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* Posts by Charles 9

3554 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Are driverless cars the death knell of the motor biz?

Charles 9
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Re: Maintenance cost increase

The average driver may be crap at anticipation but machines are crap at the unexpected. We can break from script if the need arises, such as someone or something suddenly appearing in front of us. How well could an automated system interact to such an event without false alarming?

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Charles 9
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Re: I love the idea and desperately want one but what about professional drivers

You assume the capitalist who saved the money will actually DO something with the money that will employ people. The thing is, there are fewer and fewer chances for the capitalist to invest where people are involved. If he buys a new machine, that machines was built by OTHER machines, with few if any people needed to oversee them. If he invests in markets or commodities, are they not managed by computers?

Look at this way. What happened to leather makers when leather demand tanked? They couldn't switch jobs because (1) their trade was too specialized and (2) the other industries that could take them in were already fully employed. They were blocked from adapting, so they just dropped off the map.

Meanwhile, even as fewer people are needed to do the same amount of work, the number of people has continued to climb. What we're seeing is something of a "tipping point" where it's starting to dawn on the labor force that they're on the cusp of being made redundant. Even the service sector (a bastion of human labor due to the desire for face-to-face interaction) is slowly being assaulted by such concepts as automated loaders and self-service stations.

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Charles 9
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Re: Death knell

The thing is, the price of that freedom has gone way up, to the point that it's practically unaffordable for most. Unless people are SO desperate for their own car that they'll pay in blood, personal car ownership may be a fading trend. Besides, do we really, REALLY need to be able to go anywhere on a moment's notice?

As for the automotive industry, consider that cars will sill be bought and maintained: just not by people, and cars will still need petrol on a regular basis. Given that their paths can be unpredictable, there will still be a need for petrol stations scattered throughout. Also, as for privacy in a car, even that's going away due to the insurance companies (trust me, pretty soon it's put a GPS tracker in your car or you can't get insurance, period).

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Charles 9
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But the thing is that personal attachment frays when the driver has to sit in traffic jams twice a day. As noted, at least when one is a passenger, they can engage in other things besides keeping their eyes on the road.

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Charles 9
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Young kids? Try drunks when the bars close for the night. They HAVE to get rides because of their condition, yet their condition leaves them likely to leave some of the worst messes you can imagine in a vehicle.

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Charles 9
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Re: So what the author is suggesting is...

Not so much. Buses travel on predetermined routes. The idea being proposed is like a cross between it and a taxi, which unlike the bus has the capability to go anywhere a car can go. Another possible cross would be a lift, where software has to carefully schedule the routes of the cars so as to gather the most people in the quickest amount of time. Imagine a server that keeps track of the cars in service. As it fields calls with pickups and destinations, it can search for the car that can field that request most efficiently, using already-existing trip-planning systems. It's a dynamic routing system, made possible because the system always knows where each car in the fleet is located at all times yet has the flexibility to change the routes as needed.

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Be still, my quivering atoms: Here's a new way to count a second

Charles 9
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Just for the record, against the most precise clocks known to man, how far are we still from the theoretical limit of Planck time?

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Ubuntu 13.10 to ship with Mir instead of X

Charles 9
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Re: Linux Graphics... is rubbish

Part of the problem with X is conflicting goals. X was designed to be useable remotely. That's why it has a client/server architecture and is network-transparent. Which is a problem when you need to optimize performance because the best way to do THAT is to get close to the metal. A network layer is an obstruction in that scenario.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ubuntu, the Maralinga of Canonical's nuclear testing

"Here's a thought. You've already got millions of users who want a nice desktop and laptop operating system. How about keeping them happy?"

Because in his mind (and Microsoft's, mind) they're a dying breed. Soon they'll be niched and the big money will be in phones and tablets. He obviously is unwilling to concede the market to Google and Apple, so for him it's "adapt or die" time.

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Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK - Judge

Charles 9
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Um, you know Amazon's an American company, too.

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Charles 9
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Re: "the decisions are made by human beings ... are they going to see any time for fraud?"

There's another issue, too. Corporations are multiple people. What if the completely-innocent actions of multiple people result in a gestalt-like violation. In this case, the violation is worse than the sum of the individual actions that caused it, yet no one person is aware of the whole, probably not even the board or CEO (too micro). So who gets the blame in this instance if no one action was bad but taken unknowingly as a whole it is?

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Charles 9
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I think the judge made a salient point about Apple's "argument" of breaking Amazon's monopoly. If Amazon was leveraging its monopoly power, why didn't they charge Amazon with dumping (which IS considered an unfair trade practice--using loss leading to undercut new competition)?

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Idaho patriots tool up to battle Jihad with pork bullets

Charles 9
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Re: All right then

We'll answer as soon as the city folk are willing to answer the same question. After all, it's from the rural areas that the food, clean water, etc. originate. Many power plants are away from cities, too, due to NIMBY issues.

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Human error blamed for toxic Russian rocket explosion

Charles 9
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Re: Typical Management.

Except you forget the adage about the foolproof: never underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. Even if you design it with one-way connectors, some complete buffoon who managed to slip through the cracks will find SOME way to jam it in the wrong way.

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Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Charles 9
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Re: Nice idea but

"the wall will show a cold patch if the cold water is directly hitting and cooling the wall."

Unless there's another fire between you and the wall you're actually trying to hit. Firefighters trying to attempt a rescue will want to focus their water efforts on creating a rescue lane to allow them to reach people trapped inside (to firefighters, people come before property). The further in you go, the less one can rely on direct line of sight, which is there having an eye further inside may be of use (you can throw it in before it's deemed safe for actual people to go in). This also has an advantage over a quadcopter in that it has no trouble with confined spaces.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nice idea but

For the fire scenario, you're forgetting the rest of the blaze going on which can cause incidental heating of the surrounding area. Also, the fire itself is usually at temperature beyond the useable range of IR systems (think over 1000 degrees when its high end is in the 500s). This would mean that most of the house is in the high end of the scale if not beyond it, even when you start getting the water down, so IR may not get you a quick-enough reaction. Plus, infrared has one nasty quirk—it doesn't transmit well through glass.

IR is used in rescue scenarios that don't involve fire because the buildings in the other cases are cool, making human body heat stand out on the person and whatever they touch. They're also handy for people lost in wooded areas or around water (or in inclement weather). I'd be curious to know its utility in avalanches.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not new though, trival variation

What about a NONtrivial addition of software?

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France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Charles 9
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Re: You can't.

"The idea that someone passionate about music wouldn't want anyone to hear their compositions if there were no copyright law could only be promulgated by someone who doesn't understand music."

Oh? If I'm not mistaken, most of what we would consider the greatest works of art in the world weren't made out of the goodness of the artists' hearts. They were commissions, for the most part, meaning they were in it for the money just like everyone else. Even a starving artist has gotta eat.

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Charles 9
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You can't.

Patents and copyrights are, by definition, a government intervention meant to provide an incentive to invent and create, respectively. Without them, content creators and inventors might balk and releasing their works for fear of being immediately copycatted without recourse.

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Barnes & Noble chief walks as Nook ereader stumbles

Charles 9
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Disturbing...

This raises a few questions for people still fond of dead trees. I admit to being a ebook lover, but I tend to find other ways to put material in them, keeping the dead tree versions as backup.

The thing is that we're talking Barnes & Noble, the #1 bookstore comapny in America. If the #1 bookstore company in America is struggling (after seeing former #2 Borders just up and vanish a few years ago), one has to wonder about the overall health of the book business in general, though I haven't heard a peep as of yet from current #2 Books-A-Million.

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US Navy coughs $34.5m for hyper-kill railgun that DOESN'T self-destruct

Charles 9
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Re: "..the railgun could usher in the second era of the dreadnoughts.."

There's also the matter of recoil (railguns DO NOT make any attempt at bypassing Newtonian physics). Like it or not, you're going to need some mass to absorb all that kick or a broadside shot is going to seriously list (if not capsize) the platform on which it's mounted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Erm, curvature of the earth, anyone?

"At Mach 7, the rotation of the earth would not be much more than what they already need to take into account while firing normal shells… That is two minutes and a half."

I've been made aware that Snipers sometimes have to account for rotation of the earth when making shots of over a couple klicks. I believe this comes most into play when the gun is being fired ACROSS the rotation (meaning to the north or south) since the target in this case will move laterally just a smidge.

It's not the speed of the projectile that affects this but time of flight. Those sniper bullets I mentioned would be in the are for a noticeable fraction of a second. It will have a greater influence on a projectile with a two-minute time of flight (and this time, even shots with or against rotation—to the east or west, respectively—need to account for this)

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Charles 9
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Re: How effective are they...

Did we mention the skiffs and other small boats that come standard on most Navy warships, including carriers? After the Cole incident, SOP is to inspect ANY watercraft coming within a radius. Your bomb boat would be spotted from a distance and approached by small craft long before it got close.

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Throwing arms let humans rise above poo-flinging apes to play CRICKET

Charles 9
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Re: fastest baseball

"Catchers also have to develop enough strength and accuracy to "gun down" a runner trying to steal second, from a standstill at home plate, throwing the ball almost twice the distance from the pitcher's mound to home."

It's more challenging than that. They're actually starting from a SQUAT, so they have to jump to their feet to make their throws to second. Not only that, they also have to wait on the actual pitch, so they really don't have a lot of time unless the catcher anticipates a steal and calls for an intentional high throw which they take AS they jump to their feet (however, that's an intentional ball so can't be used when there are already three balls—that's why a runner is likely to try a steal on three balls).

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Charles 9
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"But then; so was aiming a ball at the batsman's face."

I assume you mean aiming for the face with a full toss. It's still considered OK to do it with a bouncer. That's why cricket's adopted the term "chin music" from the Americans for such deliveries (in both sports, chin music is usually strategic: meant to unnerve the batter/batsman and force him out of his comfort zone).

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Charles 9
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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Many Americans would feel the other way, preferring the sharp "crack" of a solid hit with a Louisville Slugger or other ash baseball bat vs. the relatively tame "thump" of willow on a cricket ball. I've personally listened to many home run hits vs. hits for six and feel the same way, though I suspect it's more a matter of what you grew up hearing.

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Charles 9
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Gridiron started adopting armor when tackles became more full-on body collisions and there are increased collisions to the head (so the bigger helmet was brought in to reduce the risk of concussions. In Rugby, Australian Footy, and similar disciplines, tackles above the shoulders aren't allowed, and the general preference in a tackle is not to collide but to grab bodily and wrestle down. This isn't as hard on either player involved so they don't need the additional protection.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nah...

"Pitchers don't have a run up, and lose a lot of this focussing of the energy of the big muscles in the body."

Perhaps, but the natural motion of a big-league pitch means the torso twists in the wind-up. Also, you lift the forward leg into the air for additional potential energy. It's like throwing a punch. You use the rest of your body like a coiled spring and then unleash them in sequence to continually build up speed and power for the final release. Stomp the foot, untwist the torso, whip the arm at the shoulder and then the elbow, flick the wrist, THEN let go. Being able to combine all these momentum-bulding motions and not move your back foot (meaning you're essentially throwing from a standstill) demonstrates that the big-league fastball has considerable science and experience behind it, and cricket with its studies of grips, deliveries, seam actions, etc. is no different in that regard.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Elbow Angle..

Cricket balls ARE rather denser than baseballs due to their compositions. But being hit by either one at speed is going to hurt, PARTICULARLY if the hit comes off their respective bats (players HAVE tragically suffered fatal injuries in both sports as a result of being hit directly by driven balls). As for baseball, many a player have noted that getting literally beaned (hit in the helmet by a pitch) can easily feel as if you've had your bell rung. Hits to the back or legs aren't too pretty, either. No wonder some batters don't take kindly to getting hit, especially if it's not the first time the pitcher's done it in the game. But in the end, that's why there are rules focusing on the safety of the players holding the bats. If things go wrong, we can re-evaluate, but for now let's play as well as safety permits us.

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Charles 9
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Happy

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

I've actually never felt any animosity towards either sport. I like both of them, and I'm an American. Each has its intricacies and I fault neither sport for them, and they've both gradually evolved to keep with the times. Whether it's a thrilling nine-inning pitcher's duel or an exciting T20 showdown that comes down to the last ball, if it's your game, you'll enjoy the day. I say pick one, sit back and revel in the marvel of top-class players in action.

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BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

Charles 9
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Re: Huh? The BBC broadcasts in 3d?

"However fans of Who will no doubt remember the 30th anniversary special which was broadcast, along with a few other shows at the time, in a form of 3D that relied on the Pulfrich effect. That sank without trace."

I suspect the Pulfrich effect was the best they could come up with without resorting to anaglyphs. The trick with the Pulfrich effect was you needed constant motion (the effect depends on differing perceptions of motion thanks to a single tinted lens). There were a few attempts at the idea in both television and video games, but the fad soon faded.

But perhaps science fiction has jaded us, leading to disappointment with the current "3D" push. We grew up expecting volumetric television, and we haven't quite gotten there yet. For one thing, we'd have to come up with an actual means of "recording" like volumetric scenes. We can already cook them out with computers, but a live volumetric recording is a whole other kettle of fish.

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Charles 9
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Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed

Or someone on the sofa looking at the TV sideways?

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Charles 9
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Re: It was "stereoscopic", not "3D".

"Lightfield displays* have been invented for true 3d images, they're just beyond realistic mass-market manufacture and there's no content whatsoever."

I believe you're referring to integral displays. There are two problems with them. First, the microlenses require too high a precision for mass production (the effect is lost with imperfections). Second, it has a very narrow effective viewing angle.

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Big Mike's big package oughta be enough for Dell investors - report

Charles 9
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What's to say Mike isn't planning the same thing? Both claim to have plans to restructure the company and keep it a going concern, but can you trust either side?

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Mastercard and Visa block payments to Swedish VPN firms

Charles 9
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Re: Cartel?

The trouble is that it's difficult to block a NATURAL cartel (one that simply developed through capitalist competition—let it run its course and you eventually get a winner). Look what happened with the breakup of AT&T. They naturally came back together to some degree into something only slightly better: an oligopoly rather than a monopoly.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bitcoin on Mullvad

Nah, Dwolla was working around the trade regulation. In the US there's Coinbase, which links to your bank account and therefore transacts everything above board.

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Buy a flash kit maker now, Seagate... good ones will be gone soon

Charles 9
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Re: pcie is a dead end, no?

Actually, there's another reason for PCIe Flash: reduced latency. See, if you hook the SSD to the drive channels, you have at least an additional layer of translation to negotiate (PCIe <-> SATA/SAS). Furthermore, neither architecture was designed with flash in mind, so there are inefficiencies. Whereas with a direct PCIe hookup, not only do you cut out the translation, but you can also memory-map the drive's contents directly using the back end of the 64-bit memory space. It's a lot easier to do parallel access this way, which combined with the direct-to-PCIe connection reduces latency, resulting in increased IOPS.

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3-2-1... BOOM: Russian rocket launches, explodes into TOXIC FIREBALL

Charles 9
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Re: No auto destruct ?

I suspect the fuel's a big reason they don't use an auto-destruct. The area around the cosmodrome's pretty barren, so if it falls down nearby, it'll just explode like it did and burn itself out. Given the toxicity of the fuel, it's better to have it on the ground than in the air (where it has more drift potential).

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Apple dodged all UK corporation tax in 2012

Charles 9
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Stop

Re: Should have read

"Of course you can. If someone was dumping raw sewage in your water supply, and that were within the law, you would probably want the law changed but you'd also want to punch the bastard that was putting sh*t in your drinking water."

Until you learn the source of the pollution is in an entirely different country who could care less about the pollution since in their country that's a designated dump.

That's a nutshell description of the problem. Multinationals are pitting countries against each other and using the antagonism to their advantage.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Charles 9
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Re: Is this low framerate why...

The primary reason many movies kept to 5GB was to avoid going dual-layer. Dual-layer discs are more expensive to press, have lower tolerances for defects, and introduce a bit of a pause in the playback as the pickup laser switches focus between the two layers.

BD drives IIRC are more sophisticated and incorporate a buffering system that allows for layer jumps to occur in the background (the buffer used to cover the transition until the drive catches up). Also, BD discs are more durable and the demand for high-quality 1080p film footage is greater. 25GB (BD single layer) only allows for about an hour of video at the BD specification limit of 54Mbit/sec. As you put extras into the disc, that limit starts dropping. To do something longer, you have to either trim the bandwidth or use the second layer.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is this low framerate why...

It's both. The water spray defeats the motion estimation used to compress the video and as a result you get the quality loss that you describe.

The big reason consumers can't get the full value of high-definition video is that each medium has to keep to a bandwidth budget: a fundamental limitation of the delivery systems. In the case of the DVD, it couldn't deliver a stream faster than 8Mbit/sec (due to the fact the original DVD drives topped out at 9Mbit/sec: 8Mbit allowed a margin for mechanical error). BluRay streams are limited to 54Mbit/sec (to stay within the 72Mbit/sec transfer limit of BD 2X). HDTV broadcast channels in the US are limited to 19Mbit/sec due to the frequency allotment set by the FCC (a 6MHz band), and so on.

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Charles 9
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Re: interlacing

There's a BIG problem with interlacing today that becomes apparent with high degrees of motion: tearing. Basically, if the motion is too, when the interlaced picture is reconstituted, we can actually perceive the different fields.

It's for this reason some networks in the US broadcast sports (infamous for high amounts of motion) in 720p instead of 1080i.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Charles 9
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Re: That's fine

Black projects are on a strictly need-to-know basis. And they DO intend to store ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING—encrypted or not. Last I heard, their storage capacity was in the yottabyte range if not greater. They're also holding the encrypted stuff for when code breakers catch up (that's where the theoretical black-project quantum computer comes into play, and they may already have it. How long were they in service before the SR-71 and F-117 became public knowledge?). As for the budget, just say, "They're planning something worse than 9/11" or "They've got a nuke and plan to use it over South Dakota" and that should scare anybody into giving them anything they want. Nothing like an existential threat to loosen the purse strings.

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Charles 9
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Re: That's fine

"We have had enough of their nonsense. That's fine if they want to keep everything because effective immediately, we are encrypting EVERYTHING, and we considder government documents to be suspect and subject to publication."

Then what happens when the government fires up their black-project ("it doesn't even exist") quantum computer and start cracking all the communications they've been keeping backlogged in Utah en masse (since post-quantum encryption wasn't and still isn't the norm)? Then they wouldn't care if you encrypted everything; they'll be able to read most of it ANYWAY.

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Charles 9
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Re: Did anyone notice this was all marked secret and released by an it pro?

But that poses a challenge: how do you keep the keeper from becoming a releaser? Who admins the admin, IOW? Because your environment could easily become DTA and you can't even trust the admins. How do you allow an admin to do his/her job while preventing him or her from stealing the data?

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Dish DASHED: No Sprint, no Clearwire, no spectrum. No sale

Charles 9
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Re: Dish Didn't Lose

Thing is, Sprint got it all. Not only do they get Clearwire's spectrum which they can use to improve service and compete better against AT&T and Verizon, but now they also have better financial backing.

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Snowden dodges US agents in Moscow, skips out on flight

Charles 9
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"If the US have been acting legally and have nothing to hide, why all the fuss? After all, as they are so fond of telling everyone, if you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide."

Well, one BIG justification is, to use poker parlance, "telling" the enemy (the terrorist). It's hard to fool or bluuf your opponent when they can see your cards. That's the main reason for black and secret projects: knowledge of its very existence gives the game away. Let's use a historic example: the Manhattan Project was black until at least the Trinity Test. Would the Germans, Japanese, Soviets, etc. have strategized differently if they knew America was actively developing an atomic bomb? Probably. Will rogue agents alter their communications strategies if they suspect America has a massive data store and is working on a quantum computer to crack historic encrypted data? I would think so.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's just a matter of time

He did. That's why he was in Hong Kong, which is technically part of China, a country that would not respect an extradition request from the US (anything from the US would be considered politically motivated to China: grounds for a refusal). Snowden's big fear instead is extraordinary rendition: the CIA simply plucking him out of wherever he's hiding, laws be damned. That's another reason he's in Chinese territory and working through countries like Russia: attempting to perform extraordinary rendition in either country is likely to open a huge can of political worms.

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Charles 9
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Re: What they are fundamentally doing...

Oh? How do they tell the difference between a citizen and a non-citizen when identities on the Internet are so mercurial?

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New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

Charles 9
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Re: Bad idea

"My only criticism of the WTC (and most skyscrapers) is their lack of integral firefighting facilities such as sprinklers and substantial roof-level/service floor water-tankage.. Very few jurisdictions require them despite most firefighting systems being unable to go higher than about 20 floors (sprinklers would NOT have helped in 9/11)"

I think the main problem with that is that the WTC towers aren't on a whole very stiff; they were designed to sway in the breeze. Now, water is on the whole a decently dense substance. Dense enough that water tanker trucks need to be careful as they drive as the water's inertia can impart surprise forces on the truck: especially if it sloshes around inside, moving from side to side. So imagine a tank of the stuff the size of a swimming pool being stored about 1,000 feet up a rather flexible structure. I imagine that's going to make it somewhat top-heavy: not a good thing from an engineering viewpoint.

As for being designed to take an aircraft impact, did that include a direct but oblique (thinking angled downward) impact directly on one of the corners (which were load-bearing IIRC)?

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