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Comment: Re:What difference now does it make? :) Sunk costs (Score 1) 354

by dmbrun (#47420977) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere
You don't need a Cadillac to deliver a parcel when a Honda will do the same mission. Thus the F35 may be overkill for many missions that the F-18 can accomplish at lower cost.

In the Second World War the Germans had better tanks but sheer numbers built at lower cost were able to overcome them. So a better fighter doesn't mean you can win battles or wars.

Comment: Re:Aftermarket patches already exist (Score 1) 650

by dmbrun (#46681989) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

WinXP, even patched, is the equivalent of driving around a rust bucket with bad wiring and bald tires. It's an accident waiting to happen.

A bad analogy.

It is more like driving around in an old 1950s car with no seat belts and no air bags and no crush zones.

If it is has been maintained it will still do the job required of it but care must be taken. Why upgrade - spend the money - if the equipment is still capable of doing what is asked of it?

Comment: Why Should I Upgrade? (Score 2) 245

by dmbrun (#46679201) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market?
I'm a Windows XP user. I see no need to upgrade. The only circumstances in which I would upgrade is either I can't find hardware to run XP on or the data I process (documents, music, video) have no applications I can use on XP. These circumstances forced me from 98 to 2000 and now XP.

Yes, I'm going to have to take care to stop being infected by malware. Good anti-virus, good firewall, Chrome browser, safe surfing habits, care with email.

If you would like a similar analogy people drive old cars with drum brakes, no seat belts, no air bags and no crush zones in modern traffic. They see no need to upgrade as well. Just take care and be sensible.

+ - How Drones Help Smuggle Drugs Into Prison->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Over the weekend, Ma 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of using a small quadcopter drone to smuggle an unknown quantity of illegal drugs into a prison in Melbourne, Australia.

While it's certainly not the first time small-fry UAV technology has been used by a mid-level mule to airmail drugs into the clink, it does suggest a growing trend in the highest-tech of prison highs. Here, then, is a brief history of drone-assisted prison drug smuggling.

In November 2013, guards at Hull jail in Gatineau, Canada, spotted a small drone flying over the prison's walls. An exhaustive search of both Hull's grounds and the immediate vicinity turned up nothing by way of whatever contraband the drone might have been toting around. Nevertheless, it didn't appear to be one-off incident

"This sort of thing happens often in prisons all across Quebec," Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec's correctional officers' union, told the Ottawa Sun. "Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances." The problem, Lemaire added, is that "the drone can be controlled from more than a kilometre away, and the [Hull] prison is surrounded by forest.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Stanford bioengineer develops a 50-cent paper microscope->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Scope: A Stanford bioengineer has developed an ultra-low-cost print-and-fold microscope and is now showing others how to make one themselves. The 50-cent lightweight, paper "Foldscope" — which "can be assembled in minutes, [and] includes no mechanical moving parts" — was designed to aid disease diagnosis in developing regions."
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+ - New Diet, Sexual Attraction May Have Spurred Europeans' Lighter Skin->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Why do some humans have lighter skin than others? Researchers have longed chalked up the difference to tens of thousands of years of evolution, with darker skin protecting those who live nearer to the equator from the sun’s intense radiation. But a new study of ancient DNA concludes that European skin color has continued to change over the past 5000 years, suggesting that additional factors, including diet and sexual attraction, may also be at play. In particular, when blue eyes and blonde hair first arose, they may have been considered so unique--and desirable--that anyone who had them had a sexual advantage."
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+ - How Engineers Are Building A Power Station At The South Pole

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "One of the more ambitious projects at the South Pole is the Askaryan Radio Array, a set of radio antennas under the ice that will listen for the tell tale signals of high energy neutrinos passing by. This array will eventually be over a thousand times bigger than the current largest neutrino detector: Icecube, which monitors a cubic kilometre of ice next door to the planned new observatory. But there's a problem. How do you supply 24/7 power to dozens of detectors spread over such a vast area in the middle of the Antarctic? The answer is renewable energy power stations that exploit the sun during the summer and the wind all year round. The first of these stations is now up and running at the South Pole and producing power. It is also helping to uncover and iron out the various problems that these stations are likely to encounter. For example; where to put the batteries needed to supply continuous power when all else fails. The team's current approach is to bury the battery to protect it from temperature extremes. That works well but makes maintenance so difficult that scaling this approach to dozens of power stations doesn't seem feasible. That's a problem for the future but for the moment, green power has finally come to the white continent."

+ - Boeing touts fighter jet to rival F-35 — at half the price->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a dogfight of defence contractors, the hunter can quickly become the hunted. It's happening now to the F-35. The world's largest defence contractor, Lockheed Martin, is trying to convince wavering U.S. allies — including Canada — to stick with its high-tech, high-priced and unproven F-35 stealth fighter. But the F-35 is way behind schedule, way over budget and, now, it's grounded by a mysterious crack in a turbine fan. After years of technical problems, it's a tempting target for Lockheed Martin's rivals. It's no surprise, then, that the No. 2 defence contractor, Boeing, smells blood... The Super Hornet, it says, is a proven fighter while the F-35 is just a concept — and an expensive one at that."
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+ - Scientist Solve Spiral-toothed Fossil Mystery

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Fossil evidence has allowed scientists to reconstruct the Helicoprion, the ancient spiral-toothed fish. Scientists were able to answer questions like how that ancient beast of the seas looked like, how it ate, and even the more puzzling mysteries surrounding the Helicoprion: whether the unique saw-like spirals were located inside or outside the fish’s mouth."

+ - The algorithms of Elevators->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Wall Street Journal has an article about Theresa Christy (, a mathematician who develops algorithms for Otis Elevator Company (, the world's largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products including elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

As an Otis research fellow, Ms. Christy writes strings of code that allow elevators to do essentially the greatest good for the most people—including the building's owner, who has to allocate considerable space for the concrete shafts that house the cars. Her work often involves watching computer simulation programs that replay elevator decision-making. "I feel like I get paid to play videogames. I watch the simulation, and I see what happens, and I try to improve the score I am getting," she says."

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If what they've been doing hasn't solved the problem, tell them to do something else. -- Gerald Weinberg, "The Secrets of Consulting"