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Comment: News for nerds. Stuff that matters. (Score 4, Interesting) 373

by MobyDisk (#48915363) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

News for nerds. Stuff that matters.

Bad example: Whining about how a snowstorm wasn't big enough.

Good example: A discussion about the mathematical modeling used to predict the snowstorms, and a historical graph comparing predictions to actuals. Oooh, how about graphing the delta between the two by color and overlay it onto a map so we can see where predictions are more or less accurate.

+ - It's 2015. Where are the anti-snow robots?

Submitted by RevWaldo
RevWaldo (1186281) writes "I'm hardly the first armchair inventor that's thought "like a Roomba, but for snow!" If you search around many folks have built themselves remote control snowplows / snowthrowers, but we're hardly talking The Jetsons here. You'd think self-guided bots that continuously remove snow as it's falling (thus reducing the needed mass and horsepower, making it less likely to, say, scoop up the neighbor's dog) would be all over Kickstarter and the like, but not so much. What's the hold up?"

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 808

by MobyDisk (#48879545) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

The reason for that 'ridiculous' law was that a nosiy car could, in fact, scare a horse and cause it to bolt,

One needs the historical context to make sense of the law. At the time, many of those laws really were created just to stifle the car industry, not to protect citizens from horses. Another example: In some state, the law required the driver to get out of the car, honk a horn, then fire a gun, then do something else equally ridiculous, then they could drive the car.

Comment: Re:4th amendment requires specifics (Score 1) 382

by MobyDisk (#48876667) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

I don't think the term "probable cause" means "can conduct a search without a warrant." Rather, "probable cause" is justification for a warrant to be issued. But I think people get confused on this point because the courts have made exceptions for motor vehicles and that gets mixed up with "probable cause."

Comment: 4th amendment requires specifics (Score 3, Insightful) 382

by MobyDisk (#48857413) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

From the article:

...without providing any specific details as long as the target computer location has been hidden through a technical tool like Tor or a virtual private network. It would also allow nonspecific search warrants...

Text of the 4th amendment to the constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The article is light on details, but if it is accurate, this looks like a straightforward violation of the 4th amendment. The devil is always in the details though. The article may be an oversimplification.

Comment: Re:Which is kind of a shame (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#48822843) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

They started to go this route, then abandoned it. Last Christmas I was at Radio Shack and they sold Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, and 100-in-1 electronics kits. I asked for a gift card to Radio Shack, and I got one this Christmas. So I walked in the store to find none of those things were there any more. It was like someone decided they would appeal to the Makers then made a 100% backpedal on that. I hate to use the gift card to buy a $10 cable from them that costs $1 on NewEgg. Free is free, but it still hurts!

They do sell EL wire, and drivers. Unfortunately, the drivers they sell don't even power the length of EL wire they sell. And of course, the employees didn't even know what they do.

Nearby, we have a Micro Center which is what Radio Shack could have been and then some. They do sell all the things I listed, plus 3D printers, discrete computer parts, and general electronics. It's like Best Buy but more techie. I have never seen a Fry's but it might be like that.

Comment: Re:selling your vote versus the secret ballot (Score 1) 480

by MobyDisk (#48796311) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

In a stable country, open voting is better.

Hypothetically, let me grant you that point. But once the country is no longer stable, can we switch back to the other voting system?

Many institutions work really well if you assume things like honesty, stability, fairness, etc. But much of the U.S. is designed under the assumption that those things aren't there, in order to protect it from ever becoming so. This is because if those assumptions are violated, there isn't some kind of fallback where the people can change back to the old way. We can't ever say "okay, the police are abusing their power again. It's time to reinstate the 4th amendment."

Surveillance is probably the best example these days. If we assume the "watchers" are not targeting anyone other than terrorists, then we should simply allow them full access to everything. This is the intention behind the phrase "There is no reason to hide if you have done nothing wrong." But even in a hypothetically "stable" country, honest law-abiding citizens may fight to keep their privacy, so that if and when the "watchers" become evil, they won't get control.

Free speech and gun control are based on similar reasoning to the secret ballot. Perhaps, one day, once we have permanently eliminated racism, greed, and jealousy then we can switch to the "stable" system. In the mean time, let us err on the side of caution.

Comment: Re:Free? (Score 1) 703

by MobyDisk (#48775523) Attached to: Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College

A lot of the high school classes are dumbed down enough that they really don't prepare students for college level courses.

Interesting. This must vary wildly based on the high school and the community college involved. I live in Maryland and found the opposite to be the case.

When I was in community college I was afraid that what you just described would happen to me, so I took Calculus 1 in community college even though I already had it in high school. I then realized that the high school course went further than the community college course and was more rigorous.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.