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Comment: Let's call an investigation! (Score 2) 382

by bwalzer (#42581387) Attached to: MIT Investigating School's Role In Swartz Suicide
This is classic institutional behaviour. Something happened that could in some way cause the administration to look bad? Do something to delay outside scrutiny until public interest moves elsewhere. Immediately announce that a really really serious investigation is already underway. The result is unimportant. The actual goal is to prevent outsiders from poking around in your kingdom and causing blame.

Is there actually any question as to exactly what MIT did? What new questions remain to be answered?

Comment: Iron Dome didn't really work this time either... (Score 1) 377

by bwalzer (#42065919) Attached to: Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel
People in Israel still had to go to the shelters on a regular basis. Some of the rockets got through. The system would of been successful if everyone could of just sat and watched the war on TV.

The Palestinians don't need to actually hurt or kill anyone with their rockets. To achieve a positive political end all they need to do is create a situation where people in Israel can never be completely safe. This serves as an argument against the current policy where the Palestinians are being forced into a small area and then walled in. The rockets mean that even if the policy is taken to it's logical conclusion it will never bring total security.

Comment: Air Force One (Score 1) 60

If you wanted to know where Air Force One was wouldn't it be easier just to turn on the news?

Knowing where an aircraft is doesn't really help you if it is at 30000 feet. Anyone trying to assassinate the president will wait until it is approaching or leaving an airport before letting off the shoulder fired missile.

Comment: Re:An optical question... (Score 1) 529

by bwalzer (#39923111) Attached to: Philips Releases 100W-Equivalent LED Bulb, Runs On Just 23 Watts
RGB LED lighting is made. Colour matching is a bother but getting the right balance with the phosphor is hard as well. One problem is that RGB LED lights can not pass the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) test at all. It turns out that there is a colour used in the test that just won't work with the wavelengths used in such lamps (it is apparently just a bunch of colour blobs printed on paper). The RGB lighting people feel that the test is not useful for comparing phosphor and RGB lights.

Some supporters of RGB LEDs managed to get a group of people to prefer the RGB based lights in a test so all hope is not lost...

Comment: Re:Other Motivation? (Score 5, Informative) 101

Er, no. There is an actual technical issue here. If you make a passive filter with sharper skirts you end up with more loss to the desired signal. GPS (like all things that transmit from space) is quite power limited. As a result the signal is just above the noise (pretty much all downlinks). So just adding a better filter in front of the receiver will significantly degrade things.

There is stuff that you can do here but it would be expensive and possibly power hungry (some GPS receivers have to run off of batteries).

Normally this issue is resolved by placing guard bands around downlink bands where terrestrial transmitters are not allowed. By not doing this in a reasonable way, the FCC has simply messed up.

Comment: Re:With an average high of about 70 degrees... (Score 1) 97

by bwalzer (#38082070) Attached to: Mongolia Wants To Use Artificial Glaciers To Cool Capital
It is hard to make windows that both insulate really well and provide a large apeture when open. My house (which coincidentally is also in Winnipeg) has laughably small window openings. Modern insulated windows are better but it is still a tradeoff. The uninsulated windows that originally came with the house were much better in the summer than anything I would install today (triple pane R5+).

I can overcome this to some extent with a powerful fan but I have to live with a lot of noise at night...

Comment: Yawn... (Score 1) 129

by bwalzer (#37480140) Attached to: Alcatel-Lucent Boosts Copper Broadband To 100Mbps
VDSL2 only gives good speed if you have short high quality loops to a cabinet. You end up with lots of cabinets attached to a fiber network. All the effort to achieve this is better spent extending the fiber the last little bit to the building which allows for fewer and better placed cabinets. As a result VDSL2 is only good for things like apartment buildings with no provision to add fiber. It is more or less a stillborn technology.

Comment: Re:I'm Confused (Score 1) 182

by bwalzer (#36499706) Attached to: Bittorrent and uTorrent Sued For Patent Violations

Under US patent law, you can be liable for infringement for using the claimed invention (like the individual users), or for making or selling the invention, like the BitTorrent company.

That is interesting in that it seems to fail basic philosophy. A description of something is not the thing itself.

Whatever. I doubt I will ever be able to think like a lawyer. That might not be a bad thing...

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