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Comment copy paste (Score 1) 291

1. Browse in mobile browser to https://mynewencryptingwebpage...
2. write "top secret message" into text area in my newly hosted encrypting web page,
3. Enter email address or phone number I will be sending to in second field.
4. Press (encrypt) button, cleverly labelled (Post) instead.
5. Copy encrypted ciphertext from https://mynewencryptingwebpage...
6. Send ciphertext by email or sms
7. Recipient procedure is left as an exercise for the reader.

Comment It's time for a global public digital archive (Score 3, Interesting) 76

A technical and logistical and financial project whose primary goal is longevity (in the multi-hundred-year sense) of that which it stores.
It should not be accomplished by individual media that are designed to last.
Rather it should use network redundancy cleverly and have protocols designed to ensure enough geographically distributed copies always exist.
It would have to carefully consider "readability, interpretability" assurances, such as very standard simple formats and protocols, and the methodology of storing the displaying / interpreting environment and code as well as the data. Emulated 1980s arcade games, now available and playable online, are good examples of this.
Sort of an Internet Archive on steroids. Crowdfunded?

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 5, Interesting) 285

Even if we only harvest 1/10,000 of available solar energy, it will be enough for human energy needs.

I'm assuming that grid-scale energy storage and efficient long distance transmission are solvable problems.

Or if we dig down a couple of miles and harness the geothermal energy, Bob's your uncle.
Or if we increase wind power to closer to its potential,
Or if we deploy significant ocean wave power generation,
or if we develop practical fusion reactors,
or if we develop thorium or other advanced efficient nuclear fission reactors that can re-use nuclear waste
or if as is likely we do all of the above to near their feasible potential,
then we'll only need fossil oil for petrochemicals (e.g. plastic).

We don't even really lack the technological know-how to do these things at this point. We just lack political and economic will to make the transition.

Comment Re:Earth level? (Score 1) 171

I believe the Americans call this principle "Eminent Domain" which means, not to put too fine a point on it: "Although we allowed you to have guns, we have way more of them, so f**k off your land. This is our lawn now. Get off it."

Just remember that a right is something given by the one with might. It may not be how things should be, but see quoted text above. Civilization? Snivelization!

Comment Re:Economically feasible (Score 1) 171

It may become economically feasible if and when most large mining concerns on Earth get stopped from expanding due to environmental concerns, such as protecting shrinking ecosystems, avoiding polluting shrinking fresh-water sources etc.

Just like clean renewable energy could become economically feasible in a hurry if a significant carbon tax was imposed.

Well, one can always dream.

Comment There is a higher law (Score 4, Informative) 220

It's called the law of the World Wide Web, and it comes down to us from the writings of the global prophet Tim.

The actual wording of the law is too technical for mere mortals, being as it is written in ancient C code found on an artifact we think was called a hard drive dug up from the buried ruins of a cyclotron in what was once Switzerland.

But the law can be paraphrased as:

If you deposit your writings or your pictures on an HTTP or HTTPS server without access control
- and thus allow your work to be served,
(that is freely transferred by the standard world wide web protocols)
  to any of the computers attached to the great public Internet,
- then you implicitly have created a holy URL by which your work can be accessed and copied,
- and should you also allow the URL itself to be discovered over the Internet by the use of standard world wide web protocols,
- THEN it is the law that:
- any person or machine is allowed
(as inherently enabled and implied by the fundamental nature of the technology as Tim intended it)
- to republish that URL on any writings that they also cause to be served by the same standard protocols.
- and to copy and read or view the writings or pictures that you made freely available by your action of publishing it on the World Wide Web.

Thus is created the fundamental Web network nature of creation that we know as the World Wide Web.

This is the first law of the Holy Interwebs. Bookmark it and do not lose it.

Comment Re:Not just google (Score 1) 208

So they hire on the basis of pompous ass-ery now?

Wise, including admitting when you don't know something, is so much better a top-tier engineering quality than fast.
Fast is completely irrelevant.
If you have to fix something in half an hour because your company just released some crap into production, you're all already doing it wrong.

Comment How recent was your CPSC degree (Score 3, Insightful) 208

That's really all these stupid things are assessing.

I've forgotten all the details about b-tree implementation (and R+ trees for spatial data, and, and, and...) but that shouldn't matter, as long as I know general programming principles and quality aspects, and know how to methodically go about looking up the details from appropriate sources, then copying and modifying existing code.

Design creativity, and pros/cons design decision tree exploration, and getting the gist of some fundamental programming concepts (like complexity, maintaining simplicity, refactoring, encapsulation, importance of good naming, importance of good comments etc) should be much more important skills than rote memorization of some 50 year old algorithm.

Companies should be much more interested in what you have already programmed, when you had a month or more to do it, and time to concentrate and research and refine, than what you can program under duress before the USS Enterprise falls into the black hole right ahead.

Comment How does big oil benefit? (Score 1) 249

from an at-source carbon-tax?

A simple at-source carbon tax on fossil fuels, with gradual increases built in is what the most intelligent people who think and talk about the problem propose as the major solution.
It allows the free market to operate to find the most efficient way around high fossil-fuel prices. GHG emissions therefore go down efficiently.

The most elegant and effective version of the carbon tax would put the revenue toward fundamental research on new energy technologies, and possibly toward short-term subsidies for development and adoption of alternatives, such as EV rebates, solar feed-in-tariff programs, etc.

The most politically palatable version just gives the carbon-tax money back to citizens as a dividend, allowing some to still buy gas, and others to make smarter alternative decisions and benefit financially.


Comment Would it also be illegal (Score 1) 418

for companies like Google, Apple etc to make their communication software accept plug-ins that perform end-to-end encryption on the emails or whatever.
For example, plug-ins that implement one-time-pad encryption or some other currently non-known-breakable encryption invented by any random "non-corporate" "amateur" with a PhD in comp sci. ?

Maybe that's what this law would encourage. The support for pluggable end-to-end encryption into common cloud/net apps.

Comment Your motives are showing (Score 1) 249

Whatever spouting of denialist delusions gets you through your massively over-consuming day without crushing guilt and self-loathing...

God forbid we might have to actually lift a finger and adjust something in our lives.

Aye there's the rub. To accept the truth and have to shift one's butt by a few centimetres uncomfortably.

Comment Bad news for robot and AI workers everywhere (Score 1) 249

Their income is going to go down by 23% ! And that of their robo-industrial-complex-baron owners I suppose.

The actual people, most of them, won't have to worry about this, because their income-earning jobs will long have been replaced by automation.

I wonder what the effect of bands of neo-luddite anarchists, roving across the flooded or parched lands in angry desperation, will be on the global economy.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval