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Comment: microSD card (Score 5, Funny) 97

by kc8tbe (#42375065) Attached to: Google Skunkworks Working on 'X Phone,' Reports WSJ

Maybe in addition to flexible screens, a brain scanner, and antigravity, this Nexus phone will finally feature the latest in high-bandwidth media transfer technology. An unnamed source tells me this wireless technology will take the revolutionary form of a small, fingernail-sized chip that can be easily inserted into and removed from the phone. Many gigabytes of data from the cloud can be stored on the chip and then transfered between the phone and other compatible devices such as phones, tablets, and notebooks. Some media sources have speculated that this pioneering technology may even allow users to access their media when an Internet connection is not available, although experts have cautioned that the technology to implement such a feature will not be available until 2015 at the earliest...

Comment: binary kernel blobs vs. aosp (Score 1) 109

by kc8tbe (#42022967) Attached to: Dual-Booting PengPod Tablet Can Run Linux/Android

I'm not really sure what they mean either. Why is it running Android 4.0 when the latest is 4.1? What flavor of Android will it be running? Vanilla Android Open Source Project (AOSP)? Cyanogenmod? Will either the Linux or Android kernels require binary driver blobs for full functionality, or will this thing be totally open? What distribution of GNU/Linux will it run -- Plasma Active on Mer? Can it run Debian or Ubuntu? Is it easy to hack on or upgrade after it ships?

This device sounds cool, and $185 for a 10" capacitive touchscreen with expansion options ain't bad, but it would be nice if the specifications were a little bit more nailed down.

Comment: fast and furious (Score 5, Insightful) 279

by kc8tbe (#41892473) Attached to: New Technology May Cut Risk of Giving Syrian Rebels Stinger Missiles

Oh yeah, because this sort of technology worked so well in Fast and Furious when Mexican drug lords used American assault weapons against us after the batterries in the GPS tracking system meant to locate them failed. I am not very convinced this sort of technology would be very difficult to override. The comparison of the Syrian rebels to the Afghan Mujahedeen, aka Taliban, who we are still fighting now, demonstrates an unfornate grasp of history by the people behind this idea. It's still not clear if the Syrian rebels should get military aid from us period -- they are still not a cohesive group, and elements of the rebellion still engage in things like torture and attacks on civilian targets.

Comment: Some issues are non-local (Score 1) 817

by kc8tbe (#41763369) Attached to: Texas Attorney General Warns International Election Observers

This is precisely why we have a division of power between the federal governments and the state. States, for example, are able to set their own early voting and absentee rules for their own elections (although the federal government may arbitrate if someone sues the state about these). It makes sense -- the absentee voting needs of Texas, which will have temperate weather during the election, are different than Alaska, where residents may be snowed in on election day. Another example would be subsidies for energy efficiency, which would be better spent on heat pumps in Texas, gas furnaces in Alaska.

What bothers me about not-quite-secessionists like you is that you like to apply state purview to issues that have nothing to do with locality, especially issues where you personally disagree with the federal government's stance. Are healthcare needs best left to the states? I suppose work related injuries vary somewhat by location, but lets face it, people get sick and die of cancer no matter where they live. May gays marry? While rural folks tend to have a different view than urbanites on this, I really don't see how it has anything to do with geographic location. Yet these are two issues conservatives seem to cite most when jacking off about State's Rights.

Comment: Re:Land of the Free (Score 0) 559

by kc8tbe (#41061175) Attached to: California Wants Genetically Modified Foods To Be Labelled

While I'm certainly in favor of giving consumers more information, a GMO label doesn't really do this. Corn and bananas have undergone extensive selective breeding to yield products that appear grossly different from their ancestral plants. Does that count as genetically modified? What about seedless varieties of fruit? What about grafting a branch of one species of fruit-bearing tree onto the roots/trunk of another species? What if I take a naturally occurring gene for hardiness from a plant found in the wild and add it to a cultivated plant of the same species? What if I take that naturally occurring gene and add it to a plant from a different species? What if I create a hybrid gene not found in nature and add that to my crops? The average consumer is ill equipped to interpret these distinctions, and so I don't think a carte blanche GMO label really serves consumers' interests or justifies its own cost.

Comment: funding, not fraud (Score 1) 279

by kc8tbe (#39605821) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Budding Scientist?

I'm not really sure where you have gotten the impression that fraud is rampant in science, except perhaps by confusing Slashdot with a real news source. At least in the field where I am a graduate student, Neuroscience, fraud is rare to non-existent. I would be much more worried about the political climate for funding. Depending on your field, software patents could also become a concern in the future.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 5, Insightful) 356

by kc8tbe (#38952129) Attached to: Canonical Pulls Kubuntu Personnel Funding

Me too. I think the Kubuntu developers did some great work pushing the envelope on what KDE can do on the desktop and netbook, and a lot of their work has appeared upstream. Kudos to Jonathan Riddell and the other Kubuntu devs! Personally, though, I needed stability more than shiny new features so I switched to Debian (ironically) unstable. Not only does it offer a more stable desktop experience with KDE 4.6 than does Kubuntu, but because its a rolling release distribution the packages are usually fresher than the latest Ubuntu release and I haven't had to reinstall in over a year. Hopefully now we will have more manpower to work on stable, vanilla KDE 4.7 and 4.8 on Debian.

As for Ubuntu, I now have zero reasons to install it.

Comment: Re:Use Thorium-based reactors instead (Score 5, Informative) 581

by kc8tbe (#30131132) Attached to: CERN Physicist Warns About Uranium Shortage

If you read the *entire* Wikipedia article on the Thorium fuel cycle, you would understand why Thorium is proliferation resistant instead of calling the parent "ridiculously misinformed".

"Because the 233U produced in thorium fuels is inevitably contaminated with 232U, thorium-based used nuclear fuel possesses inherent proliferation resistance. Uranium-232 can not be chemically separated from 233U and has several decay products which emit high energy gamma radiation. These high energy photons are a radiological hazard that necessitate the use of remote handling of separated uranium and aid in the passive detection of such materials."

"It is verifiable because the epithermal thorium breeder produces only at most 9% more fuel than it burns in each year. Building bombs quickly will take power plants out of operation."

Basically, because almost all naturally occurring Thorium is 232Th, it's possible to isolate Thorium fuel chemically -- without centrifugation. In other words, a country that uses Thorium exclusively for fuel has no reason to develop centrifugation technology. On the other hand, separating 233U from 232U requires centrifugation. Thus, aforementioned countries would be unable to access the 233U they produce for bomb-building purposes.

Also, the poor breeder coefficient of 233U Thorium reactors means that most of the 233U produced by the reactor is required to produce the neutrons that convert fertile Thorium into more 233U. If you were to remove the 233U from the reactor for use in a bomb, you would halt additional production of 233U by the reactor. Either you would have to harvest very little 233U over a long period of time, or you would have to supplement the Thorium fuel with some other fissile material such as bomb-grade plutonium (and if you already had access to that, you wouldn't be trying to produce bomb-grade material in the first place).

While it's possible to produce a bomb using a the thorium fuel cycle, it is inefficient and requires advanced centrifugation technology to mitigate the 232U. It would be easier to just start with uranium ore.

Comment: Re:Full refund (Score 3, Interesting) 318

by kc8tbe (#29065737) Attached to: Danish FreeBSD Dev. Sues Lenovo Over "Microsoft Tax"

Indeed, Lenovo has made it abundantly clear that they want to Microsoft whores. That's why, although I love my T61, I recently bought a Dell Latitude E6500 when I needed a new computer. Dell couldn't sell it in the configuration I wanted without Windows, but they gave me an $80 discount when I told them I'd be using Linux! It's a solid laptop, metal hinges and all -- good riddance, Lenovo!

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.