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Comment So... (Score 1) 16

So, if we can perfect small and sensitive pheromone sensors and install them on drone swarms, with a sample of an individual's pheromones they could be made to follow/target said individual, like for instance Putin or Obama.


I wonder if we'll start seeing FSB and SS agents following along behind said persons wherever they go, spraying cleaner/deodorizer or some other sort of pheromone-scrubbing chemicals and confiscating anything they touch in order to attempt to hide or obfuscate the unique pheromone trail these individuals leave wherever they go?


Comment Re:Missing the point a bit? (Score 1) 98

a symbolic algebra coprocessor (via ssh)

That just made my brain hurt. From a technical point of view, there is no real usefulness in having the rPi take part of the computational load off of your main machine (which is the point of a co-processor) to perform these kinds of functions. And, if you're willing to bend over backwards to run something external to your device, then you might as well just use Wolfram Alpha online.

Comment Is the news cycle the only explanation? (Score 2) 110

Or are there other interpretations that explain why it *seems* bad?

Enduring and worsening (I don't know about the worsening part) income inequality, with automation and globalization likely to make income inequality even worse, and automation predicated by many to lead to widespread under/unemployment?

The environment getting much worse -- mass deforestation, global warming, declining fresh water supplies, much of it abetted by ever-spiraling population growth?

While it's true we don't actually worry about a US/Soviet nuclear exchange every day, the number of states with nuclear weapons has increased and the newer states that have them or are working on having them are less stable or have chaotic or messianic motivations.

The nature of some of our conflicts seems more intractable due to the lack of state actors involved and in some cases leaving states that are marginally viable or stateless altogether (Libya, parts of subsaharan Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria).

It seems too simple to just dismiss a sense of pessamism as human nature and media styles.

Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 5, Interesting) 137

Yup, pretty much this.

It's trivial to implement a serial connection in a microcontroller. All you need is a level shifter like the dime-for-dozen MAX232 and you're set. For USB, this requires a lot more implementation overhead (not to mention getting a genuine UID if you want to ship it), and literally EVERYONE who has ever even dabbled in microcontroller programming knows how to deal with a MAX232. Pushing information down the serial line is like the Hello World of microcontroller tinkering.

That's why you can still get PCI-E serial controller rather cheaply. And, lo and behold, almost all of them contain some variant of the MAX232.

Comment Re:Missing the point a bit? (Score 1) 98

Dude have you not be on the Internet lately? there is a billion and one articles extolling using these Pi style boards for HTPCs which as GP pointed out and I agreed with is some serious dumb shit, but its the Internet so there is no lack of dumbshit.

That said I have a buddy that does car PC installs and uses boards like I linked to and for THOSE kinds of embedded projects? They work VERY well, top draw on them boards when playing media is sub 12w, they are fanless, and as I pointed out all the I/O you could need is baked right in.

So again unless your project has a specific requirement to be the size of a stick of gum? The X86 units would probably be a better choice.

Comment Re:ALWAYS build, if you can (Score 1) 208

Our local retailer is pretty good at building. They offer a number of preconfigured builds, for gaming, business, media, etc, and at different price points. If you ask them, they'll provide a manifest of exactly what goes into these builds, and you can tweak the build at no extra charge (other than any extra cost of the parts). They are happy to provide a different CPU, different case, a specific type and brand of memory sticks, more or less SSD space, different fans, even water cooling if you want it. Oh, and they'll leave out Windows if you want.

I have always built my machines until recently, but my current gaming rig is one of their standard builds with a few changes. I wanted this box to be whisper quiet, and they suggested a few different fans and coolers at a slightly higher price. I'm rather happy with the result. The staff seem quite knowledgable about what works well together, and they know what they are selling. The nice thing about letting them put it together is that they'll give full warrantly on the complete config. When you buy separate parts, the warranty is a lot more limited.

Comment Re:Tell me where to put the waste (Score 1) 250

China is far from communist today. If anything, it could be considered an odd (but highly efficient) form of an imperialist despotism with a dash of state controlled capitalism (as odd as this alone sounds). The result is something that solves the two problems offered easily. First, without any concern for human life and nobody able and allowed to protest it, you can easily build any kind of power plant anywhere you want, and dump the waste anywhere you may want, likewise. There is no NIMBY movements in China. "We put the waste there and you will take it" is met with a nod of the head ... or an off of the head.

That certainly facilitates building such plants. It's still not something I'd consider something I'd want in MY backyard...

Comment Tell me where to put the waste (Score 4, Insightful) 250

And who should pay for its safe depositing.

Nuclear energy is cheap and clean. As long as those reactors are running. I just doubt that the companies that reap the fruits of cheap energy are also willing to deal with the costly time after when there is zero revenue and horrible costs. I.e. what is now being brushed off to the government.

It's the usual "privatize revenue, socialize cost" spiel. Sorry, but no game. Here's the offer: You have to show that you know where to put the waste and you have to lock down enough money to take care of it for at least a century, then you can build that reactor.


Comment Re:Missing the point a bit? (Score 1) 98

Exactly, unless you have an embedded project that needs to have the board be as absolutely tiny as possible it just makes more sense to buy something like this AIO board that gives you dual X86 with a decent GPU capable of doing 1080P over HDMI and with built in Wifi, USB (both 2 and 3), Sata/eSata and Ethernet. By the time you bought all that for one of these? You'd have sunk more money for a less powerful system.

Comment Re:the higher level point (Score 2) 56

Soon people will have to break the laws to own what they buy.

For everyone who has ever wondered just why the decks in cyberpunk stories and games are so horribly expensive when technology is so pervasive (and hence should be cheap): They're devices that the owners own. Which is probably by the time these stories play already a grey area by itself, and certainly these things are not mainstream.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.