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Comment: Re:So the Dirty Bomb was more Media FUD (Score 1) 174

by ohmiccurmudgeon (#45711645) Attached to: Cobalt-60, and Lessons From a Mexican Theft

A 1 minute dose close to 3000 Ci of Co-60 is intense enough to be 50% lethal within 2 weeks with medical care. The article mentioned a 30 second dose being 50% fatal -- its biology so it is not exact science. A five minute exposure is 100% lethal within 2-days. During that 5 minute exposure the victim would start vomiting, suffer seizures and spasms, and start losing mental faculties. This isn't a cancer in 10 year type of terror. This is almost immediate and monstrous.

I would not characterize the loss of Co-60 as Media FUD. There is some stuff on the planet that truly is scary.

Comment: Re:Sucks to be them. (Score 1) 1030

by ohmiccurmudgeon (#45501893) Attached to: A War Over Solar Power Is Raging Within the GOP

I love it when liberals say "Republicans think this or do that". Demonstrates a total lack of understanding of groups and susceptibility to propaganda. Republicans have their corporate welfare types, libertarian types, religious wackos, and atheists, and others. The subsets of the various groups makes for an intricate Venn diagram. When one of those yahoos speaks, they're not likely speaking for me.

How much a utility pays for co-generated power isn't a left versus right issue. You have a government regulated monopoly, the utility, which owns both generation and transmission facilities, arbitrarily setting the price for power from co-generators. Perhaps the transmission lines need to be a government regulated monopoly with every generator and co-generator paying for access to the transmission lines. This really doesn't appear to be a solar power issue but one about who controls the life blood of our society, electricity.

Comment: Why have NASA at all? (Score 1) 205

Remember NASA was originally created through the cannibalization of military programs such as the X-15. Also recall that NASA actively discouraged the development of commercial space launchers to drum up business for its space shuttle. It purposely delayed permits for the commercial sales of Atlas and Titan rockets. I personally worked on reusable launchers and cheap satellites only to be told on multiple occasions to cease work or my company would never receive another NASA contract. If you're a space company, NASA was the only game in town. TRW created a million pound thrust engine for $40K (it had limited re-use -- they fired it 3 times on the San Juan Capistrano test stand). It went nowhere because of NASA.

Now also note that NASA's management and culture is incompatible with space exploration. We lost two space shuttles through wishful thinking and shortcuts. In this case it is hard to distinguish treason from incompetence.

Given NASA's history of actually impeding the development of space, their demonstrated incompetence, and our national debt, we're past due selling NASA off. We need to beef up other means of funding space research. Think of the Ansari X prize. NASA exists to perpetuate itself without regard to benefits to the nation.

Comment: Re:Abandoning the cloud ? (Score 1) 332

Stallman is being silly again. The cloud is like a giant parking lot for data. If you leave your data unlocked, of course someone will steal it. Encrypt everything, including the unimportant, so you don't need to remember what's encrypted and what's not. Route your data through anonymizing servers, even your Amazon transactions.

Everyone needs to use encryption, not just the political activists and child pornographers. You have bank statements and health records to protect. No one needs to know what you buy but you. If the world knows what you buy and need, like your collection of garden gnomes, the price of garden gnomes will go up.

Just because you encrypt everything does't mean you can't share. Encryption keys can be split and shared. Some people are working on anonymous group keys so you can subscribe to the online New York Times without getting spam from 3rd parties. I know one fellow who encrypts his Facebook postings with his private key. When I want to read what he has to say I decrypt with his public key. He can use a shared key if he wants to communicate with a particular group of friends.

As for the threat of quantum computers -- its true that quantum computers can factor billions of times faster than conventional computers, but all that means that the average time to break my key has gone from billions of times the age of the universe to merely the age of the universe. I'm not worried yet. I note the U.S. military recommends 1024 bit keys for secret data and 2048 bits for top secret.

Stallman got one part right. You can't trust commercial operating systems. You need to be able to see what you're running to trust it. We don't have a secure cloud because commercial interests aren't concerned with your privacy. They want to track you so they can sell to you. They have not realized that if they are tracking us, they are being tracked. We don't have a secure internet because big companies don't want it. You need to do it yourself.

Encryption is the infrastructure for this century. Use it and insist that others use it.


+ - EU acts to toughen the Do Not Track standard->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "European commissioner Neelie Kroes has accused members of the online industry of watering down a standard designed to protect consumers' privacy on the web.

Websites are under pressure to allow consumers much greater control over how they are tracked online. But work undertaken by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a Do Not Track (DNT) standard was "not going to plan", said Ms Kroes.

She praised browser manufacturers who had incorporated DNT technology but said that it was not enough.

It should be built on the principle of informed consent, giving people control over their information. And, indeed, it must be designed to let people choose not to be tracked. The clue is in the name — do not track

She is angry about delays and a proposal to exempt marketing. She is concerned by suggestions that DNT might not be set as a default.

Much of the anger is reserved for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which has asked the W3C that marketing be added to the list of those activities exempt from the standard."

Link to Original Source


+ - Scientists discover nearby 'diamond planet'-> 1

Submitted by
MrSeb writes "Scientists at Yale University have discovered a nearby super-Earth that is a “diamond planet” — a planet that has a mantle made of graphite and diamond. The planet, called 55 Cancri e, is just 40 light years from Earth and orbits the binary star 55 Cancri, which is located in the constellation of Cancer. When the planet was first observed last year, it was originally thought to be a water planet, similar to Earth, but new information has allowed the scientists to infer that the planet is much more likely to be a diamond planet. The Yale scientists estimate that as much as one third of 55 Cancri e’s mass is made up of diamond — the same as three Earth masses, or roughly 18×1024kg. This is a few trillion times more diamond than has ever been mined on Earth. The identification of just a single diamond-rich planet is massive news. In recent years we have identified hundreds of rocky, Earth-like planets — and until now, we had assumed they had similar make-ups. It is now fairly safe to assume that there are millions of diamond planets in the universe."
Link to Original Source

+ - Court finds in favor of libraries in Google Books affair

Submitted by cpt kangarooski
cpt kangarooski (3773) writes "While it's not a final victory in the long-running Google Books matter, the related case by the Authors' Guild against the universities working with Google in the digitization project has produced a ruling that their book scanning is a fair use. You can read the opinion here. This bodes well for Google's case, although note that this wasn't directly about them."

+ - 19,000 emails against and 0 in favour of Draft Communications Bill->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period.

He notes: "Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favour of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely."...

Unfortunately the link to the consultation document itself is also now broken."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Zealand turning Hobbits into cash, literally->

Submitted by
Curseyoukhan writes "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on "The Hobbit" by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country "100 percent Middle Earth.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Prince of Sealand dies->

Submitted by jdavidb
jdavidb (449077) writes "46 years ago, occupying an abandoned WWII platform off the coast of Britain, Paddy Roy Bates declared independence, naming himself Prince of the Principality of Sealand. Today, Bates has passed away at 91.

Long time Slashdot readers will remember Sealand as the site of HavenCo, an unsuccessful data warehousing company that tried to operate from Sealand outside the reach of larger nations' legal structures. They may also remember plans that the Pirate Bay had at one time to buy Sealand.

Bates had moved to a care home a few years ago, naming his son Michael Regent of Sealand."

Link to Original Source

+ - Linux Developers Still Reject NVIDIA Using DMA-BUF->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Many Linux laptop users are quick to bash NVIDIA over their lack of proper Optimus support. In August NVIDIA confirmed they were working on NVIDIA Optimus Linux support. As part of their Optimus Linux implementation they want to use DMA-BUF for the multi-GPU interactions just like the open-source drivers, so that they can all work together. Unfortunately, the developers of the linux kernel prevent NVIDIA to finish their implementation by not allowing non-GPL drivers to use this unified buffer sharing infrastructure.

Should NVIDIA use the F-word to respond to their intransigence ?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Conficker worm still being tracked, but evidence collection slows->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "The notorious malware known as the Conficker worm still infects computers, a sort of wild horse with no rider, but investigators appear no closer to finding its creator. Also known as "Downandup," Conficker was discovered in November 2008, exploiting a vulnerability in Windows XP that allowed remote file execution when file-sharing was enabled. Microsoft patched it a month later. At its peak, Conficker infected upwards of 7 million computers, and Microsoft still ranks Conficker as the second-most prevalent malware family on domain-joined computers. Security researchers with the Conficker Working Group along with vendors including Microsoft successfully cut off the Conficker's operators from the botnet, but the group is still working to try to find Conficker's master. The problem is that botnet operators have stayed away from Conficker and not tried to reclaim it, a welcome development but one that leaves researchers with a lack of fresh electronic leads. "Well, we sort of won in that regard," , said Jose Nazario, a malware researcher. "On the other hand, if they're not interacting with it, there's no more evidence coming in.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Want to Dispose of Apple's iPod Packaging? Just Add Water->

Submitted by
concealment writes "The EarPod case doesn’t completely disappear, but when placed in warm water, it pretty soon becomes pliable, and soon falls apart. After a few minutes, the result is a bunch of pulp (see inset photo). Do not, however, try to dip the iPhone 5‘s EarPod case into water. That thing is all hard plastic."
Link to Original Source

+ - WikiLeaks Angers Supporters With Donation 'Paywall' For Leaked Material->

Submitted by
concealment writes "As of Wednesday night, the secret-spilling site now shows a “paywall” to any visitor who clicks on one of its leaked documents, including the 13,374 emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that it published earlier in the day along with the teaser that the messages regarded presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The pop-up message that blocks access to the site’s content shows a video parodying Barack Obama’s stump speeches and asking visitors to instead “vote for WikiLeaks” by making a donation to the site or buying its promotional gear like tote bags and hoodies."

Link to Original Source

+ - Aiming for 350kmh, China is Trying Out Its New Train->

Submitted by
Daniel_Stuckey writes "On a trial run in northeastern China, the new Harbin-Dalian high-speed train flew through mountainous provinces at peak speeds of 300km/h, or 186mph. It made the 921 km trip from Harbin to Dalian in only four hours, a distance that’s roughly equivalent to cruising from Washington, D.C. to Montreal. That is one fast train, and it’s going to get faster.

Once engineers pass it through a couple more safety checks and test runs, China Northern Railways’ modified CRH380A trains will be able to cruise the same track at a nostril-scorching 350km/h average — or 217mph. This cuts the same trip down by nearly an hour. Conditioned for incredible disparities in regional climate along the line, the weather-proofed train cars will be able to comfortably withstand temperatures from 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to 40 below.

While Chines bullet train accidents, like that one the Wenzhou line last year, are cause for shady coverups and speculation that the trains are going too fast, accidents in the People’s Republic are far off the pace of the record setting countries like India, which experiences disturbances almost weekly. Even the United States — with the largest rail network on the planet — experiences more than those reported within a 1.3 billion person country. (Of course, as the attempted Wenzhou coverup highlighted, there is a question of how many malfunctions don’t get reported.)"

Link to Original Source

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