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Comment: Re:Motive (Score 4, Interesting) 266

by gman003 (#48671141) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

How about a compromise - let's let Sony pay for the war. Just give them a one-time legal exception, let them hire whatever mercenaries (excuse me... "private military contractors") they want, then invade. It would cost Sony probably one or two years' profits, but they might be able to get other corporations to buy in under the idea that they'd be the next to be attacked.

That does leave the question of what to do with NK afterwards, but we can deal with that once it becomes an actual issue.

Comment: Cultural differences (Score 5, Insightful) 153

by gman003 (#48647131) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

In China (and most east-asian cultures), you never disrespect rulers. It simply is not done, and they see it as a grave insult to the entire nation to do so.

In west-european and north-american cultures, particularly the US, everyone is a fair target for mockery. We mock Kim Jong-eun because he does things worth making fun of. We mocked Hitler because he did things worth making fun of, and we continue to do so. We also mocked Obama, Bush, Clinton... we still regularly mock Nixon, just because it's still funny. Britain makes fun of Cameron, and to a lesser extent, the Royal Family. We have entire industries based around making a mockery of our political leaders, and we would be insulted if you asked us to stop.

The only ones we do not mock are those who do absolutely nothing and are of no significance whatsoever. It would be a greater insult for us to NOT satirize them, because that says we don't give a single shit about them, that they are not even worthy of our derision.

Comment: Since this has turned into a textbook bitchfest... (Score 3, Insightful) 170

by gman003 (#48640159) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Well, it seems we're disregarding the actual story in lieu of bitching about textbooks. So here's my story of interest:

My own stupid textbook story is from Statics. The prof listed a textbook, title, version and ISBN. I ordered online to save some cash, everyone else bought from the campus bookstore.

About two weeks in, I've failed every homework problem. Turns out the version that was listed, and the version I had bought, was the METRIC version, while the campus bookstore had ordered the IMPERIAL version, which everyone else, including the professor, had (I checked the ISBNs, mine was right, so either they have two versions under the same number, or the bookstore "corrected" it to the imperial version). The problems were the same, save for the units.

Brief aside: Why the hell is there even an engineering textbook in non-metric units? Who the hell is designing bridges in feet, pounds and slugs? It's probably just to keep American students from buying cheaper foreign copies.

In any case, we worked out a deal - I just copied the text of the problem before showing my work. My grade instantly shot up. Not quite to an A- despite having passed an "Algebra and Trigonometry" class, I'd never actually been taught trig, and was trying to learn it independently for both Statics and Calc II.

Comment: Weird design (Score 5, Interesting) 56

by gman003 (#48628295) Attached to: India Successfully Test Fires Its Heaviest Rocket

Those boosters aren't boosters, they're a side-mounted first stage, because the first liquid engine isn't even ignited until shortly before the boosters separate.

The first stage, then, is a pair of pretty standard solid rockets. A bit under half the thrust of a Shuttle booster, and about a third the mass.

The second stage is a pair of hypergolic liquid rockets, using UDMH and N2O4. Normally that's a sign of military heritage - hypergolic fuels are common in ICBM designs because they're storable at room temperature, and guarantee that the missile will at least launch. Purely civilian designs rarely use such fuels, because they're dangerous as hell, RP-1+LOX is cheaper, and you would generally prefer an aborted launch to an explosion. But in this case it actually makes sense - if you were on the ground and RP-1+LOX failed to ignite, you just try again tomorrow, but if you're already in the air, you're screwed if it doesn't ignite. It also gets about the same efficiency as RP1+LOX.

The third stage is supposed to be LH2+LOX, but was not used on this test flight. Perfectly reasonable for an upper stage, where the low thrust is less important than the high efficiency.

Overall, a bit different design than most rockets, but not in a bad way.

Comment: Re:No, no, no (Score 1) 586

by gman003 (#48623043) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

The current prevailing theory is that North Korea hired outside hackers for this job. That fits the level of skill shown (less than CIA-level, more than skiddie level), the damage done, and even North Korea's response (had it been homegrown hackers, I'm not sure Kim could have helped but shout it out to the world).

Also, pointing out that an action was illogical in no way proves that it was not North Korea. They have shown time and time again to be a country that makes bad decisions, and acts with little regard for the consequences.

Comment: Re:No winner here, except for us all (Score 1) 586

by gman003 (#48622897) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

Why do you have to take either side?

North Korea is the greater of the two evils, undoubtedly, but they gained nothing by doing this. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the final straw that makes the world take action against them. Meanwhile, I'm just going to sit back and laugh.

It's like if Adolf Hitler started heckling Fred Phelps during a speech. Sure, you hate both of them, but you're not going to stop him unless he either starts targeting someone who isn't a walking piece of crap, or he starts benefiting from it somehow.

Comment: Re:No winner here, except for us all (Score 1) 586

by gman003 (#48622757) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

I covered that. Read their denial closely - they spend as much time praising the attack as they do denying that it was them in an official capacity.

If they officially state that they did it, there would be official responses. But unless there's some absolutely definitive evidence found, even though it was quite obviously North Korea, no prosecutor would be willing to make that official accusation. By unofficially endorsing it, but officially disavowing that it was them, they are claiming responsibility in a fully deniable, un-actionable way.

Who else has motive to threaten the moviegoers? That doesn't fit with any alternative hypothesis, unless it's misdirection to make us think it's North Korea. If it were for profit, that doesn't get them any more money. If it were revenge for the shitty things Sony has done, they wouldn't threaten their customers (who are pretty much just innocent bystanders as far as that goes). If it were a rival studio, that could have just as much an effect on their movie performance as Sony's (terrorist attacks are notoriously imprecise).

Perhaps I'm wrong, and it's a group that's trying very hard to make it look like North Korea is behind it. As misdirection ploys go, it's a brilliant one. But their act is too convincing - this fits North Korea too well, in my opinion, to be anyone but them.

I know they're a bunch of unreliable liars, but it seems the US government agrees with me, for whatever that's worth.

Comment: No winner here, except for us all (Score 2, Informative) 586

by gman003 (#48621849) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

It's pretty transparent that these hackers are North Korean. Fuck North Korea.

On the other hand, fuck Sony. I can't say that enough - FUCK SONY.

This doesn't help NK in any way. Oh, this movie is blasphemous to their state-mandated religion, worshipping the rotting corpse of Kim I and Kim II? This movie was never going to be seen by anyone in that entire country, if for the simple reason that so few of them can even afford it. I doubt they can even use this hack as internal propaganda, because the simple fact that such a movie exists shows how little the outside world cares about North Korea. And nobody's fooled by their disavowal - this is just more proof that they're a bunch of thugs.

This hurts Sony. First the humiliation of the hack. Then the financial damage. Then the humiliation of acceding to terrorist demands. They may have had a bad reputation in our circles for years now, but they've now lost face in the mainstream media, too.

So yeah, our enemies are fighting and both of them are losing. Time to break out the popcorn.

Comment: Re:fuel weight (Score 2) 81

by gman003 (#48616645) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Rockets themselves are expensive. Rocket fuel, particularly the sort SpaceX uses, is dirt cheap in comparison - only $200K of their $56M launch cost.

Yes, having that extra fuel decreases their payload capacity (from what it could be). But they don't need as much fuel when descending, since they no longer have a second stage and payload weighing them down, so it isn't much fuel in total.

However, the cost of not having to rebuild the rocket every time is much more significant. Even if they can only reuse it a few times, that's a lot of production cost being saved.

Sony

Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents 250

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-share dept.
SydShamino writes In an effort that may run afoul of the first amendment, Sony, through their lawyer David Boies (of SCO infamy), has sent a letter to major news organizations demanding that they refrain from downloading any leaked documents, and destroy those already possessed. Sony threatens legal action to news organizations that do not comply, saying that "Sony Pictures Entertainment will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by you."
Transportation

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

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