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Comment: disagree (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48916433) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

The most powerful IED that could be transported by a recreational drone would be one carrying a model rocket engine. These contain PETN solid fuel, which is a high explosive. With clever design, this solid fuel engine could be used to make a small explosion. The problem? This would be at most enough to damage a few windows, and maybe maim somebody at point blank range.

What's "recreational" in this context?

The M18A1Claymore mine weighs under 4lbs and fires roughly seven hundred steel pellets like a shotgun. The proposed Amazon Prime Air drones could carry a bit over 5 lbs, so could easily mount a Claymore.

Comment: movie stars too... (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48916371) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

Apparently there is a company doing booming business selling drone detection systems to movie stars and other famous people. Gives them enough warning to cover up or go inside.

So anyone with money can get drone detection already. Drone destruction might be another story...though I wouldn't be surprised if that comes eventually too.

Comment: banning is not the answer (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48916345) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

Nowhere did I call for banning drones, I just pointed out that they're a real issue, not some invented thing.

Personally I think the solution for drones would be a sensor net combined with some kind of EM weapon (laser/maser/EMP/etc.) to shoot down the drone before it gets to the intended target.

Comment: restricting drones generally doesn't make sense (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48916275) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

What does make sense is a radar/acoustic/lidar "fence", with some sort of point-defence laser/maser/EMP/etc system to disable drones that enter restricted airspace around sensitive areas.

On of the issues will be minimizing collateral damage--debris raining down on people, backscatter from the radiation pulse, missed shots hitting innocent people/equipment, etc.

Comment: why is the cap a good idea? (Score 1) 129

by Chirs (#48915687) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Hypothetically speaking, if I'm desperate to get somewhere, and I'm willing to pay *whatever it takes*, why is it a good idea to limit the surge pricing?

If raising the price from 1.0 to 1.5 raises the number of drivers considerably, what about raising it from 3.0 to 4.5? In both cases the price increases by the same multiplier.

Or what about having an auction system where each person that wants a ride indicates how much they're willing to pay for it? Would you want to cap that as well?

Comment: shooting down with laser has problems (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48915265) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

I thought of point defence laser too, but it's got problems. You'd have to be awfully careful about where it was pointing when it fired, otherwise you'd run the risk of blinding civilians in any buildings within line-of-sight.

Realistically you'd probably be better off with a number of lasers mounted around the perimeter so that they shooting more-or-less upwards. Less chance of collateral damage that way.

Comment: and when the next one has a bomb? (Score 1) 203

by Chirs (#48915231) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

Mount a claymore to the underside of a drone, fly it in at high speed doing evasive maneuvers, trigger it over the biggest group of people that it sees.

Could be fully autonomous, and it'd be really hard to shoot down when you're worried about where the bullets end up when they fall back down to earth. I suspect a mostly-plastic drone would be hard to see on radar.

Comment: depends what you're doing (Score 4, Insightful) 180

by Chirs (#48811563) Attached to: The Legacy of CPU Features Since 1980s

For example, I worked for a decade in the linux kernel and low-level userspace. Assembly definitely needed. I tracked down and fixed a bug in the glibc locking code, and you'd better believe assembly was required for that one. During that time I dealt with assembly for ARM, MIPS, powerpc, and x86, with both 32 and 64-bit flavours of most of those. But even there most of the time you're working in C, with as little as possible in assembly.

If you're working in the kernel or in really high-performance code then assembly can be useful. If you're working with experimental languages/compilers where the compilers might be flaky, then assembly can be useful. If you're working in Java/PHP/Python/Ruby/C# etc. then assembly is probably not all that useful.

Comment: torture can work in some circumstances (Score 1) 448

by Chirs (#48760181) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

From what I understand, torture can make most people talk, but can't make them tell the truth. So if you're looking for easily-verified information it might be effective. If you're looking for information that is hard to verify, then it might not work as well.

And even if torture does make people talk, there may be other less brutal (and possibly more effective) ways of getting the same information.

Those who claim the dead never return to life haven't ever been around here at quitting time.