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Comment: Re:How do you define anything? (Score 1) 1082 1082

There are African cultures (or were) where the males and females lived in separate huts. The males considered the female's genitalia unclean, because of menstruation and all that. The men would have the young boys (we're talking boys of all ages) perform fellatio on them, with the explanation that drinking the men's semen would make the boys grow up to be strong men as well.

Citing primitive cultures (Native American or otherwise) as some kind of model for our society is pointless.

Comment: Consitution (Score 0) 1082 1082

I don't have a problem with the judges appointed to the Supreme Court doing whatever they want because they have the power and have the final say ("It's good to be me!"), but to attempt to tie it in legally to the Constitution when that does not apply is going a little overboard. You're making arbitrary decisions and rewriting the text of law (ie the Obamacare ruling), so let's just at least not try and justify it Constitutionally (beyond the Constitution giving the Supreme Court the authority to make the decisions they are presented in the first place). A simple "We have the authority to make this decision and the majority have done so" would suffice.

Comment: Orbital mechanics (Score 5, Insightful) 59 59

The huge problem is orbital mechanics. The delta-V difference between satellites is enormous. Polar orbit, geosynchronous orbit, low-earth orbit, etc, etc. The difference in velocity between them is more than any satellite or service vehicle could realistically overcome (assuming you want to visit more than one satellite every couple decades). Satellites in geostationary orbit might be doable, because they all have to orbit relative to the earth's rotation, so traversing from one to another might be reasonable. However they are so far up there that it would still require covering a lot of distance to get from one to another.

Comment: Twofer (Score 4, Informative) 265 265

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) 253 253

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) 123 123

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 ( http://geekswithblogs.net/cwil... ), 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) 123 123

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) 393 393

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) 152 152

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.

"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." -- George Carlin