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Comment: Re:Fuck them sideways with a rusty chainsaw! (Score 1) 118

by Sqr(twg) (#48017893) Attached to: World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

There will always be an insurance group for the privacy-concious and the really bad drivers.

This is one of the uses of tracking technology that I'd actually agree with, if it is opt in, and it is very clear what information you are giving up, and how much you are getting paid for it.

(The only problem is that most people have already given up all of their privacy whith their smartphones auto-posting everything they do to myspacebook, so they will accept this too cheaply. Wich means that it won't be worth it to anyone who values his privacy a tiny bit.)

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 495

by Sqr(twg) (#48012319) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

That would require spending 5-10 times as much money on batteries to support the solar cells as you spent on the cells themselves.

In most places it would be cheaper to pump water up into a dam somewhere and then use a turbine to recover the electricity when needed, but that would also at least triple the cost of electricity.

The currently cheapest solution (where there's not enough hydro-power) is to have fossil fuel plants running as "spinning reserve". And that's the way it's going to be until prices of fossil fuels tipple, or we tax them to achieve that effect.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 3, Insightful) 495

by Sqr(twg) (#48009033) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

The difference being that nobody needed buggy whips anymore. People here in Germany still need electricity at night.

Because of the way the law is written, solar cell owners are allowed to use the grid as a battery. Their electricity consumption/production is not billed instantly but averaged, so that someone with enough excess solar power during the day doesn't have to pay anything for grid power during the night.

The coal, gas and nuclear plants have to vary their production to take up the slack when wind and solar go down, which is expensive, and it becomes more expensive the more renewables there are. At some points it becomes unprofitable to build, and this is where we are now.

Comment: Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 600

by Sqr(twg) (#47903713) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

I don't know how you arrived at that figure. The number that I find in the report that you link to is 47 140 valid defensive uses per year. (235 700 in 5 years.)

The number of times a firearm is used in commiting a crime is not in that report. What I could find was:
Number of murders involving a fierarm, according to the FBI: about 12 000 per year
Number of robberies involving a fierarm, according to the FBI: about 170 000 per year
I didn't bother looking up the numbers for things like manslaughter and aggrevated assault, but I'm sure it's a lot.

Comment: Re:Temptation (Score 1) 542

by Sqr(twg) (#47804555) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

I think you misunderstood me. When I said "the people" I did not mean the Ugandan people. I have nothing against the the Ugandan people, (nor Christians or any other demographic).

By "people" I meant "persons" i.e. the relatively few individuals (American and British as well as Ugandan) who actively advocated for a death penalty for homosexuality for the stated reason that it says so in their Bible.

Yes, the vast majority of Christians condemn these extremists just as the vast majority of Muslims condemn theirs, but the "my team is better than theirs because look what they did" argument does not hold. All large population groups have the same fraction of assholes.

Comment: Re:Temptation (Score 1) 542

by Sqr(twg) (#47798967) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

The law is still there. The fact that it was ruled invalid by the court does not make the people who fought to put it in place (some of whom were American) any less despicable.

My point, though, is that there are unevolved people of every religious (and non-religious) orientation. Saying that one religion is more evolved than another just because the worst of the fundamentalists have less political power is a non sequitur.

Comment: Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (Score 5, Interesting) 219

by Sqr(twg) (#47645321) Attached to: Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

will be the new level of warfare.

Yes, and not in a good way.

It used to be the case that you needed experienced, diciplined soldiers to make snipers. If you tried to fight a proxy war by arming insurgents the way the U.S. armed the Mujahideen (al Quaeda), or the way Russia is arming Ukranian separatists, then you got a pretty inefficient force that could only win by war of attrition.

These new weapons will make it much easier for anyone with money (like the IS) to recruit people out of the slums and quickly turn them into effective fighting units.

Also it will increase the efficiency of child soliders, and therfore lead to more recruitment.

Comment: Re:There is no incentive because they PAY for it! (Score 4, Insightful) 316

by Sqr(twg) (#47612197) Attached to: Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

It seems to me that Verison's problem is on the marketing side. Their technical implementation is correct.

This is basic QoS. For a simplified example, let's assume there are only two users (but the network is still congested). One is trying to download a fix amount of data, i.e. watch a certain number of YouTube videos. Let's call her the "limited" user. The other is trying to download as many linux-distribution isos as she possibly can. Let's call her the "unlimited" user. (We assume that the carrier can guess which user is which, based in historical bandwidth use.)

If the carrier throttles both users equally - what some would consider the "fair" solution - then the limited user will have to wait while her videos buffer (but we will assume that she still watches the number of videos that she had decided on). The amount of data that the unlimited user can download equals total network capacity minus the size of the YouTube videos.

If the carrier only throttles the unlimited user, then the limited user gets a better experience, but still watches the same number of videos, i.e. downloads the same amount of data during the period of the congestion. The amount of data that the unlimited user can download still equals total network capacity minus the size of the videos, so she doesn't actually get any negative effect from the "unfair" throttling.

(The above reasoning holds even if the unlimited user is also watching video, if we assume that she has a large enough buffer. But if both users are doing video conferencing, then it would be better to throttle both equally.)

Of course, the best solution would be to upgrade the network to 4G, and this is what the FCC should force the providers to do.

Comment: Re:Well at least they saved the children! (Score 4, Insightful) 790

I've found it funny when I've made arguments about Google's ad scanning being something I didn't like, and people always came back with "but it's 100% automated and completely anonymous - no human ever looks at your mail".

I think that argument just got settled with this story - and I won.

No, you did not. This does not condradict Google's claim that no human ever looks at your email. The only thing that has changed is that in addition to being scanned for spam and viruses, attachements are now also being checked against a database of known child porn.

Comment: Re:Hash Collision (Score 1) 790

If someone won the lottery, was struck by lightning and hit by a meteor on the same day, that would be newsworthy. The likelihood of finding an incidental SHA512 collision is much, much lower than that even if you dedicate every computer on the planet to the search.

So yeah, it would be worthy of publication, and it would indicate that there is a flaw in the hashing algorithm.

Comment: Re:No, no unfair advantage at all... (Score 1) 175

by Sqr(twg) (#47548349) Attached to: Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

So what? It's sports. Entertainment. For fun.

If there were scores of athletes showing up with amputated limbs, winning everything and distroting the rankings, then this discussion might be worth having. But these are the statistics so far:

    Long jump competitions won by peoploe without prosthetic limbs: A shitload
    Long jump competitions won by peoploe with prosthetic limbs: One

You might argue that he is getting an unfairly large share of the prize money, thus hurting the other athletes, but it is probably the other way around. He's drawing more attention to the sport, hence bringing in more sponsor money, to the benefit of all.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley