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Comment: Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 146

by westlake (#48904823) Attached to: Secret Service Investigating Small Drone On White House Grounds

What's the harm in a drone?

That depends on the payload.

Military grade C-4 is commonly packaged as the M112 demolition block. The demolition charge M112 is a rectangular block of Composition C-4 approximately 2 inches by 1.5 inches and 11 inches long, weighing 1.25 lb (0.57 kg.)

C-4 (explosive)

Recipes for homemade C4 can be found on most any Doomsday Prepper site.

How to make C4 with RDX Explosives

Comment: It's nonsense all right, I'll grant you that. (Score 3, Informative) 51

by westlake (#48901639) Attached to: A Call That Made History, 100 Years Ago Today

On May 22, 1886 .. Zenas F. Wilber, a former Washington patent examiner, swore in an affidavit that he'd been bribed by an attorney for Alexander Graham Bell to award Bell the patent for the telephone over a rival inventor, Elisha Gray, who'd filed a patent document on the same day as Bell in 1876.

But read on...

His October 21, 1885 affidavit directly contradicts this story and Wilber claims it was ''given at the request of the Bell company by Mr. Swan, of its counsel'' and he was ''duped to sign it'' while drunk and depressed. However, Wilber's April 8, 1886, affidavit was also sworn to and signed before Thomas W. Swan. These conflicting affidavits discredited Wilber.

Elisha Gray and Alexander Bell telephone controversy

There were 600 lawsuits over Bell's patent, none successful, and a bad smell about the business from the start.

Others also laid claim to inventing versions of the telephone, including a Mr. Rogers, manager of the Pan-Electric Telephone Company. Rogers distributed his company's stock to members of Congress, including Senator Garland, (soon to become Attorney General) in the unstated hope of favorable treatment. If the Bell patent were to be invalidated, the Rogers patent and the Pan-Electric stock could become very valuable.

On This Day - February 13, 1886

Comment: Now you are creeping me out. (Score 1) 376

by westlake (#48890391) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

I mean a college-aged girl has to get over the fact that older men will be attracted to her, and make advances. Just because she's creeped-out by it, doesn't necessarily mean it's inappropriate. Ultimately gender equality means others have the right to hit on her...

I read a line like this and all I can think of is the ton of crap dumped on my sisters when they entered graduate schools focused on careers in male-dominant professions.

Comment: Re:Parent's responsibility (Score 1) 663

by westlake (#48886495) Attached to: Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

What might be ok in small towns where the population isn't very mobile is utterly insane in such an area.

Rural populations can be decimated by diseases that are rarely fatal elsewhere.

Idaho is gaining a reputation as a place where rigidly libertarian politics and local, hermetically sealed, nominally Christian religious sects combine to deny urgently needed medical care to children.

Fallen followers: Investigation finds 10 more dead children of faith healers. Sect shuns doctors, children pay the price

Comment: It's all about me. (Score 1) 818

by westlake (#48878219) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

People will just have to adapt to the fact that you can't trust your hearing to know if a car is coming or not anymore.

No they don't, actually.

Situational awareness matters at all ages, audio and visual clues are helpful --- and if people decide they want to keep them in place, it's the geek who will have to make the adjustment, not the other way around.

It was the geek's sense of entitlement, his in-your-face attitude, that killed Google Glass. The very definition of what it means to be Glasshole,

Comment: Legal or not, you'll still creeping us out. (Score 1) 324

by westlake (#48871951) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

Private restaurant? Privately owned maybe and the owner could request people not wear glass in the restaurant but it is still in public. You have NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY.

The geek confuses what is legal with what is courteous and respectful towards others.

That is what makes him a Glasshole.

Figuring out what is or isn't a public place is usually easy, but not always. If the public is allowed free and unrestricted access to a place, like streets, sidewalks and public parks, it is probably a public place (although parts of sidewalks and what appear to be public parks may be privately owned). Once you go indoors, you are probably no longer in a public place, and some person or entity can probably make the rules, including restrictions on making photographs.

Frequently asked questions about privacy and libel

Comment: A little humility would help. (Score 1) 324

by westlake (#48871709) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?
Google clearly didn't anticipate the class and cultural conflicts that define the Glasshole.

The geek who thinks he is riding The Wave of The Future and pulling the rest of the world along with him, like it or not, is a very big part of the problem.

1 The frame should be easily folded and pocketed like any ordinary pair of glasses.

I spent the strangest of Christmases lit by the glow of the cell phone and tablet --- --- an obsession with the gadget so strong it destroyed any sense of a dinner with family and friends.

2 The geek will want a next-generation Glass with HD displays and cameras, front and rear facing, night vision, more sensitive microphones, better battery life, gigabytes of storage, unrestricted apps, including facial recognition with Internet connectivity, etc., etc., etc.

None of that is going to happen in the consumer market until the issues of privacy and respect for others are resolved first --- and hiding behind the geek's favorite legalisms ---"public space!"--- and memes like "Privacy is dead!" will bury Glass six feet under with no hope of resurrection.

The camera must remain visible. There can be no doubt when it is in use.

I would be very strongly tempted to insist on a warning when the audio and video feed is being streamed to the net or being interpreted --- augmented --- by internal or external apps.

3 The geek will predictably cry "Censorship!" Political correctness. But allowing AO apps into the Glass store would be disastrous.

Who wants to live in a society populated by wandering cyborgs staring vacantly into space.
There is no straight line from the introduction of the cellular telephone of the eighties to the placement of an all-knowing chip in our heads in the 22nd century, With each technological breakthrough we consider [what has been lost and what has been gained] Then we react.

Google Glass is the creepy innovation we didn't want.

Comment: Don't quit your day job. (Score 1) 290

by westlake (#48859671) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

Because the criminals will have these www.instructables.com/id/Radio-Jammer/

It is easy to picture the geek turned criminal putting a neon sign on his roof with an arrow pointing to "Rocky's Hideout," like a character in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. He never thinks these things through.

Comment: The End (Score 1) 108

by westlake (#48853815) Attached to: <em>Star Trek Continues</em> Kickstarter 2.0

I saw my first "studio quality" amateur replica of the Enterprise bridge set more years ago than I care to think about --- and as much as I admire the effort put into projects like this, I believe it is time to move on.

The modern era of science fiction is close on to a century old now. It's an enormous body of work in all media and all genres --- space opera, speculative fiction, etc., etc. --- that the geek has largely ignored for decades.

Why should the big boys like Disney, Pixar and Marvel have all the fun?

I'm asking that not only because my first instinct when hearing the words "The Prime Directive" is to kill them by fire.

Comment: Re:Sell your Amazon stock now! (Score 1) 92

by westlake (#48852357) Attached to: Amazon Plans To Release 12 Movies a Year In Theaters and On Prime

In times of rapid technological change, being an "experienced player" is often an impediment, not a benefit. Just ask Borders and Barnes&Noble.

But look at Disney.

Founded 1923.

Significant presence and impact in all media from the beginning. Jump-started the modern family oriented theme park and the ABC television network with "Disneyland."

No less a driving force in color television sales with "The Wonderful World of Color." You can't say anything meaningful about the evolution of cable TV without mentioning HBO, the Disney Channel and ESPN.

The musical adaptaion of The Lion King had a ten year run in London.

The geek obsesses over porn, but, my god, think of Disney's impact on the sale of home video hardware and video sales and rentals. You'll know 4K is here to stay when Disney supports it.

Pixar may be spinning its wheels, but Disney Studio Animation is hitting on all cylinders. The Marvel Comics division isn't doing too badly either.

There is no single point of failure.

Comment: Re:Great win for ODT (Score 1) 70

by westlake (#48838807) Attached to: Andy Wolber Explores Online Word Processors' ODF Support

I stopped using Microsoft Office in 1998 and never looked back. Would it be crazy to wish that everyone could just use .txt files for most everything and end this word processor madness?

I'll take it as given that clerical work in the broadest sense is not a significant part of your job.

Comment: Odds against. (Score 1) 303

I'm sure there have been other more positive instances of Jury Nullification

and maybe next week I'll win the Tri-State Lotto

--- but that isn't how I plan to meet the mortgage payment on my house.

can you post a single example of a geek who escaped conviction because of jury nullification?

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk