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Comment Re:I am not so sure. (Score 1) 176

That's very odd. Obviously, NSA has "deviated" from the usual accusations of sexual perversions / child abuse. Yeah, that's been getting a lot of use lately, and they probably decided the method was too worn out to use again so soon. But Russian involvement? For what would they have been needed? Hmmm. I guess it could be that it took two people to carry the pen drive with all that data on it.

Comment Re:American Hero (Score 1) 176

What information??? I'm still trying to figure out what information he revealed (admittedly, I haven't followed enough of it). But I should fall right into his wheelhouse. I care a lot about privacy. I'm educated. But, I'm also busy. His first revelation was that the government was tracking all the metadata for my calls... which was already a public secret. Since then, I pay attention from time to time to try to get more details about things that would startle me. Tor being compromised or RSA would have been... not shocking (they are smart) but new info.

It's quite possible I missed something, so this is a real request for an answer.

But if all he talked about was telephone metadata... well, it would be like a whistleblower saying Israel or Taiwan have nukes. I mean, duh. But we all agreed not to talk about it.

I'm thankful that ahodgson was kind enough to give you a partial list. I'm afraid I would have instead had to point out that it's this 'give a shit' attitude that got us where we are in the first place. The politicians--choose your flavor--tell us what to believe and too many just take the disinformation and run with it, never stopping to think for themselves. Too busy, right? In good hands with Allstate?

There's been so much written about this that anyone remaining uninformed must be trying to stay that way. It's sad to say that I'm afraid we're going to have to pay some serious dues before things get better.

No need to remind me how dispicable Americans are. As a member of that group I'm well aware, and don't forget. The same is true of most every developed country. I shudder to think what's coming.

In that regard and a bit off topic, I've wondered lately if we'll ever discover life on other planets. Assuming it's this dog-eat-dog mentality that has allowed us to evolve this far, and assuming that's the only way intelligent life can arise in the first place, the whole thing may be self limiting. A snake swallowing it's own tail.

Submission + - A virtually unknown but safe and effective treatment for depression

NichardRixon writes: The government of the United States has been enormously effective in warning citizens about the dangers of opiate abuse, while at the same time recognizing the fact that these drugs have their place in medicine in treating physical pain. This is common knowledge. However, what is virtually never discussed, and almost unknown even among therapists, is the fact that opiates are also the most effective known treatment for major depression. When use is properly managed opiates often allow people with physical or emotional pain to live reletively normal lives, and it is far more effective, even, than electroconvulsive therapy. ( is one example of available information. Although written by physicians, it's barely more than anecdotal.

The reasons that opiate efficacy is not often discussed is unknown to this author. Logic would suggest that the FDA must have determined that emotional pain is less severe than physical pain, but the fact that 90% of suicides are caused by mental illness--most commonly depression--rather thoroughly refutes this particular misconception. (

Furthermore, the drugs currently used to treat depression are addictive, the only difference being that the person coming off antidepressants generally is glad to be doing so because of the many side effects. There's also no "high" that they might miss. That difference is probably not as true as it might at first seem, however, because people dependant upon medically prescribed opiates have mostly left that part of the experience behind them as they became tolerant to the drug. In fact studies show that less than 5% of people prescribed opiates become dependent, and it's important to understand that dependency is NOT the same as addiction! (

When searching the internet for information on the subject, one gets the feeling that much of what is known on the subject has been supressed. With persistence the data can be found, though, and one of the best I've seen can be found in documentation on development of a new drug, ALKS-5461 ( The FDA has reportedly placed this drug on the fast track for approval. It contains a strong narcotic in combination with another drug that supresses any euphoria the patient might otherwise experience from taking it. I don't personally like the idea of taking a drug with it's own set of side effects, that I don't need, for the purpose of making it difficult to abuse. If approved it will also undoubtably be very expensive, but it may be a step in the right direction.

Incidence of depression is increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S., so don't dismiss the possibility that you or a loved one may at some point become a victim. (


Comment I'm surprised they aren't using rare earth metals (Score 1) 103

It's been found that rare earth metals like neodymium are highly effective as shark deterrents. No other fish are effected except skates, and the reaction of sharks to the metal is dramatic and instantaneous. The effect has something to do with a unique quality of shark skin, which when brought into the vicinity of neodymium produces an electric charge that sharks don't like at all.

For more information see

The only liability to this approach is that the metals are gradually depleted and must be replaced, but depending upon how much it's costing to maintain the fiber without it, it may be well worth it.


Comment Post script (Score 1) 1

I realize that this issue is stretching what would ordinarily be considered on topic for /., but I've often been impressed by the kind of comments generated with respect to the kind of complicated social problems the issue represents. Healthcare is such a big problem in the U.S. that it's going to continue to effect all of us in ever greater ways until it's fixed. I'd really like to see how the contributors around here size it up. I'd be surprised if there weren't some fresh insights.

Submission + - Shortages of drugs used in clinics and ERs have become common. ( 1

NichardRixon writes: I don't know why it hasn't gathered more attention, but according to an article at, clinics all over the U.S. regularly deal with shortages of routinely used drugs. In some areas ambulances resort to carrying expired drugs to fill the gap, and NIH calls it a crisis.
U.S. healthcare ranks near the bottom of developed countries for quality of healthcare, even though we spend twice that of the second highest spending nation. What do you see as the real issues, and what is it going to take to get congress to fix them?

Submission + - Slashdot, isn't it time to fix this bug!? 1

NichardRixon writes: As a Slashdot addict of long standing I rarely have the time to read all of the current stories, so I frequently leave a browser open to wherever I paused reading. That way when I come back I can continue where I left off. The trouble with this is that if I'm away too long I'll get part of the way through before the screen refreshes and it's all gone. I can search and maybe find the one I was reading, but unless my memory is in better form than usual I can forget about the rest.

I can't be the only victim here, so I'm asking others to speak up as well. Don't you agree that it's time this was fixed? I'm not a malcontent, but I'll bet you'd complain if the NYT sent operatives to the subways to snatch away day old copies of their paper from the hands of anyone reading them.

Comment If money is no object (Score 1) 208

Buy all of your equipment from major manufacturers and you can hardly go wrong. Get your RF equipment from Rohde & Schwarz, especially high frequency signal generators and spectrum analyzers. Get your scope, meters and logic analyzer from Tektronix. Get most of the rest from Agilent. You will really have to better define the type of work you plan to do, however. For example, if you plan to work with cellular telephone equipment you will need a lot of specialized instruments just for that, but if not most of it would be useless. The cost of specialized equipment is higher than that of more mundane machines.

For planning purposes you might want to make a list of parameters associated with equipment you expect to be working with. For each record the frequencies, bandwidth and other functional parameters required. How many lines on your logic analyzer are you likely to require, and what depth memory? Do you want to have diagnostic and repair equipment or will your lab be devoted exclusively to R&D? Don't answer too quickly, because you may on occasion encounter a malfunctioning reference assembly, for example, and if you can fix it yourself it could save several days compared with sending it out for repair, or starting over with a replacement. When you complete the list it should be fairly easy to see what additional equipment you will need.

If you're unsure what you will need for some or all of it, contact sales people for the companies you plan to buy equipment from. The major companies generally give solid advice, because they would like you to buy from them again in the future. They will come to your location and arrange to demonstrate equipment for you. Of course you will still have to do your homework to evaluate their proposals.

For workbenches you will probably want to get standard height with a shelf running the full width of each and cabinets underneath. Chairs with armrests will be needed, and they should be adjustable height to suit your workbenches. Plan on lots of 48" florescent lights, good metal cabinets for storage and file cabinets for documents and drawings. A computer on each bench is not too many. You might want to look at a decent sized UPS system if it will be important that you keep some or all of the equipment running without interruption.

I think you will find that the sky's the limit when it comes to buying test and measuring equipment. You could easily order so much that you wouldn't have a place to put it all, then never use most of it. IMO there is no substitute for analyzing the work you plan to do, then match it up with the available instrumentation.

My overall advice is to buy what you know you will need before you begin working in your lab. Then you can easily add additional pieces as the need arises.

Good Luck! --NR


Submission + - Is trust in antivirus software strictly faith-based?

NichardRixon writes: Other than the operating system itself, it's doubtful that any software ordinarily run on our PCs has greater potential for abuse than antivirus applications. That's because they have access to virtually everything on the computer, yet I've never seen this issue discussed. Has there ever been a case of the trust placed in one of them being violated, or have any of them been directly compromised (modified to retrieve information, for example) by a third party? For a government agency intent on spying on it's citizens, striking a deal with a respected vendor would be better than having a sniffer hard-wired to an ISP router.

How could we know if one of them wasn't as trustworthy as we thought?

Comment It happens, but it could be worse. (Score 1) 85

I worked on the installation of the telecommunications network for a new airport in Asia several years ago. The airport was built on land that had been a palm oil plantation so there were lots of rats until traps brought the population down. It happened rather frequently that rats would chew through our fibers and it was a major irritant, but the biggest problem they caused was the fact that cobras were attracted by the rats. ----- RN

Comment The polygraph is not a lie detector (Score 1) 452

Several people have said essentially this. The polygraph can measure your pulse and respiration rates, your blood pressure, your galvanic skin response, and from this data it can determine your pulse and respiration rates, your blood pressure and your galvanic skin response. No machine exists that can detect a lie. If a polygraph test uncovers any information at all it's because the person being tested offered it up. Anyone can "beat" a polygraph test simply by stating that they've told the truth as many times as necessary. A person's behavior during the test might raise concerns about other things, though. NR

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.