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Comment: Buss ducts are failing more often as they age (Score 2) 124

This actually is an infrastructure aging problem. And the incidence of buss duct failure has been increasing in older buildings. Many bus ducts installed in industrial and commercial facilities are immediately downstream of the transformers, but upstream of the main overcurrent device. Thus, transformer protection devices often inadequately protect the buss conductor from being fried by a short. I've seen them vaporized.

Such shorts occur due to water infiltration, corrosion, and most importantly in the summer, overheating. All three effects accumulate over time. If money were no object, every building would have a dual-buss electrical system, just like aircraft (and data centers) do. Alas, money is an object.

Comment: Re:Block all IE browsers (Score 1) 83

by mbeckman (#47429773) Attached to: Microsoft Settles With No-IP After Malware Takedown
I run an ISP. Is it kosher for me to block all IE browser traffic? After all, IE is one of the largest vectors of malware infections on earth. At least I'd be "out there doing some enforcement."

Microsoft enforcement policy: "Ready! Fire! Aim!"

BTW, I didn't see where Microsoft apologized for their actions to the Internet community.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 3, Informative) 200

by mbeckman (#47391345) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again.

You would lose that bet. Turbine aircraft can be disabled by stray metal bits as small as a single bolt. An entire drone, with many metal components, would undoubtedly render a turbine engine inoperable. For this reason, airport operators routinely inspect and pick up all debris on runways and taxiways. It's called FOD (foreign object damage), and is an ever-present risk to aircraft.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 1) 200

by mbeckman (#47391299) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show
Techyimmigrant: It's unsafe because the drone operator could lose control due to fireworks damage, resulting in high-speed powered flight into the crowd. Small model rotorcraft have maimed and killed people, usually gruesomely. Also, it's illegal to fly a drone above 400', and outside the direct sight of the operator. This drone violated both of those restrictions.

As a helicopter pilot, I dread drones. I've seen them numerous times near events that I am legally and safely filming, and even around airports. Unless we get drone idiots to stop doing stupid, dangerous stunts like this, we will soon have a tragedy taking many lives.

Comment: Re:well of course (Score 1) 38

by mbeckman (#47253761) Attached to: Time Warner Sells Telecom Business to Level 3
You've been misled by the completely bogus headline to this piece, not to mention the pathetically inflammatory prose. TWTelecom has nothing at all to do with TimeWarner Cable. It's a completely separate publicly traded corporation with no staff, management or facilities in common with the "hated" TimeWarner Cable. This is like saying "Hated British Monarchy sells American Colonies to Canada" in the 20th century.

Hopefully some sleepy-headed slashdot editor will pick her head up off the table long enough to use the "hated" Google search engine, learn about the true history, value and structure of the "hated" telecom industry and correct the article headline and completely misleading content.

Or not. Slashdot might continue its slide to sloppiness and become one of the most "hated" pretend-nonprofits in history.

Comment: The Turing Test Itself is a Load of Crap (Score 1) 309

by mbeckman (#47207223) Attached to: Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?
It's the Turing Test itself that is meaningless. In a possibly apocryphal account of an AI conference in the early 2000's, a learned panel of AI experts elaborated on the Turing test to explain that passing the test didn't just mean a minimal level of intelligence, but intelligence as advanced as humanity's itself, since it was able to fool a human. An undergraduate attendee asked the panel, "So, if I can write a program that can fool a dog into thinking it's interacting with another dog, the program is as intelligent as a dog?"

The room fell silent.

Since then, nobody has proposed a reasonable alternative for what Turing meant by "intelligence" as the target in his test.

Myself, I think AI is Computer Science's biggest Ponzi scheme. We are not one iota closer to actual artificial intelligence than we were in the 1950s. Yet the public's expectation, and the impression given by AI researchers, is that we've been making steady progress. So every new AI "advance" must be more spectacular than the last, with lots of hand waving explaining how this moves us closer to the goal of sentient computing. It started back in the 1960s with natural language processing, which was really just elaborate table lookup. Then it advanced to the 1970s, with Chess-playing machines -- also just elaborate table lookup. The 1980s brought expert systems and neural networks, otherwise known as elaborate table lookup. Today we have computer navigation, plain-language database queries, and speech processing such as Siri. AI? No. Table lookup, elaborate.

We can't even define what intelligence is or how it works in even the simplest organism, let alone explain it in humans. Until we can do that, we can't have an artificial version of it.

Turing was a con man.

Comment: Start recording her facial movements immediately (Score 5, Insightful) 552

by mbeckman (#47074659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?
I'm not a medical expert, but work in computer forensics. I think it's wise to begin recording her facial movements immediately to establish a baseline of activity and determine when improvements or declines occur. This seems like something easily accomplished with today's off-the-shelf technology, such as GoPro style digital cameras.

Comment: The Emperor Has No Data (Score 0) 433

by mbeckman (#46742653) Attached to: UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate
All of the dire predictions in this new report come from computer simulations, not actual data. The simulations have proven to be worthless at predicting current climate (for example, no simulation predicted the current stalling of temperature increases). Simulations are not data. And the absence of data is not data. The truth is that we lack the computational ability to simulate climate change at all. Maybe someday, but we currently LACK EVEN THE DATA needed to identify all the variables and interactions that create climate. So even if computation capacity were to increase several orders of magnitude, we lack the foundation for the computations.

It's the a Emperor all over again.

Comment: Re:Scientists "know"? (Score 1) 75

by mbeckman (#46590509) Attached to: Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

For what it's worth, current models do predict brief periods of cooling between increasing warmer periods.

My biochemist son has a phrase that I think fits here: "The absence of data is not data." Models are not data, and none of the models have done an even remotely viable job of predicting climate. But even if they had, simulation is not empirical science. Just because a model occasionally agrees with experiment in no way means the model is correct. There is plenty of mathematical research indicating that climate simulation is an intractable problem, due primarily to chaos.

You might want to shift gears and change the name of the game to "climate change", but the public policy debate is specifically over global warming caused my humans, hence AGW. And when you say "With enough data, that can be disproved", you beg the question. Neither the IPCC nor any scientist proponents of AGW will admit to any data that would falsify their theory. They won't even entertain the possibility. That's not science. That's religion, fanatical.

Comment: Re:Scientists "know"? (Score 1) 75

by mbeckman (#46588869) Attached to: Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World
The conclusion that primordial heat is half the heat coming from the interior is pure speculation, since we don't have any workable models of planetary genesis. And no planetary scientist I talk to believes there is any way to account for the current heat of the core -- it's widely accepted that the current status contradicts the age of the earth. Hence the mystery.

Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and then give it back to them.

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