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Comment: Twofer (Score 4, Informative) 246

by Dan East (#49818929) Attached to: Fuel Free Spacecrafts Using Graphene

A quick search on converting photons to electrons turned this up:

A new discovery by researchers at the ICFO has revealed that graphene is even more efficient at converting light into electricity than previously known. Graphene is capable of converting a single photon of light into multiple electrons able to drive electric current.

So that could be where the extra electrons are coming from.

Comment: Blocking access (Score 2) 253

by Dan East (#49771271) Attached to: Leaked Document Shows Europe Would Fight UK Plans To Block Porn

And how exactly do you block access? Politics and policy aside, from the technical viewpoint, what he proposes is not possible. One country cannot get worldwide cooperation of every single adult website to honor this opt-in policy. Keyword based filters cannot work with encrypted traffic. Whitelisting or blacklisting would be such a massive undertaking as to never be effective. There's just no way to even do what he's advocating.

Comment: Re:Nostaligia (Score 2) 123

by Dan East (#49734773) Attached to: Jason Scott of Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs

To illustrate just how much content I'm talking about, here is a list of BBSs just in the Cleveland area code of Ohio where I grew up:

There are 759 BBSs in that list, representing just one little slice of Ohio. Each one was a microcosm all unto itself. There are dozens of different types of BBS software represented there. Each BBS was hand-crafted and configured by the individual sysop with the style, color, behavior, etc, and hardly any two of them were even remotely similar. It was a point of pride for sysops to have a unique looking board, and they were updated often. Some where awful, some were great, but they were all handcrafted extensions of the people who made them. Each had its own character and personality, and the discussion forums and online games drew different types of people together. Some were mainly gaming BBSs, running multi-player online games like Trade Wars ( ), others had tons of shareware files you could download, others focused on discussion forums and communication, and of course others delved into the darker realms of illegal file sharing, etc. But again, they were all unique, and they are all gone.

Comment: Nostaligia (Score 2) 123

by Dan East (#49734727) Attached to: Jason Scott of Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs

I can understand the sense of nostalgia. I'd love to have all my Amiga floppies from when I was a kid. I'd also love to see all the dial-up local BBSs I frequented in the late 80s back up in glorious glaring ANSI (via a web interface, of course). But it's gone forever. Not a shred of it is left, which makes me a little sad. The BBS era is certainly one that was not captured for posterity. I'm sure there are a few here and there that might have been pulled off an old HDD and put online, but I'd say 99% of them (and there were a lot, and they had a lot of content) are gone forever. I don't hear people lamenting this much, but it was a segment of human society that first developed and introduced the concept of online digital connectivity to humanity, and it was not preserved.

Comment: Rolled out intelligently (Score 2) 393

The PTC system has been rolled out in an intelligent manner, and curves that require breaking got it first. What happened in this particular derailment was an anomaly. Any time a massive new system like this is rolled out, decisions have to be made to prioritize which areas are the highest risk, and thus those areas get the system first. In this particular curve, PTC was installed coming into the curve from the other direction, but not in the direction the train was travelling. Why? Because in the direction the train was travelling, the speed limit from the last stop was never greater than the speed in which the curve could be navigated. The train never needed to slow down into the curve when travelling in that direction. However when coming from the other direction, the train needed to slow from a normal 90+ MPH. Thus PTC was rolled out to make sure trains decelerated because that was the greatest risk.

The train accelerated suddenly within one minute of the crash to that high of a speed, so this wasn't an issue of just negligence and forgetting to brake. The train was accelerated far above the speed limit for no good reason, then the engineer tried to brake at the last second but it was too late.

My hunch is he heard that other engineer in another train talking about being hit by projectiles, and so he sped up to try and make it harder for the engine to get hit, and he misjudged when he needed to slow down to take that curve.

Comment: Deception (Score 3, Interesting) 152

by Dan East (#49672179) Attached to: The Best Way To Protect Real Passwords: Create Fake Ones

Deception is a valid form of security, similar to obfuscation. It should not be relied upon, but it is merely another layer. In the early 90s me and some buddies ran a multi-node BBS. One of the admins used the same password on another BBS, and someone was able to log into our system using his admin account. So to prevent that from ever happening again, I wrote a script that, for the three site admins, would also ask for their birthdate every time they logged in. If an incorrect date was entered a single time, the account would be locked. Thing is, it wasn't our birthdates that we had to enter, but just another very short password that we could enter really easily. So an attacker, if they got to that point again (obtained the password), would give it their best guess (or perhaps even research to find) the admin's birthdate. If any date was entered at all (containing two slashes or hyphens) the account was immediately locked, because the expected password was just a couple letters is all, and anyone entering an actual date was not an admin.

Comment: Vaginosis/Vaginitis Plus (Score 5, Insightful) 532

by Dan East (#49628847) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

I sense this is a hoax, or at least contrived example to raise awareness. It is trivial to look up CPT codes online. The first code listed is for a SureSwab Vaginosis/Vaginitis Plus test (87481).

It isn't exactly "fun", but it is straightforward to request your actual test results from the facility, and then correlate the results to your bill. You should have results and documentation in your medical record for ancillary department services you were charged for. That is, if you want to audit everything like that to keep healthcare facilities honest. If you have insurance (either government provided, or private), then you can always have them investigate anything you see that is awry. Insurers are always more than happy to find someone to sick their attorneys on.

Comment: Re:Dosbox in a browser? (Score 5, Insightful) 54

by Dan East (#49623765) Attached to: Twitter Stops Users From Playing DOS Games Inside Tweets

Do I REALLY want to run a dosbox in my browser?

How are we supposed to know the answer to that.

How long until someone comes up with an exploit?

An exploit to what exactly? Are you actually asserting that someone will discover a JavaScript security hole, then instead of simply exploiting it with a standard web page, they would instead construct an ms-dos program designed to run in dos box that exploits some additional security hole in dos box in order to exploit the JavaScript vulnerability? Do you happen to be afraid of your own shadow too?

Comment: Re:They're called trees. (Score 2) 128

by Dan East (#49494245) Attached to: Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate

So, on that wiki article it says the percent of forested land area, by country is:
Canada: 3,101,340 km2 forested which is 31.06%
USA: 3,030,890 km2 forested which is 30.84%

But then Canada and USA combined is: 4,680,000 km2 or 26.00%

Obviously something is quite wrong with that article.

Comment: Larger landing area (Score 4, Interesting) 342

It sure seems that if a larger landing area was available, so that the rocket didn't have to lean so far to adjust to a very small target and thus could prioritize staying vertical, it would be able to land successfully. What's it going to take for NASA or the FAA or whatever to give them permission to land on, um, land.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."