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Comment Re:Is it going to matter much? (Score 1) 156 156

I might expect some cost reductions because the increased durability will lessen the amount of excess memories needed for remapping when cells go bad. And don't larger drives use NAND chips in parallel for speed? If you can simplify packaging by using a single chip you might cut costs there, too.

If its as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as they say it is, you might also expect enterprise adoption to increase, lowering the cost of NAND by cutting demand or resulting in more reliable NAND.

It's also hard to know what kind of process improvements may take place over time.

Either way, I think cheap, durable and fast-or-faster-than-flash storage is pretty exciting, so I guess I'm willing to be optimistic. Storage is so expensive and so relatively slow that something that pushes the envelope on speed and cost just seems to have a lot of potential.

Comment Re:Is it going to matter much? (Score 1) 156 156

It sure sounds like the outcome could be cheaper, faster, more reliable and possibly even denser storage. How about a 10 TB drive that can saturate a SAS link for the price of a consumer 1 TB SSD now? It sounds appealing to have 40 TB of home storage at performance levels that would make a $200k enterprise storage buyer jealous.

Or that makes for 240 TB enterprise san shelf for the price of an existing 10 TB flash/rust hybrid shelf at speeds that will melt 16 gig fiber channel?

And who knows what value fast/cheap storage would have in terms of software applications. Maybe it would enable machine learning in more of a real-time basis by enabling analysis of vast datasets on demand.

Comment Re:Not surprising at all (Score 1) 67 67

Let's assume that the general education requirements of most college educations (ie, some smattering of English literature & composition, arts, bit of a foreign language, social studies, etc) actually does result in those students coming out slightly more knowledgeable than if they would have had even an "advanced" kind of technical education.

It's a reach, I know, but let's say they are overall a little smarter (ie, learned some new analytical skills & strategies) and are better informed.

I wonder if we're actually better off from this. Not because people aren't smarter or better informed, but because they're only a little smarter and a little better informed and they overestimate how well they informed they are and how good their analytical skills are.

On a mass scale, I wonder how much our political divisiveness and partisanship is driven by a whole bunch of people, who think they're smarter and better informed than they really are, taking sides -- often quite stridently -- on issues they don't really know about and reaching conclusions they don't really have the analytical tools to reach.

Add in the fact that everyone is an Internet Expert on everything they can read in Wikipedia and you have this recipe for high-quality mass ignorance and confirmation bias trying to portray itself as an educated populace.

If we moved the overwhelming majority of these people into a more advanced and focused vocational education that left out the "well rounded" part, would our *actual* ignorance as opposed to overestimated wisdom make us less partisan? Or would we just be even more gullible, swayed by propaganda, etc?

Comment Re:EMC SANs (Score 1) 215 215

Are there vendors that actually support RAID across otherwise independent SANs?

Like if you had SANs A through F, each with a 10 TB volume and you used SAN controller Z (which has no disks of its own) to take those 10 TB volumes and turn them into a single (say RAID-6) volume.

I've done this for laughs with a NAS4Free implementation, using its iSCSI client to mount LUNs from 3-4 different storage devices and then combining those mounts into a RAID LUN which I then exported via ISCSI and used on a client.

It seems like an interesting idea, and put together right seems like it might offer some relatively interesting redundancy versus some of the replication and mirroring options I've seen vendors advertise.

Comment Re:The article should use "ridiculous" 0 times. (Score 2, Insightful) 292 292

There are some things that reasonably can be ascribed the quality of being a worthy candidate for ridicule.

Certainly the notion that a representative democracy would copyright its laws and attempt to control their distribution for profit or any other motive is worthy of ridicule.

AFAIK the motivation is almost always financial, usually in collusion with some big legal publisher who gets exclusive rights and kicks back to the state. But it's not hard to imagine some kind of conspiratorial intent to restrict information to protect the legal class or bury details.

About the only rationale that makes any sense is to try to maintain an official reference presentation. The state could actually format and print a small run of the code and annotations themselves, which anyone could copy, but that would probably be a non-trivial amount of overhead, so they outsource it to a publisher in exchange for exclusivity.

Comment Re:NIST? (Score 1) 98 98

You're forgetting more functional reasons -- like pain relief?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if more than a few long-time lab rats ended up with orthopedic issues from decades of standing in lab environments.

It's not a stretch from that to morphine synthesis to treat back pain.

Comment Re:How about a report on WiFi at airports? (Score 2) 40 40

I blame airline consolidation.

Fewer airlines, each hiding out in their fortified monopoly hub airports, means less gate competition and less gate competition means airports can probably charge less for gate access. It's probably even worse, because with fewer airlines overall a lot of airports worry about losing their hub status and probably charge even less to the big carrier left providing service or provide other accommodations which save the hub carrier money.

This revenue pinch causes them to turn to commercial providers to install and run their wifi networks or if they run their own, to charge for service.

Flying sucks.

Comment Re:This shoudn't even really be a debate (Score 5, Informative) 173 173

An economist who studies the commercial pollination market hasn't seen any real impact from the bee crisis.

Wally Thurman on Bees, Beekeeping, and Coase

Yeah. I mean, there should be, just purely from an economic perspective you should see evidence of this. So we started looking. And surprisingly enough, as I speak here today, in 2013, we have more bees in America than we did in 2007, before Colony Collapse Disorder was observed and named. There is virtually no effect--there has probably been some effect on the price of pollination services, but it's not dramatic. And it's probably only for almonds, the only early-season crop that is pollinated. Not for the other crops pollinated the rest of the year. And this is surprising, given all the discussions of CCD and honeybee health.

We've found there's been no effect of Colony Collapse Disorder on the prices of queens.

Comment Re:NIST? (Score 1) 98 98

It does make a person wonder how many university organic chem labs churn out drugs on the side, even if its only for self-consumption.

I would imagine by now that the precursor chemicals for relatively easy synthesis are controlled, but I would think a good PhD in organic chemistry would merely take that as a challenge and attempt a more complex synthesis which made the precursors.

Hell, if they were clever they may even be able to some of it (or even all of it) as a legitimate project if it somehow advanced the synthesis know-how. I think I've read that the total synthesis of morphine is ridiculously complex but that it would be highly desirable to develop a synthesis that avoided any kind of opium base.

Comment Re:Actually, you CAN'T do that (Score 1) 65 65

"You can't ever get two quarks very far apart. That property arises because the gluon, the force carrier for the strong force, has a strong charge of it's own. "

If you tried to separate "it" from "is", will the force generate new apostrophes?

Pedantry AND wit - what is /. coming to?

Comment Re:Can the brain live without the body? (Score 1) 60 60

In the movie The Matrix, people who died in the perceived reality died "in real life" even though their bodies had no physical trauma. "The body cannot live without the mind." was the explanation for this given in the movie.

I really wonder if the brain could live without the body. It seems to me this is far more difficult than simply keeping a person healthy without gravity: the body provides the brain with nutrition, sensory input, oxygen and CO2 removal, chemical input like hormones, etc., removal of wastes, fine temperature control, osmotic balance, and probably a lot more I have not mentioned. It seems easier to me to supply a body with gravity in space than to supply a brain with all of that.

Oh, and the brain would still need to be pressurized in space, as well as all the fluid input, so it's not clear you'd save a lot on cabin pressure.

This artificial distinction between the brain and the body is a favourite trope of computer nerds, but really, there is no boundary between the body and the brain (except in the minds of people who are used to well-designed hardware interfaces.) In order to convince a brain that it is in a body, you need a lot of simulation inputs, including some very complex chemistry. The simplest and most compact machinery we have for providing this is... a human body!

Comment Re:High-volume requesters should do "due diligence (Score 1) 188 188

It's what collection agencies do with lawsuits and what many mortgage holders have done when going after homeowners.

The collection companies have gotten bad press from filing bogus lawsuits with inadequate documentation. Like sending summonses for their suits to the wrong address, resulting in bench warrants being issued to people who never got the notices and ignored the default judgements that resulted. I don't think most county level civil courts did much about it, though.

The mortgage industry I think earned more heat from bankruptcy courts when they showed up with bad documentation that basically couldn't prove they owned the mortgages. I think some judges got annoyed with the mass litigation many engaged in and started discharging the mortgages unless they could provide accurate documentation, but I think it only happened after a few savvy defense attorneys began to understand the maze of paperwork and lack of legal documents (ie, pen and paper notarized paperwork) that actually proved the plaintiffs owned the mortgages.

IMHO, there ought to be a set of steep progressive penalties imposed on both counsel and plaintiff who file serial/mass litigation with flimsy or substantively inaccurate documentation. Like the first one is a slap on the wrist, the second within some window of the first is a $10,000 fine and the third in the same window is a $100k fine, risk of disbarment to counsel and perjury charges to the plaintiff. You need these kinds of penalties to restrain counsel and clients.

A large number of installed systems work by fiat. That is, they work by being declared to work. -- Anatol Holt