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Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 104

by slew (#47579557) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

if we can't trust society to act fairly under full disclosure, then selective disclosure is the only alternative to protect the disadvantaged.

Who exactly is disadvantaged? The person that may or may not act for their own personal self interest w/o full disclosure about another person or the person that conceals some information about themselves to prevent other people from acting in their own personal self interests?

Of course the 64-thousand dollar question is who exactly has the right to decide what information is personal enough to withhold? Certainly not the person (because they would withhold all negative information about themselves). Some faceless entity? We can see how that works out on things like internet dating sites (I'm thinking about the recent OkCupid fiasco)...

We can throw out examples ad-nauseum. What about hiring a caregiver for a child that unbeknownst to you is a binge drinker and tends to break speed limits? Is being a binge drinker or a speeder a matter of privacy (it probably isn't a legal issue)? What if the child was your kid and you needed your caregiver for transport between school and home? Maybe that person shouldn't be a caregiver anyhow? How about those folks that have AIDS and are deliberately reckless about spreading it around? How about that privacy in that case?

You can always find specific examples for both side of this argument, but what is the principles to decide? It's arbitrary and capricious to anyone stuck on the wrong side of the line, but clearly the only "pure" strategy is full disclosure, and exceptions should only be made to that on a case-by-case basis (if at all).

Take the first person that filed the lawsuit in Spain against Google linking to an article about being evicted from his home. I'm sure a future landlord of his might have found this relevant information even though he found it embarrassing... It's only the fact of some arbitrary determination that this information was no longer relevant to any future landlords that it was required to be removed. That's a real scalable principle... NOT!

Comment: Re:assholes everywhere (Score 1) 164

In Central Beijing (a very large city), most people live in large apartment buildings which have central heating. Although historically coal was used for these central boilers, most have been transitioned to coal gas. In smaller buildings, coal burning ovens have been transitioned to electric heat (where the coal is merely burned somewhere else)...

However, the biggest change is that has been made recently was to require new homes to be metered. Historically, residents simply paid heating bills relative to the size of their apartments (~20rmb/m^2) which gave little incentive for any efficiency (power company losses were generally subsidized by the government), but with metering and improved insulation upgrades, coupled with the natural gas and electric conversions, things in Beijing are looking up...

In the suburbs and surrounding cities... well, let's just say air pollution is usually not a local thing and the average pollution level hasn't seemed to have changed too much...

On the other hand, you can't really dismiss the whole idea of centralization being a potential solution to part of this problem. The infrastructure in China (esp Beijing) is quite centralized and the Chinese are generally quite good at getting things done when they have an incentive to do so...

Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 104

by slew (#47576815) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

There are no easy answers to any of these issues, but one thing is all but certain: throwing out everything our societies have learned over centuries about defending private lives and allowing people to move on from mistakes, just because a few Internet companies who have made staggering amounts of money might lose some of it if their business models were modestly inconvenienced, is not the only possible or potentially desirable way forward.

There are never any easy answers, but one thing is certain, this issue is not constrained to a few internet companies.

* Credit Reporting Bureaus (Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, CEG, Shufa)
* Educational institutions (and other information held by other Credential verification organizations)
* Background checks for Employment (including criminal and citizenship checks in the USA)

It's not clear that privacy principles are generally respected or even tolerated in these areas and mistakes you may have made often carry on for a very long time in many areas. One thing that society has learned over centuries is that when it comes to people, history is often a leading indicator of future behavior.

Depending on the current regimes influencing your life, you may or may not have a *right* to limit access to your history, but that does not reduce the value of that history to people that you interact with. Because of this inherent conflict of interest, there will likely never be a correct answer to this, only what we collectively agree (or disagree) about.

People have studied this type of thing in game theory (e.g., the Tit-for-tat). Many experiments and models suggest that the better outcomes happen if we forgive, but do not forget. In my opinion mostly these laws simply attempt to coerce forgiving behavior on the unwilling people by forcing them to forget. I'm not sure this is the best reductive way get the desired result.

Comment: Re:GPLv4 - the good public license? (Score 2) 140

by slew (#47535961) Attached to: The Army Is 3D Printing Warheads

And yet strangely the two largest language groups are Mandarin and Spanish, the two least successful millitaries of the 20th century.

However, in 200BC, the Qin (aka Chin) dynasty had quite the army, and in the 16th and early 17th century, Spain had quite the military/navy.

FWIW, much of the geopolitical world as we know it wasn't formed in the 20th century. Much of the current geo-political alignments of the world were formed as a result of the Holy roman empire in the 800's, the exploits of Genghis Khan in the 12th century, and early Spanish explorers (and conquistadors) in the Americas. Of course the weapons they manufactured back then were primitive by modern standards, they managed to shape the world as we know it.

Of course no dynasty lasts forever...

Comment: Re:So ... (Score 1) 227

by slew (#47527043) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Seriously, can we get a can analogy (yeah, I know, imagine a perfectly spherical car, bastards! ;-)

Neutron star: imagine what happens when you trade in your Ford Aerostar under the Cash-for-Clunkers program...
Such a car is not massive enough to become a black hole consuming all your gas money, but bigger than a Crown-V (aka Chandrasekhar limit) which is the largest car that ends it's life as a white dud (aka dwarf).

Comment: Re:Mostly done by 1985... (Score 4, Informative) 227

by slew (#47524519) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Gravitational time dilation affects the falling object, not the observer. If you claim that if I throw a baseball at a sufficiently large star then I'll eventually see the baseball slow down as it approaches it, then you need an explanation for the repulsive force.

Actually you probably won't actually "see" it slow down, it will eventually red-shift to be invisible (which is actually slowing down). Gravitational time dilation makes an object an object approaching the event horizon of a black hole to appear to slow down, taking an infinite time to reach the event horizon.

Comment: Re:TripAdvisor (Score 1) 424

by slew (#47464681) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Of course 80% of the reviews suspiciously appeared after the lawsuit was publicized (10% of the most recent reviews are in English instead of French is another clue). The old ones are mostly mediocre, but as you might expect the recent ones are mostly complaining about the lawsuit (and the recent ones posted after the lawsuit publicity appear to be perhaps a bit reality-challenged). Me thinks there might be more lawsuits on the way ;^)

There appears to be only 1/7 reviews on yelp that predate this event and appears to have the common qualities of a yelp review (you can read whatever you want into that assessment).

On the other hand, it appears to be just a generic pizza place in a rinky-dink (pop 7396) coastal town in France. What do people expect?

Comment: Re:No real surprise (Score 1) 710

by slew (#47458865) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Eh, I think Karl Schwarzschild is the name you're looking for...

Actually, I think the name you might be looking for is John Michell...

Nobody really knows who deserves the actual credit for INVENTING the name black hole, but Johnny Wheeler (for those that know, he was the Feynman before Feynman) certainly was the person to popularize the term.

Anecdotally, Mr. Wheeler claims to have heard it shouted out from the audience at a meeting Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York in 1967, but it seems to have been popular for some time before that. In Jan 18, 1964, the Science News Letter about a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) apparently had this quote:

According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, as mass is added to a degenerate star a sudden collapse will take place and the intense gravitational field of the star will close in on itself. Such a star then forms a ‘black hole’ in the universe.

Perhaps even more importantly, a few French scientists objected to the term (because of it's dual meaning in French), but that objection probably sealed the deal on the name.


People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use 710

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-build-a-few-nuclear-reactors dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes with news that a UK study has found that folks concerned about climate change don't do much to conserve power at home. From the article: Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is "too far into the future to worry about," the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and climate change found. That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming. However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a "weak trend" to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use. The findings were based on the Household Electricity Survey, which closely monitored the electricity use and views of 250 families over a year. The report (PDF), by experts from Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research, was commissioned and published by DECC. High power use doesn't have to be dirty: Replace coal, methane, and petroleum with nuclear, wind, solar, etc.

AMD FirePro W9100 16GB Workstation GPU Put To the Test 42

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the more-power dept.
Dputiger (561114) writes "It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a heated battle in the workstation GPU wars with NVIDIA. AMD recently released the powerful FirePro W9100, however, a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290X, but aimed at the professional workstation market. The W9100's GPU features 2,816 stream processors, and the card boasts 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. The W9100 carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU as well, a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card. Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. In terms of performance, this review shows that the FirePro W9100 doesn't always outshine its competition, but its price/performance ratio keep it firmly in the running. But if AMD continues to improve its product mix and overall software support, it should close the gap even more in the pro GPU market in the next 18-24 months."

Comment: No... (Score 2) 144

by slew (#47417557) Attached to: Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles

That's kindof BS...

Mass doesn't expand infinitely nor is there a speed threshold of energy as far as our current understanding of physics goes... This is a simplistic bookkeeping trick that attempts to account for limited acceleration near the speed of light (since F=ma, for a given force, you get less "a" if you somehow fudge 'm' to increase as you approach the speed of light). General relativity explains this much better by having any mass or energy actually distort space time so that you don't ever need this overly simplistic bookkeeping trick (which has unfortunate anomalies like rest-mass and photons having no rest mass, but momentum).

In your own frame of reference, you can accelerate as long as you have the energy to do so. The problem is that from an external observer's frame of reference despite your apparent acceleration from your frame of reference (you think you are going faster and faster), your time dilation factor relative to the observer means it doesn't observer you exceeding the speed of light, The observer thinks your acceleration (dv/dt) is asymptotically approaching zero as you approach the speed of light. Even though you have been accelerating all the time, you don't teleport relative to the observer (although the observer will think you were moving very, very fast, but not faster than light), but if you were to get back to the same frame of reference as the observer, you will have noticed your observer has experience quite a bit more time than you have (this is the origin of the twin paradox of special relativity).

From your special relatively frame of reference, you moved very fast (because you experienced less time for the distance you appeared to travel), but from the observers point of view, more time was experienced, so the velocity never exceed the speed of light. The way this is book-kept for is usually lorenzian length contraction. As you approach the speed of light the distance you observer to traverse over a unit of your time is shorter, so when you divide the distance by your time, you also don't observe that you went faster than the speed of light.

Of course if you could somehow create say a warp drive (or some other FTL transport), to a third party observer, you might appear to be in two places at once, and/or it would appear like time transport, but many folks thinks it is really possible to do this. Creating such a warp disturbance (actually warping space time around you) would likely require a very, very large, but not infinite amount of energy to maintain a negative energy-density around you. It is hypothesized you could not do this w/o some sort of pervasive zero-point energy source or creation of a type of exotic matter to sustain the required region of negative energy-density.

Comment: Re:actors and athletes get paid at 13 (Score 3, Informative) 253

by slew (#47411665) Attached to: US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

Yes, but 13yo actors and athletes need special work permits and still need to attend to school whilst working.

In many localities, they must have part of their earnings put directly into trust funds (e.g., a Coogan account in California) so neither they or their parents will blow all the money on something, or up something...

Also, when the sums of money are large enough, many reputable employers require profession agent representation (so they don't claim to have been taken advantage of and sue later).

I doubt any of these internet companies are doing any of these even minimal best-practices/policies for these 13yo nerds (and these minimal things don't even prevent the Lindsey Lohans and Tracy Austins of the world)...

Comment: Re:GPS on Mars (Score 1) 104

by slew (#47408073) Attached to: ESA Shows Off Quadcopter Landing Concept For Mars Rovers

It isn't about capability, it's about € the ESA can't afford to put up Galileo, l suspect that putting up a global navigation system around Mars would be a bit cost prohibitive for this application.

Part of the problem with deploying a GNS is that you need ground uplink station for reference correction (inertial clock correction and fault detection isn't generally sufficient for good long term accuracy). At least they might have less of a problem with ionospheric propagation delay (Mars still has a single layer of ionosphere, though, and since Mars doesn't have much of a magnetic field, it's subject to lots of solar wind effects, so very little is known about correcting for it).

No worries, though, I doubt the ESA isn't thinking about a Martian GNS for this, it's just a research project which happened to use GPS for coarse location. The real technology uses a vision-based navigation supplemented by a laser range-finder and barometer.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus