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Comment: Re:so many problems with this idea (Score 3, Insightful) 79

by Baron_Yam (#48893539) Attached to: Winklevoss Twins Plan Regulated Bitcoin Exchange

>a virtual currency that is in direct competition with its own pet, the Almighty Dollar.

This is what Bitcoin proponents would have you believe, but there is no competition at present, and the flaws inherent in the protocol mean there never will be.

Perhaps some other future crypto will be a competitor, but all Bitcoin does is spawn scams or payment gateways that evolve into PayPal equivalents (once they're big enough they cut Bitcoin out of the loop).

Comment: Re:Pump and Dump until proven otherwise (Score 0) 55

by Baron_Yam (#48862175) Attached to: Jim Blasko Explains BitCoin Spinoff 'Unbreakable Coin' (Video 1 of 2)

"The great strength of bitcoin is its network effect."

Which is pretty much all it has going for it, since the only problem it solves causes issues that can only be resolved by bypassing Bitcoin with third party vendors.

It's really odd to see so many people (though really compared to the US economy it's peanuts) jump in without understanding just how futile an attempt at crypto Bitcoin is.

"Every new coin has to demonstrate how they will gather sufficient network effect to make themselves useful"

Nope. The network effect will build if the coin has sufficient utility over existing systems. A new coin needs to demonstrate that it is scalable, more efficient, and easier to use than existing options, including but not limited to Bitcoin.

Comment: Re:Inevitible (Score 4, Interesting) 151

by Baron_Yam (#48844101) Attached to: Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

Don't forget that guy in New Zealand who designed and built an inexpensive home-built cruise missile that could be launched from a pickup truck. It wasn't big, but it was effectively unstoppable and theoretically pretty easy to launch and escape without getting caught.

The important part here, is that he built a guidance system for it. Adapt that for a small drone platform, and suddenly you don't need to be at the controls or within visual range of the thing.

Comment: This will be interesting (Score 0) 74

by Baron_Yam (#48770661) Attached to: BlackBerry's Survival Plan: the Internet of Things

They have been unable to make their smartphones work in the consumer market, and they've burned a lot of bridges with their corporate customers.

So... given the track record of being unable to judge the market and put out a solid, single product the company was focused on, they expect to succeed at putting out a variety of products with which they have no experience and know nothing about the market?

Good luck. I expect Waterloo will have some good commercial real estate freed up soon.

Comment: Re:It kinda looks just dumped there (Score 1) 320

by Baron_Yam (#48763741) Attached to: HOA Orders TARDIS Removed From In Front of Parrish Home

Wow. I guess you live somewhere warm, because nobody around here is taking down lights until March at least. In most cases, they're simply frozen to the house until then.

Besides, it's nice to have a colourful light show when the days are consistently overcast and short.

+ - 150 years of Maxwell's Equations->

Submitted by justaguy516
justaguy516 (712036) writes "Maxwell's equations are one of the most stunning discoveries in the history of human science. Its a unique story, both as a climax for a century of scientific observation as well as a compelling story of how scientific theory and practical application went hand-in-hand in building the edifice on which the entire world of 2015 as we know it exists. While most people think of Faraday, Gauss, Ampere and Maxwell, my favourite has always been Oliver Heaviside, that unsung self-taught engineer who made so many fundamental contributions to this field."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:But does it come with a android rootkit? (Score 1) 391

by Baron_Yam (#48751109) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

> It looks about the size of a smart phone. All you really need is something the size of a shuffle but with a microSD slot.

If you have a smart phone... why would you need a music player? The modern smart phone is pretty much a portable general purpose computer, and one of the things it can do is store and play audio at or beyond the fidelity capability of headphones.

+ - Mystery of why galaxies always appear dustier on one side solved

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "If you look at a spiral galaxy face-on, the sweeping spiral arms and the central massive bulge are usually the most prominent features. But if you look at one tilted at an angle to us, dust lanes appear prominently. You might expect that the dust lanes should appear equally on both sides of the galaxy, but they don't. Even more puzzlingly, the dust actually does live in the middle of the disk, so you might think there's no excuse for this! We had a theory as to why this works for a while, but recent Hubble observations have confirmed this picture, and we've finally got our answer!"

+ - 13 Things We Learned About Programmers In 2014->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "It seems these days like anyone and everyone can call themselves a programmer. But true software engineers remain a somewhat mysterious and exotic breed of tech worker. Here's a sampling of things we learned about them in 2014: Programmers from state schools get the best ROI on college, Alan Turing is the most important programmer of all time, and while Clojure programmers are the happiest, Java programmers earn the most."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Told you so (Score 0) 106

by Baron_Yam (#48696387) Attached to: Early Bitcoin Adopters Facing Extortion Threats

In the history of bad IT ideas, bitcoin is near the top of the list. The nerd factor is the only thing going for it.

I don't think that's true. It's an incomplete, awful implementation with a community made of a bunch of sometime technically-adept, usually socially-inept, often blinded by greed fanatics.

That doesn't mean the idea of a trustless distributed ledger isn't completely useless, just that none of the current implementations are ever going to be successful in the long term. They've done pretty well at transferring money from 'little people' to Chinese mining operations and scammers around the world, though. They're so good at it, the victims keep cheering the effort on and recruiting new victims.

Comment: Re:Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Score 1) 219

by Gazzonyx (#48472683) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

Federal sentencing guidelines almost never ask for "fully stacked" sentences. The term you're looking for is "consecutively." Most of the time, all sentences are served "concurrently," or at the same time. On rare occasions, as you write, a judge will specify that the sentences be served consecutively, to keep an exceptionally bad felon behind bars for as long as possible. Of course, the prosecutor can always threaten to ask for consecutive sentences to bulldoze the defendant into accepting a plea.

I've never considered this before, but isn't that a bit of "the law of unintended consequences"? For instance, if I know that I can commit a single crime now and pay the full rate or commit multiple crimes and pay them off in parallel, why deterrent is there for me to limit my activities?

I've always hated a law that I've heard of (this is strictly hearsay, I've never actually verified it) where in some parts of the US, if you involve a gun in a robbery there's an automatic minimum sentence which is in line with the sentence for having a gun and committing assault; just by having the gun you're already in as much trouble as if you used it, so there really isn't any incentive to not use it if you think doing so could allow you to avoid capture and prosecution. If you're going to be charged for attempted homicide, it's not like taking a hostage is going to add to your sentence at the end of the day and it has the most narrow chance of getting you off the hook.

My SO is a paralegal and I'm always amazed at the perverse incentives that are built into the legal system since you always seem to be in for a pound when you're in for a penny. No doubt legislation passed by someone "tough on crime", but the public seems to support it. I've always thought that putting someone in a place where they stand to lose nothing is a rather poor position to put them in.

For instance, I had lost my license due to unpaid tickets (I thought I had paid them all off, but I must have missed a payment) and I was pulled over for a taillight being out. At this point I now had a suspended license for driving on a suspended license (aka, strike two before they pull it for 5 years in the state I was then living). I went to a concert with some friends and they all hit the booze a bit hard and when it came time to drive home and they were all too drunk, we let the least drunk guy drive. It was more dangerous than the sober guy driving, obviously, but we reasoned that if we got pulled over the law would take it easier on a guy with a first DUI, a wife and a kid than a guy with a third violation for driving on a suspended license. The math was easy; I got "caught" (I didn't know I was doing anything wrong) a second time and they took my license for a year for the second infraction; your first DUI infraction is an automatic 1 month suspension or so. We knew which crime was "worse" in this case by what would have happened to myself versus what would have happened to the drunk guy that drove us home. We also knew which was safer, but it's not like the cops would have taken that into account, so it wasn't really a consideration in our assessment of the situation.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Can you M Theory with the Standard Model 3x3x3?

Submitted by genfail
genfail (777943) writes "Hey I was thinking, I think you can unify M Theory with the Standard Model if you we have 3 dimensions space, 3 time and 3 for gravity. 3x3x3
Nth dimensional time fixes the weird artifacts you see in the standard model that create things like dark matter to explain angular momentum of galaxies is even across the disk.
E=MC2 when taken as a whole also implies that time is a variable relative to mass, the more massive something is the slower time around it moves for the same reason that time slows down at the speed of light.
When taken into consideration it becomes apparent that angular momentum is not caused by mass that can't be seen but by the fact that time moves more slowly around a super-massive black hole at the middle causing the appearance of objects in the middle orbiting differently. So time and gravity both are being moved in three dimensions each.
What do you guys think?"

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.