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Comment Slashdot headline is a disgrace (Score 5, Insightful) 157 157

Here is the key point Schneier's post makes:

"Do countries like China and Russia have copies of the Snowden documents? I believe the answer is certainly yes, but that it’s almost certainly not Snowden’s fault...I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they’ve penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside. After all, the NSA has been a prime target for decades."

To headline this story without including some reference to China and Russia having penetrated NSA networks is to imply Schneier is saying Snowden provided China and Russia with information they did not have already. It is either sloppy or intentionally misleading. The headline could have been "Schneier: Chinese and Russian Spies Probably Had Snowden Docs Before Snowden."

Submission + - Cart Leads Horse for Years, Says Slashdot Reader

mtrachtenberg writes: Seriously, folks. This competition to develop the tiniest compute thing that can be plugged into a power brick and an HDMI port is a little ridiculous.

Can we please have HDMI monitors that include power and HDMI connectors to an internal pocket for compute units that will go inside their shells. Fans, too, that can be set on or off to cool the pocket. The companies can get together with a standard form factor or, if a company was Apple, it could do up proprietary shapes so only their "compute units" will fit in their monitors, and let the best approach win (or lose, as the case may be).

But seriously, if you need a screen that is 12" to 96" diagonal, and you are paying thousands for it, why are you worried about shrinking the thing that costs hundreds and generates images for that screen.

There. I feel better now.

Comment Confidence versus rational confidence (Score 4, Insightful) 103 103

It is conceivable that the World's Cleverest People (WCP) will devise a system that reliably enables people to vote over the internet. And researchers tell us America is no longer a democracy, so I suppose it doesn't really matter that only the WCP will have rational reason to have confidence in the system.

But for those of us who think people should be able to prove to their own satisfaction that their vote was counted as cast, paper inserted into witnessed boxes and then counted in public seems like a better idea. It will never make Microsoft rich, though, so I doubt Microsoft Research will admit this.

Comment inappropriate technology[ was Re:Gamechanger] (Score 1) 514 514

Lithium ion batteries are great for mobile. They are far from the best available solution for stationary power. There are a lot of battery companies out there with safer, less-expensive, but less energy-dense battery chemistries.

Elon Musk needs to sell a lot of lithium ion batteries as part of his business model, and he understands how to work the system incredibly well. I just hope that this prettily-packaged bad solution to a real problem doesn't damage the ability of others to build good solutions.

Cogeneration is a great example of a naturally home-based or factory-based solution, because it captures heat that would otherwise be wasted, puts it to work, and eliminates distribution losses. And battery backup is needed to make the grid more flexible, but should be done with appropriate tech. Power shifting from one time slot to another would be much more sensibly done with batteries designed for stationary use. And, except for the advantage in a power failure, there is little reason to locate batteries in people's homes. To the extent anyone wants batteries at home, I hope they'll at least choose more appropriate batteries than lithium ion.

Comment Re:Batteries (Score 1) 514 514

Lithium ion batteries are great for mobile. They are far from the best available solution for stationary power. Check out Aquion, as one example aimed at stationary storage.

Elon Musk needs to sell a lot of lithium ion batteries as part of his business model, and he understands how to work the system incredibly well. I just hope that this prettily-packaged bad solution to a real problem doesn't damage the ability of others to build good solutions.

Cogeneration is a great example of a naturally home-based or factory-based solution, because it captures heat that would otherwise be wasted, puts it to work, and eliminates distribution losses. And battery backup is needed to make the grid more flexible, but should be done with appropriate tech. Power shifting from one time slot to another would be much more sensibly done with batteries designed for stationary use. And, except for the advantage in a power failure, there is little reason to locate batteries in people's homes. To the extent anyone wants batteries at home, I hope they'll at least choose more appropriate batteries than lithium ion.

Comment A Spectacular Political Statement (Score 1) 482 482

This is not just a good thing for Gravity's employees, it is also an enormously thought-provoking action at a time when such actions are rare.

Even imagining that high tech is a true meritocracy, which is a fairly dubious imagining, American companies are still floating in the sea of American business. And America has been heading towards historic levels of income inequality, higher than the levels that preceded the great depression. We tend not to learn our lessons until we shoot ourselves in the foot or higher. This CEO is demonstrating the obvious -- once you are making a ton of money, you can begin to share it with the people who have helped, are helping, and will continue to help you make even more, and this can have a positive impact not just on the people you are sharing with, but on YOURSELF as well, and on your society.

A positive impact on yourself, because you will be appreciated and honored for doing a very decent thing.

And, if your society were to pick up on your lesson, all sorts of good things could happen: it would be less likely that your children will get an infectious disease, because other children would be healthier; you would be less likely to have to pay for more prisons, because people are less likely to turn to crime when they are able to participate in a flourishing economy; you would not need to invest quite so much in alarm systems for your mansions. You might find the public schools improving because there would be fewer people going to private schools. You might even need to invest less in a military because with less income inequality, the politicians' focus might change from protecting our billionaire class' stolen overseas assets to protecting our country while aiding the poor in our own and other countries.

Comment The NSA requests you stop sealing envelopes (Score 5, Insightful) 212 212

As you all know, our country is subject to terrible terrorist threats. It has come to the attention of your friends at the National Security Agency ("we put the security in the national") that terrorists have, under certain circumstances, used the United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service, and Federal Express in order to facilitate their terrorist doings. Therefore, we would appreciate it if, effective immediately, you stop sealing your parcels and envelopes, to make inspection easier.

This is for your protection. Please don't object, or we'll have to illegally open your items and lie about it. Thank you.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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