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Comment: Oh, for a successor to Open Moko (Score 3, Interesting) 52

I'm still waiting for a truly open-source, unlocked, user-controllable phone. Like a successor to Open Moko. (Building a closed platform on a base of open software doesn't cut it.)

Is anything out there or in the works?

(It's particularly acute for me just now: My decade-old feature phone started to flake out last week.)

Comment: I installed ubuntu 14.04 on my BBBs (Score 1) 523

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48421087) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

I don't see why your BeagleBone black example is systemd's fault. It has a convoluted way of managing network interfaces because it uses connman, a network-management daemon from Intel that is not part of systemd.

I installed ubuntu 14.04 on my BBBs. (Had to upgrade the kernel a little later because the 3.13.0 kernel wasn't ported to arm-on-bone in time to go out with the original 14.04 distribution and the 2.whatever they shipped didn't handle a class of USB device I needed, but it's fine now at 3.13.6-bone8.)

Changing to a specified, fixed, IP address was just a matter of editing /etc/network/interfaces, which was commented well enough (in combination with the man page on my ubuntu laptop) to make it easy.

(Main problem was that DeviceTree overlays weren't supported by 3.13.0-6, so I had to hack the boot-time base device tree to reconfigure for the onboard device functionality I wanted, rather than just overlaying the deltas during or just after the boot procerss.)

Comment: I do it a bit. (Score 1) 136

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48375187) Attached to: Study Shows How Humans Can Echolocate

You mean everyone hasn't learned how to do that to some extent?

I do it a bit.

I get a sensation of presence of something nearby when there IS something close and I am making sounds I know I'm making (mouth clicks, footsteps, etc.) in an otherwise reasonably quiet environment, or when well-locatable sounds with bursty high-frequency components are present in the environment to provide a sonic "light source" of suitable form and predictability.

It's usually enough to keep from bumping into things. (Even soft, sound-absorbing things like plush furniture, are "visible" as a "quiet lump" - especially if there are hard things around to create acoustic contrast.)

It's not usually consciously apparent that sound is involved, rather than some "extra sense", unless there are really loud echos, like one's footsteps while walking in a concrete or tiled tunnel. (Haven't you had a sense of ambiance in such situations?)

The sensations are so well tuned as an input for moving, dodging, grabbing, and the like, that I've been assuming it's an evolved mechanism (that might have needed exercise in youth to develop properly), like vision, rather than something purely learned.

Comment: Re:Aren't those just called FLAPS? (Score 5, Informative) 55

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48353567) Attached to: NASA Tests Aircraft With Shape Shifting Wings

According to TFA, they're replacements for flaps or slats that are a panel, continuous with the wing surface, that flexes, rather than pivoting or sliding.

This eliminates the gap, which starts vortices (causing noise and other issues).

So wing shape changing via pivoting panels has been stock for a while, while (comparably sized) profile changes done by flexing wing sections with skins continuous with the rest of the wing are what is new.

(Note that adjusting a wing by flexing it - slightly, over its full surface - has been around for a VERY long time. The Wright Brothers used it for yaw control, though they augmented (not replaced) it with a vertical rudder, starting with the glider that immediately preceded the "first powered flight" craft.)

Comment: Re: Lies, damned lies, statistics (Score 2) 551

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48315317) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is a little hard to describe.

To understand it you also have to distinguish the party from the much broader movement. (As with small-i internet for any interconnection of diverse network types versus the capital-I Internet for the particular, big, TCP/IP-based, Connected Internet, some libertarians make the distinction between the small-l libertarian movement and the large-L Libertarian Party.)

Though the libertarian movement has broader roots, the party started as a splinter split off from the Republican party, back in the '60s or so.

It wants minimal government (but not anarchy as some would like to mischaracterize), and maximum individual liberty.

Actually there ARE "minarchist" and "anarchist" wings of the movement, if not the formal party itself. "That government governs least that governs not at all." The split is to some extent between those who think that some government is necessary to defend against attempts at more government (or those who think limited government is the best they can hope to achieve in their lifetimes) and those who think that a little governement is like a little forest fire or being a little bit pregnant.

It's based on a non-aggression principle, somewhat akin to the Golden Rule.

No first use of force. Don't hit first. There's considerable variation after that: Most think that hitting BACK is just fine, but there are pacifist libertarians.

The Party's form of it is this pledge, required of any who would join: "I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." (That's also a sticking point for many who are supporters but not members: For instance, some think that force, threat-of-force, and some kinds of fraud are members of the class "coercion", and that any of the three is justification for the use of force in defense of self or property.)

Most libertarians also think that, once fighting starts, there's no need for proportionality or sportsmanship. (Proportioal response leads to continuous gradual escalation and debacles like the Vietnam conflict.) This is not a game - if you're justified in using force, you're justified in using enough to insure the dispute is settled. The line from Babylon 5: "Never start a fight, always finish one.", might well be a libertarian anthem.

But the non-aggression principle is the ONLY bedrock requirement, so there's a wide range of ideologies under the libertarian tent.

Basically, the idea is that virtually every human interaction should be voluntary. Consenting adults should be allowed to do what they want, but they should also bear the responsibility of their actions.

Libertarians also recognize a right to private property as being necessary for independence. (Indeed, some of them consider that private property starts with one's own body, and derive an ideology of liberty from that.)

