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Submission + - Soy Wiring Coming Back to Bite Import Car Manufacturers (hackaday.com) 4

An anonymous reader writes: Over at Hackaday, there's an interesting article about a little-known problem plaguing many newer vehicles from the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Kia. The car makers used soy-insulated wiring to cut costs and "Go Green", but owners in rural areas are finding the local wildlife finds the wiring irresistible; thousands of dollars in damage has been done by rats and other critters eating wiring harnesses.

The author asks the Hackaday community to brainstorm solutions to this unique problem, as owners of effected vehicles have had to resort to sprinkling their driveway with coyote urine and putting rat traps on the wheels.

Submission + - Armed US Agents Enter Warehouse in Puerto Rico, Seize Hoarded Electric Equipment (theintercept.com)

schwit1 writes: On Saturday, A day after becoming aware of a massive store of rebuilding materials being held by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the U.S. federal government — the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with their security detail — entered a Palo Seco warehouse owned by the public utility to claim and distribute the equipment, according to a spokesperson for the Corps.

Rumors of a tense standoff had been circulating on the island, but the encounter was confirmed to The Intercept in a statement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Asked if the federal officers were armed when they entered the warehouse, USACE spokesperson Luciano Vera said they were indeed accompanied by security detail and quickly began distributing the material after seizing it. Vera declined to say whether there was a confrontation at the entrance, saying only that PREPA officials ultimately toured the warehouse along with the feds:

The federal government “began distributing [supplies] to contractors,” Vera said, including hard-to-find full-tension steel sleeves, critical to rebuilding. “We obtained several hundred of these sleeves on Saturday,” Vera added.

The armed encounter comes as around half of Puerto Ricans still remain without electricity well over 100 days after Hurricane Maria. As PREPA hoards crucial resources that could help remedy the island’s dire situation, the Puerto Rican government is attempting to annihilate the power provider’s only regulator.

Submission + - Music Science: Has Popmusic Recently Become Louder, Simpler And More Repetitive? (bbc.co.uk) 2

dryriver writes: The BBC has posted a very interesting article investigating whether people claiming all over the internet that "Pop music just isn't what it used to be" are simply growing old, or if there actually is objective science capable of backing this claim of a "steady decline in music quality". The findings of 5 studies are quoted, and the finding of study 4 in particular is striking. 1. Pop music has become slower — in tempo — in recent years and also "sadder" and less "fun" to listen to. 2. Pop has become melodically less complex, using fewer chord changes, and pop recordings are mastered to sound consistently louder (and therefore less dynamic) at a rate of around one decibel every eight years. 3. There has been a significant increase in the use of the first-person word "I" in pop song lyrics, and a decline in words that emphasize society or community. Lyrics also contain more words that can be associated with anger or anti-social sentiments. 4. 42% of people polled on "what decade has produced the worst pop music" since the 1970s voted for the 2010s. These people were not from a particular "ageing demographic" at all — all age groups polled, including 18 — 29 year olds appear to feel unanimously that the 2010s are when "pop music became worst". This may explain a rising trend of young Millenials, for example, digging around for now 15 — 30 year old music on Youtube frequently. Its not just the older people who listen to the 1980s and 1990s on Youtube and other streaming services it seems — much younger people do it too. 5. A researcher put 15,000 Billboard Hot 100 songs' lyrics through the well known Lev-Zimpel data compression algorithm, which is good at finding repetitions in data. He found that songs have steadily become more repetitive over the years, and that song lyrics from today compress 22% better on average than less repetitive song lyrics from the 1960s. The most repetitive year in song lyrics was 2014 in this study. Conclusion: There is some scientific evidence backing the widely voiced complaint — on the internet in particular — that "Pop music is getting worse and worse in the 2000s and the 2010s". The music is slower, melodically simpler, louder, with more repetitive lyrics, more "I" focus (first-person focus), more anger and anti-social sentiments, and the 2010s got by far the most "music quality downvotes" with 42% from people polled on which decade has produced the worst music since the 1970s.

Comment Re:Come on guys. (Score 1) 76

They did the #1 most important thing and made sure the data was safe. The rest is a matter of actual need. Will the world end if the mailing list is down for a day? No, it won't.

Will millions of dollars be lost? Again, NO. Will someone spew Cheetos crumbs everywhere in impotent rage? Possibly, but not anyone who actually contributes to the kernel.

Comment Re:What did you THINK would happen? (Score 2) 412

Some things actually call for a much lower error rate. Operating a nuclear plant, flying commercial jet, killing people with your gun, etc.

In two of those 3 cases, any incident results in a thorough investigation and changes to procedures and practices to make sure it doesn't happen again. In the third, it gets swept under the rug.

Comment Re:Warren is right and wrong.... (Score 1) 324

Had Bitcoin fulfilled the claim that you would be able to use it anywhere and everywhere, it MIGHT have maintained some degree of anonymity (if you never slipped up), but since you have to turn it into some other currency to actually spend it on anything practical, the association between that anonymous wallet and your identity will always be knowable.

Comment Re:Warren is right and wrong.... (Score 1) 324

Gold has plenty of value. It's ductility color and resistance to tarnishing make it prized for jewelry. Its conductivity makes it useful in electronics. Its salts even have some value in medicine.

Even dollar bills have more intrinsic value than Bitcoin. You can write notes on them and have fun defacing the portrait.

Comment Re:Warren is right and wrong.... (Score 5, Insightful) 324

The big argument for Bitcoin retaining any value was it's usefulness and eventual use as a daily means of exchanging value. Taking a week for a transaction to clear and stratospheric transaction costs negate that future use. Even a conference for Bitcoin isn't accepting bitcoin now!

Nobody is going to accept transaction costs of more than a few percent for small transactions and nobody is going to sell anything more expensive than a cup of coffee without using an escrow and waiting until the transfer to that escrow clears before they hand over the product or service. That pretty much kills it as a means of value exchange except as a last resort.

The final nail in the coffin, it is just as traceable as a credit card or bank transfer. The people who touted it as being as anonymous as cash have been proven wrong.

Given that, what is the new theory for it retaining any value at all? It IS a fiat currency. The bit of digital data and the whole blockchain carry no intrinsic value outside of the value exchange, just like any fiat currency. If that bit of data represents anything at all, it represents the burned coal that produced the power to run the mining machine. How valuable do you suppose already burned coal is?

Like most modern financial instruments, when the music stops, a very few will make some money and a bunch of people will find no chair.

Submission + - 'This Is Not a Drill.' Hawaii Mistakenly Sent Out Incoming Missile Alert (time.com)

schwit1 writes: It must have been awfully disconcerting to have this pop up on people's phones, and it took nearly 40 minutes to send out the message that it was a mistake.

Sounds like the planned FCC reboot of the wireless alert system can't come too soon.

Minor conspiracy theory: It was a hack but will be played off as an error by emergency warning services

Major conspiracy theory: There was a missile, we shot it down, and now it’s all being played off as a false alarm

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