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Comment: Re:Unintended consequences... (Score 1) 203

by sammydee (#32117850) Attached to: Underwater Ocean Kites To Harvest Tidal Energy

Actually this is true, I recently covered this in one of my physics courses. Due to tidal friction the moon is currently receding from the earth at a rate of 4cm a year, about the rate of growth of fingernails or the rate at which continents are drifting apart. Due to conservation of angular momentum, this results in a corresponding decrease in rate of rotation of the earth. Days are actually slowly getting longer and longer. In fact, about 100 million years ago, the dinosaurs experienced a 23 hour day.

You can do some rather simple calculations and find that if you put down enough tidal power stations to supply America with all of it's current power needs, the additional tidal friction would DOUBLE the rate of recession of the moon from the earth to 8cm a year. Not really a serious environmental risk, I thought it was interesting though.

Comment: Non-story (Score 1) 49

by sammydee (#31643394) Attached to: Remote Malware Injection Via Flaw In Network Card

From the article:

"However, the attack presented only applies to a specific network card model (Broadcom NetXtreme) whenever a remote administration functionality (called ASF for Alert Standard Format 2.0) is turned on (it is off by default) and configured. According to vendors, this functionality is far from being widely used. As a consequence, this vulnerability is really likely to have a very limited impact in practice."

One network card by one manufacturer has a vulnerability when an obscure feature is turned on. While the idea of an attack on the network itself is interesting, this isn't going to become a widespread problem.

Comment: Exciting stuff (Score 4, Informative) 65

by sammydee (#31520010) Attached to: MIT Developing Self-Assembling Computer Chips

This is a really hot topic in research right now. For my final year project on my physics degree I am investigating a theory of a model fluid with a repulsive step potential and it's amazing what kind of self assembly you get on a mesoscopic level.

At certain temperatures and pressures the molecules will all just spontaneously line up into stripes or clusters. This could have amazingly useful applications in chip assembly, because you don't need to assemble the chip any more - you just engineer a molecule that assembles itself into the right shape.

Comment: Article is terrible (Score 4, Informative) 235

by sammydee (#30639448) Attached to: Core i5 and i3 CPUs With On-Chip GPUs Launched

The article is awful. There is only one game benchmark and that compared to an integrated AMD GPU that hardly anybody has heard of. There is also no way of telling from the article whether the integrated intel graphics actually has HD video decode acceleration or not. The modern core i5 chips are pretty capable of decoding 1080p content by themselves without any gpu assistance.

I think the article writer misunderstands how hardware video decode assist actually works. It isn't magically engaged when you play any HD movie in any media player (usually it has to be turned on in an option somewhere with a media player app that supports it) and it isn't a sliding scale of cpu usage. Modern decoding chips either decode EVERYTHING on the card, reducing cpu usage to 1% or 2%, or the app decodes EVERYTHING in software, resulting in fairly high cpu usage.

I still have no idea if the new intel graphics chip actually offers any HD video acceleration at all. If it did, it would make it a nice choice for low power and HTPC solutions. If it doesn't, it's just another crappy integrated graphics card.

Comment: Re:This won't work (Score 2, Informative) 280

by sammydee (#30243608) Attached to: Virgin Media To Trial Filesharing Monitoring In UK

Most clients use encryption by default, but will accept plaintext incoming connections yes. It's fairly easy to configure your torrent client to only allow encrypted connections if you are feeling paranoid.

Deep packet inspection does not extend to joining swarms with a modified client. At least I'd hope not...

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 1231

by sammydee (#29971076) Attached to: Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

I'm very surprised this was an exposed option before Karmic, you must have had one of the very rare sound cards with a hardware loopback in it or something similar.

Either way, pulseaudio has this functionality now. It isn't exposed in a gui option, but pactl load-module module-loopback will do what you want. If you want it to load every time put it in /etc/pulse/default.pa.

I know this sucks compared to having a gui option, but hopefully a gui option will be added for this in the next release. You can probably still enable your hardware loopback if you have one by running alsamixer -c X where X is your card number, probably 0 if you only have one card. You can find out what cards you have with aplay -l.

I know cli utilities suck but trust me, this is being worked on even if the work is going very slowly.

Comment: I had the opposite experience (Score 1) 1231

by sammydee (#29970588) Attached to: Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

I've been using Ubuntu since 5.04 and tried an upgrade every time a new version came out. I have never ONCE had one actually work, so I always ended up reformatting/reinstalling from scratch.

This is the first time an upgrade has gone smoothly for me. The only thing that went wrong was firefox failed to load my session directory, and this is only due to upgrading from 3.0 to 3.5. In fact, firefox 3.0 was still installed on my system and that worked perfectly still.

In general however, the Ubuntu upgrades always seem to be a bit flaky, far better to separately partition your home directory and reformat/reinstall instead - too much fundamental architecture changes with each release to make upgrades really work very well. You still keep all your application configurations and data easily that way as well.

Government

+ - Drug adviser sacked for cannabis claim-> 2

Submitted by
thespeech
thespeech writes "The British Government's chief drug adviser, Professor David Nutt from the University of Bristol, has been sacked a day after claiming that cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy were less dangerous than alcohol. "Alcohol ranks as the fifth most harmful drug after heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone. Tobacco is ranked ninth," he wrote in the paper from the centre for crime and justice studies at King's College, London, published yesterday. "Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, while harmful, are ranked lower at 11, 14 and 18 respectively." Nutt said he was not prepared to "mislead" the public about the effects of drugs in order to convey a moral "message" on the government's behalf, and that "if scientists are not allowed to engage in the debate at this interface then you devalue their contribution to policy making and undermine a major source of carefully considered and evidence-based advice."
This is not the first time that the British government has ignored advice from experts in making drug policy decisions.
Some are worried that this will discourage others from giving their opinions in a field where, apparently, honest scientists are to be seen and not heard."

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