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Comment Re:Confusing data and information (Score 1) 64

These two quotes from the article are confusing to me: "We do have sensors and it usually takes about five minutes before the sensors will see the earthquake" and "scientific alerts can take between two and 20 minutes".

Why would a seismometer take so long? Can someone explain this?

As far as I know, the USGS website has data in realtime and doesn't necessarily wait for any kind of human verification. For example, within approximately 15 seconds of the Virginia quake last year, I checked the USGS site and they already had it in their list of recent quakes. For other quakes I've seen reported on Twitter, the USGS site has always had data up at least as soon as the first tweets I've seen.

Comment Re:its a scam (Score 1) 228

There are all kinds of strategies that can be used to speed this up.

Let's say that we're trying to find a short path between someone in the US and someone in China. Start by trying to find a link that allows you to hop the Pacific ocean as quickly as possible. Try to find an American friend of the Chinese guy, or vice versa. When you've got it to two people in the same country, then start picking the nodes that allow you to hop the greatest distance.

You could come up with a group of highly-connected people to start with - the people who have lots of connections in various countries, economic classes, interests, etc. Create a graph of these people and pre-compute all the shortest paths between them. Then when you're going through all the combinations, you just need to get to brute-force your way to this central graph.

Of course this won't get you the shortest path between each pair of people, but it'll probably get you pretty close. Close enough to say if an average of "six degrees" is reasonable.

Comment Chicken pox (Score 1) 284

There was a series of chicken pox vaccine emails from around January 18, 2008, that caught my eye. Somewhat worrying that these emails have so many redactions. Seems like there might have been a turf battle between the governor's office and the Board of Education, and maybe the governor's office was engaging in some campaign to torpedo the immunization regulations. Here's part of them:

From: Sarah Palin
To: Frank Bailey; Sharon Leighow; Beth Leschper; Kristina Perry; Talis Colberg
Subject: Re: Fw: fyi-Chicken-pox immunization regulations

Thanks - the Lt. Governor's release will hopefully clarify. I'll ask Talis to [REDACTED]

From: Frank Bailey
To: Sarah Palin; Sharon Leighow; Beth Leschper; Kristina Perry
Subject: Re: Fw: fyi-Chicken-pox immunization regulations

We can try to get this word out. I believe Gail Neubrugge's grandaughter (?) was severely disabled by a vaccine. Dan Saddler's pretty sharp on this issue as well. This'll be a tough pill for some folks.

From: Sarah Palin
To: Sean Parnell, Mike Tibbles
Subject: Re: fyi-Chicken-pox immunization regulations


From: Sean Parnell
To: Mike Tibbles
Cc: Sarah Palin
Subject: fyi-Chicken-pox immunization regulations

We received a regulations packet from the Board of Ed in which they mandate immunizations against chicken-pox for kids in school beginning July 1, 2009. [REDACTED]

Comment Ultimate hack target (Score 2) 374

I wonder if they have thought out the security of this system. Sending a message to nearly every person in the United States at the same time would be an amazing hack. Is it supposed to be all automated, or does each provider have to get the message from FEMA and then manually send it out on their network?

C Code. C Code Run. Run, Code, RUN! PLEASE!!!!