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Comment: Re:Actually (Score 1) 580

by crunchygranola (#48627291) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Here is the relevant part of the exchange:

QUESTION: What kind of probability do you think exists that they currently have a nuclear device?

GEORGE TENET: I think we've unclassified the fact that they probably have one or two plutonium-based devices today.

QUESTION: And how about their, they fired missiles over Japan, what is the likelihood that they currently have a missile capable of hitting the west coast of the United States?

GEORGE TENET: I think the declassified answer is yes, they can do that.

QUESTION: So in all likelihood they have nuclear warheads and an ability to deliver them to the west coast of the United States. Obviously very, very troubling.

LEIGH SALES: Mr Tenet didn’t elaborate further, although US officials admit the ballistic missiles haven't been flight tested, which raises questions about how effective they would be.

Tenet confirmed that North Korean has a missile that could hit the West Coast. He did not confirm that it had a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead. The fact that North Korea has placed a payload in orbit indisputably shows that they have a launching system with intercontinental range that can deliver some sort of payload, so Tenet's comment is hardly surprising. But a limited technical capability does not an effective weapon systems make.

Comment: Re:yea but (Score 3, Insightful) 580

by crunchygranola (#48627197) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

The theaters are contractually obligated to play the movie. Sony can claim publicly that they don't have to play the movie, but those legally binding contracts are still in place, and remember, the theaters still want to play the movie. That's cash in their pockets and the threats are likely fake. So they show the movie anyways, and if a real attack happens, the first thing they are going to do is point at that contract and say Sony forced them to show the movie, they had no choice. Viola, Sony is now liable.

First up. Sony voluntarily suspended enforcement of the contract clause. The theaters would have real difficulty arguing in the court that "Sony forced them to show the movie" when Sony publicly declared they did not.

Second. Are you trained in contract law? I would be quite surprised to learn that if both parties in a normal two-party contract agree to temporarily suspend enforcement of one clause in a contract they are "breaking the law" in some way. What would be the aggrieved party that would bring suit? Who would have standing? Or are you saying this a criminal act? Cite a statute please?

Comment: Re: Never attribute to stupidity (Score 1) 580

by crunchygranola (#48626979) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

NK is just a puppet state of China.

More like a case of China with Alien Hand Syndrome. North Korea is geographically an appendage to China, a fact that cannot be changed. The problem for China is that the Kim dynasty runs North Korea and is not going away, it has no choice to deal with it. China supports the North Korean regime, but the regime knows how to manipulated the relationship to its own ends. All of the other options are much worse for China, outright collapse of the state and attending flood of desperate refugees into China, etc.; loss of a buffer state with a U.S. ally, etc.

The U.S. has had lots of experience itself with unruly client states that learned to yank the "puppet master's" strings and make him jerk.

Comment: Re:I for one (Score 5, Informative) 121

by crunchygranola (#48569201) Attached to: NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

Those aren't your tax dollars. Our country spends twice what it takes in.

According to this Conservative-run Federal budget reference website the current Federal budget deficit is $483 billion on a $3504 billion dollar budget, or 13.8%. That is a far cry for "twice what it takes in". Smart to remain anonymous, you would not want to reveal your math skills to those who know you.

That notorious Marxist rag The Wall Street Journal concurs.

Comment: Re:Watson is a scientist (Score 5, Informative) 235

by crunchygranola (#48566947) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

I was unaware that Watson had been "blacklisted". After 39 years as Chancellor of CSHL, a good long run, which is largely a public relations function - he did show himself unsuited to continue filling that role due to his 'unfiltered' public expressed opinions (which had been occurring for quite awhile, even when he was not-so-old). Still his punishment was 'promotion' to Chancellor Emeritus with a perpetual $375,000 salary, still with a free mansion to live in. Few 'blacklisted' people are treated so favorably.

He is still knocking down $30,000-$75,000 minimum fees for public appearances. Pretty good money for someone who is 'blacklisted'.

What You really seem to be saying is that he should be above criticism, and not accountable for anything he says. I disagree.

Comment: Re:It will empower the few (Score 2) 417

by crunchygranola (#48566271) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

It will empower the few - to put the majority of people out of work.

Seriously - we are in the early phase of the Cybernetic Revolution - whether you call it "AI" or not - that will cannibalize jobs like the First Industrial Revolution did. If you think automation has already done that, you ain't seen nothing. Between ubiquitous, cheap computing power, an always-connected-world, and robotics whole classes of jobs that still exist are going to be automated away over the next quarter century.

Comment: Re:Oh Carbon (Score 1) 80

by crunchygranola (#48559019) Attached to: High Temperature Superconductivity Record Smashed By Sulfur Hydride

A rapid quench would destroy any magnet, sure, but a sacrificial safe quench system could probably be designed to handle this. Think of composite flywheels that can disintegrate safely. SCES can use conventional metal sacrificial busbar to dump energy into, kinetic energy absorbing materials, a strong case, etc.

Comment: Re:I am no economist, but as a geek ... (Score 1) 205

by crunchygranola (#48553221) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

Look at just the last few years of Linux at all the guts being just ripped out rather than building on what was there, Pulse, KDE 4, Gnome 3, unity, systemd, why do you think every time it looks like Linux is gonna become mature and stable that some major subsystem gets ripped out and goes back to square 1?

You hit the nail right on the head. It seems the Great New Thing in Linux is something for which there is no evident need, and often is undesirable in many ways, yet the desktop - even with a straight default install - is glitchy and rough in ways Windows (as much as I detest it) is not. The polish just does not go where it is needed. Who wants to detail someone else's car?

Comment: Re:Hope and change (Score 2) 83

by crunchygranola (#48552165) Attached to: FISA Court Extends Section 215 Bulk Surveillance For 90 Days

a million citizens revolting against their government with hand guns and rifles isn't even going to make a dent

Don't forget the great lesson of the Soviet debacle: all governments ultimately depend on the consent of the people. When that consent is withdrawn, the government collapses.

The great lesson of Romania is that a government shouldn't count on its armed forces to violently suppress their own people.


Quite so. And in both cases the possession of small arms was utterly irrelevant. They played no role at all in the collapse of tyranny. Why do Americans suppose that they are less capable of peaceful overthrow than Russians or Romanians?

Comment: Re:Depreciation (Score 1) 201

by crunchygranola (#48544729) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Medal Sells For $4.1 Million

Who in their right mind would pay 4 million for *his* Nobel prize? I know pure gold doesn't really tarnish... but that thing is tarnished.

Upthread the interesting theory is offered that the fix was in, and this was a way for rich fan of Watson's unsavory remarks to kick some money his way. The buyer was anonymous of course. It would be interesting to learn if the medal is eventually loaned back to him, or to CSHL, for display only of course.

Comment: Re:Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 461

by crunchygranola (#48532641) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

You should pay attention to this technology: It might be able to eliminate the need for a generator completely.

All this material does is passively cool through radiation. If you want your house cooled all the time, and have no other need for electricity at all, then hafnium-shingling your house may work out for you.

Comment: Re: only an idiot would buy services from comcast (Score 4, Informative) 114

by crunchygranola (#48519421) Attached to: Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

i'm very wrong because your father has a very affordable and very usable service available to him?


AC industry shill. Color me surprised.

$180/month for a 3mbs link is a monthly charge of $60 per mbps. The EU average for this service unit is $3.50. Also a 2 GB monthly cap is "very usable"?! The average home use consumes about 25 GB of bandwidth monthly, the average mobile phone user is hitting 2 GB/month right now.

So the AC Shill, paying 17 times a competitive world service rate for only 8% of what a typical American consumes in bandwidth is "very affordable and very usable". But to anyone not taking industry astro-turf cash it is a rip-off.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz