* Posts by Schultz

1329 posts • joined 22 Oct 2007

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While you're preparing to carve Thanksgiving turkey, the FCC will be slicing into net neutrality

Schultz
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... the age old one about capitalism vs socialism

That statement completely misses the point. Both capitalist and socialist societies are based on rules and laws. If you dream about a world without those, then you speak about anarchism.

The question is whether you worry about overly burdensome laws or about monopolistic company behavior. Seems like a lot of the US ISPs earned a negative reputation for monopolistic tendencies (pushing products that are good for their bottom line to a captive audience and not competing with the offers the customers want).

I hope you guys figure that one out, the rest of the world is watching...

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Intel finds critical holes in secret Management Engine hidden in tons of desktop, server chipsets

Schultz
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Holmes

Niche Market

So when are companies going to fill the niche market of backdoor-less computing? Low end computers without black-box Management Engine / Secure Boot /... might start to look attractive for more security-sensitive applications. It looks like the hardware can be easily custom manufactured (e.g., simple ARM development platforms such as the new Arduinos, or bigger ones like the Samsung Artik). Something like MINIX might be enough to create a functional (and transparent) platform. Create an audit trail to certify the software and sell it under a Swiss brand name.

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Cops jam a warrant into Apple to make it cough up Texas mass killer's iPhone, iCloud files

Schultz
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Go

People with power get really annoyed when they encounter any restrictions on the knowable....

I can only recommend reading the book 'Secrets' by Daniel Ellsberg. It gives a nice insight on how people in power get sucked into the belief they know more --> they know better --> the public shouldn't know (because they don't know better) . Easy to see how this leads to a vicious circle of the government collecting and controlling information. This mind-set will, of course, destroy democracy (ref.: top-10 evil regimes of human history) , but that is easy to forget when you just focus on the current crisis.

No need to invoke deep conspiracies. But then, “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” (Joseph Heller, Catch-22)

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Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

Schultz
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Thumb Up

How cute

Next, give it to some astronaut and have him drop it from the space station!

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US government seizes Texas gun mass murder to demand backdoors

Schultz
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WTF?

Gun Control failed ...

in the country that doesn't contemplate gun control. Gun control works elsewhere. Pick a peculiar definition of 'works' and you may be able to contradict me. But you'd have to try hard, because there are almost 200 countries out there and most have some kind of gun control and a correspondingly low occurrence of gun-related violence.

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

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Schultz
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Go

"Preventing agents from accessing devices in criminal investigations should not be allowed"

How very sensible. How about you contact the criminal and try to explain that. Ooh, so there is a rule that you cannot force the criminal to implicate himself? That's very inconvenient, I wonder why that was written into the law. And in this case the defendant is dead? Well, I'd say that case is closed and you should focus on the next one. And remember, no cheating allowed ;).

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Card shark Intel bets with discrete graphics chips, shuffles AMD's GPU boss into the deck

Schultz
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Whow, those b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ management text generators get awfully good those days!

"We have exciting plans to aggressively expand our computing and graphics capabilities and build on our very strong and broad differentiated IP foundation, [...] we will add to our portfolio of unmatched capabilities, advance our strategy to lead in computing and graphics, and ultimately be the driving force of the data revolution."

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Beware Paris Hilton's investment advice, SEC tells investors

Schultz
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Paris Hilton

I think they got this wrong:

"Celebrities [...] do not have sufficient expertise"

Celebrities are the only ones who can fully grasp the true value of cryptocurrencies. The value of those currencies is 100% based on their reputation -- just like the income and net worth of said celebrities.

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Atto, boy! Eggheads fire laser for 43 attoseconds, fastest Man-made spurt

Schultz
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Boffin

Re: Sounds like cheating

"I find it hard to imagine detecting the motion of an electron in a molecule and being able to react fast enough to affect a chemical reaction."

The idea is to play with the light electric field (e.g., randomly manipulate it) until it drives the reaction in the right direction. Google 'coherent control' for the details. It didn't work with nanosecond, picosecond, or femtoseond pulses. But t̶h̶i̶r̶d̶ fourth time is a charm, as they say :).

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Schultz
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Boffin

The science, the hype ...: let's digest the digest

Science: Scientists made very short, weak X-ray laser pulses

- Pulse duration: 43e-18 s (43 as)

- Energy: some 100 +/- 100 eV

- Applications: To be found (see outlook of their paper)

Hype: We can make molecular movies, we can see bio/chemical reactions in real time.

- "... directly observe how the electrons in molecules of [phosphorus and sulphur] – both elements common in biochemical reactions move when excited." Only they didn't make a single experiment on a molecule, nor on phosphorous or sulfur, nor on anything biological. Their outlook talks about a bright future, where angels sing and attoseconds dance --maybe this got mixed up a bit in the press release.

- "...the researchers effectively found a better way to snapshot chemical reactions ..."

Chemical reactions involve atoms moving. the fastest atom motion is in the hydrogen molecule with some 8 fs ground state motion period and a ground state vibrational energy of 1/2* 4166 cm-1. Their photons have an energy of some 100 eV = 8e6 cm-1 and an energy uncertainty of some 8e6 cm-1. Using these photons to see chemical motion is a bit like using a cargo ship to feel the shape of a mussel stuck to the pier.

- "The team also hopes that the ultra-mega-super-fast laser can be used to manipulate chemical reactions as well as observing them." Photons of 100 eV energy are soft x-rays and are ionizing radiation. Common bio/chemical reactions involve energies in the range of 1 eV or below. Again a bit of a mismatch, akin to controlling the motion of a snail by running it over with your car. But then, this claim has been made for every new light source in the last 100 years, so I guess it would be odd to leave it out.

Don't get me wrong, those scientists set up a great experiment and they'll eventually find a use for their laser. But why do those press releases have to claim the suspension of all physical laws and free doughnuts for everyone?

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Security pros' advice to consumers: 'We dunno, try 152 things'

Schultz
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Re: Don't open unexpected attachments

A bit of cautionary advice won't go amiss ... otherwise users will bring their private virus collection to work when they plug in that USB stick.

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Phone crypto shut FBI out of 7,000 devices, complains chief g-man

Schultz
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The complaint is equivalent to:

We know the suspect is hiding something (diary, the secret Swiss Bank account number, the typewriter,...) , but he won't tell us.

Plus ca change....

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Schultz
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Careful when comparing space to earth

"the speed of sound in the interstellar medium is around 1000m/s (at 100K)"

The speed of sound of typical air at normal temperature (some 25C, or 300K) on Earth is some 300m/s. The speed of sound in the interstellar medium will be much higher despite the low temperature because the medium consists mostly of hydrogen gas and the speed definitely changes with the molecular mass. If you want to verify that last bit, inhale some helium and try to give your best Dearth Vader impression.

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DNA as storage? Old and boring. Boffins now chaining monomers

Schultz
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Boffin

Similarities and differences to DNA data storage ...

In both cases, you need a lot of identical data-storing molecules to read out the data. For DNA, there is a well established copying mechanism, the 'polymerase chain reaction' (PCR). So you can arguably store data in a single DNA molecule and just make some 10^(large number) copies via PCR before reading the data. I don't know the current state of the art, but for some kBs of DNA data, we probably talk about milliliters of chemical solutions being processed over the course of hours to get there.

For other molecules, there won't be such a convenient amplification mechanism, hence the chemists will have to store a big chunk of identical molecules to start with. And the stuff is truly destroyed when being read by mass spectrometry. Theoretically, you might read one bit from each molecule, but in practice you will need some 10^(decent number) extra copies to get the 'full sequence coverage' required to read out all stored data. Suggesting this method for data storage is so impractical that it should be in line for the next ignoble price.

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Neutron stars shower gold on universe in big bang, felt on Earth as 100-second grav wave

Schultz
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130 milli light years away?!?

That sounds awfully close, I would rather believe the 130 million (=mega, M) lightyears quoted in the main article text. Better get those SI units right until you identify a suitable double-decker bus based replacement!

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'Israel hacked Kaspersky and caught Russian spies using AV tool to harvest NSA exploits'

Schultz
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Stop

in 2015, Kaspersky [...] was infected by the [American] Duqu 2.0 spyware

So the Americans harvested those AV records for a good number of years? Is this another case of the Americans being surprised that their exclusive exploits are not so exclusive and are used by other secret services and / or criminals?

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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Schultz
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Stop

ThinkPad 25 has the seven-row keyboard, the familiar nipple mouse and a special logo and design ...

So that's one hit in 4 tries.

I want the trackpoint but I don't care about the logo or the design - and I learned to like the chiclet keyboard. What I want instead is a good screen (my ancient netbook outshines every Xnnn Thinkpad screen by miles). And make them robust again. The Lenovos look similar to the old Thinkpads, but they are much much easier to break. It took a good tumble with the bike to crack a corner of the old X40. The newer ones damage so easily that every year-old model seems to be missing a corner.

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Angst in her pants: Alleged US govt leaker Reality Winner stashed docs in her pantyhose

Schultz
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Fed agent: "feel a little better knowing that we don't have a real serious problem here"

Ooops, what he meant to say is "feel a little better knowing that w̶e̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶ ̶s̶e̶r̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶b̶l̶e̶m̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ I will have a great career based on your admission of guilt"

10 years, is that considered serious?

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Ah, good ol' Windows update cycles... Wait, before anything else, check your hardware

Schultz
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Re: 'Windows 10 is here to stay'

I believe Windows is here to stay, but that doesn't hold me back from exploring less painful alternatives. Turns out that most of my families' computing needs are nicely met with some form of Debian Linux. Not even my kids manage to mess that up beyond repair and updates occur without anyone noticing.

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NASA, wait, wait lemme put my drink down... NASA, you need to be searching for vanadium

Schultz
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Boffin

Really?

The numbers don't make sense. According to this book chapter, Vanadium is found with an abundance of 100 mg/kg in the earth's crust, but with much lower abundance in dried biological matter. So there must be some magic either on Earth or Mars to explain why finding Vanadium should be a marker for biological matter. Maybe the article just fails to explain the magic properly.

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Python explosion blamed on pandas

Schultz
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Boffin

Execution speed...

when you play with big quantities of data in science, the speed is usually limited by inefficient code, not by inherent properties of the language. When I crunch my 5 GB dataset, making a for loop a little faster won't make my code run in a reasonable time -- but moving to a sparse data representation or avoiding the loop altogether will. Python makes those things easy, that's why it is a game changer for science.

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Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

Schultz
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Facepalm

Language ...

It all comes down to what you mean with 'information', 'collecting', ... You say tomato, I say tomato, but who really knows what you mean. Let's just agree to disagree and carry on with business as usual.

At least they still go through the motions and attempt to obfuscate, as opposed to throwing the questioner into jail. So there is still that little bit of respect for the general public, right?

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Climate-change skeptic lined up to run NASA in this Trump timeline

Schultz
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Boffin

Belief has nothing to do with it: The fundamental difference between religion and science

Science is not based on belief, but is based on hypotheses, theories, and models. I do not believe in gravity, but I know the theory of gravity and I found that it can explain and predict many phenomena that I observe. The same is true for electromagnetism and all other scientific models.

As a scientist, I actually know that the best scientific theories are fundamentally flawed approximations of reality: relativity theory and quantum mechanics, the very foundations of our scientific world view, contradict each other. So the best I can do as a scientist is: (1) understand the scientific theories, and (2) know when a particular theory will work (i.e., give me a useful prediction). After a few years (or decades) of doing that, a scientist will be awfully good in predicting the outcome of a particular experiment based on those flawed scientific theories.

The church is based on the belief in a fundamental truth (i.e., existence of god). It's the opposite of science. A 'good' priest will be unwavering in his belief, whereas a 'good' scientist will always doubt his scientific theories. A scientific career equals the search for some new piece of knowledge that will contradict (and thereby improve) the existing scientific models.

Let's translate this to climate science. Climate scientists don't believe in man-made climate change, but scientists found a correlation between global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, realized that human industrialization increased this CO2 concentration, and created a scientific model to explain this observation. Ever since, numerous scientists tried to confirm or contradict this model. After a few decade of this work, the vast majority of scientists is convinced that the model of man-made global warming correctly models and explains current atmospheric temperature changes and can also predict the trend of future temperature changes.

This is not belief, it's confidence in a scientific model. Being science, that confidence can be expressed numerically. Now imagine a priest saying: "I am 99.7% confident that god exists".

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Samsung gains ground on smartphones

Schultz
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Boffin

Re: Numbers?

We must assume that the article talks about kPhones. Then the numbers would be in the ballpark of the 2016 shipments, i.e., some 90 MegaPhones for Samsung in Q4, 2016.

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New NIST draft embeds privacy into US govt security for the first time

Schultz
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"A focus on improved outcomes"

Now why do I think about a focus on improved (personal) income when I read this? Maybe because it's obfuscation management lingo. I guess the public servants at NIST are learning how to manage their business...

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Go fork yourself: Bitcoin has split in two – and yes, it's all forked up

Schultz
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Boffin

If both [are] viable then the rates should move towards parity

Not quite, the mining possibilities and thereby the expected inflation may be quite different for the forked bitcoins. A bit like expected inflation for Venezuelan bolívar versus US$.

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Fox News fabricated faux news with Donald Trump, lawsuit claims

Schultz
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Stop

calling people like me (who have legit questions) all kinds of foul names ...

Big, John, you nicely illustrate the fundamental problem in US politics: Some politicians and friends saw advantage in destroying trust in the public institutions (newspapers, police, justice system, government, ...). Without trustworthy institutions, it's possible to ask any kind of 'legit questions' without ever accepting any answer. Murder of Seth Rich? Must be a cover-up by the police, secret service and news agencies. Sandy hooks massacre? Could be an inside job, the police are just lying about it. 9-11, Pizzagate, Russian contacts of a presidential candidate, moon landing, ... everything becomes a matter of opinion disconnected from objective reality. We see the deconstruction of civilization, because civilization is based on cooperation and cooperation is only possible if people trust one another.

This certainly makes life easier for certain politicians who are now able to spin reality. But it breaks society. It'll be the big challenge of the 21st century: How to restore trust, how to make sure trustworthy people fill the important positions, how to maintain civilization with the cacophony of meaningless dross thrown at you via the internet?

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UK waves £45m cheque, charges scientists with battery tech boffinry

Schultz
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Boffin

The same research everywhere

Try a google search for 'battery research center' and you will find hundreds of research centers looking for a better next battery generation. All of those are well funded and try to get the best research out of the best researchers. Add the research in industry and you'll realize that this 45 million initiative is small fry.

Why don't they try to fund broader basic research? Combine the academic freedom of Oxford in the 80s ("Although the now-commonplace lithium ion battery was developed based on research by Oxford University in the 1980s ...") with some decent support for startups and may be the next breakthrough research will result in some British manufacturing. 45 million is a lot of money if you don't throw it into the fashionable billion-dollar topic of the hour.

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Schultz
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Boffin

Think "cold fusion" and ask why it hasn't happened yet...

What do you mean it hasn't happened yet? It's real, it was published in 2005, it's inexpensive, it fits on your desktop and, unfortunately, it's completely useless for energy generation. The trick was to gently heat a pyroelectric crystal to generate a large electric fields on a very sharp electrode tip. Use the field to accelerate deuterium ions onto a deuterated sample and you get helium-3 plus neutrons.

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Astroboffins discover that half of the Milky Way's matter comes from other galaxies

Schultz
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Boffin

Astroboffins ̶d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ speculate ...

Let me recap the scientific method for you:

(1) Scientists dream up a model that might explain our world ("hypothesis").

(2) Scientists compare their model with observations and validate or reject their model ("validation").

If you make a new observation that requires a new scientific model, then you made a discovery. If you create a model that is not validated by observations, as did the authors of the study described here, then you just speculate and all you have is a hypothesis. This project clearly is in stage number (1); there is no discovery.

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AlphaBay and Hansa: About those dark web marketplaces takedowns

Schultz
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Boffin

Criminals are stupid. But what about the police, the politicians, the society?

The war on drugs began many decades ago and is probably older than the average reader of this site. (see: the-war-on-drugs, brief-history-drug-war)

Look at the abundance of drugs today, and give me your honest opinion:

( ) The police won the war.

( ) The drugs won the war.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me my whole lifetime, ...?

Let's face it, if those new fentanyl opiates are powerful enough that you can send a years' supply in an envelope, then you might just as well give up the police work. Upside: those powerful synthetic opiates may put the Afghan (Columbian, ...) drug lords out of business. That might end some wars.

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Alphabet takes Euro antitrust fine in stride, spooks investors with rising Google ad costs

Schultz
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Go

Fines instead of taxes ... (for Apple, Google, banks, ...)

I guess it's a way to collect public dues while the governments try to figure out how to work the taxation of international companies. Its a bit arbitrary though.

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Boffin supercharges FPGAs with timing signal tweak

Schultz
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"Someone else, however, noticed his work, and lifted the paper almost in its entirety ..."

That someone else seemed to include on of the co-authors of the (later, unplagiarized) Carl Ingemarsson paper. So was it a colleague trying to get two-for-one papers out of it? How did he get to stay on the joint paper if he participated in that plagiarization?

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Judge uses 1st Amendment on Pokemon Go park ban. It's super effective!

Schultz
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Alert

Using a public park for recreation...

shows you how crazy those kids are nowadays.

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Boffins with frickin' laser beams chase universe's mysterious trihydrogen

Schultz
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what could possibly go wrong?

Not very much, 10**13 W/cm**2 is fairly standard in trafast laser physics and can be created with table-tennis lasers in thousands of labs worldwide. The interesting physics start somewhere in the 10**20 W/cm**2 regime, but that takes a seriously large laser.

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Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

Schultz
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Boffin

Right, $50 of bars will stop a 4000lb car going 74mph.

Not quite, the estimated cost seems to be closer to $400 when installed during production and $1000 when retrofitted. And yes, those bars would stop a car. Those things are standard in other countries, e.g., Germany, and are proven to reduce deadly traffic accidents.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Schultz
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Boffin

Not optimal ...

Sending big rockets into big gravity wells and bringing them out again is quite expensive. Better to make fuel on the moon, keep the big rockets to power the earth-mars transit in space, and drop the bigger survival equipment as one-way delivery package onto the mars surface. Return vehicles only need to bring humans back up from Mars, which should be possible with much smaller rockets.

There is water on the moon and therefore the possibility to make hydrogen and oxygen. To build that infrastructure won't be possible within 10 years though. Anyways, we should fly to Europa and start talking to the local space aliens instead of moving into the desert on Mars.

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Uncle Sam █████████ cloud so much, AWS █████████ it another kinda-secret data center

Schultz
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Actually a good development

When you create such infrastructure within a government department, you get a lot of bureaucracy with it. I wouldn't claim that the Amazon solution is necessarily cheaper, but if you want to get rid of it again, you have less bureaucratic inertia.

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Five Eyes nations stare menacingly at tech biz and its encryption

Schultz
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Go

"The privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety – never."

