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* Posts by Charles 9

3271 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Boffins' brilliant plan: CONCRETE COMPUTERS

Charles 9
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Re: useless

You wouldn't want reinforced concrete for a phone casing, anyway, as the most common material used for reinforcing concrete is steel (because it's relatively cheap and highly tensile). It or any other metal would play hobnob with wireless reception, I would think.

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Charles 9
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Re: Liquid cement......

The reason it's frequently called a glass is because the most commonly-used amorphous solid we use in our society happens to be common glass (which is a naturally amorphous solid).

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My, my Pi, did it spy ya? Bye, bye Pi, did it go higher?

Charles 9
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Re: Air traffic safety

"I know the associated story has been debunked by Snopes but, still, I have to add:

"Thaw the chickens first"."

Because the MythBusters showed that hardened, frozen chickens DO tend to wreak more havoc than the soft, fleshy thawed birds. The story itself may have been debunked, but the idea turned out to be plausible.

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

Charles 9
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Even the SERVICE jobs are being automated. Think self-checkouts, voice-recognition expert systems, and so on. Pretty soon, the phrase "There's just no place for you" is going to be alarmingly common.

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Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market

Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

XBONE games are SERIALIZED. Special numbers could be set aside for "rental" discs. Also, it's possible to press custom versions of a game for use in rental machines.

As for trying to exploit the "rental" discs, remember we're talking BD discs with ROM Marks (where the serial #'s likely to be placed). Recorders can't duplicate the ROM Mark.

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

Also, Microsoft already allows all-Internet downloads of games on the 360. Expect this to continue in the XB1, making it almost exactly like the Steam model. Since you can now go all-virtual, it can also be more-thoroughly enforced as a subscription or service.

To use an old joke of the late 19th century: "Ticket to Chicago--used only once."

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

"The cinema ticket idea suggests the only work around I can think of (ignoring the fact you can sell on tickets), and that would be to sell games with time-restricted licenses."

Thing is, the ticket, like a game disc, is perfectly resellable (even Steam allows you to gift-wrap a game and pass it on by whatever means you desire) UNTIL it's used (when you pass the gate, open the package, activate the code). In all three cases, it's now marked expended and nonrefundable.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Greg J Preece

But there HAS been controversy surrounding the cassette recorder and the VTR, to say nothing of CD and DVD recorders (both PC-based and consumer). So yes, ANY form of media that is not self-contained (like Nintendo's Game & Watch) has been in the copyright grey area of requiring an enabler. Audio cassettes and VTRs were too useful on the consumer end to stop. As for movies, it's a mixed bag. Pirating a movie is still possible, yes, but usually at reduced quality since trying to do a full-quality BD rip tends to work against most users' download allowances.

As for your proposed solution, isn't that what Sony filed to patent with its RFID system? Also, isn't that why more and more games are going to online worlds and a multiplayer focus: to justify continual monitoring?

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Charles 9
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Re: Mad greed

And if Sony does it, too, meaning it's down to the WiiU and the colonoscopy either way? IOW, what happens when ALL of them do it? Abandon gaming?

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Charles 9
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Re: Game resellers as "parasites"

I think the big thing is that books, cars, appliances, and so on are self-contained. They operate completely in and of themselves with nothing else required except maybe for utility supplies (power, water, etc.).

Computer software, OTOH, isn't really self-contained. They require the device to work in, and that's where the grey area comes in. Because now you have the situation of the ENABLER. And in this case, the enabler can be a service or a subscription: something that establishes a contract with terms and conditions that can usually be legally enforced.

Microsoft and Valve can use this angle and in doing so bring in the business software agreement, which isn't always a sale but a lease or service contract, with ink on pen and everything. Doing that can get the business software makers like Adobe and Autodesk on their side (Microsoft actually has play in the business software market as well—with Office). This could force the court to decide between allowing software leases/service contracts or nullifying a number of big business agreements.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Future of Gaming?

HINT: Microsoft's system is almost a carbon copy of Valve's Steam system, and the 360 ALREADY allows for downloadable games. Bet you pounds to pence the XB1 will ALSO have the ability to download the games off the Internet: no disc necessary.

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Charles 9
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Re: Steam vs Xbox game = invalid comparison

So? The disc is merely a one-time-use key with a copy of the installation so you can do it offline. You can get the same stuff off the Internet. No difference.

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Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

It might be possible under Microsoft's system. Valve already has a system like that with Weekend Passes: tryouts of certain games once in a while. Perhaps Microsoft can offer Redbox/BBX copies specifically for those machines which, when inserted, ONLY work as long as that disc is in place. Afterward, the installation may remain, allowing you to buy a pass into the full version.

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Charles 9
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But Vernor v. Autodesk was thrown out. Turns out the copies were STOLEN (physically) from the company, who was under CONTRACT to return them to Autodesk for a new version.

Bet you Valve and Microsoft will make their game systems SERVICES and the games merely pay-to-play KEYS (or passes, as previously noted), meaning the resale is merely of a used (and thus useLESS) one-time key. IOW, it's REALLY exhausted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yes Steam games CAN be given away.

You can ONLY re-gift a game if it's an authorized "extra copy" or it's a gift you haven't unwrapped yourself. Once you activate it, it's yours come hell or high water.

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Now it gets serious: Fracking could RUIN BEER

Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

Not without the specialized equipment and trained experts that went WITH THE OIL COMPANIES they won't.

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Charles 9
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Re: Don't Panic! Lager is NOT BEER! Drink Ale!

Hello? You boil the wort when you brew lager as well. That's right; lager is still BREWED. The cold part only comes in fermentation, when it's chilled down to let the lager yeast go to work.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

He's saying large multinationals (like oil companies) have some leeway to get above the law. You want to scare a government? Threaten to move your wells out of that country. Bye bye big-time tax revenues.

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Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause

Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

"The options are simple. Do it right, or end up a dead cert for a breach. And stop giving up *before* the battle."

That's the problem. There is NO "do it right". That implies perfection in an imperfect world. As someone else has said, network security is an oxymoron: much like Digital Right Management. The INHERENT risk of making something available on a network is that the wrong person accesses it: either by breaking the defenses (brute force hacking) or by disguising as one of the trusted (phishing). It's like the front door: strong crooks break the door down, clever ones get an impression of your key. Not even the vaunted air gap is 100% effective, as Stuxnet showed.

In the final analysis, network assets should be a value/risk evaluation. How useful is the asset on a network vs. the risk of someone exposing it. Instead of trying to keep hardening the target, the targets themselves should be evaluated to see if they're worth the risk and taken off if not. If the system will fail eventually, the best one can do is to fail safe and minimize the damage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

It is BOTH defeatist...AND realist. Network security is like crimefighting. You're never gonna stop ALL of it. It is the case of "you have to be lucky all the time, they only have to be lucky once" AND they outnumber you. It's just that with network security, ONE breach is usually enough.

So the challenge of network security is to prevent ANY breach (since only once is enough to basically ruin you). Only a perfect security solution can achieve that level of success.

However, man is imperfect. Therein lies the contradiction.

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Charles 9
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Re: There's a better way

You can't use Wikileaks as an example because it was striving to stay on the "legal" side of the coin. All their proceeds had to come from legitimate sources or they'd lose their legitimacy. Black hats have no such moral/legal restraint and can use any and all means to obtain money, including but not limited to money laundering, mules, shadow accounts, and investments in other illicit businesses.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is that our devices are too easily subverted by unexpected inputs.

Plus sometimes there are constraints to consider. There's a reason C and other less-sophisticated languages are still around. More sophisticated languages that build in garbage collecting and type checking inevitably introduce overhead which can cost you in speed, space, or both. If one or both are at a premium, then you're between Scylla and Charybdis. You can be lean or you can be safe but you likely won't have the capacity to be both unless you bodge it yourself. It's like trying to cram a bigger machine into a smaller frame: physics dictates some things won't make into the finished product unless you customize.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is that our devices are too easily subverted by unexpected inputs.

Actually, that can happen in real life. Imagine a sock of just the right material able to slip in through the gap between the tub and the frame, fall into the motor mechanism, and fry it. Congratulations, you just did the mechanical version of a Denial of Service attack: better known as good ol' Sabotage. As for reprogramming it, think of lockpicking or developing a tool to undo one of Apple's screws (or any other "one-way" screw you can imagine).

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Charles 9
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Re: There's a better way

You'll just find that the bankers are in cahoots and in the same black side of the industry (IOW, the hackers simply turned to financial groups who know how to run shadow accounts and the like). Also, there's a very real possibility of the backers (already antagonistic to the sheep) also being the bankers. Does the phrase "state-sponsored cyberwarfare" ring a bell?

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Charles 9
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"Small data, if I don't need it now, I don't need it."

The BIG problem with that is the fear that you drop the big one, someone else gets it, and leapfrogs you. And in a cutthroat environment such as this, NO ONE wants to drop the big one and get relegated into obscurity or (worse) liqudation.

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Charles 9
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Re: More protection - more risk taking?

The problem is when protection gets in the way of productivity. If the guy wants to run down the hallway with scissors because the boss is tangled up in his/her chair wheels, then you better just get out of the way because safety comes second when the boss is involved, otherwise the risk of stabbing will be the least of your worries.

As for hunting the wolves, that's also a lost cause because the wolves have already established havens for themselves in countries antagonistic to the sheep: some of them complete with world-ending weapons if push comes to shove. In fact, some of the wolves are in the employ of those self-same countries. How do you hunt a wolf when he's got an ICBM backing him up?

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'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

Charles 9
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How does a ceramic/stone bullet in a carbon fiber casing sound? No metal in sight.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not bake the gun

So you make a quick-replace barrel. Variation on the Derringer.

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Charles 9
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Re: When did?

When the enemy within became worse than the enemy without. That's when. America was founded on the premise of enemy within (they just broke away from a government—they didn't trust government). That's why it's government and Constitution are structured the way they are.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not bake the gun

Here's the thought: use the 3D printer to make a MOLD, then CAST the gun parts from it, harden as appropriate (bake ceramic, use chemical hardener for plastics, etc.). Nice part is that you can probably make more than one set of parts from one set of molds.

As for a nonmetallic bullet, use stone or ceramic (and yes, you can make them hard enough to withstand firing—once upon a time we used stones for cannonballs). And what about carbon fiber for the casing? They use that in place of aluminum in aircraft, so it must be flexible.

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Charles 9
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Re: @SuccessCase

Can it kill at ten feet while getting past a metal detector (think a courthouse hit)? I'll work on making this plastic gun stronger and still nonmetallic (replace the firing pin and bullet).

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Charles 9
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Re: No second-hand games

"Simple. Laws have priority over EULAs. It's still illegal to shoot your neighbour, even if a EULA specifies it"

Is it STILL illegal if you shoot your neighbor with a water pistol? Or a confetti shooter? Or a blank round? This is the kind of grey area we're walking into. Can Valve and Microsoft say their software is a service and the game discs merely keys (since the games are also downloadable and subscription-based a-la OnLive)? IOW, is it a sale or it is a service?

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Charles 9
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Re: No second-hand games

"Also, I'm not massively familiar with US law on the subject, but Vernor vs. Autodesk seems to indicate that the US courts take a very similar stance, so I'm fairly confident that the idea that US companies can shovel any old shit onto their consumers in their EULAs is a misconception too."

Vervor v. Autodesk was thrown out on a technicality. Turns out Vernor never properly got the copies from their original location. Autodesk proved (with a LEASE contract, no less) that the copies were part of a service agreement—they were meant to be destroyed or returned to Autodesk as they were sending the original company the next version of the software.

As for the EULA, it wouldn't be shrink-wrapped because it would occur the moment you turn the console on, meaning it's prior to activating your Live account and starting your first game. Maybe not a lease but a SUBSCRIPTION or a SERVICE AGREEMENT (which IS enforceable--that's what threw out Vernor v. Autodesk) Something or other that requires a continual good faith and terms and conditions to remain in the service. IOW, the disc is no longer the product itself: just a one-time-use key (and Sony is working on a similar idea only without the online requirement—using RFID tags instead). And like I said before, no one's managed to force Valve to make their games resellable, so there must be some kind of legal standing that keeps Steam running in Europe, and Microsoft's new model is much like Valve's.

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Spam and the Byzantine Empire: How Bitcoin tech REALLY works

Charles 9
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Re: Hight tech Goldbugs

Given that a number of banks have been mistreating people (including its smaller clients), can you blame some people for not trusting banks? I know plenty of people who work strictly on cash and money orders.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem with real-world currencies is not governments

The trick is that people have to TRUST the money for it to be useable. Inflation degrades that trust because it diminishes the value people have on hand. If inflation grows too high, you start a vicious cycle towards hyperinflation which inevitably removes trust in the currency. That's why many people liked pegged or 100% reserved currencies: there was a surety of the money being backed that you can't get with floating or fiat currencies.

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Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Charles 9
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Re: It's all being done backwards...

Nice thought, but wireless comms are battery eaters. That's one reason for beefy phone and tablet batteries. Plus that bigger battery means heat.

