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Comment: Re:F Mark Rowley (Score 4, Insightful) 228

by pla (#49528643) Attached to: UK Police Chief: Some Tech Companies Are 'Friendly To Terrorists'
They're just trying to shoot the messenger but they created the problem by circumventing or ignoring the law.

The real problem here - And finish reading this post before you start shooting at me - Rowley has it absolutely correct. Tech companies do behave in ways friendly to terrorists.

Except, he has committed a fundamental attribution error by assuming they do in support of actual terrorism. Tech companies don't support terrorism - They support fairness, they support security, they support usability, for everyone. Unfortunately, "safe" and "secure" includes "from government tampering", and "fair" and "everyone" includes terrorists.

If the encryption software I use doesn't block all attempts to intercept my data, whether by flaw or by design, I will use something that does. Simple as that. Tech companies behave in ways friendly to terrorists because tech companies can't readily discriminate between the actions of crackers and governments, between privacy advocates and terrorists, between a legal court-ordered wiretap and an NSA hijacking - Nor should they.

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 2) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49515639) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

If the end of the coil that is hanging is grounded (earthed), it becomes an autotransformer. As it's shown, it's a variable inductor and the disconnected end is irrelevant and has no meaningful physical effect at the frequency a spark transmitter could have reached.

This comment seems to get closer to what they actually mean in their scientific paper. But the article about it is garble and the paper might suffer from second-language issues, and a lack of familiarity with the terms used in RF engineering.

Comment: Re:Hmm, I guess I invented this as well... (Score 1) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49513567) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

Damn, I wish I would have patented that and all its quantum magic...

I noticed that my vertical transmitting antenna often works better if I connect a horizontal wire about the same length as the antenna to ground at its base! The wire isn't connected to the transmitting side of the circuit at all! And how well it works varies depending on the length! Obviously there is some deus ex machina at work here...

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 1) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49513517) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

Clearly you missed the bit where they invoked quantum mechanics, surely that explains away all the inaccuracies, like the fact you can already buy chip scale dielectric antennas

The thing that I really hate about Innovation Stories is that the reporter invariably doesn't understand what's going on, and invariably is easily convinced that The Obviiously Very Technical People have some very valuable invention.

Comment: discussion way too premature (Score 3, Interesting) 58

by epine (#49507643) Attached to: Computer Beats Humans At Arimaa

This is the most substantive bit I was able to find, a forum post by David Jian Wu from eariler today:

Thanks for the questions!

I can't even find a discussion of the winning games by someone who knows the game and its strategic evolution.

Interesting, but at present there's nothing much to discuss here.

Comment: Re:vs. a Falcon 9 (Score 1) 75

by Bruce Perens (#49501071) Attached to: Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine

They can carry about 110kg to LEO, compared to the Falcon 9's 13150kg. That's 0.84% of the payload capacity. A launch is estimated to cost $4 900 000, compared to the Falcon 9's $61 200 000. That's 8.01%. That means cost per mass to orbit is nearly an order of magnitude worse.

Yes, this is a really small rocket. If you are a government or some other entity that needs to put something small in orbit right away, the USD$5 Million price might not deter you, even though you could potentially launch a lot of small satellites on a Falcon 9 for less.

And it's a missile affordable by most small countries, if your payload can handle the re-entry on its own. Uh-oh. :-)

Comment: Re:Must hackers be such dicks about this? (Score 1) 270

by pla (#49496013) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment
Might be more rules with the police, but at least with private parties in Colorado a verbal agreement is a legally binding contract.

Even if they had it in writing, a purely one-sided contract would typically count as unconscionable. Since his "chat" with them didn't involve any actual concessions on their part (and "play nice and we won't harass you until the day you die", would make it equally unenforceable), I doubt you'll see them try to press this as a matter of contract law.

The fact they even mentioned it I'd call more of a smear campaign - The FBI needs to make this guy look like a complete asshole, because any other outcome would require actually acknowledging and fixing the underlying problem, rather than harassing the guy who pointed-and-laughed at the naked emperor.

Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.

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