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Comment: Re:First "OMG the common sense" post (Score 2) 185

by maz2331 (#47377267) Attached to: Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

The arrests for terrorism only happen when there is an overt act taken in the real world (aka "meatspace") where an actual attempt is made to do damage. The cops just ensure that the damage isn't actually possible, but the target of their investigation doesn't know that.

That said, those cases do need to be very carefully reviewed for entrapment concerns. If the cops are coercing or near-brainwashing someone with a weak personality into doing something that they wouldn't otherwise do then there is a big problem, whereas if they are only playing along with a pre-existing plot or tendency then it is not entrapment.

This is a case where there is plenty of probable cause to have initiated an investigation and termination of employment, and any appropriate punishment for misuse of public records, but until the acts discussed were actually acted upon in some way in the real world it wasn't yet a crime.

Comment: Re:waste of time (Score 1) 380

by maz2331 (#47329581) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

Ammonia has an energy density of 22.5 MJ/kg and gasoline's is 42.4 MJ/kg - roughly 53%. The physical density is also lower, with gasoline coming in at an average of 0.75 kg/L and the ammonia at 0.68 kg/l. If you want to look at energy per volume, then the results are about 15.3 MJ/l for ammonia, and 31.8 MJ/l for gasoline (or about 48%).

Assuming that the conversion efficiency is the same, then your fuel tank would need to be double the size for the same range, however fuel cells and electric propulsion is generally in the 80% range whereas an internal combustion engine is around 25%.

As a fuel for a conventional engine, ammonia has the downside of needing more physical storage space, and its cost has to be less than half that of gasoline per volume unit (gallons or liters) to be economical - especially since it requires modification to existing engines to be used, and tends to not produce nearly the same power output. In a fuel-cell hybrid that has higher efficiency, it would be quite viable, though that would depend on the retail cost of the stuff along with the cost delta of the vehicle itself.

Comment: Re:The FCC has no right to dictate terms (Score 3, Insightful) 208

by maz2331 (#47053017) Attached to: Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

Even all but the most insane Libertarians understand that some regulation is necessary to prevent bad outcomes. I once heard a speech by Ron Paul, of all people, defend environmental regulations on the grounds that one doesn't have the right to pollute their neighbor's air or water.

Network neutrality is that sort of regulation.

There do exist other sort of "gotcha" regulations like HIPAA that are so detailed as to be nothing more than a paperwork minefield designed to crank the costs of compliance through the roof for smaller players, while adding maybe the paperclip budget to the cost of the bigger ones, while generally serving little to no real-world purpose.

Comment: Re:USA, the land of freedom (Score 2) 304

by maz2331 (#47052851) Attached to: Why Lavabit Shut Down

Even today, China's manufacturing is still mostly in the low-value parts of the market. Assembling circuit boards or making PC cases isn't quite like our still vast superiority in real heavy industry. The problem is that our productivity is off the charts via automation instead of labor - we just don't need a big enough labor force in manufacturing to support a large middle class based on those industries.

Comment: DB vs Front-End (Score 1) 281

I have done extensive work with Access, but almost never used it as the actual storage. Instead, the back-end was on a MySQL, MSSQL, or Postgres server and Access just used as a quick-development environment in the same manner as VB6 would have been.

Nowadays, I usually use MSSQL or Postgres as the backend, and build the front-end in VB.NET or C#. Once your tables are designed, just add a function that has the appropriate bunch of CREATE TABLE statements and initial INSERTs to set up a default schema, and the deployment is pretty easy.

Telling a client how to reach the backend only requires a server name (or IP), database username, database password, and database name. These are variables that are easily set in a simple "setup form" then stored in the registry. Heck, if you want to get fancy, just encode that into a structure and write it to a binary file that they can then load after setup.

You can also roll out an MS Access solution that uses Access Runtime. That doesn't require an MS Office license.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin