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Comment Re:Don't affect me (Score 1) 228 228

Somehow, I do not believe you...
Obviously it seems so important to you and affecting you to the point where you feel the need to post a comment in which you are compelled to state that you are running Debian. Why?

Its as if you either feel threatened or superior... in any case it DOES affect you.

Comment Re: Blocked (Score 5, Informative) 132 132

For those bot getting the "joke", GEMA is pretty much the German equivallent of the RIAA in the US.

They are notorious for geoblocking in Germany videos from youtube which contains content under their licensing rights... Even youtube channels from the artists themselves.

The infamous message "this content is blocked because it contains material owned by GEMA" is a nightmare for youtube users in Germany

And this is where this joke becomes insightful. Once you open the markets in the EU and ban geoblocking, how do you deal with this type of geoblocking? Will they address geoblocking only in a commercial transaction (what would actually be much worse for GEMA in the business model they drive) or address geoblocking in all its forms?

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82 82

Vibrational spectroscopy is non-destructive. You simply observe the vibrational (or translation, or rotation) modes of molecules. Most systems measure what is absorbed (ie. you have an known IR source and measure what of it doesn't get through - assuming the absorbed photons corresponds to vibration modes of the molecule). Although this is an active measurement approach, the energy needs are too long to cause damage to the molecule or samples. But you could go in at higher energy level... this is basically what a microwave oven does, exiting the rotational modes of water molecules. It also work to some extent with reflection, but it will be dependent upon the nature of the sample.

But a vibrating molecule will also emit radiation at wavelength corresponding to the energy of the vibration modes. This enables passive measurement which is not only non-destructive, but also allows measurement without any kind of interaction. Emission IR spectroscopy is used a lot for remote sensing of the atmosphere for example.

So either you are totally passive or only sending a week IR signal which partly gets absorbed and partly transmitted/reflected. A typical IR source for laboratory instruments is a glowbar. That simply a small wire heated to about 800C... it looks a lot like a car cigarette lighter. You won't rip of electrons of your samples with that ;)

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 2) 82 82

Thanks for your insights. Still trying to decide whether something like this should go on my wish list ;) (see above for my potential uses).

Don't expect to much of it for the first generation / first product. Once you get a few competitors and iterations on the technology, you can have a serious look at it. I'd also wait to see a view "in-depth technical reviews" with labor-based comparison studies. To satisfy your curiosity, if your budget allows it, it will definitely be worth it (assuming it at least work a little). I expect the results at first to feel a little like translating something in some language with google translate and translating it back with bing.

How accurate, exactly, do you think such a device could be? Obviously it's not going to be pulling out the sort of precision of a professional spectrometer. But you mention, for example, being able to identify the signatures of herbicides and pesticides. Do you mean, for example, "This contains imidacloprid", or more like, "This contains a nicotinoid of some variety"?

It's hard to say without having more detailed information on the spectral range, spectral resolution, illumination source, detector type and sensitivity, and, most importantly, the type of spectrometer. From the description, it seems that it is a diffracting spectrometer, but that again comes in different flavours. Long story short, I can only guestimate the performance of it based on my experience designing such devices with the information they provide. Now, some molecular basis have specific signatures even a low resolution device could identify. Because these molecular basis are shared by various different molecules, it may be difficult to do more as to identify a group such as nicotinoids. And for the same reason you will have a lot of false positives.

This is where the apriori information play an important role. If you are looking at an apple, the spectral database-based/cloud-based analysis program knows what to expect and can raise a warning flag if it sees something which might be a nicotinoid, because that's not expected in the spectra of a "clean" apple. The same analysis program will ignore the warning if you say you are analysing a cigarette. This, btw. may also lead to false negative... but with low spectral resolution, I believe that the cloud-based analysis will play a crucial role. And this is actually the most interesting part of this innovation.

How useful do you think it could be on identifying mineral species - say, distinguishing between different zeolites?

I've never saw an IR spectrometer used for mineralogy or metallurgy. I doubt it can provide you with any significant information in those fields. Other factors you cannot see in vibrational spectroscopy play a too large role.

Or, back to food, if given, say, a mango, to get readings of, say, water, sugar (in general, or specific sugars), fat (in general, or specific categories of fats, or specific fats), protein (in general, or specific categories of proteins, or specific common protiens... obviously it's not going to be able to pull out 5 ppb of Some-Complex-Unique-Protein), common vitamins (generally found in dozens of ppm quantity - some more, some less), minerals (likewise), etc?

This is where I believe the advertisement is way to promising and optimistic. I'd occupy your day to do that on a very expensive and high-performance laboratory IR spectrometer. Under laboratory conditions.

Take this example of sugar spectra from the Agilent website. They don't specify it, but that's most likely 4 cm^-1 resolution. You see that it is possible to identify specific sugar compounds, but also that the spectra are quite alike. Now reduce the spectral resolution to something like 128 cm^-1 and you'll have a hard time identifying the exact type of sugar.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82 82

There's a reason IR spectroscopy has fallen by the wayside in chemistry - it doesn't give you enough information, and just hasn't kept up with other techniques. It's used for specific tasks, such as monitoring a reaction, but it's not a go-to analysis technique any more.

I couldn't disagree more (although one would say I'm somewhat biased on the applications of IR spectroscopy). First I know no research or production analytic lab without at least one IR spectrometer. In quality insurance they are also used a lot. For in-situ monitoring of reaction, IR spectrometer are generally not appropriate because to slow at sufficient spectral resolution. You can only monitor very slow reactions.

Maybe you are thinking of a specific branch, where other techniques are more appropriate or practical?

And I am surprised by the statement that vibrational spectroscopy doesn't give you enough information. Maybe not enough for a specific task such as identifying elementary elements, but you get a lot of information on the molecular structure of a compound. With gasses you can also do very precise quantitative analysis. I think only NMR spectroscopy will give your more information on the molecular structure and an NMR certainly does not fit in the palm of the hand.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 4, Informative) 82 82

You will not be able to determine raw elements with a NIR spectrometer. With a NIR-LWIR spectrometer, you can only identify molecular compounds, because what you are observing is actually the vibration modes of the molecules. In this spectral range, you will have a lot of signature for organic compounds. So you may be able determine if something is made of plastic. Determining the kind is trickier because most plastics are actually very similar and would require a device with higher spectral resolution to make such a determination.

For elementary elements (iron, copper, gold, etc.), you can forget it. That device will not help you.

Comment Interesting; likely more limited than advertised (Score 5, Informative) 82 82

Designing spectrometer is what I do for a living and with my experience and knowledge, I have serious doubts this device has sufficient resolving power to do what they claim it can/would/should do. To identify chemical components, you need a minimum spectral resolution (depending on the species you want to identify). To do quantitative analysis, the requirements are event higher. Typically, for solid NIR spectroscopy, I would aim at 2 to 4 cm^-1 spectral resolution. Under this, you can maybe check for the presence of a specific compound or compound family, but the capability to do so will be very dependent on the overall chemical composition.

Its possible to reduce the size of a spectrometer while somewhat keeping the resolution. But that goes only up to a certain extent... and that goes only with trade on signal to noise ratio. At some point physics overtakes wishful thinking. Reducing the instrument, and thus the optical throughput, you need longer measurement times to achieve adequate signal quality. Quantitative analysis with a (large) lab NIR spectrometer can take minutes, depending on the material being analysed. When you design spectrometers, you are constantly trading on aspect for another and by bringing a NIR spectrometer to that size, you traded a LOT of stuff away.

I also see spectral calibration being an issue with this device, then it works in reflectance and not in transmittance. It cannot be self-calibrating and directly provide a transmission/absorption spectrum. Maybe it is calibrated once during the production and assumed to be stable? If that is sufficient is, from my experience, questionable.

On the other hand, this is a very exiting breakthrough. I might even get my hands on one for fun. Why? because its, as they so well market it, a liberalisation of matter. Its a first step in being able to identify any substance that we get our hands on. While it may not yet be able to provide a full chemical make-up of a product, with enough a priori information it may be very useful.

Let me give you an example where such a device can be its money worth. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are bio/organic, you want them really to be that way. This decision to spend more money on these healthier food items is solely based on trust, which is often exploited. I doubt that the analysis of such a product can do what they claim (most of the return information is most likely deduced from the a priori information provided). But even with a limited spectral resolution and sensitivity, it should be able to identify spectral signatures of typical herbicides and pesticides.

Comment Re:Because...it's the LAW! (Score 1) 423 423

You, sir, have obviously never had to deal with ITAR. Because thats pretty much what ITAR does. First ban publication of information. Next ban export of 3D printing system. Finally ban export of any componrent being used to build 3D printing units.

Its only the beginning. And with the military behind ITAR, there is no saying where they'll stop. Your rights are obviously not put into question, as it concerns export only. As you put info on Internet, you pretty much export it.

Comment Re:No hardware or software fault? (Score 1) 80 80

I believe they meant that the software (or hardware) on the spacecraft behaved as expected, but the error was rather due to an handling mistake, sending the commands with the wrong timing. If you asked me, such an handling mistake should be catched by the on-board software and handled properly (which means telling the operator right away to RTFM). I would thus qualify this as a software issue, regardless of what they say.

The official statement is simply putting the "you're holding it wrong" response to a whole new level.

Comment Re:No, just no. (Score 1) 91 91

How do you know any of that is true?

For a customer you can easily have a tour arranged. You can meet with your account manager regularly. You'll know the people assigned to your account.... Your agent can just tell you since we all go on tours.

A tour. Is this middle-school? Sure, a tour is nice and fun... and always gives you a good impression, because that's that tours are for. Lets be honest, no company would allow, let alone offer, tours if it had any risk of leaving a bad impression to potential customer. But if you are touring through a corporate Disney park, that they won't say.

The only way to verify what the previous poster addresses, is through regular audits covering all facets of production, management, troubleshooting, etc. You need to talk to those workers, that the provider will not put in front of the customer during the touristic tour. You need to review their experience, work methods, communications methods and so on. No company in the world would allow a client to perform such audits, except maybe if the client is ESA or the USAF or something like that.

And now we are speaking only about competence. Whether the provider plays (willingly or not) hand it hand with intelligence agencies is yet another question, one you will never find the answer to unless there's another leak. But you can probably bet your ass that every god damned intelligence agency is either deep within your cloud provider or trying to get there. From the NSA to North Korea, with China, Russia and Isreal. They are all there, waiting for your sensitive data. What else do you expect when you concentrate data in large data centers which are fully accessible in the open world?

You obviously still like bedtime stories. In the meanwhile, I'll leave my sensitive data off the hands of cloud.

Comment Re: Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 1) 169 169

At the time of posting my previous comment, I didn't realite the Source was actually critics of atom energy and of its uses.

This wasn't at first obvious to me considering the flaws of the tool, giving a much to positiv view of atomic energy.

Now I'm not sure what worse. Is it a voluntary omission? Or not? i wonder.

Comment Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 3, Interesting) 169 169

A "tool" to understand costs of nuclear energy production from the "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Could this tool be any more biased? I doubt it looking at the selected metrics.

First the costs for long term securing spent fuel are grossly underestimated. After all, can we really estimate the cost of securing spent fuel for over 100'000 years? It's a bit of a philosophical question, but point is - it can't really be estimated.

More importantly, the "tool" seems to cover only construction costs. Nowhere are decommissioning costs included, which are order of magnitude over the construction costs. Experience has shown both in the US and elsewhere, that these costs have been (willingly or not) underestimated by order of magnitude by the industry. The lack of transparency help a large boom of the industry 30 years ago, but the lack of long term sight is kicking back in full force. Sad of an industry, which should secure waste thousands if not millions of years.

Let me be clear on my sight. I am actually in favour of sensible use and development of nuclear energy. But this cannot be done without transparency, hiding the real costs. Worse, I believe its the hiding of the real costs (and risks) that made this industry stagnate and sent it towards its death (lets be honest, Atomic industry is really dying). This tools seems only to continue this long tradition.

It's a lung cancer patient dying with a cigarette in the hand.

Comment Re:We can learn from this (Score 4, Insightful) 163 163

People like the folks at MPAA do not need a "how to" manual. That's what they do as a business. They are like leeches which are perfectly adapted to the political ecosystem. The only hope you can have, is to have judicial system independent enough to tackle the issue.

I've read here on /. a lot of critique to the leaking of the Sony dataset and how it was further spread by Wikileak. Taken aside the peculiar personalities linked to Wikileaks and problems one might have with them, THIS is exactly why it is good to have this information out in the world. I can only hope judicial instances will pick up this dataset and start their own investigations, for the little it may help.

It will only help a little, because those leeches are also expert in finding loopholes through regulations. Remember, this is what they do... which is quite ironic for anti-piracy lobbyists. Some countries/regions are fast in finding and closing loopholes, but not in the reign of the MPAA and especially not when it is linked to political corruption / financing of political parties and/or figures.

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