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Star Wars Prequels

George Lucas: "I'm Done With Star Wars" 420

HughPickens.com writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that George Lucas has compared his retirement from Star Wars to a break-up – a mutual one, maybe, but one that nonetheless comes with hard feelings and although Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded. "They decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing," says Lucas. "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said if I get in there I'm just going to cause trouble. Because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that anymore. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, 'Okay, I will go my way, and I'll let them go their way.'" Lucas says he was going to tell a story about the grandchildren of figures from the original trilogy. "The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" says Lucas. "So, I said, all I want to do is tell a story of what happened – it started here and went there. It's all about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It's a family soap opera."

Although the team behind The Force Awakens acknowledges they're taking the story in a different direction from what Lucas intended, they maintain affection for his original creations and the man himself. "Before I showed up, it was already something that Disney had decided they wanted to go a different way with," says J. J. Abrams. "But the spirit of what he wrote, both in those pages and prior, is everything that this movie is built upon." Some fans question why there was no "Based on" credit for Lucas in the poster for The Force Awakens. "I don't know why it isn't on the poster, but it's a valid point. I'm sure that that will be a credit in the film," says Abrams. "We are standing on the shoulders of Episodes I through VI."

Persian Gulf Temperatures May Be At the Edge of Human Tolerance In 30 Years (arstechnica.com) 488

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new climate study the Persian Gulf may become so hot and humid in the next 30 years that it will reach the threshold of human survivability. Ars reports: "Existing climate models have shown that a global temperature increase to the threshold of human survivability would be reached in some regions of the globe at a point in the distant future. However, a new paper published by Jeremy Pal and Elfatih Eltahir in Nature Climate Change presents evidence that this deadly combination of heat and humidity increases could occur in the Persian Gulf much earlier than previously anticipated."

AMD To Retire Catalyst Control Center Drivers, Rolling Out New Crimson Platform (hothardware.com) 113

MojoKid writes: AMD has gone through significant changes as a company over the last few months. Recently, we've seen them enter into a joint venture with Nantong Fujitsu for final assembly and test operations. They've also formed the new Radeon Technologies Group, led by longtime graphics guru Raja Koduri. Today, AMD is announcing another big change, and this one affects a piece of software that you may have running on your systems right now, if there's a Radeon graphics card on board. AMD is ditching Catalyst Control Center in favor of software dubbed Radeon Settings, which is a critical part of what AMD is calling the Radeon Software Crimson Edition. Radeon Software Crimson Edition is completely re-architected and is claimed to offer new features, improvements to stability and responsiveness, and performance improvements as well. The update will include a new Game Manager, video quality presets, social media integration, simplified EF setup, a system notifications tab, and more. It looks as though the first version of the software will be out this month.

Comment Can't be taken seriously. (Score 2, Insightful) 182

Whenever somebody uses the U3 unemployment numbers for any purpose that doesn't involve sarcasm or irony, their thoughts are not to be taken seriously. Literally the only purpose of mentioning U3 is political propaganda - the calculation methods divorce it completely and irrevocably from any potential honest use in discussing employment rates.

Comment More like "Politically Correct Reports." (Score 2, Interesting) 222

Consumer Reports does some good work tracking reliability ratings and some of their reviews are decent, but over the past several years they have weighted things so heavily towards environmentally "friendly" products (scare quotes because items that don't work well aren't really that friendly when they wind up in a landfill when you replace them with something that actually fucking works right) that their overall recommendations are pretty close to worthless.

Comment Possible interest... (Score 1) 121

Our company provides networking services and we generally use Cisco gear, but we've been dipping our toes into some lower-end markets that can't afford $1,500 Internet routers. In order to consider something likes this, the main thing we would be interested in is build quality. It seems that most SOHO routers are designed right at the edge of their thermal safety envelopes, which leads to crashes and failures. Even if we don't want to spend $1,500 on a router we would still want something that is robust enough to be shoved into a poorly-ventilated cabinet and run happily on its own for five years, except for the occasional software upgrade. I'd happily pay $100 or even $200 for that level of stability.

Comment It's happened to me several times... (Score 1) 345

and with different banks, occasionally to the point where they forced me to get a new card (and change a zillion automated payments). I wouldn't mind so much if this actually worked, but none of these cases involved a specific fraudulent charge - it was just done because they thought there might be one later. The irony is that I keep seeing the occasional fraudulent charge that they miss. So as far as I can tell they're pretty close to 100% false positives, and probably not many legitimate blocks.

Comment More like inability to prioritize or be efficient (Score 3, Insightful) 203

Every time I've been exposed to the operational aspects of a government agency (and, unfortunately, most large non-profits and even some large corporations) I see things being done in a way that costs around five times as much as we would do it in small- to mid-scale private industry, and even at that expense level the quality of work is outright appalling. When you start working with the management of these organizations, they simply don't care about setting appropriate standards for what they can achieve on a certain budget and then squeezing things to make do with what they have. Quite the contrary, their incentives are structured around having as much budget as possible. So bloat is everywhere, and the response to any additional "needs" is to demand more money. This is an endless cycle - giving them more money will never achieve their goals, because that would harm management's careers.

Privatizing these functions is its own can of worms - it's often far cheaper (see: SpaceX vs. NASA), but still a long way away from excellent, and rife with corruption and politics (see: Military-Industrial Complex, Prison-Industrail Complex, etc).

If I really wanted to have the EPA catch these things the best method I can think of would be to offer bounties paid on caught cheaters. This creates incentives to check everything everywhere, and retains the incentives to maximize efficiency.

Comment Why is this even an issue? (Score 1) 57

There is a breathtaking amount of critical infrastructure that is very lightly protected on intranets if not outright exposed to the public Internet. There is simply no excuse for this. Even if things require, say, cellular monitoring it's very straightforward to use highly restricted VPNs or even MPLS over cellular (especially for an organization the size of most public utilities). The fact that this is even such a major issue is flat-out sad and stupid.


Misusing Ethernet To Kill Computer Infrastructure Dead 303

Some attacks on computers and networks are subtle; think Stuxnet. An anonymous reader writes with a report at Net Security of researcher Grigorios Fragkos's much more direct approach to compromising a network: zap the hardware from an unattended ethernet port with a jolt of electricity. Fragkos, noticing that many networks include links to scattered and unattended ethernet ports, started wondering whether those ports could be used to disrupt the active parts of the network. Turns out they can, and not just the ports they connect to directly: with some experimentation, he came up with a easily carried network zapping device powerful enough to send a spark to other attached devices, too, but not so powerful -- at least in his testing -- to set the building on fire. As he explains: I set up a network switch, and over a 5 meters Ethernet cable I connected an old working laptop. Over a 3 meters cable I connected a network HDD and over a 100 meters cable I connected my “deathray” device. I decided to switch on the device and apply current for exactly 2 seconds. The result was scary and interesting as well. The network switch was burned instantly with a little “tsaf” noise. There was also a buzzing noise coming from the devices plugged-in to the network switch, for a less than a second. There was a tiny flash from the network HDD and the laptop stopped working. It is not the cheapest thing in the world to test this, as it took all of my old hardware I had in my attic to run these experiments. I believe the threat from such a high-voltage attack against a computer infrastructure is real and should be dealt with.

France Tells Google To Remove "Right To Be Forgotten" Search Results Worldwide 381

An anonymous reader writes: France's data protection authority rejected Google's appeal to limit how a European privacy ruling may be applied worldwide. Since the European Court ruling last year Google has handled close to 320,000 requests, but only de-lists the links on European versions of its sites. "Contrary to what Google has stated, this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the C.N.I.L. to apply French law extraterritorially," the agency said in a statement.

Comment "Austerity." You keep using that word. (Score 3, Informative) 85

I do no think it means what you think it means. In governmental terms, it means "give us unlimited money so that we don't have to prioritize among the thousands of special interests begging and scraping for more cash."

In any other context it means that you are seriously lacking resources and have cut things to the bone. For you or me, it means we get rid of cable TV, the gym membership, take cheaper vacations, don't buy a new car, live in a smaller place, don't eat and drink out as often, etc.

Governments have a much, much different approach: they begin by exacting revenge on the unwashed masses that dare not give them every dime their hearts desire. They find popular things (especially parks and libraries) and immediately begin the slashing there. This is, of course, utterly petulant - these items aren't even rounding errors in the budgets and no real savings are made. In the US, we call it "Washington Monument Syndrome" - popular tourist destinations like the Washington Monument are shut down during budget battles for basically no reason other than a giant political temper tantrum. There still is, of course, plenty of money (billions! trillions!) for new fighter planes that don't work and imprisoning people for owning certain plants and giving people and corporations lifetime welfare benefits, etc.,etc., etc.

There is no "governmental austerity." Anybody who brings it up is playing Orwellian word games with you, and should have filthy socks shoved in their mouths (and possibly other body orifices) until they stop.

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.