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Comment: Re:pot and kettle (Score 1) 132

China is right: the iPhone is a gaping security hole...

... as are Android and Windows Phone devices, they do the same kind of tracking and leeching of personal data.

.... their "solution" will also be a gaping security hole, except that it will be designed so only China's intelligence services can exploit it.

News at 11!!!

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 5, Informative) 36

Clearly, we currently have too many competent patent examiners. We should do everything possible to get them to quit.

I'm not so sure too few patent examiners is the only problem. According to a patents documentary I watched recently one of the big problems is a piece of legislation passed in the USA during the 80s or 90s in a panic over patent rates in Asia outstripping those in the USA. It caused the number of patents in the USA to rise sharply but it also allowed people to patent ridiculous crap because the patent office was now totally overworked and the restrictions on what could be patented had been relaxed. The Danes have a saying "He just tried to patent hot water" which is equivalent to the English proverb "He's not the sharpest knife in the kitchen", i.e. "he's stupid". The unfortunate thing is that these days you'd actually stand a good chance of patenting hot water if you tried, especially in the US where the rules are very lax. Come to think of it I'd actually like to see somebody try to patent hot water, just to see if they succeed. That being said I'm not generally against patents, I just think the system need major reform. This same documentary I cited above also included an interesting interview with James Dyson, the vaccuum cleaner guy. He described patents as a major pain because they are expensive to obtain and defend and don't really do much to help the small inventor anymore (which is what they were originally intend to do) and because patents have become weapons used by big players to stifle competition. But at the same time he also said he wouldn't want to live without some sort of patent system and took an example in his company's bladeless fan. It took them several years and tons of money to develop and they'd hardly released it when the market was flooded with cheap ass Chinese copies. The problem from Dyson's point of view is firstly that the copies are crappy and don't work very well which reflects badly on Dyson whose product actually works. Secondly the patent system (broken as it is) still helps companies like Dyson to crack down on copycats, even in China and even though the Chinese take significantly longer (years) to process foreign patent applications than they do Chinese patent applications (months) in violation of WTO regulations.

Comment: Re:Eisenhower tried to warn us. (Score 4, Interesting) 354

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420661) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

Drawing comparisons to WWII is ironic, because the F-35 program is exactly the kind of program that the US did not invest in during the war. A program that consumed lots of resources on the promise of radical advances without delivering anything actually useful onto the battlefield now.

Germany in contrast, spent lots of time on such projects even into the final desperate days.

The Nazi leadership was blinded by the "grass is greener beyond the next hill" syndrome. If they had put the Heinkel 280 which first flew in 1941 into production and put some serious resources into making the HeS-8 and HeS-30 engines reliable enough for service they'd have had a workable jet fighter in 1943 with less of a performance advantage than the Me-262 but that would still have mopped the floor with most of the Allied opposition at the time. The Nazis failed to understand that fielding a mediocre jet fighter in time is better than fielding an outstanding one when it is too late. They were defeated by their aversion towards doing what Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond called "...the most un-German thing possible, a half-assed job".

Comment: Re:And Joe Schmoe wont care. (Score 5, Interesting) 354

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420301) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

Everybody with an IQ above that of a jellybean knows the main job of the congresscritters is to bring back the pork. The blue guys do it and the red guys do it.

The reason they can keep doing it and no one really gives a shit is because once you explain to Joe Schmoe that cutting program X or agency Y's budget means he or his cousin or his drinking buddy could lose their job, well Joe can rationalize keeping that program.

Americans all want pork cut everywhere except their home district. We are short sighted, have short memories, and aren't willing to endure short term discomfort in the pursuit of long term prosperity.

Anyone candidate that would be for cutting this kind of corporate welfare isn't viable on a national ticket. Eisenhower was right about this all by the way.

Eisenhower was also right to be suspicious of 'think tanks', 'intelligence experts' and 'analysts'. One of the reasons he first pushed the U-2 program and then Corona was because 'expert intelligence tanalysts' told him the Soviets had Over 800 Myasishchev M-4 'Bison' bombers. Reconnaissance later revealed that the grand total strenght of the Soviet B-4 bomber force at the time was 20 aircraft, in fact one U-2 actually managed to catch the entire B-4 fleet in a single photograph. By the time Eisenhowers insistance on hard reconnaissance finally won out the USA had built hundreds of bombers to bridge an imaginary 'bomber gap'.

Comment: Re:"To replace obsolete and aging aircraft platfor (Score 4, Insightful) 354

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420097) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

The F-35 replaced the A-10 Thunderbolt II's role as a tank buster, CAS bomber...

With the money we have spent on the F-35s to date, we could have repaired, retrofitted, and maintained our supply of A-10s for several decades. Hell, the A-10 is practically a flying tank. It has some of the best armament and is the most rugged fixed-wing aircraft which America has. It was a ridiculously short-sighted move to replace it with another overexpensive "multi role, joint" fighter.

Yeah, F-35s replacing the A-10 good luck with that. The idea of the F-35 flying into the operational environment of the A-10, i.e. 0-3000ft which in a real shooting war is likely to be saturated by scrap fire and dominated by Manpads, full blown SAMs and mobile Flak such as Shilkas and Tunguskas and having the same survial rates as the A-10 always struck me as funny. Stealth is pretty much useless down there most of the kills are done with heat seeking missiles and the good old Mk.1 eyeball. Experience has shown several times now that no matter how many smart weapons they cook up there is no replacement for getting in good and close and blasting the shit out of the target with a 30mm gun.

