* Posts by Dan 21

17 posts • joined 7 Jul 2009

Brit space agency to probe 'crackpot' antigravity device

Dan 21

Demonstrably false.

"He says that the thrust drops off rapidly once the generator starts moving along the line of thrust"

So, he claims that he has falsified Newtownian physics and relativistic physics.

Of couse, you can always get off the planet real fast by stopping. Just make sure you know what direction the planet is headed first.

Note that there ARE propulsion systems that don't have reaction mass in the conventional sense. The closest one would use magnetic effects to push against the Earth's magnetic field.

Globo-renewables all electric future touted again

Dan 21

Grid losses

It seems to me that the intercontinental transmission grids would also have their own losses-every erg lost to heat in the transmission lines needs to be added to global production.

And whatever happened to the plan where solar sattelites would transmit power via microwave to ground stations? In space, solar intensity is both greater and predictable, and the transmission losses would be less overall, since power could be beamed to regional distribution sites instead of being wired across oceans.

Hotmail phish exposes most common passwords

Dan 21

How accurate is the list?

Assuming that not all of the passwords were checked before being posted, what makes anyone think that they are real? I've given fake information to phishers for a lark myself.

Hi. My name is Ima Lamer. My email is abuse@yourregistrar.com. My password is eatshitanddieyoulamer. &etc.

Star-watchers: Famous moon left half-smeared by dirty ring

Dan 21

@Pedantry alert

Actually, it has to rotate once per each revolution around the primary, plus or minus once for every revolution around the sun. (Technically, also plus or minus one time for every revoulution of the solar system around the galaxy.)

Gmail, AOL, Yahoo! all hit by webmail phishing scam

Dan 21

@Dr. Who

That's the kind of philosophy I use, except that I keep my email password at tier 0.

Because I've seen stupid things like financial insitutions keep passwords in either an unencrypted or decryptable format- it was able to send me my own password!

Techies suffer as US unemployment inches up

Dan 21
Black Helicopters

Spin it like the local news!

"Unemployment was 83k greater than expectations this month, down from 125k over expectations last month. Analists[sic] predict that at this rate, unemployment rates will be at the predicted levels by the end of the year."

Oh, and last month, we were told "Rate of unemployment slowing" because there were fewer people laid off in September than in August. American media will do anything to put a better spin on some things.

BOFH: Weapon of choice

Dan 21
Thumb Up

@Evil Auditor

High heels, cat5 cable... What's your safeword?

Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

Dan 21

Wow. So few people know what they're talking about...

Non-military uses for firearms (Non-exclusive)

1. Hobby

2. Personal defense vs. crime

3. Home defense vs. burglary

4. Police

5. Hunting

6. Paranoia/Gov't defense

For 1, anyting goes. For 2, you need something concealed. For 3, a 12-gage shotgun is ideal.

I don't trust any police officer who says he's shot people on duty enough to be able to talk about 4.

For 5, Shotgun/rifle, caliber to taste.

It's at 6 where you hit the sticking point. Personally, based on the four current and former members of the US Armed Forces in my family, I think that peashooters would work just fine. The military would rapidly run out of officers who ordered soldiers to shoot at US civilians, and the remaining ones would be loyal to the country, as opposed to the government.

Grenade, because I can still buy duct tape, nails, 12" long 2" thread pipe nipples, end caps, and some common household chemicals.

Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers

Dan 21

@ Paul 4

"Your not alowed them in MEng exams, so anyone lower than that has no need."

Assuming you meant that you aren't allowed calculators for a Masters of Engineering degree, why not? Surely by that point your ability to perform basic math is not in question, and the tests are requiring you to know what math to do?

It is in the pure math classes that the graphing calculators are really needed- for the ability to graph and perform repetitive calculations rapidly.

e.g. "Demonstrate, by use of a table, that the limit as theta approaches zero of the quotient of sine theta divided by theta equals one."

Surely you can just work that out on paper/slide rule, but the TI-84+ can give you a decimal approximation for a dozen or more values of theta in about a minute of setting up the scenario. (Put the values of theta into a list, then use that list to generate another list.)

Changing the TI-84+ firmware to the TI-89 firmware makes the device too useful for a basic calculus class- the 89 can and will provide exact answers for many trig functions, and can differentiate and integrate generally. The 84+ can only approxomate trig functions, and can approxomate derivities and areas under a curve with limited accuracy.

Disconnection phone scam targets UK consumers

Dan 21

Keep a whistle by the phone...

I use it for people who contact me more than twice about debts owed by my ex-eife of 3 years; and also for anyone trying to sell me something who doesn't take "Die in a hole" for an answer.

Scammers step up attacks on Warcraft players

Dan 21

@Will 28


What makes you think that Blizzard doesn't already track gold? All it takes is logging each transaction. (X traded Y gold to Z for item I).

What takes resources is mining out the transactions that you want to review. And when users say "The program that promised to hack your servers and give me free gold hacked my PC and gave all my gold away!!", nobody cares.

Hackintosher denies Apple's documents allegation

Dan 21


Unless Apple put the summary of evidence behind those blackout bars, they don't even have a claim, much less a case.

Oh, and EULAs aren't illegal, but they -are- meaningless. The EULA provides no rights to either party, simply because property law and copyright law trump corporate policies. Once you buy the media, you can sell it as you please (property law). You cannot legally copy the contents and sell the original (copyright law).

British boffin named first ever 'doctor of texting'

Dan 21

OMG math skilz!

"She trawled through 11,000 text messages ... together containing 190,000 words."

"She concluded that the average text contains 17.5 words"

Maybe she should have consulted with a math student.

Boffins boast self-destructing cloud data

Dan 21

F, WT?

Combined with a properly set up TOR network, this could work properly.

I encrypt my data, then send it to a stranger. I request my data from him, then decrypt it as needed. I never know who has my (encrypted) data, so once I shut my local system down, I have the key but not the lock, and someone (theoretically) unknown to me has the lock but not the key.

Now, instead of actual strangers, have several different datacenters, each spending most of their bandwidth confusing themselves about who they're talking to.

Vulture Central plans Brit-Yank dictionary

Dan 21

@Jason Bloomberg

On the west side of the pond, all homonyms are used interchangably. Ewe half know weigh of noing how hard its two reed.

Once my supervisor wrote a memo with the subject "Your customer's think your great!!!". That job brought me to tears.

On "router": in USAian, the rotary woodcrafting tool and the networking device are pronounced the same way, with a short 'o' sound. "Row-ter" would be the pronunciation of "Rotor", the portion of a motor or generator that turns (Compare the decapitating portion of a helicoptor, contrast "stator")

Also, terms of alcohol consumption: What do all of your different words for "Beer" mean? (Over here, any beverage formed from the fermentation of starches without distillation is "beer". Fruits make "wine".)

Net sleuth calls eBay on carpet over shill bidding

Dan 21

Seriously, WTF?

"This underbidder...stopped his 'nibble' bidding at the point when he equaled the maximum proxy bid value of the ultimate buyer"

Oh, really? How do you know the current bid of the ultimate buyer, Mr. Cohen?

Oh, from the article! "(we know that because the genuine bidder’s bid did not automatically advance any further, and so this nibble-bidding shill did not even need to retract an “overbid” to reinstate the genuine bidder as the winner). "

Except that you don't know what the genuine bidder's MAXIMUM bid was, only that the 'shill' you 'outed' bid from $50 to $200 in $5 increments, manually. Oh, and your own reseach shows that the 'shill' was the highest bidder for about 22 hours.

You later reference as a 'shill' a simple bid of $20 on an item. Oh, but that person put bids on 17 different items and 80% of them were with the one seller. Whoop-de-frikken-do. That's not proof; that's not even evidence.

Quit whining about losing actions on eBay. Quit whininig about paying more than you "should have" on eBay. Learn how the auctions work.

@Reg: surely when you linked to his article, you could have mentioned TLDR? Obviously, you didn't read it, or you would have bitingly criticized his failures.

Boffins guess social security numbers via public data

Dan 21

Here's the real problem:

Birth certificates are public records. For about $10 USD, anyone can get an "Original" copy of anyone's birth certificate.

Birth certificate + knowledge of the SSN + a utility bill (easily faked) is enough information for a state ID card. The picture will be of the person who presents the documentation.

A state ID card, + knowledge of the SSN is enough to order a replacement SS card.

A SS card + Photo ID is enough information to get a mortgage, credit card, or passport in the name of the victim.

But SSNs are easy to come by, anyway. Just run a fake website offering employment services, and indicate that a SSN is required for all applications "To verify employment eligibility." If you make pages that parse like employment offers, all the major recruiting websites will link to you.

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