* Posts by bscottm

5 posts • joined 19 Jun 2013

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies


Re: I'll bet those old systems

Actually, it's the physical security and background checks that ensure strategic nuclear force security. On their own, the systems aren't up to today's security standards. Taken as an aggregate, between the physical security, the air-gapped network and the general "lean and mean" software used, it's a pretty robust system that last saw an upgrade ~30 years ago (DEC microVAXen replacements.)

Is this the most puzzling DEF CON attendee badge yet on record?


The raised hand... homage to Nimoy?

Looks a bit like the half-Kohanim blessing that Leonard Nimoy used in the series (yes, every time Spock raises his hand in that particular way, he's giving you half of a ancient Hebrew priestly blessing that translates to "Live long and prosper.")


3 degrees, not 33.

There are three (3) degrees in Freemasonry, not 33. A full Master Mason is one who has been "raised" to the "sublime" Third Degree. That's all that's required to become a Master Mason and participate in a local lodge.

There are concordant Masonic bodies, such as the Scottish Rite, who award additional degrees. Scottish Rite has degrees 4-33. Degrees 4 through 32 are earned, whereas the 33rd degree is attained by acclamation (you are voted in, there are limits on the number of 33rd degree Scottish Rite masons wandering around smartly.) York Rite has a similar, albeit, smaller degree structure.

Object storage adoption: Why, when, where… and, importantly, but


Reinventing your own file system. Multiple times.

Object storage, while inexpensive for storage, requires that you roll your own file system to manage the objects, above and beyond the usual serialization/deserialization. There's a bit more to objects than just reading and writing.

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!


Re: It just costs money

It's not the GHz clock cycle that is the problem. It's the smaller feature size of the transistors that increases the single event upset (SEU) rate. Yes, the two are inter-related, but one could conceivably build multi-core, chip symmetric multiprocessors based on the PDP-11 at today's feature sizes and not have GHz clock cycle times (and still end up with significant SEU rates.)

A couple of years ago, a NASA/JPL scientist pointed out that the alpha particles (helium nuclei) from lead solder were causing interesting issues with current x86_64 I/O pins -- radiation issues on commodity hardware.

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