Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 216

by Sarten-X (#48681327) Attached to: Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors 10 Years Behind Older Jets

You should try reading more, rather than aborting the first time something doesn't match your armchair-commander factoids.

There is always a risk of civilian air traffic in war zones, usually on a flight path to "get the hell out". Such flights are closely monitored, but they're still a concern for patrols. There's also noncombatant humanitarian aid, neutral observers, and allied flights that don't always communicate properly. Even though outside traffic is routed around combat areas, pilots still need to be aware of every friend and foe in the area.

in addition you entirely discount the ability to distinguish between friend and foe accurately, which is not working so well currently because of...Humans.

...and until humans are entirely out of the war, automatic detection will not work as flawlessly as you seem to think. Humans are responsible for maintaining and turning on the identification transponders, humans are responsible for programming the computers, and humans are responsible for all of the nuance of political situations. Even if we assume the computer's programmed correctly, that's not much help if the threat's identifier is malfunctioning. Would a computer of current technology recognize that a plane making a 120-degree turn could be trying to signal for help? It's not a common signal, but as a last-hope effort to identify yourself, it's an option. A human pilot could observe that the threat is making no aggressive motions, know the relative comparison between the two aircraft, any other threats or targets in the area, and choose to cautiously stay distant while watching to see if the pilot makes more 120-degree turns. That kind of decision requires a situational awareness that computers do not currently offer, nor have I seen any indication that upcoming technology will support it.

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 216

by Sarten-X (#48681057) Attached to: Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors 10 Years Behind Older Jets

Only valid targets in the air.

Those shot down in friendly-fire accidents would likely disagree. Even in a war zone, there's other friendly and civilian aircraft in the skies.

Modern air combat is very different from the dancing dogfights of the World Wars. Nowadays pilots first rely on electronic identification (radar and radio signatures), visual identification, and tactical analysis. That last point is something computers are terrible at, and not particularly promising for the near future. A human pilot can be told in a briefing what new tactics an enemy is using, while a computer will require a more time-costly reconfiguration, at best. While identifying a potential enemy, pilots rely heavily on the as-yet-unsurpassed signal processing capacity of a device known as a "human brain", to determine whether a particular observation is just sensor noise or actually something meaningful. When a mistake costs lives, knowing what's a useful identifier is crucial, and computers just aren't flexible enough for that yet.

Once an identification is made, the fighter can deploy weapons, adjust speed, and maneuver around, while still outside the range of enemy fighters. By the time the enemy even knows he's been spotted, missiles are locked and inbound. Countermeasures have a chance of confusing the missile, but counter-countermeasures reduce that chance, especially when paired with the fighter's sensor suite, now observing from a different angle. If a modern air fight requires extreme maneuverability or multiple attack runs, something has gone horribly wrong.

Besides no one looks to a robot for judgement calls, they are looking at them for kill efficiency.

That's why we use nukes all the time now, right?

Comment: Re:That's not the only way it's inferior (Score 3, Informative) 216

by Sarten-X (#48680657) Attached to: Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors 10 Years Behind Older Jets

The entire plane is modular, upgradeable, and works mostly the same across all three variants. The biggest benefit to the F-35 is that large portions of the training, documentation, and maintenance materials can be shared by all users of the plane, significantly reducing operating the expense to run a fleet.

TFA is really just whining about the fact that this plane took 15 years to develop, and the Pentagon's purchasing process doesn't allow revisions until after delivery. Highlighting a component that's now obsolete just makes a good headline.

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 2) 216

by Sarten-X (#48680605) Attached to: Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors 10 Years Behind Older Jets

If they are modular why are the using old tech that they say is sub standard?

TFA answers your question:

One of the JSF officials agreed that the EOTS does not speak well for the Pentagon’s ability to buy new weapons. “EOTS is a poster child for one of the ills of the acquisition process,” the official said. “Because all of the subsystems depend on each other, requirements aren’t allowed to change after the design is ‘finalized.’ It’s not a big deal, unless it takes 20 years to field the jet then it’s a problem.”

I've worked for defense projects, and this is accurate. Once the Pentagon approves a design, the "delivery" phase has to happen before the "revise" phase. The only exception is if the government wants to change requirements, but that puts the bad PR on politicians, rather than on the contractor.

The F-35 doesn't hit initial operating capacity (IOC) until mid-2015, at which point the military will actually start flying the plane, and report back with deficiencies (like outdated avionics) to be fixed. Yes, it comes at a price, as several hundred planes have been built to the original specs, but Congress accepts that cost to keep up the charade that their IOC requirements were reasonable.

I think you will find that though the optics or radar could be removed, the replacement would have to come from the same company, proprietary no doubt, and the platform its self would limit what the replacement would be.

Not really. The F-35 airframe is mostly just a shell around the modular components, which already come from many different companies. The reason switching vendors doesn't often happen is the same as in any other manufacturing project. There's a significant retooling expense while a new supplier familiarizes themselves with the platform and interfaces, even though they are usually standardized and government-specified.

Computers respond faster than humans, computers can be more "situational aware" in a variety of environments humans couldn't even function in, and "electronic warfare" would effect a human piloted craft as well, an EMP would shut down the airplane making the human effectively useless.

None of that really matters. A computer isn't trusted to make judgement calls like a human, and the military still likes having pilots making tactical decisions while they're out in the battlefield, with a full awareness of the reality that they're raining death on other people. That's why the Air Force still wants humans in the cockpit, preferring drones only for recon and very limited air strikes.

Any concerns about an EMP are moot. All electronics are shielded, regardless of the nature of the pilot.

Comment: Re:Won't work the way you think (Score 1) 359

by Sarten-X (#48666827) Attached to: Study: Police Body-Cams Reduce Unacceptable Use of Force

they shut off the cameras or rip the antennas off the car. Not hypothetical - happens all the time.

Do you have some evidence of this claim?

This study indicates otherwise. Rather than showing an increase in vehicle damage, there was an observed decrease in reports of inappropriate behavior.

Comment: Re:better place for whom? (Score 4, Insightful) 208

by Sarten-X (#48666383) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart

You say that like the groups are separate.

Obama's aligned with the typically-liberal Democrat party. Liberals tend to believe that one of the government's jobs is to make things better for the jobless, the disenfranchised, the dispossessed, the poor, the hungry, and the downtrodden, so he's pushed programs that aim to help such folks.

Of course, that's countered by the Republican conservatives, who tend to believe that everyone can make their own fate, so those programs are forced to be either opt-in or neutered. If you want to rebel against the government's control, you have that freedom to forge your own way in life.

The end result is a system where assistance is tied to one's embrace of government. Sure, one can stay independent, but that's likely how he got to be jobless, disenfranchised, dispossessed, poor, hungry, and/or downtrodden in the first place.

Comment: Re:25000? Lame (Score 1) 21

I know a man who did about 25k his first year. That's only 250 strings of lights, or two 32-string 4-color megatrees. By year three, he was at 75k and ran out of time to put them all up. I think he's over 100k now, mostly in quickly-assembled modules. That's where the logistics from TFS comes in - rigging a complicated display takes time, more than anything else. There are cheap ways to get lights and easy ways to build common elements (and welcoming communities to help newbies get started), but it's mostly a time-bound process. You only get about a month to get the show up, and a month to tear down (depending on location). The rest of the year is spent planning, building, and repairing.

Comment: Re:if there is no evidence presented in how they.. (Score 2) 51

I'd like to see a reference for that, actually.

My understanding is that if the police have a legal reason to be looking where they're looking, they can respond officially to whatever they find. To use your example, if they pulled you over for speeding because their radar gun was malfunctioning, they would have had a legal reason to stop you, and a legal reason to do a basic search (like looking in the car windows for weapons). If they see a bag of weed openly, incidental to the search for weapons, they can legally arrest you for it in a completely separate case from the speeding incident. The speeding ticket would easily be thrown out, but the fact that they found you with drugs is unrelated, because it was found during a legal search (unless the officers knew their radar gun was malfunctioning, and use it as a pretense for searching cars, but "bad cops" wasn't stated in your example).

The whole flow of logic is presented nicely at The Illustrated Guide to Law, as is often the case.

Comment: Re:Meaningless (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by Sarten-X (#48618333) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

I think you missed the point. Several points, in fact...

Backblaze doesn't care about one drive. Power consumption is a complicated matter, and they have a very simple plan, so it's best for them to build a full pod for testing, and compare the power and performance at the pod level. They can extrapolate that out to their planned expansion considering pods as the units of measure, rather that having to consider drives, controllers, fans, and power supplies as extra variables. That simplification is partly why they're using a pod architecture in the first place.

Reliability doesn't matter much to Backblaze, either. They store redundant copies of data, so their risk of loss is mitigated, jjust as it should be for any enterprise use of such drives.

When you ask "who cares how much data was stored on them vs how long it was in service", clearly the answer is Backblaze, because they cared enough to study that particular metric.

Now, all of this is really only obviously useful to Backblaze. They're running tests in their environment, with their design, for their criteria. Realistically, the vast majority of Slashdotters won't ever handle anything like Backblaze's system, so they have different priorities. Backblaze still released their test results, just in case anyone cares. That's why they've gathered such a following among nerds. They've repeatedly published their research openly, contributing to the public knowledge base for system engineers. Maybe somebody finds it useful, and maybe not, but it's still a noble principle they practice.

Comment: Re:Helium and the density of the disc (Score 4, Informative) 219

by Sarten-X (#48589303) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

"Reduce friction" is pretty close, actually.

The platters spinning around causes a lot of air to move around, as well. If that air is helium, the effects of the turbulence are less forceful, so moving parts don't need as much buffer space between them.

The individual platters don't change density, but since they can be packed closer together without aerodynamic damage, there can be more platters in a single unit.

Comment: Re:Hiding evidence (Score 1) 192

by Sarten-X (#48560041) Attached to: Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

If the New York branch manager is required to follow German orders through normal means, I don't actually see any inconsistency in the rebuttal. The Deutsche Bank branch acts as an agent of the Deutsche Bank, and is subject to the laws of the countries in which Deutsche Bank operates - probably many at once, and probably even some in conflict.

It is the responsibility of the corporation to ensure that its legal boundaries are determined by its establishment. Perhaps Deutsche Bank is merely an investor in an entirely-separate "Deutsche Bank USA", and all executive control is held within US boundaries, with the corporate charter expressly declaring that such foreign investors have no control. It would seem to me that the New York manager could then ignore the German orders all day, because he would be under no obligation to follow them.

Comment: Re:Microsoft is an Irish company (Score 1) 192

by Sarten-X (#48559923) Attached to: Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

Well... sort of.

They move their profits to their Irish subsidiary, but the US government may still have some legal authority to enforce their will, especially if it can be argued that the Irish branch is wholly controlled by US-based entities. Those American entities may be compelled to, in turn, force the cooperation of the Irish corporation.

Comment: Re: On Caring and Relevance (Score 2) 54

by Sarten-X (#48545703) Attached to: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Twitterbot

It's actually a mild form of identity theft.

Per TFA, the username was grabbed within a day of being released. It's someone's real name, not a well-known fictional character or such, so it's most likely that the new owner was trying to capitalize on the old owner's fame. Twitter's policies prohibit exactly this kind of thing, so TFA details the process the author followed to get it shut down.

It's not particularly notable to those of us who are deep in the world of security, and probably not surprising to most savvy users, but it's informative nonetheless.

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening