Comment Re:Enough already (Score 1) 165

The problem is the weakened junk encryption. Thats really no fun and has to be fixed. Most in the academic, crypto and developer community where still giving the sock puppets the benefit before Snowden. Its a bit like 1946 commercial/gov use of ENIGMA - the extra rotor does nothing. The world was foolish for ~60 years vs few months of reality?

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Submission + - Playstation 4: No external storage, PC streaming or MP3 playback (

UgLyPuNk writes: The new console is stepping away from its predecessor's "media centre" label. You will not be able to play MP3s or audio CDs on your new games machine. It will play DVD and Blu-ray movies, but it no longer features DLNA support, so you won't be able to stream videos or other media from your home PC.

Comment Re:TFA does a poor job of defining what's happenin (Score 1) 470

Okay, maybe it's too early in the morning but where exactly did this function cast an int* to a float*? Where's the "undefined behavior"?

Part 1 of the series has more. Here's the result, and then I'll explain:

"[The strict-aliasing rule] allows clang to optimize [zero_array] into "memset(P, 0, 40000)". This optimization also allows many loads to be hoisted out of loops, common subexpressions to be eliminated, etc. This class of undefined behavior can be disabled by passing the -fno-strict-aliasing flag, which disallows this analysis. When this flag is passed, Clang is required to compile this loop into 10000 4-byte stores (which is several times slower) because it has to assume that it is possible for any of the stores to change the value of P."

Now, for the explaination (I don't think the LLVM blog explains well):

That code, taken on its own, doesn't invoke violate the strict-aliasing rules or have UB. The UB would arise (unrelated, so far, to zero_array) if you wrote something like

P[0] = (float)&P;

If you did that and then called zero_array, what would happen (practically speaking, when there is no optimization) is that on the first iteration of the loop the compiler would write 0.0f at the address of P[0] = *(P+0) = *((float&P) = P, thus changing the value of P itself. On the next loop iteration, P would have changed.

The strict-aliasing rule allows the compiler to assume that P does not change between loop iterations, which allows it to generate better code.

And anyway, how is casting int* to float* undefined behavior?

The short answer is because "the standard says so".

But here's a very realistic situation for which forcing semantics would be very detrimental. Assume you're on a platform with 32-bit ints, 64-bit doubles, and for which a 64-bit memory load must be aligned to 8 bytes. (This is a very realistic architecture.) Now suppose you do a somewhat different type-punning cast:

void foo(double * pd) {
    printf("%f\n", *pd); // or whatever, I don't use printf much
void bar() {
    int x, y;

What should this code do? If you run it on the architecture I said above with a naive compilation, it will probably bus error: probably x will be nicely-aligned but then y will probably be exactly not on an 8-byte boundary and when foo dereferences pd it will be a misaligned load.

In the absence of the strict-aliasing rule -- if the load from address pd had to produce at least some value -- the compiler would have to assume that every memory access it could not establish safe could potentially be misaligned, and either insert code to catch the trap if possible or perform the appropriate correction.

There are other ways in which the strict-aliasing rule makes sense (e.g. similar code but y is at the end of a page for which the next page isn't mapped), but that's probably the most convincing one I can come up with off the top of my head because most of the others would involve made up memory models and stuff that have probably never been built but are permitted by the standard anyway. :-)

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Comment Re:Regulatory capture (Score 1) 242

I understand the desire for local control and have no problem with it, I'm just trying to understand why it's believed that that's always best, when I can't think of a reason why except for "ideologically it's what I want".

Here it is: When you have local control, two things obtain: (1), the number of people affected by the control being exerted is minimal, and (2) the people being affected (or afflicted) have a much larger input as to change or continuation, so that if said control turns out to be onerous (as many of the FCC's radio-related controls are), the locals can actually change them -- or, likewise, if they prefer the current state of affairs, they are considerably more empowered to maintain the status quo.

On the other side of the coin, control exerted at the national level, as the FCC is currently a poster child for, is completely resistant to local control, circumstance, or intent, without some unusual input channel (bribery, corporate shill, real estate slinging, etc.)

The FCC used to matter in that the communications below 30 mhz -- AM radio, etc. -- were critical to the system, and said communications go all over the place depending on the time of day. We no longer depend significantly on these communications, and the FCC's relevance at a national level is therefore in some doubt.

Understand now?

Submission + - Travel to Bali (

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Comment Re:Hey, Apple did alright with Jobs (Score 2) 101

But being heavily involved in hardware product design? I think that's above his pay grade,

Not as a brand, and surely that's what this is about. Lenovo is trying to nexus Kutcher's appeal outside China to help smooth the path into hearts and minds that may never be tempted to give their (Chinese) brand a second look otherwise. It worked for Nikon, as just one example. They are already enjoying headlines over it.

That, and they may have been forced to classify him as a unique technical asset (true or not), in order to get him on the payroll with Beijing's approval....

I worked inside Lenovo a few years back and I wish them the best today.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How To Order Food From A Street Vendor

Ordering food from a street vendor in Thailand can be made a lot easier by observing a few tried and proven tactics to overcome the language barrier. As with any transaction in Thailand the savvy traveler knows that it’s always best to be good humored in the way we respond to any unexpected action (

Comment Re:lolwut? (Score 5, Insightful) 165

The problem is we have yet another fascist-leaning government running the spy agency in question. They kowtow to corporatism. The ignore the will of the people. They publicly and blatantly take bribes. They launch the police against their own people should they protest their behaviour. They launch wars and kill millions over resources.

And all while flag-waving patriotism claims this bullshit is "freedom" and "democracy."

What a farce the world has become.

The Nazis could only dream of achieving what the US has done with their hegemony.

Comment Re:"waiting list"? Actually, no. (Score 1) 19

There was a study in PNAS within the last year that was eye-opening, especially in that female faculty were just as biased against a fictional resume for a lab manager (read gap year student technician) if the name was feminine rather than masculine.

Of all the numerous commentaries on why this might be so, I think the above-average but not stellar academic credentials (B+ student) is what did it. For a normal
(read male) evaluation, the narrative might be "this guy just needs some good mentoring while he figures out what to do next", whereas for a female name, it might be "she's OK but she's not stellar, and she needs to be stellar to succeed in this male dominated field, so let's not mislead her".

Comment Re:I'm for this (Score 1) 394

... they're subject to a very stern reprimand (on the merits on not getting caught), and for the most egregious offenders, the possibility of paid vacation and/or reassignment.

From what I seem to recall reading, many of them were fired.

Here's the report:

I was wrong; some were suspended without pay. Some resigned. I didn't read anything about anyone getting fired, and despite the violation of federal laws that occurred in all instances, DOJ chose to prosecute in none of them.

No one got fired; only resignations, suspensions, reprimands, pay-cuts, and the like.

This thing reeks. (I wouldn't normally be fooling with this NSA garbage, but since this is cold fjord discussion, we're using the "official" stuff approved for public consumption here — not the gold Snowden brought us. Snowden's set likely didn't include material about abuses of our ill-gotten private data, as there was no need for such documentation to exist then.)

The last line is telling: "I hope that this information satisfies your request." Supposing this information didn't satisfy the senator's request? I think the Inspector General would need to "catch" more violations, but not so many as to imply that the abuse is rampant.

Comment Re:Unsuitable Locations (Score 1) 165

Yes the 'You can't get into the information circuits and play information warfare successfully unless you're into the communications of the higher commands in [the] various countries in our neighbourhood" is the fun story not the older sat or known Cold War mil communication or fancy drone flying networks.
This is the US in Australian domestic telco hardware and the software code.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Windows XP infection rate may jump 66% after patches end in April - Australian T (

Windows XP infection rate may jump 66% after patches end in April
Australian Techworld
Microsoft yesterday again but the scare into Windows XP users, telling them that after April 8, 2014, the chance that malware will infect their PCs could jump by two-thirds. The claim, made by Tim Rains, director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group,...

and more

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Apple's fondleslab market share falls below 30 per cent for first time - Registe (


Apple's fondleslab market share falls below 30 per cent for first time
Apple's fondleslab market share falls below 30 per cent for first time IDC says iPad shipments stalled in Q3 as Samsung and Lenovo surged Pundits partial to peak Apple prognostications have new data to fuel their ideas: IDC's newest report on global...
Apple iPads face tough holiday seasonPress Herald
IDC: iPad loses market shareCNET
Apple's tablet lead shrinks as Android gains momentumPCWorld
Apple Insider-ZDNet-San Jose Mercury News
all 102 news articles

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Review: iPad Air gets test drive ahead of Friday's launch - South China Morning (

Review: iPad Air gets test drive ahead of Friday's launch
South China Morning Post
Tim Cook, the chief executive at Apple, hit the nail on the head when he recently described the company's outlook for the rest of this year. “I think it's going to be an iPad Christmas,” Cook said near the end of his conference call with analysts on Monday.

and more

Comment Re:More creedence to the rogue planet theory? (Score 1) 110

The problem is that the orbit is roughly circular in nature, thus why it is presumed there is some other mechanism at work. If the planet was orbiting in a highly elliptical orbit (such as is the case with many comets as seen in our solar system), it would make sense. That would have been detected from the combination of methods which were used to identify this planet.

Possibly there might be some other planets in this planetary system which could have helped to "circularize" the orbit. That is the big question at the moment though.

Comment Re:Oh, goody, I can "consume" silent movies now... (Score 2) 95

Well, keep in mind that an MTI video codec is mostly intended to serve the purpose of preventing complete failures to negotiate. Also, the MTI that 's being proposed in the IETF is H.264 baseline, which is a far sight worse than VP8 by pretty much every metric imaginable. If H.264 baseline is selected as MTI, then I would imagine that the existing implementations will continue to offer VP8 in preference to H.264 baseline, and fall back to H.264 baseline only as an emergency backup "codec of last resort".

As far as Opus is concerned, both Firefox and Chrome currently use Opus as their preferred audio codec for WebRTC, and have since day one. Opus was a relatively uncontroversial choice as the MTI codec, so I suspect any other interested parties will be happy to do the same.

In terms of Opus support for the audio element... well, try it out for yourself. Put this in an arbitrary HTML file, load it up in Firefox, and see what you get: <audio src="" controls/>

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Comment Re:Unsuitable Locations (Score 2) 165

You would just mirror the data like room .
Australia is full of public, totally private, commercial and banking networks, splitters - who would notice another cleared contractor on site?
A lot of brands for local exchange backhaul but very little actual state wide or international.
The data could end up at any secure location for filtering and long term storage. Lots of different optical was rolled out over the years under many brands.
The tech is now so cheap national or state police can even have a go for some types of data within bulk internet traffic.

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Comment Body hacking (Score 4, Informative) 86

DARPA was working on something similar to this. It was a special glove that actively drew blood to the surface of the skin on your hand and cooled it:
Looks like someone managed to commercialize it:

Anyway, your hands and toes are already your body's natural radiators, since they have a relatively high surface-area to volume ratio. Your body can already regulate its temperature naturally by pumping more blood into the capillaries near the surface of the skin when it needs to cool off more. As it mentions in the Wired article, simply applying a cold heat sink won't really work, since your body tends to draw blood circulation away from contact with cold surfaces, so you'd also need the pump or something to force the blood circulation back towards the heat sink.

When I do martial arts, I find I get the best cooling by simply swinging my hands back and forth. That gives me forced convection through my fingers, combined with enhanced evaporative cooling of my sweaty palms, while the extra centripetal acceleration draws blood out closer to my fingertips.

