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Comment: Do we care? (Score 3, Insightful) 115

In my experience, 'classic' electronic currencies follow this general pattern: 1) you obtain them from a bank, 2) you pass it to another user, and 3) that other user brings it back to the bank.

At best, the bank can't see where the receiving party's money came from. But still, every 'coin' in circulation goes from bank -> user -> another user -> back to the bank.

The big difference with cash is this: using cash, money can pass from #1 user to a 2nd user -> 3rd user -> 4th user -> back to the bank. With the bank having no way to figure out what happened in between. Transfers from 1 -> 2, 2 -> 3, and 3 -> 4 need not involve a bank at all.

To me, anything that fits the 2nd definition is interesting. Anything that fits the 1st definition, is just electronic payments in the classical sense that eg. governments might be monitoring every single transaction. Regardless of implementation. So if in this case, Amazon = 'the bank', do we even care, if that currency clearly isn't 'electronic cash' ?

Comment: Re:Not so hot any more (Score 1) 19

by Alwin Henseler (#45782959) Attached to: ISS Coolant Pump Restarted After Successful Spacewalks

Without a cooling system, the only way for the electronics to lose excess heat is by black-body radiation, which is totally insufficient relative to the rate at which heat is generated (think of your mobile phone, PC, laptop or TV and how hot they get).

Electronics exposed to the vacuum of space, will still be bolted to the ISS somehow, so can use the structure as heatsink. Electronics inside the ISS can use air cooling in addition to that.

For the structure as a whole, black body radiation will be the only way to get rid of excess heat (unless they'd pump excess heat into something, and toss that out. Which seems impractical to say the least :-).

But there can be big temperature differences depending on what's white/reflective or dark, and what's facing the sun or the cool dark of space. I suppose a cooling system would serve to distribute (pump) heat between where it's in excess, and where it can be dumped (radiator).

Comment: No political activism? (Score 4, Informative) 165

In today's "internet culture", with instant gratification and a certain detachment from one's peers, there is no real political activism occurring in industrialized countries that are economically stable.

You mean Occupy Wall Street and similar movements didn't happen? Are not political activism? Countries where these movements were active, are not economically stable? And I don't think OWS is the only recent political activism, it comes in many shapes & forms. Am I missing something here?

Comment: Two questions (Score 1) 134

by Alwin Henseler (#44722125) Attached to: Ohio State Introduces Massive Open Online Calculus

1) Do there exist easy methods to decide how good/effective/complete/accurate (add your own metric) an online course is? As the number of online courses grow, it would be nice to have some way to compare courses against each other. For example to decide which one(s) are more 'worthy' to invest ones time in.

2) Especially in public education, why isn't this type of course the norm by now? It's 2013, laptops, tablets etc are practically everywhere, so it isn't hard to have students follow an online course. Either directly over the internet, or using a local copy over a school's LAN. Using open source principles, efforts towards improving an online course can be pooled for the benefit of all its users. Yes I realize there's a big, commercial market out there for study material. And probably not all subjects lend themselves equally well to be taught (or put together) as an online course. But ultimately, all study material costs money, and schools/universities should have students in mind, not the interests of (commercial) book publishers.

Comment: Re: Freefall from where? (Score 1, Troll) 156

by Alwin Henseler (#44719401) Attached to: Romanian Science In Freefall

More like climbing from a deep pit, along with countries like Bulgaria or Albania. Not so much a matter of (lack of) science funding, but one of corrupt people in charge. That is what Romanians should be looking to fix.

From where I'm sitting at (the Netherlands), "Romanian" equates to "shady / criminal bunch". An example: just in the few days around Amsterdam's Gay Pride, 46 pickpockets were arrested (!). 43 of those of Romanian nationality.

There are several types of crime where some groups are named often, in particular Romanians and Bulgarians. Again, again, and again. They seem to have some specialties like burglary, pickpocketing, and ATM skimming. But also violent crimes like extortion, human trafficking, drug-related offenses etc. Often organized, travelling groups of people that 'do their thing' a few weeks here, a few weeks there, and then move on.

IMHO the country shouldn't have been let into the EU (yet), but they have. As a result, many of those poor folks make their way to richer EU countries and make a dishonest living. Getting caught (or even prison time) isn't much of a deterrent given the conditions back home. I'm sure Romania is a great country, with great people, most of those honest and hard working. But that's how things currently are, sadly. So a story like this doesn't surprise me one bit.

Comment: Re:Too little too late (Score 1) 496

*citation needed*

How do you know? Did you personally try the exact build the article talks about? Or even a later build? Not saying you're talking nonsense, but the article states: ".. which means almost no one outside (other than OEMs) would get officially released Windows 8.1 bits until October 18". So it would be good to know whether your description is based on inside developer access, a leaked build, hearsay, or assumption based on an earlier released build.

Beside that: if it's in response to customer demand, what would be the point of adding back in a start button that does something other than what users expect from a start button?

Comment: On the slippery slope (Score 5, Insightful) 490

Don't get me wrong, it's a long path and the US has barely set foot on it (..)

"Barely set foot on it" ?!? The US government is murdering people without due process, trial or anything on a regular basis. Without a declaration of war involved. Violating other countries' sovereignty whenever it's convenient and/or 'doable'. Locking people up indefinitely without those prisoners having access to lawyers, a date for their trial, etc. Mass spying on their own citizens, in violation of its own constitution. Guys heading those 3-letter agencies lying about it to the public - but still stay in office. Silencing critics using a claim of "national security", together with gag orders issued by a secret court, or referring to a secret law.

Really, the only step missing is a dictator that rigs an election or sets aside democratic institions. Other than that, the US is a long way down the drain already.

Comment: Suggest drone strike targets here! (Score 3, Funny) 490

I think it was the idea of nuking the Kardashians that made me blue screen with glee, especially in the hopes of bringing more real discourse to the public stage again.

Sounds like you have a Kickstarter project there, dude.

Personally I'd go for Justin Bieber. But only if no innocent, bystander monkeys are hurt in the process.

Comment: Re:Short version? (Score 4, Interesting) 214

by Alwin Henseler (#44523763) Attached to: Back To 'The Future of Programming'

You must be new here. That "pretentious philosophical BS" is like the spark in a fuel-and-oxygen filled chamber. It ignites into a heap of comments, and those comments are the actual story. Who needs an article when you can browse +5 funny / informative / interesting and -1 trolls?

As for the linked articles, that's just a cleverly disguised DDoS botnet setup. Some figured it out, but few seem to care the /. botnet is still operating. Heck, I'm even contributing people-time to it (on top of CPU cycles).

Comment: Re: Have a look at Earth??? (Score 1) 106

by Alwin Henseler (#44523451) Attached to: NASA To Send Poems To Mars

Who would even want to invade this fascist infested cesspool ?

Well, as humans we invade parts of our anything-infested cesspool on a regular basis. Even though we know what 'crap' we are getting. So why wouldn't an alien species?

Of course if there's any intelligent life on Mars, they will have known for a long time about us humans. Radio / TV transmissions, the odd nuclear explosion, a few space probes passing by & landing on Mars, etc. So for anyone who fears an alien invasion: I suggest to look outside our solar system.

Comment: Re:And they found out how? What of the messenger? (Score 1) 153

by Alwin Henseler (#44194731) Attached to: EU Parliament Supports Suspending US Data Sharing

IMHO: If Snowden can help the EU even the slightest bit to determine the extent of US surveillance on EU citizens and institutions, than the value of that info far exceeds the cost of putting him through some sort of witness protection program.

So if EU politicians really care about their own (ehm... citizens' ;-) privacy, that's exactly what they should do. For the sole reason of fact finding, with the EU's public benefit in mind. Giving the US the finger is just icing on the cake.

I'm not so optimistic there... Chances are EU politicians are just as crooked as US ones (well perhaps a *little* bit less), and Snowden will rot somewhere in a 3rd world country or a jail cell. Or have a suspicious but convenient accident / disease / whatever.

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