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Freeman Dyson Talks Interstellar Travel, Climate Change, and More ( 330

New submitter Tulsa_Time writes with this interview in The Register with Freeman Dyson. They cover a wide range of topics including climate change to which Dyson says Obama has picked the "wrong side". The Reg reports: "The life of physicist Freeman Dyson spans advising bomber command in World War II, working at Princeton University in the States as a contemporary of Einstein, and providing advice to the US government on a wide range of scientific and technical issues. He is a rare public intellectual who writes prolifically for a wide audience. He has also campaigned against nuclear weapons proliferation. At America's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dyson was looking at the climate system before it became a hot political issue, over 25 years ago. He provides a robust foreword to a report written by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cofounder Indur Goklany on CO2 – a report published [PDF] by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)."

Comment Similar to harmonic drive (Score 2) 148

It reminds me of the harmonic drive - a low backlash, high ratio compact gear.

Other comments have noted that a very high ratio would need very strong matariels to transfer significant power.
That's true, but sometimes the point isn't power, the point is to move things over very small distances precisely.

Comment Re:So.. Why? (Score 1) 309

Because they have TRADE SECRETS to protect. Secretes which are both theirs and ones that they have licensed and contractually are bound to protect.

I don't think they are anti-open source, they are just trying to protect their intellectual property. They are still releasing drivers for these devices and although you may not be entitled to see the source, you can still use that open source operating system with that shiny new video card.

I keep receiving mailouts which suggest that US patent rules have changed in recent years such that keeping trade secrets is an increasingly advisable business strategy, instead of acquiring patents.

I don't know if that's true, but it could be part of what's going on.

Comment Re:what's the C in AC stand for? (Score 1) 1089

Do a little searching of the news. You should find references that there are at least 850 registered voters over 150 in New York City.

You mean like this?

s vote fraud common in American politics? Not according to United States District Judge Lynn Adelman, who examined the evidence from Wisconsin and ruled in late April that “virtually no voter impersonation occurs” in the state and that “no evidence suggests that voter-impersonation fraud will become a problem at any time in the foreseeable future.”

Or this?

The Brennan Center’s ongoing examination of voter fraud claims reveal that voter fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud in elections relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators.

Or this?

Investigators tell the paper they don't consider the discrepancy fraudulent; the number of votes attributed to deceased voters is too small and their votes are spread out over more than two dozen elections.

County elections commissioner Bill Biamonte said simple clerical errors make it seem as if the dead are voting. For example, a person voting could accidentally sign their name next to a dead person's name rather than their own in a poll registry book.

In several pages' worth of "ny voter fraud" results on Google, the only ones describing anything like what you describe were shamelessly partisan articles on sites regularly described as "right wing echo chambers" (e.g. Fox News, NY Post, Breitbart, National Review,, etc.).

Comment Re:Watching systemd evolve (Score 1) 765

That is not what I said. I never claimed that rsyslogd cannot cause corruption. I just claimed that there are not-so-rare cases where rsyslogd and alternatives work, while systemd causes corruption.

If that's what you said I'm afraid it wasn't obvious to me. I took "Systemd causes log corruption where sane alternatives do not have such issues" at face value.

In addition, the corruption by rsyslogd is usually what you describe, namely things cut short. With the binary log-format from systemd, the damage is far more extensive, so, yes, rotating them is "right", but having binary logs is deeply wrong in the first place.

I don't know anything about journald's format, but if it suffers 'extensive' damage under challenging conditions that syslog handles fine then it's not an appropriate binary format for this job. That's not a fault of binary (which can be as robust as you want), that's a fault of the wrong kind of binary.

Comment Re:Watching systemd evolve (Score 1) 765

I make no defence of systemd, I only respond to implications that syslog doesn't have its own problems with lost and corrupt messages.

Personally, I would prefer an investigation into why logs are being corrupted like this and a willingness to take it seriously rather than a 'corruption happens, rotate' attitude, but I'm just funny like that.

Good engineering would be to do both, not assume it's to be one or the other. This thread seems to be derived from 'Lennart said if there's corruption we rotate', I didn't see anything factual about the frequency and circumstances of corruption compared between different logging systems. It is a fact in my experience that all systems experience it occasionally.

You may know better than I do about systemd, which I don't currently use.

For Linux systems where the power is cycled often without warning, I have to use other kinds of logging for some things because syslog is too unreliable.

Comment Re:I use it for the extensions.. the price is righ (Score 2) 300

Have you looked at the data Chrome sends around?

I have and I wasn't happy about it when using Chrome for something that should have remained private to the application's users.

I tried every combination of command-line options, including undocumented ones, to turn off reporting to Google, including the options that are for this purpose, and there was still a trickle of reporting things that I didn't want reported.

But that was a few years ago. Maybe Chrome is more privacy respecting now :-)

I don't mind that it talks to Google by default, after all there are some good services if you like them, and phishing protection (for example) is a good thing.
But I was surprised and disappointed that using all the options to turn off reporting didn't turn it all off.

Comment Re:Still My Favorite (Score 1) 300

It could be OpenGL.

I have a Linux laptop where X crashes killing everything, and the system effectively locks up when visiting any page that launches WebGL in _either_ Chrome or Firefox.

That's with the Nvidia driver too.

Strangely, other OpenGL applications don't cause any problems, they even work. Only Chrome and Firefox.

Imho until that sort of thing is fixed I don't consider WebGL is safe to use on a public web page. I reported it, but there didn't seem to be much interest in fixing it. "Oh it works for most people".

Comment Re:Watching systemd evolve (Score 4, Informative) 765

Systemd causes log corruption where sane alternatives do not have such issues. Ever wonder why?

Utterly false. The idea that syslog doesn't have corruption is false. I have seen syslog corruption many times. Whether it's truncated lines, merged lines because half of an old truncated line has a new message appended, blocks of 4k zero bytes, or single bit or single character errors.

In particular if a syslog file is truncated mid-line by either disk full, system failure, filesystem bug or drive bug, the best thing syslog could do when it resumes after boot would be to rotate log files at that point, instead of appending to the truncated file.

These are quite rare, but not so rare that I haven't seen them maybe 50 times in 20 years in Linux syslog files.

I have no opinion on systemd particularly, but with regard to this single thing of rotating logs on detecting corruption, instead of attempting to patch the corruption or continue appending to the file, I think the right decision was made, from the perspective of an admin wanting the best available information after a problem.

Comment Re:um what? (Score 1) 255

That's good advice.

But there are plenty of things on most networks that aren't critical servers or devices you have the luxury to control and plan.

If you regard security patches as essential only for those things, you're doing defense in depth wrong.

Heartbleed affected clients too, and several things that aren't internet facing services.

Comment Re:um what? (Score 2) 255

Or in the case of Microsoft, discontinue support for the still widely-used Windows XP. Find a vulnerability in that? Too damn bad. It'll never get fixed.

Like when Ubuntu Server 13.04 didn't get a fix for Heartbleed because they discontinued support after 1 year despite the criticality of the bug and the servers seeing considerable use? All the official replies were "it's your own fault" and "change distro version immediately". Which you often can't do quickly. No users really expected 12.04, 12.10, 13.10 and 14.04 to get the fix while 13.04 in the middle was left out - except people who read the really, really fine print and took it seriously. Shipping the security fix would have been trivial and saved a lot of people a lot of work; they just refused on principle.

It was probably the first time many users found out Canonical had changed the support duration (that's why 12.10 got the fix).

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison