64 posts • joined Monday 30th April 2007 12:31 GMT
I sincerely hope the Americans stay out of this, but I'm not hopeful that they will.
>... violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which stops illicit gambling outfits from accepting payments.
The UIGEA doesn't make distinctions between illicit or legitimate gambling sites, it is simply a blanket ban on payment processing for non-USA-domiciled betting. It also has the dodgy distinction of being an act which became law without anyone apart from the sponsor reading the text.
"Such cuts of course always mean more work for contractors."
Well, except when they don't, which is quite often.
I don't know about the other WiFi providers, but The Cloud can pipe specific users down specific pipes (source-based transit provider selection) to allow DS devices only access to specific services rather than general-purpose Internet.
(Disclaimer: I was the original engineer on the back-end of The Cloud but it may have moved on since then)
Newsbin2 does not infringe any copyrights, nor does it link to infringing material. What it does do is scan Usenet binaries groups and create files of NNTP message IDs which one can then put in to a separate downloader program and download those messages from a service like Giganews.
While in another comment thread about striking public sector workers the zeitgeist appears to be supportive of the public sector, here is (yet) another good example of why the public sector simply can't be trusted to run important projects. Like it or not this is a recurring theme.
You have misunderstood things.
Since the spread of mobile phones started at different times in different countries then if mobile phones caused any adverse health effects (they don't) then those effects would cause a correlation between one country's start-time and ill-effects and another countries' start-time and ill-effects. e.g. Since for many years the UK had far higher usage than the USA then any ill effects would be seen first in the UK and then in the USA, human anatomy being a constant and therefore the temporal distance also being a constant. You could then predict (say) when an African nation would see the same ill effects as they started much later and prove that there was not just correlation but causation when your prediction came true.
In the absence of the above (and trust me, lots of people have looked) we can say unequivocally that mobile phones to do not cause ill effects; at least none that show up for 20+ years (the time of GSM adoption)
> (shielding the ear side of the antenna or something)
Err... no. The tower may be on the opposite side of the head, meaning that the phone would have to massively step up it's omnidirectional antenna power output to defeat the shielding and get through. Probably not what you wanted.
I used to laugh a lot at all those muppets who had "radiation shields" on their mobiles, and talk them through the above. Pretty much all of them ripped the "shield" off there and then.
I've used Cisco's previous "Telepresence" gear
It's actually rather good. It is (was?) boardroom-class stuff, shaped sound with gigantic screens and gigantic bandwidth requirements. Low latency and excellent QOS.
BTW, the back-story to Cisco's push in to video, which has been going on for some time now, is that Cisco need to force up the volume of data transmitted in order to complement (push) their core networking equipment business.
Re: Dave Kurlander's work on MS Surface
Dave Kurlander may have done a lot of work, but both Microsoft and Apple owe a huge debt to Jeff Ham's TIR backscatter work at NYU.
Re: A Potential Problem?
Breaking a prop such that it intrudes in to the cabin space will take a gigantic cross-wise force which that is something that, if it happens, would only occur as part of a much larger accident. It's just not something that could realistically happen in normal operations, hence why normal propellor aircraft are in widespread use for passenger carriage. Even hitting the ground with the prop when it's running at full-tilt is more likely to deform it in-place (and shock-load the engine) than for it to become a hazard.
Due to their much higher speed, jet turbine and fan blades *are* enclosed, and every jet must pass a test where a blade is deliberately detached by an explosive charge while running at full-speed. It is quite spectacular, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-8_Gnbp2JA
> We even publically declare exactly how many nukes we have
That's both normal, expected, required under treaties we've signed and (perhaps counter-intuitively) it enhances our security.
We publicly declare capability (submarine-launched, MIRV, 7500Km range) to execute a counter-city strike on any nation which uses nuclear weapons against us. Critically, that second strike capability is almost completely impossible to defend against.
Plus ca change...
Setting aside the times when dinasours roamed the earth, I'd say that proportionaly there is very little in it. Yes, we can all point to risen legions of point-and-drool cut-'n'-paste programmers with very little in the way of creativity, but there is an equally vast legion of highly talented programmers.
It's simpler to get "in to" programming, ask any bedroom webmaster with his LAMP stack, but by the same measure the amazing advances in all areas of comp sci have enabled new heights of creativity and productivity to be scaled.
Fannie and Freddie
A good article, and (capitalist bastard that I am) I'm in agreement with the bulk of it. One thig I'd like to add though is that the USA sub-prime situation was, in some ways, caused by the existience of the quasi-governmental mortgage lenders (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae).
Because of their implied government-backed status then their cost of borrowing on the markets was much lower than the private sector banks (government backed == safer, lower risk) meaning they could offer better deals to housebuyers who naturally put loads of business their way. Many years of low interest rates and nationwide house price rises meant loads of profits. The private banks cash flowed to the edges of the mortgage markets assisting the spread of sub-prime lending.
Now, that's all fine if the US government meant to do that and had things engineered such that they made oodles of cash from this but that's not the case. The US Treasury doesn't make cash from F+F when things are good but when things are bad (now) is having to provide vast sums of cash to prop them up. Not good for the USA taxpayer.
I addition to creating a method of shorting housing stock, killing the F+F giants will remove an enormous distorting force.
This week's Economist has a more eloquent explanation than the above if anyone wants more information.
Farewell Gary, we hardly knew ye
Now off to federal prison you go, destined for the brutal regieme of incarceration with a couple of hours of excersise a day and the ever-present threat of rape and serious violence.
Incidentally, John - the "pentagon hacker" subtitle in most of the McKinnon stories is hardly accurate - millitary interest machines, yes, but they were all in support roles (unclassified mailgates, desktops etc.). Hardly "War Games".
Mr Obama wants to be elected, natch, and this will be a popular thing with the voters in the USA. It doesn't have to make sense since almost everyone won't undestand the arguments and, best of all, the long-term damage will be delivered in the form of a continuation of the existing state of affairs rather than a new turn of events.
The perfect crime.
There is nothing wrong with shorting stocks, naked or not
Shorting, for those that don't know it is the business if borrowing company stock from someones in exchange for collateral such as cash, bonds, other shares etc. and selling them on the open market. The idea is that you do so, wait a while as the stock goes down and then buy the same number of shares back at the (now) reduced price, return them and get your collateral back. The difference in price is your profit.
Doctor Overstock's beef is against people who sell the stock without doing the "borrowing in exchange for collateral" bit. The reason being that he thinks that people doing so will sell their stock at a lower price than the "unsullied" market and so the price of the stock (which, it's worth repeating is simply the mid-point of the highest registered bid for <x> amount of a stock and the lowest registered offer for <y> amount of stock. x and y have no relation) will drop, depressing the value of the company.
It is true that the SEC have banned shorting of a handful of US financial institutions, and here in the UK the FSA have banned shorting a handful of finacial institutions during any time they are having a rights issue. Opinion is fairly sharply divided between those who think that they're ineffectual idiots and those who think they're childish morons. It's a tough call.
Herr Overshtoker isn't right, and he does need to get over this whole thing.
Remember: You can't sell something unless someone buys it. It takes two parties to perform a transaction, willing and aware. Neither enters in to it unless they belive that they will profit from doing so.
No-one loves someone who profits from misery, but that doesn't change the fact that shorting is perfectly legitimage business.
Recall that radar is a send-and-return system, so any blank area would extend radially from that area out to the limits of the system.
I'm not familiar with the geography around that area, but if there is something behind that area they want on radar then it's a Bad Thing.
RADAR or 'radar' BTW?
And perhaps a Nobel Prize for Prof Hawking
If memory serves me, should the existence of the Higgs Boson be proven by the LHC then Prof Hawking may be up for a nobel prize, which is nice.
Excellent article, BTW, Lewis. I'm left wondering if this has anything to do with the "Henchmen Wanted" craigslist job ad from a few days ago.
Not useless at all!
You'd cheerfuly travel from Algeria to Spain, for example, using one of those.
A good article. I tend to forgive most journalists for not understanding things like opportunity cost and the Theory of Comparative Advantage, but when you're writing an "experts report" then there is no excuse for not doing your research.
Happy friday, all!
"Hypocracy" ? Would that be rule by hippos?
Longing for a "Pedants' Corner" icon...
"Aries, Orin and Dragon" that should be
From 2010 to 2015 SpaceX are contracted to supply NASA with orbiter vehicles for ISS freight using their Dragon and Pegasus[1|9|9Heavy] vehicles.
I had the pleasure of attending a lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society last week where Elon Musk (started paypal. is a geek, likes rockets, started a space exploration company called SpaceX) talked the audience through the state of the art and answered some _very_ in-depth questions about the design decisions of the Dragon and Pegasus platforms, as well as mentioning that his company has got the tender to replace the space shuttle between 2010 and 2015.
I'd recommend you all check out the RAeS if you like the techie side of space. They put on free evening lectures quite often, all of which are open to all and some of the topics are fascinating ("Developing Hypersonic Single-Stage To Orbit Jet Engines" and "What is needed to permanently sustain life beyond earth?") were the last two I attended.
The Vulcan really is quite a sight when you see it, either on the ground or flying overhead. Subsonic, low level, tasked with attacking targets deep within what was the USSR with a single 1 megaton Blue Steel missile slung underneath... Not a job I'd fancy myself.
They scream "cold war, pre SAM" from every rivet but if you get the chance to see one I'd advise you to take it. As a grown-up seeing one close up for the first time I understood what the words "terrifying beauty" really mean.
Walter L Wagner is a wingnut with a track record
This fella is a kook who has a track record of taking out court orders to stop the operation of particle accelerators. He's a real doctor (of biology) so he's hardly in a position to comment authoritatively on this subject.
Correlation != Causation
Two variables being positively or negatively correlated does not necessarily mean that there is a cause and effect relationship between them. They may be varying in response to another independent variable.
If you drive a Ferrari then you're highly likely to have a very nice house. These variables are correlated but there is no causation.
That the more intelligent a person is the less likey to belive in Yaweh/Allah/Zeus etc, is not in any doubt, many many studies have confimed this both in specific territories (yes, including the USA) and in global surveys. Of course there are exceptions to this, dumb atheists and smart god botherers but they are outliers.
I would personally advance the opinion that there IS a third variable, and that variable is the external pressure of society in the form of "one does what is most conformist in the society you are in because that uses the least energy" which critically, has a feedback effect. Atheism breeds atheism, religiosity breeds religiosity.
[...] The Patio Heater is the most dingbat idea ever created . How much warmth for a patio person in a bit a breeze- bugger all at best. [...]
Given that patio heaters work on radiated heat, the answer is "just as much as if there were not a breeze".
I think patio heaters are great. Very useful and a pleasure to bask beneath during the British Summer. They work extraordinarily well, and turn what would normally be an underused part of one's property in to a delightful place to be.
I certainly do appreciate that they use energy, and hence emit CO2. While some (perhaps most) people decry the wastefulness of these devices I do feel that that is simply because they lack the mental capacity to work out the relative placement of such a device within the overall energy use spectrum of a household.
If you want to change behavior so they're used less then lobby the government to make gas more expensive via a carbon tax. I'll continue to use mine but the plebs and poor people will be priced out of being able to use theirs and society as a whole will emit fewer tonnes of CO2 and at the same time be raising money which can be spent on non-CO2 emitting energy sources.
If you want to make people think the environmentist movement is filled with shrill daily mail readers, please continue as you are.
[...] They need all that power to check if a nuke is stale or fresh. Isn't there a boffin with a Geiger counter and a slide rule who could figure that one out? I mean if it's 10 megatons or 9.7 it isn't that important. [...]
It's a bit more complex than that. The "buildz yr ownz nuke!!1!" plans on teh intarwebs give the impression that nuclear weapons are quite simple beasts but today they have evolved in to startlingly complex things; following both the "maximum bang for minimum material (weight)" and "maximum bang for added complexity of <foo>" principles.
An example would be the enhanced yeild tricks fission->fusion->fission types where tritium is injected in to the heart of the fission reaction at /just/ the right moment to yeild a fusion reaction which, in turn, dumps enough neutrons out in to a third stage fission explosive - the whole thing timed just right so that first explosion hasn't reached (and destroyed) that final stage.
The age of the weapon isn't necessarily going to decrease it's yeild (although it might) it may be that it fizzles completely, explodes prematurely and therefore has a low yeild, or (worse of all possible worlds) has it's components mature (decay) in to products which are unstable or start to emit lethal levels of neutrons when brought close to each other.
The boffin with the slide rule would be able to say "yep, there is something in there which is radioactive" but little beyond that.
Personally, unpleasant though this subject is, I'd have preferred if the Reliable Replacement Warhead project had got approval. Dial-a-yeild, safe to handle and long lived.
Outcomes ARE local
[...]The outcome of gambling within an electronic device within the US is therefore a busted-flush as far as "online" is concerned. It's a gambling device with operational connections outside of the State it's based.[...]
While it is true, as you say, that casino slot machines are x86-based machines (Have a look at Heber and Densitron to name two manufactures of the cores) and it is also true that (some) systems managment is performed from off-site locations (See IGT's web site, they're the gorilla of the industry) it is not true to say that the outcome of the game being played is determined off-site. Each machine seeds a PRNG from a "true" RNG on board and uses that to determine the outcome (reel positions, video poker cards deal etc.) People are quite hot on that particular subject and you'd not get machine approval ("homologation in the parlance) for most juristictions if it were not that way.
There are, or rather were, situations where the outcome was decided off-site, specifically the Fixed-Odds Betting (video roulette being the most popular) machines in UK bookmakers although that's now been superceded by the new machine regulations in the 2005 Gambling Act.
The 777 has three, independently written (no communication between the teams) computer systems keeping it in the air. The redendant masters take advice from these and, if there is a disagreement or overly-long delay in presenting the data, discard the suspect input. Scream about the fact, and carry on flying the plane with one unit disabled.
The subsystems themselves (pumps and so on) are all instrumented so that their "I'm doing <foo> at <bar> RPM" or "I'm deflected at <baz> degrees" is independently verified by systems built specifically to detect control system errors.
Far from being terrifying, the equivalent of a BSOD on a modern airliner is expected and designed for.
I saw an excellent lecture on behavioural economics recently, and the subject of organ donation was examined. The essence of it all was that people will take the default option, regardless of what it is (donate or do not donate).
Given that, why on earth does the UK not move to an opt-out system? It should make no difference at all to the people who do not wish to give organs and would save hundreds of lives.
Russian pencil - it's a myth
Sorry kids but the russian pencil thing is an urban myth, and the "space pen" wasn't developed by the government but by a private company, it was handy for it though (and it didn't cost a million dollars).
Snopes, as ever, has the skinny;
I sympathise. Landing is HARD!
If you get hit in the eye by a bright light on approach then you will be uncomfortable and/or spooked. Your concentration will be shot and you've probably missed your place in the checklists. You should do a go-around and retry the approach.
Yes, the machine could probably land itself but the human pilot is there in case it does not. One flight in thousands they'll earn their money for the year by doing so.
A breach of the peace?
Isn't there some legal way one can rap the press over the knuckles with when they publish scare stories like this?
With the protectionism being talked about by the two Democrat candidates this kind of public airing of these issues can only be good for the US enconomy and, by extension, the rest of the world.
Like it or not, the US economy is one of the largest engines of growth in the world and that benefits us here in the UK. It'd be a lovely pipe dream to say that if the US took fewer H1Bs then a zero-sum model would place the benefit of their skills in other places (Britain for example) but that ignores the cluster effects of places like Silicon Valley.
You know, I'm actually starting to appreciate your commments. They provide a refreshing jolt of what I can only term "WTF!" reminding me to stop reading the Reg (slacking) and get on with my to-do list.
BTW, to satisfy my curiosity; was it a powerbook which ran off with your wife or a desktop mac?
"Is it me or are the people on this list to blame for economic problems? Surely it can't be good that a hand full of people own the economic production for a fair percentage of the world?"
Yes - it is just you. You're probably making the old student politics error of assuming that wealth is a non-zero sum game; that is if one person has more then another person has less. This is not the case.
Firstly, the non-zero sum proof:
Capatilism can be loosely defined as the transformation of goods or services from one value plane to another, for example if I grow potatoes I transform seeds to saelable potatoes with my land, water and labour. Where there was a few kilos of seeds at (say) a price of £100 I now have created a crop of potatoes worth £1,000. Enough to feed me, pay my expenses, reinvest in next years seeds and make a small profit. I have created wealth.
Were it a zero-sum game then we'd have a finite amount of wealth to go around, and given a the rapidly expanding population that we have we'd all be getting poorer. The fact that 1Bn chinese people have been lifted out of poverty in the last decade is eqally proof that wealth can be, and is, created.
Addressing "to blame for economic problems", not knowing precisely which problems you mean I'll give a couple of answers;
Famine, povery, war, high infant mortality et al can almost every time be blamed on bad government, although being land-locked as a country has quite a high effect too. The best round-up of the factors and routes out of economic pigmy status is probably The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier. It's a damn tragic book, but one that everyone should read.
At the other end of the developed-nation spectrum (economic problems) are largely and simply down to human nature. For some reason (greed, stupidity, poorly designed bonus schemes) people bought high-yeilding commercial paper (CDOs, CDO squared, MBSs and so on) without making the mental connection between high yeild and high risk. The "no free lunch" principle does apply, even in the world of complex derivatives. I'd recommend Traders, Guns and Money by Satyajit Das if you want to know more about that whole area of the world. (It's pretty damn, fascinating)
Buffett, quite the contrary to your assertation, has actually been trying to stabilise the commercial paper market by offering to buy one of the larger municipal bond insurers (although they did reject the offer) and in the last few weeks as reportedly insured US6bn worth of bonds under a company he's just set up. That, thankfully for a lot of US states, means that their cost of borrowing has been stabilised - something that was a big worry for a lot of people.
As other commenters have pointed out, Gates and Buffett are the biggest philanthropists the world has ever seen. The Google Guys have recently unveiled their own initiatives too, en passant.
(Mine's the one with the leather patches on the elbows... thanks...)
Re: ...they've only got the same problem as northern rock
Northern Rock didn't buy sub-prime debt. What they were doing was lending poeple money to buy houses and the source of that money was the inter-bank lending market. Typically those loans are in the 3-month range. When the loan period is over then the loan is repaid by taking out a new loan for the same amount. The income from the mortgages paid the interest on the loans.
When the sub-prime crisis hit all banks became wary about lending to each other as they had no real way of knowing how exposed everyone else was to this issue, and hence their credit worthiness. This led to a rapid spike increase in the interest rate that these types of loans were offered at.
It is that spike which precipitated the crisis at northern rock. NR found that it was unable to roll the loans forwards at an interest rate that it could repay from the monies it was recieving so it started to bite in to it's capital base (savings, essentially) The story hit the news and people started withdrawing their money from NR further reducing it's capital base. The credit worthiness of NR was now in serious doubt and no-one would lend to it. The crisis was now locked in, and the bank became insolvent.
So, while the sub-prime crisis was the trigger factor, it was not the precise cause. Ironically, if NR had securitised and sold off the UK consumer mortgage debt to the institutions buying sub-prime US mortgate debt (CDOs in the parlance) then it would have been immune to the crisis as the risk would have been transferred to the buyer.
Nothing to do with FB, but hey.
It's a good system, worth checking out if you've not tried it.
You may wish to give PG a shot if you're one of the many people who've started off with MySQL and found it "fine but a little limiting". It does have it's niggles (I've yet to find a RDMS which does not) but it means that you can push a lot of things down in to the database layer that would generally done in code with less fully featured databases.
Why is it that people still think of these things as zero-sum games (If I take out 4 slices of pizza that means someone else only gets two) rather than what they truly are which are non-zero sum games (If I borrow 12 slices of pizza then I can manufacture 7 more, keep 4 for myself and pay someone two to work for me and return 13 to the guy I borrowed from). Instead we get the sudent politics version of economics; "if you get more then that must mean that I will get less"
Private equity has been a positive force on business (and therefore the UK econmomy and therefore the people who live here). There are swathes of independent studies to back that assertation up, trawl through The Economist archives if you want to read them, particularly the "Buttonwood" and "Economics Focus" sections.
We should all also remember that private equity companies are, by defenition, already in things for the long run. The whole point of PE is taking a company off the public markets, kicking the existing management team out on their arses for running it badly and implementing the often painful changes needed to make that company profitable (and therefore able to continue to employ most of the workers) before selling it back to the markets for (hopefully) a fat profit.
Perhaps being good at your job, and having the brains to study and locate the jobs that pay the most for your time is now a bad thing and we should punish these smart kids as a warning to anyone else who has similar thoughts.
PH - I'd expect the same level of thought from her.