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Comment Re:Budget (Score 3, Informative) 105 105

This is what they say on the Kickstarter page:

Isn't the Smithsonian federally funded? Good question! Federal appropriations provide the foundation of the Smithsonian's operating budget and support core functions, such as building operations and maintenance, research, and safeguarding the collections. Projects like Reboot the Suit aren't covered by our federal appropriations, which means we can only undertake them if we can fund them some other way. In other words, we won't be able to do this project without the participation of Kickstarter backers.

Comment Re:I must've missed the previous discovery (Score 1) 89 89

Actually I wonder why 'piquancy' or 'pungency' (like in pepper) is not considered a sixth taste. It is sensed by a specific receptor and it is triggered by a variety of compounds: various capsainoids from peppers and compuonds in black pepper, mustard/wasabi, raw garlic, and so on.

Comment Re:Legislate 50% less consumption? Good fucking lu (Score 1) 463 463

"miniscule compared to the toxic stuff released during the generation of the extra electricity required for the incandescent bulb."

That depends on the type of exhaust scrubbers fitted to the coal power plant and the type of coal used. I'd wager that technology exists and is actually being used to make the exhaust pretty much free of toxic stuff. The sulfur is converted to gypsum (used in drywall), the ashes are an additive to concrete, etc..

What cannot be suppressed is the (nontoxic) CO2 emission. It would be good to quantify things beyond "a lot" and "much more". Electricity can be converted to electricity to electricity at 1 to 2 kWh/kg depending on who you believe (can't be bothered to find out why different values exist). Assumie a CFK lasts 3000 h (actually they should last 6x longer, but it seems to be too optimistic for many use cases) and an incandescent 1000 h. A 60 W incandescent will use 180 kWh over 3000 h, i.e. 90 to 180 kg of coal. The CO2 emission is about 3.5 times that weight.

Comment Re:Infrared cameras are expensive (Score 1) 192 192

$200 for an 80x80 FLIR camera? Which model is that? I'm looking at the FLIR selection, but the only one that comes close is an IR plugin for an iPhone, 80x60 pixels. At a 9 Hz frame rate, I don't think that sensor would be suitable for analyzing road obstacles while driving, never mind the resolution.

Comment Re:Infrared cameras are expensive (Score 1) 192 192

You don't use high-resolution cameras for this job. You use a highly sensitive normal camera and then you use the thermo camera right next to it for object detection and for gain control on the primary camera.

That would sound plausible, except that the image that they show in the video clip (0:28) is a fairly high-resolution fully thermal image without blending with a visible-light image.

Comment Infrared cameras are expensive (Score 1) 192 192

I was going to rant about how this thing is going to dazzle pedestrians, but fortunately, the video shows that it will mainly lighten up their legs. Wheelchair riders beware, though.

Anyway, the system as described uses thermal IR cameras. I'd say that technology is way too expensive even for high end cars. Thermographic cameras capable of around 200x150 pixels are commercially available for around 5 kEUR and I suspect that that resolution is still too low to recognize a pedestrian at 50 m distance and at the same time have a reasonably wide field of view. You can get 80x80-resolution systems for around 1 kEUR, but those will definitely be useless for the present purpose.

Comment Re:Good Idea, and a Possible Modification (Score 1) 120 120

"no real attempt to move the launch platform up to 80,000 feet or so using gas balloon technology. I would have thought this would be feasible, and could result in a substantial fuel saving."

The fuel cost of a launch to low orbits is not for the altitude, but for gaining enough speed to stay in orbit, i.e. about 8 km/s. The gravitational energy becomes significant if you need altitudes comparable to the earth radius (6400 km).

Comment No? (Score 1) 196 196

It tried to RTFA, but it was in Japanese! I thought Japanese didn't have a word for "no":

Japanese also lacks words for yes and no. The words "hai" and "iie" are mistaken by English speakers for equivalents to yes and no, but they actually signify agreement or disagreement with the proposition put by the question: "That's right." or "That's not right.

Comment Re:Is there any value in studying this? (Score 5, Informative) 44 44

studying an encryption scheme that is widely considered completely and irreparably broken?

All known issues with RC4 have to do with statistical biases in the first bytes of the key stream, in particular the first 256 bytes (this paper also mentions a significant bias at byte 258). As far as we know, all issues with RC4 are avoided in protocols that simply discard the first kilobyte of key stream before starting to apply the key stream on the plaintext. SSH does this (discarding the first 1.5 kiB IIRC). For WPA I can imagine that this workaround would have an unacceptable performance penalty on small data packets. For some reason, this approach was never implemented for TLS/HTTPS or WPA.

So why would one be interested in RC4? It's significantly faster than AES when run on processors that do not have hardware AES support. If I use scp and rsync-over-ssh to copy files to devices like a Raspberry Pi or my home server which runs on a low-power VIA processor, it's a big difference (aes versus arcfour), something like 4 MB/s versus 8 MB/s. Here are some benchmarks: openSSH cipher benchmarks.

I keep my eyes open for papers like this, in particular I check whether they make statements on weaknesses after the first kilobyte of key stream.

Comment Re:Hotmail's whitelist is an effective system (Score 1) 55 55

"Congratulations, you're a spammer."

You're jumping to conclusions. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for that kind of mail volumes, such as administrering mail servers of a company that handles customer support tickets or a web shop with order confirmations, shipping notices, and invoices (3 emails per order). It could also be an opt-in mailing list.

Comment Re:Photos still stuck in... (Score 3, Informative) 177 177

Problem is that these photographers are still stuck in the 20th century, and will give you a printout.

They changed the photo business in the biggest attraction park in the Netherlands, quite recently. They used to charge EUR 10 or so for a single printout. Now they sell you a 4 GB USB stick for EUR 20 which you can load with up to 15 (?) photos and which you can re-use on a next visit until some expiration date. And afterwards, you can use it as any other USB stick. I thought it was pretty reasonable. It was the first time ever I paid for photos in an attraction park.

Comment Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 1) 188 188

"I will agree that with the rate of technological change today, the current 20 year protection is ridiculous. Technologies are typically woefully outdated by the time patents expire. IMHO patents should last significantly less time than currently (say 5 years or so),"

A farmaceutical product can well take much longer than that between the time the compound was discovered and the time it has passed all clinical trials and gets approval.from the authorities.

I work in the high-tech industry, where it can easily take 5 years between the first conception and the actual sale of the product. Only for small, incremental changes of existing technology, we sometimes get below 2 years.

The patent system is broken IMO, but not because of the 20-year term. The threshold for patentability is way too low IMO. Every big player in the industry is aggressively patenting every little idea just because the others do the same and nobody wants to be bitten in the ass by a competitor's patent or a patent troll. (I am personally in a strange position,since my employer provides various incentives to generate IP, so I end up contributing to the systemic problem.)

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 4, Insightful) 401 401

"The case in question is regarding defamatory comments posted to a site that the victim went to court over. The courts ordered that the content be taken down. The lazy assed website owners took SIX WEEKS to remove the content."

No. RTFJ(udgment), under the chapter "FACTS".

The comments were removed the day the complaint came in, at which time the comments had been online for 6 weeks. This happened in 2006, by the way. The website had a mechanism for users to flag comments; apparently the complaining party had not used that and demanded monetary compensation at the first contact.

The judgment is surprisingly legible, though rather long. Much better than the average EULA. I didnn't read past the description of initial events. I'm sure that it also explains why this particular website owner was held responsible.

It's great to be smart 'cause then you know stuff.

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