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Comment: Re:Republicans and their unhealthy space obscessio (Score 1, Informative) 109

by storkus (#49723811) Attached to: Robotic Space Plane Launches In Mystery Mission This Week

4) NASA does some really great stuff that benefits every american citizen immensely. Like your 10 day weather forecasts? LIke your GPS navigation. Thank NASA.

Ah, no:

Weather? That's NOAA, not NASA. Yes, 4 letters and starts with "N" and they both do stuff in space, but that's about the limit of similarity. Oh, and the US DOD has their own weather bureau as well--what better way to waste lots of money than duplicating the functions of a "civilian" agency?

GPS? That's the US Air Force, just like the X-37B, not NASA. The fact that the US Military Industrial Complex controls GPS is one of the driving reasons behind Galileo (and, to some extent, other GNSS's), despite Galileo being built by the European Military Industrial Complex but assumably under "civilian" control. Suuure...

Comment: Re:if not a weapon the it's for weapon development (Score 2) 109

by storkus (#49723573) Attached to: Robotic Space Plane Launches In Mystery Mission This Week

Have to play Devil's Advocate here, but it could also be for development of defense AGAINST weapons. Think about it: China (and the US, I believe) has already blown a satellite in LEO out of the sky. The 60 Minutes piece on the weaponization of space (and especially AGAINST space) is not just over-hyped (for a change), but a real threat. If someone can make a weapon that can take out satellites in MEO (GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, etc) and GEO (both geo-sync and sun-sync), there will be a real problem. Of course, this isn't to take away from the denial of near-space around the Earth altogether due to the creation of massive amounts of debris, and the creation of a maneuvering system that uses much smaller amounts of fuel than before could be the prelude to "garbage trucks" in space to clean things up.

In fact, it just occurred to me that the X-37B may be the most visible sign of a new arms race that's mostly taking place behind the scenes because China in particular is so secretive (much more than the old Soviet Union).

Comment: Re:Transformer Explosions are Spectacular (Score 2) 213

by storkus (#49656173) Attached to: Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC

Pretty sure "blew up and failed safe" is an oxymoron.

Not at all, rockets being launched into space (or as ICBMs) are blown up with explosives carried on board in order to insure the safety of those on the ground. In this case, NOT blowing up and being out of control means a missile is about to hit something and make a big boom on the ground!

Oh, and transformers blowing up, yes they are spectacular--haven't been there myself, but I've seen the aftermath. Might have something to do with up to hundreds of gallons of oil inside to cool the thing combined with banning of PCBs to keep that oil from catching fire in these situations.

In any case: tens to hundreds of kilovolts (near a megavolt in the highest voltage systems) combined with thousands of amperes is a whole lot of power waiting to burst out in a gigantic arc that will set fire or melt everything in a spectacular way! Oh, and it would probably generate X-rays, so I guess you would get some ionizing radiation, at least until the safety tripped.

Comment: Re:I for one welcome our truck driving overlords (Score 1) 228

by storkus (#49643921) Attached to: Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

I have personally encountered AUTOMOTIVE drivers weaving side to side, tailgating and making sudden lane changes (the worst one was also in heavy rain just as I was about to pass a AUTOMOBILE) - and I don't even drive that much. I blame all that activity on drivers who either don't pay attention, are possibly sleep deprived and/or are trying to make some arbitrary (and possibly illegally imposed) mileage requirement. If that can be eliminated then the roads will be a safer place to be.

There, fixed that for you. Your entire argument can be applied to cars, pickups, buses, even bikes. Your bias is showing.

Signed, a CDL holder.

Comment: Re:this already exists (Score 1) 288

by storkus (#49626075) Attached to: USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device

Someone should make a wireless version

What I was thinking, too. Like they have on Android (built-in to Lollipop, add-in on older versions) and iOS where the thing will lock (possibly scream) when you and your "security dongle" (which can be anything) walk away from each other.

For this kind of laptop security, I'm thinking a Class-3 bluetooth dongle (1 meter range) or even an IR blaster might work.

Another thing that hit me looking at the code: invoking a gentle "shutdown -h now" may not be fast enough. If you're this paranoid, perhaps you should just force immediate power off (crash dirty with no flushing) and take your chances.

Comment: Re:Cancer vs common cold (Score 1) 52

by storkus (#49524681) Attached to: Protein Converts Pancreatic Cancer Cells Back Into Healthy Cells

Killing cancer cells is easy. Killing cancer cells without also destroying everything else is a very hard problem to solve. If this protein can force cancer cells back into healthy cells (or at least self-destruct) WITHOUT negatively affecting healthy tissues then this would be significant.

Exactly! This is precisely why this is not a small step, and hopefully will lead to similar research and treatments on other cancers.

Another way to put the significance of this is a magic chemical or drug that turns zombies back into normal people. (Ok, cancer is the opposite of a zombie, but you get the point.)

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 1) 76

by storkus (#49516485) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

...lack of familiarity with the terms used in RF engineering.

Got beaten to the punch here. I was about to submit this confusing quote from TFA:

the two-wire ribbons used during televisionâ(TM)s first few decades to send RF signals from rooftop VHF antennas to television sets without any loss. The electric RF current in the two conductors flow in opposite directions and have opposite phase. Because of the translational symmetry (the two conductors are parallel) the radiation fields cancel each other out, so there is no net radiation into space.

Took a few reads before I finally figured out they were referring to 300-ohm twin lead...

[digression]Captcha for this is "shudders". Indeed...[/digression]

Comment: Re:Lets say yes so they put an FM radio on my phon (Score 1) 350

he summary reads like an NAB astroturf campaign.

This. This is the terrestrial broadcasters trying to stay relevant in a world where they increasingly are not due to streaming. Just like the electric companies fighting solar tooth and claw, broadcasters are having to deal with Netflix, Hulu, and so on.

"Screaming, 'We're too important during emergencies to not have around!' worked for ham radio," the broadcasters must be thinking, and the FCC, at least, seems to agree. For FM, at least, they don't have to worry about encumberance from cell phones, unlike UHF TV.

Personally, though, I think almost all terrestrial broadcast is a waste of bandwidth, but I know that's not the popular opinion even here on /.

Comment: or Solution #3 (Score 1) 533

by storkus (#49506415) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Gigafactory (and friends)

That is, disconnect from the grid entirely. Once rechargables come down decently in price per cycle ((dis)charge) and price/watt-hour, there won't be a need to put up with this. This can only apply to residential and some small business, of course, as factories take in may times what power they could generate themselves, but the utilities should be scared, especially as they work to piss off people even more than telecom/cable utilities.

Comment: Re:So much for long distance Listening (Score 1) 293

by storkus (#49506385) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

I've been thinking about this for years: the same problem affects DMR (MotoTRBO and friends) and D-STAR (and its sibling NXDN) and seems related to diversity, sub-standard trellis and other ECC, and so on that were solved in cell (mobile) phone standards a decade or two ago: most(all?) of the solutions are patented, which is a problem for D-STAR but not for the others. It's just clear the companies involved don't want to put any effort into fixing these problems.

Comment: Question: How many people actually care? (Score 1) 293

by storkus (#49502231) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

I hardly listen to the wasteland that is broadcast radio other than to check traffic or propagation conditions. I know we're talking about Norway, but is the broadcast radio there worth listening to? It sure isn't here in the USofA. :(

tl;dr if this happened in USA tomorrow I probably wouldn't notice for a week or more; how about you?

Comment: Re:there's a strange bias on slashdot (Score 4, Interesting) 192

by storkus (#49490977) Attached to: Microsoft's Role As Accuser In the Antitrust Suit Against Google

Oh, please, pot meet kettle:

Google has only been acting really evil in the last few years; for M$, Oracle, and many other companies, doing evil is corporate policy and they have *NEVER* STOPPED being evil. To put it another way, Oracle is the Monsanto of software, M$ is the DuPont of software, and Google is more like factory farms, doing both good and evil at the same time. (I freely admit the Google comparison is weak--please feel free to come up with a better one.)

I have no problem with Google being investigated, but they should go after M$ as well, especially with what they did to Nokia, Linux, and Android; fat chance that'll happen, though.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie