* Posts by Justin S.

42 posts • joined 14 Aug 2009

Thought your divorce was ugly? Bloke sues wife for wiretapping – 'cos she read his email

Justin S.

Re: Why issue a sueball?

I wonder how much discretion the police get, or if they have a huge backlog of super-serious crimes to prosecute.

Contrary to popular belief, the police in the United States don't charge or prosecute people. They collect evidence and they arrest people-- ideally people under reasonable suspicion of committing a crime, but regrettably that's not always the case.

The decision to file charges/prosecute a person rests with the District or State Attorney's office. There's no national standard or requirement that I know of, but generally the prosecutor's office has two or three days to file charges after an arrest, otherwise they are required to release the arrestee; in California, they have forty-eight hours.

It is not uncommon for someone to be arrested and then released without charge: because an honest mistake was made by the arresting officer; because the prosecutor's office decides there isn't enough evidence; or because the officer acted stupidly or maliciously.

My guess for this case is that the police and/or District Attorney's office don't want to get involved, probably because it's almost entirely a domestic dispute.

If the plaintiff manages to win the case, his attorney might hand the evidence collected to that point to the District Attorney's office, which might be enough to get them going, and he would probably file a bar complaint against the ex-wife's divorce attorney.

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Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Justin S.

Re: Trump listens to this guy

No, but it is possible for a nutcase with a gun to show up at a NASA facility.

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1

Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Justin S.

Re: Hiring from the competiton - unprecedented?

The events unfolding between Waymo, Uber, and Otto aren't unprecedented, but it's not just "hiring from the competition," either: this is a case of employees (plural) going rogue, stealing from their former employer, and selling to an unscrupulous competitor.

Look at the timeline (condensed):

* Dec 2015-Jan 2016: Levandowski downloads thousands of files from Waymo's servers, and (unsuccessfully) attempts to cover his tracks. During this time, he and another Waymo employee (Ron Lior) solicit other employees to jump-ship.

* Jan 2016: Levandowski and Lior resign, form 280 Systems (which will become Otto), and meet with Uber execs. Uber awards Levandowski 5.3 million shares of Uber stock, which begin vesting the day after he leaves Waymo.

* Feb 2016: Levandowski and Lior officially form Otto. They sign various agreements with Uber, and Uber and Otto begin the process for Uber to acquire Otto.

* July 2016: Multiple employees leave Waymo for Otto. Some downloaded more documents on their way out.

* Aug: 2016: Uber announces its acquisition of Otto.

There were some other shenanigans in there, involving companies called Odin Wave and Tyto Lidar. Odin Wave's registered address was a property owned by Levandowski. A manager at Tyto Lidar is a friend of Levandowski. The two companies merged, were acquired by Otto, and then Uber.

From an article at Axios, "In 2013, [Odin Wave] reportedly ordered a custom part from a vendor used by Google that was very similar to Google's. Google employees questioned Levandowski but he denied any involvement with the company."

There's a comprehensive timeline at axios.com, which includes links to supporting documents (legal filings and other news articles): https://www.axios.com/the-tortured-history-of-the-uber-waymo-legal-fight-all-in-one-place-2349566425.html

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Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight

Justin S.

Re: deny you adverse inference

@EveryTime

Adverse inference is not allowed in criminal trials, but it is allowed in civil trials, which Waymo vs. Uber is.

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What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course

Justin S.

Re: But isn't the environment itself just as important?

@ShelLuser

If you don't have access to the source code, you're left with either decompiling the software and/or running it in a debugger, laboriously reverse-engineering the software to see how it works and might be broken. That is a far slower process than running automated throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks sessions, and then checking out the interesting results.

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Tesla sues ex-manager 'for stealing 100GBs of Autopilot secrets'

Justin S.

Re: Sounds like a candidate for the electric chair

Powered by Panasonic lithium-ion batteries!

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Aaarrgh, zombie! Dead Apple iOS monopoly lawsuit is reanimated

Justin S.
Boffin

Re: Who is paying these corrupted judges, uh?

'What's a relevant market? It is a market category, like "mobile phones" or "smartphones". It is NEVER "product x from a single company" unless there are no comparable products available from other companies'

Incorrect. Apple-- among others-- sold personal computers during the mid- to late-90s, at the same time Microsoft was in its prime. That didn't stop the Department of Justice from filing an antitrust suit against Microsoft in the mid 90s, and then again in the late 90s.

The complaint filed by the DoJ in the latter case specifically referenced "Intel-based" personal computers, and specifically stated the monopoly position existed for them. From the complaint: "The market for personal computer operating systems consists of operating systems written for the Intel x86/Pentium (or 'PC') class of microprocessors... Thus, OEMs and PC users do not consider an operating system that runs a non-Intel-based personal computer to be an effective substitute for an operating system that runs an Intel-based personal computer... And because there is no viable competitive alternative to the Windows operating system for Intel-based computers, OEMs consider it a commercial necessity to preinstall Windows on nearly all of their PCs." (See also: https://www.justice.gov/atr/complaint-us-v-microsoft-corp)

In the current instance, Apple manufacturers the hardware and operating system, but they do not write all the software, leaving that up to third-party developers. No third-party can make an Apple-compatible device (legally), and only through Apple can third-party software be sold.

This is different from Android-compatible applications, which can be run on devices from many different manufactures, and sometimes on devices that do not claim compatibility-- like Amazon devices, which are based on the Android OS, but which are not really, legally Android.

The market for Apple devices is smaller than Android overall (according to IDC), but is nonetheless substantial, and companies frequently write software for both so as not to miss profiting from each ecosystem's substantial user-base.

If the EC can make an argument for Google-- which gives away Android for 'free'-- being a monopolist in the Android ecosystem, where does that leave Apple and its iron-fisted control over the Apple ecosystem?

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Justin S.

Re: How were they not customers?

"Anyway, the fact Google takes the same 30% means any attempts to claim that 30% is excessive are unlikely to succeed."

Maybe, maybe not. Unlike Apple, Google allows third-party app stores (e.g. Amazon's app store, etc; search "third party android app stores" for a large list of potentially dodgy options), and therefore is not a monopolist for app stores on the Android platform.

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Binary star bash-up should add new light to Northern Cross in 2022

Justin S.

Here's hoping for something funny happening...

“If we’re right it would mean the science is already done,” he explained. “What’s exciting is what we don’t know.”

'The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …”'

— Isaac Asimov (ascribed)

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Weather stops SpaceX from blowing up more satellites

Justin S.

Re: Flight failures

@ Bubba Von Braun

"Does not include development flights/failures as Atlas/Thor/Delta/Taurus failures are not available, so I excluded the Falcon 1 stats for balance."

And then you include a crap-ton of development flights for Falcon, e.g. anything listed as "Grasshopper" ("...consists of the first stage of Falcon-9 v1.0, fitted with only one Merlin-1D engine and fixed landing legs"), "Falcon-9R-Dev-1" ("...is test vehicle for the Falcon-9 v1.1 and consists of the longer first stage of Falcon-9 v1.1(ex), fitted with three Merlin-1D engine and operational deployable lightweight landing legs"), and/or "(R&D)".

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Justin S.

Flight failures

Where do you get 41 flights for Falcon? And what is the third failure?

Even if you include Falcon 1, I count 34 total launches: two successful and three failed Falcon 1; and twenty-six completely successful, one partially successful, and two failed Falcon 9.

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British military laser death ray cannon contract still awarded, MoD confirms

Justin S.

Re: operational in all weather

I'd like to see video of a multi-kilowatt laser fire into the fog, though I'll take a pass on seeing it in person.

You know how you're not supposed to activate your car's high-beams in fog? It's like that, only brighter.

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Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Justin S.

Get off my lawn!

"Like you, I wish people would use the correct terminology - 'powered off' to me me means 'without any power applied, connected etc'"

Some of us oldtimers remember when the on/off switch/button physically disconnected the device from power-- and we write/speak accordingly.

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Russian banks floored by withering DDoS attacks

Justin S.

Re: The problem is the internet protocols - Explain!

There are many network protocols, and they exist in a hierarchy (I'm referring to the OSI model here; other models exist).

OSI layer 3, the Network layer, is "IP" or "Internet Protocol." Its job is to facilitate moving packets of data from one host to another, locally or across routers. While it is responsible for moving data between hosts, it cannot deliver it to the applications or services that need it-- that is done by OSI layer 4.

OSI layer 4, the Transport layer, is responsible for the end-to-end delivery of data for applications and services. There are two main Transport layer protocols for use with IP: "Transmission Control Protocol" or "TCP"; and "User Datagram Protocol" or "UDP."

You might recognize TCP from "TCP/IP," which commonly-- and improperly-- is used as shorthand for any Internet data communication. TCP is a "session oriented" protocol. That is, communication using TCP requires that the client and server establish a session before communication commences, which requires the client ask the server to start a new session, receive an acknowledgement from the server, and then negotiate the session details.

Setting up the session is, relatively, expensive: it take a bit of time, because multiple non-data exchanges need to occur first, and it requires a little more RAM to maintain information about the session. TCP has its benefits, however, because it guarantees the delivery of data by ensuring each packet is received and re-sending those that go missing. It also requires that the client address in the IP header be valid, because two-way communication is necessary to complete session setup. Most protocols make use of TCP: HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, SSH, TELNET, FTP, LDAP, SQL (Microsoft, MySQL, Postgress, Oracle, etc), and so on.

The other Transport layer protocol, UDP, is "the" problem. UDP is a "connection-less" protocol, which does not require any session setup. A client simply sends a UDP packet to a server and the server-- if it is listening-- sends a response. Because there is no session information, there is no built-in retransmission of lost packets, but that's usually okay because you rarely use UDP for anything sensitive to data loss: audio and video transmission are the most popular uses of UDP, along with DNS and NTP. It also doesn't perform any validation of the client address in the IP header.

The lack of session setup makes UDP ripe for abuse. A malicious user can create a UDP packet to a server with the "from" address field set to the target system the user wants to DDoS, "spoofing" the address. The server, upon receiving it, will then reply-- completely unaware that it is sending to a third-party.

UDP attacks are made worse by a process called "amplification." Take DNS, for example: the spoofed DNS request doesn't have to be very large-- maybe 120 bytes, maybe less-- requesting a particular domain name lookup, but the lookup could be for a domain name with lots of records, causing the reply to be ten or more times larger. This amplifies the attacker's power, allowing him to generate ten or more times as much traffic as he has directly available through his Internet connection.

Taking over an IoT device is even worse, as the attacker now has the potential to load custom scripts or firmware and generate attack traffic directly, without relying on amplification and with minimal Command and Control traffic. And because the traffic is sent using UDP, there's no session setup to prevent or mitigate the flood: it just goes and goes and goes.

It should be noted that TCP is not without its faults with regard to DoS attacks. One of the early DoS attacks involved sending bad session setup requests that were never completed but still caused the server to allocate resources while waiting for the session setup to complete, which ultimately lead to resource exhaustion and the denial of service. This has been at least partly mitigated, and tends to affect a small number of servers, so it is no longer a common attack method.

UDP attacks, on the other hand, are kind of like saturation bombardment: the target server is knocked out, and service is degraded or denied for anyone else using the same Internet connection as the target.

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Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Justin S.

Death and taxes

> SpaceX founder Elon Musk has laid out an audacious multibillion-dollar plan to send colonists to probably die on Mars.

Well, yes, they're colonists. Whether they die on their second day or forty years later, after having children and grandchildren, they probably will die on Mars.

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USBee stings air-gapped PCs: Wirelessly leak secrets with a file write

Justin S.

Re: Missing piece...

But it has exposed USB ports. Seriously?

Even air-gapped systems need software updates, as well as data-in/data-out. Different amounts and types of security are used for different systems/classification levels/etc.

This is just another chink in the proverbial armor: those who thought they were sufficiently secure will again (as though they ever [or should have] stopped) reconsider their arrangements and make the necessary adjustments. Or they won't, in which case there's another opportunity for ex-filtration.

Also, it should be noted that while a system may be secure against this particular attack-- perhaps because they have disabled or epoxied closed their USB ports-- another researcher or villain may use it as a starting point for another attack vector, or adapt it to work with other USB devices (keyboards, perhaps).

Security is not a static thing: the white and black hats both work to reveal the weaknesses of existing (and sometimes future) systems, spurring changes in the relevant industries.

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French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

Justin S.

"I squat"

That puts your mouth at the proper level...

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Tesla autopilot driver 'was speeding' moments before death – prelim report

Justin S.

Re: Bar none

Many commercial truck (lorry) trailers in the USA are now fitted with "trailer skirts," which improve the aerodynamics of the trailer, and thus improve the fuel economy of the truck. Had the trailer been fitted with skirts, the car's LIDAR would probably have seen them and prevented the collision.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailer_skirt

But I agree with the OP: paying attention to the drive would have done the trick.

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Lauri Love at risk of suicide if extradited to US, Brit court hears

Justin S.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

@Ivan 4

As we have all seen that extradition is only one way - country X to the US NEVER US to country X, for some very strange reason.

According to a FOIA request to the Home Office in 2012, seven people were extradited from the US to the UK (and thirty-three from the UK to the US) from 2004 through 2011.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/details_of_numbers_of_us_citizen

As for the reason for the imbalance between countries, you may reach whatever conclusion you wish, but I will not presume to know without details of the specific circumstances around each extradition and, importantly, any rejected requests.

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Crafty plan to give FBI warrantless access to browser histories axed

Justin S.

I can't understand Senator Cornyn. Perhaps he should remove Comey's d**k from his mouth.

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SCO slapped in latest round of eternal 'Who owns UNIX?' lawsuit

Justin S.

Re: Goddam

An admirable summation, thames.

SCOG is the gift, above all others, that just keeps giving-- it's kind of like herpes, in that respect.

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You ain't nothing but a porn dog, prying all the time: Cyber-hound sniffs out hard drives for cops

Justin S.

Re: Sounds Expensive

I think that's rather unfair on an otherwise good investigative technique. Got any evidence that such abuse has ever happened?

Proving such abuse would be exceptionally difficult, as it would almost certainly require the handler to confess to the abuse; it might be possible to capture such abuse on video, but the cues used might be sufficiently subtle that it would require an examination of multiple true and false alerts to sort out.

However, a study by University of California at Davis showed that dogs do take cues from their handlers-- intentionally or otherwise-- with a recommendation that the study be replicated and expanded to determine what cues were causing the false alerts.

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/2010-2011/02/20110223_drug_dogs.html

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Elon Musk's $4.9bn taxpayer windfall revealed

Justin S.

Re: Seems legit

Joe, while I get where you're coming from, I fear you have a poor grasp of the ratios of income tax versus earned income for America's citizens.

In 2012, the top 1% of earners (people who reported earning more than $434k) paid a tad more than 26.7% of all "individual" (i.e. not corporate) taxes.

In the same year, the top 10% of earners (people who reported earning more than $125k, and including the top 1%) paid 70.2% of all individual taxes.

The bottom 50% of all individual tax returns paid 2.8% of the income taxes collected that year.

http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-0

Where to define the break between the "common taxpayers" and the, what, "uncommon taxpayers?" is open for debate. As the data in the link has certain defined breaks, let's use the bottom 75%, which includes anyone who earned less than $73k. The bottom 75% of all personal tax returns filed in 2012 paid 13.6% of the individual income tax collected.

Based on the percentages paid, I would argue that the "uncommon taxpayers," which include the "rich people" you referred to, are overwhelmingly responsible for "prop[ping] up their [own] ventures". Ventures which employ thousands of people directly, and which facilitate the employ of tens or hundreds of thousands indirectly.

I should also point out that the income tax numbers above and in the link are only about half of the taxes collected by the feds for that year. I don't have a link handy for 2012, but 2011's individual income tax income was similar, and was supplemented by about as much from payroll taxes, corporate taxes, and various "other" tax streams, like customs duties and excise taxes.

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/04/13/150441259/what-america-pays-in-taxes

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NASA: Mars satellites menaced by speeding SPACE ALIEN

Justin S.

Does anyone know whether the Indians have planned for MOM to duck behind Mars, too, or will it be exposed?

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Long time ago? Galaxy far, far away? You ain't seen nothing yet

Justin S.

Re: "An artist's rendition of..." @ Michael Hoffmann

It's on the Texas A&M News and Events page, in the right column, under "Blue Light Special."

http://www.science.tamu.edu/articles/1129

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Dotcom's Mega smacks back: Our crypto's not crap

Justin S.

Re: dedupe

@Gordan That's one way. The other possibility-- perhaps mentioned in someone else's comment; quite a lot of chaff has been posted with the wheat-- is that deduplication is enabled but effectively applied on a per-user basis.

That is, if we accept that user data is being encrypted with the user's master key, and that only that single instance of the encrypted data is being stored by Mega (e.g. a second copy, encrypted with a Mega-owned key, is not also being stored), then the only *likely* instances of duplication the system will see will come from the user him/herself, either in the form of entire duplicate files or identical data chunks within those files (assuming the data chunks are encrypted independently of each other).

Data savings might be large enough to justify this, if we consider that there is a possibility for users to maintain multiple copies of the same music file (for example), either as identical tracks from different albums or as part of playlists. Yes, I know it is much more efficient to maintain playlists as text files pointing to member tracks, but it's often more convenient to copy the playlist tracks to their own directory. Of course, metadata for the tracks will probably be different-- different album names, publish dates, etc-- so deduplication is only likely if independent encryption of data chunks is performed.

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GM to slash vast outsourced IT empire

Justin S.

Re: Let us centralise all our support into just 2 locations...

> "Except that HP don't have just two production sites. They have dozens which will mostly NOT have local support."

"Production site," in this case, doesn't mean "manufacturing." In the IT world, a "production site" (or "production system") is the one in operation at the time. "DR" is the "disaster recovery" site, which maintains backup copies of all data and services, to be brought online should something happen to the production site.

As for support, it depends how they choose to manage that. Typically, data centers do not house first-tier support. With international companies, it is typically best for tier one to remain near the end-users, so they speak the same language and are familiar with the local processes, and have higher (more advanced) tiers more centrally located; end-users rarely interact with data center personnel.

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Alec Baldwin kicked off plane for playing with his phone

Justin S.

Re: if by gas you mean petrol...

'Gas' is used as the abbreviated form of "gasoline," formerly "gasolene." Not unlike how "petrol" is an abbreviated derivation of "petroleum." And, while not all "gas" is "gasoline," neither is all "petroleum" "petrol."

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BOFH: Axe handles - occasionally quite slippery

Justin S.
Boffin

BOFH Glossary of Terms

BOFH - Bastard Operator From Hell

PFY - Pimply Faced Youth

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Modern-day ninja in epic battle with riot police, robot

Justin S.

Re: In Las Vegas...

Yes, but of course 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.'

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Stardust comet hunter drifts off into space

Justin S.
Boffin

Re: Sad

Indeed, though it might surprise you to know that we are *still* in communication with both of the Voyager craft, and that they are still sending us useful information.

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/

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Emergency declared at second quake-wracked Japanese nuke plant

Justin S.

Re: contradiction in terms

Plant no. 1 had diesel backup, but that generator (or generators) was wash away by the tsunami. Given that plant no. 2 is "only" seven miles away, it is possible they planned to use plant no. 1's backup generator(s), or that the plant had its own which was likewise damaged or destroyed.

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Jackson's Hobbit movies back on track

Justin S.
Boffin

Re: Cate Blanchett?

First, you're ignoring the possibility that Cate Blanchett might be reprising her secondary role as narrator-- we won't know until we see the script, etc. If she does have screen time, it will likely be in the second, 'original story' film.

Second, you're apparently unaware that Legolas is, in all likelihood, very old. To quote from The Two Towers, when Legolas spoke of Fangorn Forest, "It is old, very old. So old that almost I feel young again, as I have not felt since I journeyed with you children." That he should have at least a bit part in the first movie, being the son of King Thranduil of the wood elves, is natural.

Third, plenty of things occurred in the gap between The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring, though not all of them are terribly exciting: the early life of young Aragorn and his romance with Arwen (see above for Cate Blanchett's role as Galadriel, who is Arwen's grandmother, and Arwen spent much time in Lothlorien with her), the rebuilding of Barar-dur and regaining of Sauron's strength, and the (final) corruption of Saruman, just to name a few.

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New ISS machine makes water from waste CO2

Justin S.

Re: A tonne of water a year?

The output from the Sabatier Reactor is in addition to existing water reclamation systems, particularly the "Urine Processor Assembly" as noted in the article. It's about stretching the existing resources as far as possible to reduce the amount of replacement materials that need to be shipped up.

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Justin S.
Boffin

Re: Cooling!?

It is a common misconception that because space is "cold" that cooling is not a problem. The real problem is that space is largely a vacuum, so there's little gas (nitrogen and oxygen here on Earth) to effect a kinetic transfer of energy-- like how the temperature seems cooler on Earth when the wind is blowing, which we refer to as "windchill."

In space, the primary means of cooling is to radiate the heat energy away as infrared light. To get heat from inside the ISS to the radiators located outside the ISS, they use a circulating system of water (and ammonia) as the heat transfer medium.

Really, NASA explains it far better than I could:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast21mar_1/

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Silicon Valley hypegasm for miracle shoebox powerplants

Justin S.

Re: Hopelessly addicted to/using too much gas

"Somebody correct me please if I'm wrong, but isn't it more efficient on the whole to burn gas for heat at the point of consumption than it is to generate electricity from that gas and then convert the electricity to heat?"

It is, but that's not the way a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, like Bloom's "Box," works (or at least not intended to be used).

SOFCs operate at extremely high temperatures, generally in the range of 500-1000 degrees C. This allows them to oxidize fuel without using an expensive catalyst, like the platinum typically used in low-temperature fuel cells. No expensive catalyst means, in theory, that the unit is less expensive to build.

Because the unit operates at such a high temperature, there's a great deal of waste heat. This waste heat can be harnessed to drive building air conditioning (heating and cooling; more on that below) and boiler systems *in addition to* the electricity generated. By reclaiming this waste heat, the total efficiency of the unit is increased. Various numbers get bandied about, mostly because different solutions are capable of differing peak/maximum efficiencies. Bloom reports greater than 50% electrical efficiency, but reclaiming heat can push overall efficiency numbers into the 70+% range.

As for cooling using waste heat, there's a very old technology called "adsorption" cooling, which uses heat to drive a chilling system. It is not very efficiency compared to electrically driven compression-based air conditioners, but when you already have an over-supply of heat that would otherwise go to waste, it makes sense to use it. Whether there's enough waste heat from Bloom's (or any other) SOFC to drive an adsorption chiller, I do not know.

CHP - Combined Heating and Power

CCP - Combined Cooling and Power

CCHP - Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power

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Justin S.

Re: Frogs legs and volts

"0.3% other (what's left?!)"

Probably electric utility customer generated power, from customers who have their own power generation facilities (e.g. grid-tied solar systems, customer owned wind mills, etc).

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Sci-fi and fantasy authors wade into Amazon spat

Justin S.

Re: Why aren't the authors going direct

Some authors are, but it's a tough business to break into, so (successful) direct publishing is mostly for established authors with an established fan-base. Most book deals with publishers give exclusive publishing rights for books to the publishing house, precluding authors from republishing their works online.

Also keep in mind that writing a book is, generally, a very, very time consuming process. Few authors manage more than two or three books in a year-- and many only manage one book every year or two. The advanced payment from publishers to authors for their books helps finance authors to write more, rather than try to maintain a 'day job' to keep the bills paid. Self-publishing would conceivably bring more income to the author, but at the expense of that up-front payment.

I would also point out that it is not uncommon for an author's up-front payment to exceed the profits for a particular book, especially in the near-term; the publisher might turn a profit years down the road, but at least the author received a "good" sum of money up front. This last shouldn't be turned into a 'well crap books/authors should only get what their books are worth / shouldn't be subsidized by the successful books/authors' statement. While I agree with the sentiment, the fact is not all books (or movies [Soylent Green] or television shows [Firefly]) that do poorly at release remain poor earners; it sometimes takes time for society to warm up to them.

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Justin S.
FAIL

Terrible, terrible reporting, and Macmillan books still not available

As of the time of this comment, Macmillan book are still not, in fact, available *from* Amazon. Some are available *through* Amazon, via the third-parties who sell through or affiliate with Amazon, but Amazon itself is still not selling the books directly. This means most titles are still unavailable and very little of the proceeds from those books will be paid to the authors, most of whom have royalty payment contracts which only count sales of new books.

Also, the Reg article failed to note that while the spat is over the price of E-BOOKS, Amazon pulled both the electronic *and* paper books, the pricing for which is not in dispute. This seems to me to be a disproportionate response. It would be rather like a chain of grocery stores pulling every Nabisco product from their shelves just because they didn't like the proposed price of Nabisco's new Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers.

For those of you who are siding with Amazon on this, please consider: despite what Amazon says about them looking out for the consumer, they are doing nothing of the sort. Amazon is looking out for Amazon. They don't want anything to (potentially) derail their attempt to entrench themselves and their Kindle reader as the "leader" in electronic books, which they (Amazon) have argued would be negatively impacted by higher e-book prices. Remember, this is only about *e-book* prices.

Yes, Macmillan's desire to raise e-book prices could be seen as detrimental to the well being of its authors. Yes, Macmillan's refusal to back down can be seen as the same. But it was *not* Macmillan who pulled Macmillan's titles from Amazon. Amazon did that itself, and did it for more than the disputed works. If Macmillan had done it, there would be a valid argument of villainy against Macmillan, but so far this is all Amazon.

As for Macmillan's desire for higher prices being a direct harm to its authors, that's between Macmillan and its authors, not between Amazon and Macmillan; even if Amazon were genuinely concerned for the authors' well being, they're strictly a third-party to that and shouldn't be involved.

Finally, even if Amazon were genuinely concerned for their *customers'* well being and are fighting on their behalf to keep prices low for them (they're not, but saying it for the sake of argument), then folks need to remember two things: 1) something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, and if the price it too high then they won't; and 2) the books and prices in dispute are mostly fiction-- sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, etc-- which are entertainment, and that's an optional purchase. If a person just can't help themselves from paying $15 for a book, even though they think it's too high, then that's a whole different problem and no amount of effort on Amazon's part would help them.

4
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Brooke Shields pic exposes real/online rift

Justin S.
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When in doubt, go with the 'classics.'

Fig leaves for everyone!

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Tesla Model S poses for cameras

Justin S.

@ lecy car design & @ Conservative design

> "why do designers think lecy cars need an air intake, or fake radiator grill?", etc.

Because electric motors (and even the batteries) generate heat during operation and need to be cooled.

Possibly they don't need as prominent an intake, but styling products for consumers can be a tricky business; making the car too unlike existing I.C.E. designs-- in physical appearance-- could turn more people off than it attracts.

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Les Paul dies at 94

Justin S.

This space for lease

Les, thank you for changing music and, by extension, the world. You'll be missed, mate.

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