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Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 58

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: trees cut down in the cities (Score 5, Interesting) 136

by lkcl (#49782843) Attached to: Heat Wave Kills More Than 1,100 In India

i visited bangalore in 2006, to see a friend living there. he explained that when the trees were cut down in the cities (so that more housing could be built), temperatures soared by an additional 10 *centigrade*. so, the ambient temperature surrounding the cities would be 45 degrees, but in bangalore it would reach *fifty five* centigrade. the point of mentioning this is that it's a much more direct version of how man has an effect on his immediate environment. change the landscape, you change the weather, it's as simple as that. we can learn from that... or simply die. it's our choice.

Comment: Context (Score 2) 58

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: tried and failed... and prior art anyway (Score 1) 101

by lkcl (#49758065) Attached to: Cute Or Creepy? Google's Plan For a Sci-Fi Teddy Bear

hang on... didn't bunnie huang do the "chumby", and didn't barbie try doing something like this - putting an interactive wifi and mic aspect into one of their barbie dolls... with a huge back-lash as a result? so (a) why is there an expectation that this will succeed (b) why was the patent granted when there is clear prior art???

Comment: debian digital signing and the GPG keyring (Score 2) 94

by lkcl (#49749449) Attached to: NSA Planned To Hijack Google App Store To Hack Smartphones

this is why debian has the GPG key-signing parties, and why all packages are GPG-signed by the package maintainer when they compile it, why the ftp masters sign the package when it's uploaded, and why the release files which include the checksums of all the packages are also GPG-signed. under this scenario there are an extremely limited number of extremely paranoid methods by which debian may be compromised. even the scenario of "cooperation between long-term sleeper agents within debian's ranks" would have a one-shot opportunity to get away with introducing malicious code, following the discovery of which their GPG keys would be revoked, the perpetrators kicked out of debian, their packages pulled immediately pending a review, and the already-effective procedures reviewed to involve multi-person GPG signing that would make it even harder for compromise to occur in the future.

now, if you recall, there was an announcement a couple of years back that the development of Mozilla's B2G was declared to be "open" to all, so i contributed with a thorough security-conscious review of how to do package distribution. it turns out that Mozilla is *NOT* open - at all. several other contributors have learned that the Mozilla Foundation is in direct violation of its charter.

basically, the Mozilla Foundation *completely* ignored the advice that i gave - which was that the use of SSL as a distribution mechanism would be vulnerable to *exactly* the kinds of attacks that we see the NSA attempting to do on google. they went so far as to enact censorship, preventing and prohibiting me from pointing out the severe security flaws inherent in their chosen method of package distribution. i remain deeply unimpressed with many aspects of so-called "open-ness" of well-funded software libre projects.

Comment: correlation between gravity and length of day (Score 1) 95


just to throw an appropriate spanner in the works, it's worthwhile mentioning the above article which notes a significant statistical correlation between variations in the measurement of the effect known as "gravity", and the (appx) 6.5 year cyclic variation of the earth's length of day.

now, before you go all "ooer" or "waah! gravity varies! we're all gonna dieeee spinning off into space", it's worthwhile pointing out that the author mentions, in the conclusion, that there *might* be some sort of unknown systemic errors in (a) how gravity is measured (b) how the length of day is measured which *happen* to coincide and give the *impression* that there is a statistical correlation between gravitational variation and the length of the earth's day. he does however state that in light of how the measurements are taken it would seem to be very unlikely that there are such systemic errors.

so, anyway, the point is: gravity appears not to be as simple as we assumed, hence why some long-distance space probes (Pioneer for example) have anomalous unexplained behaviour.


Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone 134

Posted by timothy
from the hello-operator dept.
New submitter JoSch1337 writes: After a year and a half of development, the Neo900 project now opened its web shop for the down payments of binding pre-orders for either a full Neo900 phone or the bare circuit board to upgrade an existing Nokia N900. The up-front down payment is necessary to now secure expensive "risk parts" like the modem, 1GB RAM and N900 cases. Thus, without pre-ordering now, there might not be enough parts left after the first batch.

The Neo900 is the spritual successor of the Nokia N900. The new circuit board can be placed into an existing N900 for better specs (faster CPU, more RAM, LTE modem) than the original device while still maintaining fremantle (maemo 5) backwards compatibility. Alternatively, a fully assembled phone can be purchased as well. The Neo900 will be fully operational without any binary blob running on the main CPU. While the modem still requires a non-free firmware, it is completely decoupled from the rest of the device (think of a LTE usb stick you put in your laptop) and can reliably be monitored or switched off by the operating system.

