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Comment: Re:"Contrary to what we were sometimes taught" (Score 0) 217

We were taught that in high school physics where I grew up too(the US, though admittedly a richer part of the US). The weaker gravity is the reason space missions are launched from places that are close to the equator, Florida in the US and French Guiana for the ESA. Though granted the reason for this discrepancy(distance to the center of the earth is greater near the equator due to the earth not being a perfect sphere) is different than the reasons for this most recent change

Comment: Re:About fucking time. (Score 4, Interesting) 85

by antifoidulus (#48032161) Attached to: Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize
Well, speaking from experience in the Japan 2011 earthquake, you are kind of on the mark kind of not.

b) it won't really work in major natural disasters, because, well in order to maintain the density of devices, a large number of people need to have continuous access to power, which is unlikely if a disaster is so severe that communication infrastructure is offline (I imagine celltowers are less fragile than power lines).

After power was turned back on, I, and a lot of other people, went out and bought a hand-cranked USB charger(also doubles as a flashlight and radio, a handy device to be sure). It doesn't take that much energy to power a cell phone.
As for the tower issue, the towers where I was at(Tsukuba, which is about halfway between Tokyo and Fukushima) all kept power even after the quake but since so many people were using their phones to either call people or check the news it was almost impossible to get through(the bandwidth of the tower may have very well been degraded as well). A mesh network *might* have been useful there, but it would have had to have enough density to work. Really the biggest problem with using a mesh network for disaster is that anywhere you have enough people to support a mesh network, you could probably just as easily use a bullhorn to communicate.

Comment: Player Piano by Vonnegut (Score 1) 139

by antifoidulus (#47978777) Attached to: Sci-fi Predictions, True and False (Video 1)
Kurt Vonnegut had a chillingly accurate prediction of the economy of the future in "Player Piano". While of course it contains the standard 1950s era scifi references to huge computers filled with vaccum tubes and it doesn't accurately predict what will happen with sending work abroad but his point about what we do with the now "useless" people is spot on.

In the book you are either one of the lucky few who have the skills and opportunity to become an engineer or else you have meaningless work found for you, either in the army or one of a large number of mostly pointless public works projects. This is eerily similar to the economies of a lot of the rich world, especially the U.S. while the rabid flag waivers don't want to admit it, most soldiers in the U.S. army today are only there because becoming a soldier was their only real chance to live something resembling a middle class lifestyle. We also have huge numbers of menial jobs whose only real purpose is to create busy work selling chinese made goods to each other. I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to see the downside of the "maker economy"

Comment: Re:US investors don't have shares in Alibaba ... (Score 2) 122

by antifoidulus (#47961623) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?
My understanding is that Chinese law doesn't allow foreigners to own a Chinese strategic asset.

Yes, which is exactly why China's campaign to make the yuan a major world currency is laughable. People aren't going to buy a currency just so they can buy consumer goods from you, they are going to want to invest it, and current Chinese law pretty much makes that impossible to do in any sort of meaningful fashion. China is trying to "have it's cake and eat it to" by throwing it's weight around like one of the big boys but still being ultra-protectionist like a developing economy. Sooner or later this is going to catch up with them, and it's not going to be pretty.

Comment: Re:correlation vs causality (Score 1) 270

by antifoidulus (#47924505) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class
Um, COLBOL is probably one of the few languages out there that DOESNT have a dedicated fan-boy following. Seriously, watch this thread and see which of the following statements gets the most hate:

Ruby, as an untyped language, is incredibly slow and thus should not be used for large scale systems

Node.js encourages unmaintainable code because of "callback hell" and prototype inheritance is an abomination

Java is way too verbose to be useful, and the JVMs gc sucks

Python is a fractured environment and should only be used for small-scale projects

COBOL is a dinosaur language that is only useful for maintaining crufty legacy code.

Comment: Re:As much as I hate Apple (Score 1) 187

by antifoidulus (#47798705) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet
You are also oh so conveniently ignoring one tiny little fact, year over year DEVICE SALES ARE GOING UP! Yes, market share is going down, but that's largely because the smartphone market has been growing so fast, Apple's share of it hasn't been growing as fast as the market has. You want to know whose sales have been dipping recently? Samsungs!. But don't let those silly facts get in the way of your baseless ranting!

Comment: Re:I can't believe we're afraid of these assholes (Score 4, Insightful) 542

by antifoidulus (#47798659) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"
Which is part of what drives the radicalism of the Islamic clerics. They have a perverse incentive for keeping things as fundamentalist as possible. They look to what happened to the clergy in Europe, who in roughly a 100 year span went from being basically on top of the social hierarchy to near the bottom, and are scared it might happen to them. In their eyes the situation in Europe was brought around both by the clergy actively supporting reform, but perhaps even more importantly the clergy not fighting back against reform hard enough(read cutting the heads off of reformers). In a society where your social status not only dictates the amount of property you have, but also your access to women, it's not surprising that the Islamic clergy are scared shitless of modernization and are doing everything in their power to stop it.

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