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Comment: Re: Curiously? (Score 1) 205

by davburns (#44977527) Attached to: Nissan's Autonomous Car Now Road Legal In Japan
It seems that state-to-state (or even city-to-city) variations in law pretty much just requires that a lawyer and an engineer sit down and code up the statutes, right? Then do simulator testing? Then the car can download them as needed. I'd bet that autonomous (or semi-autonomous, as I think better describes this one) cars will do a better job at that than out-of-state drivers.

Comment: Make lots of copies (Score 1) 499

by davburns (#37559828) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Long-Term Video/Picture Storage?

None of the originals -- or even 2nd or 3rd generation copies -- of any ancient or classical era literature have survived to the present day. What kept the works from being lost is that there were lots of scribes making lots of copies, and spreading them around. People did this because they thought they were good, so they went to the expense of having a copy made.

For your pictures and videos, even if you're not thinking of keeping them around for thousands of years, do the same thing: Make copies and spread them around to people who want copies. Convert them to different formats, too (Try to keep some high-quality, non-DRM copies for the next format as well). Don't just think in terms of having a monolithic collection (like the Library at Alexandria) either. You want each grandparent, aunt and cousin to be helping you to curate a distributed cloud of record.

The "obvious" tool here would be The Cloud -- but be careful. None of Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, or Facebook really cares about your pictures; they care about the revenue they can make by keeping a relationship with you. They're kindof like ancient scribes. Let them help you with the making of the copies, but don't let any of them (or any subset of them) keep your only copy for very long.

Comment: Re:The Internet in anti-government actions (Score 1) 615

by davburns (#35070698) Attached to: Do Tools Ever 'Die?'


I think that turning off the Internet is pretty much an admission that regime change is inevitable. A legitimate sovereign power can enforce its laws without completely blocking everything.

You might as well suggest that ballot boxes are dead tools because they haven't been used in Egypt in a few decades... but they aren't, and they'll probably be used again very soon.

+ - IANA allocates 2 /8s to APNIC, exausts freepool->

Submitted by davburns
davburns (49244) writes "The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has allocated two /8s of IPv4 address space to APNIC. This also triggers the IANA to allocate the final five /8s — one to each of the RIRs. APNIC suggests that this will hold them for three to six months. After that, sites without IPv6 have something less than full Internet connectivity. Potaroo has a slightly longer estimate of September when RIR Unallocated space is exausted."
Link to Original Source

Retrieving a Stolen Laptop By IP Address Alone? 765

Posted by kdawson
from the schooling-the-law dept.
CorporalKlinger writes "My vehicle was recently burglarized while parked in a university parking lot in a midwestern state. My new Dell laptop was stolen from the car, along with several other items. I have no idea who might have done this, and the police say that without any idea of a suspect, the best they can do is enter the serial number from my laptop in a national stolen goods database in case it is ever pawned or recovered in another investigation. I had Thunderbird set up on the laptop, configured to check my Gmail through IMAP. Luckily, Gmail logs and displays the last 6 or 7 IP addresses that have logged into your account. I immediately stopped using that email account, cleared it out, and left the password unchanged — creating my own honeypot in case the criminal loaded Thunderbird on my laptop. Sure enough, last week Gmail reported 4 accesses via IMAP from the same IP address in a state just to the east of mine. I know that this must be the criminal who took my property, since I've disabled IMAP access to the account on all of my own computers. The municipal police say they can't intervene in the case since university police have jurisdiction over crimes that take place on their land. The university police department — about 10 officers and 2 detectives — don't even know what an IP address is. I even contacted the local FBI office and they said they're 'not interested' in the case despite it now crossing state lines. Am I chasing my own tail here? How can I get someone to pay attention to the fact that all the police need to do is file some RIAA-style paperwork to find the name associated with this IP address and knock on the right door to nab a criminal and recover my property? How can I get my laptop back — and more importantly — stop this criminal in his tracks?"

New Estimates Say Earth's Oceans Smaller Than Once Believed 263

Posted by timothy
from the deeper-than-my-love-for-you dept.
Velcroman1 writes with this snippet from Fox News: "Using lead weights and depth sounders, scientists have made surprisingly accurate estimates of the ocean's depths in the past. Now, with satellites and radar, researchers have pinned down a more accurate answer to that age-old query: How deep is the ocean? And how big? As long ago as 1888, John Murray dangled lead weights from a rope off a ship to calculate the ocean's volume — the product of area and mean ocean depth. Using satellite data, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute set out to more accurately answer that question — and found out that it's 320 million cubic miles. And despite miles-deep abysses like the Mariana Trench, the ocean's mean depth is just 2.29 miles, thanks to the varied and bumpy ocean floor."

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters dept.
DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

Why Programmers Need To Learn Statistics 572

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-they-suck-at-poker dept.
David Gerard writes "Zed Shaw writes an impassioned plea to programmers: Programmers Need To Learn Statistics Or I Will Kill Them All. Quoting: 'I go insane when I hear programmers talking about statistics like they know s*** when it's clearly obvious they do not. I've been studying it for years and years and still don't think I know anything. ... I have taken a bunch of math classes, studied statistics in grad school, learned the R language, and read tons of books on the subject. Despite all of this I'm not at all confident in my understanding of such a vast topic. What I can do is apply the techniques to common problems I encounter at work. My favorite problem to attack with the statistics wolverine is performance measurement and tuning. All of this leads to a curse since none of my colleagues have any clue about what they don't understand. I'll propose a measurement technique and they'll scoff at it. I try to show them how to properly graph a run chart and they're indignant. I question their metrics and they try to back it up with lame attempts at statistical reasoning. I really can't blame them since they were probably told in college that logic and reason are superior to evidence and observation.'"

Which Math For Programmers? 466

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stats-kicked-my-balls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It is no news that the greatest computer scientists and programmers are/were mathematicians. As a kid 'hacking' if-else programs, I was not aware of the importance of math in programming, but few years later, when I read Engines of Logic by Martin Davis I started becoming increasingly more convinced of this. Unfortunately, math doesn't return my love, and prefers me to struggle with it. Now, as the end of the semester approaches, I am faced with a dilemma: What math subject to choose next? I have two choices: 'Discreet structures with graph theory' (discrete math; proofs, sets, algorithms and graphs) on one side, and 'Selected math chapters' (math analysis; vectors, euclidean space, differentials) on the other. I'm scared of the second one because it's said to be harder. But contrary to my own opinion, one assistant told me that it would be more useful for a programmer compared to the first subject. Then again, he's not a programmer. That's why I turn to you for help, fellow slashdotters — any advice?"

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"