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Comment: Re:The math(S) doesn't work (Score 1) 590

by defnoz (#41830097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?
Last I checked, air expands when heated, so your lasers would need to point downwards. Secondly, air is pretty poor at absorbing EM radiation so you'd not be able to generate a "hot zone", you'd just heat up air in the line of your beam For a long way. Third, the amount of power you'd need would be astronomical (unless you trapped the hot air in a balloon for lift, which has been figured out for a while now).

Comment: Re:I'm not British (Score 1) 160

by defnoz (#41749521) Attached to: BBC Turns Off CEEFAX Service After 38 Years

Now that Ceefax is considered obsolete, those days are over. It sure makes it a lot harder for me to enjoy their broadcasts.

If you were still watching analogue TV then it certainly will be a lot harder to enjoy any broadcasts. Subtitles are available on digital using the red button - I'm pretty sure the BBC and possibly other broadcasters are obliged to provide subtitles.

Comment: Re:Python (Score 1) 525

'Maths' is the correct spelling in English; 'math' is correct in American. In any case, a mis-spelling is not an issue of grammar, it is one of spelling.
A point of grammar would be pointing out that the verb 'solve' does not take an indirect object ('me') but would require a preposition to indicate the action occuring, viz:
* "For example, I created one which solved me the maths homework."
"For example, I created one which solved for me the maths homework."
"For example, I created one which solved the maths homework for me."

Comment: Re:New Scientist hyperbole (Score 1) 68

by defnoz (#39547313) Attached to: Scientists Build World's Most Sensitive Scale

Sounds like BS to me; conventional GCMS can resolve differences in molecular weight to a fraction of a proton's mass. And these techniques are used very heavily already, I think any mysterious "proton-scale differences" (sounds like quackery in itself) would have been noticed.

BTW whilst there aren't any isotopic diseases - unless you count cancers due to radioactive isotopes of otherwise fine elements - there is burgeoning interest in isotopic drugs, although it's questionable how much is genuine benefit and how much patent trickery.

Comment: Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (Score 1) 82

by defnoz (#39547095) Attached to: British Government To Grant Warrantless Trawl of Communications Data

No, I'm not. I have the right under common law to not disclose information which can then be used to incriminate me. That includes talking to police, period. I do not even have to give them my name.

Of course you're not physically compelled, by some supernatural force, to give them any information. Just as you're not physically compelled to pay your taxes, to drive at the speed limit or not to murder your mum.

Comment: Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (Score 1) 82

by defnoz (#39547085) Attached to: British Government To Grant Warrantless Trawl of Communications Data

I didn't deny the existence of anything. I said they are not getting the fucking encryption keys.

This would make sense if the sentence you would expect to receive for witholding the keys is less than the sentence you would expect for giving access to the data (or if handing the keys over would endanger compatriots for instance). Otherwise it's a way to go to to stick by your principles.

Of course it would make sense to use an encryption system which gives you plausible deniability in the first place, or hide incriminating data within a load of legal stuff which you might reasonably want encrypted (accounts or somesuch).

Comment: Re:Cue the straw men. (Score 1) 210

by defnoz (#39442363) Attached to: Millions In China Live In Energy Efficient Caves

I expect, within a week, to find at least one person rambling that 'All the liberal ecocommies want us to go back to living in caves and mud huts.'

You've not read the comments on TFA then. Sensible move.

Republitarian at 2:41 PM March 19, 2012
Exactly how liberals would like us to live, shivering in caves, using no energy and no water, i.e., regressive.

I also enjoyed:

ericdb at 2:06 PM March 19, 2012
And to think their communist society began on the "promise" to take care of the poor, now they have one of the highest poverty levels in the world, not including the cave dwellers.

...which conveniently misses out (a) that people have been living in houses like these for centuries, and (b) that China is not communist in any meaningful (at least economic) sense, and it's much closer to an unregulated rampant free market economy. Which is why it has very, very poor people and very, very rich people.

(posting to remove accidental negative mod).

