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Comment Re:This project is not cost effective (Score 1) 625 625

The project includes 18 stations, substantial work on a bridge across the Mississippi, ripping out and rebuilding ten miles of urban thoroughfares and sidewalks, a variety of mitigations to reduce negative impacts on university science buildings and other facilities, and, of course, the actual trains and tracks. You can argue back and forth about whether it's a good way to spend money (I think it is), but I don't think you're going to get all that at a radically cheaper price.

Comment Re:This project is not cost effective (Score 2) 625 625

I question your $2 million per mile figure. Minneapolis/St Paul is currently building a 10 mile light rail line at a cost of $1 billion. ($100 million per mile) That's at street level through a moderately dense urban area and it includes the cost of all the stations. Maybe $2 million per mile is the cost through flat countryside with no stations and land acquired for free?

Comment Re:Goes Nowhere (Score 1) 306 306

No one will use it because:

A. The people posting the pictures don't care (at least at the time they are posting them)
B. Facebook doesn't want it to work and they have the power to stop it by not allowing encrypted pictures. (If they wanted this feature, they would just provide it themselves by removing the content on a given date.)
C. Even if posters cared enough to use this system, no one would be able to see their pictures because

most people are to stupid to be able to install a plugin

and posters want people to see their pictures (which is why they are posting them online)
D. It is too easy to circumvent

Comment Re:Poor Michael Bay (Score 1) 532 532

I'm harping on that movie because from what I've seen, it bases itself on lots of blue and orange colors intermixed with blowing shit up. The story is hackneyed, the little bit of acting I've seen is flat, and any similarity to the original Tron is based solely on the fluorescent colors and that it takes place in a computer.

When was the last time you saw the original? The similarities extend much further then the colors and the setting: the original story was also hackneyed and the original acting quite flat. At least this one has Daft Punk.

Comment Here's the device I want (Score 1) 449 449

It's about the size of your thumb. It contains storage, processing power, wifi, cell voice/data connectivity, and a battery, but no display. It can plug into various, standardized input/output units including touch screens (ranging from pocket-sized to large tablet), TVs, PC stations (which are just dumb monitor/keyboard/speaker modules), cameras, video game controllers, your car, simple headphones, eInk displays, etc. You can plug and unplug it from these things on-the-fly. Wherever you plug it in, all your app(lications) work in whatever capacity is appropriate to the size and functionality of the display. On your pocket display, they act like smart-phone apps, at your home desk-station, they act like PC applications. You can upgrade your peripherals independently from your core.

I see no technological barrier to building this family of devices today. Is anyone building it?

Comment Re:SF: only one impossibility per story (Score 1) 495 495

Star Trek and Star Wars are fantasy but not true SF, they have too many impossible things to qualify as true Science Fiction.

Have you ever seen a Rambo movie? It typically contains a great many impossible things. I'm not comfortable with classifying it as Science Fiction.

His definition would not classify Rambo as science fiction. He clearly emphasizes that in SF there is only one impossible thing (which seems a little arbitrary) and that the story focuses on what would happen if that thing were possible. His definition might classify Rambo as fantasy, but it isn't clear.


Microsoft Spurned Researchers Release 0-Day 246 246

nk497 notes the news that a group of researchers calling themselves the Microsoft-Spurned Researcher Collective (the name is a play on Microsoft's Security Response Center) have come together to protest Microsoft's perceived heavy-handedness towards researchers who disclose security flaws. Pushed into action by the reception to the flaw disclosed by Tavis Ormandy, the group has released full details and exploit code for a previously unknown Windows local privilege escalation vulnerability. The advisory for the vulnerability, which affects Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, contains the following manifesto: "Due to hostility toward security researchers, the most recent example being of Tavis Ormandy, a number of us from the industry (and some not from the industry) have come together to form MSRC: the Microsoft-Spurned Researcher Collective. MSRC will fully disclose vulnerability information discovered in our free time, free from retaliation against us or any inferred employer."

Possible New Hominid Species Discovered, Thanks To Google Earth 86 86

mindbrane writes "The BBC is reporting on fossil finds 'uncovered in cave deposits near Malapa in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site near Johannesburg.' The fossils of a mature female and juvenile male have '...small teeth, projecting nose, very advanced pelvis, and long legs ...' suggesting more modern forms. 'And yet its very long arms and small brain case might echo the much older Australopithecine group to which Professor Berger and colleagues have assigned it.' Aside from the debate as to classification, the find is noteworthy in that its discovery came about 'thanks to the "virtual globe" software Google Earth, which allowed the group to map and visualise the most promising fossil grounds in the World Heritage Site.' Further, the find in a cave bears the hallmarks of chance that often plays so large a part in fossilisation. 'Their bones were laid down with the remains of other dead animals, including a sabre-toothed cat, antelope, mice and rabbits. The fact that none of the bodies appear to have been scavenged indicates that all died suddenly and were entombed rapidly.'"

Obama's Twitter Account "Hacked" 308 308

Oxford_Comma_Lover writes "A 24-year-old living with his mother in France was arrested for 'hacking' into Obama's twitter accounts. (Warning: WSJ does obnoxious paywall things. Your miles may vary.) Apparently he guesses the answer to a question related to password recovery in order to break into the accounts of famous people; he has no computer science training or financial motive. He posted screenshots to a few boards and twitter found out within a few hours, either from a tip or from noticing when someone from France logs onto twitter as the President of the United States. (He did not actually tweet as POTUS, but just wanted to show he could break into the account.)"

Comment Re:Streaming music player + other app (Score 1) 345 345

You've missed his point rather badly. He isn't saying he wants background processes that never sleep. He's saying he wants process that are allowed to do some work, some of the time, when they aren't the actual task in front of the user on the screen. Sure, they might sleep most of the time, but they might, say, wake up for 10 milliseconds out of every 300 milliseconds to process a data stream, decide not to bother the user, and then go back to sleep.

That said, I don't think you deserved the troll mod. Maybe, "+1 Incorrect Point About A Interesting Topic".


China's Human Flesh Search Engine 248 248

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has an interesting article about Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — that have become a phenomenon in China: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, or run out of town. It's crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results. 'In the United States, traditional media are still playing the key role in setting the agenda for the public,' says Jin Liwen. 'But in China, you will see that a lot of hot topics, hot news or events actually originate from online discussions.' In one well known case, when a video appeared in China of a woman stomping a cat to death with the sharp point of her high heel, the human flesh search engine tracked the kitten killer's home to the town of Luobei in Heilongjiang Province, in the far northeast, and her name — Wang Jiao — was made public, as were her phone number and her employer. 'Wang Jiao was affected a lot,' says one Luobei resident. 'She left town and went somewhere else.' The kitten-killer case didn't just provide revenge; it helped turn the human-flesh search engine into a national phenomenon. Searches have also been directed against cheating spouses, corrupt government officials, amateur pornography makers, Chinese citizens who are perceived as unpatriotic, journalists who urge a moderate stance on Tibet and rich people who try to game the Chinese system."

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder