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Comment: Local Observatory (Score 4, Insightful) 187

by statemachine (#47739349) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

Go to your local observatory on an open-house night and get a free look through the lens. There are usually amateurs set up with their own equipment outside and will allow viewers too.

If your kids can stay up late and stand in the cold without complaining, they're ready for a telescope.

Space

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids? 187

Posted by timothy
from the will-take-credit-for-the-nobel-prize dept.
I am interested in a telescope for the use of some elementary and middle school aged relatives. Older and younger siblings, and parents, would no doubt get some scope time, too. Telescopes certainly come in a range of prices, from cheap to out of this world, and I am purely a duffer myself. But I enjoy looking at the moon and stars with magnification, and think they would, too. What I'm trying to find might be phrased like this: "the lowest priced scope that's reasonably robust, reasonably accurate, and reasonably usable for kids" -- meaning absolute precision is less important than a focus that is easy to set and doesn't drift. Simplicity in design beats tiny, ill-labeled parts or an incomprehensible manual, even if the complicated one might be slightly better when perfectly tuned. I'd be pleased if some of these kids decide to take up astronomy as a hobby, but don't have any strong expectation that will happen -- besides, if they really get into it, the research for a better one would be another fun project. That said, while I'm price sensitive, I'm not looking *only* at the price tag so much as seeking insight about the cluster of perceived sweet spots when it come to price / performance / personality. By "personality" I mean whether it's friendly, well documented, whether it comes intelligently packaged, whether it's a crapshoot as to whether a scope with the same model name will arrive in good shape, etc -- looking at online reviews, it seems many low-end scopes have a huge variance in reviews. What scopes would you would consider giving to an intelligent 3rd or 4th grader? As a starting point, Google has helped me find some interesting guides that list some scopes that sound reasonable, including a few under or near $100. (Here's one such set of suggestions.) What would you advise buying, from that list or otherwise? (There are some ideas that sound pretty good in this similar question from 2000, but I figure the state of the art has moved on.) I'm more interested in avoiding awful junk than I am expecting treasure: getting reasonable views of the moon is a good start, and getting at least some blurry rings around Saturn would be nice, too. Simply because they are so cheap, I'd like to know if anyone has impressions (worth it? pure junk?) of the Celestron FirstScope models, which are awfully tempting for under $50.
Education

It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart 243

Posted by timothy
from the converse-is-also-true dept.
theodp writes Over at Khan Academy, Salman Khan explains Why I'm Cautious About Telling My Son He's Smart. "Recently," writes Khan, "I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach." According to Dr. Carol Dweck, who Khan cites, the secret to raising smart kids is not telling kids that they are. A focus on effort — not on intelligence or ability — says Dweck, is key to success in school and in life.
EU

New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W 336

Posted by timothy
from the sucking-power-defined dept.
AmiMoJo writes "New EU rules are limiting vacuum cleaner motors to 1600W from 2014/09/01. The EU summary of the new rules explains that consumers currently equate watts with cleaning power, which is not the case. Manufacturers will be required to put ratings on packaging, including energy efficiency, cleaning efficiency on hard and carpeted floors, and dust emissions from the exhaust. In the EU vacuum cleaners use more energy than the whole of Denmark, and produce more emissions than dishwashers and washing machines."

Comment: Slashdot Propaganda Machine (Score 2) 218

by statemachine (#47673455) Attached to: How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

10 years ago, there were regularly 800-1000 comments on articles. Now, a highly commented article gets around 200.

It's a shame that the editors have stopped doing their jobs and post anything without checking it (at best!). But this isn't the first time I've seen it.

This submission is obviously false, and it needs to be pulled down or with the inflammatory and false sentence deleted. Since it's been up for hours, and there are numerous posts above that debunk the submission, it leads me to believe that Slashdot wants the clickbait and is leaving it up on purpose.

Do the right thing. Pull the article. Save what's left of your reputation, Slashdot.

Sci-Fi

Where are the Flying Cars? (Video; Part Two of Two) 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
Yesterday we ran Part One of this two-part video. This is part two. To recap yesterday's text introduction: Detroit recently hosted the North American Science Fiction Convention, drawing thousands of SF fans to see and hear a variety of talks on all sorts of topics. One of the biggest panels featured a discussion on perhaps the greatest technological disappointment of the past fifty years: Where are our d@%& flying cars? Panelists included author and database consultant Jonathan Stars, expert in Aeronautical Management and 20-year veteran of the Air Force Douglas Johnson, author and founder of the Artemis Project Ian Randal Strock, novelist Cindy A. Matthews, Fermilab physicist Bill Higgins, general manager of a nanotechnology company Dr. Charles Dezelah, and astrobiology expert Dr. Nicolle Zellner. As it turns out, the reality of situation is far less enticing than the dream -- but new technologies offer a glimmer of hope. (Alternate Video Link)

Comment: Re:Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP) (Score 1) 248

by statemachine (#47668933) Attached to: The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

Thanks for replying to my post instead of keeping the non-brilliance of my ideas to yourself. My biggest concern when writing that post was that I was talking to myself. I'll attempt to address your concerns one by one.

You're... welcome?

Just about all ISPs and backbone carriers carry full tables and many large organisations do as well for multihoming purposes.

Then I misunderstood you. I thought you were repeating what others have said earlier, claiming each router carries a complete copy of all the routes on the Internet, which of course isn't true.

Now that we have that cleared up, I'll snip out parts I don't need to reply to.

Your bitcoinesque solution for IPv6 allocation would make things worse.

It seemed like a technical solution to avoid the politics of Internet governance. I admit it wasn't well thought out, however I am curious how it would make things worse by allowing a small block of IPv6 addresses to be allocated in a decentralized way and adding cryptographic integrity along the way.

Plus, networks transit other networks all the time, meaning one network can advertise a prefix they don't own, legitimately.

I should have been more specific; I was suggesting originating advertisements would be signed as opposed to transient advertisements.

You are asking for DomainKeys but with routes. That is too computationally expensive right now and would require too many lookups and time. Perhaps somewhere down the line when the big iron routers catch up with CPU resources vs line speed.

Routers that speak BGP are on the ISP and backbone level,

Medium to large organisations also use BGP to advertise their address space to their ISP(s).

Not to your home router.

and are physically secured.

Originating BGP route advertisement signing is not intended to supplant physical security measures.

I'm aware of the difference between remote access, console access, and physical access, and hardware vs software.

Your home router doesn't speak BGP, and if it did, your ISP's router would ignore it.

None of this would really be necessary for a home user as their ISP would be doing all of this on their behalf.

That's what I just said...

To announce rogue routes, one needs to hack into the ISP and backbone peering routers -- which happened recently, but is rare.

To announce rogue routes, one only needs an ISP that doesn't filter incoming BGP advertisements properly. It seems apparent as the Internet grows there will be more and more BGP peerings and as a consequence of that not all of them will be competent or aboveboard with their implementations.

You're just restating what I said. I guess I wasn't clear, but I'm also assuming a best practice (or as near as possible) implementation, because there's no use talking about security if people are going to leave the front door open, right? It's not even a discussion at that point.

The Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) is a step in the right direction, however seems to be mainly for preventing mis-configurations from causing outages. Someone with malicious intent need only use AS path prepending to bypass this protection.

Again, anyone with access to the routers can do this right now. Any organization that doesn't shut its front door can have this happen. This can be solved through best practices. This isn't e-mail. Even if you got people on board for this, it would take a protocol revision AND all new hardware for everyone. It's not going to happen anytime soon.

Don't take it personally. Your offered solution for route signing (whether you wrote them or not) just isn't feasible right now.

Comment: Re:Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP) (Score 1) 248

by statemachine (#47666867) Attached to: The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

No one router has a "full table" of all the routes. The routing protocols and the engineers work to make sure the tables are as close to lean as possible.

Your offered solution isn't necessary.

Your bitcoinesque solution for IPv6 allocation would make things worse. Plus, networks transit other networks all the time, meaning one network can advertise a prefix they don't own, legitimately.

Routers that speak BGP are on the ISP and backbone level, and are physically secured. Your home router doesn't speak BGP, and if it did, your ISP's router would ignore it. To announce rogue routes, one needs to hack into the ISP and backbone peering routers -- which happened recently, but is rare.

Transportation

California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla 327

Posted by Soulskill
from the mother-earth-plays-second-fiddle-to-mother-economy dept.
cartechboy writes: We all know Tesla is working on its Gigafactory, and it has yet to announce officially where it will be. But the automaker did announce a shortlist of possible locations, and California wasn't on it. The state has quickly been trying to lure Tesla to get back into contention. Now the state may waive environmental rules which would normally make construction of such a large manufacturing facility more difficult. Apparently, Governor Jerry Brown's office is currently negotiating an incentive package for Tesla that would waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act. Not only that, but state officials are reportedly considering letting Tesla begin construction and perform damage mitigation later, along with limiting lawsuits that could slow down the project. Let's not forget some massive tax breaks, to the tune of $500 million. Is California stepping out of bounds here?
Bitcoin

Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine 195

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fools-and-their-megawatts dept.
1sockchuck (826398) writes Bitcoin hardware vendor BitFury has opened a 20-megawatt data center to expand its cloud mining operations. The hashing center in the Republic of Georgia is filled with long rows of racks packed with specialized Bitcoin mining rigs powered by ASICs. It's the latest example of the Bitcoin industry's development of high-density, low-budget mining facilities optimized for rapid changes in hardware and economics. It also illustrates how ASIC makers are now expanding their focus from retail sales to their in-house operations as Bitcoin mining becomes industrialized.
Networking

Multipath TCP Introduces Security Blind Spot 60

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thwart-spies-and-your-friendly-sysadmin dept.
msm1267 (2804139) writes If multipath TCP is the next big thing to bring resilience and efficiency to networking, then there are some serious security issues to address before it goes mainstream. An expert at next week's Black Hat conference is expected to explain how the TCP extension leaves network security gear blind to traffic moving over multiple network streams. Today's IDS and IPS, for example, cannot correlate and re-assemble traffic as it's split over multiple paths. While such attacks are not entirely practical today, as multipath TCP becomes a fixture on popular networking gear and mobile devices, the risks will escalate. "[Multipath TCP] solves big problems we have today in an elegant fashion," said Catherine Pearce, security consultant and one of the presenters, along with Patrick Thomas. "You don't have to replace hardware or software; it handles all that stuff behind the scenes. But security tools are naïve [to MPTCP], and make assumptions that are no longer valid that were valid in the past."

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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