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Comment: Ocean sizes (Score 4, Informative) 57

by Dan East (#49191747) Attached to: New Data Indicates Arctic-Ocean Sized Body of Water on Ancient Mars

First of all, the Slashdot headline is wrong. It is "arctic ocean" sized, not antarctic. Second, the article makes another comparison that makes more sense, since Mars and Earth aren't the same size (how big would the arctic ocean be placed on mars? Not something we can visualize). That is the ocean on Mars covered slightly more of the planet than the Atlantic ocean covers on Earth - the Mars ocean covered 19% of the planet, while the Atlantic covers 17% of the Earth. Of course the volume of water and depths are totally different.

Comment: Re:"Real" money (Score 0) 174

by Dan East (#49181599) Attached to: One Year Later, We're No Closer To Finding MtGox's Missing Millions

Mt Gox is an exchange, and exchanges exchange "real" money for bitcoins, correct? So say I paid $2,000 for bitcoins at Mt Gox, and I left those coins there instead of transferring to my own wallet. Thus if those particular coins went missing, I would have been out exactly the $2,000 I paid for them. Now on the other hand, say I mined bitcoins and transferred to Mt Gox for them to be sold, and those coins went missing. They never had any "real" value attached to them - only whatever resources I claimed to have consumed in generating them. See the difference?

Comment: Perception (Score 4, Interesting) 419

by Dan East (#49153215) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

First off, the picture is crap. It's overexposed and the white balance is off by a mile. My 10 year old Razr flip phone took better pictures than that.

However, there's still a human perception factor going on. I had looked at the picture on my laptop, and it was clearly white and gold. Then later I pulled the exact same picture up on my iPhone to show it to someone, and it looked black and blue. I then concluded that the picture looked different on my laptop than my phone due to differences in the display. When I got back home I pulled the picture up on both my phone and laptop to do a direct comparison, and both, including on my phone, looked white and gold again.

So I think it depends on whether your eyes are currently adapted to dim indoor lighting or bright outdoor lighting, in addition to the backlight on your device also changing the hue depending on if it's automatically full bright for outdoors or dim for indoors.

Comment: Realistic (Score 4, Insightful) 372

by Dan East (#49129259) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

I think solar is great - I have some panels on my camper, which is very conducive to solar type use because it's already designed to function off-grid. But let's be realistic. Let's say every home in America stuck a couple thousand watts of solar power on their roof, and wanted to sell the power into the grid (as opposed of having to store it on-site). How is that supposed to work? If no power generation is required by the power company when the sun is shining, but the full normal generation is required the instant clouds sweep over a community or at night, etc, then how is that supposed to work? None of the power generation plants can function in that "instant on / instant off" type of a mode. Particularly not nuclear. The point is, once the adoption reaches some (rather smallish) percentage, there will be some major problems and costs that will have to be addressed.

Regarding the incentives (tax credits and the like), again, once solar hits some critical mass, why would the government provide incentives? The incentives did their job, and got some number of people to adopt solar.

Nothing is stopping anyone from using solar. It's just that it may not be a profitable (as in selling electricity or getting a tax break) endeavor. So don't whine when it can't be used purely for an economical advantage.

Comment: Interpretation (Score 4, Insightful) 99

by Dan East (#49126675) Attached to: Gemalto: NSA and GCHQ Probably Hacked Us, But Didn't Get SIM Encryption Keys

Translation of what they really said:

The investigation into the intrusion methods described in the document and the sophisticated attacks that Gemalto detected in 2010 and 2011 give us reasonable grounds to believe that an operation by NSA and GCHQ probably happened

The attacks were sophisticated, thus the fact that we were compromised was justified. We will play the victim card straight off. We presume that because the attacks were sophisticated that it was the NSA and GCHQ, although any hacker group and nation-state would give their left arm for our encryption keys. However NSA and GCHQ are scary acronyms, and so we were supposedly up against the most powerful hacking group in the world, again, justifying the fact that they succeeded.

The attacks against Gemalto only breached its office networks and could not have resulted in a massive theft of SIM encryption keys

The attacks resulted in a theft of our SIM encryption keys, although not a "massive" one, whatever "massive" means.

The operation aimed to intercept the encryption keys as they were exchanged between mobile operators and their suppliers globally. By 2010, Gemalto had already widely deployed a secure transfer system with its customers and only rare exceptions to this scheme could have led to theft

Rare exceptions to our scheme led to theft.

In the case of an eventual key theft, the intelligence services would only be able to spy on communications on second generation 2G mobile networks. 3G and 4G networks are not vulnerable to this type of attack

Intelligence services were able to spy on communications on 2G mobile networks, due to this one known particular theft of SIM keys that we managed to discover. Even the most modern cell phones fall back on 3G and 2G mobile networks if 4G is not available, so this could affect any phone.

None of our other products were impacted by this attack

Products of ours were impacted by this particular attack, but at least it wasn't every single product we have.

The best counter-measures to these type of attacks are the systematic encryption of data when stored and in transit, the use of the latest SIM cards and customized algorithms for each operator

We are trying to come up with better counter-measures to prevent them from continuing to access our encryption keys.

Comment: Re:Nuclear plants don't like sudden shutdowns (Score 0) 311

by Dan East (#49063711) Attached to: Nuclear Plant Taken Down In Anticipation of Snowstorm

But that has nothing to do with the generation of electricity, only the generation of heat. Surely the system can simply bypass the generators when the power is not needed. The cooling towers and ponds cool the steam / water back down before cycling back into the reactor anyway, regardless of whether the generators are part of the loop or not. An "emergency shutdown" of the reactor should not be necessary just because the electricity is not needed. Sounds like they think there is a high probability of a significant part the grid going down and not requiring all of the available power generation, so they're saving money by shutting it down now and shifting production to the natural gas / coal plants (which can be "turned off" and "turned on" much faster, to save even more money when the grid goes down).

Comment: Steadycam (Score 1) 165

by Dan East (#49059141) Attached to: Star Trek Continues Meets Kickstarter Goal, Aims For Stretch Goals

Please, for the love of Pete's sake, either get a steady cam or don't attempt the "lead the actors down the hall with the camera while they're talking" shot. There was one shot so bad that it totally pulled me out of the scene. I think the camera guy might have stumbled or ran into someone. It was that bad.

Comment: Guesstimate (Score 1) 121

by Dan East (#49049283) Attached to: Study: 8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into Oceans Annually

This entire study is a big guesstimate. More than likely they get it right with the top half-dozen polluters, but beyond that the margin of error makes it all guesswork.

“Of course we know these aren’t absolute numbers, but it gives us an idea of the magnitude, and where we might need to focus our efforts to affect the issue,”

The USA, at #20 in the list, is responsible for less than 1% of the global pollution of this kind, according to this study. The USA produces only 3% of the pollution China produces alone. Certainly the margin for error in this type of indirect approximation is no better than 5%, putting the USA on the list at all in just statistical noise.

Further, the major offenders that produce that vast majority of the pollution do so because their very infrastructure results in the trash entering the ocean. Whereas the USA, on the other hand, consists only of "litter" directly from individuals one way or another (probably washing down rivers when they flood, as opposed to actually be dumping straight into the ocean as the official method of industry to get rid of their trash):

The US and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

So putting the USA on that list is one of those things like "You do very well considering your population, the fact that you are the largest consuming nation on the planet, and have extensive coastlines in two oceans, but we hold you to a much higher standard and we know you can do even better, even though reducing your total pollution by 100% will have less than a 1% affect on the pollution entering the oceans."

Comment: Give me a break (Score 3, Interesting) 146

by Dan East (#49029915) Attached to: Building the Developer's Dream Keyboard

Come on now, a developer keyboard with no navigation keys? Really? Okay, so you can map multiple key combinations to represent them. Still, no way. If I want to highlight the text to the left of the cursor, I use CTRL-SHIFT-LEFT_ARROW. If I want to select the text from the cursor to the end of the line, I use CTRL-SHIFT-END. I already use those navigation keys in 3-key combos. I don't need it to be a 4-key combo, or something totally proprietary to the point I can only function with any proficiency on a keyboard that there is exactly one of in the entire world.

When I chose my last dev machine a few months ago, I really, really tried to make it a Macbook. I figured I could dual-boot windows and have all my bases covered. I had already tried using my older Macbook as a dev machine, and had given up. Why? No Home, End, PgUp or PgDown keys. As I stated above, I already use 3 key combos with those keys. I'm not about to try and make it a 4 key combo because Apple puts style over functionality. (and of course no Macbooks are touchscreen, and part of my work is making sure that web based multitouch HTML5 works properly on modern touch-screen desktop browsers).

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.