Comment: Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (Score 1) 412

by Savage-Rabbit (#47413995) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I'm a C++ programmer by trade but there's no way I'd wish that language on a student

Agreed. Its not a learning language.

But it is a real world coding language. When I was taking my CS degree we had a mandatory algorithms course (and not the "how does a for loop work" kind of course, they were teaching the kind of algorithms where a slight performance improvement can shave hours or even days off your execution time). On the first day there was much discontent when everybody discovered that they had to learn C/C++ because it was required to code assignment solutions in those languages. Finally somebody asked the teacher if they could hand in assignments written in Python. There was a short silence from the professor, an odd look flashed across his face and then he just said "NO" and went back to explaining how pointers work in C/C++.

Comment: Re:Always clear skies over the US embassy (Score 4, Funny) 63

by Savage-Rabbit (#47402021) Attached to: IBM Tries To Forecast and Control Beijing's Air Pollution

The Chinese government HATES it when people measure and publish "unofficial" pollution level can bet that pollution controls upwind of the US embassy are especially strict.

Which is pretty amusing since it's pretty easy to design an algorith that will predict pollution levels for most major Chinese cities with pretty much 100% accuracy every day of the year:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main()
        printf("Predicted polution level for today: Very High\n");
        printf("Health hazard: Extreme\n");

    return 1;

Comment: Re:Helpful Genes (Score 5, Interesting) 133

by Savage-Rabbit (#47374551) Attached to: Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

Who is to say some of the Neanderthal genes that have been found in humans are not "helpful"? How are they measuring "helpful adaptation"? Perhaps they mean the high-altitude features are clearly helpful, while the benefits of others are not known yet. (Maybe some of the top football players are the top because of Neanderthal genes.)

A significant number of those Neanderthal and Denisovan genes are thought to be very helpful. For example Neanderthal genes are thought to play an important part in the way skin works in modern Europeans/Asians/Native Americans/Australians (cold climate tolerance, resistance to some diseases, synthesis of vitamins). However, having strong suspicions that this is the case because a whole bunch of skin related DNA in these populations seems to have come from Neanderthals and Denisovians and suspecting that this DNA is important because Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA seems to have been 'selected out' of some other parts of the genome but is still there in the skin related regions of the genome is one thing. Proving it scientifically is a whole other matter. These guys simply managed to become the first to prove in a scientifically rigorous way the helpfulness of one of the numerous bits of Neanderthal/Denisovan DNA suspected to be beneficial. Now let's hope this stands up to peer review.

Comment: Re:Bigfoot doesn't exist (Score 1) 198

Seriously, we have never found any corpses from this beast and with the amount that man has spread out, I am 100% certain we would have found the beast by now.

At the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat wearing lunatic, just a few years ago I remember seeing several scientists stating on camera that they believed that every large mammal on earth was already documented and known to science. Not long after that I read a news piece reporting the discovery of several previously unknown species of mammals including a species of deer that reportedly weighs in at 150lb. Another example is a species of whale native to the Southern Arctic that is only known from a few DNA samples obtained from whalers. The point being that even though it is fun to ridicule crypto zoologists, there are numerous examples even in this day and age of unknown species hiding right under our noses.

Comment: Re:Notification sound? (Score 1) 55

Please please please tell me this device alerts swimmers by playing the "Jaws" theme over the water...

No it just emits an alarm sound that causes hundreds of people to scramble ashore trashing and splashing as they go and generally making lots of the kind of struggling animal sounds that sharks home in on like... well... hungry sharks.

Comment: Re:Big Difference (Score 3, Informative) 210

by Savage-Rabbit (#47346349) Attached to: Fox Moves To Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service

They have retransmission rights, apparently its the re-retransmission rights that are the problem.

You mean they are allowed to transmit Fox content live but not record it and then stream it to the user? Doesn't fair use also come into it? Users have the right to record TV content for personal use.

Comment: Re:Big Difference (Score 2) 210

by Savage-Rabbit (#47346339) Attached to: Fox Moves To Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service

They dont have re-transmission rights. It costs extra obviously.

The article says they have the right to 'broadcast' Fox content, however, it also says they are doing what Aereo was doing in violation of 'an express contractual prohibition'. Do they have the right to retransmit but not to stream or 'sideload' recorded stuff to mobile devices? I don't get it, those two statements appear to be contradictory at frist glance.

Comment: Re:sensors (Score 1) 196

by Savage-Rabbit (#47343695) Attached to: How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

I don't usually use earbuds except to work out, but I have a $20 pair of Sony earbuds that sound better than Apple's. It's absurd that the article doesn't mention a single thing about sound quality, and goes into how easily the cords tangle and body sensors like those are the things people care about. You need to get sound quality right before you can even think about all the other ancillary shit to try and sell more of them.

You are hard to please :-) I'd settle for getting a pair of earbuds with my iDevice that don't fall out of my ears whenever I move my head although, to be fair to Apple, this is not a problem limited to their products. The first thing I do when I get a new phone or music player is replace the included earbuds with the in-ear type from a third party manufacturer (usually Sennheiser). I have a small box full of Apple earbuds that I have never used.

backups: always in season, never out of style.