* Posts by Charles 9

4481 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Charles 9
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Re: @Dogged

I've looked into the algal oil experiments. According to estimates, the current limit of the technology is 1,000 gallons per acre per year. Your typical fighter jet, variables depending, can easily burn up over 2,000 gallons of jet fuel per sortie. Which leaves me concerned about the long-term viability of this technology given how active the USAF and USN are with their jets.

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Charles 9
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Unless those alternatives are ALSO poor in EROEI since with EROEI you have to look at the ENTIRE production chain, including mining, extracting, manufacturing, maintenance, and any regulatory cleanups inherent with the associated processes.

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Charles 9
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Re: All computing is not yet small or cheap

Mainframe computing's mostly moved to cluster computing. Instead of a big, honking piece of customized hardware, you can throw a bunch of commodity or at least standardized units at a problem. Granted, sometimes even that doesn't give you the performance you need, but the solutions Google and such provide against the PC atmosphere are less revolutionary and more evolutionary.

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Charles 9
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Re: Consumption is not the same as production

"Soviet fleet in Straits of Hormuz?"

OK, how would they explain a Russian fleet patrolling the Atlantic? Fracking exports from the Western Hemisphere would be tough for the Russians to block without looking even more awkward.

That's the point. The more potential sources of oil there are, the less likely any one power can corner the market.

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Charles 9
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Re: Price of oil

It still applies in broad. If you can get oil from an assortment of disparate locations, then what happens in one part of the world isn't likely to affect things in the other locations. A geographical version of diversification, if you will.

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Charles 9
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Re: Consumption is not the same as production

Mr. Putin cannot turn off a non-Russian tap. Plus if shale reserves are as diverse as hoped, that could reduce the transport issue as well.

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Charles 9
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Re: Price of oil

They are to an extent, but if more players enter the game, it becomes harder for politics to game the price.

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Charles 9
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Sure it was. IBM served the PC industry around 1980 what OPEC does now...or the DeBeers diamond cartel. Thing is, all three faced or are facing disruption from suppliers they can't control.

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If cities want to run their own broadband, let 'em do it, Prez Obama tells FCC

Charles 9
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Re: pouring billions into US broadband infrastructure ...

In one of the BIGGEST countries in the world, you may note. Geography affects rollout costs, and the heart of the US isn't exactly teeming with people. I'm having trouble finding ANY country of a comparable size that has fared any better with universal rollout.

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Charles 9
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I thought part of the problem wasn't regulations but contracts imposed by ISPs simply for getting the service to these rural communities. Given the terrible RoI on rural hookups, many ISPs won't do it without exclusivity agreements (guaranteed RoI, IOW). How would any new regulation get around basic contract law?

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Charles 9
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Re: Surprised how many people point out the laws this would break

But many of them have international agreements attached to them if not outright treaties. Those CAN'T be changed without international repercussions. For example, if England wants to access records in a country where the data MUST be encrypted in order to be exported, they're stuck.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ironic

"And all it takes to defeat this surveillance is for the terrorists to make their plans face to face, rather than via text message."

And recall the Al Queda was properly paranoid in that respect. They met indoors to avoid satellites and face to face to avoid eavesdropping. About the only way we got to bin Laden was by subverting the nigh-unbreakable inner circle. IOW, we just got lucky.

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Charles 9
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Re: Galileo...

"I have studied the trial of Galileo but I do not see the connection."

Simple: Can you REALLY stop people testing conventional wisdom? Even when Galileo was shut up, his knowledge simply moved into Protestant territory where the Church had no sway.

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Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'

Charles 9
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Re: "Our AI systems must do what we want them to do"

"If you ask me, for AI to earn the 'I', it must be able to 'understand' and handle situations and objects of which it has no prior experience or specific rules. As humans, we do this by analysing parts that we recognise but haven't necessarily seen together and weigh up whether what we know about one object (e.g. the behaviour of a person) is more important that what we know about another object (e.g. the location). We make a 'judgement call'. Or, we try to understand a situation or object be analogy with another situation or object we are familiar with."

But like with the end of 2001, what happens when the AI, which would likely have less experience to draw from than an adult human, encounters something totally outside our realm of understanding? Indeed, what happens when WE encounter the same: something for which NOTHING in our experience and knowledge can prepare us.

Or on a similar note, paradoxical instructions. In our case, we have to take conflicting instructions on a case by case basis, determining (sometimes by intuition, something AIs would probably lack) which if any of the conflicting rules apply. Example: You're told to put stuff in the corner of a circular room (meaning no corners), and there's no one around to clarify. What do we expect an AI to do when it receives a paradoxical or conflicting instruction?

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Charles 9
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Re: It does beg the question

Which then asks an interesting question: given that customers need money to buy stuff, and without jobs they don't make the money they need to buy stuff, when you have AIs running everything, who's going to buy the stuff made by the machines these AIs run?

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DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

Charles 9
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Re: Take security seriously

Question is, what if 90 days isn't enough for ASAP? Suppose the big is intertwined such that fixing it is like untying a Gordian knot?

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Charles 9
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Re: What's Google afraid of?

That would've been a deal-breaker for the carriers, especially when Android was just getting on its feet.

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Charles 9
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But what happens when you get hit with a "drop everything" Ultra Critical? How much time can you REALLY spare then?

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Charles 9
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Re: 90 days are 90 days

You want to know how quickly they can REALLY turn out a patch? See them react to an Ultra Critical bug already in the wild.

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Charles 9
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Re: Would a car buyer complain about the space the engine takes up?

"Charles - logical and virtual partitioning is fine, but a physical partition, or one that is fixed at system compile time (or SYSGENs as this horrible mechanism was called on IBM) is a very bad idea. Modern computing moved on from that. You mean Android really goes backwards and does that (aside from Dalvik making registers visible to programmers - a really bad, but common idea)."

Yes, they do, for security reasons. Mainly, /system, under normal operation, is mounted read-only. This is one of the chief reasons hacks need root access: to be able to remount /system read/write so as to make the necessary changes. As for moving on, we haven't. A physical partition is still limited to the size of the media. Now, logical partitions can work around it, but that normally takes level of sophistication not present (or needed) in your average mobile device.

"Partitioning is static and is known to waste resources, particularly memory. Customers aren't happy when their disk space runs out and there is heaps of free wasted space because the OS can't make use of it."

Then you should've heard some of the howls of protest when the S4 came out. Take mine: a baseline 16GB. About 2.5GB of it is partitioned /system, some of it /data, /cache, etc. Leaving us about 9GB free. I get around it with an SDXC card, but Apple users don't have that luxury. Basically, partitioning, especially on mobile devices, is a necessary evil. Trying to monkey with them is considered high-risk since the architectures involved are rather sensitive to where things are stored. So, if you have to partition to fixed sizes, why not segregate the OS onto another chip with additional safeguards and so on? To Android and the system at large, it shouldn't be able to tell the difference.

"Your PS is confusing two things. Programs are loaded into the same RAM memory as data. This is the von Neumann model. However, a program should not be treated as data itself which can be overwritten (except in a virtual environment like LISP and descendants).

If a program can overwrite program code, that results in all sorts of security breaches."

It's also sometimes the only way to achieve some kinds of speed optimizations. Treating programs as data is the basic remit of the compiler, and for a JIT compiler, it has to be able to compile it and then run it in the same context. Sure, there's the risk of security breaches, but that's the tradeoff of using self-modifying code.

I'm simply saying that the von Neumann argument isn't part of the discussion. We're discussing partitioning and the reservation of OS space such that it's not included as part of the advertised space, not the segregation of code and data.

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Charles 9
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Re: Would a car buyer complain about the space the engine takes up?

"Partitioning is a bad thing (I believe IBM still sets up their systems this way - separate partitions for programs in main memory - when I asked someone last year. I'd hope he is wrong).

So that idea of separate partition for OS is not practical of flexible. We like to keep flexibility in computing, even if it means overhead."

You may be interested to know Android's /system directory (where all the critical OS stuff normally is including the system apps) is normally housed in a separate logical partition from the /data directory (which is where all the user apps and data go), and this is in turn kept in a separate partition from the rest of the internal memory that's normally left to the user.

If they can be kept on a separate logical partition, they can be kept on a separate physical partition just as easily.

PS. The von Neumann vs. Harvard argument was the idea of separating code and data. von Neumann won because of the realization that code itself can be considered data (self-modifying code and JIT compilers spring to mind—neither are possible in a Harvard architecture).

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Charles 9
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Re: Would a car buyer complain about the space the engine takes up?

"Software that takes up non-volatile storage space is the norm. It is just too complex to measure it another way."

