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Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 110

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Soft Power (Score 2) 328

And when Europe decides to ignore a whole lot of American drug patents in return?

The reason the WTO exists is to try and avoid tit-for-tat trade wars like what you're suggesting. Ultimately they make everyone poorer.

The US has an uncompetitive tax system for corporations. It's not even about the rate, it's about the fact that they're double taxed on worldwide income, something no other country does. Instead of coming up with creative ways to try and "punish" people who develop life saving drugs for getting sick of American tax exceptionalism, why not find ways to make them want to stay?

Comment Two, both for mobile devices. (Score 2) 480

(1a) Root/jailbreak everywhere, as an easy option (not called that any longer). Rather like the security control on Mac OS. "Security" on by default, but can be turned off with a click.

(1b) An unlocked SIM socket on every device, of every size, along with a dialer/calling app for mobile networks. So that I don't have to choose amongst the limited selection of "phablets" but can instead use an iPad Mini or a Samsung Galaxy S2 as my phone if I want to.

Comment Re:What idiocy (Score 1) 302

To which I ask, what's your point? I accept that risk in the name of freedom. You can have freedom or the illusion of safety, which would you prefer?

The idea that guns lead to freedom is based on a simple assumption: an overly oppressive government could be overthrown through some sort of armed uprising. This is a fantasy. Nobody in America has any chance of overthrowing or resisting their local government through force of arms. If you attempted it alone, you'd be immediately killed by armed police and written off as just another guy with mental problems. If you tried to coordinate a group bigger than 10 people you'd be detected and classified as some sort of domestic terrorists, and most likely end up in a firefight with a much larger, better armed and better armoured group than yourself (US police have access to ex-military equipment from Iraq, right).

But there are literally no scenarios in which a government passes a law, a bunch of people start shooting up police stations or senate buildings, and that government says, "oh ok, I guess that was kind of oppressive, we'll repeal the law" and everything goes back to being peaches and cream.

So it's a false choice. Guns do not equate to freedom and the cultural link between the two is an American-specific phenomenon.

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 136

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 136

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 173

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:Next step? (Score 1) 111

There are apps for Android that claim to do exactly that. I believe some of them warn you if you were downgraded to 2G unexpectedly or if encryption was switched off by the cell site.

Two problems. One is nobody uses such apps. It needs to be integrated with the OS really. And another is that apparently the makers of the Stingray devices have a device that can attack 3G networks as well. This latter device is only rumoured and last time I researched it, I concluded almost nothing is known about how it works, assuming it actually works at all. It's possible it's doing something like exploiting bugs in radio firmwares or something like that.

Comment Re:Praise be to Putin (Score 1) 291

Putin has staged terrorist acts against his own citizens before.

Although some of those events look pretty bad at first, there's nonetheless significant criticism of that theory from neutral third parties.

The biggest criticism of it is that the entire conspiracy theory makes no sense, as it revolves around the idea that Putin's FSB bombed its own people to create support for the war in Chechnya. Except that war had already been started by Yeltsin with the full support of all the power structures and Putin's 1999 attack on Chechnya was preceded by the insurrection in Dagestan. There was no need for apartment bombings to get an excuse to engage in military action in Chechnya. The claimed motive just doesn't line up with the actual timings of events.

The second biggest criticism is that the people who suggested the possibility had no evidence for it good enough to stand up in a court.

The third biggest criticism is that whilst the motive of the Kremlin to do this was rather garbled, a Chechen rebel leader had actually said "[they would] set off bombs everywhere", "Russian women and children will pay for the crimes of Russian generals." and that "this will not happen tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow" ..... and two days after he said that, an apartment building was bombed. And after fighting in Dagestan was concluded the bombings stopped.

So you have two possibilities - Islamic extremists bombed the apartment buildings in retaliation for their insurrection being put down. That possibility is a simple one. Or the Russian government engaged in a conspiracy to bomb its own people in a false flag operation. Given the history since 1999 of Islamists blowing shit up, I say ... go with Occam's Razor.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.