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Comment: Re:It's a pointless question. (Score 2) 395

by BovineSpirit (#41183463) Attached to: Can the UK Create Something To Rival Silicon Valley?

Corporation tax is substantially higher in the US than it is in the UK(http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/feb/21/corporation-tax-rates-world). On the other hand the Silicon Roundabout is a quick walk away from one of the biggest financial centers in the world, where there are billions of pounds waiting ot be invested...

Two of the lowest corporation tax rates are Ireland and Iceland, whose populations are making huge sacrifices in order to keep those rates low. I haven't noticed any global tech companies emerge from either country recently, but I'm sure you're right.

Comment: Only 100? (Score 1) 730

by BovineSpirit (#36151128) Attached to: Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

Everyone is different and has different circumstances and needs. The UK has seen 2 attempts to implement a simple catchall tax and both have resulted in violent protests and government U-turns. Taxation ends up being complicated because it has to be seen to be fair. Every new tax has to have exceptions and get-outs and that makes it complicated.
    There are 300 million separate cases in the US to take into account, not 100.

Comment: Bandwidth is not the issue (Score 1) 117

by BovineSpirit (#30815078) Attached to: Iceland's Data Center Push Finally Gets Traction

The Wellcome Trust are a huge biomedical research charity. I would imagine that they are looking for processing power(think folding@home type projects) rather than the ability to serve up millions of webpages. If so bandwidth will be less of a concern than cheap reliable power and cooling. Iceland is looking to join the European Union so their Data Protection legislation is probably similar to rest of the EU's.

Security

Entropy Problems For Linux In the Cloud 179

Posted by kdawson
from the mehr-Zufälligkeit dept.
CalTrumpet writes "Our research group recently spoke at Black Hat USA on the topic of cloud computing security. One of the interesting outcomes of our research was the discovery that the combination of virtualization technologies and public system images results in a problem for random number generation on guest operating systems. This is especially true for Linux, since its PRNG uses only a small set of entropy-gathering events, and virtual Linux images often generate SSH host keys within seconds of their initial boot. The slides are available; the PRNG vulnerability material begins at slide 63."
United States

The Chemistry of Firework Displays 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-parts-oooh-one-part-ahhhh dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "David Ropeik writes at MSNBC that there's a lot more to making a basic firework display than putting a fuel source and an oxidizer together. Pyrotechnic chemists, who are trying to create bedazzlement instead of bang, don't want their work to explode, but to burn for a bit, so it gives a good visual show. To achieve the desired effect, the sizes of the particles of each ingredient have to be just right, and the ingredients have to be blended together just right. To slow down the burning, chemists use big grains of chemicals, in the range of 250 to 300 microns, and they don't blend the ingredients together very well, making it harder for the fuel and oxidizer to combine and burn, thus producing a longer and brighter effect. Surprisingly few emitters are used in pyrotechnics, and there are no commercially useful emitters in blue-green to emerald green in the 490-520 nm region. Energy from the fire in the basic fuel is transferred to the atoms of the colorant chemicals, exciting the electrons in those chemicals into a higher energy state. As they cool down, they move back to a lower state of energy, emitting light. So, you actually see the colors in fireworks as they're cooling down. To get the really tricky shapes, like stars or hearts, the colorant pellets are pasted on a piece of paper in the desired pattern. That paper is put in the middle of the shell with explosive charges above it, and below. When those charges go off, they burn up the paper, and send the ignited colorant pellets out in the same pattern they were in on the sheet of paper, spreading wider apart as they fly."

Comment: Re:navigation maps (Score 1) 265

by BovineSpirit (#28322589) Attached to: First Floating Wind Turbine Buoyed Off Norway
This may surprise you, but the problem of updating charts has been encountered before. And solved. In the early nineteenth century by Admiral Beaufort. The Hydrographic Office issues weekly 'Notices to Mariners' which list the changes to be made to charts. These include shifting sandbanks, new navigational bouys, new survey data and yes, new wind turbines. As far as navigation is concerned it's not a new island it's a new wind turbine. If the captain was unsure of his position the sight of one (and it would be visible at some distance) would give a clue as to his position.

Comment: Re:Speed limiters already on HGVs / trucks? (Score 1) 859

by BovineSpirit (#28026463) Attached to: Australia, UK To Test Vehicle Speed-Limiting Devices

Yes they do. Travelling on motorways in the cab of an HGV at 56mph is a surreal experience. Everything happens very slowly. If an empty, powerful truck finds itself behind a weak, full truck going up hill it'll still overtake so 2 of the 3 motorway lanes become slow lanes. You do find them overtaking each other on the flat, usually because one limiter is set slightly higher than another.

Programming

Worst Working Conditions You Had To Write Code In? 1127

Posted by samzenpus
from the 150-of-us-in-a-shoebox-in-the-middle-of-the-road dept.
sausaw writes "I recently had to write code in a hot dusty room for 20 days with temperatures near 107F (~41C); having nothing to sit on; a 64 Kbps inconsistent internet connection; warm water for drinking and a lot of distractions and interruptions. I am sure many people have been in similar situations and would like to know your experiences."
Networking

Grad Student Project Uses Wikis To Stash Data, Miffs Admins 268

Posted by timothy
from the going-on-the-beg-forgiveness-principle dept.
Anonymous writes "Two graduate students at the Ivy League's Brown University built a P2P system to use abandoned wiki sites to store data. The students were stealing bandwidth from open MediaWiki sites to send data between users as an alternative to BitTorrent. There was immediate backlash as site operators quickly complained to the University. The project appears to be shutdown, but many of the pages still remain on the web. The project homepage was also taken down and the students posted an apology this afternoon." The same submitter links to two different forum discussions on the project.
Google

Google To Monitor Surfing Habits For Ad-Serving 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-you-see-what-i-see dept.
superglaze (ZDNet UK) writes "Google is gearing up to launch cookie-based 'interest-based' advertising, which involves monitoring the user's passage across various WebSense partner sites. The idea is to have better-targeted advertising, which is not a million miles away from what Phorm is trying to do — the difference, it seems at first glance, is that Google is being relatively up-front about its intentions."
Communications

Presidential Inauguration Hardware and Other Challenges 176

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the big-spend-for-one-off dept.
holy_calamity writes "The FBI has released images of some of the kit that will be deployed to safeguard Obama's inauguration, including mine-proof armored trucks like those used in Iraq to protect against IEDs, and a large armored chamber that any bombs will be shoved inside to be transported away and perhaps detonated inside. Interesting, even though the really good stuff is presumably being kept under wraps." Relatedly, necro81 writes "The Inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow is expected to put considerable stress on the cellphone network around Washington, DC. The expected crowd could top two million people, and many of them are expected to call, text, tweet, photo, and blog their way through the event. In response, the major wireless carriers in the area have spent millions of dollars upgrading their local networks and will bring in extra 'cells on wheels' (COWs) and 'cells on light trucks' (COLTs). They are also requesting that attendees limit their usage during the event, and avoid bandwidth-heavy activities — like uploading photos — until afterward."
Businesses

How Does a 9/80 Work Schedule Work Out? 1055

Posted by kdawson
from the on-the-ground dept.
cellocgw writes "My company is in the process of implementing a version of '9/80,' a work schedule that squeezes 80 hours' labor time into 9 business days and provides every other Friday off. I was wondering how this has been implemented in other companies, and how it's worked out for other Slashdot readers. Is your system flexible? Do you find time to get personal stuff done during the week? Is Friday good for anything other than catching up on lost sleep? And perhaps most important, do your managers respect the off-Fridays, or do they pull people in on a regular basis to handle 'crises?'"

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