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Comment: Re:I've been calling for this for 20+ years... (Score 1) 146

by garyebickford (#47442447) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Actually cannabis is the second most common weed in Nebraska - or was a couple of decades ago, and there's no reason why that has changed. The midwest has 'volunteer' hemp growing everywhere. Attempts to eradicate it were stopped after a suit by the Audubon society, as the seeds are a major food source for birds - and hemp has very little THC. Some friends and I personally found a large (40 acres at least) field of hemp in northern Illinois back in the day, complete with beehives. I don't know if this was 'fallow' or being grown on purpose. We nabbed a 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm.

Comment: Re:Need fast-acting yeast (Score 1) 146

by garyebickford (#47442401) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Minor point - IIRC weed was targeted by William Randolph Hearst back in the 20s. Hearst owned the largest newspaper chain in the US, and had bought the global rights to the new method for making paper out of wood. His goal was to eliminate hemp as a fiber source for paper. He set up a huge tree plantation in Guyana (or thereabouts) and began a major attack on weed. He began a publicity campaign in his papers about the evils of weed, funded the making of "Reefer Madness", and lobbied and bribed congresscritters to include weed in the Volstead Act as a dangerous drug.

At that time hemp, which is a slightly different variety of cannabis, was a major source of quality fiber for rope as well as paper (and still better than any other vegetable fiber AFAIK). The hemp growing industry was destroyed. But even today, cannabis is a major 'weed' throughout the midwest, and is a primary source of seeds for birds.

Once when motorcycling around the wilds of Illinois we came upon a large tract - probably 40 acres - of hemp, complete with a set of beehives. I have no idea if this was just fallow land or being grown on purpose. We came back with a car and collected one 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm. The branches were two feet apart. Smoking was tried, it was pretty much smoking a rope.

Comment: Re:The relevant part (Score 1) 560

If he had not admitted involvement, and said that the evidence was in there, he wouldn't be in the situation. He gave them probable cause for a search. This is much like telling the cops, "I've got dope in the trunk, but I won't open it." There are other comments that go into more detail so I won't bother.

Comment: Re:DEAR COURTS..... (Score 1) 560

Well in fact that volume does contain all the information ever recorded. So if they look long and hard enough, they _could_ find what they're looking for. But they might first find the dual of that information, that disproves the allegations. It's a matter of luck. Also, the Sun might burn out first making the case moot.

Comment: Re:Except, of course, they have to prove you can (Score 1) 560

I have an associate who is _very_ familiar with this issue, especially as it applies to self-encrypting hard drives. According to him: Under US law, if you have never told the password to anyone, and have never written it down, (and I suppose now haven't told the police that the incriminating evidence is in there!), it is illegal for them to try to coerce you to give it to them. Police have actually gone to jail for trying.

In this case, the idiot told them that it's in there, which gave them probable cause. So I think that this case is really about the idiot.

Note that some, or none of this applies outside the US.

Also, according to the same person, by the end of this year or early next year all hard drives will be manufactured as SEDs. It's in the software of nearly all of them now whether it's mentioned in the specs or not. In MS Windows (and most other OS?) encryption is turned off by default. Big companies like Google increasingly use SEDs, because this means that they can sell off the used hard drives later, or send them out for recycling or whatever, without worrying about what's on them. Erasing the key means they are clean for all intents and purposes.

Comment: Re:New ULA anti-SpaceX campaign is apparent (Score 1) 105

by garyebickford (#47278293) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

society's high IQ groups, while nothing is left for African-Americans and Latinos

- that's a pretty racist remark. Are you implying that only whites have high IQs? You're also incorrect - there have been a number of astronauts of all races, and almost every space (and engineering) company actively works to increase the number of minorities and women in engineering disciplines. And it's working, slowly. I was just at a conference for internet hosting companies, and the percentage of 'minorities' and women was much higher than I would have seen even 10 years ago.

But it's still difficult to find even one US woman in graduate computer science programs, and the vast majority of 'minorities' in those programs that I've seen have been from outside the US. Anecdote: I was back in school a few years ago. At that state school, the graduate CS program had 0 American women, and 0 American blacks - and well over 1/2 the program was foreigners. But about 20% of those foreigners were women. The foreigners knew that success here meant the difference between a comfortable middle class life, and not. Interestingly, the school's new building was named after a foreign student who went through the EE program, succeeded, and gave the school $12 million for the building.

Societally the hardest part of increasing the number of technically educated youngsters is changing the culture within the home and early school to encourage and support analytical thinking, rational discourse, and motivation to achieve on the merits. It's hard to be a 'geek' kid when everyone in your class laughs at you, calls you names, and shoves you into lockers.

The "ultimate revenge of the nerds" is that they grow up to be engineers, and build the world everyone else has to live in! :D

Comment: Re:Flyout and back plan (Score 1) 105

by garyebickford (#47278189) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

In a real launch the vehicle is a couple of hundred miles downrange at separation. I'm guessing that one of the purposes of having a launch site in Texas is that then they can let the stage coast downrange some more, and land it at Canaveral. This would require less energy than returning to Texas. However Canaveral is pretty far downrange, so my guess may be bogus. This also depends on what type of orbit the launch is intended for.

Comment: Re:Too much credit to cows ... (Score 1) 105

by garyebickford (#47278169) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

Horses are also very good at body language. There are a lot of very subtle cues that a good horseman learns, that a horse already knows. IMHO there's good evidence that, like dogs, we have co-evolved horses to be good at working with humans. At one time I could make my horse turn either from the front or back, moving forward or backward or staying in one place, with my arms folded and just turning my head and adjusting my posture.

The historical way of teaching horses is rather crude, but has improved greatly in the last two decades. It basically is the equivalent to shouting "42!" (or any meaningless phrase) repeatedly until the horse does what you want, at which point you reward the horse. The horse has no idea what 42 means, it just keeps trying things until it gets rewarded (or, in older times, it stops getting hit.)

But, as a former-fellow-horseman once told me, horses have two purposes in life - to eat and get away. :) I'd add one more thing about every 21 days, except for geldings.

Don't hit the keys so hard, it hurts.