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Comment Soundtrack? Really? (Score 1) 66

Why on earth does every video have a soundtrack? I find it extremely distracting from the presentation to have music playing, but this isn't even in the background; it dominates my attention I really believe that having so much music omnipresent in our daily lives diminishes the value that we place on music. And it distracts me from the message the video is really trying to convey: what do you want me to pay attention to; the content or the music? Sorry, I'm too dumb to pay attention to both.

Submission + - The Emerging Revolution In The Science Of Deflector Shields

KentuckyFC writes: One curious feature on the Moon's surface are “lunar swirls”, wisp-like regions that are whiter than surrounding areas and that, until recently, astronomers could not explain. But one team of physicists recently showed that these areas are protected by weak magnetic fields that deflect high energy particles from the Sun and so prevent the darkening effect this radiation has. The problem they had to solve was how a weak field could offer so much protection, when numerous studies of long duration spaceflight have shown that only very powerful fields can act like radiation shields. The team now says that these previous studies have failed to take into account an important factor: the low density plasma that exists in space. It turns out that this plasma is swept up by a weak magnetic field moving through space, creating a layer of higher density plasma. That's important because the separation of charge within this layer creates an electric field. And it is this field that deflects the high energy particles from the Sun. That explains the lunar swirls but it also suggests that the same effect could be exploited to protect astronauts on long duration missions to the moon, to nearby asteroids and beyond. This team has now produced the first study of such a shield and how it might work. Their shield would use superconducting coils to create a relatively weak field only when it is needed, during solar storms, for example. And it would create a plasma by pumping xenon into the vacuum around the vehicle, where it would be ionised by UV light. The entire device would weigh around 1.5 tonnes and use about 20 KW of power. That's probably more than mission planners could currently accommodate but it is significantly less than the science fiction-type power requirements of previous designs. And who knows what other tricks of plasma physics engineers might be able to exploit to refine this design. All of a sudden, long duration space flight looks a little more feasible.

Submission + - NSA claims its systems are too complex to obey the law

Bruce66423 writes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
Just when you thought it couldn't get any more unlikely, the NSA throws a dozy. This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long. So that means that a successful virus, one that blanked without making obviously deleted, getting into their systems would destroy ALL their data. Interesting...

Submission + - iOS 8 strikes an unexpected blow against location tracking (theverge.com)

schwit1 writes: It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize that address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.

Comment But the question is... (Score 1) 465

...what is Lessig's new SuperPAC going to accomplish? Will it even fund its first-round goals? Outside of nerdy, academic circles, does Lessig have any name recognition? Do we know for sure that money = influence in anything other than the long term (decades)? Look at the last election cycle: the Republican Tea Party did pretty poorly, considering the vast sums of money that was spent. How do we that this money wouldn't be better spent other ways?

There are just too many unanswered questions, which, seeing that this is coming from a thinker like Lessig, is pretty disappointing.

Comment They could have fixed their auto centers. (Score 1) 167

Sears used to be a great place to go for auto service, but the rise of cheap tires and oil changes at places like WalMart really took a bite out of their business. They could have competed on price or quality of service, but I think they just gave up. The last time I was at a Sears auto center, it was a really grim deal. None of the employees seemed that interested in helping me, and their prices were ~30% higher than their competitors.

This strategy of embracing all things internet seems to be their current game plan: when you talk to a salesperson in-store, part of what they're trained to do is guide you through the process of shopping online. Clearly, this doesn't bode well for Sears' brick-and-mortar presence, nor for the employee forced to sacrifice his own commission, but it's where the future of retail is headed. However, to put all your eggs in the internet basket seems unwise. There's always going to be a market for skilled auto-mechanics that are associated with a company with a good reputation, but a Sears data center? I can think of dozens of companies that I'd turn to first.

Comment Crazy idea (Score 1) 477

I have a crazy idea; how about not making garbage?
Maybe that'll add a bit of value to the company. Maybe devoting resources to the people that, I don't know, create everything you sell would work out OK. Perhaps if you left them the fuck alone to work in whichever way suited them best would benefit you and them.

Nah. It'll never work. Start the layoffs!

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.