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Comment: Re:people charge of traffic lights are engineers b (Score 2) 143

by bored_engineer (#47731233) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights
Unfortunately, those sensors sometimes fail. With no "call," then one direction may never get a green light. (Of course, if this happens, then the tech will call an engineer to get a timing plan, then go out and reprogram the faulty controller, if it's not networked.) Freezing conditions, et c. can ruin in-ground loop sensors, and optical sensors can become befuddled by fog, snow and sun. Radar-based sensors are becoming more common, and because they're mounted on an arm or on a pole, they can be replaced more easily than the inductive loops.

Comment: Re:Don't emergency vehicles use this? (Score 2) 143

by bored_engineer (#47731021) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

It's called signal preemption. Opticom is IR-based, and in fairly common use. There are several other systems available for signal preemption, including:

  • --GPS-equipped vehicles communicate with a control center, which does the preemption,
  • --audio-based, which react (hopefully) to a siren,
  • --rf-based.

There may be others, but these are the ones I'm familiar with.

Comment: Re:This is ridiculous. (Score 1) 146

by bored_engineer (#47715455) Attached to: Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

Article four, clause 1 includes the text:

the right of a citizen of one State to pass through, or to reside in any other State, for purposes of trade, agriculture, professional pursuits, or otherwise;

This is the basis for the conclusion that we have a specifically protected right to travel.

Comment: nuisance fee (Score 4, Interesting) 376

by bored_engineer (#47699489) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

The trouble is, that this is just a nuisance fee. I can pay $20 out-of-pocket to make a bogus "piracy claim" go away. I'm sure, though, that they'll include contractual language asserting my guilt, even though I've never downloaded from The Pirate Bay or its ilk. Once they've confirmed that I'm willing to pay, how many times will they come back? The article mentioned settling accounts exceeding $300 for multiple "infringements."

Also, how are they going to convince my ISP, with whom I have both an ongoing relationship and competitive alternatives, to do this?

Comment: Re:Seems strange. (Score 2) 151

by bored_engineer (#47324941) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

. . .except maybe inuit, since there isn't much to 'gather' on the ice. . .

They didn't really live on the ice. It was just a temporary place to use while hunting. While the Inupiat and Yupik (as well as other Inuit people) obtained (and many still do) most of their calories from hunting, they still gathered and preserved tubers, lichen, seaweed and berries. I don't think any Inuit cultivated crops, but some did practice animal husbandry.

Comment: Re:Is God falsifiable? (Score 1) 649

by bored_engineer (#47269057) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

Interestingly, my father-in-law, an orthodox sephardic rabbi, insists that there is no contradiction. (I love this guy. I've never met anybody, except my wife, more capable of mental flexibility while maintaining his dogma.) He asserts (very briefly) that the timeline before the seventh "day" is God's, while the timeline thereafter is ours. He also asserts that our understanding of the universe is incomplete, and we *need* science to improve our understanding, and that accepting scientific knowledge about our world and universe will lead to a better understanding of God. (Or, our scientific tools are another of His ways to help us understand the Universe more completely.)

Please note that this is a two-sentence distillation of 20 years' intermittent discussion between him and me; much is lost in my delivery.

Comment: Re:Redefine hunting. (Score 1) 397

by bored_engineer (#46564205) Attached to: Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

. . .have a pretty powerful drone to have the kind of range. . .

I live outside Fairbanks, AK. In the outdoor section of the local paper late last fall, was an unconfirmed mention that "a friend" of the editor was using a fixed-wing drone and FPV setup to locate moose. I don't recall any mention of success.

Comment: Re:Kentucky Fried Dodo (Score 1) 168

I had a hard time finding a translation "walgvogel" other than as dodo, so I'll put it here for others. From An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language I discovered that:

Walgvogel in Dutch means "nauseous bird;" it seems that the sailors killed them so easily that they were surfeited of them.

I also discovered that both dodo and booby (the bird) are probably portuguese words.

Comment: Re:Turn off iMessages ? (Score 1) 179

They certainly can't say you're not allowed to have a data-capable phone which doesn't have a data plan.

Is that right? I thought that their networks are sufficiently under their control to allow them to exclude whomever (and whatever) they want. Am I wrong?

Perhaps a carrier like T-Mobile ignores out-of-defined-use of smartphones, but do other carriers?

Too much is not enough.