* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Star Trek tractor beam to save Earth from asteroid Armageddon

Tom 13

The initial launch paths are actually likely to be

quite similar. They'd be launched from the same facilities and are space vehicles not merely rockets flying through the atmosphere. I'm not sure how much extra boos they'd need to break orbit. Initially I was thinking you'd need something Saturn V like, but the exploration satellites don't need launchers like that, so nukes wouldn't either.

On the other hand, if you are talking about a year or more before impact with Earth, there's plenty of time to arrange the nuke launch and clear it with everyone.

Tom 13

Okay, now that you've said what they are proposing,

I think the Star Trek tractor beam is more feasible.

Tom 13

Yes, except in the Trek episode referenced

the Enterprise was using a tractor beam in an attempt to pull the asteroid out of the path of the planet. But it failed to suitably change the course of the object and they need the deus-ex-machina repulsor beam on the planet to save the day. Never understood why they didn't use the photon torpedoes myself. Split it up into little bits, move the dangerous chunks out of the way, and don't worry about the rest.

Tom 13

If all the NEOs are bus sized, there's no worry

and it's a complete waste of money.* Anything that small will pretty much burn up on entry into the Earth's atmosphere, assuming it doesn't bounce off because it came in at the wrong angle. It's only the ones that would require a nuke that you need to worry about.

*Although I suppose from the politician's point of view that makes it even better, because nothing bad happens from failure, and when if the project keeps failing, you can keep asking for more money. ... Maybe that's why they included the Star Trek style tractor beam too.

Tom 13

Sorry mate, I read the PDF

and except for the Star Trek bit, that's pretty much what the intro calls it. I thought you were spot on until I went back to browse the PDF.

Climategate ruling: FOIA requests cover backup servers too

Tom 13

Re: ...involves a copy-and-delete

Only in versions up to DOS 5.0, after that MS finally introduced the MOVE command for handling data.

Sorry, had to bring it back to an IT angle.

Tom 13

The obviously you haven't watched the scientifically accurate documentary

staring Jane Fonda called "The China Syndrome" often enough citizen...

Now where's that sarc tag?

Tom 13

Actually, the AGW mongers

have reclassified soot as a cooling agent.

Tom 13

I'm not necessarily agaisnt adjusting the data.

If say, you discover that after 53 years, somebody put an exhaust vent such that your thermometer is now reading 2 degrees high and it is consistently 2 degrees high compared to several sites around the thermometer which are unaffected by the vent, that may be a reasonable adjustment to make. What I am against is not disclosing WHY and HOW you are adjusting the data, and proving the adjusted data are now consistent with the historical data before the advent of the vent. And having adjusted the data, you still need to keep the original, just in case somebody else discovers a new adjustment that needs to be made based on the original data. Granted I'd still rather remove the event and throw out the outliers, but I actually AM a reasonable person when it comes to these things.

That CRU bolloxed that is what ought to worry any rational person.

Tom 13

NomNomNom never has a point, he just keeps reiterating his mantras

until you submit to them. Nobody knows if the rate of carbon dioxide production is the highest is has been in earth's history because we don't have reliable records for that long. In point of fact, there's rather a good bit of evidence to the contrary. The total combined CO2 output of all industrial and developing countries is a small fraction of what a single volcanic eruption produces. Given that volcanic eruptions are not constant, I rather doubt CO2 is "increasing at the fastest rate in history." And it is the magnitude of some of those past eruptions that most makes me question the mantra of "runaway greenhouse effects" will turn us into a hothouse or Venus, or whatever other nonsense the mantra screamers are vomiting this week.

Tom 13

You can decry it all you want, and try to paper over it

with pointless academics, but as someone who was there when they were teaching it, you'll never brainwash me on this point. And yes, this was WELL before Sagan and nuclear winter came along.

Millions face Megaupload data deletion by Thursday

Tom 13

There are no seized assets anymore.

The police made their copies and gave the servers back to the vendor, which was NOT MegaUpload. That vendor is due payment from MegaUpload, which MegaUpload are not able to pay because their assets have been FROZEN. The assets are frozen because of the money laundering charges, which enable RICO seizures. RICO* laws were passed in order to limit the ability of organized crime to move their money about and continue their criminal enterprise even though a given individual in the organization might have been arrested, tried, and convicted. Also it seems to have increased the longevity of star witnesses in the cases of such organizations.

On the issue of the data, the police are issued a warrant to cover certain items. Items not covered by the warrants can't be kept. Hence the "selective" copying: they selectively copied the data covered by the warrants. Copying more than what is covered by the warrant is illegal and has the high probability of getting the case dismissed. The copied data must be made available to the defense. If the defense wishes to search for more data, that's on their dime and at their risk for civil suit if THEY breach someone's rights.

*I actually come down on the side of people who think RICO needs to at least be re-written if not repealed because of abuses which have happened with non-organized crime defendants, but the law is what it is, and those are the reasons given by those who support RICO for keeping it as is.

Tom 13

Then I guess you have no idea

what a cloned drive is and are entirely unfit to serve on a jury in any event.

Tom 13

Because they weren't the ones flacking ads

begging user to infringe on copyrighted material.

Tom 13

Then your board is even more incompetent than you are.

When you pay to host the service on the cloud, there are no adverts from which the vendor is deriving money. Moreover, your data is segregated from that of other vendors. So when the feds come knocking at the cloud vendor's door, the cloud vendor asks which clients are covered by the warrants. If you aren't covered by the warrants, your data aren't copied. Moreover, because the cloud vendor is cooperating with the police, and have in place specific methods for providing police with clones of the data, their servers are never taken offline in the first place.

I still think trusting all your data to the cloud alone is stupid and incompetent, but not because the RIAA, MPAA, or other ip trolling rejects are going to be able to take down the cloud. In fact, in this case, it is evident that the company selling the cloud service TO MegaUpload is largely unaffected by the prosecution of the case.

Tom 13

You forget the Napster case

If the prosecution can provide that the business model depended on infringement of copyrights, the case will proceed. Yes, criminal law is different than civil law, but in this case the concept will translate. I'm not saying this good, I am saying it is what is. Furthermore, since it is what is, and since this was a foreseeable outcome, MegaUpload should have had insurance to cover payments to keep the service running in the event their accounts were frozen, or at least had a clause in their contracts that the data would be preserved until such time as the case was decided. This is part of their fiduciary responsibility and it will therefore fall upon them if user data is lost. You can't blame the scorpion for stinging the frog when they are halfway across the stream.

Tom 13

@Mad Mike: Umm, no!

The Prosecutors are not deciding anything, and in fact are following the law. They were issued search warrants for particular information. They seized the servers and used forensic programs to make copies of the data covered under the warrants. They are not legally permitted to keep data beyond what was specified in the warrants.

The servers have now been returned to their owners, as is also required by law. What happens to the servers and the data on those servers is now entirely up to the company that owns the servers.

Furthermore, they are required to provide any exculpatory data that is covered by those warrants to the defense attorneys. If they don't provide said data, they lose their case, which exactly what happened when over-zealous prosecutors failed to provide such exculpatory evidence to Senator Ted Sevens defense attorneys for his trial.

US entertainment lawyer casts doubt on Megaupload case

Tom 13

Yep. Everybody KNOW Al Capone killed dozens and

ordered hundreds of hits and thousands of assaults, but what they eventually nailed him on was tax evasion. It's them financial laws everybody breaks, even when they are trying to be law-abiding citizens.

Blackhole crimeware kit drives web threat spike

Tom 13

User education is useless when the infection comes

from a drive-by via an ad on an otherwise "safe" site. Yeah, had another user with one of those today. Nothing unusual about the sites he was on, and as usual, the AV didn't catch it. Now I'm waiting on the security drones to okay the system rebuild.

Pwn2Own 2012 touts bigger prizes, drops mobile hacks

Tom 13

Well when I WAS young,

we didn't even HAVE SSL. We used an acoustic coupler and were glad of it.

Intel issues dividend, Apple sits on $97.6bn

Tom 13

No, my ranges reflect actuals.

You're only quoting the FEDERAL tax on dividends and capital gains. I'm including STATE and LOCAL taxes, hence the ranges instead of a fixed percentage.

And it's not a talking point, its a fundamental issue.

Tom 13

@Peter 48: You were doing okay until the end.

The reason most American companies DON'T pay dividends is bad tax law. If you make a profit as a company, you pay anywhere from 30-50% of the profit in taxes. Then when you issue it as a dividend, the recipient pays another 25%-50% on taxes. So it is more effective to retain the profits and grow the company to increase the share price of the company. This leads to the bust-boom cycle you see in our markets. If companies could pay dividends without taking the initial tax hit, you'd see more "rational" behavior from companies. You might even see it if they didn't have to take the second tax hit. Except of course most people prefer to bitch about someone making $40+ million of income on $250 million+ of investments paying too little in taxes.

Google Maps to dish out disaster alerts

Tom 13

Some nits:

NWS is an agency of NOAA, so the list is sort of like listing El Reg, El Reg comments, and The Onion.

You should also check on the map source, it is more likely the US Geodetic Survey, which is also an agency of NOAA. Many people make that mistake. I got caught on it myself yesterday even though as an NWS contractor with a friend who works in the Geodetic area, I should know better. Geodetic are the people who measure it down to the 0.5 cm and revise the supercomputer globe models every 4 years.

No bail for Kim Dotcom

Tom 13

Bail is set not merely upon one's desire to flee,

but also upon one's ability to flee. Cash, and investments in precious metals (gold, silver, lead, copper, and particularly certain variants of lead combined with copper) are good means by which escape can be managed. Especially when paired with helicopters and sharks with laser beams.

How to tell if your biz will do a Kodak

Tom 13

The catch as I see it is that

I expect if we had a George Eastman clone who had become the CEO of Kodak about 20 years ago, and possibly as few as 10, we'd not now be talking about anyone doing a Kodak. It is fundamentally a vision thing.

Tom 13

Agreed. "The Cloud" is just the spun out version of yesterday's "Outsourcing."

As soon as most businesses get that properly imprinted on their too mushy brains, things will not look quite so sunny in "The Cloud." I will grant that unlike IBM trying to sell time on their proprietary mainframes, this one has a more consumer friendly interface and therefore doesn't have quite the same hit for "expert technical advice" but the fundamental issues remain: If the data aren't on your hardware, in your building, with you having engineered in the needed redundancy and power backups (including if necessary the generator and the railroad car of fuel), you're at the vendor's mercy when things go pear shaped. And sooner or later, something ALWAYS goes pear shaped - just ask a BB user who was dependent on RIMs cloud services.

US Supremes: GPS tracking requires warrant

Tom 13

Now wait a cotton picking minute!

The police DID obtain a warrant and they are throwing out the evidence because the police were a day late installing it?

This case should never have gone to SCOTUS in the first place, regardless of the correctness of whether or not the warrant was required.

Starship Voyager dumped into skip

Tom 13

When the flat doesn't sell at any price in a fair time frame

the problem is the design, not the market. And when you ain't paying your own bills, you have to yield to the one who is. Which is especially bad news when it's an ex, even if the divorce was a "friendly" one.

GM Volt e-car battery safe, say feds

Tom 13

Right, because after all

everyone reads the owners manual, paying extra close attention to the details about how to make your car fire safe after the crash.

/end sarc

Dell, Nvidia insider traders nabbed by Feds

Tom 13

There were calls from the freetards, fascists, and marxists

to abolish naked short selling, but no sane person in finance or politics would ever call for doing away with short selling entirely. It's a tool that is frequently used by producers to lock in a price for a good, especially farm goods. If the market has bid the price of corn up to $5.25 a barrel and you have expect to harvest 100,000 bushels, you can lock in that price by shorting 100,000 bushels at $5.25. Of course, you better be sure you can deliver the 100,000 bushels when the time comes.

NSA constructs hardened Android, unleashes it on world

Tom 13
Black Helicopters

Actually, if you write your own code from scratch

on hardware you've personally designed and built, you are more likely to have a bug than if you use binaries downloaded from a warez site. You've spread yourself too thin and have no one to look for bugs in your stuff. Open source has lots of eyes.

And keep in mind that since the NSA are releasing the source code, the KGB, Mossad, MIx and all the rest of the spook agencies out there get to look at it too. Assuming NSA introduced a bug, one of those agencies can find it. That agency might decide it's more worthwhile to just use the bug themselves, or they might decide to release a fix, but either way the NSA is itself now at risk as well. Granted the NSA might be using devices that have a fixed applied, but their targets still don't, and if you know where the bug is you can monitor for the targets, and knowing who/where the targets are in and of itself provides a spook with useful information.

I need to get back to my day job now. Thinking even a little like a spook makes me dizzy.

Two PROTECT IP sponsors drop support for their own bill

Tom 13

You overlook the obvious point:

Despite all his rhetoric about "the little people," most of The Big 0's campaign contributions come from the people supporting the bills. It makes no sense to piss them off by taking a stand you don't need to take.

NASA study identifies the ‘low hanging fruit’ in climate change

Tom 13

@Richard 12: I'd wager he lives here in the US,

and is just as beaten about by the CO2 stick as the UK. Except that on our side of the pond instead of making direct correlations like you list, it gets hidden in regulations and taxes on industry, which in turn allows the politicians and news media to blame it on the big bad capitalists instead.

Boffins quarrel over ridding world of leap seconds

Tom 13

@Grendel: That still doesn't solve the problem.

The underlying problem is that the Earth's speed of rotation is slowing down. At some point we will have a 25 hour day if you use the atomic clock second. But a day will remain 24 hours with 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute. You can't use an offset to adjust for that. Besides which, the whole concept of time as something which if fixed is much more akin to the now dead concept of the ether than most people realize.

Tom 13

Minor nit: Actually it is solar time

not sidereal time.

Tom 13

Choices for the start of the calendar did depend on solar time,

but whether it was equinox or solstice seems to depend on the culture. Early months also tended to be exactly 30 days, but this led to other obvious problems. We will always have to deal with occasionally straightening out a mess because sidereal /= solar /= atomic, and each has its legitimate use and purpose. Although it does seem to me that for most practical purposes these days we would be better off holding on the leap seconds until there is a leap minute and then making one large shift that everyone is actually prepared for rather than more frequent shifts for which we are unprepared and which are prone to truly bollux up things.

Tom 13

@It wasnt me: re: a second is a second

Spoken like someone who is completely unfamiliar with the differences between sidereal, solar, and atomic time; the origins of time keeping; the development of naval navigation; or even the importance of knowing when to plant the crops, which really, is pretty basic and critically important when you get right down to it.

Tom 13
Thumb Up

@bazza: An emminently logical proposal sir,

are you certain you should be posting here?

Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday in SOPA protest

Tom 13

Or Kindles


Tom 13

No, while the freetards focus on DNS issues,

the real and obvious problem with this law, one so glaring it should never have made it past the rough drafting stage when the elected representatives clerks were putting it together at the local watering hole let alone after the initial committee review, is that it allows anyone to issue a claim that covered material has been posted to a site and the ISP MUST shut it down. There is no recourse for site owner. That's a pre-emption that even an "I wanna be a pre-law student one of these days" person would find flies in the face of the First Amendment and multiple SCOTUS rulings.

Tom 13

Wiki is going dark because of SOPA?

You know that's almost enough to make me want it to pass.

Almost. But it's still so bad I have to be against it. Of course, it really is silly that Wiki is choosing to do this after the announcement from Eric Cantor that even if SOPA makes it out of the Senate, it is dead in the House.

Microsoft sharpening axe for marketing heads - report

Tom 13

Been using Win 7 for a couple years now

Started, reluctantly, with Vista. Vista sucked, Win 7 works. These days I find the XP interface lacking and a bit of a kludge. Although I do still prefer it's printer interface to the one in Win 7. From a security perspective, Win 7 stands as much above XP as XP does 9x.

You can hate MS all you want, but those are the facts on the ground.

Tom 13

FUD only gets you so far. And if you rely on it too much,

it becomes ineffective. Or worse, you wind up in the spot MS now finds themselves: even when they DO accomplish something which is for them a technical innovation, the market writes it off as more FUD but since you're already on the MS treadmill, FUD you have to accept.

There's only one way to turn that problem around: kill the marketing and put together a technical team that produces the goods. I don't know if MS will pull it off, but it is the only shot they got. Especially since their former primary motivator and foil is now in the great beyond.

Xerox CEO's cure for US educational woes: 'Cool' and cash

Tom 13

Burns gets +1 for trying to get kids interested in studying,

-5 for blaming the problems on budgets. Schools (at least in the US) have more money flowing through their coffers today than at any previous point in history. It's just that they are also the most wasteful of government institutions in the way they spend it. Yeah, I've heard the horror stories about the teacher spending a grand or two out of pocket for supplies they think they need for their classroom in elementary school. But that money should be found elsewhere in the budget.

Google attacks Twitter's search bias claim

Tom 13

It's got nothing to do with cost and everything to do with revenue stream.

Google and MS are actually perfect analogues for this discussion because neither of them generate their PRIMARY money stream from the "Free" product being sold while their competitors do.

You can disagree with the basis of the law and argue that the law OUGHT to be changed, but while it is the law, it SHOULD be enforced equally on all entities.

Former coder, NASA 'naut to lead DARPA starship dream

Tom 13

There's a reason NASA was willing to loan real astronauts to Star Trek.

Even some of the boffins who got us to the Moon were inspired by the show, even if it was concurrent or after the fact for some of the program. It also inspired quite a few of the next generation of NASA boffins to study hard in the engineering sciences and then work for NASA.

Doomsday Clock ticks one minute closer to annihilation

Tom 13


More pointless propaganda from fascist bigots. A realistic assessment would have moved the clock forward 4 minutes because of the other group of irrational fascists in Iran who are intent on using one to implement the next Final Solution to the Jewish Problem, with no regard to possible outcomes of that action.

Profs call for harsh taxes on sweet carbonated beverages

Tom 13

You need to learn your

state abbreviations.

And no, the digestive cycle can't tell the difference.

Tom 13

I'll go you one better:

we shouldn't HAVE to wait for the revolution to put these kinds of fascist bastages up against the wall.

Tom 13

Wow, where to begin....

Starbucks started in Washington State, not Cali, where they probably couldn't have afforded the taxes let alone the accountants and lawyers to file the necessary paperwork.

HFCS is cheaper than sugar because in addition to the LA purchase for Obamacare, LA keeps getting a sugar tax passed that inflates the cost of sugar to about twice what it would cost to import it from Jamaica. No need to tax HFCS, just abolish the distorting tax on imported sugar.

HFCS vs "real sugar"? The body can't tell the difference between them. Both are carbs and trigger the same responses. The real problem is that you build up a tolerance to the responses, and therefore can consume more and more of it. Dr. Atkins might not have the safest diet in the world, but he got the biological cycles right on carbs.

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