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Comment Re:animated gif which shows the plagiarism (Score 1) 205

Among the differences that the excellent animation makes clear:

1. Lower case I (i) is made inexplicably ugly. Perhaps it helps legibility at lower rendering sizes, I'm not sure.

2. Parentheses have been moved such that the left paren is moved a little more left, and the right paren a little more right: this gives function calls an arguably more natural look if you like space around the arguments. In particular open/close next to each other are less awkwardly placed with the new spacing.

3. Underscore (_) has been made discontinuous, such that repeated underscores are no longer a single line. You might like this, you might not. The underscore character was originally intended to become a continuous line and used to underline letters (and by originally, I mean with typewriters and lead type).

4. Lower case R (r) has been moved left. This makes words like "try" more evenly spaced, but screws up "stderr". You can't have everything in a monospaced font.

5. Square brackets ([ and ]) have been moved left and right, like parentheses, for the same effect.

A lot of people seem to be slamming it, but perhaps it isn't all that bad.

Comment Re:She deserves to be in prison (Score 3, Informative) 303

I don't know the relevant law (or really much of any law) in detail, and hope that someone here who does can express an informed, educated opinion.

Stuff that is TS/SCI (Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information) is what commonfolk call state secrets. It's stuff that is so important to national security that we call people who share it with non-cleared foreign folks spies and charge them with treason, and the punishment is up to and including death. It is a Big Frelling Deal. That's the heavy hammer that's being threatened and used against Assange, Snowden and Manning for doing the same thing, albeit on a larger and wider scale. Just storing it on a non-secure system within the government is considered Bad Form and subject to disciplinary action or worse. Printing it out and taking it home is Particularly Bad Form. Doesn't forwarding it over private email systems amount to all of that and much more?

Why aren't we calling for Hillary's political head, if not sending her to jail?

Comment Re:PET, CAT and MRIs Are Cheap. We Overpay in the (Score 2) 311

The machines are ridiculously expensive. They are also depleting our reserves of helium to the point that there isn't much any more, and we may need to start making it via nuclear reaction.

High temperature superconductors, so that the coils in an MRI can run at liquid nitrogen temps instead of liquid helium temps would fix most of those problems. Room temperature superconductors would be nearly as good as having fusion power (please take note of the "nearly" ... fusion power would solve a lot of the Earth's problems).

But the other major cost of having a honking big MRI machine is that hospitals need to have large purpose-built suites with special shielding, control areas, etc., that are expensive themselves to build and eat up valuable real estate. Making MRIs *smaller* and designing them so that the external field wasn't so extensive would also go a long way to controlling the costs.

MR scans should be a standard diagnostic tool performed quickly at each doctor's visit. They aren't, and wont be for some time to come, but if they were, medicine would be heapsload cheaper on the whole due to earlier, potentially pre-clinical, diagnosis of diseases (like cancer, emphysema, etc.) that reduce costs compared to later diagnoses.

Comment Re:Microphonics? (Score 1) 37

And disk drives are made to deliver data reliably as well, but out-of-band signals can be used to detect other influences (latency reporting vibration, for disk drives). For optical cables, seismic activity might (for example) increase the number of packets that require data correction, and the error rate would be your out-of-band signal.

Knowing that there is seismic activity somewhere along a long cable, even if you don't know where, is better than knowing nothing. With information from enough such cables, it should be possible to pinpoint the origin. That's how modern seismic monitoring works, combining signals from multiple sources to tomographically compute the origin. More data, in such cases, is always better.

Putting instrumentation on the optical cables themselves seems like a losing idea. But if there's a nearly free (beer) signal that could be useful, why not exploit it?

Comment Microphonics? (Score 2) 37

Surely there's some secondary or tertiary affects that can be used to measure cable movement like microphonics, and thus deduce seismic activity. From the title, I had thought that's what the posting was about. If you can influence the error rate of a disk drive by yelling at it (, then can't you measure earthquakes with a long optical fiber?

Comment Re:Unlimited for one year (Score 4, Interesting) 418

Also, depending on the fine print with their policy, you might not come back to the same job.

In Massachusetts (where I have personal experience) the law is that there must be an equivalent job for you to return to, not necessarily your old job. After all, the company doesn't stop needing someone to do the work just because you need to take time off to care for your slobbering bundle of joy. When my wife took her first maternity leave, she did, in fact, return to the same position; after her second maternity leave (with the same company), she was moved horizontally to a job in a different group that, while it had similar responsibilities and identical pay, was far, far less desirable because of her new boss.

Comment Re:Don't buy the cheapest cable (Score 1) 391

Definitely true that it's worth buying cables that you trust for reliability. I have worked in research labs all my adult life. We use gobs and gobs of BNC cables. I've watched countless researchers who don't know any better waste hours and hours of their time chasing down cable / connector problems. I use only ITT / Pomona BNC cables and have never, ever had a failure. Naturally, more of my budget goes to cables than others, but time is the precious resource.

Comment Re:Can't this be tested on a Cube Sat? (Score 1) 518

Delta-V of 1.8e-4m/s is not so tiny. If my calculations are correct, that means it will move away by 1 m from an identical satellite in a pseudo-parallel orbit in under an hour if the second craft switches on its EM drive in the other direction for the same duty cycle. Make the two take alternate cycles of acceleration direction and they should see-saw in orbit together. Make the see-saw cycle 100 m long (wait a few days between blasts) and you can even observe it from the ground.

Comment What benefit to announcing it? (Score 3, Insightful) 203

This group sounds like they acted reasonably and responsibly, letting Google know there was a problem, and submitting good patches to correct the issue.

If, now, there's some other fundamental impediment to distributing a correction to the bug that does not have to do with Google, but rather with the heaploads of cell phone manufacturers who use Google's code and who may or may not have the ability to distribute the fix, why should the vulnerability be made public? I don't see any apparent upside to the public good.

Comment Re:Potholes? (Score 4, Interesting) 183

I live in New England. We have lots of freeze-thaw cycles during the year. It's rare that you see a proper frost heave in a road (and you certainly know it when you see it). By FAR the most road damage is caused by inexpert patching of the asphalt where the surface needs to be cut for utility work. When inexpertly patched, the surface is no longer remotely planar, and the unevenness right at the (and caused by the) patch increases the wear exactly where it can do the most damage. So, shortly, the patch needs a patch. Which is inexpertly done, and the cycle continues until you get a stretch of crud for surface and the local municipality shells out big bucks to have the road re-surfaced entirely.

Compare this to Southern California (where I lived for a number of years) where the road patches after utility work are 100% as smooth as the original surface. With your eyes closed, you cannot tell that you've driven over a patch. The patch (and especially the transitions from original surface to patch, and back) receives no more or less force than the original road, so there's no focus of wear, and it lasts a very long time.

It baffles me why we can't make proper road patches in New England. It's clearly possible. And I really can't believe that the people working to patch roads in Southern California are that much more talented, so it's either a technology issue, lack of managerial directive, or an out-and-out conspiracy to have a never-ending amount of road resurfacing work.

Comment Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 1) 1307

I wasn't alive during WWII but both of my parents were. My mother was fortunate enough to be evacuated to Canada with her brother and my grandmother while my grandfather stayed behind. Neither of those two then-children saw the war up-front. My grandfather never, ever spoke of the war.

My father, however, did experience it first-hand and did tell me about it. As a precocious young boy, he risked imprisonment and worse by illegally building and repairing radios during the Nazi occupation. I hope you understand the full implications of it being illegal to own radios (think if it being illegal to own a smart phone, a tablet, or any kind of computer). There was no such thing as free speech. The Axis occupation of Greece was horrific, with the Germans being responsible for the worst of the atrocities. 13% of the occupation of Greece was killed or starved to death. Nearly all of the infrastructure was destroyed. The hyperinflation was the 5th worst in history. There is very good reason that many Greeks still do not like Germans, and want war reparations, and it isn't too much of a stretch to view the recent bail out programs as exactly that.

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH