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Comment: Re:Last century stuff (Score 1) 437

by BlueStrat (#47447753) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

tracked? no one cares about your beer, pizza, gamer video card, lap dance and dime bag purchases

What about that AR-15 bought from a friend? Or what about those electrical/electronic parts you ordered that could either become the heart of an IED timer/detonator device or fix the controls on grandma's hobby-ceramics firing-kiln in her garage that she's been after you to fix, after some nutcase phones in a bomb threat?

Or what about bus/train/plane tickets to a city where an anti-government protest is scheduled, coupled with your purchase of spray paint and other sign-making supplies?

If all such data is so uninteresting and worthless, why is it authoritarian governments historically make such a priority out of obtaining as much as possible from everyone they can force to comply?


Comment: It's a tool vendor, not a target, issue. (Score 1) 182

But you see you are in the Windows CE embedded niche. Your vision is clouded.

I'm not in a "windows CE embedded" niche and the grandparent poster is right.

It's not an issue with the target. It's an issue with the platform(s) supported by the development tool vendors and the chip manufacturers.

For instance: With Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), two of the premier system-on-a-chip product families are from Texas Instruments and Nordic Semiconductors.

TI developed their software in IAR's proprietary development environment and only supports that. Their bluetooth stack is only distributed in object form - for IAR's tools - with a "no reverse engineering" and "no linking to open source (which might force disclosure)". IAR, in turn, doesn't support anything but Windows. (You can't even use Wine: The IAR license manager needs real Windows to install, and the CC Debugger dongle, for burning the chip and necessary for hooking the debugger to the hardware debugging module, keeps important parts of its functionality in a closed-source windows driver.) IAR is about $3,000/seat after the one-month free evaluation (though they also allow a perpetual evaluation that is size-crippled, and too small to run the stack.)

The TI system-on-a-chip comes with some very good and very cheap hardware development platforms. (The CC Debugger dongle, the USB/BLE-radio stick, and the Sensor Tag (a battery-powered BLE device with buttons, magnetometer, gyro, barometer, humidity sensor, ambient temp sensor, and IR remote temp sensor), go for $49 for each of the three kits.) Their source code is free-as-in-beer, even when built into a commercial product, and gives you the whole infrastructure on which to build your app. But if you want to program these chips you either do it on Windows with the pricey IAR tools or build your own toolset and program the "bare metal", discarding ALL TI's code and writing a radio stack and OS from scratch.

Nordic is similar: Their license lets you reverse-engineer and modify their code (at your own risk). But their development platforms are built by Segger and the Windows-only development kit comes with TWO licenses. The Segger license (under German law), for the burner dongle and other debug infrastruture, not only has a no-reverse-engineering clause but also an anti-compete: Use their tools (even for comparison while developing your own) and you've signed away your right to EVER develop either anything similar or any product that competes with any of theirs.

So until the chip makers wise up (or are out-competed by ones who have), or some open-source people build something from scratch, with no help from them, to support their products, you're either stuck on Windows or stuck violating contracts and coming afoul of the law.

Comment: Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (Score 4, Insightful) 526

by JanneM (#47404693) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

But an assembly line manned by robots? Why should that be cheaper in China? Is capital that much cheaper?

Even if wages and other costs were equal, the location advantage is substantial. It's not that it's cheaper in China, but that it's cheaper in the huge manufacturing hubs. You have suppliers and manufacturers for just about every single component you need without long-distance shipping, and a deep pool of design and manufacturing expertise working in the area.

That's not to say you can't manufacture efficiently elsewhere (we have plenty of recent examples such as the Raspberry Pi), but that the advantages has as much to do with the concentration of resources as with the cost of labour and regulations. And of course, as this inudstry becomes ever more automated, it no longer matters much for jobs where it happens any longer.

Comment: Re:Is this new? (Score 1) 685

I travelled with a large external hard disk as well, once - which also got taken to one side and swabbed for stuff. Internal monologue: OH NO MY PRECIOUS DATA ... Oh, it's just the possibility of it being a bomb they're worried about.

On another occasion, I had fun with my home-made, Arduino-powered dSLR timelapse gadget - it got thoroughly inspected by the TSA. I'd already opted out of the backscatter X-ray whatsit, only for a swab-for-explosives test to give a (false-)positive. Eek. Cue being taken to one side, where they looked in my bag and found the timelapse-o-tron...

To give the screeners their due, they let me go after a few minutes - after I'd heard their complaints about the potential radiation doses they and the passengers were receiving from the backscatter X-ray thingers, and after I'd provided advice on what sort of camera to look into buying for a budding photographer.

Security fun elsewhere: carrying a plastic bag of loose change through the Eurostar security in Brussels (it basically looked like an amorphous, completely opaque lump on the X-ray) - and a random customs check at a UK airport giving a (false-)positive swab for some sort of illicit drugs. Eek.

Comment: Re:a few hundred years earlier than that (Score 1) 1330

by cyn1c77 (#47397701) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

As a legal person, the corporation could be sued, rather than filing 100 law suits against each of the individual investors, none of which could pay the judgement.

It's gone too far. I am sick of seeing "investors" hide behind the corporation shield.

I want to go back to being able to sue each investor to the point of bankruptcy.

I don't think that it will stifle innovation, because greedy people always want to make money. But I do think that it will make them think twice about legal ramifications that they normally would flaunt under a corporation.

Comment: continuing... (Score 1) 712

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47393867) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

(Stupid touchpad...)

  - If this deviation is the result of burning fossil fuels, they are expected to run out in about 800 years - after which the temperature might crash toward the "Ice age already in progress" as the excess carbon is removed from the atomsphere by various processes, or simply be overwhelmed by the orbital mechanical function if it remains.

Does this scenario count as supporting or opposing anthropogenic global warming?

Comment: And that, in turn, is political. (Score 1) 712

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47393843) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

The percentages come from looking at all studies, papers, research, etc. and determining the number one one side or the /i?

When the administrators of research funding withhold future grants from scientists who publish papers questioning some aspect of the current global warming scenario, while giving additional funding to scientists who publish papers supporting it (or claiming some global-warming tie-in to whatever phenomenon they're examining), the count becomes skewed. This is political action, not science.

This happened in the '70s with research into medical effects of the popular "recreational" drugs - before such research was effectively banned. Among the resuts were a plethora of papers where the conclusions obviously didn't match the data presented and a two-decade delay in the discovery of medical effects and development of treatments. Only NOW are we finding evidence that PTSD might be aborted by adequate opate dosages in the weeks immediately following the injury, or that compounds in marijuana may be a specific treatment for it - as they are for some forms of epilepsy and may be for some cancers, late stage parkinsons, and so on.

The same happens when the editors of a journal and their selection of reviewers systematically approve and publish only research supporting the current paradigms, to the point that scientists with contrary resuts must find, or create, other journals or distribution channels (which can then be smeared as non-authoritaive, creations of the fossil fuel industry, right-wing politicans, or conspiracy nuts - and their articles LEFT OUT OF THE COUNT). Again, this is politics, not science.

Then there's the question of the methodology of the count itself. What is counted as "support for" versus "opposition to"? What does it count as a scientific paper? Were well-established research methods used? Was it reviewed? By whom? Was it done by scientists with no established position on the issue, by scientists supporting one side, by pollsters, by an advocacy group, by politicians? (Hell, was it done at all? Truth is the first casualty of politics, and fake polls are one of the commonest murder weapons.)

For an instance: How would you interpret the study behind the Scientific American article that seems to indicate:
  - Planetary temperatures have tightly tracked a function of three orbital-mechanics effects on the earth's orbit and axial orientation - up to the time of human domestication of fire.
  - That occurred as the function was just starting to inflect downward into the next ice age.
  - The deviation amounted to holding the temperature stable as the function slowly curved downward. (Perhaps a feedback effect - more fires needed for comfort in colder winters?)
  - This essentially flat temperature held up to the industrial revolution, when the temperature began to curve upward, overcoming the gradually steepening decline of the function.
  - If this deviation is the result of burning fossil fuels, they are expected to run out in about 800 years - after which the temperature might crash toward the "Ice age already in progress" as the excess carbon is removed from the atomsphere by various processes, or simply be overwhelmed by the orbita

Comment: already illegal for that. (Score 1) 200

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47391013) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

In twenty-four hours this will go from "illegal" to "high demand professional camera service" for promotions, events, etc.

Sorry, that's already illegal (according to the FAA).

Just a few weeks ago the FAA issued an interpretation of existing rules that declared illegal any commercial use of video from a drone.

Comment: The water follows the cracks... (Score 1) 154

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47390291) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

I dont get it. The average depth of oil/gas wells here in Oklahoma is approx 5,000 ft. The typical depth of earthquakes here in Oklahoma is approx 16,000 ft. I'm not seeing a connection between the two.

First: You're looking at the wrong wells. What's the depth of the injection wells?

Second: The depth of the well doesn't particularly matter, as long as it connects the water to a fault system. The water spreads out through the fault, turning it into a hydraulic jack the size of a small eastern state or so. The faults aren't purely horizontal and the pressure (except for an added component at greater depth from the weight of the water above it) is the same everywhere.

So of course the earthquakes take place at the usual depths where the "last straw" rock finally gives way.

Comment: Slashdot is not generally a primary source. (Score 1) 37

This was on Gizmag yesterday... like many of Slashdot's articles...

Give it a rest.

Slashdot is not an investigative journal or a follower-and-repeater of press releases. It's a bunch of nerds pointing out interesting stuff to each other, and talking it over, with a few nerds vetting the postings before they go up on the "front page".

That means, like Wikipedia, it's not generally a primary source. It also means that, for real news items, it is generally about a day behind.

If you want news in a timely fashion, go read Gizmag and a bunch of other acutal reportage sites. If you're willing to wait a little bit and then talk it over with a crowd of acquaintences (some of whom might actually know more about it than the newsies), this is the place for you.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.