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Comment: Re:I'll believe it when I see it... (Score 3, Interesting) 77

by Rei (#49764673) Attached to: India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone

"Love" is the nice way to put it. "Largess at the expense of all other solar system exploration" would be more accurate. Here's a graph. And it's always the same stupid justifications - how many times can we pretend to be excited about "revelations" that Mars was once in its past a wet place? Or that we're going to stumble into life any time soon in its perchlorate-rich, destroys-organics-on-contact regolith?

And it's not just huge amounts of money that they're wasting - they're also throwing away most of the remainder of our plutonium supply. At least there's money to start making it again, but it'll take time. Plutonium is precious, and it's needed for outer planet missions.

Comment: Re:Twenty five years of science destruction... (Score 1, Troll) 77

by Rei (#49764639) Attached to: India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone

I hate to be the one to tell you but academia generally pays poorly outside of the US. More so in a country like Russia that is still clawing its way back up from the economic collapse that occurred during the transition from communism to capitalism.

Perhaps if most of the country's wealth wasn't concentrated in the hands of a handful of corrupt oligarchs who live like a modern version of Roman emperors they'd be able to pay researchers a living wage.

Comment: Re:Ducted fans? (Score 1) 72

by Rei (#49763377) Attached to: The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality

You don't need "antigravity" (which in all likelihood is impossible). Diamagnetic hoverboards would be possible... if we could make ridiculously powerful, compact halbach arrays in the board. Also you'd need a clever mechanism to detect and deal with flying over ferromagnetic material, or otherwise it's going to smack into your board really hard.

Comment: Re:This isn't a question (Score 1) 519

by AdamHaun (#49760153) Attached to: Ireland Votes Yes To Same-Sex Marriage

In the broadest scope I've never understood why there has to be laws concerning marriage. It's a private contract. There shouldn't be a question of can two people of the same sex get married - the question should be why we need to regulate this at all. If some regulation is found to be useful, what should it be? I'm not happy about "The State" getting that far into my business.

It's not the state getting into your "business", it's your business getting into the state. Marriage predates nation-states by millennia. And as a practical matter, I'm glad I didn't have to get a lawyer and sign a 500-page contract in order to get married, and I'm glad that other people don't need their own lawyer to go over such a contract in order to recognize my marriage.

Comment: Re: Meh... (Score 4, Insightful) 240

by Rei (#49757847) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.

Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.

And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.

Comment: Re:Do people really take this risk seriously? (Score 5, Insightful) 227

by Rei (#49752865) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

The article is also based on some terrible reasoning, like:

That means there will be no asteroids left in the Solar System, because they all will have struck Earth, in another few hundred million years. Think someone’s overestimated something there? Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look with the flaws in our fear-based reasoning.

Yeah, in a universe where our solar system is some sort of perfect steady state. Which, of course, it is not. Asteroids collide or - more commonly, come close to other bodies and gravitationally interact - and throw each other into different orbits. When that happens, non-Earth-crossing asteroids can become Earth-crossing ones. For example, one of the candidates for the K-Pg extinction event is a Batisma-family asteroid. This family came from an asteroid breakup 80 million years ago.

A person well versed in the field would be aware of the fact that asteroids are not in some sort of unchanging steady state. Which is why they're the ones paid to do the research on the subject.

And more to the point, we really don't have a good handle on what's out there. We have trouble making out dwarf planets in the outer solar system. We really have no bloody clue what could be on its way into the inner solar system, apart from studying how often major events happen.

And on that note, another flaw in his logic, given that until recently, the vast majority of Tunguska-style events would never even have been detected, having occurred over the oceans, remote deserts, the poles, etc. So by all means it's perfectly fair to say that the fact that an asteroid hitting earth is more likely to hit a remote uninhabited area is perfectly fair. But saying that while mentioning the rarity of inhabited areas having been hit in the past is double-counting. The historical record is evidence of how often they hit populated areas, not how often they hit Earth.

Lastly, his claim that only one person has ever been "hit by an asteroid" is ridiculous. 1500 people were injured by the Chelyabinsk one in 2013 badly enough to seek medical attention. Yes, they weren't "hit by rocks", but that's not what large asteroid impacts do; they mostly or completely vaporize by exploding in the atmosphere and/or on impact. And there's lots of reports throughout history of people getting struck by asteroids; just because they weren't documented by modern medical science doesn't mean it never happened. Seriously, what's the bloody odds that the only person to ever in historical times be hit by an asteroid would be in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation? Now what's the odds that someone being hit in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation would be well documented, publicized, and believed?

Just a lot of really bad arguments.

Comment: In particular, NO redundancy. Reliability drops. (Score 5, Informative) 223

Losing data goes with the territory if you're going to use RAID 0.

In particular, RAID 0 combines disks with no redundancy. It's JUST about capacity and speed, striping the data across several drives on several controllers, so it comes at you faster when you read it and gets shoved out faster when you write it. RAID 0 doesn't even have a parity disk to allow you to recover from failure of one drive or loss of one sector.

That means the failure rate is WORSE than that of an individual disk. If any of the combined disks fails, the total array fails.

(Of course it's still worse if a software bug injects additional failures. B-b But don't assume, because "there's a RAID 0 corruption bug", that there is ANY problem with the similarly-named, but utterly distinct, higher-level RAID configurations which are directed toward reliability, rather than ONLY raw speed and capacity.)

Comment: Re:Seems obvious now (Score 4, Interesting) 214

by Rei (#49742243) Attached to: Secret Files Reveal UK Police Feared That Trekkies Could Turn On Society

Can you imagine the dystopian dictatorship where trekkies come to power? All of the halls of power full of people walking around in spandex and fake ears and brow ridges, the fed directed to work toward the absolution of currency, the military directed to accelerate development of phasers and for all recruits to undergo "Kobayashi Maru" training.... NASA would finally get their proposed $18,5 billion dollar annual budget passed - except that the bill would have the word "annual" crossed out and the word "monthly" written in its place. National anti-bullying legislation would be passed, probably with a name like Spock's Law. And of course they'd insist on referring to the UN as the United Federation of Planets.

Comment: NetUSB=proprietary. Is there an open replacement? (Score 2) 70

It happens I could use remote USB port functionality.

(Right now I want to run, on my laptop, a device that requires a Windows driver and Windows-only software. I have remote access to a Windows platform with the software and driver installed. If I could export a laptop USB port to the Windows machine, it would solve my problem.)

So NetUSB is vulnerable. Is there an open source replacement for it? (Doesn't need to be interworking if there are both a Linux port server and a Windows client-pseudodriver available.)

Comment: Opportunity to detect MITM attacks? (Score 4, Interesting) 71

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49737679) Attached to: 'Logjam' Vulnerability Threatens Encrypted Connections

I skimmed the start of the paper. If I have this right:

  - Essentially all the currently-deployed web servers and modern browsers have the new, much better, encryption.
  - Many current web servers and modern browsers support talking to legacy counterparts that only have the older, "export-grade", crypto, which this attack breaks handily.
  - Such a server/browser pair can be convinced, by a man-in-the-middle who can modify traffic (or perhaps an eavesdropper-in-the-middle who can also inject forged packets) to agree to use the broken crypto - each being fooled into thinking the broken legacy method is the best that's available.
  - When this happens, the browser doesn't mention it - and indicates the connection is secure.

Then they go on to comment that the characteristics of the NSA programs leaked by Snowden look like the NSA already had the paper's crack, or an equivalent, and have been using it regularly for years.

But, with a browser and a web server capable of better encryption technologies, forcing them down to export-grade LEAKS INFORMATION TO THEM that they're being monitored.

So IMHO, rather than JUST disabling the weak crypto, a nice browser feature would be the option for it to pretend it is unpatched and fooled, but put up a BIG, OBVIOUS, indication (like a watermark overlay) that the attack is happening (or it connected to an ancient, vulnerable, server):
  - If only a handful of web sites trip the alarm, either they're using obsolete servers that need upgrading, or their traffic is being monitored by NSA or other spooks.
  - If essentially ALL web sites trip the alarm, the browser user is being monitored by the NSA or other spooks.

The "tap detector" of fictional spy adventures becomes real, at least against this attack.

With this feature, a user under surveillance - by his country's spooks or internal security apparatus, other countries' spooks, identity thieves, corporate espionage operations, or what-have-you, could know he's being monitored, keep quiet about it, lie low for a while and/or find other channels for communication, appear to be squeaky-clean, and waste the tapper's time and resources for months.

Meanwhile, the NSA, or any other spy operation with this capability, would risk exposure to the surveilled time it uses it. A "silent alarm" when this capability is used could do more to rein in improper general surveillance than any amount of legislation and court decisions.

With open source browsers it should be possible to write a plugin to do this. So we need not wait for the browser maintainers to "fix the problem", and government interference with browser providers will fail. This can be done by ANYBODY with the tech savvy to build such a plugin. (Then, if they distribute it, we get into another spy-vs-spy game of "is this plugin really that function, or a sucker trap that does tapping while it purports to detect tapping?" Oops! The source is open...)

Comment: The last, lagging symptom of inflation (Score 3, Insightful) 1079

by StandardCell (#49731465) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour
I'm normally pretty libertarian when it comes to issues like this, but it doesn't surprise me especially in a state like California where the cost of most things has become overinflated. Wages are typically the last thing to rise...but something is different here...

The government's "basket of goods" used to calculate inflation is blatantly false and misleading, as are its unemployment numbers (look at U3, not the cooked statistics you hear on the news that were called out by Gallup's top guy). Particularly in a state like California where most of the population lives in a few densely-populated areas with horrible traffic and ever-rising rents and house prices, inflation has already greatly impacted individuals. The federal government has already encouraged this by making the FHA loan conforming limit different for high-priced California areas. Between this and speculators buying and sitting on houses as investments, the average slug has zero change of owning a home and struggles even to rent due to the growing techie population.

The difference is that the gap in overinflated places like California has been extended beyond any reasonable means by expansion of debt. It's all about the monthly payment for a good, not the total amount out of your pocket for that good irrespective of repairs and devaluation. Between the large bank failures and the constant pumping of the money supply, it appears that the debtors will win and the savers will lose at the expense of substantial amounts of inflation simply because compensation for productivity has to be based on something somewhat tangible, even if it's intellectual property. That underpinning simply isn't there. This is a giant souffle that will be hardened into place from the top and pull the bottom up with it.

So yes, raise the minimum wage if you will. But those prices will be passed along to consumers. Those in LA and the rest of California and like places should get used to $9-$10 McDonald's meals and $2 cans of soda and $2.50 for a basic pack of gum. Other than austerity and contraction (which may cycle multiple times between inflation before all is said and done), this was the only possible outcome whose chickens appear now to be coming home to roost. Welcome to the new normal, with effectively no consolation for the minimum wage earners.

Comment: Re:Why did they ditch the TV? (Score 4, Insightful) 243

by rabtech (#49730713) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

Apple doesn't enter a market unless they see the potential to charge $1 for a lime that everyone else is selling for 50 cents

Apple's flagship phones sell for about the same as Samsung's. Apple's computers sell for similar prices to PC systems of similar specs.

What Apple doesn't do is sell garbage systems to chase the cheap end of the market. No one complains that BMW won't sell a $10,000 car.

People whine and moan about all the crapware that comes bundled with the latest Dell PC, but that's how they manage to make a profit. Apple just charges a reasonable price for the system instead. It also means Apple has the money to fund R&D and invest in manufacturing technology. When was the last time any of the PC makers innovated on anything?

Comment: Re:Schizo (Score 2) 318

by American AC in Paris (#49726361) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

Then Uber comes along and creates a way to share a ride and the driver benefits a little bit as well.

Uber drivers aren't sharing a damned thing. They're charging for a service. That's called doing business, and if you want to do business, you need to follow certain rules, just like anything else in life. You can't just jump up and say "nuh-uh, this is sharing!" when you're really requiring people to pay you before you "share" anything.

If I open a gas station and call it a "fuel sharing service", does that mean that I get to bypass all those pesky rules and regulations for making sure my tanks don't leak into the ground? Or that I don't need to spend all that extraneous money to install safety cutoff switches (like anyone ever -uses- those, amirite?)

THEGODDESSOFTHENETHASTWISTINGFINGERSANDHERVOICEISLIKEAJAVELININTHENIGHTDUDE

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