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Comment: Re:Not buying it (Score 5, Informative) 457

by MBCook (#44381457) Attached to: After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

No one is being killed by the 5v on the USB bus. The problem is the counterfeit chargers are often poorly designed and can fail in a way that shorts the USB cable to the AC power.

There was an excellent teardown & analysis of a cheap charger last year that pointed out serious safety issues.

Comment: Re:No Cures, just more drugs, drugs drugs... (Score 1) 90

The funny part is back in the old days of medicine doctors and researchers were interested in finding cures and creating cures. Today it is all about making a profit and continuing to make profits.

Yeah, greed is totally a modern invention brought about by The Evil Corporations. I think my eyes just rolled a full 360*.

Comment: Re:Soon we'll be able to model coal (Score 2) 90

All you'll do is generate a huge amount of data that adds nothing of value, because the data you're modelling from comes from the tiny pieces of data you already now, no *new* insight is gained from taking that data and modelling more copies of it.

Much like there's no point building weather prediction computers, since all we do is put data we already have from weather stations into them, and no point building FEM simulators for structural engineering since we already know how a single girder acts under stress.

Or... could it be that multiple simple elements can interact in ways that are not meaningfully predicted by an understanding of individual elements? NAW!

Comment: Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (Score 1) 212

by MBCook (#43879723) Attached to: DRM: How Book Publishers Failed To Learn From the Music Industry

Recently they added the ability to also buy the audiobook version and the app *syncs your place* so you can switch between the two formats. That's a pretty amazing idea.

But the app doesn't help the author. He said he had a Nook. Thanks to the recent firmware update people with a Nook Color or Nook HD can get then app, but if you have the eInk based "normal" Nook, you're just out of luck.

As DRM goes, Amazon has done an excellent job of reducing annoyance. They don't try that "you can only read this book on 2 devices, ever." stuff that we've seen elsewhere. But I get the feeling the only reason Amazon's DRM is so unobtrusive is they were so overwhelmingly powerful they could force publishers into a relatively consumer friendly system. We're lucky Amazon cares more about selling books than trying to wring money out of Kindle hardware sales, or the DRM would have been a lot worse.

Comment: Re:Neither will... (Score 1) 327

Oh, yes, wanting the kids you raise to be your own offspring can only be the result of a totem pole of arrogance up the ass. There's absolutely no biological or instinctual reason people might feel that way.

Zealots like you are the worst enemy of your cause, whatever unlucky cause you inflict yourselves upon.

Comment: Re:Wind (Score 1) 551

by MBCook (#43737591) Attached to: A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale

The video says that the wind is manually entered by the operator. I find it odd that it shows the temperature and barometric pressure. Is that really useful information when you're lining up a shot?

After watching their little YouTube clip, I wonder how useful this is. Placing the aiming dot seems really similar to aiming in the first place, I guess the only difference is you don't have to compensate for gravity/etc. I found it conspicuous that they didn't show their simulated target moving in the video. Can this only help with a stationary target? It seems like it would screw up your aiming if half the time you had to do it manually (compensating for everything) and half the time the system handled it.

Comment: Good luck with that (Score 2) 405

by The Master Control P (#43662595) Attached to: The public sector in direst need of reform is ...
The SCOTUS opened the doors to unlimited big-money influence in its Citizens United decision, and when given an opportunity to acknowledge that this was one of the worst decisions in SCOTUS history when a Montana law came before it by appeals, they refused 9-0.

Until the SCOTUS has turned over almost entirely during an era of greater social responsibility, you can look forward to any meaningful attempt to stop the influence of big money to be shot down under the banner of CU. Or the Constitution is amended. Which, given that outright supermajorities of both Democrats and Republicans oppose it - the only similarly near-unanimous agreement I can think of is the declaration of war after Pearl Harbor - is not actually terribly far fetched.

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 1) 367

by The Master Control P (#43635971) Attached to: Observed Atmospheric CO2 Hits 400 Parts Per Million
Because "weather" is not "climate."

Weather is what it is out right now. Feel free to dig through graphs of past temperature records, and you can satisfy yourself that no day of the year will have the same temperature, humidity, rainfall, or anything graph on two successive years. Climate is the time-averaged expectation value and ignores anything on shorter than several year scales at the very least.

It's not even that simple, as there are many characteristic timescales involved in the climate, not just one. For example, the pacific decadal oscillation and atlantic mean oscillation occur over decade timescales and have an enormous impact on rainfall levels throughout north america.

Comment: Re: Yawn (Score 0) 367

by The Master Control P (#43635911) Attached to: Observed Atmospheric CO2 Hits 400 Parts Per Million
There's two big things that used to come out of fossil fuel smokestacks: CO2 and aerosols. CO2 increases the atmosphere's opacity to mid IR (thereby trapping heat), while aerosols scatter light in the upper atmosphere and generally prevent light/heat from reaching the surface.

Pollution controls have gone a long way towards reducing aerosol emissions, but CO2 continues to be dumped freely. So we see slight warming before the mid 20th century, then a levelling off, now expect faster warming.

Comment: Re:I've been designing/building a 3D printer for (Score 1) 348

by The Master Control P (#43572649) Attached to: What's Holding Back 3-D Printing

Open source is a nice idea, but I'll take thoroughly documented, reliable PIC hardware and IDE over an Arduino any day of the week, but I'm getting off topic...

Just like to say, there's nothing inherently wrong with the Arduino's hardware (the fact that a stm32f4-series device of comparable price is about two orders of magnitude more powerful notwithstanding). But their silly "hide the reality of microcontrollers" IDE and most-C language made me intensely stabby. I guess what I'm saying is, get an stm32. Or msp430 if you're ok writing in windows only.

Comment: Re:Brute Force (Score 2) 218

by The Master Control P (#43533325) Attached to: Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years
In defense of "bury it," the sarcophagus at Chernobyl was built using late-Soviet era materials, under unbelievable constraints of time and construction difficulty. You try "doing it right" when your welders can literally work for about 15 minutes before they have to leave and never return, building structurally sound walls to support your dome is impossible, and all while knowing that every single vehicle and piece of equipment you bring in will have to be abandoned and left to rot because it's now Contaminated.

Any sarcophagus built at Fukushima will be as if construction at Chernobyl were to begin today: "This area is somewhat contaminated. Mind your dosimeter, wear your protective clothes, take a shower after every shift and don't lick your tools and you'll be fine. Oh, and smile for the tourists."

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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