Comment: "Nightlife Savings Time" (Score 1) 613

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48294773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

I would love to see the opposite, there is way too much daylight in the summer, but very little night sky for someone trapped in first shift like I. In the winter it would be nice to have at least an hour of sunlight when you get home for snowblowing.

Hear hear! In the summer we have more light and less darkness, so why do things to make awake-while-dark time even more scarce? (How much of the demise of drive-in theatres can be laid at the feet of the government-mandated imposition, and increases in the period of, Daylight Savings Time?)

I have for years been proposing Nightlife Savings Time as a fix: If the government MUST muck with the clocks, set them BACK in the spring, so those of us who want some dark time don't have to wait until the ground is covered with snow to get it.

Comment: Re:I'll take that bait (Score 1) 613

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48294711) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Oddly, however, the Hopi have a reservation completely surrounded by the Navajo reservation, and they don't follow DST.

The Hopi and Navajo are historic blood enemies. (I understand the Navajo word for "Hopi" means "Dead man".)

That the Hopi would do something opposite from the Navajo does not surprise me at all.

Comment: Re:GPS can fail? (Score 1) 139

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48289285) Attached to: World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

I'm not sure how GPS can fail? There are like 26 or so satellites over the earth. I can't imagine all 26 of them going down all at once?

For starters you need to be able to receive from at LEAST three of them simultaneously or they might as well not be up there.

There are 26 because some will be on the wrong side of the Earth, or below the horizon, or behind a building, mountain, or thick cloud. Lose a few and you have times when you can't hear at least three that well separated from your viewpoint, so you GPS doesn't work then. Lose a lot and you can almost never hear three or more at once.

Comment: And that's why the electoral college is important. (Score 1) 468

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48288417) Attached to: Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

So don't tell me "voter fraud is nearly non-existent". We have plenty of existence proofs

And that's ONE reason why the Electorial College, rather than at-large election of the president, is important: It provides a firewall that limits the amount of voting power a single corrupt political machine can deliver in the presidential election. (The other elected officials are by region, which limits the number of them one corrupt machine can deliver.) With popular vote one big state with a corrupted election process can swamp the rest of the country and control the White House.

Remember the Florida recount? Imagine a close presidential election if the office were by popular vote. You'd have to recount the WHOLE COUNTRY.

Comment: Re:Sounds like an opportunity - for backfire. (Score 1) 468

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48288327) Attached to: Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

They check citizenship before adding the name to the voter roll.

What makes you think that?

What state are you living in? In what alternate universe?

In many states they don't check. You fill out the form, send it in, and that's that. The fine print says claimed "under penalty of perjury" (that's never applied)" that you're a citizen. No I.D. required.

This is especially since the federal "motor-voter law" requires sates to provide (piles of) mail-in voter registration at many places people otherwise interact with the government, including the places they get their drivers licenses. Grab a handfull of 'em - or ask for a couple boxes. "We're running a voter registration drive." Perfectly legal. What you do with them afterward is a separate issue. (That's how ACORN - for which Obama once worked - ran voter registration drives among immigrants - illegal and freshly arrived - (using federal funding), and eventually got dropped by the Fed when some of their people just started making up obviously fake names and got caught.)

Or register (sometimes on voting day) at the polls. Commute from polling place to polling place on election day. (Your party will often provide convenient transport for you...)

My wife encountered one "undocumented immigrant" on our block who proudly showed her his more-than-twenty voting cards. When told that was illegal he said that if the officials thought it was important they'd be doing something about it.

The registrars of voters don't have the time, manpower, budget, (and often claim not to have the authority), to check all those applications. If they're Democrat appointees, they don't have the will, either: Those phantom votes are probably for their side. If they're Republican appointees, they're subject to lawsuits for "voter intimidation" if they try to actually purge ineligible voters from the rolls.

Once a voter is on the rolls, just TRY to get them off. We've had someone who never lived at our address voting absentee for years now. He was still doing so as of the last election. We get his election materials. We've tried to get him removed but the registrar won't do it. We've tried to find out where the absentee ballots are sent but they refuse to tell us: "He might be a policeman or a stalking victim..."

Our former next-door neighbor died when her second liver transplant was rejected. Her daughter reported her death to the registrar - repeatedly. Even took the death certificate to the registrar's office. She was taken off - repeatedly - and repeatedly put back on. Finally they refused to take her off, because she was still voting by mail. (I'd LOVE to know how the post office delivers the ballots and gets her votes returned, or at least how to address mail properly to reach "the other side". I have a number of deceased friends and family members with whom I'd like to correspond. B-b )

That's about twenty five fake votes that we personally KNOW about in ONE BLOCK of ONE TOWN. Most of them by ONE illegal immigrant whose citizenship obviously wasn't checked - repeatedly.

Now combine motor-voter with automatic absentee voting upon request (sometimes a check box on the original registration form). With a few (or even one) mailing addresses you can create phantom voters as fast as you can make up names and fill out one or two forms apiece, for the cost of a couple stamps. There was only a minor news blip, and no prosecutions, when it was discovered that several thousand "absentee voters" were having their ballots delivered to the same address in Berkeley.

So don't tell me "voter fraud is nearly non-existent". We have plenty of existence proofs. What we lack is substantial effort, on the part of officials (who have an interest in maintaining the status quo, which includes them being in power) to measure its extent or cure the problem

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.