That's why the tech is limited to low-level communications: it minimizes the battery draw (and thus the heat).

Perhaps a more limited version of your idea. Use the watch as an arbiter or initiator. The watch or whatever can act as a central focus for a limited but useful batch of data such as how to communicate with your devices and so on (each device could provide some credentials, etc.). Then when they get near the device, the device verifies it, passes along the credentials to the other devices (so just a a quick burst of data), and they can now talk to each other without having to go through the device.

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James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

Charles 9
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Re: gets my goat

"I'll be very much happier knowing that there is a *vanishingly* small probability that an intruder is anywhere near as well-armed as I..."

Doesn't matter. You have the knowledge of terrain. You can ambush. It's harder for the perp.

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Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: @ Charles

You FAIL at FAILING.

I was taking ALL GOVERNMENT into consideration.

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Charles 9
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Re: gets my goat

"Well-regulated" CANNOT mean "organized" in this case, as that implies rules, which implies government...and government is the intended adversary OF the militia in the worst case. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee the people (the militia is defined as the regular people--see the Federalist Papers) the last resort...and it must be against ANY government because what if ALL the government levels are in cahoots?

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Orange customer clobbered with SIX-FIGURE phone bill

Charles 9
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Re: Whilst I fully support "MOP" as a unit of mobile data use...

Even that's variable. You can encode that same minute at different bandwidths. You'll get differing results, but for a porno tube transmission, a rate of ~500kbps would be acceptable. You'll either need to provide a bandwidth or a quantizer setting to make a concrete result.

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Charles 9
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Re: There's only one way to measure data usage

1.5Mbps? Sounds like you could cram HD-level porn in that bandwidth. I would think something more in the neighborhood of 500kpbs video is more to be expected from a mobile porn stream.

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Charles 9
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Re: Unit of data

How long average per track? Disco tracks can range from relatively tame 3-minute affairs to 15 minutes plus (some of the longer songs of Donna Summers).

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Charles 9
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Re: Samsung 1 Nokia 0

Unfortunately, that can happen naturally in capitalism (what I call "Winner economics"). Once a firm gets a big edge, they can leverage it to push everyone else out of the market: even to the point that even a disruptive innovation doesn't have much impact.

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Aha, I see you switched on your mobile Wi-Fi. YOU FOOL!

Charles 9
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What about for just casual "check the news while you wait" kind of browsing? Especially for newer phones that don't have Flash installed on them? Sure, there's the drive-by, but wouldn't a drive-by penetrate a tunnel?

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'Leccy car biz baron Elon Musk: Thanks for the $500m, taxpayers...

Charles 9
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Re: The US government made about USD$26 million on the deal...

ItsNotMe is claiming that's a one-off: the result of the selling of pollution credits. Let's see them repeat the feat in the NEXT quarter.

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Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD

Charles 9
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Re: Forgot to ask

That would just about rule out milk and meat, and those are the two things that are subject to the kosher restrictions (primarily, you can't have both of them at once, and anything dairy can't follow meat for a while). Avoid them altogether and you can probably get it Pareve.

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Charles 9
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Re: This is Plausible

Trouble is, those amounts differ from person to person. Glandular deficiencies, birth defects, and so on can radically alter the required diet.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not the perfect food..

Actually, it would be valuable if the cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein (such as that found in fish). HDL actually helps to keep other cholesterol levels under control.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is he rebranding milk?

Making a substance that is perfectly healthy yet perfectly safe for everyone sounds impossible to me because some otherwise-helpful substances trigger dangerous allergic reactions in some people.

- Can't use peanuts or tree nuts. Some people are allergic to them to the point of anaphylaxis from just trace exposure.

- Can't use wheat, barley, or any grain with gluten in it. Caeliacs, you understand.

- Can't use milk or anything with lactose. Intolerance.

- Did you know there are even people allergic to CORN? Makes life in North America tough (corn is the big grain of the US, and most things there have corn in them somewhere).

Pretty sure if you dig deep enough, you'll find that everyone has a bad reaction to SOMETHING you would need to make this "Soylent" complete.

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Opera rewrite comes to Android

Charles 9
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The main problem I've seen with lightweight browsers like Boat and so on was that to fit in those small memory footprints they had to eschew various rendering capabilities like CSS layouts, fonts, and especially scripting (which more and more sites require). It ultimately came down to a case of they made too many sites messed up to the point of unusability.

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