Comment: Re:It goes without saying (Score 1) 343

by defnoz (#39440337) Attached to: Amiga Returns With Lackluster Linux-Powered Mini PC

Not only not an Amiga, but not remotely in the spirit of the original Amiga platform.

Sticking some off the shelf hardware together and running Linux on it is nothing special in the slightest. The Amiga was special because it was designed as a coherent whole - it had lots of co-processing going on (Fat Agnus, Denise et al), powerful graphics abilities and a multitasking, inherently GUI-based OS which was for the most part an absolute pleasure to use.

Also, although AmigaOS was loosely based on UNIX type systems in the way the filesystem worked, it feels much more transparent somehow - largely because the hardware was controlled by Commodore so that there was no need for the layer upon layer of abstraction of modern Linux (NB: I'm not a programmer so this may well be bollocks). Of course this also meant that upgrades could be a pain - notably graphics cards which were not supported by 95% of programs which did not run on the Workbench. FTR, I now use Linux which I enjoy but I do miss the simplicity of AmigaOS.

Comment: Re:silly idea, far easier to put servers on ships. (Score 1) 329

by defnoz (#39404549) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Plans Servers In the Sky
This was my first thought - what's the advantage of an aircraft rather than a ship (or buoy)? Two or three strategically placed should minimise the chances of weather putting the service offline. Also - using Raspberry Pi? I'm not in IT, but I'm thinking that the server power and bandwidth required by TPB is in the order of "quite lots".

Comment: Re:Math? (Score 1) 294

by defnoz (#39402399) Attached to: Mammoth "Metal Moles" Tunnel Deep Beneath London

First, they say the network will be built in three years.

8 (diggers) * 0.1km / week * 52 weeks / year * 3 years = 41.6km 73 miles (117.5km)

But then, they said the project would complete 2018... so then it adds up... but still a little unclear.

The underground length is about 22 km, i.e. around 44 km of tunnel (one for each line). 3 years gives enough time for the tunnelling and ancillary work on the underground parts. Once that is done there's still building the stations (including connecting to the underground), laying the track etc, a lot of work on the existing suburban stations required, and aquiring the trains (something the Department for Transport are notorious for; the invitation to tender has only just been released and it's likely to be a touchy issue for the government) - hence the estimated 2018 date.

Comment: Re:EU Ratification (Score 5, Informative) 348

by defnoz (#39171385) Attached to: UK To Dim Highway Lights To Save Money

The biggest problem is that LED (CREE etc) based streetlights have not yet been ratified by the EU and so cannot be used on public highways in the UK. If they do become ratified then there will be huge power savings. In China, they have whole motorways lit up using this technology. Not only do they burn less power, but the lantern lifetime is much longer than the standard sodium units that have a warranty lifespan of 3 to 5 years.

Actually, the power saving for road lighting are negligible at best, or negative at worst. Low pressure sodium lamps currently in use produce up to 200 lm/W, compared to 100 lm/W for the better white LEDs around. There's not much that can compete with LPS for pure lighting efficiency, partly because the light emitted is near the maximum sensitivity of the human eye. Of course, LPS lamps produce monochromatic light which means they're not so popular for lighting urban/pedestrian areas, as people feel safer in a more "natural" light where they can see colours. But for roads alone, there's no need to see colours. Also, LPS is the least objectionable form of light pollution to astronomers, as being monochromatic it's easy to filter out (and there's not a lot of glowing sodium in space, so you're not blocking out anything of interest).


UK Police Force Posts All Its Calls On Twitter 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the 140-crimes dept.
Stoobalou writes "One of the largest police forces in the UK is posting every incident reported to it today on Twitter. Greater Manchester Police began its 24-hour experiment this morning at 05:00 BST, tweeting all incident reports in the hope of highlighting the complexity of modern policing. 'Policing is often seen in very simple terms, with cops chasing robbers and locking them up,' Chief Constable Peter Fahy said in a statement. 'However the reality is that this accounts for only part of the work they have to deal with.'"

"If value corrupts then absolute value corrupts absolutely."