to hours is mostly a polite fiction. Any sort of real world plumbing arrangment is going to be hosting assorted biofilms and other incredibly durable bacterial reservoirs more or less inevitably. As the massive success of modern sanitation systems has proven, you can get water 'clean enough' for the more-or-less-healthy to stay that way; but if you actually need to exterminate almost all the bacteria, you are picking a whole different fight.

If, though, you only need to ensure that the contents of the droplets emitted by the cooling system in operation are reasonably disinfected, intense UV in the outflow ducts might be able to do that, and UV isn't high energy enough to do too much violence to metal parts(plastics/rubber/etc. can be trouble; but you won't be commiserating with nuclear reactor operators over radiation embrittlement issues.)

Re:Yeah, I thought this problem was solved

By circletimessquare • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

that's actually the problem with most technology

nuclear for example

i haven't a single doubt that we have the technological means to maintain nuclear plants forever without a single accident

but what we don't have is the social and political means to do that

money is always being cut, indefinitely, and the people making that decision are not exactly technically proficient. the incentive to cut costs form the general public and bosses who want to trumpet cost cutting trumps all other concerns, because other concerns, no matter how vital, are simply not understood. combine that with a technical person that responds with anger and arrogance at the idea of vital safety mechanisms being underfunded, the manager will simply disregard him or her as a person with a personality problem, and then disasters happen

people who champion nuclear, especially on a website like this, understand the technology well, and are correct when they announce we never have to have a nuclear accident ever again due to technological issues

but they don't consider the political and social aspects of our species that means vital funding of safety mechanisms and maintenance of absolutely crucial technology *will* be broken. it's simply a matter of when, not if

and then people who champion nuclear get angry at people like me, and accuse us of not understanding the technology. oh we understand the technology is wonderful. but it is you who doesn't understand humanity

the imperative on cutting costs and doing as little effort as possible is always trumping all other concerns. always. and people like this wind up being the managers, not the underlings. they can't be fired, they do the firing

incompetence is a force that destroys everything. sober up and accept that

Re:Bacteria spread via the air

By Hall • Score: 4 • Thread

You said the key word there: Biofilms

Odds are that they never actually (or fully) disinfected the system. A lot of bacteria remained, sheltered by biofilm, and disinfectants are proven to be ineffective against biofilm. After they "cleaned" it and checked the bacteria levels, it was just a matter of time before the biofilm naturally continued releasing the bacteria...

Re:Cooling towers

By Critical Facilities • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Sure, no problem. there are closed type systems, but when you have Cooling Towers, it's an open system. That is, there's a secondary chilled water loop that circulates inside, and it dumps its head into the primary loop through a plate and frame heat exchanger. The primary loop gets pumped out to the cooling towers, where it goes through the cooling tower "fill" which is a scheme of different diverter surfaces to separate the water into thin streams running along flat surfaces. Outside air is then drawn across the fill, and that removes the heat and aids in evaporation of the water. Any water that is evaporated away is replaced with fresh "makeup water".

As the water is being drawn across the fill, it starts to evaporate and also atomize (meaning that the streams of water break up into tiny droplets that are technically still liquid, but are light enough to be carried away in the moving air stream). As these water droplets are pulled into the outside air, they can be carried anywhere. Often, cooling towers are located on the roof of buildings. The other thing that you'll often see on the roof is the building exhaust fans and the fresh air make up fans. If the fresh air makeup fan inlets are located anywhere near the cooling tower, it is very possible to have those same tiny water droplets get sucked into the intake, and pumped into the building along with the fresh air makeup.

Mechanical Engineers usually design the location of these intakes to be far enough away form the Cooling Towers to prevent infiltration, but wind currents can be a little hard to predict. Also, if the Cooling Tower isn't being operated correctly, there can be more water atomization than there should be. For example, if the Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) that control the Cooling Tower Fan speed isn't set up right, it can run too fast and pull out more water droplets than it should be (this should ordinarily be kept to a minimum because makeup water isn't cheap, and it's not "green" to use too much water).

Hope that helps. :-)

'Legacy' London Car Hire Companies Lawyer Up Against Uber

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes with The Stack's report that: The London Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) has engaged a major firm of lawyers to present its case against Uber in the UK capital, citing lack of continuous insurance checks, Uber's tax avoidance practices and even 'loitering' Uber drivers as reasons to impose regulations which would eliminate Uber's competitive advantage in London. A lot of Londoners like to have that competition around, though.

Uber is at least as good

By EmperorOfCanada • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
What I have read in the independant studies is that Uber drivers with their little GPS systems are just as good cost wise and in most cases drivewise as a full on London Cabbie who has studied "The Knowledge". The key is that while on some journeys the cabbie will be more proficient the extra cost more than evens it out with Uber. Except that because the Uber navigation system is getting better and better even that gap is narrowing. Also most journeys are pretty straightforward. You go out to main road A drive until near the destination, and then pull off main road A to the destination.

Then Uber brings the whole modern technology to bear. The app, the information feedback, etc. So about the only real thing left for the cabbies is to defend their monopoly seeing that they have potentially no natural advantage and thus no defence moored in reality. The problem with bending the rules of reality is that eventually they snap and the further and longer you bend them the worse the recoil will be. So at this point they might be able to modernize, take the hit on their monopoly value, take a hit on their wages and survive. But if they hold uber at bay for a number of years the flood will come in and will wash them away. Quite simply the harder they push back the harder reality will try to find away around. For instance a new batch of politicians might sweep into office with the promise of eliminating their monopoly. Thus on Monday they are safe and on Tuesday there is pretty much only Uber standing.

But the key argument that is used is that because the government granted them this monopoly it is the governments problem if they are ruined by taking it away. This holds no moral water; they thought that they were buying a licence to be able to ruthlessly exploit the people of London. They thought wrong. I have zero pity for what comes next.

Before anyone bangs on about bedallions and so on

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Before anyone starts with the whole "medallion" thing, that's not a thing in London. If you want to publicly tout for business (i.e a black caps), you have to do "the knowledge" which is a very extensive and tough test for knowing your way around without a stanav. And no: having a sat nav is not remotely equivalent to actually knowing your way around

To be a vehicle hired otherwise (phone, internet), anyone can set up with the appropriate insurance and a few other bits and bobs. It's not hard and uber is not in any way "sticking it to the man". But surprise, surpirse, the other cabbies get pissed off when, despite the rather liberal regulations which never blocked uber from existing in London, uber still likes it's old unfair competition things like flat-out doing illegal stuff and avoiding tax.

At this point, it's known that uber will do anything for a buck, illegal or otherwise. If you use uber especially somewhere like London, you're part of the problem.

Re:fair competition

By EmperorOfCanada • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The cab companies/cabbies are mostly scared of one main thing. They invested a massive amount of money to by their exploitation licence. The main regulation that they are concerned with is this quota. The rest of the regulations are generally nonsense or exist to prevent gross fraud. If Uber is given the green light these exploitation licences become valueless. In some municipalities these licences have traditionally sold for the million dollar zone. There are even banks that specialized in loaning money for the this market. Thus the cabbies will be on the hook for a licence that is worthless while competing on price with an Uber driver who wasn't stupid enough to put that yoke around his neck. Then the pricing regulation was there to largely protect their ability to pay off that loan. Thus there are two groups here, one is those who have paid off the loan who love the huge amount of money that comes from exploiting Londoners with this monopoly, and the other group are those who must have that monopoly pricing in order to pay the loan. Then when the cabbie retires they could sell the licence for a fortune.

But I don't ever remember signing an agreement saying that cabbies could rape my wallet.

Their PR arguments also hold no water. Let's assume that all their arguments about safety, quality, crime, and so on are all true. Why should we not have the choice anyway to pick who drives us? I am happy driving a friend to a location, they are happy to drive me, people drive themselves, yet somehow cabbies have twisted this into licensed uber drivers as being the best way to get yourself killed. So the regulations that largely exist for all drivers such as not being drunk, having insurance, having a safe car, having a licence, all make sense for normal drivers; so why don't they make sense for Uber drivers. Does the uber app somehow make them worse drivers?

But again; even if uber is terrible and dangerous, why should we be treated like infants and not allowed to make up our own minds? Also continuing with the uber is a death trap; then other companies could come along in a free market and offer safer drives. People would probably choose them instead. Free market. Just like all the other vendors in London who don't have quotas. Restaurants, lawyers, dentists, clothing stores. All of those businesses would probably love a quota eliminating new competition. But it wouldn't serve the public at all.

If you want to see a wonderful example of something that is this taken to its extreme: try and get something notarized in Italy. Something like 1,000 Euros. I think a Notary in Canada or the US will run you around $50.

But if this monopoly had never been set up and competition had always been allowed we would not be having this discussion and Uber would be having trouble making any headway in London, it would simply be one more competitor in a competitive market.

Re:fair competition

By drolli • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The main problem which i have with uber (and why i dont use it - remark: i live in Germany) is that normally the licenses which you have to have to operate a taxi service work in two directions: you are allowed to do business in a give narea, but you also have to, even if certain times are not profitable for you.

And yes i appreciate that if i missed the last possible train connection at 1am in a town with 20000 people living there, still there usually will be a taxi at the station within 15 minutes, which takes me the last 20km for the same price.

In a world where we allow uber to cut away the ham (e.g. daytime trips to hotels/business) for taxi businesses, tey would clsoe down operation in such areas, and the price for this ride probably would rocket in the sky, and uber would say "oh we just enable communication between customer and provider", and the driver would say "oh, i am a business, and it did cost me 100 Euros to get here".

The point is simple: in areas whit a lower density of cars driving at night, the customer is at a systematic disadvantage (since he can not choose the provider, but the provider can easily choose the customer because 20km by car over an nearly empty road may be very fast).

So be careful what you wish for.

Re:Against the law

By Zocalo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Unjust or not, the issue then becomes one of whether or not it acceptable to try and change a law by wilfully violating it - as Uber et al are doing in some of the locales they are operating in - with the implication of whether that slipperly slope is *really* one that you want to go down, and especially so when it's a corporation making that decision just because it's inconvenient to their business model/profit margin. In some cases, sure, mass civil disobedience is necessary to bring about change, in others a lone individual might do as a trigger (Rosa Parks, for instance), but generally those are for far more egregious or morally corrupt laws than the kind of bureaucratic red tape and entrenched industry regulation that Uber is opposing.

Yes, much of that legislation is unjust, anti-competetive and so on, just as Uber is claiming, and some of it is also there in order to at least try and establish a minimum standard of safety and service. The correct process for Uber and the like to take is to challenge the unjust, anti-competetive laws first, potentially citing public demand for their services, *then* start operations if (and only if) they can successfully establish a framework that enables them to operate legally and in compliance with the safety and service legislation. Starting operations regardless and dealing with the legal fallout might be acceptable to them, possibly even considered as an acceptable risk within their business model, but it also smacks of "we're above the law" arrogance, which will lose them some of the public support they might have had if they were purely fighting it through the courts and better discriminating between the two sets of rules. Factor in the stories of how Uber treats its drivers when things go wrong, drivers having their cars taken of the road, and even the issue of their status as contractor or employee, and it's easy to see how people who might otherwise be supportive of Uber are not.

Michigan Mammoth May Have Been Butchered By Humans

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
Forbes reports that a mammoth recently unearthed in rural Michigan includes evidence that the animal was butchered for food: From the article: A small stone that could potentially be a cutting tool was also found with the mammoth bones. To confirm that this animal was butchered by humans, researchers will examine the bones for cut marks that would indicate people were processing it for meat. A third piece of evidence is the organized way the neck vertebrae of the mammoth were found. "An animal doesn't just come apart naturally leaving a sequence of tightly articulated vertebrae like that," Fisher said, indicating that the animal would have had to have been moved by humans for paleontologists to find the bones laid out in such a fashion.

Link Appears Borked

By Egg Sniper • Score: 3 • Thread
Plenty of alternates to be found.

Re:That's just the way...

By Rainbow Nerds • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I do think the woolly mammoth will eventually be created again by scientists. But I don't think it's quite as close as you'd think.

I think it should be tested on perhaps a simpler type of animal and one where there's less of a gap between generations. The passenger pigeon is a good candidate for this, in part because it might be easy to get funded and the timescale for animals to reproduce is much quicker. Of the 32 or so passenger pigeons that have had their genomes sequenced, there aren't a lot of differences. That means it might not be necessary to create huge numbers of them with large genetic diversity for them to survive. This also requires sequencing the genome of a similar animal, in this case the band-tailed pigeon. Then it's necessary to determine what genes made the passenger pigeon what it was, rather than another type of pigeon, and creating a chimera by inserting passenger pigeon genes into the band-tailed pigeon genetic sequence. Even if a passenger pigeon can be created through this process, there's still the challenge of teaching the passenger pigeon to behave like one. Simply creating an animal with similar genetic code to a passenger pigeon doesn't make it a passenger pigeon.

The same process could be done with the woolly mammoth by creating a chimera with the Asian elephant. Sequencing the genome is probably the simpler part, and that's underway. But it would be good to see the process done successfully with another animal like the passenger pigeon, which should be faster than the woolly mammoth. I'd guess it's probably 50 years away, but I think it'll eventually happen.

Sadly, I don't think another famous extinct animal, the dodo, will be so fortunate. I'm not sure there will be as good of a close relative since it evolved in isolation for a long time on Mauritius. It's also old enough and in a climate warm enough that genetic preservation is much less likely.

It is "hctaw s'yelaP" argument.

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 3 • Thread
A generation before Charles Darwin, Paley explored the question of origin of species. Some of his lines of arguments in favor of divine creation resonate to this day. He was an inspiring figure to Charles Darwin. His argument was: "If you come across a watch in the woods, you would instantly recognize it is not natural, the way components fit together, the purposefulness of the components etc would clearly convince you that it was not a naturally occurring object". This argument is called "Paley's watch" argument.

In this case the scientists are arguing the way the components of a natural are disassembled the way they are disarticulated shows the evidence of human hand. This is the reverse of Paley's watch, it is hctaw s'yelaP.

Aboriginals destroyed teh megafauna

By mauriceh • Score: 3 • Thread

So much evidence points to the extinctions of megafauna on several continents by man.

Meanwhile the aboriginal peoples try to push the myth that they are" safe custodians" of wildlife.

That is simply bullshit. They have had zero regards for anything other than their own greed.

And yet, somehow, we still allow illegal hunting and fishing by people, because it is "their heritage".

Apollo-Era Photos Now Up at NASA's Flickr Account, In High-Res

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
Boing Boing reports that NASA has uploaded to its Flickr account 8400 photographs from the agency's Apollo days -- "just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions." The astronauts were shooting with some very nice cameras, and the results are worth seeing at 1800dpi.


By thinkwaitfast • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
You can fool all of the people all of the time if your effects budget is large enough
Chill out. It's a joke.

Re:Actual proper Silly question but....

By 50000BTU_barbecue • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They've always been available; as printed books. I have NASA Gemini mission books that are nothing but plates.

Re:why should I sign up for public domain pix.

By ihtoit • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

asked then answered: the full resolution images are accesible in list view here arranged by mission and referenced by film cassette and frame number. Tidy. :)

It's not just me

By J-1000 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It's good to know I'm not the only one who has to take a million crappy photos before I get a good one.

Sorry this is a scam!

By thephydes • Score: 3 • Thread
Everyone knows that the moon landing was a fake! This should be enough for all you doubters Jesus Slashdot, post some real science for fuck sake Sad thing is the conspiracy theorists are alive and well ..... and breeding