There's another similar body hack for those of us with trouble regulating your temperature while sleeping and tend to overheat and start sweating under your blankets: simply sleep with your hands and/or feet sticking out from under the blanket. This will let your body better regulate its core temperature using its natural mechanisms of pumping more blood closer to the skin for more cooling, or drawing blood away from the skin to retain heat and maintain proper core temperature. Hey, it's this "one simple weird trick" for better sleep, on the internet... who would have thunk it?

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Comment Re:lolwut? (Score 1) 165

We've made considerable progress in 15 years. 15 years ago, nobody thought the internet was much more than an academic curiousity

Bullshit, 15 years ago, AOL was sending floppies and CDs to everyone in America. The internet was still novel for most people, but it had grown orders of magnitude outside of academic circles.

The biggest reason why the major players of 1997's Internet aren't major players in 2013's Internet are because most of them* went under in the Dot-COM bubble.

* re-branded/launched in 1995 and by 1997 was already the biggest online retailer except for perhaps EBay (also 1995). BTW, why didn't EBay make your list (or for that matter, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Disney/, Slate/MSNBC, or a slew of others)?

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Comment Re:Well it is far, far away (Score 1) 110

Or, possibly this is an alien factory planet...

To make more energy available, they take all of a solar system's rocky mass and put it into an orbit skimming close to the central star. That way the metals can be easily separated out, and worked. Since heat engines become more efficient at higher temperatures (especially when you have to radiate waste heat to space), much more energy is available for engineering processes.

This planet isn't "a complete mystery" - it is final, clinching proof of extraterrestrial intelligent life!

Or not...

Comment Re:Sounds like a problem... (Score 1) 507

Yes, that's not a bad idea. I'd also like to see prosecutors not be allowed to make deals with defendants. My understanding is only the Governor of a state or the President can grant a pardon, so how can a lowly prosecutor make a deal with a defendant who has been charged by a grand jury? Grand juries should present charges and prosecutors should make cases.

Or maybe we should adopt the French system and just have courts whose job it is to arrive at the truth. The whole adversarial system of justice in the US is prone to abuse and usually produces results most people would consider to be unjust.

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Journal Journal: Analysis: Brand-hungry LVMH seeks new niche as Vuitton flags

By Astrid Wendlandt and Pascale Denis PARIS | Mon Oct 7, 2013 5:07am EDT PARIS (Reuters) - Neverfull - the name of Louis Vuitton`s best-selling handbag - sums up well its parent LVMH: even if it snapped up all of the world`s last remaining independent luxury brands, it would still have room for more.The French group`s insatiable appetite for acquisitions has been tolerated by investors while its cash cow Louis Vuitton, which contributes half of group pro

Comment Re:Don't answer the door. (Score 1) 273

but distorted grotesquely by the lens of capitalistic greed.

Are we talking about the same halloween? A holiday that can be fully participated in by using Mom's makeup, some old clothes (hello zombies), and some bulk wrapped candies. A couple bucks will buy you a pumpkin to carve.

Halloween is the cheapest holiday going. I think this year is going to run me $30 bucks including candy ($15), costume stuff (reusing some parts from previous years, adding a cape $5, new vampire teeth $3, and fake blood $1), a couple pumpkins to carve (2 for $5). Hardly an orgy of consumerism.

Last year was maybe $50 ... one of the kids wanted to be some "monster high" character so we dropped $20 on it. The vampire this year is reusing half of that costume.)

I spend more on just the wine at Thanksgiving, or any of the other holidays where the family gets together.

Hell, we've got a bonfire day coming up nearby... BYOB... It'll probably run me more than $30-$50 for the drinks and snacks for that.

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Comment Re:Distance from us (Score 1) 54

It's in the article, just buried. I'm afraid that the 'life equation' is shaping up that life, much less intelligent life, is likely to be more than 5k ly apart on average. It's rare.

If we're to have any hope of sending something off, or even seriously sending some sort of probe off, it's going to have to be within a hundred light years. I figure we've checked those with a relative 'fine toothed comb' already. Being able to 'look' at them with over 10X the resolution due to the OOM closer distance would make it easy.

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