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Comment: Bad headline (Score 2) 337

by Captain_Chaos (#47210189) Attached to: Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality
The headline is up to Slashdot's usual standards I see. They are talking about quality-of-service, which is a common and uncontroversial measure to prioritise traffic which needs low latencies over traffic for which that is less important. They aren't talking about prioritising Comcast's video streams over Netflix' video streams! This has nothing to do with "opposing net neutrality", it's just bad, sensationalistic reporting.

Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality 337

Posted by Soulskill
from the noted-and-filed dept.
angry tapir writes: All bits running over the Internet are not equal and should not be treated that way by broadband providers, despite net neutrality advocates' calls for traffic neutral regulations, Cisco Systems has said. Some Web-based applications, including rapidly growing video services, home health monitoring and public safety apps, will demand priority access to the network, while others, like most Web browsing and email, may live with slight delays, said Jeff Campbell, Cisco's vice president for government and community relations. "Different bits do matter differently. We need to ensure that we have a system that allows this to occur."

Comment: Re:stable magnetic field (Score 1) 298

by Captain_Chaos (#47145395) Attached to: Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

This measures the atoms passing through lines of magnetic flux.

Remember that "lines of magnetic flux" don't actually exist. Field lines are just an aid for visualising the direction of the field, in reality the field is smooth and continuously variable. It's unclear what's actually going on here, but perhaps they are measuring the direction of the magnetic field very accurately or something like that.

Comment: Light on facts (Score 4, Insightful) 298

by Captain_Chaos (#47066339) Attached to: Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

The article is very unclear about how exactly these supercooled atomic particles tell them where they are on the globe. The impression I get is that it's just a more accurate form of inertial navigation. Or perhaps it compares the local magnetic and gravitational fields against some map of the Earth? I don't see how that would be immune to interference though, especially the magnetic part. And it would rely on an extremely accurate magnetic/gravitational map of the entire planet, which would have to be kept up to date as well as both those fields are constantly changing. Sounds very unpractical.

I'll be very interested to see if something comes of this or if it will just turn out to be hot air and/or inaccurate reporting...

Comment: Re:Just leave - So those are the choices... (Score 1) 341

by Captain_Chaos (#47044417) Attached to: UK May Kill the EU's Net Neutrality Law ruled from Brussels or join the USA?

No, I admit that I was wrong. Just leave the EU, I don't really give a fuck what you do next. But stop trying to get all of the benefits and none of the burdens by carving out exception after exception for yourself, and pushing your prudish morals on all of Europe by sabotaging a crucial Internet freedom law just so you can stop citizens from looking at titties.

Comment: Accountability (Score 1) 180

If a robot killed arbitrarily, it would be difficult to hold anyone accountable.

Whereas currently there is no indiscriminate killing with drones going on without any accountability whatsoever? What's the current body count for innocent civilians murdered by the US and its allies in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.? A few tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands?

I doubt it would make much difference in practice...


First Transistors Made Entirely of 2-D Materials 137

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the powered-by-scotch-tape dept.
ckwu (2886397) writes "Two independent research groups report the first transistors built entirely of two-dimensional electronic materials, making the devices some of the thinnest yet. The transistors, just a few atoms thick and hence transparent, are smaller than their silicon-based counterparts, which would allow for a super-high density of pixels in flexible, next-generation displays. The research teams, one at Argonne National Laboratory and the other at the University of California, Berkeley, used materials such as tungsten diselenide, graphene, and boron nitride to make all three components of a transistor: a semiconductor, a set of electrodes, and an insulating layer. Electrons travel in the devices 70 to 100 times faster than in amorphous silicon. Such a high electron mobility means the transistors switch faster, which dictates a display's refresh rate and is necessary for high-quality video, especially 3-D video."

Comment: Keyless entry and start is awesome! (Score 1) 865

by Captain_Chaos (#46927469) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

I'm genuinely baffled why a) this has not already happened and b) that it's generating so many comments and so much negativity. My ten year old car (a Renault Mégane CC) has keyless entry and start. It's awesome; I just walk up to the car and grip the handle: it unlocks. I get in and press the start button: it starts. It's very convenient and works perfectly. It's much better in every respect than the old fashioned mechanical lock and switch. To lock the doors I just press a button on the handle. All of this obviously only works if I have the keycard on me. It's even clever enough not to let me lock the doors from the outside if the keycard is still inside the car.

It does have a backup system in case it ever should fail, which I agree should always exist. For unlocking the door the driver's side door actually has a mechanical lock hidden behind a cover in the handle which you can pop off with the emergency key, which is hidden inside in the keycard. And for starting the car you can insert the keycard in a slot in the dashboard. There's no old fashioned ignition switch.


50 Years of BASIC, the Language That Made Computers Personal 224

Posted by timothy
from the goto-10*5 dept.
harrymcc (1641347) writes "On May 1, 1964 at 4 a.m. in a computer room at Dartmouth University, the first programs written in BASIC ran on the university's brand-new time-sharing system. With these two innovations, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz didn't just make it easier to learn how to program a computer: They offered Dartmouth students a form of interactive, personal computing years before the invention of the PC. Over at, I chronicle BASIC's first 50 years with a feature with thoughts from Kurtz, Microsoft's Paul Allen and many others."
The Military

US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks 481

Posted by timothy
from the not-the-onion dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Sean Gallagher writes that the government built facilities for the Minuteman missiles in the 1960s and 1970s and although the missiles have been upgraded numerous times to make them safer and more reliable, the bases themselves haven't changed much and there isn't a lot of incentive to upgrade them. ICBM forces commander Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein told Leslie Stahl from "60 Minutes" that the bases have extremely tight IT and cyber security, because they're not Internet-connected and they use such old hardware and software. "A few years ago we did a complete analysis of our entire network," says Weinstein. "Cyber engineers found out that the system is extremely safe and extremely secure in the way it's developed." While on the base, missileers showed Stahl the 8-inch floppy disks, marked "Top Secret," which is used with the computer that handles what was once called the Strategic Air Command Digital Network (SACDIN), a communication system that delivers launch commands to US missile forces. Later, in an interview with Weinstein, Stahl described the disk she was shown as "gigantic," and said she had never seen one that big. Weinstein explained, "Those older systems provide us some, I will say, huge safety, when it comes to some cyber issues that we currently have in the world.""

Comment: Re:Hmmm. On the edge of possibility... (Score 1) 293

I'm not familiar with the autonomous systems of the 777 but for a modern autopilot to enter a glide path as a last option as a failover would be a better idea other than to stall the aircraft and falling out of the sky.

I'm not so sure. I know that the Boeing design philosophy differs from the Airbus design philosophy in that it gives more autonomy to the pilots and has fewer automatic protections. In the case where there are no pilots that might backfire (although I guess ultimately it wouldn't make much difference). In addition I wouldn't expect that a modern autopilot has a reaction built in for a complete engine failure, since it's never supposed to happen.

My guess is that it would just try to maintain altitude, pitching up further and further as the plane slows down, possibly until it stalled and dropped like a brick, or possibly pitching down at some point to avoid stalling, which would still cause it to fly into the ocean at high speed and a steep angle. At some point the autopilot would probably disengage, since most autopilots are programmed to do so automatically when the plane's attitude becomes too erratic, after which there's no telling what the plane would do but it seems very unlikely that it would calmly glide towards the water (and hit it so evenly that it wouldn't break up).

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.