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Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 308

But -- profit in and of itself is not a sufficient, or indeed, even a necessary condition for exploration. The islands of Polynesia were explored, settled and exploited at least a millenia before Europe even knew the earth was round, using only naked eye observations to navigate.

You might argue that in the case of Polynesia, survival was the sufficient condition to explore and settle new islands. As the population grew and the resources diminished on islands, the populations were pushed to explore and settle new islands.

And what about northern europe's contribution to exploration? When Erik the Red and his kin went a'viking, they took it across at least one ocean, with only their own eyesight to guide them.

Wasn't Erik the Red evicted from iceland for murder? By all accounts I know about viking voyages were mostly to exploit resources as well, and very limited settlements were made due to poor relations with the native populations.

Comment Re:Scientists trained to ask "Why?" (Score 1) 469

Personally I think it has more to do with the fact that engineers are trained to follow rules and so it attracts people who are happy to follow rules without necessarily questioning them or completely understanding the reasoning behind them.

On the other hand scientists will question every rule you give them and even when they believe that the rules might be right they will still spend their time poking them to see if they really do apply everywhere....which is why we can be so annoying at times especially to those trying to use toxic, religious dogma to persuade others to commit irrational and immoral acts.>

I don't think I agree with this generalization.

Most engineers I know aren't the blind rule follower types. They are looking to creatively apply the rules they know about to solve interesting problems, and if they don't know, they are happy to experiment and make their own rules-of-thumb. Rather than follow the rules, they question the rules all the time to find a way around the rules.

On the other hand, many scientists I know are the "lawyer" types that want to kill all creativity that don't follow the rules (even if the rules have to be "tortured" to apply in that situation). I've known a few that would even get borderline violent when people were speculating outside the box.

I think that the common personality type that makes both scientists and engineers easier targets for terrorist recruitment is experience with social isolation and elitist attitudes that make it easy for them to dehumanize people that don't think like they do. Couple that with standard recruiting techniques and those people are easy to re-baseline (the key to radicalization).

The process of radicalization of a target generally starts by attempting to break rules that the target holds dear. Safety, fairness, corruption of heroes, falsification of memes, etc are all standard techniques here. Since no "rules" are universal, it's usually easy for a trained handler to pick low-hanging fruit here.

Next the handler introduce the target to a benign organization, it's important in this phase to help shift the identification to a different group. Helping out in a cultural center, or volunteering to assist in charitable causes will help the target empathize with the plight of people sympathetic to the terrorist group. The more socially isolated the person was before, the easier this processes (don't have to break as many existing ties).

During this assimilation time, the handler will probe how much the target might be willing to rule breaking by feeding them more propaganda to get them to normalize and accept the new rules (e.g., it's okay to hurt these specific people because they deserve it).

Finally, there's the "requirement". Involve the target in an operation where they don't have to do much of anything, but see if they run. If they don't run, the handler has likely created a new terrorist. It could be attending a protest, or spraying graffiti, or adding a "like" to radical facebook post. This is often called the "foot-in-the-door".

Then there is the "escalation" stage. Generally, promises are used in this stage (guarantee of appreciation, acceptance, heaven, virgins, glory, whatever) and involves helping prepare for a simple low-risk operation. The act of asking to help prepare is generally an easy ask, the target doesn't have to do the operation, but feels like they are involved. For engineers and scientists it might be asking to consult on some technical aspect or give ideas about how they might overcome some technical problem. Maybe they want to a DoS attack on the enemy during a religious holiday. They don't need the answer to the problem (they will generally already have it figured out), but they make the target feel like they are contributing something (e.g., hey that was a good idea, maybe we'll think about that next time).

Since engineers and scientists naturally enjoy solving problems and sharing their knowledge, they fall into this trap easily. Once they have fallen in they find themselves complicit with operation and no easy way out. The addiction to being appreciated for being helpful is powerful. Cognitive dissonance generally takes over and they are trapped. The journey to the dark side is complete.

Comment Re:Exactly (Score 2) 575

The only reason the USSR and America were adversaries was the conflict over economic systems. that conflict no longer exists.

Hardly. Russia and USA are adversaries over economic *power* not systems and will be in the forseeable future. They are still economic adversaries even though the economic systems have changed.

However, they are unlikely to be closer to the USA than China because the USA would like to keep China adversary closer (because they are a bigger economic threat).

To conflict over economic systems is a lark. Regardless of the system, it's all about economic power.

On the other hand, the USA conflict with Cuba is about politics, regardless of their economic system. Cuba was supposed one of the "spoils" the USA got in the Spanish-American war. It was supposed to be under our sphere of influence, but they overthrew the government the USA backed, so like an rebel teenager that attempts independence we attempted to "disown" them. The cuban revolutionaries weren't originally communists (e.g., DRE, and even Castro) but mostly socialists, but the USA's fear of the experience in Southeast Asia basically set the stage for fear to manifest itself to reality.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 1) 575

For the record, I do think ISIS will get squashed or fade out, but the longer that something like that festers, the longer it has to influence Muslims around the world to radicalize.

I'm sure the royalty in Europe thought something similar about insignificant "democracy" being declared in north america. It is easy to predict with confidence the incumbents will eventually squash or their ferver will fade out, but often to stop it requires action, and that's something the current leadership (not a specific leader, but the collective leadership) doesn't seem to have the stomach for...

We have no allies on the ground in that region, Russia has al-Assad, but "we" don't like him. Everyone else on the ground is mostly unreliable (to us), and the caliphate is making enough money on refineries that we won't bomb/squash, so they probably won't fade-out by themselves.

People were perhaps (rightly) upset when we "installed" vindictive leaders to clean up messes like this in the past, but sometimes in retrospect, it may be too harsh to condemn this as short sighted before you look at all the other options they had presented to them. Sometime there are simply no good options and waiting for the perfect option may not be the right answer either...

The world is complicated.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 2) 359

Source to that last point that they pay tax on US profits?

I'm sure they will happily pay tax on any profits they have left after they pay their foreign subsidiary based in Ireland all the management and consulting fees, deduct the inflated research and development expenses, and sales and marketing campaign subcontracts, and extra profit surcharges...

They're altering the deal. Pray they don't alter it any further.

If you ask nicely, they may throw in the floor mats.... Or not...

Comment Re: Why is /. so infested now with... (Score 1) 173

Doing science and funding science are two different things. Unless they can increase their numbers in congress, it is unlikely that Democrats will be able to fund science anytime soon.

Actually, even if the D-party can increase their numbers in congress, it is unlikely they will *want* to fund science over their other spending priorities, meaning there is probably no hope to increase science funding anytime soon...

Well maybe if WWIII breaks out, science-development might get a boost, but probably not science-research...

The only hope is that a massive budget surplus magically appears so that in addition to giving each taxpayer a $100K annual benefit, they throw some of the extra $$ to science... (okay, no really no hope then ;^)

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 2) 115

Interconnect gets smaller if you reduce speed as well when you reduce size. If you keep speed constant, interconnect stays the same size and it will consume the same amount of power. Well, roughly. The problem is that at these speeds you are dealing with RF laws, not ordinary electric ones and RF laws are pretty bizarre.

The problem can easily be described to first order "electrically". No bizarre RF laws necessary.

Interconnect is dominated by "resistive" issue (a good approximation of RF-impedance) and capactive coupling (a good approximation to RF field effects)... Since the interconnect is relatively getting thinner and longer, the resistance of that wire is going up (R ~ L/w/h) and it capacitively couples more with nearby lines (Cild = W*L/X or Cimd = H*L/Ls) and makes it take longer to move charge to and from the gate.

Second order effects are mostly "noise" and edge-rate coupling, but even then aggressor/victim and crosstalk issues can be thought of mostly as just distributed "lumped" approximation (e.g., capacitance per um, and mutual inductance per um) where the result is coupling being different at higher frequencies and spacing. No bizarre RF need to get the gist (well, no more than the basic concept of a wall-wart transformer)...

Comment Re:Salmon's now on my "foods to avoid" list (Score 1) 513

The label I see most often is 'line caught' which implies wild fish. But I expect it also describes a good way to pull a fish out of a fish-farm's pool.

FWIW, there is a small amount of "wild" Atlantic salmon available in the US (~0.5%) so it's *possible* to buy wild Atlantic salmon (I think the *annual* catch limit is 7 Atlantic salmon), but I suspect you are seeing wild or line-caught *ALASKAN* salmon, not Atlantic salmon which is nearly always farmed because of its endangered species status in nearly all the traditional fishery locations prevents large scale commercial fishing.

Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 1) 513

*including hybridization or selective breeding*.

lol this is basically saying, "don't use it at all."

Generally, the FDA is saying if you attempt to use the non-GM label on something, we aren't going to do anything proactively because there is currently no regulation on the use of that term, but if your customers complain to us about deceptive or misleading labeling, you have been warned.

In their guidance, they give an example for a type of product that might be able to use a non-GM labeling without FDA objection: a food that is derived from a plant that has not been subject to any form of selective breeding might be berries collected from wild plant or open-pollination (non-selective) heirloom varieties.

Right now, I think this guidance is being ignored by the corn and soy industries and they are heavily lobbying for the FDA to adopt the USDA terminology for GMOs to accommodate the current labeling practice (kind of how the "organic" industry lobbied the USDA to codify existing "organic" practices).

For completeness, the FDA strongly warns producers against a "GM-free" label as in the absence of specific regulation for this moniker (which presumably would be some number slightly greater than zero to allow for practical production considerations), this would imply zero and that is likely to be nearly impossible to verify and therefore on the face misleading/deceptive, except potentially a situation on single ingredient products that are individually genetically tested (which is kind of impractical).

Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 2) 513

What regulatory body enforces what "Non-GMO" means and what the punishment will be for mislabeling?

The FTC under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The USDA regulates the meaning of the word "organic," so they might have authority to regulate "non-gmo" but I'm not entirely sure on that.

The FDA's current guidance in this area is for companies to avoid a "non-GM" label unless the product can be guaranteed to not have components that were produced using any type of genetic modification *including hybridization or selective breeding*.

Instead the FDA recommends that companies use fully defensible statements like "not produced using bioengineering" or "not genetically engineered" to avoid potential future mislabeling consequences of a non-GM or GM-free product assertion, although they are not currently enforcing this recommendation today.

Comment Re:Salmon's now on my "foods to avoid" list (Score 2) 513

They still can't mark them "wild caught" unless they are. I wonder- do they still get labeled as "Atlantic Salmon"?

Fast fact: In the US, Atlantic salmon is considered endangered so cannot be legally be "wild caught" and sold in the US, so nearly 100% of Atlantic Salmon sold in supermarkets in the US is farmed.

This particular GM is to help AquAdvantage increase production of Farmed Atlantic Salmon, and this ruling will basically mean that it will be labeled simply as Farmed Atlantic Salmon with country of origin listed as Canada or Panama.

Comment Re:Wait, wait, wait. WHAT DID YOU SAY? (Score 1) 55

And there's also the sea-based Trident SLBM, which is arguably the bigger deterrent. Everyone knows where the Minuteman-III missiles are. Only people aboard the submarines, and the upper brass in the Navy know where the Ohio-class SSBNs are.

FWIW, advances in submarine detection technology have gotten to the point that many feel that submarines will eventually become the "battle-ship" under the sea (e.g., obsolete). Although today, stationary passive sonar nets only listen for submarines near coasts and "chokepoints" that subs traverse, improved information and processing power will eventually allow passive sonar in the open ocean and even optical illumination detection using drones equipped with high-powered laser-leds. When that become practical, it is pretty much game over for subs and it they will go the way of the battleship (probably to be replaced with swarms of harder to detect underwater drone ships like fighter planes are being replaced today with flying drones).

Comment The rest of the story... (Score 4, Informative) 55

FWIW, they've been doing laser-doppler cooling for a while (all the articles you hear about cooling atoms down near absolute zero generally used laser-doppler cooling). This anti-stokes technique is very similar to the laser-dopper cooling technique in that both involve on average the emission of photons at higher mean energy than those absorbed.

In the case of laser doppler cooling, you illuminate a batch of atoms with a laser from multiple directions at a slightly lower frequency than a transitional energy state. Atoms that are thermally in motion, but are instantaneously moving towards one of the lasers will absorb more photons (because doppler blue-shift makes the atom see the slightly higher frequency matching its transition energy state from the laser if it is moving towards from laser) causing the atom to lose net momentum in that direction and become slightly cooler (mostly because the photon will be re-emitted in a random direction).

In the case of the anti-stokes technique, you need to construct a system that has florescence (emits light a certain frequency when excited) with a bandgap, you then need to pump the energy into the system at the lower frequency. The trick (which is what makes this hard), is that the system needs to be tuned so that the energy you pump in is more efficiently converted into florescence energy than general thermal heating and the photons that are released by florescence can efficiently leave the system to avoid secondary heating.

Anti-stokes is interesting because it has the potential to be able to cool things microscopically (rather than at the atomic scale only).

AFAIKT, this team pulled out quite a few stops to setup this system. Apparently, they setup a laser trap to localize the florescent crystal (doped-YLF) and the "liquid" was D2O (deuterium or heavy water) to get the right thermal gradients for the laser trap for their experiment.

If you are interested, you can read about it here.

Comment Re:Initial Thought (Score 4, Interesting) 85

Your initial thoughts are wrong.
This is a type of encryption algorithm known as homomorphic encryption, which allows one to do operate on encrypted data without decrypting it.
This has no bearing on the strength of the encryption against an adversary.

Practical homomorphic encryption (like this MSFT product) is based on simplified encryption (to make it more practical, duh). AFAIKT in this case the MSFT product is based on a derivative YASHE (yet another somewhat homomorphic encryption) scheme. This is a bit more like steganography than pure encryption as it "hides" the encryption in a ring and requires lattice theory to generate a unique decryption (meaning you can only perform a few addition/multiplication operations before you have to re-decrypt, re-encrypt). Although theoretically, you can make this encryption "strong" by selecting different parameters (and introducing more overhead and lower error bounds), at some point there is a fundamental limit related to the entropy of the data set itself (which for medical-like data is pretty low entropy).

And then there is the (in)famous sum-product puzzle, which although is kind of an interesting puzzle in that in illustrates how seemingly impossible obfuscation can be removed by the most innocuous oracle queries.

What will break this type of encryption is not brute force, but say on medical data examining distributional anomalies to make a dictionary of sorts. Also since this appears to be some sort of "ECB-like" encryption (most data is encrypted the same way so you can operate on it), we all know how weak that can be in some situations...

This is why in most medical research, data must be de-identified, not merely encrypted. Not that fixes things by a long shot, but it's better than simply encrypting and hoping...

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga