Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Precedent (Score 1) 645

by DarthVain (#49175581) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Looking at the cold war defectors, or even domestic whistle blowers in US history there is precedent.

I think he understands that given time, his actions will be vindicated, not only by the people but by the US government (eventually). However it is too recent and raw to expect anything meaningful to happen anytime soon. The calculation he is doing is if he can swing a deal to stay in minimum security Club Fed for 10-20 years or Russia, after which cooler heads will eventually prevail (not to mention that the advance of technology might hasten it by making what he exposed a moot point), and the US will issue a grand apology, pardon, and call him a hero ( or at at least not vilify him as a traitor anymore), allowing him to live out the rest of his life in relative normalcy using his time to write a book about his experiences, and do a modest book tour and perhaps talk show circuit.

I think this is one where he has history on his side (future history really), however recognizing that it isn't going to happen over night, and a lot of time will probably need to pass (and certain people retire) before anything positive is likely to happen in his favor.

I think it is likely to work also. He probably recognizes that he is already in a prison of sorts, with little hope for the immediate future. However he is free enough and Russia wants to snub the US enough, that he is more of a thorn than anything. They would like nothing more to throw him in jail for *something* and forget about him for an extended period of time. He has made a big enough a deal, that disappearing him or convenient accidents really aren't much of an option anymore. The real question will be if the US really wants to open up a full fledged court case over the mess and the possible political fallout that might create depending on the outcome. Having him come home, and a conditional plead to some trivial crime that puts him away for the time being is probably his best bet, and is probably what he is negotiating for.

Comment: Symantics (Score 1) 199

I'm usually not one to defend this, however as you more or less say, the devil is really in the details. The Courts really rely on wording such as "Knowingly" and "Reasonable" and "For the Purposes of". I don't know the details, but there are plenty of excuses of commercial enterprises that are really illegal operations with a thin veneer of legality.

The crux is if they can prove that they knowingly did anything illegal, and if it was reasonable for them not to know, and if the services provided were for the purposes of... All of which can be pretty difficult to prove, unless they got some pretty damning evidence (which they may have given their actions). They may also have decided that while they con't win, they can at least shut it down or cause disruption or it may lead to other leads etc...

One of my favorite examples of this from my college days, are houses having "Keg Parties". Some idiot would always make the "legal argument" that they were not selling beer, but glasses, and the beer was free. That is utter bullshit, and wouldn't hold up for 5 seconds (Not that they ever bother to change people for this really). Same thing with Secure Encrypted Storage Service. You may say that you are simply offering a service, and what people use it for is not your concern, or that it is being used for business purposes etc... However if your site name is PedoStor and 95% of your users use the service for illegally storing that kind of material, a case could be made regarding the fact that everyone knows about it, and the purposes of the service are actually illegal, etc... Or they may have insiders, or documents, or emails, communication to that effect, etc...

Anyway the summary has lots of stats, but little in the way of actual details, which in a case like this are what really matters. They even mention Megaupload... Can you honestly tell me that most of the stuff on there isn't illegal, what it's actual purpose is and used for, and if you can't, you might want to check in on Kim Dotcom and see how he is doing lately if you think this is unreasonable...

Comment: Barrage Tidal Generation (Score 1) 187

by DarthVain (#49172237) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Tidal Lagoon seems just another way to say Barrage Tidal Generation. There are a handful in the world (Three I think, Canada, Russia, and France). There is a reason why there are so few.

1) Like most Hydro projects, there is limited geography that is suitable for the purposes, and usually there are environmental repercussions. In the case of the ones above they are all at the mouth of a river exiting into the sea.
2) Seawater. Maintenance is a bitch, and construction costly. You need to dam up the area first, construct your facility, then take down the dam. Seawater likes to destroy metal and moving parts, which is what turbines are generally made from. People will point out the fact that ship screws and the like have been doing it for years, however ships are required to be taken out for servicing every few years, not so easy with a tidal dam...
3) Low return of investment. Generally speaking the amount of MW generated as a ratio to how much it costs to build and maintain isn't all that great compared to other methods. That said, most of the ones in existence are proof or concept or experimental stations, so are likely smaller in scope. There might be savings on a larger scale...

That said, they are truly renewable, and less subject to variation. You don't need wind to blow or sun to shine. Also unlike a traditional hydro project, you are not going to be subject to drought or low water either (if you are, you gots bigger problems than lack of electricity).

Comment: Double Wammy (Score 1) 18

by DarthVain (#49172095) Attached to: Secret Memo Slams Canadian Police On Inaccurate ISP Request Records

Also from a fiscal perspective, I am fairly certain that all those millions of information requests that get sent to ISP's from police services that they get paid per request. So not only are you paying police services to spy on your private information unnecessarily (i.e. unimportant enough not to require a warrant), that your tax dollars are also being funneled into ISP's to provide the information in the first place.

At one point once upon a time when the Feds were looking at expanding the practice (the Bill got shot down eventually after some embarrassment about personal information on Ministers, it was called something like the Save the Children Terrorism Act or something), it was to be so widespread that the ISP's got together and said if you want to do it on such a level, we need a better information management system to track it all and we're not paying for it, the tax payers would need to, and the cost of that was to be 30-40 million dollars.

Anyway sufficient legal practices are available (i.e. get a damn warrant if you really need the information), they should not have a carte blanche to everything whenever whimsy takes them. If you do not have enough evidence that a Judge would not allow for a warrant, then perhaps the invasion of privacy isn't warranted in the first place (pardon pun).

Comment: Things I hated about Star Trek (Score 1) 232

by DarthVain (#49167225) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

STTNG: Wesley Crusher. Q was a bit silly mostly.
Voyager: Nelix. Janeway was super captain, over compensating a bit for female role. Over usage of the holodeck bit.
DS9: Nog/Jake. Sisko's over acting. The whole wormhole aliens religious arc.
Enterprise: Was a bit actiony for a show about exploration. Lacked some depth.

Honorable mention: Both doctors on Voyager and Enterprise, seemed to start off rocky but sort of grew on you over time.
All of them with perhaps the exception of Enterprise seemed to require 1) a comic relief person, and 2) some youth for younger viewers I guess. By Enterprise I guess they figured we're all grown up now and don't require it anymore. Even when younger I found the two aspects annoying.
Also STTNG had a few episodes where there writers basically phoned it in and ran re-runs.

All that said, I've watched all the episodes several times over each, and would welcome another Star Trek. There is not enough science fiction big production tv shows out there anymore. The last really being BSG which was years ago now.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 231

by DarthVain (#49167029) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

Agreed.

When trying to decide between the iPhone and the Galaxy, those were deciding factors. Now, there is nothing really. Now if the battery length and changing time is accurate, then the replaceable battery may not be an issue. However we all know that they all lie about those sorts of things. So while the battery life in my current Galaxy sucks (really my only gripe), it was largely mitigated by the fact that I can just buy a cheap battery and changer and always have a backup that I can quickly pop in if I really need to...

No SD slot? Lame. Not everyone used it, but for those that did (and I did) it was a selling feature. If you are going to use a more powerful processor, what is the point if you have no capacity (mine has a bit of an issue loading my large 64GB SD when full of a lot of files). Seems Samsung is pandering to the whole Apple mantra of upselling services like iCloud, or whatever service that the Samsung will use. Which will eat your bandwidth, etc... Along with using the silly pricing model of changing more for cheap memory.

Anyway disappointing. I'll probably wait and see what else is out there...

Comment: Re:Inproper influence (Score 1) 82

by DarthVain (#49166213) Attached to: Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials For 'Improper Influence'

Seems like a pretty easy case to make.

1) Oracle is one of the largest, most effective, powerful, and most used database systems on the planet.

The decision process went probably something like this: "We're trying to build the largest health care database system on the planet, and we're using Oracle database technology, seems it might be a good idea to have them actually build then thing rather than some random contractors". Which was probably just lazy on the part of management, or an ass saving move, as the intention was always to throw Oracle under the bus should things go sideways. Also lets be clear, with these uber larger projects, success rate is not so great, just ask how that all worked out for the UK and their NHS health care database... or NY and their payment system, or Ontario and their Healthcare system, or.... (all of which were done using private contractors).

Anyway as someone who has sat in on design meetings for proposed systems by the Oracle development arm, I can tell you that it would be an expensive and bad idea. They are a software company. They sell software. They want to sell you as much software as they can. They have bought a number of other companies technology, and "integrated" them (shoehorned), and would like to use everything they have to solve problems you don't know you have.

Anyway I doubt either side is blameless really.

Comment: BS. (Score 1) 114

by DarthVain (#49164985) Attached to: AMD Unveils Carrizo APU With Excavator Core Architecture

1) Anyone that uses synthetic benchmarks like Cinebench deserve whatever they get. These things have been rigged since the ATI VS nVIDIA days, and ATI doesn't even exist anymore. Not to mention they don't really prove anything.

2) Using real world software tests, particularly in gaming, Intel has been blowing AMD out of the water since just after the Athelon64 days. The only places that AMD has has success commercially or in performance has been in A) The server market, and B) the very low end market, the later you wouldn't bother or care about benchmarks anyway. Yes it could be that a lot of software is optimized for Intel, but then again, if one is faster than the other because of the lack of optimization then it is a moot point anyway. AMD is better in some unique situations than Intel, but out of say 20 software tests, it might excel at 2 of them, so it is pretty specific software.

So stop drinking your own fan boy coolaid. I for one would welcome a more competitive AMD CPU, as Intel has been driving prices up due to a lack of real competition. The buying of ATI by AMD was supposed to re-invent AMD and harold in a level of integration of video and cpu. The only thing that has really happened is that integrated video has gotten slightly better. and AMD has a video card division now...

Comment: Re:What's the matter with Canada? (Score 1) 116

by DarthVain (#49091133) Attached to: The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill

You forgot politics and politicians...

All the stuff above aside, the basic fact is that the Conservatives united the right (Alliance/Reform, PC), and moved towards center (or at least perceived to by some people). The center left is shared by two other parties that basically just cannibalize each others votes... So baring some crazy thing, it is no surprise that the Conservatives have a distinct advantage and won, simple numbers. The PQ is not a federal party. Their only significant impact recently was loosing so badly and catapulting the NDP to prominence for the first time ever really.

Of course anytime the topic of "coalition" was mentioned, all three were quick to throw it down, like being called a communist in the US.
The Conservatives hate the idea because they would lose.
The Liberals hate the idea because they want all the power.
The NDP hate the idea because their party would likely be absorbed and a bunch of politicians would be out of a job...

Also change is hard. The reason we still have a stupid voting system and ridings is that it give advantage to the Cons/Libs, which most people vote for, so there is very little impetus for change (i.e. why would I want to change a system that elects the party I like?), which breeds apathy, which means less people vote... etc...

Comment: Re:I love you man (Score 1) 305

by DarthVain (#49038009) Attached to: Alcohol's Evaporating Health Benefits

You can die from drinking (not breathing) too much water. It is called hyponatremia and can lead to "water intoxication", and it can kill you in extreme cases.

There was an example a few years ago where a radio station had a contest among a few contestants on who could drink the most water, and the winner would get an Xbox I believe. A woman died as a result.

Anyway, it wouldn't be millions however, and Alcohol is certainly more dangerous. Anyway they don't call it in"toxic"ation for nothing...

Comment: Attack On Titan! (Score 1) 119

by DarthVain (#49037939) Attached to: NASA Releases Details of Titan Submarine Concept

"...the waste heat from the generator would cause the liquids around it to boil..."

Because there is nothing like studying marine life by boiling it... My only question is will they equip the submersible with a garlic butter sauce or not, because without it, I don't see it being a worthwhile endeavor.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

Working...