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Comment Lucky them (Score 1) 227

My entire neighborhood is being invaded by massive swarms of ants. Literally hundreds have gotten into my house. Judging by the number of exterminators ringing my doorbell, my neighbors are just as bad off. As a result, the bird population is gigantic. The sheer racket in the morning when they all start up their pre-dawn calls is enough to wake me up. It's obnoxious.

The amphibian population is also dramatically up. Frogs are in all the drainage ditches. The noise at night from tree frogs is worse than the cicadas once were.

For that matter, the small mammal population in my neighborhood has exploded in the past few years. I can look out my windows at almost any time of day and see a rabbit in my yard. Mice are everywhere. Raccoons have been getting into my house for years (until I poured some concrete to close gaps in my foundation). Last year I started seeing skunks again, after not seeing any for half a dozen prior years. My yard started getting invaded by moles two years ago, after a good eight years without any. The only typical suburban species I haven't been seeing yet is possums. A decade ago, they were getting squished on roads left and right. Haven't seen one, live or dead, in some years.

The burgeoning rabbit population has attracted several predator birds as well. I see a sparrow hawk on a regular basis during the day, and hear a great horned owl at night. And sometimes see him too, through my living room skylights, perched way up at the top of my honeylocust tree.

These things are cyclical. It's not just the cicadas that come and go. I've lived here for 15 years, and some years my entire back yard is alight with lightning bugs. Other years, there's a handful of them. There's a lot of extremely local factors that affect suburban species, and a lot of variance in those factors.

Comment Re:Distributed index (Score 4, Interesting) 169

Technically speaking, It's not impossible; The problem is that it's spammable/DoSable and will need an authority to either allow/deny nodes from inserting to index or someone like our good old friend 'hosts guy' to maintain a list of known good source nodes that people can download and only share the indexes from those.

No authority is needed, because there isn't one already. In the centralized index situation, no human validates torrents uploaded to the centralized indices. Instead, the users do. If you go search for any blockbuster movie you care to name on Pirate Bay, you'll get 50 pages worth of hits. The first 10 to 15 hits might be useful, with various bitrate encodings and various subtitles and audio tracks in them, and then it very very quickly tails off into utter trash. It doesn't seem to hurt Pirate Bay. Nobody ever selects the torrents with zero seeds unless they're looking for something so niche that there's no other option, and no one seeds bogus torrents. Even their pathetic originators give up extremely quickly.

And/Or other simple restrictions like limiting the number of torrents any node can add to the index.

In a decentralized index, that limit is only in the local node, where it is easily removed. Not worth bothering to write the code in the first place.

And/Or a voting system that allows all nodes to vote on others to help the client applications with prioritizing/filtering the index.

The seed count effectively serves as a voting system today. It's by far the most useful metric. About the only other useful metric is a user-defined list of strings. Quality video encodings tend to have some release group tag in the torrent name. Easy enough to push priority up a bit if the user's preferred string is present.

What's missing is implementing support for search within Mainline DHT. Kademlia DHT on which it is based has a scheme already designed:

Filename searches are implemented using keywords. The filename is divided into its constituent words. Each of these keywords is hashed and stored in the network, together with the corresponding filename and file hash. A search involves choosing one of the keywords, contacting the node with an ID closest to that keyword hash, and retrieving the list of filenames that contain the keyword. Since every filename in the list has its hash attached, the chosen file can then be obtained in the normal way.

Mainline DHT has omitted that functionality. If it were implemented, index sites would no longer be required.

Obviously Mainline DHT traffic would increase substantially, but it would still be quite small compared to torrent traffic. Also, if it were implemented exactly as described, clients would be responsible for filtering results coming in from the DHT. Most users want the logical AND of their search terms, but Kademlia specifies a logical OR. Performing that processing is simple enough though, and of course the client could present results much like web search engines do, with results that contain as many of the keywords as possible presented first, followed by results with fewer and fewer matches. You don't get the fuzzy matching most of the web search engines employ doing that, but as it happens, you also don't get fuzzy matching from Pirate Bay search anymore, so that's no loss. Client authors then have the option of preemptively fetching .torrent files in order to get tracker lists to be able to rank the results by how active they are, or of waiting to let users do some manual culling first. That whole process is substantially slower than a centralized index site. Mainline DHT is anything but fast, most of the time. It is, however, bulletproof. As long as the DHT exists, files could be found.

BEP 0005 specifies KRPC methods of ping, find_node, get_peers, and announce_peer. What's needed is a new BEP to extend the protocol, adding search_peers.

Comment Re: I'm not sure I like the idea... (Score 1) 204

I ordinarily quote something specific when writing a reply, but that's a serious wall-o-text, which doesn't present many quotable quotes, so I'm forced to reply somewhat generically.

I think what's left after parsing all the fences you've put up is, biometrics (fingerprints) are a good username specifically for unlocking a local-only store of credentials or generator of authentication tokens. Odds are, the handful of people who have access to a local store do have unique enough fingerprints to use as identifiers. Add a password to that and you're golden. What you are and what you know unlock what you have, which can then be used to provide arbitrarily strong credentials to other devices and the network.

And specifically for a smartphone, your fingerprint could be your username, especially since all processing is local, but since nearly all smartphones are single user, there's not much point to that. People who need security on their smartphone need to lock it with a passphrase. Everybody else, sure whatever. Use a fingerprint to unlock. It doesn't matter a whole lot.

Comment Re:Someone check what he's invested in (Score 1) 1051

In eight years your aren't going to see electric based container ships, 18 wheelers and aircraft.

Tesla released a teaser photo of their all-electric semi tractor April 30th, 2017. They've already built prototypes. Elon Musk reports driving one himself, and commented about how lively it is when not pulling a trailer. The full unveil is expected some time this fall. I expect it to be substantially expensive, but I doubt it will be spectacularly so. Tesla couldn't hope to sell them if it was. And Elon specifically stated that it is designed to compete directly with existing semi tractors in both hauling capacity and range. I, much like other people, don't see how this could be, but they've built something, so apparently they know something we don't. We will know more this fall.

Comment Re:Finally someone "important" said it (Score 1) 1051

Look outside, right now. What do you see? Odds are, cars. Parked cars, just sitting there, being used by no one. There's no logical way you can look at that and think to yourself "this is cost effective, this is efficient".

Wanna bet? I can, quite easily. Individual private transportation is time efficient. All those resources are being invested in steel and rubber and plastics, and yes, gasoline, in order to claw back time. The current system of roads and automobiles enables the most time efficient transportation humanity has ever known. You can go where you want when you want door to door more rapidly and with more cargo than ever before possible, over both short and long distances. This even applies to cities suffering severe gridlock. All of those drivers are going somewhere. Somewhere probably farther than their great-grandparents would ever travel in their lives.

Electrification is probably inevitable. The demise of private ownership of individual transportation is anything but. It has enormous value, and people tend to cling to enormous value.

Comment Re:Really?! (Score 1) 176

As with most things in here, people who hate Apple will hate them getting a patent - or even existing for that matter. If Samsung had filed the same patent, they would be singing praises from the rafters.

You would be completely wrong in that assessment. People who think for a living get really sick and tired of asshole lawyers claiming to own ideas, regardless of which company the assholes work for. And make no mistake, Apple does write their patents with the intent of owning the idea, even though that's explicitly not allowed in patent law.

More to the point, we get really irate about the patent office being 100% incapable of applying the obviousness clause of patent law. Yes, the specific implementation is obvious to anyone skilled in the art. This is nearly always true, because of the nature of how human knowledge spreads and is used. The way the law is written, the vast majority of patents should never be granted.

I blame the Patent Office, but it's fundamentally a bad law that ignores the reality of human nature and the world we live in. The whole system is based on the vision of the lone inventor in their garage coming up with something so radical and so amazing and so revolutionary that it will change the world, and it's important that the details of this invention be known in case the person dies without revealing the secret sauce to their apprentice. That entire vision is at best obsolete, and it was probably always a total fantasy. The world doesn't work that way. This wasn't so noticeable when communications was extremely slow and the population was far sparser than it is today, but I bet it applied as far back as humans have specialized. Certainly those of us who are specialists today all have an extremely common basis of knowledge, because of how our education systems work, and are facing all of the same problems, with all the same physical constraints. It's not just natural but inevitable that we will converge on very similar solutions to those problems, and if financial constraints are similar, the solutions will often be identical. It's the nature of engineering.

tl;dr patents are bad no matter who files them.

Comment Re:Trump Bashing (Score 1) 335

America IS the worst polluter of the three...

Bullshit. You fail second grade arithmetic. 2.9 billion > 0.9 billion. Full stop. Per capita numbers are completely irrelevant when talking about global climate. Only the absolute numbers affect the climate. 2.9 billion tons of burned coal does not magically emit 30% less CO2 because more people benefit from it. It still emits just as much CO2 ton for ton as coal burned anywhere else. China is by FAR the worst polluter in the world. Chinese activity releases more fine particulates, more oxides of nitrogen, more mercury, more of every other nasty substance you can put into the air than any other country on the planet. And they also release far more CO2 than anyone else. Your own numbers said so. And then you suffered a brain fart induced by propaganda and forgot that bigger numbers are bigger than smaller numbers, and this means something.

The only time the per capita number is relevant is when theorizing that Americans could reduce their power consumption per person more easily than other countries without suffering a significant reduction in their standard of living. There is zero support for this theory, and vast amounts of data that contradicts it. Every country that uses less power per person has a lower standard of living.

Personally I am convinced that no country will ever significantly reduce their per capita power consumption voluntarily. Consuming larger amounts of power is directly responsible for higher living standards. It is not merely correlation. It is a causal, provable relationship. This has been true since ancient times, when citizens of Rome enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world. It was built on the output of muscle power, from animals and from slaves. Today, we frown on slavery, and animals are unreliable, so we use other, much denser sources of power, and we in the developed world enjoy the highest standard of living in history. More to the point, our use of power is what distinguishes us from the undeveloped world. Every time someone like you starts yammering about per capita consumption, you're going to get ignored, challenged, or even attacked because the world as it is today and as it has been for all of history proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the higher the power consumption, the better off everyone is. Get used to it.

Comment Re:How long until there are only trailers? (Score 1) 206

The 140 character mark is here:

I'm wondering if the culprit isn't the short attention span syndrome, immediate gratification and the regular consumption of very short for

Sounds like you have the next great unicorn idea. Twitter with an even lower character limit! Do you have VC funding yet?

Comment Re:Not bad (Score 1) 404

And people talk about storage. Where is all this storage?

Right here. Also here. Off the shelf products you can buy today, if you're a commercial customer with fairly deep pockets. They're expensive, relatively speaking, but they're not theoretical. Total cost of ownership is no worse than a large scale diesel generator with a large on site tank, and the permitting and construction process is much easier. No EPA crap to deal with, since there's no big tank of flammable fluid with a limited tank life involved.

Those electrical storage systems are being sold and installed all over the world. Walmart is a customer. Dozens of grid providers are customers. They're immediately useful to grid operators today, even those who don't have one iota of intermittent power generation connected. They're used to provide load balancing that's even faster than natural gas turbines to respond to changes in demand.

Comment Re:Exactly. Precisely spot-on. (Score 1) 197

Governments couldn't advocate for the "elimination of general purpose computers". The split second they did so, you'd have every industry on earth screaming bloody murder, along with various groups like the EFF, FSF, ACLU, etc.

It's already illegal to root your iPhone. It's called the DMCA. EFF, FSF, and ACLU did indeed scream bloody murder. No one cared. You don't even know what it meant. There are 2.1 billion pocket computers in use today, and for the vast majority of them, it is illegal for their owner to assume full control of the software of the device.

Think about that for a while.

Comment Re:Why did we/are we building it? (Score 1) 92

So, are there any TECHNICAL reasons why the SLS booster is better than the booster for the Interplanetary Colonial Transport? While, it has been under development for (far) longer and cost much more, as the delays keep piling up it might not get finished before the ICT. Like, is it safer? (though I doubt it with the use of solid rockets in its heavy version).

No. There are no technical reasons. There is a military reason.

SLS, and Constellation and Shuttle before it, exist for the purpose of pretending that military spending isn't military spending. They are there to continue funneling money into ATK, maker of the solid fuel rockets. Why? Because the other name for a solid fuel rocket is 'ICBM', but the Air Force hasn't been allowed to buy new ICBMs since 1978, when the production run of the Minuteman III ended. The START treaties started requiring reductions in the number of missiles allowed by the US and Russia. They've been maintaining their current fleet of Minuteman III missiles, which were first deployed in 1970. Without Shuttle and Constellation and SLS, ATK may have lost the expertise to build solid fuel rockets of the required size, which would have been a strategic loss.

The Air Force is trying to convince Congress to spend many billions to replace all of the Minuteman III missiles. Solid fuels have a long shelf life, but still limited. The Air Force spends billions and does regular test launches to make sure they still work[1], but they're worried that they're reaching the end of their useful lives.

Donald Trump is already convinced that they need replacing, as evidenced by his public speeches and by his administration's budget proposal. Getting Congress to agree is the hard part. If they succeed, watch the solid fueled booster requirement for SLS silently vanish. If they fail, which is far more likely because of the terrible optics of "we're going to spend tens of billions of dollars to build new nuclear warhead delivery systems", SLS will continue to muddle along, absorbing silly amounts of money to build a rocket nobody needs[2] as slowly as possible.

[1] They do. America's dick is still bigger than North Korea's dick. Yay. </sarcasm>
[2] At that price.

Comment Re:Spacex may send humans to moon (Score 1) 92

ITS is in very early development stage and probably still couldn't do moon missions, despite having awesome lift mass the second stage relies on atmospheric breaking and onsite refueling, both impossible on the moon.

ITS second stage only requires atmospheric braking to land in deeper gravity wells. Lunar gravity is sufficiently low that ITS can land there just fine. Whether or not it could take off again depends entirely on how much payload it's carrying. If it's maxed out, yes, it probably can't lift off again without refueling, and Lunar refueling would indeed be exceedingly difficult. If it's carrying very little, it could very likely lift off again.

This is typical of everything in space. How much you're carrying and where you're going determines everything about the mission parameters. It took Voyager I decades to get where it is in the solar system today. We could put another probe just as far out of the solar system in 2 years if we wanted to. It would just be very tiny, and launched by a ludicrously large rocket. Nobody is particularly interested in sending a CubeSat to the heliopause, so it won't happen, but it's possible.

Comment Re:Give the money to Elon (Score 2) 349

ITS has an unusually large gamble involved, even by the standards of Musk's companies. Just to pick issue one of many: it's cryogenic composite tanks. Composites and cryogenics don't play well together; there have been attempts in the past, and they were failures. Musk is wanting to take us from "zero launch vehicles of any size using composite cryogenic tanks" to "by far the largest launch vehicle ever built, fully reusable up to a thousand times (for the booster), out of composites". That's a huge jump. ...

They're also working on insanely high pressure, full flow staged combustion engines with a rarely used propellant mix, used up to a thousand times each with low maintenance...

Ordinarily I'd agree with you. If we were talking about the usual suspects (NASA/Boeing/LockMart), they'd have a pile of paper at this stage and not much else.

But SpaceX has (had) a giant carbon fiber tank which they successfully burst tested to 2/3rds the design pressure back in November, then blew up testing with liquid nitrogen on February 17th 2017. (Judging by the pictures, it failed at the equatorial seam.)

They've built and tested a 1/3rd scale Raptor engine (which I presume you already knew, but other readers might not). It's the first full flow methane fueled rocket engine ever to be test fired, and only the second full flow design in history. (The first was Russia's RD-270, tested back in 1967.)

Having done those things is impressive enough, but the absurdly fantastic part is how rapidly they've done it. They were in Mississippi at the Stennis Space Center in late 2013 to refurbish and modify the E2 test stand to handle methane. Slashdot covered that. They were done with that process April 21st, 2014. Slashdot didn't notice that part. They used that test stand to validate their design and conducted the scale model test firing on September 26th, 2016, just 2 years, 5 months, and 5 days later. And it worked. They were so sure it would work, they didn't even bother with the customary 'burp' test to be sure it would ignite properly. That's a ridiculously rapid development process for any rocket motor, let alone for a design that's been done only once before in history and never for the fuel they selected. For comparison, development of the F-1 used on the Saturn V started in 1955 for the Air Force and it wasn't until 1965 that it underwent a successful test firing without destroying itself, after three years of self-destructive test firings.

SpaceX have definitely set themselves some very hard tasks, but their demonstrated ability to actually get to the test article stage, and from there to the production stage, and to do so quickly, is unmatched in modern times.

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