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Comment MRAM? (Score 5, Interesting) 159 159

This '3D Xpoint memory' sounds very much like MRAM as described by the following article

Last year (2014) Samsung reportedly was collaborating with 15 partners in developing similar spintronic MRAM memory technology

Hynix and Toshiba also partnered to develop their own version of MRAM

In less than 5 years we might get to enjoy the fruits of the labor of the thousands of researchers who have been working very hard to make the spintronic dream come true, and I for one, wish to take this chance to thank them for their hard works!

Submission + - EU new VAT regulation ends up helping Amazon->

Taco Cowboy writes: Last year the EU passed a new legislation which was supposed to punish entities such as Amazon (which has its EU base in Belgium and thus not paying appropriate taxes in other EU countries) but ironically the same legislation which comes into effect 1st Jan of this year ends up helping Amazon

Microbusinsses (small shops dotted around the EU countries) simply couldn't cope with the complication of having to comply with each and every kind of VAT regulation in each and every EU country (plus local version of VATs)

Most of the microbusinesses may end up shutting their digital businesses, and those who hang on, opted to sell their wares on sites such as E-Bay or Amazon — the very entities the new EU regulation tried to punish

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Cold War, NSA, GCHQ and Encryption->

Taco Cowboy writes: In the 1980s, the historian James Bamford was researching his book The Puzzle Palace about the US National Security Agency (NSA) and came across references to the "Boris project" in papers written by William F Friedman, the founding father of code-breaking in America. The "Boris project' details a secret agreement between Boris Hagelin, the founder of Crypto AG, a Switzerland company which sold Enigma-like machines to nations and spy agencies around the world, and NSA

Upon learning of Mr. Bamford's discovery the NSA promptly had the papers locked up in a vault

In 1995, journalist Scott Shane, then at the Baltimore Sun, found indications of contacts between the company and the NSA in the 1970s, but the company said claims of a deal were "pure invention"

The new revelations of a deal do not come from a whistleblower or leaked reports, but are buried within 52,000 pages of documents declassified by the NSA itself this April and investigated by the BBC

The relationship was based on a deep personal friendship between Hagelin and Friedman, forged during the War. The central document is a once top-secret 22-page report of a 1955 visit by Friedman to Zug in Switzerland, where Crypto AG was based

Some elements of the memo have been redacted — or blacked out — by the NSA. But within the released material, are two versions of the same memo, as well as a draft

Each of the versions has different parts redacted. By placing them side by side and cross referencing with other documents, it is possible to learn many — but not all — details. The different versions of the report make clear Friedman — described as special assistant to the director of NSA — went with a proposal agreed not just by US, but also British intelligence

Friedman offered Hagelin time to think his proposal over, but Hagelin accepted on the spot

The relationship, initially referred to as a "gentleman's agreement", included Hagelin keeping the NSA and GCHQ informed about the technical specifications of different machines and which countries were buying which ones. The provision of technical details "is a revelation of the first order," says Paul Reuvers, an engineer who runs the Crypto Museum website

"That's extremely valuable. It is something you would not normally do because the integrity and secrecy of your own customer is mandatory in this business"

The key to breaking mechanical encryption machines — such as Enigma or those produced by Hagelin — is to understand in detail how they work and how they are used. This knowledge can allow smart code breakers to look for weaknesses and use a combination of maths and computing to work through permutations to find a solution. In one document, Hagelin hints to Friedman he is going to be able "to supply certain customers" with a specific machine which, Friedman notes, is of course "easier to solve than the new models"

Previous reports of the deal suggested it may have involved some kind of backdoor in the machines, which would provide the NSA with the keys. But there is no evidence for this in the documents (although some parts remain redacted)

Rather, it seems the detailed knowledge of the machines and their operations may have allowed code-breakers to cut the time needed to decrypt messages from the impossible to the possible

The relationship also involved not selling machines such as the CX-52, a more advanced version of the C-52 — to certain countries. "The reason that CX-52 is so terrifying is because it can be customised," says Prof Richard Aldrich, of the University of Warwick. "So it's a bit like defeating Enigma and then moving to the next country and then you've got to defeat Enigma again and again and again"

Some countries — including Egypt and India — were not told of the more advanced models and so bought those easier for the US and UK to break

In some cases, customers appear to have been deceived. One memo indicates Crypto AG was providing different customers with encryption machines of different strengths at the behest of Nato and that "the different brochures are distinguishable only by 'secret marks' printed thereon"

Historian Stephen Budiansky says: "There was a certain degree of deception going on of the customers who were buying [machines] and thinking they were getting something the same as what Hagelin was selling everywhere when in fact it was a watered-down version"

Among the customers of Hagelin listed are Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, India, Jordan and others in the developing world

In the summer of 1958, army officers apparently sympathetic to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the regime in Iraq. Historian David Easter, of King's College, London, says intelligence from decrypted Egyptian communications was vital in Britain being able to rapidly deploy troops to neighbouring Jordan to forestall a potential follow-up coup against a British ally

The 1955 deal also appears to have involved the NSA itself writing "brochures", instruction manuals for the CX-52, to ensure "proper use". One interpretation is these were written so certain countries could use the machines securely — but in others, they were set up so the number of possible permutations was small enough for the NSA to crack

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesman said the agency "does not comment on its operational activities and neither confirms nor denies the accuracy of the specific inferences that have been drawn from the document you are discussing"

The NSA also declined to comment on the specific conclusions

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Chinese tourist crashes drone into Taipei 101 skyscrapper->

Taco Cowboy writes: A Chinese tourist is under remand for crashing his drone into the Taipei 101 sky scrapper, and ordered to pay a fine of $48,000 (NT $1.5 Million)

Yan Yungfan, a 30-year-old man from eastern China's Fujian Province, was supposedly attempting to film Taipei's cityscape on Tuesday morning with a remotely controlled Phantom 3 UAV when he lost control of the drone, causing it to hit the side of Taipei 101 at around the 30th floor

No one was injured in the incident and only minor damage was sustained by the building's glass windows, but the video immediately became a viral sensation after it was uploaded online

Taipei 101 said in a statement that there have been three incidents of drones crashing around the building since mid-June, with the first two cases taking place on June 15 and June 20. No injuries were reported for both incidents, although the UAV that crashed on June 15 fell less than two meters from pedestrians

Link to Original Source

Comment Poland is coming to the rescue ... (Score 1) 476 476

... with their new coal power stations


If France really wants to close down their nuclear power plants, Poland will be more than happy to supply Germany with their excess electricity generated from coal power stations

What about 'Carbon Footprint', you say? Hey, Poland can claim that their 'carbon footprint' is not as high as China, so they get all the greenlights they need to construct even MORE coal power plants

Comment What will water be like on denser planets? (Score 1) 133 133

While I have a lot of interest in astronomy I am not trained in the field, thus, I have the following questions - hoping that someone may be able to answer them ...
Let's say a planet, Planet XYZ, which is 5X denser than earth and there's water on (and in) it --- how will the water behaves on that planet?

Will water on Planet XYZ 5X denser than planet earth have 5X the viscosity of the H20 we have on planet earth?

What if the planet has only half the density of planet earth? Will the water be half the viscosity as it is on planet Earth?

Comment Is there a list of the fraudulent apps? (Score 1) 129 129

Whether or not those apps can be removed I think it would be best if there is a list of the fraudulent apps, and if possible, the frequency of those apps downloading the invisible ads (to enable the users to calculate how much bandwidth those invisible ads are costing them)

Comment C-14 does *NOT* decay into stable carbon ! (Score 5, Informative) 108 108

As I am the one who submitted this article I need to point out an error

... The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes

The radioactive C-14 isotopes do not decay into "stable carbon isotopes" but rather, into stable N-14 isotopes via beta decay !

Please accept my sincere apology for the error - it was the fault of no other but me alone, for not noticing that glaring error when I was copy-pasta-ing from articles of three different sites

Submission + - Fossil fuels are messing with Carbon Dating->

Taco Cowboy writes: The element Carbon comes in several isotopes, with one of them the radioactive Carbon-14

Carbon-14 is formed when some of the atmospheric Nitrogen at the upper atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic radiation and break down into the unstable radioactive isotope of Carbon-14

The unstable isotope is brought to Earth by atmospheric activity, such as storms, and becomes fixed in the biosphere. Because it reacts identically to C-12 and C-13, C-14 becomes attached to complex organic molecules through photosynthesis in plants and becomes part of their molecular makeup. Animals eating those plants in turn absorb Carbon-14 as well as the stable isotopes. This process of ingesting C-14 continues as long as the plant or animal remains alive

The natural distribution of C-14 on planet Earth used to be about one part per trillion

The carbon dating method in determining the age of an artifact is based on the amount of radioactive carbon-14 isotopes

The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C-14 during its life, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere. When the organism dies, the ratio of C-14 within its carcass begins to gradually decrease. The rate of decrease is 1/2 the quantity at death every 5,730 years. That is the half-life of C-14 and that is the base on how Carbon Dating operates

The fossil fuel which we are burning are so old they do not have contain any traceable amount of C-14, and the more we use fossil fuel, the more non-C-14 Carbon we pump into the atmosphere

If emissions continue under a business-as-usual scenario, by year 2050 a T-Shirt made in that year (2050) will have a 'Carbon-14 emission' signature as a T-Shirt worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years (if William the Conqueror had a fetish for T-Shirt), for someone using the radiocarbon dating technique

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Islamic Terrorism Hits Chattanooga, TN!-> 2 2

Taco Cowboy writes: Islamic terrorism hits the United States of America, again!

A moslem terrorist, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized citizen from Kuwait, shot and killed 4 US Marines in Chattanooga, TN

The Marines were not able to defend themselves because they were un-armed when they were shot. The reason was that they were not permitted to arm and defend themselves by the order from the government of the United States of America

Link to Original Source

Comment The project was doomed from the start (Score 1) 138 138

I am not saying that the project has no merit

What I am saying is that the project was doomed from the very beginning

The developers of the project may have good intentions unfortunately their approach was totally misguided

If I were the one who wants to do something like that I would just do it, first , making sure that the thing works as advertised, and only then, I show the thing to the world - with source code, and everything

Comment The blame game can only go so far ... (Score 1) 165 165

As one who has spent decades in The Valley I do understand one thing - the blame game can only go so far

And as one who has spent as much time on technology I realize that when a project has become so klunky, so unusable, and so evil, it is best to scrap that thing and start anew

Politics works very similar to programming - what you put into it is what you will get out from - and politics in places such as The United States of America has become so toxic that no amount of 'tweaking' or 'debugging' gonna make any difference

Comment Pao versus Mayer (Score 2) 467 467

I've been in the States for several decades and I've come across plenty of people to be able to see a pattern, or two

I'll start with the Chinese - as I am a Chinese

There are two main types of Chinese in America - one tries very hard to pretend that they are Whites, while another know that no matter how they try they will still be called 'chinks'

Pao belongs to the former, and she sure tries very hard to be amongst the in crowd

I've paid close attention to what Pao has been doing over these few years - and I've noticed that the more she tried the worse she has become

Her first try to become a leader of the 'in crowd', in the corporate world was getting no where, quick - and when the whole thing bombed she wasted no time filing frivirous lawsuits againsther former employer

Her involvement with the extreme leftist circle got her the job at Reddit (as aptly described in one of the above comments as 'an interim') but she fucked that up too

The problem with Pao is that she has mixed with the wrong crowd, and her ambition is way too high for her own ability

Mayer, on the other hand, didn't have to go through what Pao has gone through. Mayer wasn't infected with the 'inferior complex' that many Chinese American are suffering from

As a Chinese in America I can tell you that those who look down on themselves (as Chinese) often live a really misery life. Everyday they had to struggle through the feeling of self-pity, self-hate, and self-denial

For Pao, all I say is that I pity her --- she should try slowing down, and start reflecting on what she has done

Comment It is not entirely McAfee's fault (Score 1) 75 75

I have been in this field for ages. I've dabbled in software as well as in hardware

This sentence says it all

Intel is a traditionally very stable company

In our field, 'traditionally very stable' is another of saying that the thing is stale

Look at Intel, for crying out loud. Has there been anything really interesting / exciting coming out from Intel for the past decades??

Earth is a beta site.