114 posts • joined 25 Nov 2007
I agree with you completely, except on one point, and that is that these facilities could only be designed to spy on ordinary civilians because all the baddies are already encrypting anyway. I don't think most of them are. Based on some of the various terrorist exploits in the last dozen years, I think we need to keep in mind the Mr. Evil (as opposed to Dr. Evil) model of terrorists. A shoe bomb? An underwear bomb? A butt bomb? (it did go off, but failed to achieve its effect, mostly because it was shielded from its victims by the body of the terrorist) The guys who tried to attack an airport in Scotland failed utterly and got their asses kicked. The Madrid bombers, who did kill, were caught because they were reusing SIM cards in their throwaway phones. There may be some sharp and organized guys at the top of these organizations, but it is definitely not geniuses all the way down (not unlike any other organization).
"strings" as decompiler?
Pretty sure this is a guy you don't ever want to trust with any of your financial info or PII.
Re: Not likely to meet goals
Aerogel's not a bad insulator, and batteries tend to warm up with use, either charging or discharging. And I read that it's -60C; darn-cold, but not -170C. Military-grade electronics (I just looked at some opamps) seem to be rated to run at -55C, so I would not declare that this is unpossible.
I don't think that word means what you think it does. Items from my currently open cart at Digikey keeps on appearing in advertisements, including on this very page.
"Bated breath", dammit
Yeah, I know, it passed the spell checker, it must be fine.
Not so fast
The amusing thing to me is how quick people are to pile on to stopping patent "trolls". These trolled patents often come from startups or bankrupt enterprises, and could have been added to any particular large company's pile of patent trading cards if that PLC had felt like spending the money to purchase the assets. They judged that the IP was not then worth their money. These NPEs felt differently, and put some money in the pockets of the investors of a failed startup or other company. The effect of stamping out NPEs is to say that if the Big Boys don't buy the IP of your failed startup, then it is truly worthless -- you'll never get any money, they'll use your patented inventions, with no chance of compensation.
If people want reform, the right place is in the quality of the patents themselves. What ought to be a simple description of an invention becomes obscured by layers of abstract gobbledeygook (hard enough for someone allegedly skilled in the art to understand, never mind an East Texas jury) that creates too much uncertainty in court and creates a space for opportunists to make extravagant extrapolations about what a patent really claims. More clearly written patents would also be more to the point of what the patent system is supposed to be about -- communicating the invention to other people.
I think the scale has eluded you.
10km from a supervolcano is nowhere near safe. Consider "Lahars from Mount Rainier can travel for tens of miles along river valleys and reach Puget Sound." Mount Rainier is just a run-of-the-mill volcano. http://geology.com/usgs/rainier/
Or Mount Saint Helens: "The May 18, 1980 blast devastated 596 square kilometers". Note that a 10km radius circle only has an area of 314 square kilometers.
Not that simple
I think Tabarrok's curve is over-simplified. If the quality of patents themselves is raised I think you get more benefits from stronger protection, and if the quality is lowered it all goes to hell. (This assumes that "strength of patent law" is not another phrase for "patent quality".)
Loser pays, I think it would be nice if there was some nuance there for small entities (this appears in other parts of the patent process). You rarely go trial with certainty of victory -- if Tiny Inventor goes up against Rapacious MegaCorp, loser-pays allows RMC to intimidate TI merely by overspending on defense. A 10% chance of being on the hook for $500k is one thing, a 10% chance of being on the hook for $5M is something else (and accounting rules being what they are, RMC could easily "spend" $5M without it actually costing them $5M). Perhaps, "loser pays, not to exceed 3x own legal costs" or "one suit per year, loser does not pay", with appropriate RICO statutes used to swat down the rats' nests of LLCs that are usually constructed to game such rules.
I really do think that the issue with software patents is one of quality (disclosure: I haz some). Depending on where you set the knob for "obvious", there might be more software patents, or fewer. I don't think we need to lower the bar, but they're not all crap, and they're not all part of the "half-dozen wonderful ideas I had before breakfast". An example of a patent that I consider truly wonderul and non-obvious is Joel Bartlett's conservative-compacting garbage collector; when I heard it described, I about fell out of my chair, I was so amazed at its cleverness.
Yeah, WWSS? "F you and your stupid idea. We've made you a ton of money, and if you don't like our stock, sell it!"
G*d D*mn m*th*r f*ck*ng p*yw*ll*ed *rt*cl*
My tax dollars paid for that work, but can I read the article?
Is HP looking for a new CEO?
I know just the guy for the job.
"Free market" is not a guaranteed fix
There are places where so-called network effects can help keep a monopolist entrenched indefinitely, or perhaps for a very long time. For example, Google can use information obtained from its large number of search users to improve its results, or to more nearly figure out their advertising preferences (their true customers). A new entry to the market will lack this information because they lack the huge installed base of users, and their search will be less good and they will be less efficient at placing ads. This is not unlike needing to buy a copy of Microsoft Office to interoperate with other Microsoft Office users, even though you would never use it yourself.
MS Office is an interesting case; there's Open Office, but that took quite a long time, is still only mostly-compatible, and isn't exactly "making money". (Yes, I know it is more complex than that; I worked for Sun when it was their baby, and part of the goal was to use this as part of a strategy to swing customers in Brazil/Russia/India/China towards open and/or standard software and interfaces. Notice that Sun did not make money when they needed to.) The point is, one cannot just wave the "free market" wand at all problems and watch them disappear.
If climate mode as a whole was dominated by positive feedbacks, we'd see more stability, not less. It would enter a cold spell, and "stick" in an ice age. Some amount of warming, and the ice would melt rapidly, and we'd observe long ice-free (or ice-lite) interglacial periods. A primary mechanism for this would be ice cap albedo. Other mechanisms might be storage and release of methane in methane hydrate formations as the oceans cool and warm.
Whoops, that's what we see. And look what's melting in the Arctic.
Fielding's standards violation is larger
His decision gives IE users no choice at all. That is larger change than "wrong" choice of a default value that can be changed by users.
In addition, he ignores the possibility that I might express my preference for DNT by electing to use a browser where it has been set the way I want it, by default. I like products whose default choices align with mine; presumably he thinks my time is well spent twiddling knobs preset to stupid values.
I'm not sure what's an appropriate reaction by Apache, but this is not someone I would trust with committer privileges.
See also: Gillian Welch, Everything is Free
Keeping white-hat info unpolluted?
It would be interesting to know how the white-hat teams aim to avoid eventual infiltration. OpenDNS is apparently open to almost anyone who cares to contribute; I went nosing around after a local "gay and lesbian choral group" found themselves blacklisted as if they were some sort of a porn site (because, you know, "gay" and "lesbian") . Near as I can tell, some of the "contributors" to OpenDNS are just running keyword-driven bots, and as soon as three or so of those agree, well hey, that's consensus, right?
On some topics, these "contributors" had a false-positive rate higher than 95% (i.e., I reviewed 20 of their flagged websites, and all were wrong).
Change in the jet stream might also be climate change
See here. I think this is still not too far past the "look what popped out of our simulations" stage (haven't followed the literature yet) but it sure has heck dovetails nicely with what we've been seeing lately.
Re: MBP/Air differentiation
Taking the Air to retina resolution might have an issue with power consumption. Have you seen the MBP Retina teardowns? Despite having flash and not a hard drive, it has a huge battery. Same issue as the recent iPad -- a display box with a big battery in it, and a little bit of logic and storage tucked in on the side. An "air" with a retina display would probably have to be just as thick as this new MBP.
It takes a long time to heat the oceans
Was discussing this issue on SlashDot, checked my math, added references. The thermal mass of the oceans is enormous -- ballpark, if you took a quantity of energy equal to one year of 100% of the solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere, and dumped it into the oceans, they would warm up by a little more than 1 degree C. (Takes 1.8 years of 100% to melt icecaps; icecaps dumped into ocean and just melted would cool it by 2 C.)
We're not at equilibrium, won't be for a long time. You'd think that this was be obvious to technically-inclined journalists.
Re: The only green tech that has really worked ..
Numbers I've seen (sorry, link missing) suggest that the whole-life energy consumption of a hybrid auto nicely beats that of a similar internal-combustion alternative. Don't forget that used lithium batteries are recyclable (and are expensive enough that one would do so), so it's also unfair to ding them for their entire refining cost. Here's one discussion: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2759/are-electric-cars-really-more-energy-efficient
That said, the dollars don't work so well, unless you expect the price of oil to spike, or perhaps if you have an "optimally" long commute (i.e., round trip is 90% of the one-charge range, or even better if you get to charge at work and round trip is 180% of the one-charge range).
There IS other green tech that works. In many places, bicycles work for transit and transportation, and with very sensible assumptions about diet (i.e., not making up the extra calories with 100% beef protein) they net out to a huge energy savings. Green building practices (typically, loads more insulation, and control of air exchange) also work. In some parts of the world this is simply "the building code", though here in the US it is common for a new building to still be relatively underinsulated and leaky. In both cases, however, you don't see near the rah-rah-gee-whiz advertising these useless step-energy tiles get. An energy-saving bicycle is a Raleigh rescued from someone else's trash and repaired, fitted with a Wald basket for your stuff.
Re: Are Americans that much more energetic than Brits?
There's got to be a screwup in the MIT crowd farm thing. A somewhat fit unit American (a remark I resemble) can pretty happily produce 100 watts on a bicycle for an indefinite amount of time, but that is ALL the energy, and a moderate sweat results. 200 watts for "a while", and much more sweat results. 300 watts for a minute or two. Anything that is harvesting "spare" energy, as opposed to annoying the energy producers, has to be at the rate of 10 watts or less (at 60 steps/min, 10J/step, at 120, 5J/step). 120 watts might be the entire energy expended in purposefully walking.
So, texting makes you invisible?
I don't get all the people piling on the person walking and texting. They're probably not walking very fast, and someone who's driving is supposed to be looking for hazards in the road. Someone walking near the road is someone who can step into the road; better slow down, in case they do.
Or is it Not Hitting People not the first priority of someone driving a car?
Fracking vs well casing
It never made sense to me that methane was moving through thousands of feet of shale, but I also read that the gas industry (at least here in the US) as making a distinction between "fracking" ("safe!!!!") and the quality of the wells used to get to the case ("we're talking about the safety of fracking, that's not relevant here").
Substandard well casing would ALSO allow methane to get loose into near-surface groundwater, and requires no earthquakes at all.
If you need unsigned in Java
If you need unsigned, there are libraries that provide it. I wrote one years ago, and I am pretty sure it is BSD-licensed. I'd be surprised if I was the only person to do so.
Main thing to note is that there is no difference in the bit-pattern behavior between 2s-complement signed + and unsigned + at the word length. The trick comes in describing the operations that are not punned -- comparisons, division, widening multiplication, conversion to/from float and string.
The other half of the trick is to be sure to use idioms (where you can) that will be recognized by an optimizing JIT as equivalent to the unsigned operations. That probably works for comparisons, but not for the others.
I also wrote a library for packing and unpacking bytes and shorts into ints and longs, not sure whether we released that or not.
Re: Why do we care what the hippies think?
At least in the US, the DFHs (Dirty F***ing Hippies) have a better track record on foreign affairs and economic prediction than the upstanding people in clean suits and ties.
Re: Is the tide turning?????
I don't know the details of the data, but the hypothesized mechanism for warming leading to ice cap growth is that warmer (offshore) water puts more water vapor into the air, and as long as the antarctic proper is cold enough to squeeze that water vapor out again, you get a local increase in ice cap volume. Deposit more than melts/runs off the edges, and you get a net increase. No big mystery, and no big gotcha -- climate scientists were writing about this in papers written decades ago. The arctic is a lot closer (warmer) to freezing than the antarctic, so there warming can lead to shrinkage instead.
A recent hypothesis (supported by simulation) links a decrease in arctic ice (and a warmer arctic) to the weird weather we've had lately: http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2012/04/slowing-rossby-waves-leading-to-extreme.html
If room on the roads is scarce, logic suggests that cars should be discouraged, because they take the greatest amount of space to transport (usually) a single person.
The focus on rules-of-the-road is also a mistake, unless you think that following the rules is more important than minimizing the number of people hurt or killed. Despite the (alleged) care with which they are driven, cars in the US and UK are about (at least) 15 times more deadly to pedestrians than bicycles are. Unless you think that results don't matter, cyclists are the safety experts.
28mph is an odd choice
In the US, in many states, the limit is 20. Why Specialized would produce a bike not legal in (much of) the US is a little puzzling to me.
And it is definitely a safety issue. Not too many bikes go faster than 20mph, and those that do, don't go much faster, or for very long.
Re: "Getting female USB sockets is hard"
And that right combination of resistors puts 2 volts on D+ and D- for a 500mA charge. E.g., 75k and 50k between 5V and GND. See http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/icharge.html for more details.
Some older Motorola cell phones expect to see something special on the "X" pin: http://pinouts.ru/all/razrv3_charger_pinout.shtml
This is rather annoying, since the USB cables I've dissected don't show any wires from their X pin; I have to buy a plug and hack it myself.
I followed the ladyada instructions in a buck converter for bicycle use, and it worked fine; 500mA by 5V is 2.5 watts, with an efficient converter a hub dynamo can keep up, and various iDevices declared that they were in fact charging when I hand-spun the wheel. But it turns out that there is an affordable pre-built alternative (no idea if it works, just found it googling): http://bikeusbcharger.com/
Maybe people assumed Apple's customers would care?
Which I guess also implies a lower opinion of the Dell, HP, etc customers.
Or conversely, there was the assumption that this would take the Apple customers down a peg off their beautiful-toys high horses.
What I think will be interesting, is to see if anyone else issues a retraction anywhere near the scale of This American Life's.
Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.
"Ocean depth predicted to increase by as much 0.1% this century." (3790m x 0.001 = 3.79m)
Not necessarily so, especially in the medium-short run
Read something about this lately at earlywarn.blogspot.com, also did some casual math with size-of-ocean, size of ice cap, and energy. Short-to-medium term, the oceans suck up all the heat, but it does not change their temperature very much. Land temperature is changes more (on average). Till the oceans and land are in equilibrium (takes decades-to-centuries) we have cool oceans and warm land, meaning less rainfall (general trend, small compared to annual and local variation). Equilibrium is wetter, at least looking at paleoclimate (and at simulations, too).
The other data point is, last time it was this warm (or perhaps a hair warmer) and stayed that way for centuries, the sea level was much (meters) higher because Greenland and Antarctica had smaller ice caps. So net, "glaciers" must have been smaller, though with G and A smaller, all the others could be larger and you would not notice it in the sea level .
CO2 lags *natural* warming
@Armando123 - in the natural cycle, CO2 lags warming because "warming" takes us from huge-glaciers to not-huge-glaciers; more land is exposed, and CO2 is converted to plants. In addition, the warming ocean can hold less CO2. That's the natural cycle. All that CO2 also warms the planet, which drives further warming and further CO2 release.
We're in a different situation now. We're not at a particularly interesting place in the Milankovitch cycle, and we're not covered in glaciers. We ARE dumping a mess of CO2 in the atmosphere, and a good fraction of that mess is accumulating in the atmosphere (some is dissolving in the ocean, driving down the pH). That excess CO2 is generally warming the planet and apparently making the weather more "interesting" (though we cannot link any particular drought or hurricane to global warming). Most glaciers are shrinking; the arctic ice cap is shrinking (especially in volume); the globally measured temperature is slowly rising; plant zones are drifting north (in the northern hemisphere); more all-time highs than all-time lows are being set.
Be interesting to see what where the line is
einPhone, zweiPhone, dreiPhone? oyPhone? ahPhone? ay-yi-yi-yiPhone?
I can see how comforting it is that the hippies were wrong
but "freshest water in 50 years of monitoring" is less so.
Are we f**cked? Depends upon where you live, I think.
Less lethal means exactly what it says
Kills you less often than bullets and grenades, but more often than comfy chairs and fluffy bunnies. A woman in Boston (Victoria Snelgrove) was hit with a "less lethal" round in the eye, and ended up dead.
How much less lethal has a whole lot to do with how the weapon is used. A little pepper spray drifting into your eyes is one thing, a shot down your throat is something else. Shots to the head with any projectile are generally a bad idea.
Commissioned by Citrix
Wonder if the guys doing the study had any idea what answers would please their employer?
One thing I didn't see either in the article or the press release, was if they were talking about company equipment used remotely by employees, or personal equipment used for company stuff.
So who protects these guys from pirates?
Wouldn't want my tax dollars wasted on that.
I think you're being a tad arbitrary
I manage to not be obese, mostly by exercise, some by diet, but I am still overweight (220lbs, weighed as little as 175 in college -- at that point I was dense enough to not float). Losing ten more pounds would be very difficult, because my body has found its happy-weight-place. The exercise (bicycle commuting to work on nice-enough days) goes up in the summer, at which point I lose about 3 lbs and get ravenously hungry ("mmmm, look at that roadkill.")
So on the one hand, just as the very-tall are offered extra leg room at more cost, so should the very fat be offered extra-wide seats at more cost.
But it would also be nice to cut everyone just a bit of extra slack. After all, look at all the "carry-on" luggage that people are incapable of actually carrying, and all the time wasted at departure and arrival as they struggle to heft their too-heavy-for-them bag in and out of the overheads. For some people, being that weak is a medical condition, but everyone knows that with regular exercise and an active lifestyle ....
Made a huge difference
Whether it works for you, depends entirely on your project size, I am sure. It's the Micawber principle at work:
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
Adding two gig made the project fit. Another thing that has helped has been de-Flashing the browsers (standard hack on the Mac: delete Flash entirely, install Youtube5 for Safari, and use Chrome with builtin Flash for the stuff that YT5 doesn't handle).
Been using it since 2001 or 2002
It has gotten large. I still use it, but oof. I did the nonstandard 6GB upgrade to my laptop so that I could run Eclipse and do much of anything else at the same time. (Current project is large mixed Java/Scala; much of the oof is the Scala plugin. I grumble, but I would be even sadder without it.)
There are some longstanding issues (structural? architectural?) that I think are a result both of its plugin architecture and open source. The UI and properties settings are a maze of twisty passages; there are features I still have not explored (I am sure). The bug reporting stuff has gotten somewhat better (one of the bugs filed is a bit of a rant from me, on how hard it is to extract relevant configuration information from Eclipse when reporting a bug -- alerts where you cannot cut and paste the text, or that disappear before you can read them, that sort of thing -- they also fixed the bug reporting software's workflow/cueing somewhat).
Depends on your baseline, of course
Don't forget I'm posting from the US; if we cut our per-capita CO2 output by 50%, we'd be stuck with English standards of living. Clearly, the end of civilization as we know it.
What-I-imagine for getting gasoline consumption down that much, is much smaller cars, and much smarter cars. Over here, every second car is a fatty-McFatMobile; cut those down to size, you probably get 10-20% right there. Hope that we can use smart/self-driving cars to make "mass transit" look a lot more like automated point-to-point carpooling, you can probably get another 30%, also cut traffic jams and time wasted looking for parking. Do more with hybrids, maybe do more with formation-cruising at highway speeds.
Also assume some bicycling, where appropriate (dense places -- about 1/3 of the US lives in places dense enough to convert a few dozen miles of travel each week to a bicycle).
Delivery trucks ought to be something a lot more like robots; if you're not paying a driver, speed and size are not quite so important (won't need to amortize the cost of the driver). Reduced speed and size means less energy wasted, also less scary to people in their newly shrunken cars.
And yes, detail city, lots of caveats and quid-pro-quos -- as if massive-scale algae-farming were a solved problem.
Unfortunately also suggests
that we'll need to be constantly on the lookout for genetic drift in our tanks towards "fitter" algae that does not waste so much of its energy creating oil for us.
What's amusing is the use of the phrase "end timers"
To describe non-apocalyptic changes like "eating less beef", "drive a smaller car", "carpool", "use a bicycle for short trips", and "you should upgrade your home's insulation". Oh, teh horror!
So, yeah, it's totally within our abilities, if only we were willing to contemplate the tiniest changes to how we do things. We probably will end up using this bioengineered oil, but it's a heck of a lot easier to cover out consumption if we first cut it by 50 or 75%. And surely, you don't think that this stuff will be cheap, do you?
All these eggs will grow into lovely chickens
The scale needed is the kicker; if you do corn-based ethanol (ignore production costs) and convert the entire US crop to ethanol, you get 20% of our gasoline volume. Even at 100x efficiency, that's still 5% of current acreage to cover all our gasoline consumption, or a square 84 miles on a side.
100x more efficient is difficult to believe in anything that would be deployed at a homeowner scale. Dedicated people manage to grow tomatoes pretty well, but not-dedicated people tend to kill ant farms and cactus.
I think that's old info now
At least from US 110/60 Hz, I can run 9+ watts of LED from 11 watts at the wall (with a somewhat crappy power factor, but it's an old converter). If you're willing to live with welding-arc blue ("cool white") you get about 125 lumens per LED watt; derating by 20% still gives you 100 Lumens/watt, which is well above standard fluorescent. "Good" light (with better CRI) is probably at or above fluorescent efficiencies, with much better quality. White LED spectra are not spiky; white LEDs use phosphors just like fluorescent tubes, but the starting color is a range of frequencies, not a single color spike.
I've played with this some at home -- for me "good" light is a mix of warm/neutral/cool LEDs. You do have to heat sink them a bit to keep them in their happy place. Higher efficiencies at lower currents, so to get more, you need to spend more.
Efficiency/heat claims don't seem right
If you're flat-out more efficient than fluorescent, you claim that. They didn't claim that, they claimed that they were "directed". So they're not more efficient than fluorescent. At the same time, they claim to produce less heat than LEDs. That means more efficient than LEDs -- which are more efficient than fluorescent, and are also directed.
This does not add up. Lumens per watt, please, and talk to us about CRI and spectrum.
Cheaper than LED, and directed, and nearly as efficient, that would be worth hearing about.
Follow-up on above
There's a lot of "David Johnson"s working for the "University of Texas" (has many campuses; traditionally "UT" means "UT Austin" but it might refer to others). Looks like this guy:
"David Johnson, Ph.D. 2008
Currently: postdoctoral scientist with Dr. Craig Tweedie, UT-El Paso
Dissertation topic: role of mammalian herbivores in determining arctic tundra plant community structure"
So apparently not a hoax by the Yes Men.
If this turns out to be a joke by the Yes Men
I will not be surprised. Lemming poop. Please.
You could wrap it in a tinfoil hat
I did some noodling around years ago with a mylar snack bag and a cell phone and a prox card. The there's no cell signal inside that bag, and the prox card wasn't seen by readers. If you were worried about your insulin pump or your passport or what have you being hacked by evildoers, just recycle one of those bags.
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