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Comment: Re:Sort of redundant (Score 3, Interesting) 113

The risk of large scale surveillance is that it can generate data sets that can be mined for information. Tracking can show networks of friends, attendance at political rallies, books read, movies watched, foods and alcohol consumed. Does this pattern match for a potential terrorist - can't prove anything, but maybe you shouldn't keep your job at Lockheed, or should get extra screening at the airport? Did you watch "little miss sunshine" too many times for your demographic - could mean you are a pedophile - maybe you shouldn't have a job as a school teacher - think of the children.

Which political information should you see? Candidates can target their adds to YOU specifically. Same for news, and advertising.

Maybe you don't get enough sleep, or are found to meet women ( or other men) at bars and take them home. Sounds like "statistically" you might be a health risk and your insurance rates will go up.

Large scale tracking, data collection and analysis allow for statistical pattern matches. The public might be happy that a new system has a only 1% failure rate, and only a 10% false positive rate for recognizing people who are a danger to children - unless you are in that 10%

Comment: Costs? (Score 2) 89

Mars one claims $6B to put 4 people on mars.
On one side -how do they plan to raise that amount of money? They use the Olympics as an example,but that is an event with an enormous viewership. Are they claiming they can get anything like a similar number of viewers for a bunch of guys living (or slowly dying) on mars?

On the other side, what technology do they have that makes a mars mission cost $6B, not the hundreds of billions that NASA estimates? Sure they may be able to do for somewhat less money, but a factor of 100??? Where is their demonstration of technical expertise to support such a claim?

Its just a scam.

Comment: Doesn't matter (Score 2) 385

by joe_frisch (#49289835) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

I'm a career physicist, and I regularly take college interns. She can use whatever she is comfortable with. I I need my interns to have some particular computer or software I will get it for them.

Personal computers in physics are mostly for writing reports and quick calculations. High power computation and data analysis is done on dedicated server farms.The personal computer is just used as a terminal.

Comment: Re:Consistency (Score 4, Interesting) 63

by joe_frisch (#49273551) Attached to: World's Most Powerful Laser Diode Arrays Deployed

the pump is probably 3.2MW for a long pulse (100s of microseconds), and the output is petawatts for a short time (femtoseconds).Diodes are often used to pump solid state laser materials that store energy for many microseconds, then release it much more quickly. (along with chirp pulse amplification to get even larger power compression).

Comment: Re:Another diploma mill with a marketing team (Score 4, Insightful) 85

Another major difference between colleges is the interaction with other students. For example at Caltech you are in an environment where it is normal to study for a few hours every night, and where scientific discussions are common, you will get more mental exercise and learn more. An elite liberal arts school will likely provide equivalent benefits.

Then, while less "pure", the contact you make at an elite school are very valuable in your future career .

Comment: Re:Of course they are (Score 1) 270

by joe_frisch (#49132517) Attached to: It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy

And this is why its so sad that the NSA did this. The US could have grabbed a lot of the market if we could have assured users that our equipment was trustworthy. It would have taken some time, but eventually we would have grabbed market share from China. Now that everyone assumes both countries are spying on their hardware, we no longer have that competitive advantage.

Comment: Re:Another rumor ... (Score 1) 112

by joe_frisch (#49098283) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

Once trust is lost, you can't get it back. There is no way to trust the people who are telling you to trust the audit. NSA *could* be anywhere. That doesn't mean that they ARE anywhere, but I can't see any way to trust any software or audit process. (unless you are one of the extremely rare people who can personally audit the code).

If you had a piece of code that *you* knew was completely secure, how could you convince me of that?

Comment: The public needs to want it to end (Score 1) 239

by joe_frisch (#49023621) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

I don't think that they do. Universal surveillance can be valuable for all sorts of things. Used correctly it can almost eliminate crime (except of course crimes committed by the entity that controls the surveillance).

So far it seems that the public is willing to accept almost unlimited surveillance. They may know that its a deal with the devil,but many people are willing to make those deals.

I think Slashdot is not a representative sample - the posters here tend to think more deeply about issues than does the general public, and I think we are more aware of just how badly a surveillance society could go.

Comment: Re:Nice but wish it was video from L2 (Score 1) 33

I wasn't suggesting a mission just to measure this (which of course can be simulated), but rather that it would be something that could easily be recorded form one of the many existing missions(or maybe tourist hotels) that would be distributed throughout the solar system.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 823

by joe_frisch (#48880965) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Absolutely agree if we are talking about fake noise piped into the cabin to make the car sound louder.

My BMW M235 does this and it really pisses me off that I can't disable it without hacking. Makes me wish I had bought a (very similar) Audi S3 which does have and enable / disable for engine sounds in the in-cabin settings. In the M235 the noise seems connected to the "sport" steering and shifting program (though their documentation doesn't admit it of course).

Great plan BMW - you've succeeded in making one of your customers feel like an idiot, a great way to boost future sales. There is this new thing called and "internet" were people share information - you should read up on it. It means that you can't keep things like this secret .

"Safety" noises on electric cards are an entirely different issue.

Comment: Re:Since when did unknown == paradox?? (Score 1) 231

by joe_frisch (#48875999) Attached to: The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

Agreed. Also, if you someone is worried about conservation of energy you have to worry about the big-bang - where everything suddenly appears.

We don't yet have a good theory that includes quantum mechanics and gravity - and that seems to be central to all of these unknowns. Likely we will figure one out eventually.

Most of the issues with quantum gravity occur at scales that are not accessible in the laboratory. Every experiment we can do is predicted by existing theories, and we can't reach the conditions where we expect those theories to fail.

Comment: Re:"Programming" Excel (Score 1) 242

by joe_frisch (#48749787) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay

Nothing wrong with Excel. For some types of problems it is a very efficient tool. It takes quite a bit of skill to write a complex spreadsheet that can be used effectively by other people.

Excel and other spread sheets are good tools where the user is entering a variety of data in different fields, and the looking at the results. You could of course write the functionality in another language, but Excel provides the user interface for free.

User hostile.