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* Posts by cirby

47 posts • joined 24 Jun 2008

DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

cirby

Or...

You could just buy them a nice bicycle and not need fuel.

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Déjà spew: US would accept higher bills for less CO2 by two-to-one

cirby

"Pay more"

Oh, really, how much more?

One percent?

Two?

Five?

Ten?

You can bet - for certain - that they didn't ask about fifty percent, or a hundred, to get that result.

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Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

cirby

Re: Shortage scaremongering

No kidding - for example, world Yttrium production is 600 tons per year - with only about a 15,000 year reserve.

Yes, fifteen THOUSAND years before we run out of the stuff in reserves we know about.

They call these things "rare earth elements," but they're really not rare at all when you get right down to it.

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

cirby

How about

Hypertin?

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Boffins find MEXICAN WAVE pattern in random climate wobbles

cirby

"The IPCC report looks at various solar mechanisms, not just TSI."

They may have "looked at" them - but they didn't seriously consider the issue. They have always had a tendency to look at TSI, and discard without explanation things like the variations in the makeup of that total. Ultraviolet light, for example, can vary greatly - and has a disproportionate effect on things like clouds. No, the IPCC did not even discuss that, past "we don't think it's important."

There's also the cosmic ray issue. Lower solar winds = higher cosmic rays = more clouds = cooler. Higher solar winds = lower cosmic rays = fewer clouds = warmer. Again, a solar-induced change that isn't reflected in TSI.

"For one thing since 1950 solar output has dropped."

Nope. TSI - the measurement you like so much - has not dropped in the last 60 years. However, once you take frequency output into consideration, things change. If TSI remains the same, but UV increases, there's a net warming - exactly like what happened in the 1970s-1990s. When you get a drop in UV incoming to the Earth, things get slightly cooler - just like we've seen over the last decade or so.

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James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

cirby

One option was suggested...

Make this law - but only after the police have successfully used it on 100% of their weapons for at least five years.

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'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer

cirby

Re: Actually...

So - you assumed that someone who would use a 10mm steel tube would just - what? use a very thin-walled tube, without bothering to get one thick enough?

I'm glad you don't live next to me, either - I'd have to spend all of my time explaining basic engineering to you.

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cirby

Actually...

It's proof that 3D printers, using only plastic components, can't make a good firearm.

The obvious next step is to design a hybrid weapon - one with the majority of the frame and other components made from ABS plastic, but with certain bits made from standard metal components. For example, a 10mm pistol that uses a short 10mm inner diameter steel tube with an ABS frame around it. Use a solid block of steel as the rear of the chamber and drill a small hole for the firing pin - or fire it electrically.

Yes, it will still be smoothbore - but at very short range, that really doesn't matter too much.

For that matter, just make a shotgun. A 16 gauge shotgun round would work pretty well in a 17mm tube, and if you stick with a light load, the pressures and stresses should be manageable - at least for a short time.

You could even go out on a limb and revive the old Gyrojet round...

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

cirby

Adds?

No, it doesn't "add" politics to science funding.

It just changes the political process a bit, so the current people who manipulate the funding process would have to learn a different set of levers to pull. So they're upset.

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Weev gets 41 months in prison for exposing iPad strokers' privates

cirby

Except...

A real "good guy" hacker would find the exploit and demonstrate it - without grabbing all of that data and handing it over to someone else.

Likewise, someone who knew how to pick a lock wouldn't break into the house and rummage through the belongings of the people inside - he'd go to the manufacturer and show them how he did it, or wait and demonstrate the flaw at a conference.

That "companies won't respond" line is pretty much false - it's an excuse given by hackers when they get caught doing something stupid. Usually, it's a lazy but egotistical hacker-wannabe who wants to make the headlines, but doesn't want to bother with actually calling the persons who are responsible for said security flaws. "I contacted the company" usually boils down to "I called their PR department, and they told me it was the wrong number."

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This is out of hand now: Apple attempts to trademark the LEAF

cirby

On the other hand

Not nearly as bad as The Register trying to register "Register."

Oh, wait...

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World's largest miner spooked by climate change

cirby

Clever

Or, on the other hand, they realized they needed to build the jetty to protect against the normal level of hurricanes (since hurricane frequency and strength are _not_ increasing, according to all of the studies), and used the "climate change" excuse to keep the Greenies from protesting the "expansion" of a coal mining facility.

It's a great public relations trick that you'll be seeing more of: decide to build something, tell everyone it's to protect against climate change, and trump all of the upcoming complaints by the environmental fanatics.

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Apple is granted a patent on the rectangle. No, really

cirby

Re: Do... Fucking... WHAT!!!

You do realize that the same sort of process happens all of the time in Europe, too, right?

For that matter, the EU process is worse. Here's the "Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market" website dealing with such things:

http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/RCD/legalReferences/legalReferences.en.do

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cirby

It's called a DESIGN patent for a reason...

When you actually produce a product that has a specific look (that doesn't depend on function), you can get a design patent. That means that someone else can't whip up a quick copy of your product to try and steal sales from you.

Design patents are very specific, with defined measurements, curves, and angles. No, it's not just "rectangular with rounded corners." It's "rectangular with these proportions and corners with a certain radius." No, you can't create a "uPad" with measurements just 0.1 mm off - that's covered, too.

Design patents have been part of the process for a very long time now. They've been in use for over 170 years (the first US design patent was for a font).

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'Natural health' website apparently hacked by sinister forces

cirby

Heh.

If by "DDoS" they meant "too many people hit our hamster-powered webserver at once so it died," and by "hacked" they meant "we don't know how to restart it after it crashed."

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Apple weighs in on AntiSec's alleged FBI hack

cirby

Re: Another way to harvest UDIDs

Yep - that was my first thought. If I were the FBI and Secret Service, I'd set a few honey traps with data entered on that page.

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Hidden Grand Canyon-sized ICE-HOLE hastens Antarctic melt

cirby

Of course...

They sort of forget to mention that while the western Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice, the other 70%+ of the Antarctic is either staying the same or increasing - the net result is that the Antarctic is gaining ice mass.

I wonder why that wasn't mentioned?

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Renewables good for 80 per cent of US demand by 2050

cirby

So...

The people who get their paychecks for pushing renewable energy say that, given enough time and (lots of) money, renewable energy could actually start working.

Some time after the last of them retire.

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Hands on with Star Wars: The Old Republic

cirby

A lot of fun

I played SWTOR this past weekend, and enjoyed it quite a lot.

The combat flowed nicely, the quests were fairly predictable (as were most of the plotlines), but it all came together very well.

The feeling was that it was a coherent universe, with various factions that had actual causes and reactions, not just "oh, yeah, here's a random monster or thing to do." Some of the NPCs had real personalities, like the fairly-awful reporter you run into in one war zone (which was when I wanted the option to "smack her in the head").

A lot of the game won't really "work" until the servers have been up for a couple of weeks. The auction houses were mostly empty because people were too busy leveling and exploring to buy or sell, and most people weren't using the social aspects of the game - it really cries out for active guildmates to play with.

But - this is the important bit - it's Star Wars.

When I created my first character, and The Titles came up (with The Music), telling me about my role in the universe... it was May of 1977, sitting in that theater all over again.

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Facebook 'personal' news feed gets algorithm rejig

cirby

Dear Facebook

...just give us the option to default to reverse chronological order.

Really.

That works, it gives us what we need, and we don't have to second-guess it.

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'Missing heat': Is global warmth vanishing into space?

cirby

The heat's not missing

It was never there in the first place.

Part of the problem with AGW is that the original authors made one huge assumption - that CO2 warming would be multiplied by additional H20 warming (a factor of about three times as much warming). This assumed extra warming was not backed up in any real-world studies, and was only introduced because their model runs didn't come up with enough heat from the CO2-nudged "greenhouse effect."

What these observations really do is finally put the nail in the coffin of that unscientific assumption by the AGW computer modelers.

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Twitter cock-up confession deflates Weiner

cirby

Yeah...

The best part, of course, is watching all of the people who so rabidly defended this guy - they're having to, basically, admit that they were either really gullible or really dishonest.

His press conferences were so bad as to set the standard, and his excuses (along with the really stupid "hacked" claims) were so poor that it was almost embarrassing for the rest of us.

Not embarrassing enough to get people to stop making fun of him, but pretty far up the scale.

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Hundreds of Americans, bystanders injured playing video games

cirby

"tremendously damaging"???

So... 696 injuries. Over five years. In a country of over three hundred million.

Not so "tremendous," I'd say. Literally less than a one in a million chance...

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Wikileaks video shows US gunfire on Reuters staff

cirby

Authentic...

...but incomplete. It sure would be nice to see the bits leading up to the video.

The real lesson here is for Reuters. "Don't send our personnel out with armed insurgents, and if you see one of them carrying an RPG while a US helicopter is in the area, RUN AWAY, YOU FOOL!"

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Santa Fe man demands half a mill for being near iPhone

cirby

I think we need to start a new trend

Whenever someone files a lawsuit like this, the defending side should start out with paperwork to have them committed to a mental institution. At the very least, it would slow down some of the other folks of similar disposition, and at best it could cause some of these loonies to be put where they belong.

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Greenpeace: Apple ain't so brown anymore

cirby

Something to note

For years now, Greenpeace has been comparing Apple's real-world actions with the rest of the industry's "plan to do" press releases, they just finally got around to figuring out that most of the computer makers never got around to doing all of those things...

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Climate change hackers leave breadcrumb trail

cirby

Sites

Fraser:

Climate Audit posted the info right after the CRU folks mentioned it.

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Is this the world's dirtiest PC?

cirby

I've seen worse.

I saw an old IBM PC XT that was used at a livestock auction barn. The entire inside (not just the fan on the power supply) was completely caked with dried cow excrement powder.

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Greenpeace wags finger at eco-laggards

cirby

Actually...

It's the "Greenpeace lists a bunch of companies, not by their actual 'green' programs, but by whatever press releases sound the best."

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Top NASA scientist busted for leaking satellite intel

cirby

Imprecise

Something that's hard to find in most of the coverage of this: the operation was implemented completely by the FBI, and there's no indication at all that Israeli intelligence had anything to do with the breach.

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EU fires 12 million pages at Google Books

cirby

Er

So, to fight the monolith of Google, the EU dropped a gigaton of bureaucraspeak on the Web?

Yeah, that should do it. Right.

0
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Large Hadron boffin hit with terrorism charges

cirby

Oops.

Sorry, friends, but if they use radioactive sources like those used in hospitals and industry, they damned sure CAN be used for terrorism. Short-half-life, high power, nasty stuff. Not too dangerous in small amounts, but for someone in the right position, they could "accidentally" get enough to make a fairly nasty dirty bomb.

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Packing heat gets you shot, say profs

cirby

Proportionality

Yet another case of someone confusing correlation with causality.

If they're truly allowing for criminals who carry firearms, then they certainly have the statistics relating to how many of the victims had concealed carry permits. If their thesis is correct, then the number of victims with permits should be proportionate to the percentage of people in Philadelphia who have permits to carry concealed weapons.

If they didn't, a high percentage of victims in their study would have been carrying illegally.

If they don't know or didn't ask, then it's a bad study, and the authors can be safely ignored in the future..

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Apple yanks C64 emulator from App Store

cirby

Well...

"How many commercial games were ever written in BASIC? None?"

For the C-64? Quite a few. Even the ones written in assembly used BASIC loaders, for the most part. More to the point, most of the good pirate hacks loaded though BASIC. Copy protection often used things like custom boot loaders, which could just be replaced with a simple BASIC program.

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Apple's panties in bunch over Microsoft ads

cirby

Oh really?

Which is more probable - that someone in the Apple legal department, instead of contacting the Federal Trade Commission (the most probable step) or sending a letter to the Microsoft Legal Department (the "nice" option before writing to the FTC), calls up the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft and whines about their inaccurate commercials - or that the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft is lying in order to try and boost support for their products?

Heck, even giving him the benefit of the doubt, it's much more probable that someone at Microsoft actually called the COO as a prank...

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Top British judge suggests ban on 'cruel' killer roboplanes

cirby

It's simpler than that

Lord Bingham was about ten years old when the V1 buzz-bombs were falling on England. I think there's some history involved.

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Apple 'Kindle killer' rumor gets touch-screen

cirby

MegiPhone

They could just make the iPhone a lot bigger (the size of a trade paperback or hardback book at half the thickness) and have a killer product.

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Boffins: Atlantic temperature ruled by dust, not CO2

cirby

Er...

"I'm getting kinda tired of the reg beating this dead horse. The science is done guys, GW is happening - move on."

You might want to back off of that "science is done" bit - even Al Gore is starting to back off of a lot of his claims. Several slides have disappeared from his famous global warming PowerPoint show, and we've had enough time since the original predictions to notice that, well, they've been wrong.

One of the hallmarks of AGW "science" is that it is really, REALLY bad at prediction - one of the hallmarks of the accepted scientific process. Every few years, they go back and edit out some of the old predictions, and put in new (and more dramatic) ones - which are a bit further out. When they start talking about "climate change will have X effect 30/50/100 years down the road," remember that the original time frame for disastrous effects was about, well, now. Global temps should be at least a degree warmer, weather should be noticeably more severe, et cetera...

Heck, they had to rename the whole thing, to boot. It used to be "global warming," until they noticed that the globe wasn't warming like they were claiming it would. Then it was "global climate change." Except that it's not changing as fast as they predicted (or in the right direction). Now, you're starting to see "global climate instability," which is useful for grabbing credit every time you get an unseasonably warm/cool day, or too much/little rain...

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Obama CIO on leave after cuffing of former employee

cirby

Something in the stories

I keep seeing "Federal officials say he wasn't being investigated."

Except that none of the named ones are from the FBI, and the ones they do name aren't connected to the case. Basically, the folks who have been saying he's not connected are Democrats who really want this to go away.

The other part of this that's being glossed over in most stories is that he was the direct supervisor of the two guys who were arrested. So he was either connected (most likely) or insanely careless and naive - and not someone you want supervising the White House's computer security.

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Bees on cocaine: The facts

cirby

Not a problem

For one thing, where are they going to get the tiny little coke spoons?

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Censored scenes from the Congress WMD report

cirby

On the other hand

...all it takes for a moderately-successful bioweapon to come about is one talented person and a bunch of money.

The tech for brewing up large amounts of some diseases is not a lot more complicated than making beer (which has been demonstrated in the past, by US scientists). If you want a sophisticated weapon, with controllable and highly-efficient dispersal systems, it takes a lot more - but if all you want to do is drop a lot of some nasty bug on a city, it's not that hard.

Or, on the other hand, someone could just buy a couple of tons of anthrax spores or plague bacillus from some corrupt official in Russia - the USSR used to make upwards of 4500 tons PER YEAR of anthrax, and 1500 or so of good old Yersinia Pestis...

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Peruvian football team has really bad day

cirby

Ummm...

Are we not counting the Uruguayan football team? The plane crash in the Andes?

Cannibalism ring a bell?

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Obama: McCain can't email, remembers Rubik's Cubes

cirby

Um....

The reason McCain doesn't physically use email is that he was horrifically tortured by the Vietnamese back in the 1970s, and can't use the keyboard without pain. He gets his wife or an assistant to operate the computer while he reads and responds. You know, much like most modern CEOs.

The Obama campaign, while able to use email, can't manage to do a Google search to find this out ( the story is old enough that it turns up in a lot of places). Or they did, and planned to use a person's disability for political gain. An you fell for it.

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3,400 votes vanish from Florida election

cirby

Obviously not

"Was it just me, or was GWBs speech at the convention remarkably similar to the Nashi literature before the Russian election?"

It's just you.

By the way - the counties in Florida that had election problems (the one in the story, along with almost all of the ones in the 2000 elections) had Democrats as election officials. Funny how that worked out.

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Bush makes last-minute grab for civil liberties

cirby

Wow...

...if the US keeps this up, in ten or twenty years, they'll be almost as bad as what the UK is already doing.

Horrors!

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Global warming to stone US kidneys

cirby

Except...

They left out the part where the "kidney stone belt" is also partially due to diet. The local diet in this area is rich in oxalates - which promote kidney stone formation (along with not drinking enough water and not being active enough).

Funny how actual science goes by the wayside when a political movement gets involved, eh?

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Overstock CEO offers $75,000 for Wall Street's soul

cirby

I make it a policy...

...to hate people who use the word "incentivising" and really mean it.

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