* Posts by Charles 9

3877 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

NASA: Satellite which will END man-made CO2 debate in orbit at last

Charles 9
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Re: The Butterfly effect.

How confident is NASA that their historical data is as accurate as their current data and that either set of data is not misread or miscalibrated in some way. The article you cite does not describe HOW they come to their findings (the specific sources of all their data). Did they take oceanic CO2 concentrations into consideration or the idea that melting ice could itself release CO2?

As for the Tacoma-Narrows bridge collapse, we know more now than we knew then. The phenomenon isn't as complicated as you make it out to be. We know describe the phenomenon as "flutter". After an airliner broke up mid-flight due to flutter, we learned more about natural metal flexibility when exposed to steady wind and how this flex can somehow oscillate in a resonant frequency resulting in accelerated metal fatigue. We now design things so as to increase bracing at key points to as to prevent flutter (modern airliners and the replacement Tacoma-Narrows Bridge are both built sturdier to prevent another incident of flutter).

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Charles 9
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Re: now hope for some volcanoes

"Wrong. Humans produce about 5% of the annual CO2 emisions into the atmosphere."

And that's one reason we can't agree. One side says the contribution is immense (over 50%) while the other says it's insignificant (only 5%), and BOTH sides cite evidence and claim their percentage as fact. How is this possible?

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Charles 9
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Re: "denialists"

I don't because if that were true, a graph of actual temperatures would be flat or downward-sloping AND would be consistent throughout the world. Last I checked, neither is the case. It's still going up, just more slowly.

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Charles 9
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Re: On the gripping hand..

"We are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. In huge amounts. This is not something that's in doubt, we are burning stuff and producing CO2."

I have to ask. Is it really, REALLY that huge compared to natural phenomenon such as spontaneous fires and animal respiration? Can someone produce some concrete numbers that compare 150 years of human combustion to natural sources? And what about counter-reactions like photosynthesis? Wouldn't increased CO2 be offset by increased plant activity? Why is the CO2 such that plants, diatoms, and such can't keep up?

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Charles 9
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Re: debate settler?

Speaking of which, I once heard of a port town (in Greece, I think) that's no longer a port town because the water's moved several kilometers away. I've never seen a debate over how that happened or even the name of the place. Could someone perhaps elaborate?

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Charles 9
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Re: CO2 off the scale...

How? The sensors IIRC are all at the head of the rocket while all the exhaust would be shooting out the tail and away from the rocket.

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Charles 9
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Well, according to the company, they're only a couple steps away. Inking agreements with chip makers means they're close to the manufacturing stage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Price/speed/capacity/power

I'm personally curious about long-term static longevity issues. Consumer backup technology is currently standing a touch precariously, as I've had unusual experiences with spinning rust and finnicky controllers.

If the tech is about to hit the streets, bully. For once, an article about technology we'll soon be able to actually use. At the very least, we'll be able to see some concrete numbers.

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Toyota catches up to William Gibson with LED hood

Charles 9
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Don't mix your Ghost in the Shell with your Metal Gear. In Ghost in the Shell it's known as thermoptic camouflage because it also conceals heat. Octocam IIRC is the Metal Gear counterpart.

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Charles 9
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Re: Attention getter

Depends on the jurisdiction. Some won't allow ANY animated or active-display advertisement on a moving vehicle (some won't allow them, period). I also noted its potential for ads, though I suspect the tech would be better suited for commercial vehicles like vans.

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NASA's Curiosity rover brought Earth BUG to Mars

Charles 9
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The problem is that formal verification only works for a very narrow implementation. Break the environmental conditions in any way and you lose the assurance of that formal verification. And as of yet, I haven't seen a formal verification of any program in a real-world networked environment.

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Daddy, what will you do in the new security wars?

Charles 9
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Re: In the home arena...

Problem is, that's the foolproof fallacy, and I'm sure most of us can refer to a quote by Douglas Adams concerning "the ingenuity of complete fools". And remember, some people have trouble remembering passwords (some have trouble with PINs). The big issue is that a computer, sitting inside someone's domicile, cannot be licensed (unlike a car that has to drive on public roads). There's no way to reliable ensure that the person sitting at the computer at any given time is actually competent enough to use it correctly.

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Traffic lights, fridges and how they've all got it in for us

Charles 9
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Re: No they haven't

"No-one will ever accept their supplies to be owned like their entertainment device is .."

And if they don't have a choice...?

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Charles 9
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Re: Liability

And they have justification. ANYTHING that a human interacts with can be subject to human error. ANY such legislation will have the manufacturers crying foul over being held liable for other people's faults. And it can be hard to tell the difference between a genuine fault and a PEBKAC, and you need to know which so as to point the blame (and the bill).

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Charles 9
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Re: Antisocial people

I put it this way: whereas most people live on food and water, some can only survive on schadenfreude. They're not happy unless everyone else is miserable.

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Charles 9
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Re: Free Software is a requirement

That's impossible. Many of the IoT items have trade secrets attached to them, usually protected by patents. Free software can do sod all against trade secrets OR patents (this is one of the big stumbling blocks concerning Linux and Android device support). Unless someone is altruistic enough to design an IoT item AND release the specs to the public (and you can forget about the law forcing them--these kinds of people would just move out), everything's going to be locked up tighter than a miser's purse. AND YOU WILL LOVE IT, TOO (if you value your life).

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T-Mobile boss: 'High and mighty' Verizon and AT&T are 'raping you for every penny you have'

Charles 9
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Re: TMo Prepaid rocks

I've tried their prepaid plans but have since gone back to their traditional service (month-to-month in other parts of the world) because only those plans have WiFi Calling (great in buildings) and Visual Voicemail (prepaid plans tend to lack both this and the Call Forwarding you need to employ a third party).

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Charles 9
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Re: Probable solution - a smart fridge and a dumb fridge in one.

There's also the issues of (1) having big (milk jugs) and small (butter carton) items together in the same carousel, wasting space, not to mention (2) the need to get more than one item at once in a hurry.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sorry, had to downvote you.

What if it's MEANT to be fuzzy, like a peach?

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IoT cup claims 'instant' identification of what's in it

Charles 9
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Actually, this may have a use.

How do you KNOW what you're drinking is what you're drinking? If it's as precise as it claims, it could perhaps be used to identify a spiked, dilute, or otherwise improper drink.

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Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof

Charles 9
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Re: Turing Test 2.0

I hope you're joking, since you chose a Pint over a Joke Alert.

They're SUPPOSED to guess (there are no false claims; just lousy guesses). That's the point of the test: the judge has to INFER (read: guess) whether or not the other end is human or not, based on the conversation. It's like playing To Tell The Truth: the imposters are trying to trick the panel into picking them instead of the real person. Why do we need to kill whoever's wrong? The judge doesn't know better (because he HAS to guess), and win or lose the software people get data for improving the AI.

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Charles 9
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OK, so perhaps we can agree that the Turing Test as we see it now is a little broad. Still it's an interesting step, and now that this step's been cleared, we can tighten the test: give it new conditions and call it the Revised Turing Test. Starting with the baseline of fooling at least 30% of the humans after a five-minute conversation, let's say we say the machine must simulate someone roughly analogous to the human (someone of the same age group and gender, so the program must be adaptable from person to person) with a comparable grasp of the human's language (this means the machine has to be able to understand language-based subtleties like puns). Perhaps in future revisions, we can include a requirement for using vocal communication and so on. So instead of dwelling on the past, we set ever-harder challenges for the future.

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Cisco: You think the internet is clogged with video now? Just wait until 2018

Charles 9
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Re: Enough already

Actually, it's one, two, three, many, many-one, many-two...many-many-many-three, lots.

In any event, if something is so big that we have to go beyond yotta, perhaps it would be simpler to give up on prefixes and go straight to scientific notation (if not sooner).

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Restaurant chain uses CARBON PAPER to fight credit card hack

Charles 9
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How soon before the restaurant becomes victim of a spate of counterfeit card transactions because (surprise) imprinters cannot verify on the fly? Which if I recall is one reasons imprinters aren't used anymore unless you are WAY out of the way in a place where telephone, if not electricity, are not guaranteed.

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Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING, cries mobe research dude

Charles 9
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Re: It just isn't available in the UK

I hear they're not that expensive these days. Samsung-brand TecTiles sell for under $10 for a pack of 5, and there are probably cheaper options. I'd consider that low enough to say, "Sod printing them."

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Charles 9
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Re: "help win over more tight-fisted consumers"

Then you ask the impossible. Not even CASH is foolproof (remember counterfeit notes?).

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Charles 9
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Re: How can you give up on something which hasnt been released

That USED to be the case, due to the requirement for a secure element, but Android 4.4 KitKat now supports Host Card Emulation, which doesn't require it. If your phone has NFC and KitKat, Google Wallet SHOULD work for you (YMMV, I hear it's not so cut-and-dry).

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Charles 9
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I think the BIG big obstacle isn't Apple. It's the big retailers. Walmart has sworn off the tech (because they want control), Target hasn't adopted it, neither Home Depot nor Lowe's accept it. And while I notice it's still available at Best Buy, your usual purchase there is too big to make it under the contactless transaction limits. Furthermore, many retailers are DROPPING the tech. Kroger's dropped the tech. So has 7-Eleven.

In many cases, it's a lack of trust in the technology combined with security skittishness. Besides, US retailers are in the midst of a PIN Pad refresh as banks try (again) to get us on Chip-and-PIN. Unless all the C&P have contactless built in, I would say this is the last straw for contactless in all but a few places.

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Charles 9
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Re: Took ages to convince my parents...

No, the out of the box settings ARE the optimal settings. Tweak ANYTHING and you'll only make it worse. Change it back to the original settings AFTER tweaking them and they still won't return to their original speed. No, you HAVE to nuke them from orbit. If nuking's not an option, I just declare the machine SOL. "That's as fast as it's going to go, it'll slow down over time, and not even nuking it will make a difference." I find Linux is a non-option because EVERYONE has some piece of software that MUST run on genuine Windows (WINE doesn't work on them), and they make THAT piece of software a prerequisite for a completed job.

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Verizon threatens Netflix in video lag blame game

Charles 9
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Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

Verizon could counter the numbers are doctored and show THEIR OWN P+T logs that show THE EXACT OPPOSITE. Then it becomes a case of he said-he said, and the judge probably lacks the ability to figure out who (if any) is lying.

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Boffins: How to generate crypto-keys using a smartphone – and quantum physics

Charles 9
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Re: 10^18 times the life of the universe to crack?

Only thing is that half of a big fat number is still a big fat number: in this case, 5 * 10^17. It's like with those big lotteries. Sure, you slash the odds with each additional ticket, but the odds are still pretty crazy. And there's no easy way to reduce the all-important exponent to the extent that it becomes feasible within our lifetime.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bunkum: digital noise will adversely affect the randomeness

Actually, some random number generators RELY on that digital noise to produce entropy. These systems, however, recognize the potential for patterns which is why they tend to bleach the raw data to get rid of those biases. I've done this very thing using webcams, and while not all webcams are created equal, a couple different bleaching passes usually produces quite acceptable results.

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Charles 9
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Re: It may be random but is it unbiased?

Most random number generators that use real-world inputs tend to apply a little "bleaching" or "whitening" to the raw input to help trim out any unintentional biases. It's also possible to run the inputs through assorted randomness tests to see if the stuff passes muster.

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Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! 3D HOLO-PHONE hinted in Amazon vid

Charles 9
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Re: re: 3D Holographic display

Last I checked, those holograms can't be done in arbitrary colors due to the nature of the diffraction gratings. That's why reflection holograms (which also rely on diffraction) show up as a rainbow of colors rather than in a fixed presentation.

@OrsonX; Pretty cute, actually. Though as someone else noted, that may not sound too safe. Plus there's the matter of atmospheric disturbances and so on. If someone can pull off this kind of trick in a vacuum (IOW, an approach that doesn't cook matter in so doing), then we might see better progress.

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Pixar frees its production-grade RenderMan software

Charles 9
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Re: The economics

Or they could be evolving to a module architecture the way Daz 3D is now. Their studio is free, but if you want to do anything serious with it, you're going to need one or ten different modules to go along with it...

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Glassholes beware: This guy's got your number

Charles 9
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Re: I wonder what this does...

After all, camera shades have existed long before Google Glass. Even a number of years ago, the kind of camera shades that could rival those specced in Transmetropolitan were around and required no networking (they used MicroSD). Completely self-contained and very hard to distinguish it as anything other than a pair of glasses. Fit them with prescription lenses and you can make a legal case for keeping them on everywhere (corrective lenses required for normal function), meaning someone can have a spycam no owner can force off. So what now?

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Google Glass? Feh. Behold Dyson's 2001 pocket 'puter techno specs with own 'Siri'

Charles 9
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Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

I thought the biggest problem was simulation sickness caused by the virtual scene moving but you not moving (basically seasickness in reverse).

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Charles 9
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Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

It's not like Sega was inexperienced in the 3D realm. Their Master System (aka Mark III) had shutter glasses as an expensive add-on that IIRC only really worked with two games. I don't think they feared stupid players but rather people unwilling to shell out.

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Congressman pitches bill to disarm FCC in net neutrality warfare

Charles 9
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Re: If this bill gets anywhere close to passing...

My guess is you're likely correct on that, but the true differences between elected Democrats and Republicans is very slim, the rest mostly a facade for the people they represent. They all more or less seem to obey whoever pays the most money bribing lobbying, with one member recently confirming what we already knew, regarding patent reform.

Thing is, the two parties cater to two different sets of "big business". That's why there are sides. On the Republican side are the old guard: companies like Comcast, CBS, and Time Warner, among others, who all benefit from the status quo since they produce content on traditional media. They're trying to borg the Internet by using their libraries of existing media as blackmail. On the Democratic side are companies like Google and Netflix, companies who are getting into the media business through new channels such as the Internet. They're trying to block the borging and marginalize traditional content by creating content of their own. Perhaps because they lack the muscle, but I'm surprised the new guard haven't tried to directly attack copyright terms as being too greedy. With that approach, they can get new fodder by liberating old "classic" content from copyright owners.

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Charles 9
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I don't think they care. Frankly, I think the real goal is to remove "common carrier" regulations altogether: not just on the Internet but in telephone, too. Remember, diehard Republicans are really Libertarian minarchists: they want as little regulations as possible and if you die as a result, well, Darwin ruled against you.

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Charles 9
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Re: If this bill gets anywhere close to passing...

Odds are the bill will be construed so as to bar the Internet (and perhaps even telephone) from being classed as a common carrier at all. For that matter, they may just remove the "common carrier" designation altogether and completely defang the FCC. Anything the FCC tried can be negated by the act, since the FCC's powers come from the Telecommunications Act, and as long as they're not retroactive, they can be applied legally.

But this bill will go nowhere. It'll likely never get through the Senate. Even if it did it probably wouldn't make it through Conference Committee, nor get passed AGAIN. Finally, President Obama would likely veto the bill, and neither house is united enough on this bill to override it.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Charles 9
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Re: In a perfect world...

Most mice have a wheel these days. That wheel acts as the third button when you push it in.

I recall that larger paper trays raise the risk of jamming because of the tolerances involved. If the feeder tray has no spring, then the pickup mechanism has to be able to reach lower while a spring-loaded tray needs to have a wider range of motion. Both of these raise the chances of the pickup going wrong, resulting in the dreaded paper jam. Enterprise printers are built for the higher work loads, yes, but they're correspondingly more expensive.

Is there reason you MUST use a genuine serial port. Is the timing or something else that tight that a common USB-to-serial adapter doesn't work?

I won't comment on network bridges at this time, but consider that negotiating the protocols you mentioned may involve necessary complexity that could be precluding the use of low-energy hardware.

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Charles 9
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Re: Anti-spam

But if you require stateful e-mail, you remove the ability to post anonymously, don't you? It's a tradeoff. Allow anonymous e-mail and you allow for spam. Don't, and you remove the ability to conceal one's identity when the need actually arises.

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Charles 9
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Re: an affordable, clever, home amplifier that "gets" the internet and Hifi

The problem with having stuff built-in is that tech moves on, leaving the amp behind. Keeping the music source separated from the amp gives you amp more life. It's like with the TVs. One of the request is a "dumb" TV with a lot of inputs. That way, if tech moves on, it should be able to keep up as long as the connections do.

BTW, I was thinking along the lines of digital uplinks to the amp. It may depend on the setup, but I think it's possible to send music from an Android through the A2DP profile to a receiver with minimal loss of quality because the music should be transmitted all-digital. The idea is let something else receive the music off the net or whatever and feed it to the amp in a nice clean format.

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Charles 9
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Re: Palm Sync

It got better with WiFi-enabled Palms since you didn't even need to cradle them to sync them. You can call a sync right from the program.

I think some analogut to HotSync is available for download on Android, but much like with different collaboration programs on Windows, there isn't one format to rule them all, and they're competing so will never agree to a standard.

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Charles 9
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Re: Passwords consigned to history.

Considering how prevalent physical identity theft is (get mugged, your IDs stolen), I don't think you'd want any kind of fob. And biometrics can't be altered in case someone manages to duplicate your bio-signature.

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Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the WORST

Charles 9
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Re: California drivers inept?

You want a REAL test? Try a major southeast Asian city, like Manila. There you have all the worst things you can imagine: impromptu roadblocks, snap constructions, flimsy guardrails, and roads filled with drivers who never seem to obey any kind of signage or road marking (probably because most roads, even multi-lane ones, are unmarked). Heck, good luck finding a traffic light. Oh, did I forget to mention all the different methods of transport that use the same stretch of asphalt, including pedestrians, bicycles, human- and animal-drawn carts, and all sorts of improvised vehicles that would be practically alien to any outsider?

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Charles 9
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Re: Of course it won't fly

The thing about trains and airplanes is that they have a lot attached to them and operate in environments where, if they fail, they tend to fail badly. In the actuarial world, that's called "low-probability, high-consequence". IOW, planes statistically are safer than cars BUT when a plane DOES go wrong, 9 times out of 10 it isn't pretty. Can you say the same about a car, even an automated one?

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Charles 9
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Re: Tell me I’m wrong.

But then, not even the ROADS obey the rules all the time. Think spontaneous incidents: unmarked holes in the road, kids or animals suddenly darting in front of you in a road with no swerve space, a tree begins to fall on the road (We can see the tree is falling and react before it actually blocks; how will the car hold out on something that irregular?), blackouts that take out the traffic lights or other situations where the traffic control isn't done by a machine but by a human using gestures or signs that may not even be well-coordinated.

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Charles 9
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Because of tunnels and urban canyons, GPS systems usually carry these neat little things called accelerometers. Any Android phone worth its salt carries a set, too. Even if the GPS signal is lost, the mapper can use the accelerometers to compensate until it gets the signal back. It's pretty old tech at that. Submarines have relied on similar tech for decades since any form of radio navigation falls flat underwater.

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