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Comment: Re:Binary yes, planet no. (Score 1) 115

by Mal-2 (#47635679) Attached to: Can We Call Pluto and Charon a 'Binary Planet' Yet?

Anything that is a sphere and orbits a star is a planet. Asteroids don't have sphere shape. Same goes for comets.

Ceres and Vesta are nearly spherical, yet are asteroids. Do they get counted as planets too? (They used to be.)

You're right that the definition was tailored to keep the number of defined "planets" within reason. There was no way to include Pluto in this category and NOT include Eris, Haumea, Makemake, etc., so the definition was tailored to exclude them. It also happens to exclude Ceres and Vesta, though it wouldn't be a huge problem if they were considered planets (as they are the only two members of their class).

Comment: Not a tetrachromat, for sure. (Score 1) 267

by Mal-2 (#47618443) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

Being male, I can't be a tetrachromat, but on more than one occasion I've demonstrated better color discrimination than is considered typical for males (at least as I've been told by female graphic designers). Although rare, these defects do occur in females well -- I had a girlfriend who had difficulty distinguishing between pale pink, pale orange, tan, and light gray. This was limited to pastels though, she was fine once the color saturation got bumped up a bit.

Comment: Re:In the clear? SRSLY? (Score 2) 353

by Mal-2 (#47617381) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Nope, just severely allergic to stupidity. Whether I agree with the law (some parts I do, some I don't), or indulge in that sort of material myself (which I don't) are both irrelevant -- if content you are distributing is likely to cause authorities to intervene if it is noticed, then encrypt that shit. Simple as that. If you are in the habit of moving such content, it's even better to get in the habit of encrypting EVERYTHING so as to obfuscate what is worth attacking and what is not.

Comment: In the clear? SRSLY? (Score 4, Insightful) 353

by Mal-2 (#47617291) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Sweet Jesus, if you're going to send things in the clear, you have no idea who might be able to lay eyes on it. This goes for storing things locally -- people have been busted for stored files when they take a machine in for repair as well.

When in doubt, encrypt. When not in doubt, get in doubt.

Comment: Packet radio (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by Mal-2 (#47521005) Attached to: How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster Response

And how, way I ask, does packet radio not accomplish the same thing, across considerably larger distances than a peer-to-peer mesh network? The mesh isn't useless, but at some point it still needs to connect to some place with proper connectivity. This may not be within the range of the Internet of Things. Given the right band and the right gear, radio will be considerably slower but also considerably further-reaching. Otherwise I see no substantial use for the IoT that satellites don't already solve.

Comment: Re:Hard to get excited. (Score 1) 129

by Mal-2 (#47464009) Attached to: Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Most videos (at least those linked to from meme-based image sites) are stored in GIF format...

While I don't disagree that the storing videos in GIF format is incredibly inefficient (and annoying), I somehow don't think that "meme-based image sites" are actually a significant fraction of internet bandwidth use compared to websites that use more standard video formats.

Not to mention that our poster child for "meme-based image sites" now supports webm, and the format has become incredibly popular there.

Comment: Re:There's already a Tesla museum, in Belgrade. (Score 4, Interesting) 78

by Mal-2 (#47428605) Attached to: The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

Tesla's tower would have done nothing useful, although with 200KW at 20KHz going in, it probably could have lit up fluorescent lamps and gas tubes for some distance around. Since the location is now surrounded by a housing subdivision, rebuilding the tower and powering it up would annoy the neighbors.

It wouldn't have done what he envisioned, but it could well have proven to be the worlds' first VLF radio station. I'm sure it would have crossed his mind to modulate the transmitted power at some point, and any receiving equipment on the other end could easily have demodulated this into an audible tone. Other people were already playing with radio, including modulating it with audio frequencies, but even if the idea wasn't original, it could have provided a viable product for Tesla to market and sell. It would have been accidentally useful, but that's exactly the sort of break Tesla could have used.

Comment: Re:Well that does solve the vertical video problem (Score 1) 139

by Mal-2 (#47422491) Attached to: BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

After 17 years of continuous Dvorak use, I'd dare say my brain defaults to Dvorak, but specifically to where the keys fall relative to the fingers used to press them, not where they actually ARE. Thus, when the form factor changes, such as with a thumb board, I'm starting all over again.

As for the one-handed thing, QWERTY is moderately left-hand biased, which is actually an advantage when the right hand keeps going to the mouse. Also Dvorak is designed with alternation in mind for both speed and comfort, causing one-handed coverage to become a game of Giant Steps.

Comment: Re:Well that does solve the vertical video problem (Score 1) 139

by Mal-2 (#47412681) Attached to: BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

Listen to the words of the serpent I shall not!

For in my visions I have seen The Answer... and it is spelt thus:


As much as I swear by Dvorak, it's not particularly well suited for thumb-boarding. (Also, not related to Blackberry style keyboards, but it's MUCH worse than QWERTY when it comes to trying to type with one hand on a temporary basis.)

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

by Mal-2 (#47406335) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Quite difficult. C4 has a density of 1.6 gm/cc. So 500g of C4 would occupy 300cc. That is more than half the volume of my laptop, including the case. I would have to strip out the battery, and circuit board. I don't see any way to do that, and have it still work.

I do. Fit in an Aspire One mainboard and battery instead, freeing up the other half of the case for nefarious purposes. Stick in a Raspberry Pi. It doesn't have to be useful, just look functional. You're going to blow it up anyhow.

Of course, said C4 would still be readily detectable by residue and scent, so this isn't a particularly good idea, but it's certainly within the bounds of plausibility.

The bugs you have to avoid are the ones that give the user not only the inclination to get on a plane, but also the time. -- Kay Bostic