Indeed, and the privacy of an innocent person should never be violated - never.

Those two statements just mean that you must identify the terrorists first before you violate their privacy. I suggest old-fashioned police work for that bit.

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Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

Schultz
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Stop

Wrong solution

Soft music will not properly cover up the more voluminous eruptions. The solution should clearly involve playing fart sounds over the intercom. That would make everyone comfortable.

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Senator blows a fuse as US spies continue lying over spying program

Schultz
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"self-developed definitions and legal positions that don't stand up to even basic scrutiny"

Make that:

"self-developed definitions and legal positions that don't stand up to even a basic dictionary"

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Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

Schultz
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WTF?

So she got the top-secret clearance ...

but failed to take the course on anonymizing secret documents? They should really improve the training of those people to avoid ridicule! Compare that sloppy handling to the rather competent job those patriotic Russian amateurs handed in.

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LIGO physicists eyeball a new gravitational wave

Schultz
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Unhappy

Nice story ... pity about the lousy pictures

The guardian seems to have got hold of a decipherable version for the 'Ligo's gravitationa-wave detection' image.

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Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis

Schultz
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'end stage Socialism'

To equate the Venezuelan government with socialism is a bit simplistic. Maybe you want to look at Sweden or other well run social-democratic countries for counter-examples. I would rather call it greed from a corrupt government. This particular government used the label 'socialism' as their fig leaf.

Don't get fooled by the labels, they are a propaganda tools to replace your critical thinking with prejudice. Worry about whether the government is competent, honest, and open.

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Japan (lightly) regulates high-frequency algorithmic trading

Schultz
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Re: Tax'um

It's enough to tax them a penny a trade to shut down the economically useless parts (with minimal effects for the traditional purpose of the exchanges). The high frequency operations are scams living off your pension fund. But you didn't count on that anyways, did you?

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Netgear 'fixes' router by adding phone-home features that record your IP and MAC address

Schultz
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Re: Similar technical data

The data are integers, strings, floats, and other technical stuff that you really don't have to worry about. Now stop asking those pestering questions.

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Just so we're all clear on this: Russia hacked the French elections, US Republicans and Dems

Schultz
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WTF?

Re: Landslide? ... 42% of the electorate voted Macron

42% of all eligible voters is quite a mandate. Let's compare:

Trump is president with some 26% of eligible voters voting for him.

Brexit won with some 28% of eligible voters voting for it.

... could continue the list, but you get the picture. Macron did quite well I'd say.

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Linux homes for Ubuntu Unity orphans: Minty Cinnamon, GNOME or Ubuntu, mate?

Schultz
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Re: MX-16 > Debian XFCE

I fully endorse your recommendation. Running MX-16 on several Thinkpads and things just work. Closest to zero-lag that I have ever experienced.

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Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

Schultz
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Facepalm

"... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

There is ample proof for Russian trickery online and offline. Take the Crimea invasion and all the FUD Russia spread while it was ongoing. Yet we now have ample evidence of what they did, when they did it and how they did it. Take the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine. Thorough international investigations established a lot of details that pinpoint the origin of the rocket, yet Russian sources spread ever more intricate stories of FUD (most of which got disproven quite quickly).

It's hard to give 'absolute proof' for anything, but when it comes to online malfeasance, Russia has a well established history of mucking about. Someone obviously created and financed an infrastructure in Russia to lead propaganda warfare against western Governments and I would be thoroughly astonished if that source of misinformation would suddenly vanish. It's people being payed to do that stuff and they will continue doing it while the money flows. So the only question is: what are they going to focus on after the French election? We can expect the same for the German election and for every major news story that puts Russia and the West in conflict.

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Schultz
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Stop

"I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

I would assume that there is a good number of French patriots who would fundamentally oppose electing a leader that is beholden to foreign interests. Only US party politics are so messed up that such a thing could count as 'business as usual'.

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