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Comment: a couple of points (Score 3, Interesting) 164

1) First, the silliness with bill names really needs to stop; one imagines a giglling kindergartner sitting "playing" Congressman typing out stupid acronyms while lobbyists sit in the background actually crafting the legislative language.

2) Then again, there are so many vagaries in the language of this bill, it's almost comical that it would be presented as legislation.
First, the bill keeps referring to "asteroids in outer space" - WTF is "outer space" precisely? Anything ex-atmospheric? Above the Karman Line? Anything in orbit? Anything outside lunar orbit?
Second, I believe even astronomers are having Platonic debates over the precise meanings of such terms as 'asteroid', 'planetoid', and 'moon'. Heck, in wiki's intro to "asteroid", the bulk of the opening paragraph sort of dissolves asymptotically trying to grab specifics. This document constantly references asteroids without bothering even to define what they're talking about. It might include Ceres or Vesta, but could it include the Moon? How about Phobos? Pluto?

Of course, most people have comfortable working definitions of the above, insofar as they care. But when the first rover starts drilling into the Moon, or Mars, or heck, taps into an agglomeration of someone else's space junk asserting it's "space debris that's formed an asteroid" these sorts of vagaries cause massive legal issues.

More evidence - as if the US public needed it - that our congressvermin are just idiots.

Comment: Orwellian (Score 1) 104

by argStyopa (#47430967) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Frankly, I have to say that this is even more Orwellian and pernicious than government-backed spying.

The idea that an ostensibly-objective source in the private sector - simply by the good fortune of it's overwhelming market power - can ensure that we all have happythink by subtly 'managing' the news feeds... is terrifying.

Comment: Re:Wait a minute... (Score 4, Insightful) 153

by Shakrai (#47430023) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

I don't know about Acetaminophen, but I've heard compelling cases made that if Aspirin were discovered today it would be a prescription drug. Think of the side effects, the modern day "think of the children!" attitude, and pathetic need of the body politic to feel "safe" from any and everything.

Comment: Re:There's already a Tesla museum, in Belgrade. (Score 1) 76

It wouldn't have done what he envisioned, but it could well have proven to be the worlds' first VLF radio station.

Marconi already had VLF working, sort of, before Wardenclyffe was built. Marconi's R&D approach was to transmit across short distances, test and improve the hardware, then try longer distances. Over a few years, he slowly worked up from across the room to across the ocean. Less grandiose than Tesla, but more successful.

Tesla is said to have assisted in the construction of the 1913 Telefunken VLF station on Long Island, but the IRE Journal article doesn't mention him. Telefunken built a VLF antenna much the way one would be built today - a simple guyed tower resting on an insulator base, with wires spreading outward to a circle of poles. They only used 35KW, instead of Tesla's 200KW. The station communicated with a similar station in Germany.

Comment: There's already a Tesla museum, in Belgrade. (Score 4, Informative) 76

by Animats (#47428151) Attached to: The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

The Tesla Museum already exists.

Tesla did great work with AC generators and motors. Most common AC motors today still use approaches he invented. That's his legacy.

Wardenclyffe, though, is a monument to failure. From his patents, you can read how he thought it would work. He thought the ionosphere was a conductive layer. The Wardenclyffe tower was supposed to punch power through the atmosphere to that conductive layer, so that signals and maybe power could be received elsewhere.

The ionosphere does not work that way. Tesla's tower would have done nothing useful, although with 200KW at 20KHz going in, it probably could have lit up fluorescent lamps and gas tubes for some distance around. Since the location is now surrounded by a housing subdivision, rebuilding the tower and powering it up would annoy the neighbors.

Comment: why? (Score 2) 468

a) most peoples' computers are making so much noise (fans, etc) that the only way you're going to have a chance to hear the difference will be with $1000 totally-closed cup headphones - do a lot of people have them on their computer?
b) otherwise, even if their PC is silent, their speakers are usually craptastic 3" logitechs, *maybe* with a cheapo sub buried in the shag carpet (ie a somewhat sub-optimal listening environment)
c) finally, last time I checked *most* people are listening to relatively crappy lossy mp3s ripped from youtube videos. It really, truly, doesn't matter how lovely a board you're sending crap sound data through: GIGO.

So I guess these boards are still relevant to the microniche of audiophile enthusiasts that have a nearly-silent PC and hardware, floor-scale speakers connected to their system (or 4-digit $ headphones), and who listen to audiophile-caliber audio....meaning nearly nobody.

That might explain why Creative Labs stock ($36.63 in March 2000) is $1.78 today.

Comment: Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (Score 1) 211

by cayenne8 (#47428007) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

Said someone about every president since WW2. You guys elected him twice, collectively you fucking love the guy.

Hey, don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!!


But seriously, I used to think Carter was the worst, and I wasn't terribly happy with Bush Jr., but Obama, ugh.

I used to think it was just his agenda, but I'm starting to think it is more fully explained by incompetence. I used to joke and ask my friends that voted for him "How's that Hope and Change" working out for you.

Not anymore, I'm frankly a bit scared about the US and the world. He has no answer and seems to really not even care about:

Problems in Libya, Syria (draws imaginary line in sand when not going to back it up), ISIS coming in from Syria, Our southern US border currently being overrun by illegals, when he actually COULD with a swipe of his pen, fix the problem there, or at least send national guard and militarize the damned thing, economy still in the toilet, etc.

He's a great speaker with a teleprompter and good politician (for getting elected), but I think as far as presidency, he's in way over his head and I'm frankly worried about the state of the world under his last 2x years.

Comment: Self-reported data will never work. (Score 1) 129

by Animats (#47427143) Attached to: How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

See my 2010 paper "'Places' spam - the new front in the spam wars." As I wrote back then, "The two phases of spamming Google Places are the insertion of fake business locations and the creation of fake reviews. Both are embarrassingly easy." That hasn't changed.

Google doesn't fix this 4-year-old problem because Google makes money from bad search results. If search results take you directly to the business selling whatever it is you want, Google makes no money. If you're detoured through some Demand Media content farm, Google makes ad revenue. If you get fed up with being sent to ad-choked sites and click on a Google ad, Google makes money. Organic search that sucks is a fundamental part of Google's business model.

Technically, it's straightforward to fix this. Business data has to be checked against sources businesses can't easily manipulate, such as business credit rating companies. A business that reports fake store locations to Dun & Bradstreet or Experian will soon have a very low credit rating.

Bing or Yahoo could beat Google at search quality. They have the same spam problem, but it doesn't make them money. That's because Google has most of the third-party advertising market. Web spam on Bing drives traffic mostly to sites with Google ads, not Bing ads.

The real search engines are Google, Bing, Baidu (China) and Yandex (Russia). Everybody else, including Yahoo, is a reseller. Yandex has been doing some interesting stuff lately with linkless search ranking, and Baidu just opened a Silicon Valley office.

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer announced last January that Yahoo was getting back into search. (They've been reselling Bing since 2009.) That appears to have been a bluff to get a better deal from Microsoft. There's no indication of Yahoo actually building a search engine. No relevant job ads, no data center buildout, no increased crawling by Yahoo bots, no high-profile hires, no buzz in Silicon Valley.

Bing ought to be doing better than it is, but they're reported to have management problems. Every year, there's new top management at Bing, and it doesn't help.

Comment: Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (Score -1, Flamebait) 211

by cayenne8 (#47426877) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

Have you stopped to think that it might just be that he's a fucking idiot?

I mean, so far, in the polls, he's already being rated as the worst president since WW2. And he had some serious "talent" to beat out in that contest, you know?

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.