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+ - GLONASS (Russian GPS) offline->

Submitted by BevanFindlay
BevanFindlay (1636473) writes "News is that the Russian-operated GLONASS satellites are inoperative, apparently due to having an "illegal ephemeris" (monitor site: While this won't affect most of us much (as the US DoD-operated GPS is still fine), it does beg the question of what caused the problem — is it related to the recent issues Russia has been having with its neighbours, did someone hack the GLONASS satellites, or is it just a bug? News via a surveyor friend (email quoting the Australian GPSNet) is that the satellites have to wait until they pass back over the base stations in the northern hemisphere to be reset, possibly taking as long as 12 hours.

Article here:"

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Comment: Re:I don't care (Score 1) 458

by BevanFindlay (#44650077) Attached to: My SSID Is...
I was about to ask how many people were going to do that... :-) (Or, if anyone really does have that as an SSID). Maybe we could start a geocaching-like game where you have to find a network with that name and leave a message... (Perhaps we all make the password "slashdot"). Could be a fun way for Slashdotters to make new friends.

Comment: Re:Trashcan (Score 2) 278

by BevanFindlay (#43198873) Attached to: Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

DSLR? A decent compact will out-perform a phone camera by miles. We have a cheap-ish Canon Powershot, and the comparison between the shots it takes and any iDevice pictures I see people come up with? Not even close. Anyone with a basic understanding of optics could tell you why, too: lens size. Phone or tablet cameras will always be grainy, because of simple photon count (unless you extend your shutter time, but then you get blurry messes).

Yes, an iProduct is "good enough" for most people, but that's because most people have a bad eye for picture-taking or picture quality. Some of us have higher standards (and, I'm not even close to being a pro - I leave that to some very skilled friends of mine).

Maybe it's because I have kids: ergo, everything photgraphable is "live action", and often indoors.

Comment: Re:Is that 50 percent per interceptor? (Score 1) 266

The laser-equipped 747 brings up an interesting question: could the US have anti-missile tech that we don't know about? (e.g. say they mothballed it, but only because it worked too well, meanwhile building an upgraded version in a quiet corner somewhere). I know that if I was the US president, I'd task some very smart, very well resourced people with a plausibly-deniable mandate of: "Find a way to stop ICBMs, just don't tell anyone." Not doing something like that would seem insane. Now, of course the possible answer is that it's simply too hard, but if a missile really is just "ballistic", then it shouldn't be difficult to work out how to hit it (multiple entry vehicles etc obviously make this exponentially harder - after all, it's why they exist - but that suggests to me that maybe a simple ballistic missile shouldn't be too difficult to stop...?)

The next thing I would do after developing and testing said tech is make sure that nobody found out and keep playing the MAD-fear game with everyone else, saving the advantage for if it's really needed, and to avoid anyone trying to "limit test" it.

Comment: Re:Is that 50 percent per interceptor? (Score 1) 266

Shh... Let's hope that NK isn't that smart. :-)

Also, smuggling a large object that is highly radioactive isn't actually as easy as smuggling most other things, as it sorta has a very obvious signature, and a lot of border controls have detectors for this (it's not hard). Having said that, the US has a lot of coastline...

Assuming you get a decent-sized nuke into place and detonated somewhere populous, you then have the choice of, (a) don't own up and quietly laugh at your own destructive power but still have no one take you seriously, (b) own up and wave as Uncle Sam sends a few precious birdies your way (no better than attempting your own missiles, except that you actually did score one hit).

It is a scary possibility though.

Comment: Re:Science is the antithesis of religion... (Score 1) 528

A good scientist (I think) is one who approaches every question from three angles: (a) What does the question look like if I'm right?, (b) What does the question look like if I'm wrong?, (c) What does the question look like if I make no assumptions whatsoever about the outcome? The latter is actually really hard to do (and probably can never be done truly on anything).

I would say that someone approaching the world with "I am a rational being, created by a rational god to live in a rational universe with the ability to learn about it" probably isn't a wholly bad way to approach science. It would certainly be better than "I will look for any answer, except one I don't like", which I see from a lot of atheists as well as a lot of Christians. But, having said that, a scientist needs to be "agnostic" about his work - general rule: never trust anyone's research if they're doing it with a point to prove (a lot of "funded by" research tends this way).

Also, I would say that to be a good believer, you should question your faith. IMHO, faith that hasn't been tested isn't really faith. It scares me the number of people (in all sorts of realms, and from all sorts of beliefs) who don't question their core beliefs. Though, I can understand it to a degree - big, "meaning of the universe" questions can be scary (as is "what if I'm wrong?"), but one should still ask them, and frequently. It's a good antidote to becoming a freaky religious weirdo (atheists can be this, too - and actually, so can agnostics even, though it's a lot rarer). :-)

Comment: A real question for Dr Bakker (Score 1) 528

I'm interested to hear how you reconcile Genesis with the fossil record - what view do you take on how what the Bible tells of creation, the Flood, etc fits in with the observable fossils and geological records (being that presumably you have belief in both the Bible and nature being sources of truth)? Additionally, do you think that young-earth creationism can fit with the fossil record?

P.S. I am a Christian myself - I am interested to hear what a real expert says on the topic, rather than second- or third-hand variations of the facts, or repetitions of uninformed bias (from various sides).

Comment: Re:Git Rid of Asinine Password Requirements First (Score 1) 538

by BevanFindlay (#42841453) Attached to: Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously.

Agree. We have similarly stupid password rules at my work, along with forced password changes every couple of months or so. (And, forcing password changes on a regular basis of course simply results in people writing down the passwords, so please, IT admins, don't do it!) (Example reference here).

XKCD's excellent commentaries have already been covered to death, but I wonder that no one seems to have thought of having a password-checking routine that does away with idiot rules and simply checks against a periodically-updated list of the most common passwords (sort of like a rainbow table, but I'm stretching the definition somewhat). So, disallow "P@ssword1" (which is a dumb password, but passes almost every rule set I have ever seen), but let someone have "beagles twirl widdershins up my saxophone" (which was suggested in an article on passwords... oh, about a decade ago, and I still remember it because it's very hard to forget).

Comment: Re:Scientific method was established by the clergy (Score 1) 528

by BevanFindlay (#42818057) Attached to: Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

Why do people actually believe the whole "Jesus didn't really exist" line? Oh wait, I think I can guess.

Try starting here:

"There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more."

"In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary."

etc. (Quotes from the footnotes, emphasis mine).

The only people who seriously say "Jesus didn't exist" are either (a) ignorant of history, (b) lying, (c) were lied to and believed it (which is a sub-set of (a)). That there was someone significant by the name of "Jesus" (Iesous or Yeshua in the original languages) in first-century Judea is certain (well, as certain as anything that long ago, but apparently more certain than things we don't question, like that Napoleon fought at Waterloo...)

The real questions are when we get on to exactly who he was and what he did, but whenever you hear the "there was no real Jesus" line, you can know you're talking to someone who has little knowledge of the topic (or is selling something - usually atheism ;-).

Also noting that I've got this far down the page and I'm seeing a lot of debate but not many actual questions for the Dr...

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys