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Comment Interesting; likely more limited than advertised (Score 5, Informative) 82

Designing spectrometer is what I do for a living and with my experience and knowledge, I have serious doubts this device has sufficient resolving power to do what they claim it can/would/should do. To identify chemical components, you need a minimum spectral resolution (depending on the species you want to identify). To do quantitative analysis, the requirements are event higher. Typically, for solid NIR spectroscopy, I would aim at 2 to 4 cm^-1 spectral resolution. Under this, you can maybe check for the presence of a specific compound or compound family, but the capability to do so will be very dependent on the overall chemical composition.

Its possible to reduce the size of a spectrometer while somewhat keeping the resolution. But that goes only up to a certain extent... and that goes only with trade on signal to noise ratio. At some point physics overtakes wishful thinking. Reducing the instrument, and thus the optical throughput, you need longer measurement times to achieve adequate signal quality. Quantitative analysis with a (large) lab NIR spectrometer can take minutes, depending on the material being analysed. When you design spectrometers, you are constantly trading on aspect for another and by bringing a NIR spectrometer to that size, you traded a LOT of stuff away.

I also see spectral calibration being an issue with this device, then it works in reflectance and not in transmittance. It cannot be self-calibrating and directly provide a transmission/absorption spectrum. Maybe it is calibrated once during the production and assumed to be stable? If that is sufficient is, from my experience, questionable.

On the other hand, this is a very exiting breakthrough. I might even get my hands on one for fun. Why? because its, as they so well market it, a liberalisation of matter. Its a first step in being able to identify any substance that we get our hands on. While it may not yet be able to provide a full chemical make-up of a product, with enough a priori information it may be very useful.

Let me give you an example where such a device can be its money worth. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are bio/organic, you want them really to be that way. This decision to spend more money on these healthier food items is solely based on trust, which is often exploited. I doubt that the analysis of such a product can do what they claim (most of the return information is most likely deduced from the a priori information provided). But even with a limited spectral resolution and sensitivity, it should be able to identify spectral signatures of typical herbicides and pesticides.

Comment's the LAW! (Score 1) 423

You, sir, have obviously never had to deal with ITAR. Because thats pretty much what ITAR does. First ban publication of information. Next ban export of 3D printing system. Finally ban export of any componrent being used to build 3D printing units.

Its only the beginning. And with the military behind ITAR, there is no saying where they'll stop. Your rights are obviously not put into question, as it concerns export only. As you put info on Internet, you pretty much export it.

Comment Re:No hardware or software fault? (Score 1) 80

I believe they meant that the software (or hardware) on the spacecraft behaved as expected, but the error was rather due to an handling mistake, sending the commands with the wrong timing. If you asked me, such an handling mistake should be catched by the on-board software and handled properly (which means telling the operator right away to RTFM). I would thus qualify this as a software issue, regardless of what they say.

The official statement is simply putting the "you're holding it wrong" response to a whole new level.

Comment Re:No, just no. (Score 1) 91

How do you know any of that is true?

For a customer you can easily have a tour arranged. You can meet with your account manager regularly. You'll know the people assigned to your account.... Your agent can just tell you since we all go on tours.

A tour. Is this middle-school? Sure, a tour is nice and fun... and always gives you a good impression, because that's that tours are for. Lets be honest, no company would allow, let alone offer, tours if it had any risk of leaving a bad impression to potential customer. But if you are touring through a corporate Disney park, that they won't say.

The only way to verify what the previous poster addresses, is through regular audits covering all facets of production, management, troubleshooting, etc. You need to talk to those workers, that the provider will not put in front of the customer during the touristic tour. You need to review their experience, work methods, communications methods and so on. No company in the world would allow a client to perform such audits, except maybe if the client is ESA or the USAF or something like that.

And now we are speaking only about competence. Whether the provider plays (willingly or not) hand it hand with intelligence agencies is yet another question, one you will never find the answer to unless there's another leak. But you can probably bet your ass that every god damned intelligence agency is either deep within your cloud provider or trying to get there. From the NSA to North Korea, with China, Russia and Isreal. They are all there, waiting for your sensitive data. What else do you expect when you concentrate data in large data centers which are fully accessible in the open world?

You obviously still like bedtime stories. In the meanwhile, I'll leave my sensitive data off the hands of cloud.

Comment Re: Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 1) 169

At the time of posting my previous comment, I didn't realite the Source was actually critics of atom energy and of its uses.

This wasn't at first obvious to me considering the flaws of the tool, giving a much to positiv view of atomic energy.

Now I'm not sure what worse. Is it a voluntary omission? Or not? i wonder.

Comment Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 3, Interesting) 169

A "tool" to understand costs of nuclear energy production from the "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Could this tool be any more biased? I doubt it looking at the selected metrics.

First the costs for long term securing spent fuel are grossly underestimated. After all, can we really estimate the cost of securing spent fuel for over 100'000 years? It's a bit of a philosophical question, but point is - it can't really be estimated.

More importantly, the "tool" seems to cover only construction costs. Nowhere are decommissioning costs included, which are order of magnitude over the construction costs. Experience has shown both in the US and elsewhere, that these costs have been (willingly or not) underestimated by order of magnitude by the industry. The lack of transparency help a large boom of the industry 30 years ago, but the lack of long term sight is kicking back in full force. Sad of an industry, which should secure waste thousands if not millions of years.

Let me be clear on my sight. I am actually in favour of sensible use and development of nuclear energy. But this cannot be done without transparency, hiding the real costs. Worse, I believe its the hiding of the real costs (and risks) that made this industry stagnate and sent it towards its death (lets be honest, Atomic industry is really dying). This tools seems only to continue this long tradition.

It's a lung cancer patient dying with a cigarette in the hand.

Comment Re:We can learn from this (Score 4, Insightful) 163

People like the folks at MPAA do not need a "how to" manual. That's what they do as a business. They are like leeches which are perfectly adapted to the political ecosystem. The only hope you can have, is to have judicial system independent enough to tackle the issue.

I've read here on /. a lot of critique to the leaking of the Sony dataset and how it was further spread by Wikileak. Taken aside the peculiar personalities linked to Wikileaks and problems one might have with them, THIS is exactly why it is good to have this information out in the world. I can only hope judicial instances will pick up this dataset and start their own investigations, for the little it may help.

It will only help a little, because those leeches are also expert in finding loopholes through regulations. Remember, this is what they do... which is quite ironic for anti-piracy lobbyists. Some countries/regions are fast in finding and closing loopholes, but not in the reign of the MPAA and especially not when it is linked to political corruption / financing of political parties and/or figures.

Comment Re:Technological limitation (Score 2) 78

Its coming from my personal experience designing hyperspectral imagers capable of doing analysis such as what is presented in the example.

The compression is not really the problem. The biggest issue is data analysis and interpretation.

And the time component is obvious... you don't wand to look at the same object without moving with your handy for 2 hours to get the required SNR to be able to do a spectral analysis. You have minimum requirements in resolutions, spectral band and SNR. Theses parameter will vary lot depending on the species you are trying to identify and with which precision you want to do that. But for a comfortable observation time, with a non-specialized device, you'll quickly come in the range of GB/s... and that even at low spatial resolution.

Comment Technological limitation (Score 2) 78

Hyperspectral imaging devices based on MEMS are not new. I've seen the first practical devices presented in conferences about 10 years ago. But I doupt we'll see flexible hyperspectral imaging devices like mobile telephones. Even for bigger hand-held spezialized devices it is far fetched. The problem is simply the data quantity. I deal with this problem daily with hyperspectral imaging; you are producing GB/s of data... Processing that near realtime is a true challenge.

What I can see possible with the state of the art are devices that are specialized to identify specific compounds. But a device that can do a generic and nonspecialized retrieval and identification of chemical compounds requires a lot of processing power - especially when dealing with hyperspectral data in contrast to simple spectral data. If you want to do a quantitative analysis, its even worse.

Comment Re:What really happened: (Score 3, Insightful) 178

What is the scrap value for a 777-200ER, what is its used parts value?

The untraceable used parts value for a 777-200ER is... ZERO. Used and reconditioned parts can be installed on other airplanes, but not without Certificate of Conformity / Form1 and so on. There is a lot of paperwork involved in getting a spare from one airplane onto another one. This includes full traceability. Without this paper trail, the part is useless. And faking a paper trail is possible, but doing so for all parts of a 777-200ER is beyond what's possible without raising red flags.

If it were a old 737, a DC-8 or a Cessna, It could be plausible. The people exploiting some old aircraft in some region of the world live under a, let say, different regulatory oversight. But I doubt any 777-200ER operate under conditions where you could use bootlegged market parts. You may as well sell the raw materials.

I believe that a much better reason to make an airplane AND its passenger disappear, is its payload.

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