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+ - No, you can't use Wi-Fi to power your phone. Do the math!->

richi writes: Did you see the headlines squawking about how Wi-Fi will charge your smartphone in the future?

Bunkum, I say. Each time the story gets repeated, it loses a little more veracity. So I aimed my Computerworld curation cannon at this.

Researchers have improved the ability to capture power from radio waves. By tweaking some standard Wi-Fi hardware, they've increased the amount of power that can be leeched from unused transmissions. It could help power IoT sensors.

But wait — don't believe everything you read on the interwebs, kids. Predictably, some science-illiterate journalists and bloggers are saying it can actually charge your smartphone. Sadly, the researchers only achieved power levels of a few microWatts — that's about 100,000 times too small to run your phone, let alone charge it.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Clean room implementation? (Score 0) 223 223

I may just be dense, but reading the documents I get the impression that the API definition itself is not the issue, but the specific implementation of the code behind the API definition. If I'm reading this right, Google incorporated Oracle's Standard Library wholesale, instead of re-implementing the Standard Library from scratch. This is where the copyright infringement comes into play, where you use the expression of an idea instead of just the idea itself in your own works. Let's look at ANSI/ISO language standards: the API to the standard library for the language is specified in the Standard, but no implementation of the library routines are included in the Standard. Someone wanting to make a Standards-compliant implementation of the language would need to write their own library, or buy the library from someone else. ("Buy" doesn't necessarily mean money, see the GPL.) If what I stated above is indeed the fact pattern in this case, then the DoJ is correct in their amicus brief.

Comment: Who says the humans go away? (Score 1) 615 615

If you've ever been around trucks in the retail and wholesale delivery to retail markets, you know that the drivers also do double duty as payload handlers. Think of the gas truck pulling into a station to fill the station tanks; there is a human making the hook-ups and monitoring the transfer. Furniture delivery trucks, even when self-driving, will still need handlers to take the furniture in. (Or, for Salvation Army trucks, to take the furniture out to the truck.) Also, how are self-driving trucks going to handle some of the really wild truck docks? There will be a reduction with long-haul drivers, granted, but trailer-trains have been taking some of that market already.

Comment: Re:Controversial because? (Score 3, Informative) 284 284

We've tried that, and it turns out that it doesn't really lead to independent states in education. Look at all the textbook debacles that start in Texas, for example. Why would textbooks in Texas matter if you live in a different state? They matter because the companies that publish textbooks don't want to publish different versions for each state, they want to publish for the largest states (population wise) first and then try to sell the same texts to other states.

This results in textbooks going in to non-nutter states that include discussions on intelligent design and other rampant bullshit. The states only have the flexibility to get textbooks of their own choosing if they exist (as few states have the time and money to go about preparing their own textbooks) so they end up with what the boards in Texas approve.

In my high school in downstate Illinois, several of my classes were taught using locally published material. Oh, we had the standard textbooks, but we were tested on the material in the local material. Chemistry was taught from a locally-written textbook, and my father (a research chemist) thought that home-brew textbook was better than some of the college textbooks on his shelf. This wasn't restricted to just one state: in Oklahoma we had a textbook written by an in-state college professor about the history of the Native Americans, from Columbus through to then-present day. I'm not aware of any Texas textbook that does more than scratch the surface about the "Trail of Tears." And the state didn't publish the textbook.

Comment: Re:Controversial because? (Score 1) 284 284

As for innnercity schools that seems to be more of an issue with lack of parental oversight...

How about just the lack of parents, in the plural? How many of those inner city schools have significant populations of single-parent children? Particularly children without fathers?

Comment: Re:Who gets what, and from who? (Score 2) 218 218

"Making" should be the profit, not the gross revenue brought in by station operaton. "Revenue" and "profit" get mixed in the minds of many people. They are not the same. When I worked for a 3 KW FM station as an intern years go, all the "revenue" went for operating costs of the station: building rent, transmitter land rent, property taxes, salaries (why do you think they liked a zero-dollar intern?), electricity, cost of network fees, consulting engineers (to conduct the measurements the FCC requires for the station "public files",) and all the rest. Most of the "giveaways" were paid for by the people buying advertising time, not the station itself. Those "free" tickets to concerts were contributed by the concert promoters to add some weight to their ad time. Sometimes the station operated at a loss, which is why the station owners had other businesses to prop up the station during lean times. It wasn't a hobby, but no one was getting rich from the operation of the station. Helping to keeping the money coming was the SBA channel sending out background music to the stores in town. All those tapes were rented, not purchased, because royalties had to be paid on that music coming from the ceiling of your local supermarket.

Comment: Two backups, one on-site, one off-site (Score 1) 446 446

For the last 26 years or so, I've been making electronic copies of my records. The media changes, the location does not. My current scheme is to burn financial records onto CD-ROM on two pieces of archival media. One goes into my local at-home fireproof safe. One goes into my safe-deposit box at my neighborhood bank.

Work backup is a little trickier. For a long time I was using tape backup, upgrading to larger capacity as the new drives came out. Then I started burning multiple DVD-ROM disk sets. I was able to start using a single pair of DVD+R(DL) when the cost came down. Again, one set goes into the at-home fireproof safe, the other to the safe deposit box.

I also use USB hard drives for in-office backup. I use Linux, so I formatted a 3-TB drive as ext4. I then use rsync to update the drive during projects at regular intervals.

The cloud? I have some people who insist I use Github and Dropbox. Github is fine for working projects, but I wouldn't depend on them keeping stuff forever -- regular backups of the working projects is the rule for me. Dropbox was going just fine until it broke completely when I upgraded my systems to CentOS 7.0 (and now 7.1). Almost useless. I'm hoping Dropbox will get a fix for this soon.

Life tip: Record your financial records on media separate from your other backups. You can then pitch the media after the statute of limitations expires (7 years for US).

Comment: Re:Mystery (Score 1) 447 447

Looks like the memory card on the the black box has been "lost". Is this true? How is it possible if the black box is designed to withstand 3500 g ? Would the data on the memory card contain information on the door status (locked / unlocked / open / closed /...) ?

Also, why isn't data streamed to ground stations nowadays? And why black boxes do not float ?

In short, together with the door design, it all looks like amateuristic design.

1. Door-locked status: Don't know, but you can't record everything -- there are already plenty of channels that are captured that are far more important

2. Streaming to ground: The NTSB has been working with other air safety bodies to make recommendations to do just that. One issue is available bandwidth: there just isn't enough of it available. So the amount of information that can be transmitted would be limited.

3. Floating black boxes: Like the downlink scenario, breakaway recorders that float are being looked into. More importantly, though, are better crash locator beacons, so the crash debris field can be found more quickly.

Comment: Re:Conditional recording (Score 1) 447 447

Perhaps they could video the cockpit (and the fuselage for that matter) and destroy the footage once the plane has safely landed.

In the case of the FDR and CVR, that already happens, sort of. The devices are only able to handle a finite amount of data, and new data overwrites the old. So eventually you effectively get what you are suggesting by normal operation.

And there is a good reason not to dump the recordings. During an investigation of a crash where wake turbulence was suspected to be the main culprit, the investigators had the FDR of the plane ahead of the accident plane pulled to see just exactly where it was in relation to the accident plane. As I recall, the data showed the leading plane was much closer to the accident plane than anyone had suspected, and the wake turbulence would have thrown the accident plane around violently. WIthout the additional data, investigators would not have been able to confirm a hypothesis as to a contributor to the crash.

Comment: Re:There are so many simpler and more humane metho (Score 1) 1081 1081

CO2 is *not* a pleasant way to go. The body reacts to the excess. Better to drown in N2 or even helium. The advantage of N2 is that the bystanders can be protected by moderate venting of the chamber and fans blowing in the viewing area, so that N2 doesn't pool around the observers.

Comment: Re:Not in these activist's style (Score 1) 517 517

Of course, the lone scientist would be backed by billions from polluters who object to clean water and air.

Do polluters object to clean water and air? I'm sorry, my father's experience on the Illinois Pollution Control Board says otherwise. The object of the board was specific: clean up Lake Michigan. The original estimates were that all efforts to clean up the lake would take 33 years. (Indiana had a similar project.)

During the first five years, the Board concentrated on identifying and quantifying the worst polluters on the Chicago lake shore. In many instances, the companies who were cited were able to put corrective action in place quickly. Part of the reason they didn't do it on their own dime is that their competition a couple of miles up the coastline didn't do it, which put the polluting company at a competitive disadvantage. So the company (1) put in control measures, and (2) snitched on their polluting competition.

In some instances, the management of the company was not aware just how bad they were, and cleaned up. That may sound stupid to you, but those companies just didn't realize the effect their outflow was having, until it was pointed out to them. In many cases, these were companies built in the 40s and 50s, when the amount of total pollution was orders of magnitude lower, and the ecosystem could handle it. This included smokestack pollution, as well as lake pollution.

The result? Significantly measurable improvement in less than five years, not the 33 years originally estimated. The eco-system started to recover once the worst of the ongoing industrial pollution was removed. A success story.

Where environmentalists and industry get cross-wise is the idea of the former that clean water and air should be obtains "at all costs" and "everything today". Industy wants that last phrases to be "at all reasonable costs" and "scheduled to match the capital spending timing."

The EPA of today, according to the reports I see in the media, is more of the first class of people instead of the second. EPA thinks that the environment is so fragile that everything possible -- and then some -- has to be done right now. Lake Michigan proves that our environment may be more robust than the EPA gives it credit for.

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 1) 517 517

The most telling part is that the legislature will quote: "bar academic scientists on the panels from talking about matters related to research they’re doing." WTF? How is EPA supposed to make decisions? By ignoring the advice of scientist who work on the matter and taking advice from people who are completely clueless?

Who says that the EPA would be ignoring the advice from people who work on the matter? All the law does is bar the people judging the applicability of the data from judging their own contributions -- that's a conflict of intertest. The EPA holds hearing, where they can solicit the opinions of anyone they want. So your complaint is a red herring.

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