Well, whatever happened to TWO nonvolatile stores: one for the OS that ISN'T counted, and one for the user space which IS counted? Over-provision the OS space by say 50% and it should have plenty of space to handle enough updates to survive its working life. And given how tiny Micro SD cards are, I don't buy the lack of space argument, which is the only practical one there is.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Vic (was: The storage is there, as advertised.)

Plus, in the context I was describing (~1990), computers were expected to have VGA-compatible video hardware installed to be practical (either to use Windows 3 or for games). This pretty much means the video hardware is safely assumed to be present, which means the BIOS mapped the video memory and made the stuff above 0xA0000 reserved. Until the publication of the DPMI and the arrival of protected-mode DOS extenders in the early 90's, there was no practical way around the limitation. Thus all the HIMEM juggling I distinctly remember back then. How many of us remember trying to load up a DOS game and getting rejected with a "Not enough memory" error? How many remember all those READMEs and addenda that noted you may need to juggle with your system settings to get software to work?

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Charles 9
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Re: The storage is there, as advertised.

"Most likely, the people pushing this lawsuit, including their lawyers, are too young to remember floppy disks, let alone personal computers where "mass storage" consisted entirely of floppy disks, with no hard drive at all."

IIRC, floppy disks weren't considered "mass storage," as in storage of large amounts (a mass) of data, and the title didn't catch on until the first hard disk capable of holding several floppies worth of data at once.

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Charles 9
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Re: Would a car buyer complain about the space the engine takes up?

Then how about this? The interior of the car has 10 m^3, but the seats and dash occupy 4-5 m^3 of it. At some point, this smacks of "half the truth, twice the lie." That's why court testimony and such always demands "the whole truth." Why shouldn't we demand the same of advertisements? And while we're at it, demand that all testimonials espouse typical rather than atypical results.

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Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

Charles 9
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Re: Nuremberg Code

If there are known biological effects attributable to Tetra specifically, then perhaps you can cite us the peer-reviewed clinical studies that can prove these effects.

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Charles 9
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Re: Push-to-talk latency

As is "Wilco" which is radio shorthand for "Will Comply" and basically means "I will comply with the instructions/orders just given."

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Our EXCLUSIVE VID of MIRACLE TECH: Charge your phone in 16 SECONDS – WIRELESSLY

Charles 9
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Re: Great vid...

These days, I use external USB battery packs. They're not constrained by the size of the phone (meaning you now have bricks in the neighborhood of 20Ah) and, best of all, don't require the phone to be turned off to use.

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US govt opens door to Google The Cellphone Network

Charles 9
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I'm more curious about the spectrum auctions in the 1.7GHz range. AFAICT, the natures of these bands seem to preclude opening up LTE Band III, the most-internationally-consistent band, because the first auction is just below the range while the second is within, and nothing is mentioned of the 1.8GHz band needed for the other part of the FDD pair. Does this seem consistent with you?

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So: Will we get net neutrality? El Reg decodes FCC boss Tom Wheeler

Charles 9
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Re: eat this

Grant County, WA is a testbed community. It only has high-speed broadband because iFiber Communications chose to use that area to deploy an experimental fiber network. Most likely, they're trying something that may not pan out in a denser area; otherwise, they could've easily gone just a little bit west and deployed in the Seattle metropolitan area which happens to include tech-oriented Redmond.

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Charles 9
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Re: In another 10 years

Maybe not with SD in its current physical dimensions, but perhaps some successor specification, thicker and perhaps a little larger to accommodate 3D Flash and slightly larger chips.

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Charles 9
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"It's a bad idea to use one of these cards by itself for storage."

Most savvy users realize this. The SD card is meant as a transport medium, not a storage medium, though one exception is phones and tablets, where Micro SD becomes a storage medium for noncritical or backup data.

In any event, the idea is the SD card is only used as a temporary hold for a recording/shooting session. In my case, when I get back to "base," one of the first things I do is take out the card and insert it into my laptop's SD slot, whereupon I offload the contents to a more-permanent storage device. I organize simply by dumping each session into a folder with the date on it. Once it's done and verified, I can slap the card back in the camera, wipe it, and be ready for the next session. And just in case one wears out, I keep a second one as a fallback. By the time it wears out, I'll have already bought a replacement.

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Charles 9
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Re: Waterproof...

I say with 3D flash on the cards, there's a likelihood of SDXC hitting the 2TB capacity limit in a few years. At which point SD will need to figure out which letter to use next for the next capacity specification. And let's hope this time they settle for a less-encumbered filesystem (though for lack of ubiquitous alternatives, my money for now's on NTFS--any other format and Windows will need a filesystem driver).

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Samsung’s SUPER-speedy SSD is a real power-sipper

Charles 9
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Re: Surely about the same power usage as the previous gen?

Based on the stats and the article, it's somewhere in between "more performance for the same power consumption" and "the same performance for less power consumption". It has somewhat better performance than before while also using less power than its predecessor.

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Charles 9
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Re: Use of words

No, they got it right. They're saying it would take the reading of a total of 450MB of sequential data for the device to consume 1W of power and 250MB for writing. Meaning it's probably able to selectively power storage chips up and down as needed. A random operation would require more chips to be online at a time, reducing the power efficiency somewhat, but perhaps you get the picture now.

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Charles 9
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Re: And again !!!

It's not like Samsung isn't prepping something for phone applications. I believe that's where their 3D Flash efforts will end up. It may not be uber-fast, but it will be compact.

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By the power of Xbox, WE HAVE THE POWER! - Leakers publish One's SDK

Charles 9
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Re: Numpty Scrub

"When I bought my current 760GTX 18odd months ago it was over £300, now they retail for £200 (for the 4GB version). Since the AC I originally trolled replied to mentioned "the next 8 years" of the PS4 pwning the XBox One because of a better GPU, I'm pretty sure that less than 8 years will be required to be able to build a gaming PC using a 980GTX (or equivalent) for $400; $100 for the GPU, $200 for the CPU, mobo, RAM and case, and $100 for the Windows license."

But by then the PS4 will ALSO cost much less. PS3's started at $500 and are now around $200 depending on the model. Similarly, a PS4 will always undercut the PC, meaning my statement still stands. A $400 budget today would reduce to $200 in four years time, and even today a $200 budget is tricky just to get a decent mobo/CPU/RAM combo, let alone the video card (and I've checked).

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Charles 9
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"At the very outside surely it would be possible to have the thing boot into "developer mode" or similar where online services are restricted, but you can run whatever code you like with the proviso that this is unsupported and you're on your own if you break it. Hell, even then it wouldn't be so hard to keep a "restore to factory settings" partition hidden away somewhere so you can at least put it back the way it came out of the box if you _do_ balls it up somehow."

As the OtherOS fiasco showed, give a hacker just an inch, they'll use that inch to wedge the gates wide open. ANY form of "offline mode" will be exploited, hacked, and so on to MAKE it online-capable again. And given that someone was willing to employ over $200K worth of hardware to attack the Trusted Platform Module, all it would take is ONE person with that kind of hardware and time on his hands to ruin the parade for everyone. So the only way to keep the walled garden relatively tight is to construct is solid, with no portals whatsoever.

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Charles 9
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Re: All you need to know is just one click away

OK...now pull all that off from scratch...on a $400 budget.

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Charles 9
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Re: Microsoft already has the console specific keys as they are generated during manufacturing.

Either way. Point is the private key never leaves the console (and more than likely never leaves the blackbox unit it's stored--it's basically like execute-only memory).

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Charles 9
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Point remains. It's still well-known, even if it's proprietary, compared to say a reverse-spun DVD or the like. This virtual hard drive format is probably an encrypted version of the Virtual Hard Disk used in Virtual PC.

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Hey, bacteria: Resistance is FUTILE – boffins grow new super-antibiotic

Charles 9
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I wish to elaborate some of the details overlooked in the writeup:

THE GOOD:

The antibiotic works in a novel way by bonding not to proteins but to lipids: namely, two lipids vital to building bacterial cell walls. This is the mechanism that makes it so resistance-resistant, as cell walls are much more complex things. Trying to evolve around it is much more likely to result in side effects resulting in evolutionary dead ends. So a bacterium that tries to work around it is pretty likely to die in the attempt. Furthermore, this represents a potential new branch of antibiotic research, meaning this may well be only the beginning. It is also a vindication of the technique used to culture the substance: one that requires the specific envorinmental conditions present in soil as opposed to a culture.

THE BAD:

This only works on Gram-positive bacteria. The outer membrane that makes Gram-negative bacteria not accept the violet Gram stain also allows it to repel teixobactin. While staph is Gram-positive, E.coli and salmonella are Gram-negative.

THE UGLY:

While this new novel substance seems safe to mammallian cells, human tests are still some time off. Furthermore, there is still no guarantee some mutation down the road can't beat the odds and produce a teixobactin-immune cell wall that is still viable. There is also the question of whether or not this can be defended by other bacterial defenses such as biofilms (which have become notable as being able to survive exposure to concentrated bleach and even gasses).

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Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Charles 9
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Re: Big time fail for Telcos?

"Monopolies live in their own world where they expect customers to pay whatever they want to charge. Seems that they have forgot about how a customer sees it."

Thing is, when the monopoly is in a highly-active industry (like in mobile communications—you want to tell the boss you're no longer on call and get laid off and become unhirable?), it's not just a monoply but a captive market. You have what everyone needs but no one else can provide. Like refreshments at a closed venue. You can try to go without, but sooner or later hunger or thirst gets the better of most people, so venues can charge a mint and no one can complain.

The big IF for the cellcos is if mobile communications at this stage of the game really is a captive market or is the world at large ready to find some other way to communicate, especially in a highly-mobile, frequently-wireless society. One thing the cellcos have on their side is a high barrier of entry for alternatives, given the inherently-limited nature of radio spectrum.

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Charles 9
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Re: Reason for M&A have nothing to do with cost savings

"I'm intrigued by this idea. Where do you think that the customers that a fragmented industry "can't keep" go?"

Never forget. There's always "AWAY." An unsustainable market can simply disappear, much as buggy whips and other obsolete tech. It can be a crash, or more likely a long death spiral as macroeconomic effects reduce cell phone tech back to an elite niche. LTE's already being deployed, so the costs are sunk. It's sink-or-swim time. So put it this way, if it's between going to the big telcos and simply disappearing, which would you prefer?

You see, this is the endgame for capitalism. Sooner or later, you end up with a winner.

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Charles 9
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Re: Reason for M&A have nothing to do with cost savings

But being unable to raise rates (due to the price war) means they can't plunk down for that much-needed infrastructure. There's a risk of everything hitting the wall: too expensive to keep customers, yet not expensive enough to get the revenues you need to invest in improving yourself. When an industry hits this kind of wall, M&A is the only way out.

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Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Charles 9
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Re: In the UK

Not a football (kind irrelevant). A hot potato. And it's like that in the US, too. It's one reason Medicare and Medicaid are regarded as third rails (as in touch it and kiss your career goodbye). It doesn't help that seniors are historically the most active voting bloc (and growing).

So you end up in a no-win situation. Something has to be done, but too much is sunk into the status quo to let anything be changed much. And since medicine is an existential business (because we values our lives more than anything), it's also too emotional a topic to discuss rationally. Anyone who tries gets a loved one thrown into the mix. That's how it was with the ACA debate ("The Enemy is going to leave your Grandma to DIE!" is not far from actual ads plastered during the debate). A system everyone can live with simply does not exist. We'd have an easier time trying to find an absolute universal truth.

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Charles 9
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Re: A different model …

But if the NDA covers up a criminal act and you reveal this to law enforcement, you cannot be held liable for breaking the NDA (indeed, using the NDA to cover up the idea you didn't blab could get you a rap for aiding and abetting). Remember, no one is above the law. Furthermore, some rights are inaliable and cannot be taken away by any instrument except the government itself. I'm pretty sure one of them one of them is the redressing of grievances: particularly if said grievance is an illegal act (and acts of medical malpractice, which can result in permanent or even fatal injuries, can easily cross into criminal negligence).

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Charles 9
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Re: Kick the can down the road ...

"The Republicans are engaged in an internal power struggle reminiscent of the Night of the Long Knives. The ACA is a prime target."

There's a big stumbling block, though: the Democratic president with the power to veto any legislation they pass up to him. Odds are anything that de-powers the ACA will turn even a must-pass bill into a must-veto, and the Republicans don't have enough hands to override his veto.

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Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9

All you had to do was say, "Yes, it is pride."

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FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless

Charles 9
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Key words being "UP TO". I'll believe it when their claims say "starting at" instead.

Remember, once upon a time, 4G was supposed to be "starting at 100Mbit/sec" for mobile applications. The only tech capable of doing that at the time was LTE Advanced, which was still a few years out (and even now isn't quite ready--infrastructure-wise, it's a smallish investment vs. LTE itself, but there's the matter of the phones).

And splitting cells? That's a MAJOR infrastructure investment at a time when cellcos are trying to avoid it, having just done the LTE rollout. Good luck convincing them to perform ANOTHER rollout that may not pay off because some new innovation may come along that require even more infrastructure. At this pointk, cellco purses are tight.

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