You can follow the development of the project in the maemo forum, read about the specs of the device or consult the FAQ

Comment: Re:Sociopath (Score 1) 170

You'd find that people who aren't training to be pros, but work out that much, are probably more common than you think.

yep - count me in. i'm currently up to about the same level of exercise as you - about 2 hours a day: tennis or street-skating. tennis is for my eyes - and the social interaction. street-skating is because i find the explosive (sprinting) nature of tennis is causing huge knots in my arm and leg muscles. without this, i am... yeah, not a nice person either :)

Comment: Re:It's not even that convenient (Score 1) 270

by JBMcB (#49699545) Attached to: Here Comes the Keurig of Everything

Keurig coffee is crap, and it creates a huge amount of disposable waste.

We use re-usable K-Cup filters with good coffee. The machine itself is more efficient as it doesn't need to keep one or two carafes of coffee hot as well as the large hot-water boiler, it just keeps a few cups of water hot at a time. Also you don't get the wasted, burned coffee at the bottom of the pot.

Of course I'm talking about an office environment where we go through intermittent bursts of large amounts of coffee ingestion :)

Comment: Tennis and Computing (Score 2, Interesting) 170

by lkcl (#49687731) Attached to: John Urschel: The 300 Pound Mathematician Who Hits People For a Living

two years ago i took up tennis at the recommendation of a friend. before that i'd done tai ji, full-contact karate (shin kyu-kshin), long-distance skating (86 miles athens-to-atlanta 1999, 65 miles new york park 1999, 26 miles rotterdam 2006) and yoga (ashtanga and T.M Asanas). it's a big list of different physical activities, which have the following things in common:

* complex coordinated movement
* requiring or recommending very deep breathing (skating especially)
* very long and regular practice

the reason why i specifically love tennis is that in addition to these things it is necessary to not only be extremely physically fit but also, if you would like to win, you require strategy and planning both on and off the court. tennis is particularly harsh on the body in that it is a series of very short explosive sprints, standing still, *then* hitting the ball, and then doing it all over again.

also the types of movement required are *unbelievably* complex! serving involves *six* degrees of freedom of movement (x-y-z, rotation in x-y-z) in order to impart the maximum amount of inspired deviousness into a small yellow round object.

to fully understand why it was that, aged 44, i started this sport and now practice over an hour a day, you have to understand that prior to that i was sitting 12 hours a day in front of a computer screen: average distance approx 1 metre. for the prior 4 years that was a 24in imac, so the panorama i *initially* thought was great.... turned out to have caused extreme alterations in my eyes.

just over two years ago i discovered that my eyes had gone "prism". this is a new development: i've always had -0.75 astigmatism, but prism basically means that i can focus easily on an object that's 1 metre away, but if i look at something 3 metres or greater away i see *DOUBLE*. in the dark, i can't bring the two together.

the implications of that are that not only has there been physical damage caused by long-term computer usage but that there has also been *NEURAL* damage caused by long-term computer usage.

the bottom line of this story is, in this context, that this football player is being extremely sensible. if a few neurons get knocked out of place by a concussion, so damn what: his pursuit of mathematics will, by virtue of it being so incredibly challenging, allow him to grow new pathways and literally grow new neurons. the reason why his peers get brain damage is because they *don't* have anything other than football to challenge them.

each of his pursuits therefore supports the others. the physical exertion keeps his body - and his heart - fit. that in turn allows him more oxygen with which to feed his brain and thus sustain the pursuit of mathematics. the increased mental alertness allows him to play with tactics and strategy that the average player would not be able to consider. his specialty in mathematics would allow him to apply physics (moments of inertia) in a *really* practical way that would keep both him and the people he smacks down safer than would otherwise be done by someone without his knowledge.

but the best part of all this is that if he has a successful long-term career, i predict that he will end up inspiring thousands of young football players to pay a bit closer attention to their other studies, and that coaches will have an example - a specific person - that they can quote as to why, when they go recruiting, they are looking for someone who has not only the physique but also the high academic aptitude as well. ... wouldn't it be great to have an entire team of football players who not only kick ass (literally) but who have degrees and even PhDs? that would change how people think of football, forever.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier