* Posts by MachDiamond

755 posts • joined 10 Aug 2012

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Skype for Business is not Skype – realising that is half the battle

MachDiamond
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Death of P2P video

There used to be a pretty good selection of peer to peer video chat applications. You had to coordinate IP addresses with the person you wanted to chat with because there was no monolithic data slurping company sitting in the middle. Skype seems to have taken over the entire and killed off everybody else just like a Walmart super center will kill off the high street in a town. I blame it mostly on people not realizing that something that is more convenient is much less secure/private. I'll name it "Mach's Rule".

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

MachDiamond
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£10/year

There are a few media providers that I'd love to read daily, but they are charging the same amount they used to for a tangible copy or have loaded up their pages with so many (low paying) ads that it's just too annoying. I'd be very happy to send off 10 credits/dollars/pounds for a yearly subscription to bypass the spam.

Several sites I used to enjoy have gone mostly to video reports; each one with a 30 second ad before the minute and a half news bite. I gave up on broadcast TV years ago due to the cost and the number of ads/lower program minutes per hour. The last thing I want is to have 25% of what I'm seeing online to be annoying ads that are irrelevant to me or the same stupid ad over and over.

Journalism has taken a massive downturn too. Reporters with obvious agendas, poor grammar, and if they are writing, poor spelling and word choice. The poor spelling blows my mind as every computer I have includes full time spell checking. If you know the difference between "dual" and "duel", you likely majored in something other than liberal arts.

I have to go throw up now.

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Place your bets: How long will 1TFLOPS HPE box last in space without proper rad hardening

MachDiamond
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Sol help us

Solar activity is pretty low right now so things might be just fine. Not rad-hardening electronics is a road SpaceX has been down a couple of times. They ruined some returned experiments when the fridge on board a Dragon capsule got zapped and there was at least one other incident that I can't recall the details of off hand.

Been there, flown that, won the NASA prize.

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Tech billionaire Khosla loses battle over public beach again – and still grants no access

MachDiamond
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Re: Boo Freakin' Hoo

A Right of Passage Easement likely does not have to be insured or explicitly maintained. If it's just an unimproved parking area and path to the ocean, there isn't anything to be maintained as is was unimproved to start with. Liability really gets lawyers hot and bothered when there is improved land and somebody gets hurt. Even if the person was trespassing and the site was obviously derelict.

What did the Bard say about lawyers?

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NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

MachDiamond
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Re: Heavy Rocketry

The Russians do very well with the Soyuz. It's an old basic design and not terribly efficient, but it's been exceptionally reliable. NASA tends to design for maximum efficiency and reliability be damned.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Back of a fag packet

The problem with the He balloon proposal is that all He on Earth is a byproduct of radioactive decay (Alpha particles). This would mean that your balloon system would be nuclear powered and there would be more untutored, tofu-eating, sandal-wearing, wet liberal protesters painting their faces and laying down on railroad tracks than could be secretly sponsored by the minority political party.

There is also a big problem with He availability for any vigorous launch campaign.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Rocket powered car

DiHydrogen Monoxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by a quite a lot.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Rocket powered car

10,000 mile service? It better go longer than that or the car will have a servicing frequency rivaling a vintage Jaguar.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Rocket powered car

You will have to fuel up with Jet-A at the airport.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Gives you perspective...

"SpaceX Launches and Landings seem so routine"

Except for the ones that explode, I'm assuming.

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70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft

MachDiamond
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The bigger problem of de-evolution

A portion of those that haven't opted out are too stupid to realize that continuously handing the Big Data Machine® all of your personal information (because you have nothing to hide) is a seriously bad idea. Showing a potential or current employer where they can find pages of selfies where you have an adult bevy in hand or or smoking something other than ciggies (actually, those might be of issue too) is not a great idea. Yet, it seems that it is precisely at this times that people think to whip out a camera and take a picture of themselves instead of that pivotal moment where they make a breakthrough discovery during an experiment they designed at the VVLHC (Very Very Large Hadron Collider) or they are at the microscope just after they discover a universal cure for cancer. Nope, they have to document the more base enjoyment of mood altering substance usage, in full. Might as well copy Bevis and Butthead quotes into ones resume cover letters.

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No, Apple. A 4G Watch is a really bad idea

MachDiamond
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Re: Most used function

I totally disagree.

A proper cup of tea takes 5 minutes to brew!

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Largest ever losses fail to dent Tesla's bulging order book

MachDiamond
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Re: The future is diesel

Nearly every car maker with diesel offerings is completely halting diesel passenger car production in the next few years.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Lose a little on each one...

You work in software, not hardware, right?

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MachDiamond
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Re: 16 billion

…. and the battery cells in Tesla cars are made by Panasonic. The Model 3 will be using a custom size cell only made in the Nevada Gigafactory. If they get snowed in or the roads close over the Sierra Mountain range during the winter, Tesla will have battery delivery issues again. Inconvenient for S and X production, but a WMD for the Model 3.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Musk & co is a socialmedia 2.0 geniues

There are stories that getting a refund can be harder than people thought.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Only one comment

Elon will also have to accept whatever happens due to their truncated testing phase of a release candidate version. Other manufacturers test new models for 18 months or so to work out bugs. Tesla announced their final candidate months ago. In the event they need to recall and repair emerging problems, where will customers get the work done in a timely manner?

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Microsoft breaks Office 365 sign-in pages ahead of surprise update

MachDiamond
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The cloud

When you move to a Cloud based application, you get what you deserve… a complete lack of control. If your company is tied to an outside controlled product or service, you have to adapt to whatever changes they implement, when they implement them and if their service goes offline, you are offline until it's fixed. How is this an improvement?

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Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed

MachDiamond
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Re: Should have called it FLACCID...

"Might just explain why they're deploying the Big O en Montreal as an immigration checkpoint."

Canada doesn't want a load of non-english speaking (or French) unskilled laborers clogging up their system either.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

"Highly-educated and competent people with specialized skills are fairly scarce these days, so you just have to take them where you can find them."

That's hard to believe when put along side the reports of massive student debt in the US generated by people getting degrees. It's also worth noting that companies don't train people the way they would in the past and HR departments aren't competent enough to spot when an applicant's skill set is comparable to what is being asked when it's not an exact match.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

The "migrants" flooding Canada are coming from south of the US border. President Trump has them so scared that they will be rounded up and deported that they are pressing on to Canada where they think they'll get a better deal (A free iPhone, free food, free housing and support for a large herd of kids). It's not the Hollywood elite that threatened to leave the US if Trump was elected president. Campaign promises, it appears.

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Juicero does to its staff what your hands can do to its overpriced juice sacks

MachDiamond
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YouTube teardown

The YouTuber "AVE" has a couple of tear down and review videos on his channel. Furgin' hilarious commentary from a seasoned FSE.

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

MachDiamond
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Re: Just sayin'

The legal fiction of a corporation being a human would work just fine if they had to pick a C-level executive to serve the prison time. The big companies all know that they can be as malicious as they want if the net profit will exceed the amount of any probable fine.

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Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash

MachDiamond
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Natural disaster = no vehicles

In a world with interconnected autonomous cars that are "shared", any interruption to the network means that the cars do not operate. Tsunami, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or terrorist attack on infrastructure and personal transport grinds to a halt. The system has no way to verify your ID when you hop in a shared vehicle and if it's autonomous, it won't have a way to circumvent debris in the road by moving into the opposing lane on up on a sidewalk or even a detour through a shopping center parking lot. Just when it might be very important to have transport, the system could utterly fail. Only those with grandpa's red Barchetta squired away in the garage will be able to get anywhere.

After an earthquake, the only roads will be the ones that are the easiest for a bulldozer to plow.

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MachDiamond
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"At that point the black box is their property and it's virtually impossible to prevent them using the data recovered for claim assessment purposes - this has been tested in court in both the USA and EU)"

Sounds like there could be a nice little business making a box that plugs into those sensors to blow the data out catastrophically. It wouldn't be that hard to come up with something.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Thoroughly illegal

And they get around it by arguing that they are not tracking the "person" they are tracking the performance of the "car'.

How hard would it be for the car to upload data according to where it is in the world? In the US where there are very few (and weak) laws about data slurping, the cars will be uploading everything they can sense. In Germany, the data upload will be truncated to only what they can get away with. If the laws change, an update is pushed out to change what it reports.

One of the first "features" that government's are going to have implemented is the "kill switch". The police will be able to cause a car to slow down and stop with the flick of a switch while being able to leave things such as power steering operational. They might even be able to tell the car to self drive to a designated location and park with the doors locked and the windows up. That functionality might be harder to update when it gets hacked.

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'My dream job at Oracle left me homeless!' – A techie's relocation horror tale

MachDiamond
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"Don't people have savings any more?"

Perhaps, perhaps not. Without a full back story, it's hard to know if this person was working in a job for eating money while trying to hook a good position somewhere else. I've been in some tight positions before where the only funds of any consequence I could tap were in retirement or tax-deffered accounts where I would have taken a massive hit in penalties and lost interest. Those also take time to get money out of.

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MachDiamond
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Read and understand

Always, always, always read everything in the employee package that you are handed when you are officially offered a job. If you are going to relocate, make sure you get the paperwork in advance and take the time to go through it before you start canceling your lease or putting your home up for sale. Never sign anything at an HR office other than a receipt for items you are given (passes, codes, keys, etc). It's a classic move to pressured into signing a stack of complicated documents that are thinly described verbally as being "standard, everybody gets these and we need them before anything else can go forward".

If relocation money is an expense account rather than a lump sum, find out what the restrictions are. Since a lease deposit is cash held in escrow, it's not tax deductible for the company so it makes sense that they won't allow that. If you know that you will need money for a deposit, try to get a "Signing Bonus" that will cover it and let them decrement the relocation allocation in kind.

I've always done a bunch of research into the cost of living of an area before I accept a job. One may find that it's commonplace to have to pay a lot extra for a parking space in addition to the stated rent of a flat. You may also have to get a city permit to park a car on the street without having to pay high prices at meters. Flats might typically come furnished or may not which could be different than where you were living before. Don't take anything for granted. I've never moved to a new country, but I can imagine that language skills would be a big factor even in a larger city when dealing with bureaucracies.

Since the job had a probationary period, there was no guarantee that they would have made it permanent even if HR wasn't working so hard to ruin somebody's life from day one. This means that it would have been doubly important to make sure the relocation money was not due to be paid back. You also wouldn't want to sign a year lease on a flat or make other long term commitments. Keeping a back up plan is a good idea to so you can move back to where you have family/friends and a network to get another job quick in the case things don't work out. A local storage locker would be good to stash anything that probably won't be needed for the duration of the probation. Wait until your are firmly established before brining it along. Make sure you relocation offer will allow that.

Never be blinded by a job for a prestigious firm or a large paycheck. Take a deep breath, read the fine print and figure out what you will do if everything goes down the crapper.

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Brit prosecutors ask IT suppliers to fight over £3 USB cable tender

MachDiamond
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If you specify off the shelf items to four decimal places, the price tends to go up. Add in all of the paperwork and the supplier knowing that they aren't going to see payment for AT LEAST six months and the price jumps some more.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Police Procurement

"It was at this point I discovered that my mate's company *is* an Approved Supplier. So I sent him the URL of the cables I wanted, he put in a quote with a large markup on, and the purchase was made."

I hope you at least got a pint or two out of the deal.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Erm...did somone bother to look in Colin's desk?

Or a packet of cereal in the kitchen. I've got boxes of the damn things and I don't think that I've ever purchased one on purpose.

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MachDiamond
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Buy local!

Small and inexpensive items can wind up being very expensive. A £100k car can be held up in service by a part costing £2. For little things I like to buy locally. I often have a couple of errands I can run and by purchasing things locally, I am helping to make sure that there are local shops around the next time I need something right-bleeding-now. I also like to buy things locally that could get damaged in shipping. A pallet of monitors might have a few get trashed on the corners, but the one I buy at the shop will be the one without the mangled box. Order one online and the delivery service might have run over it with a car which means it's yet another week to get its replacement and endless calls/forms to resolve the damaged one.

All companies should have a policy on purchases under a certain amount. That's what petty cash is for.

A manufacturing company I know used to inventory screws until somebody who knew about this maths stuff pointed out that they were spending more money tracking the inventory than the inventory was worth. They stopped counting the little bits and just required their vendors to keep the bin full so they wouldn't run out. A couple of jobs lost and a massive savings.

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Oh my Word... Microsoft Office 365 unlatched after morning lockout

MachDiamond
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Can't even through money at a problem

The biggest downside to online/cloud apps and storage is when something goes wrong, you can't even throw money at the problem to get it fixed as fast as possible. Given that most major cloud services are several orders of magnitude larger than any of their clients, implementing a work-around to get you back up and running is not a priority. Ringing the on-call IT staffer and having them go fetch an offline back-up at 3am is part of their job and they should be able to guesstimate some sort of ETA.

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MachDiamond
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"So just what has been gained by going online/to cloud?"

You don't have to do anything to make all of your data public. Only, you don't know exactly when that will be.

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America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

MachDiamond
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In order to implement this new security, TSA...

… will be laying off 10% of it's front line workers and/or closing 10% of the security stations. Real security is hard, but it looks a lot like real security if they inconvenience everybody as much as possible. The remaining TSA agents will be requesting to work in baggage scanning to snag a new laptop.

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Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

MachDiamond
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Re: One for the Tesla programmers

The "Ball" problem is something that has been a problem for a long time. I covered the DARPA Grand and Urban driving challenges as a journalist and had the opportunity to talk with nearly all of the teams. A ball rolling out on the road could indicate that a child might dart out from between cars and also if you were to see a dog run across the road trailing a leash, it might be expected that a person could be close behind trying to catch up to their pet. This is the sort of scenario that kept them up nights. Birds are a problem as well. Some birds will roost in shrubs next to a road and attempt suicide by all flying out at once. Often times sensors will see the flock as one large object. If sensing resolution is fine enough to identify the individual birds flying close to each other, it can be too much data for a computer to handle. One year when I was covering the Balls rocket launch at Black Rock (same place that The Burning Man is held). I had to pick several small birds out of the grill of the RV that I had rented. The first couple of times birds flew out it scarred me and after a while I just plowed through without slowing down.

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MachDiamond
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Hobson's Choice

In the case of a large animal jumping directly in front of an automated car, what will the car do? Plowing straight in can likely be the best option as cars are built to protect the occupants the best in a head first collision. Trying to evade could put the car in a head on collision with another car on the other side of the road or onto a sidewalk, off of a precipice, into a building/tree/lamppost etc.

There was just a show on Horizon where they briefly mentioned situations where there is no way of avoiding an accident but didn't really explore how a computer could handle a moral decision. Hit the school bus full of kids not wearing seat belts or the massive Escalade SUV with one occupant surrounded by 8 airbags?

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MachDiamond
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Re: Not surprised

"It doesn't take much brain to sneak up on a leaf."

Are deer a distant cousin of Puppeteers?

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Doormat junk: Takeaway menus, Farmfoods flyer, NHS data-sharing letter... wait, what?

MachDiamond
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Where's the laptop?

If too many people opt out, the data that they want to share will be mysteriously loaded on a laptop by some random employee (all NHS staffers will have this level of access to the database) which will promptly be stolen from the employee's car while they have popped into church for a quick evening service. The unnamed employee will be reported as being promptly sacked with charges being considered for willful breach of something or another. No follow up stories or information will be forthcoming after that.

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Smart burglars will ride the surf of inter-connected hackability

MachDiamond
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Re: instead, they upload malicious code from a USB stick

I have an address near my home (of a much nicer home) programmed into my SatNav. I know how to get home once I get to the motorway, but I sometimes like having the ETA.

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

MachDiamond
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Re: Downvote all you like but... it won't make us "more likely to survive"

"The premise is that the Mars colony will be self-sufficient. I expect that to take over 100 years, but it's hard to see it taking more than 200 years."

We've only scratched the surface of Mars and done some cursory geology of a few select locations that were chosen in large part for the best likelihood of being able to get a lander/rover to the surface in one piece. There is water, but not a very precise estimate of how much and how it's distributed. It's already known that the chemistry could be an issue and, just like on the moon, fines and dust will be problematic due to the lack of a water cycle to help aggregate those fines and knock the sharp edges off. The moon dust is more like pulverized glass than sand and it was found to be eating away at the space suit joints and seals. The Mars regolith is much the same.

Soil will need to be constructed to support plant life or perhaps some way to make a growing matrix such as is used in hydroponic systems where they use coconut husk. An HP set up will require the manufacture of fertilizers to supply the nutrients to the plants in the way soil bacteria does on Earth. New varieties of food plants will need to be developed that will thrive with different lighting and gravity. Initial work would be easier to do on Earth as there won't be the work budget to support many full time plant biologists on longer term studies. It's very likely that it will take a few tries to hit on varieties that work the best and shipping from Earth is only every couple of years.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Carbon

"The purchase of carbon credits alone would jump-start the global economy."

Elon is going to have a bunch of extra carbon credits as other auto manufacturers in the US are going to be purchasing far fewer from Tesla as they release their own electric cars and can offset the huge SUV's that they make the best margin on.

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MachDiamond
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Re: Perspective

"Well, humanity went from first man in space to first man on the moon in just eight years, so it's not impossible."

It was also incredibly expensive and required hundreds of thousands of people. A Mars trip will be a project that's one or two orders of magnitude bigger of a project. The board at the Power Trust was willing to support D.D. Harriman in putting the first person on the moon, but wanted details on how he was going to make it pay on a long term basis. If I were an investor of SpaceX, I'd want to know how a trip to Mars was going to be financially justified or even just financed. Elon can't print money like the US government can.

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MachDiamond
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A few hurdles

Getting a group of people to Mars hale and healthy will be a bigger achievement than coming up with a way to liberate Oxygen and make fuel in-situ. The human body deteriorates when in zero G for extended periods of time. When ISS astronauts return, they spend a long time getting back into shape even though they work out while they are in space. A person on a Mars mission is going to have to hit the ground running from day one with no on-site support staff to help them with health issues. If things don't go exactly to plan, broken bones, death of some of the crew or other health problems, the healthiest of complement are going to have to work even harder.

Mental health will be an issue as well. For anybody that has seen an Apollo moon capsule in person knows just how tiny they are. A Mars crew capsule will have to be bigger, but the space will still be less than a budget New York apartment. With no way to avoid crew mates, the team better be highly compatible. NASA has studiously avoided confronting the inevitability of sex among space travelers, but they will have to sort that out before a Mars expedition. Is it best to send couples? Married? A "pan-mixia"? or a single sex crew? Pregnancy and children better be addressed. It's not known if a child will develop properly in 1/3 G. Mice/rats and other studies can provide some insight, but nothing will be known conclusively until the final human trial and it could have a sad outcome that needs to be anticipated.

People will be the biggest challenge in a Mars Mission and a small base on the Moon first will teach us a lot about how many assumptions are being made in both hardware and meat-space with a good possibility of returning a crew to Earth on short notice or being able to send needed supplies quickly.

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

MachDiamond
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Re: Still not LFTR time

President Nixon also didn't like that LFTR reactors didn't produce radioactives suitable for bombs insufficient quantities to be useful. Mix in some corporate payoffs/returned favors and at that time, LFTR didn't have a chance .

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In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

MachDiamond
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Re: Brilliant jerks

Netflix has lots of job positions that are doing things that require getting stuff done but not necessarily creativity or design expertise. If the person in one of those roles shows up on time, gets along with their workmates and competently performs their job, they shouldn't have to worry about getting fired for not being a "high flyer". Netflix is sending out a message to their employees that their jobs are on the line every day even if they are doing what other companies would consider satisfactory work. Given that, I'd find another job if I could.

I cut the TV cord 10 years ago. No cable, no Netflix, no satellite. I rent a movie from time to time and that's about it. This means that instead of paying those companies every month, I am adding stamps to my passport. I spent some time with a friend in Wales this year. I'm visiting friends in the US in August and we'll be there for the total eclipse and I'll be in Prague around Christmas. Next year I have a trip planned to visit Iceland and Dubai. I could skip all that and pay for 500 channels of nothing on, but on balance, I think I'll keep seeing the world in person, thank you very much.

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MachDiamond
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Re: re: it basically means free overtime for the company

I said the same thing in an interview. I already knew that the company had all of the salaried engineers working 60ish hours/week and told them that I am willing to put in the extra time to hit goals I thought were reasonably set or to finish something that only need a bit more to complete rather than leaving 20 minutes of work for the next day but, I would not wish to consistently work more than 8/40 although I might work up to 50 for the right compensation. I never heard back from them. During the interview I found that I wasn't all that interested in working for the company so handing out the ultimatum didn't bother me.

Companies that need their workforce for more than 40/week all of the time don't have viable business plan or are selling their product far too cheap. Working 60 hours a week is a 50% pay cut if your annual salary isn't 50% more than somebody else in a comparable job where they are only working 40/week.

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ICO seizes phones and computers in nuisance call scam raids

MachDiamond
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Google? FB?

Would this ban Google and FaceBitch from collecting and selling the personal info they acquired from reading email?

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Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

MachDiamond
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Missing some data

If the information that the nosey judge wants is for non-US citizens and the data is stored in Europe, the judge should know better and have done some research into EU privacy laws. Unopened/unread mail in the US is supposed to be immune from subpoena to prevent implicating somebody using communications for which they have no knowledge.

People should take notice about what is being requested and how far back and realize that using Google is not a good thing. Using the same set of facts, writers can create thousands of movie scripts including ones that have you living behind bars. The less The Man knows about you, the better.

Eric and Sergey have long exchanged their company principle of "Do no evil" in favor of "make as much money as possible and buy a Hawaiian island like Larry".

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MachDiamond
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Re: Anyone else bothered by the stock map illustration?

From Blighty the distance error isn't a larger percentage, but yes, the flag is in the wrong place even if the rent in the flagged area is the same, $3,400/month. F! the Silicon Valley.

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