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Comment: How you drive: (Score 3, Insightful) 158

by Hartree (#49565387) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

"It's how you drive that gets you into trouble"

I've found that those who drive with blood alcohol levels above 1.0 lead to lots of trouble. Far more than any recent engineering defect I've heard of.

The biggest safety related maintenance problem is usually the loose nut behind the wheel.

+ - Russia ends effort to build a nuclear-powered rocket engine

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: The Russian government has decided to shut down its research project to build a nuclear rocket engine for interplanetary travel in space.

The idea of using nuclear power for propulsion in space has been around since the 1960s, and has shown great promise. It would provide far more power for less fuel than any existing engine. The U.S. unfortunately abandoned this research in the 1960s, partly because of the cut-backs after winning the space race and partly because of environmental protests that fear anything to do with nuclear. If the Russians had followed through, it would have given them an advantageous position in any competition to colonize the planets.

Comment: Re:useless story (Score 1) 128

by Hartree (#49538945) Attached to: POS Vendor Uses Same Short, Numeric Password Non-Stop Since 1990

No, I was simply noting that technical solutions are limited in solving what are human problems at the base.

The base problem is valuing "easy" over secure.

The real problem to be solved is a bit harder: Finding a technical or human way to block that problem, that's still workable (think about bricked devices from an unknown password that can't be reset) enough to be accepted by users and the companies fielding them.


iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users 366

Posted by timothy
from the why-it-seems-like-only-yesterday dept.
An anonymous reader writes: iTunes users who still run Windows XP started to experience connectivity issues this week. As documented in an Apple Support Communities thread, they can't log into the iTunes store, meaning functions like buying content, watching already purchased movies and TV shows, playing DRM-protected content, backing up, updating, and syncing all do not work.

Comment: Re:useless story (Score 5, Informative) 128

by Hartree (#49536221) Attached to: POS Vendor Uses Same Short, Numeric Password Non-Stop Since 1990

It's VeriFone. Anyone who's been a credit card terminal tech could tell you that. Hypercom has a well known default password as well. Any competent fraudster trying to reprogram the pad would know it as well.

They have to put in something at the factory, so they put in a default. It's supposed to be changed when the system is programmed and set up.

I used to have the default password for VeriFone's 101 pin pads in muscle memory due to having set up so many of them. (Yes, part of the setup was changing the default to something else.)

Comment: Not completely new: (Score 5, Interesting) 53

by Hartree (#49500805) Attached to: Resistance To Antibiotics Found In Isolated Amazonian Tribe

This is more confirmation, but it has already been known in the microbiology community for some time.

Many of the genes that contribute to antibiotic resistance are far older than human use of antibiotics.

How can that be? A couple ways. Mom Nature has been playing the antibiotic game for a very long time. Most of our antibiotics come from antibiotic producing organisms in nature (penicillin for example). The countermeasures have long been out there, but only in a small percentage of the bacteria out there, since there is a small cost to maintaining any given gene. When there is a big exposure to a particular antibiotic, the resistance genes spread through the bacterial community and become common, as we often see nowadays.

The other source is that an enzyme that is used for some other purpose may well have some ability to protect against an antibiotic. An example would be a transporter molecule for some substance other than the antibiotic to be pumped out of the cell that is close enough to sometimes pump out the antibiotic. There would then be strong pressure for the bacteria to make more of that transporter protein when the antibiotic is around. Nature is good at using something it already has for a new purpose.

That's one of the reasons antibiotic resistance is such a problem. Mother Nature has been playing this game a very long time and frankly is better at it than we are.


A 2-Year-Old Has Become the Youngest Person Ever To Be Cryonically Frozen 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
merbs writes: After losing a long battle with brain cancer, 2-year-old Matheryn Naovaratpong became the first minor ever to be cryogenically frozen. This article is the story of how a Thai girl was frozen in Bangkok and shipped to Arizona to have her brain preserved in liquid nitrogen, while medical science works on a cure. "Typically we’d move the head from the trunk of the body. We didn't know what their reaction would be from the family, the mortuary, from border officials; this has to go through a number of shipping venues, customs, the TSA and so on. To see a frozen head in a box might have raised a number of red flags. In the U.S. that’s not a big deal, but there, they may not be accustomed."

+ - Dark Matter May Not Be Completely Dark

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: If you take two clusters, groups, or individual galaxies and collide them together, you'd expect the stars to pass through unperturbed, the gas to experience friction, slowing down and heating up, while the dark matter, if it's truly collisionless, will do the same thing as the stars. But if there's a tiny frictional force at work on dark matter, it, too, will slow down a little bit. A team looking at 72 groups and clusters saw no effect of slowing down, but then on the 73rd one, they saw a separation between the mass reconstruction and the stars. Is this the first sign of dark matter's interactions, or is it simply an astrophysical effect, or maybe even a fluke? A good recap and rundown of what we're looking at to the best of our knowledge.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"