Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Weird article (Score 1) 175

by Dereck1701 (#48622281) Attached to: Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

Just because it doesn't have cameras doesn't necessarily mean that it has no privacy implications. I have seen LiDAR demonstrations that can give scary accurate depictions of an area showing the locations of bolts in a bridge structure. I don't know if this "high resolution" radar can do anything like that but even if it can only provide basic sizes since it is up 24/7 (except for bad weather & maintenance) it could provide a disturbingly complete picture of peoples movements by simply tracking where they start from and where they go from there over tens of thousands of square miles.

Comment: Re:1968? (Score 1) 263

by Dereck1701 (#48596707) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Maybe they should patent the pill then, but chances are that even its "design" is either non-patentable or not owned by them. The drug is still exactly the same compound. This sounds a little like patenting a "new" battery technology by gluing an LED to the side of your old batteries that glows if the battery is low. You can't (or shouldn't be able to) take two non-patentable items a stick them together and re-patent it.

Comment: 1968? (Score 1) 263

by Dereck1701 (#48593307) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Memantine (AKA Axura, Akatinol, Namenda, Ebixa, Abixa and Memox) has been around since 1968, why in the world is it still under patent? I fully understand why individuals/companies should be GRANTED LIMITED patents, and even why those patents should be longer for medical applications, but 46 years? From what I can understand the patent on this drug has been sold so many times its nowhere near the original developers, the constitution seems pretty clear that patents apply "to AUTHORS AND INVENTORS the exclusive right to THEIR respective writings and discoveries".

Comment: Re:This is not news (Score 1) 166

by Dereck1701 (#48591341) Attached to: Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX

"US government supporting SpaceX:"

NASA may be partially supporting SpaceX through technical assistance and attempting to purchase launch services from them, but I would hardly say that the "US Government" is propping them up. In fact there have been several attempts to force NASA to abandon/limit their dealings with SpaceX in favor of several large defense contractors (Thiokol, Lockheed Martin and Boeing) and they have been excluded from several major launch contract RFPs based on questionable requirements. I can understand a country wanting to keep some level of launch services in country, but that has to be tempered with whether or not their services are effective (both in terms of cost and reliability). SpaceX definitely has a ways to go before they prove themselves to be a major player in commercial launch services, but there is good reason to have an optimistic view of their future (low cost, reliability, moving towards re-usability).

Comment: Ah cash (Score 1) 69

by Dereck1701 (#48577197) Attached to: How Your In-Store Shopping Affects the Ads You See On Facebook

Another reason why I don't give my phone number, name, avoid using "rewards" cards, and try to use cash instead of a card. Note though that you have to watch out for family members as well, I suppose it could be a coincidence but I had to run my sister to a convenience store one weekend a couple months ago so she could pick up something that came in a small paper bag, and for the next two days I was getting mostly tampon advertisements in my browser.

Comment: "do not describe why Awwad was targeted" (Score 1) 388

by Dereck1701 (#48542769) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

"The documents do not describe why Awwad was targeted."

I'll be interested to see this if it ever comes out, too many of our federal law enforcement services don't really bother trying to find criminals these days, they are generated to provide the illusion that they're actually doing something. How many "terrorists" have been caught in the past decade who have had an paid FBI "informant" alongside the entire time giving them ideas, motivation, money, and equipment in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars.

Comment: Bare minimum (Score 2) 66

by Dereck1701 (#48542641) Attached to: A Case Against Further Government Spectrum Auctions

At a bare minimum small blocks of the sold spectrum should be opened up for non/minimally regulated open uses, much like what has happened with the frequencies used by routers, wireless cameras/microphones, etc. Most of the frequencies that have been opened up for such uses are the crap that no one else wants or are limited to such low power levels as to be useless for decent applications. I recently had a local fixed wireless ISP check my house for connectivity, despite being surrounded by towers they couldn't get a signal since the frequencies they use can't go through a few leafs. At the same time I have fine mobile communications, including 3G internet connectivity despite the nearest tower being considerably more distant than the wireless ISP towers.

Comment: Re:Phew (Score 1) 191

"APCs are very useful when...."

The situation you describe is a one in a billion chance, there have maybe been a handful of them in the last few decades nation wide. Most recent incidents involve a nutcase running around killing as many unarmed people as possible, they aren't camping out waiting 45 minutes or more for the police to roll up in armored vehicles. By the time they get the APC loaded up, started and driven to the scene probably 97% of incidents are already concluded (shooters dead, surrendered or escaped) and those that haven't probably could have been solved 30 minutes earlier by a few officers, some vests, a few rifles/shotguns and a well planned entry. I'm not saying that police don't need access to them on very rare occasions, but one APC per million citizens is probably too much, where as we're seeing police departments as covering areas of less than a 100,000 trying to get a couple of them. And also having too many of them them seems to see their use as often as possible, a minor drug arrest or some off hand remarks can result in one rolling up in your yard with a half dozen heavily armed police piling out of the back of one like they're afraid you've got a nuke in your basement.

Comment: Re:$900 Flashlight? (Score 3, Informative) 191

by Dereck1701 (#48527475) Attached to: Every Weapon, Armored Truck, and Plane the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Not quite there but close, some of the weapon mount flashlights are pretty expensive. I'm sure some of it is government procurement kickbacks, some of it is probably the 24 hour on call assistance military contracts demand, but the lights themselves have to be built insanely tough as well. I once bought a cheap knock off flashlight/laser combo just to try out on my shotgun. It shook itself apart before I fired the fifth round.

Comment: Phew (Score 1) 191

by Dereck1701 (#48527389) Attached to: Every Weapon, Armored Truck, and Plane the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

I'm happy to say that none of my local police departments received anything too crazy (grenade launchers, APC's, etc). Mostly it was pretty reasonable stuff like rifles, pistols, gear, trucks, etc. I am a tad concerned with the number of weapons some of them received, most of the departments seemed to want an assault rifle for every single officer and enough pistols for every employee in their department. I realize that police need to keep up with some of the stuff used by the exceedingly rare nutcase but a few well trained officers with a few properly maintained rifles would seem more suited to that end rather than a bunch of poorly trained officers with some rusty possibly inoperative rifles in the back of their cars.

Comment: Re:"Physics" (Score 1) 289

by Dereck1701 (#48492743) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

Few advancements? Dark mater/energy (assuming that it even exists) wasn't even theoretical 50 years ago, the presiding theories of the day said that the universe was slowing (current theories say it is accelerating), the Higgs Boson (still not proven) was just beginning to be theorized and I don't know if it qualifies as physics but it was assumed that the solar system was swept clean of asteroids millions of years ago, then Shoemaker-Levy Nine slammed into Jupiter, the resulting search eventually led to the discover of tens of thousands of asteroids and a number of "dwarf planet".

Comment: "Physics" (Score 2, Insightful) 289

by Dereck1701 (#48492133) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

"physics very probably forbid warp drives and traversable wormholes."

I would imagine that the human understanding of physics 50 years ago would have forbid the creation of the kind of microelectronics/transmitters/battery technology that are commonplace in most of our pockets today. Admittedly the physics of FTL (or any interstellar travel method) are far more difficult than what we have done in the electronics field over the past few decades, but believing that our pre infantile understanding of the universe makes us in any way knowledgeable of what is and is not possible is hubris of the highest degree.

Comment: Real world testing? (Score 2) 194

by Dereck1701 (#48470597) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

I wonder if they did any real world testing, as in a static solar panel and a complete day average. Somehow I would imagine these would make the solar panels great, during a narrow window of the day where the sun is directly overhead. I can't shake the feeling however that this kind of patterning would have a detrimental effect on indirect exposure. Not that it is a major issue, sun tracking systems are becoming more prevalent, but it may be an issue.

Comment: Re: Storage (Score 1) 516

by Dereck1701 (#48466815) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

"Um, easement!"

That is far from certain, for modern installs they tend to be pretty good about getting one and making sure they stay in it. But in the past at a bare minimum they didn't maintain proper records of when they did get an easements, and in some cases for older lines an easement was never procured or they were but the line wasn't put on the easement. So it is a legal quagmire that most utilities don't like to get into so they generally get permission, and if they can't get permission THEN they start digging for legal justification.

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.