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Comment: Crypto is NEVER the answer if the question is Vote (Score 1) 76

yES!! if the TYPICAL voter does not understand why the vote is secure the method fails. this is virtually the turing rest for any proposed schema.

Someone needs to write one of those form letters we have for why someones proposal to end spam will fail for all these stupid people who think the problem is crytography.

Comment: swift (Score 1) 263

by goombah99 (#49746685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

If there were one single language to distinguish yourself it might be Swift. it's currenlty apple specific so this will limit your platforms and it's not a sysadmin language. it's an application language. But like perl it is suited for rapid development for small niches like the other languages you know. So you could sell it on a first to market sort of basis that might be consistent with your other skills. The advantage is it's new and thus a level playing field for the short dinosaur arms of an over-the-hill 40 something.

Comment: python white space (Score 3, Interesting) 406

by goombah99 (#49743219) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Like most people I thought pythons enforced white space and avoidance of braces and elimination of semicolons was constricting. Then I realized how easy it was to read other people programs. Python used to be even simpler to read when it only provided one idioms for one job (avoiding a dozen way to do the same thing resulting in dialects). Now it's adding new idioms and genres so it's a little more opaque. But it's still easier to read than any language with comparable expressiveness. (Lua is refreshing for similar reasons).

Comment: New plug in (Score 2) 144

I use the "strangers on a train" plug in. It exchanges all your facebook cookies every 5 minutes with another random person. It doesn't hurt your facebook login itself since you still need your password for that. It just scrambles your identity when you press like. If everyone used this then the "likes" would still add up to being meaningful but the user profiles would be completely homogenized and have no tracking value.

Comment: other uses for lasers weapons as well. (Score 1) 185

by goombah99 (#49719825) Attached to: Navy's New Laser Weapon: Hype Or Reality?

there are other uses for lasers that projectile weapons don't satisfy easily.

there a high peak power, low total energy, laser ionizes a trail from the laser to the target device. then you send a bolt of lightning down that air column, which continues to ionize it while it electrically destroys the target. This can be used to disable vehicles non-lethally from remote distances. It can even be used to destroy roadside IEDs.

Another use, in fact the one it was originally researched for in the 1990s, is discharging lighting storms. In the 1990s there were multiple outages of the internet and other coms systems with astonishing price tags, due to lightning strikes. These don't seem to be as much of a problem now, at least not making the news. But at the time it looked like our new electronic infrastructure would need protecting.

ships are the ideal laser platform due to their abundant power and cooling, as well as their weight carring capacity, sturdy rigid platform, limited storage space for ordinance. Moreover ships are a highvalue asset that in recent years have been denied access to coastlines (littoral) due to proliferation of cheap anti-ship weapons. so defeating those is important to the navy. the main drawback with lasers is you can't fire them over the horizon, and thus the longer range weapon will always bee needed as well.

Comment: drones (Score 1) 185

by goombah99 (#49719639) Attached to: Navy's New Laser Weapon: Hype Or Reality?

There never was a mission for the navy to shoot down nuclear missiles. there may have been a mission to shoot down anti-ship missiles. But they already had the Phalax and it is probably as effective as laser would ever be for that mission. But the drone situation changed everything. There wasn't a good way to deal with these, and the pinpoint accuracy of lasers combined with the low power requirements needed makes lasers the ideal weapon for this. Similarly, non-lethal weapons to fend off small craft boats are better solved by lasers than projectiles. Lasers are a great weapon for the navy since they have abundant power and cooling at hand. It means they can carry less explosives making their own vessels safer and reduces the logistics needed for re-supply.

What's remarkable to me is that in the 1970s the idea of a laser weapon seemed ludicrous since they deposited more energy into the laser than into the target, focusing through heated air was a problem, and simply rotating a large target (balistic missile) greatly increased the power needed to damage it. Now we have breakthroughs in laser diode efficieniency, and slow moving non-spinning targets with a low damage threshold

Comment: Price to book? (Score 5, Insightful) 335

by goombah99 (#49718511) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

How is Q different than the usual Price-to-Book ratio, which formally has the same english definition of the share price to the per-share Asset value of the company? The price-to-book value doesn't go below 1 usually because a leveraged buyout of the company could fund it self by selling off the pieces. The Q-value seems to define assets as replacement value which is unclear. Is replacement value to be taken as what the assets would trade for in their used shape, or what they would cost to buy new.

Comment: This cannot possibly be true (Score 1) 164

by goombah99 (#49711317) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

Well may be it can be true but it takes some explaining. The central problem I see is the crossection is smaller. SO how can it extract energy from wind that does not pass through its crossection? For that to be true then it implies that somehow the energy depleted wind is sucking energy from the surrounding windfeild as it passes by. I could imagine this is potentially possible. For example if you were to picture the wind like water piling up behind your hand in stream then it's the up stream water pushing on the water stopped in front of your hand that generates the force on your hand. So you are coupled to distant water. But the same is true of a regular windmill, and it has a larger crossection (hand). So it's not simple to work out how it manages to extract only 30% less energy per machine.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan