Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:North Pole (Score 1) 489

by niftymitch (#49756357) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

Or a very large powered barge that is keeping your absolute position the same while you travel a relative position across its surface.......

but he's probably looking for the north pole answer.......which again, requires a rather large floating platform for at least some portion of the journey.

He did say "on the surface of the earth" not on the surface of a barge.

However since the earth is moving at an astounding speed through
the universe and polar ice is floating and vanishing there are many footnotes
to this...

Comment: What does this have to do with satellites. (Score 2, Informative) 36

by niftymitch (#49722421) Attached to: Using Satellites To Monitor Bridge Safety

Other than high precision GPS what does this have to do with satellites?

Sensor technology is improving so fast that tools better than this are possible
and inexpensive. It just takes doing it. Perhaps a gaggle of folk from
the Makers Fair will do it for $101.00 next weekend.

In all fairness bureaucratic constipation costs lives.
Positive train controls should have been installed years ago on all rolling stock in the US.

Baring that a software and map update to a common sub $200 GPS that could track and log train speed
as well as sound a Klaxton to alert the engineer. It need not be integrated to the train in a
way that requires system review. Management could apply a GPS-RF transparent optionally solar powered box to
the outside of engines and other common rolling stock to record travel data. DOT could do the same
and track to see if management pressure is pushing engineers to operate outside of guidelines.

A little harder is realtime track monitoring but a shipping container bed could be modified with sensors and
a container of instrument systems mounted on it. Again there is no need to touch critical controls in ways that
risk safety for many audits. Lasers could locate surfaces on tracks with precision. G-sensors, accelerometers
acoustic audits, time, temperature are all possible. To get back to the original topic the container would
"see" track as well as bridges. Offloaded to a truck bed the container would see highways and rubber wheel
only bridges and roads. Tesla seems to have helped with the battery packaging but older Fe based power
storage would be fine as the "pig" need not be weight limited like a car.

Some of this is already happening just not enough of it. More agility is needed.

Comment: The missing link is the link (Score 1) 1

With no knowledge I thing the industry is protesting too loudly and the FBI acting too rashly.

If this is at all possible a hacked/ infected laptop or tablet could prove an very interesting vector for this.

It is known to many that public WiFi services often insert themselves as a central authority for
web traffic and return man in the middle proxy services. A man in the middle attack is
quite risky to being attacked by another man in the middle on either side.

His public announcements put him in harms way of the FBI but I cannot tell what hat he is wearing
because the media outlets are so busy shading this from one extreme to another. He could be
a black hat, a grey hat, a gray hat or a white hat who knows.

My expectation is that all the system in an aircraft are interconnected a little or a lot and once
a hacker can insert his bits into anything the risk of exploit goes up a lot.

The good news is that physical access seems to be involved and these devices can be pulled
or locked down tighter. In this case "the Kragle that kills dreams" may prove to be the way to stop
this in short order.

Bring on the Kragle.

Comment: Re:All about tha Benjamins (Score 1) 143

Aha... but all it would take is ....
the soap in the bathroom of the police office to be contaminated

And all it takes to resolve that is using individually wrapped soap packets.

I don't disagree with the rest of your post vis a vis privacy, invasiveness, etc.

Individual packets establish a clear non random way to contaminate an individual's hands.
The key is who is in control of the soap and it is not the accused.

Adds an entire new perspective to "do not drop the soap".

New technology can be used for good or evil. Understanding it
only begins to lock it down. Voting machines --- too easy to hack
evidence that can be falsified or more troubling woven into an airtight
net that ensnares the innocent on demand.

TLAs that sit on flaws in common operating systems so they can
exploit them simply keep the door open wide for abuse. Since the
flaws are unreported bad guys, good guys and those of androgynous
morality can play with impunity as long as the list is not too long.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

by niftymitch (#49720793) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Yea, well you were not kept as slaves, killed for learning to read, beaten with inch and a quarter thick poles (often to death). Your families were not sold separately to different owners and broken up. You were not systematically........

Some forget that Asia has its own history of slavery, persecution and genocide.
Most Harvard and Yale graduates do not get to read or hear about. Mostly it
is not in English and mostly the written record had been edited by the victors.

On the US side of all this is some omission that the second generation of immigration
is a big portion of the group involved in this. The tiger-mom culture is well represented
in this group. In addition there are some bell curve selection at play here. Those
that immigrated chose to for many reasons. Reasons that involve situational awareness
and the drive to act on it.

I am not sure if there is a good solution but the ivy league is fraught with legacy issues
that are integral to their finance and endowment structure. There is a small admission
group that does not get filled by the astoundingly clever and qualified combined
with legacy admissions.

The result is a stinkpot that the admissions must cope with.

Comment: Re:All about tha Benjamins (Score 1) 143

Your post:

Also to detect anyone who has any money, for confiscation of evidence of course

vs the summary

[...] by the excreted metabolites â" benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine â" resulting from abuse of the drug.

Sure. Unless simply handling money doesn't result in your body absorbing enough cocaine to synthesize and excrete " benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine".

In other words, you are probably entirely wrong.

Aha... but all it would take is ....
the soap in the bathroom of the police office to be contaminated
with benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine and then any perp
could be convicted by simply getting them to wash their hands.

The article implied that it could not be manipulated but there are some articles
that describe the synthesis of cocaine beginning with what the
article asserts are metabolites.

Further there are privacy issues. Should a crime scene have a lot of
fingerprints (a public or near public place) then testing prints for metabolites
would be invasive in many cases. Yes I was there Tuesday officer
but I was back in Europe on Wednesday and Thursday when the murder
took place. However now this individual is tied to drug consumption.

Seems clever from an instrument point of view but could be used to
build a synthetic profile around a crime that ties a "person of interest"
to another crime unknown to the authorities, unknown because it was
fabricated and did not exist in the real world.

Comment: Re:If it works (Score 1) 164

by niftymitch (#49715535) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

You must go nuts at people who install windows in their houses because:
Windows may kill up to 988 million birds a year in the United States | Science News

Well, do you? And what about cats and radio towers?

Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually - a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats

Yes the world is a difficult place.
The big wind farms that I drive past are also the best location for
large soaring birds to get their lift before they fly out over the flatter
areas with good hunting So as correct as you are the big raptors suffer
from some installations out of measure.

Closer to home I have noticed a hawk lurking in a tall tree to swoop down and
gobble doves. For dessert he has been observed grabbing a hummingbird on the wing.

Comment: Re:If it works (Score 1) 164

by niftymitch (#49715505) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

I should rate you as overrated, but will answer you instead.

It is mostly another anti-AGW myth that large numbers of big birds are being killed by wind generators. One site has a serious issue and others have a small issue.

Now, with that said, BATS do suffer greatly at this. Not any particular bat, but all of them seem to not see the blades even though they have the ability to track small fast things. This might help save them.

  Personally, I would be far more interested in seeing what the $/KW are on this, along with what kind of winds are required to move it.

I learned something... the bats issue is new to me.
Yes the $/WK and towers per acre seem important.

Another remarked that Altamont pass is worse in this regard than most
other locations. It seems to me that Towers with confirmed bird problems
could be replaced with this as an alternative iff it works well.

Comment: Hook your wagon to .... (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#49707039) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

If you hook your wagon to this you will be a train.

The positive train control systems all in the news are closing the
most important missing bit from this entire equation.

Trains are self steering and with an machine driving a truck is too.
Trains with positive control systems have a following communication
system and so will these automated trucks.

If trains had the nice right of ways that the highway system enjoys
and if trains had the same tax load that the highway system enjoys
rail would be an even more common and valuable transport
of goods and people.

There are parts of the west where this makes a lot of sense
except that trains run parallel to the Interstate and trains
would be more efficient.

The tax structure of rail is why so many local and state officials make
such a darn big clamor about Amtrak funding reductions. They collect
taxes for each and every foot of track and pay to maintain each mile
of highway.

The tax tangle needs to be sorted out. It does go back 100 years and
got so bad that the Interstate highway system was installed because
the rail barons and their monopolistic practices risked national security.
This combined with improvements in tires made it possible to upset
the balance of power.

Now nothing gets maintained.... No wonder Amazon would rather fly drones
to your door.

Comment: Re:It was an app on a WORK-Issued Phone! (Score 1) 776

by niftymitch (#49679303) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

Then there is the inside and outside sales.
"If you have been misclassified as exempt from overtime, California law provides significant remedies. You may recover damages for up to four years of unpaid overtime, daily penalties for missed meal and rest periods, a post-termination penalty equal to six weeks’ pay, attorneys’ fees and other amounts on a “per-pay period” basis. Damages for these violations would exceed $150,000 for someone who made $60,000/year over a four year period, worked ten hours of overtime per week and was not provided meal or rest periods. The applicable statutes also mandate awards of attorneys’ fees."

Both state and federal law applies. The company has offices in multiple
states so it is interesting how complex this can get for payroll. Now that it
has become an issue all the Ts need crossing and all the Is need dotting
or someone will slash the cash reserves.

Good thing she has legal council!
The only time I had experience in this was one case in Georgia (complaint not even in court)
caused payments to like positions in all 50 states. Very expensive...

Comment: Re:It was an app on a WORK-Issued Phone! (Score 1) 776

by niftymitch (#49679239) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

Does it spell out that she was compensated on a 24 hour basis? Didn't think so. F U company, and every other company that requires 24/7 support for 8/5 wages.

$7200/month is pretty good wages, and she knew the 24/7 on call requirement before she took the job. She was, apparently, also working for another company doing the same kind of job. Of all the things to object to, this is about the least objectionable.

The first claims in her case are shaky because she agreed to them all. Use your personal phone for work, check. Have it with you 24/7, check. Install the app so you can be tracked, check. She's pretty much got them by the shorts when it comes to them telling her other employer she was disloyal, though.

Of course, it's hard to understand why any company would let you work for three months for a competitor while they're paying you to work for them.

Good wages or not:
Employees who while on call are required to stay at a worksite should be compensated for all their hours, including sleep time, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday (Jan 8, 2015)

Comment: Re:It was an app on a WORK-Issued Phone! (Score 1) 776

by niftymitch (#49679213) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

"On call" means she's always on the clock and therefore has a billing claim against her employers. At least, that's how it theoretically works in England (RCN V London NHS,

Most likely, she is an "exempt" employee. In this context, "exempt" means that a lot of employee protections don't apply. Specifically, exempt employees normally don't have specific hours of work, so the employer can claim that they are paying her for 24/7 work.

Except in this case the application has a clock in clock out function enabled. Clocking in and out is one of the key differentiators
for exempt and non-exempt. Should she clock 39 hours and get paid for 39 is proof that she is not exempt and N need not be 39.
The text message history seems to be an important bit of evidence here.

Comment: Re:It was an app on a WORK-Issued Phone! (Score 1) 776

by niftymitch (#49679055) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

Wrapping it in foil means it won't function as anything.

But it also means the work application will not record any downtime for the app running.

If you are "on call" then you are technically working, so that phone needs to be 100% functional and they have the right to track it.

True enough (I totally agree the company as the right to track their own equipment) but if a boss said something creepy like "I can see how fast you are driving" in the bag it would go when I was driving anywhere and I'd just blame bad cell reception on the dropoff... I could pull it out every 15 min or so to see if there were any messages. But it would technically be dereliction of being on-duty...

Yes... I might start with a nice professional "Premium Slimline Aluminum Attache" case from Halliburton.
If I was poor, two nested shoe boxes cushioned with foil and steel wool.
A cooler makes a nice auto case. Blue ice even warm would hamper cell
reception as would bottled water.
i.e. Blocking GPS is darn easy.
Cell phones and driving almost universally illegal especially texting.

Of the clock and into the box it goes.

My "stucco" home stinks for cell reception. The expanded metal, cement
and trees give astoundingly thing windows of reception.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.