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Comment: Re:Ummm (Score 2) 347

by shoor (#47310503) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

Ah, this is getting off topic, but your comment raised a question in my mind. Suppose the light is blue shifted for an observer approaching it so that it does have the energy to form an electron-positron pair, but for another observer not approaching it as fast, it doesn't have the energy. Might one observer see the pair formation while the other did not?

Comment: Re:Time release escrow (Score 1) 170

Could the encryption be in the form of a one time pad? Then it would be 'unbreakable'. Perhaps there could be several one time pads, and only when all of them were brought together would the data be decodable.

Ultimately, the only suggestion I saw, including suggestions on the site, that would be as inviolable as the laws of physics, is sending the message in to space as electromagnetic radiation to a place where it would be echoed back. But first you would have to have something in position to do the echoing, so that won't be practical for a long time.

All the other methods depend on the world not changing too much. Governments, laws, and institutions remaining stable, Encryption methods not being cracked. Using a satellite in a far elliptical orbit would work with present technology, but if the message is supposed to be kept for 50 or 100 years, technology might catch up and the satellite be retrieved sooner than the originators wanted.

Comment: Re:Cool Technology (Score 1) 166

by shoor (#47138939) Attached to: After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

Despite being on the Internet for a pretty long time (I made my first post to Usenet in 1984) I only have a hazy notion of what Facebook is. I've heard about it, and in googling and stuff actually been on Facebook pages of some sort I think. I say this to establish my credentials as NOT being a Facebook fanboy.

Nevertheless, I've heard that in other countries when there were revolutions and stuff going on, people used Facebook to rally and organize. So give the devil his due. (Or am I getting Facebook mixed up with some other social media thingy?)

Comment: Re:First Tutorial I've seen with Goto... (Score 2) 143

by shoor (#47103871) Attached to: Become a Linux Kernel Hacker and Write Your Own Module

I got my intro to programming in the mid 1960s with 'the college computer' a PDP-8 that we programmed in Fortran using punched cards. In those days, just getting access to a computer was a pretty big deal, but things were changing, so 'programming paradigms' started appearing, and the first one that I remember was 'structured programming'. This is where I first heard the mantra of 'goto-less' programming. (Before that, the mantra was not to write self-modifying code, which was something you almost had to be writing assembly language code to be able to do, though COBOL had an 'alters' statement as I recall.)

I remember being somewhat startled by the idea of excluding gotos. How could you write non trivial code without any goto statements? I actually thought of it almost as a challenge to figure out how to do so. The opposite of structured code was 'spaghetti code'. Anyway, it's become a conventional bit of wisdom that I suppose is just automatically passed down to each generation of students without anyone ever seriously questioning it, except those who find they really need it sometimes. At some point I started defiantly putting an occasional goto in my code again, but not often.

Comment: Question, how big a team is required? (Score 1) 158

by shoor (#46991605) Attached to: The Truth About OpenGL Driver Quality

I used to write drivers for hardware a looong time ago (disc drives, UARTS, that kind of thing.) I realize that these graphics cards are way more complicated and trying to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of them can be a lot of effort. (I can remember spending a day trying to save a single instruction inside a device interrupt, and those were relatively simple devices.)

Even so, eventually you can't just kkep adding people to a project. If the concepts are well known then you get some decent programmers to do a workmanlike job of writing the software. If there are still areas of research and black art, then you need people who are initiates in the black art. So, I'm just curious, how many people, and what kind of skills, are involved in creating good drivers for this hardware, and, when a new piece of hardware comes out, how much new stuff is required to make use of it?

Comment: Re:Honestly, can't walk and chew bubble gum? (Score 1) 210

Why worry about this kind of stuff when so much worse is going on? Maybe it's a good way to practice for the bigger stuff. Somebody starts out fretting about overdone 'intellectual property' for their favorite movie, then later, they're ready to take on something bigger. (Or maybe they become jaded and cynical and ask 'why bother', who knows?)

Comment: Nobody you can borrow from? (Score 1) 201

by shoor (#46909281) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

If it's just a few tapes, don't you know anybody, friend or relative who still has a VHS player tucked away in their attic or basement that you could borrow from?

BTW I still have a working VHS player. Once in awhile I'll find where somebody has put their old VHS tapes out on the street or something and there will be a title that intrigues me enough to take it home and try it. (I also still have an old analogue TV capture card from the late 90s that works.) I don't think you need to be too concerned with the player itself. The quality of the images from those old VHS tapes certainly leaves a lot to be desired after one has gotten used to HDTV, but, if there is no alternative, as when it's a home movie, then it's just a question of whether it's worth the bother at all. If the tape isn't playable in standard consumer equipment, then ask yourself it you want to pay the premium for a recovery specialist.

Comment: Darmok is Science Fiction about an idea (Score 2) 512

by shoor (#46612535) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

There are people who are attracted to Science Fiction as a literature about ideas. 'Darmok' is a relatively pure version of that. It does have a physical threat and there's some facing off between the aliens and the Enterprise so it's not completely devoid of Space Opera, but maybe not enough to please, or maybe not done well enough to please those that were expecting Space Opera.

Also, the idea in 'Darmok' is very subtle and cerebral for TV, and I think that's why a lot of people like it. It must have been a tough one to write. I do think they glossed over some complications. Children would have to learn a more conventional form of language first, in order to be taught about the metaphors for example.

I do vaguely remember reading something like this is in some sci fi book I read once. I think it might have been a Larry Niven book. The protagonist is stuck among some aliens who communicate by singing excerpts from some big epic. He meets another human who was raised among them from the time she was a child and knows some basic usages and teaches him enough to get by. It was just one episode in the protagonist's various adventures in the book.

Suzette Haden Elgin's 'Native Tongue' and Jack Vance's "Languages of Pau" also deal with ideas about language in science fiction but not in the same way as 'Darmok'.

Comment: Re:Troi (The Good Troi Episode) (Score 1) 512

by shoor (#46612463) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

The guy from the Ars article went over to the IMDB for checking outside his own little village. is another good place to look for disussions and other opinions on anything to do with entertainment. There they use to have a trope called "The Good Troi Episode", though when I went to confirm, I found that it's been renamed to 'A Day In the Limelight' after some discussion amongst the tropers. (Personally, I knew instantly what the trope was about from the old name, much more than 'Day In The Limelight', which doesn't even seem to be about the same thing. After all, having a day in the limelight doesn't mean you have a good episode for a change.) The episode in question is "Face of the Enemy", episode 14 of season 6. The implication is that this was the only episode featuring Deanna Troi that was actually good.

Comment: A very plausible scenario from March 18 (Score 2) 491

by shoor (#46566241) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370
I found this article in the Christian Science Monitor to be very plausible. That was on March 18, when they were still looking all over the place for the plane, and it's a scenario that still holds up. Basically, something went wrong, the pilots started to head for the nearest airport, but then passed out.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo