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Comment: Interesting thing about a fusion rocket... (Score 2) 171

by davebooth (#43370023) Attached to: Fusion Rocket Could Take Us To Mars
So suppose this works as described and we have a functional method of initiating pulses of controlled fusion in a rocket engine that when vented out the nozzle produces usable thrust. Let's make that nozzle thinner and a bit more tubular than conical - a few hefty magnets around to to keep all that fusing stuff in a nice thin stream. While we're at it lets anchor the other end of the rocket to something HUGE that the thrust isn't going to have a prayer of shifting. Except here we call it recoil, because if you have made a fusion rocket you have also created the other staple of grand space opera... A plasma cannon :)

Comment: Re:I have made the jump... (Score 1) 181

by davebooth (#40439293) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Jobs For Geeks In the Business/Financial World?
I too have made the jump into that industry, and I would tell the OP that the key is looking for a position within it that needs the knowledge and analytical thought skills they have already developed. The finance industry is, in many ways, somewhat balkanized - there are developers and architects who speak a totally different language to bankers, accountants and fund managers and they in their turn are dealing with industry regulations that were written by lawyers rather than financial professionals. A good software guy who can learn to be as fluent in the language of business and finance as they are in the language of IT folks is well suited to take on an analysts role, taking business needs and turning them into formal sets of software requirements. Particularly with the current chaotic state of financial regulation in the world economy there's a very high level of churn in the regulations the finance industry is operating under and in-house tool-sets are needing a LOT of updates right now. Software developers and QA folks are fairly common but folks who have the ability to take business logic defined (naturally so) in the language of that business and produce detailed requirements that tell a developer EXACTLY how the code they are writing is to behave are rarer.One just has to remember that one is not actually responsible for coding it any more and stick to telling the dev teams WHAT it must do in sufficient detail that they can properly design HOW it does it :)

Comment: Not the first sandcrawler corporate HQ. (Score 3, Funny) 159

by davebooth (#37303114) Attached to: Lucasfilm Unveils "Sandcrawler" Singapore Office
Exercise a little google-fu and check out the Best Buy corporate HQ near the Minneapolis/St Paul airport... When they built that it seemed so appropriate and in line with their corporate attitude that they'd be headquartered in a bunch of sandcrawlers. We try to avoid buying from them but if we're running out of options, somebody in the family will always say "well, in the last resort we could go look what the Jawas have got... "

Comment: I was afraid of that.... (Score 1) 955

by davebooth (#32325700) Attached to: <em>Lost</em> Ends

When they started introducing the post-nuke flash-sideways stuff I said to myself "oh $#!+, they are going to do a damn ghost whisperer/jacobs ladder/riverworld saccharine-fest at the end of this."

The series would have stood on its own without the ENTIRE sideways arc and its preachy-teachy allegory. The sideways arc just detracted from the main "really happened" island story. Maybe it wouldnt have if it had actually been an alternate timeline and the writers had come up with an interesting way to recombine them, but the "now you're all dead and its time to go to the light" stuff?

*puke*

Just skip over every single bit of the flash-sides when you watch it on DVD.. That superfluous allegory in the metaphysical swamp just chews the legs off the story and isnt worth your time.

Comment: Re:Here's a theme (Score 1) 460

by mcgrew (#31100410) Attached to: Linux Foundation Announces 2010 "We're Linux" Video Contest

You are very much mistaken about the state of multiple monitor support on Linux.

I probably am, all I know of it is what I've read. I don't have first hand experience with multiple monitors in Linux. I do have first hand experience with the double monitors at work, under Windows. By afternoon, alt-tab stops working. I don't know if thet's Microsoft's fault or the video card's fault, as they're using the software that comes with the card.

When they first installed the second monitor, Windows thought there were three of them. I had to go in and remove a driver to make it work.

I don't believe you. Hardware updates are optional

I had it set to automatic update, and went through hell trying to find out why I couldn't get on the internet. I thought the cat had broken the modem (it was on the floor the morning it broke), the ISP saw the modem and thought it was the network card. I thought maybe a cable, and had I not reinstalled Windows because XP had disabled the software that came with my CD burner, informed me of it with one of those annoying balloons on every boot, and wouldn't let me uninstall it I would have bought a new networks card.

I stopped letting it update automatically after that, of course.

If you load a help option in a Linux program, more often than not it launches your web browser and takes you to a site with some documentation with chapters listed in the ToC but whose contents are "This chapter has not been written yet."

Yes, I've run across that.

NASA

Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-perspective-on-an-old-tragedy dept.
longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."

Comment: Re:distinction (Score 3, Insightful) 766

by davebooth (#30754062) Attached to: Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn
Well, I DO have a background in genetics and to be honest I probably wouldnt need a sequencing machine to create something evil.

Give me the enzymes and nucleotide stocks, some e coli and some M13 bacteriophage. a couple glass plates and some acrylamide I'm quite capable of sequencing without one, thank you very much!

Not that much sequencing would be required, Monsanto have already done that work and have kindly provided a template with a known target sequence (the gene for the thuringensis toxin) already under the control of a highly active promoter. So lets start our hypothetical experiment with a sample of BT corn.

Ideally we'd look for a single-peptide toxin and recent research has provided a much "better" payload than either ricin or any other plant or bacterially derived peptide toxin and again much of the required preliminary work has already been done. We're going to replace the gene for thuringensis toxin with PRP and make sure, by site directed mutagenesis, which requires the same reagents and skills as sequencing, that as many as possible of the polymorphisms that encourage the refolding of this protein into the PRP-Sc form are present. Sure it will take time and persistence, but the techniques are no challenge.

Theres your upwind "pollen bomb." Mad Corn Disease, anyone?

Comment: Re:need a new word (Score 2, Interesting) 766

by davebooth (#30753242) Attached to: Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn
I am a farmer and I will say I do NOT trust corporate big ag business (nor ag college academia that relies on the same big business for funding and has tame scientists in and out of the same big business) to be self regulating as to safety concerns nor do I trust the governmental regulators because of the revolving door "jobs" aspect that occur. (exactly the same as occurs with Wall Street/Federal Reserve/Treasury/SEC revolving door jobs).

I'm an ex-molecular biologist and I dont trust 'em either. Modern genetic techniques do indeed have the potential to bring tremendous benefits and I'll even go so far as to say the profit motive has a role in driving the deployment of some of those benefits but thats only with the most rigorous and transparent testing and verification. THAT is what we dont have, instead we have regulators willing to take the word of the guys who stand to make a huge pile from a favorable result of the testing. The end result of this will indeed be, as you predict at the end of your comment, that some minor factor which in testing was argued away as insignificant or negligible will become significant when the product is deployed on such scales as are applicable to food production.

I hope we're both wrong, but I dont believe we are.

Security

Encryption Cracked On NIST-Certified Flash Drives 252

Posted by timothy
from the whoopsie-daisy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "USB Flash drives with hardware based AES 256-bit encryption manufactured by Kingston, SanDisk and Verbatim have reportedly been cracked by security firm SySS. These drives are advertised to meet security standards suitable for use with sensitive US Government data (unclassified, of course) as emphasized by the FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certificate issued by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It looks likes the Windows-based password entry program always sends the same character string to the drive after performing various crypto operations."

Comment: Re:Funny First Hand Account (Score 1) 738

by CannonballHead (#30063926) Attached to: Microsoft Disconnects Modded Xbox Users

I realize you are not taking this view, but responding to it anyway :)

Microsoft lost nothing as he did not take a physical disc and he got 600 pounds of value. Some would say that this is a good thing as no wealth was lost and 600 pounds of wealth was created. Since he could not have paid, there was no lost sale.

The only problem is, he could afford it. He spent 75 pounds to get it "chipped." That's the 12% of the price of the 30-40 games he later said he copied, so he could have at least bought 10% of those games (3-4).

My take is that people have decided they want what they want now and if there is an easy and relatively safe way to illegally obtain it - instead of paying for it or saving up and paying for it - they will do it the illegal way. Modding wasn't illegal, AFAIK, but downloading was. And yes, Microsoft lost sales; presumably this guy would have bought games if he wasn't getting them for free, as he did have money to spend on it.

The "no lost sale" argument still implies that it's okay to do something as long as you can't afford to do it. That's the part of the argument that's wrong, IMO. That and there does definitely seem to be a pervading can't-wait feeling. You (and I) wait for the game prices to go down. These kids tell us they "can't" wait and that they don't have anything else to do if they can't play the newest games. Something is wrong there...

Comment: Re:Boinc Applications... (Score 1) 260

by davebooth (#29885883) Attached to: Asus Releases Desktop-Sized Supercomputer

Yeah, but unless it's going to offer the surreal experience of porn in 4-D, you're probably not going to get many people biting to spend this "paltry" amount.

Now, I CAN see the average man "investing" $15K for a new holodeck o'porn...Sad? Yes. True? Damn skippy.

so really it's all about the boink applications, I guess...

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