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Comment Re:Balance TOR's costs against the benefits. (Score 1) 25 25

Our cost mitigation strategy had several parts

I would replace the work "cost" with "risk."

As in exposure to a hostile legal, political and social environment.

I don't see many public libraries having the resources to implement your plan.

We are still pondering our options.
Please accept our apologies in the mean time.

When the shit hits the fan, "thinking it over" and "hoping for the best" is no longer an option. In the end, you have to make a decision or one will be made for you.


China's Island-Building In Pictures 88 88

An anonymous reader writes: The South China Sea is just small enough to have high strategic value for military operations and just large enough to make territorial claims difficult. For over a year now, the world has been aware that China is using its vast resources to try and change that. Instead of fighting for claims on existing islands or arguing about how far their sovereignty should extend, they simply decided to build new islands. "The islands are too small to support large military units but will enable sustained Chinese air and sea patrols of the area. The United States has reported spotting Chinese mobile artillery vehicles in the region, and the islands could allow China to exercise more control over fishing in the region." The NY Times has a fascinating piece showing clear satellite imagery of the new islands, illustrating how a fleet a dredgers have dumped enormous amounts of sand on top of existing reefs. "Several reefs have been destroyed outright to serve as a foundation for new islands, and the process also causes extensive damage to the surrounding marine ecosystem." We can also see clear evidence of airstrips, cement plants, and other structures as the islands become capable of supporting them.
The Almighty Buck

Will Autonomous Cars Be the Insurance Industry's Napster Moment? 181 181

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us are looking forward to the advent of autonomous vehicles. Not only will they free up a lot of time previously spent staring at the bumper of the car in front of you, they'll also presumably make commuting a lot safer. While that's great news for the 30,000+ people who die in traffic accidents every year in the U.S. alone, it may not be great news for insurance companies. Granted, they'll have to pay out a lot less money with the lower number of claims, but premiums will necessarily drop as well and the overall amount of money within the car insurance system will dwindle.

Analysts are warning these companies that their business is going to shrink. It will be interesting to see if they adapt to the change, or cling desperately to an outdated business model like the entertainment industry did. "One opportunity for the industry could be selling more coverage to carmakers and other companies developing the automated features for cars. ... When the technology fails, manufacturers could get stuck with big liabilities that they will want to cover by buying more insurance. There's also a potential for cars to get hacked as they become more networked."

Comment On Stage With The Amazing Randi (Score 2) 255 255

You begin with a lecture to your Vegas audience of confirmed skeptics about the pseudoscience of high end digital audio cables ---- and afterwards claim with a straight face that confirmation bias didn't taint your so-called experiment.

The entire affair was inexcusable pop-science crap and wholly unworthy of Ars.


$340 Audiophile Ethernet Cable Tested 255 255

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica has posted a series of articles attempting to verify whether there's any difference between a $340 "audiophile" Ethernet cable and a $2.50 generic one. In addition to doing a quick teardown, they took the cables to Las Vegas and asked a bunch of test subjects to evaluate the cables in a blind test. Surprise, surprise: the expensive cables weren't any better. The subjects weren't even asked to say which one was better, just whether they could tell there was a difference. But for the sake of completeness, Ars also passed the cables through a battery of electrical tests. The expensive cable met specs — barely, in some cases — while the cheap one didn't. The cheap one passed data, but with a ton of noise. "And listeners still failed to hear any difference."

Comment The ethical hacker. (Score 0) 49 49

Kamkar said GM is aware of the security hole and is working on a fix.

If he knows a fix is in the works why is he broadcasting his hack on YouTube? The OnStar client isn't a geek, doesn't follow every obscure hacker channel on YouTube, and doesn't read Computerworld.

Comment Re:Caps Lock used to power a huge lever. (Score 1) 682 682

secretary-typists and the typists in corporate typing pools complained about the location of the Caps Lock key not being where they were used to it. Keyboards for computers intended for general business use accordingly swapped over, since the people who typed the most and had the strongest opinions on keyboards in the early 1980s wanted it that way.

and I bet the same could be said for full-time clerical workers in 2015. changes in software and workflow in the office can be glacial.

Comment Left behind. (Score 1) 550 550

Business as usual until we find a buyer (and hopefully after).

Slashdot opened for business in 1997 --- and it remains, despite cosmetic changes good and bad, very much a reflection of the us vs them geek mind-set of the nineties.

It's been awhile since a new idea has made it past the gates.

Compared to the Internet population as a whole, far, far, more people who stop by here are still in school --- and they aren't hanging around as long as they used to.

"The cow goes moo."

The Slashdot gender gap is real, though much narrower than the Great Divide you see at Ars Technica. "Who visits Slashdot?", "Who Visits Ars Technica?"

You can't hope to talk sensibly about tech unless you can place it in a larger social context --- and if at least 40% of your audience is female, you can't put gender issues in tech on the back burner and expect to survive.


Scientists Identify Possible New Substance With Highest Melting Point 91 91

JoshuaZ writes: Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds that of the previous record-breaker, tantalum hafnium carbide, which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C). Its record stood for almost a century. At this point, the new alloy is still hypothetical, based on simulations, so the new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. The study was published in Physical Review B (abstract), and a lay-summary is available at the Washington Post. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

Comment This is why it costs so much. (Score 2) 106 106

Why it is it so expensive?

No one knows what Columbus was wearing when he set foot in the New World, but on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong took his ''one giant leap'' onto the Moon, he was clad in this custom-made spacesuit, model A7L, serial number 056. Its cost, estimated at the time as $100,000 (more than $670,000 today), sounds high only if you think of it as couture. In reality, once helmet, gloves and an oxygen-supplying backpack were added, it was a wearable spacecraft. Cocooned within 21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber and metalized polyester films, Armstrong was protected from the airless Moon's extremes of heat and cold (plus 240 Fahrenheit degrees in sunlight to minus 280 in shadow), deadly solar ultraviolet radiation and even the potential hazard of micrometeorites hurtling through the void at 10 miles per second.

The Apollo suits were blends of cutting-edge technology and Old World craftsmanship. Each suit was hand-built by seamstresses who had to be extraordinarily precise; a stitching error as small as 1/32 inch could mean the difference between a space-worthy suit and a reject. While most of the suit's materials existed long before the Moon program, one was invented specifically for the job. After a spacecraft fire killed three Apollo astronauts during a ground test in 1967, NASA dictated the suits had to withstand temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution was a state-of-the-art fabric called Beta cloth, made of Teflon-coated glass microfibers, used for the suit's outermost layer.

For the suit's creator, the International Latex Corporation in Dover, Delaware, the toughest challenge was to contain the pressure necessary to support life (about 3.75 pounds per square inch of pure oxygen), while maintaining enough flexibility to afford freedom of motion. A division of the company that manufactured Playtex bras and girdles, ILC had engineers who understood a thing or two about rubber garments. They invented a bellowslike joint called a convolute out of neoprene reinforced with nylon tricot that allowed an astronaut to bend at the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and ankles with relatively little effort. Steel aircraft cables were used throughout the suit to absorb tension forces and help maintain its shape under pressure.

Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit Was Made by a Bra Manufacturer [Nov 2013]

Comment 138 Million Artifacts (Score 3, Insightful) 106 106

The Smithsonian budget for 2015 is $851 million. Surely they can afford this?

To repeat what I said the other day:

The Smithsonian preserves about 138 million artifacts.

$851 million divided by 138 million artifacts yields $6.17 per artifact for conservation, restoration, display, research, physical security, insurance, educational outreach, administration, and so on.

Comment Re:How about this... (Score 1) 184 184

I'll just leave this here:

There is just one small problem.

Industrial giants like Mitsubishi dominate the production of video hardware in all market segments from studio production to home video.

If their UHDTV sets and other gear do not support your codec, you are dead in the water. Which is precisely what happened to the alternatives to H.264.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde