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Comment re: cop tricks Re:wtf (Score 1) 662

Truth. I know this first hand and also from lawyer friends. First thing to remember is that the police are not obligated to tell the truth. In fact, they are trained in various methods of deception and manipulation to get you to talk. [p] Second thing to remember is this: cops are going to do what they're going to do. You can object to a search (and you should, always), and not say anything (never talk unless your attorney says it is ok), and the police will still search, they will still arrest you. That's their job, and the prosecutor and judge sort things out, if you are lucky. Asserting your rights won't intimidate the police, or probably stop them, but it may help you later. Oh, you can also sue them afterwards, but do you really have the $$, Time, and do you really want to become a "person of interest"? Good luck!

Comment US Policy on Cyber Defense (Score 1) 482

In November 2012, President Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive 20 which lays out the specific "rules of engagement" regarding cyber- defense and offense. We in new territory here so it remains to be seen whether the policy, in practice, complies with binding international treaties on the "rules of war". If the question is whether the US government, or any government, has the right to respond to a cyber attack with deadly force, I think you have to refer to the treaties with specific cases in mind for the legal perspective. Having the "right" from a moral perspective is something completely different.

Comment NASA Tech reports and export controls (Score 3, Insightful) 140

I have direct experience with submitting a number of my technical reports to the NASA Technical Report Archive, a requirement for reports of research sponsored by NASA. The submittal process included a third party assessment of the applicable technology export control laws. In my case, this was performed by our Office of General Counsel. However, I was also asked whether controlled information was included in the report or not under the assumption that it was my responsibility to know the rules. While I believe I was personally scrupulous, I will wager that many report authors saw the whole process as a poor use of their time and were not so careful. So I believe the archive probably does contain export controlled information. On the other hand, the really interesting work gets published in the relevant journals and professional society conferences, and there is no way to control that except through the classification process.

Comment A Counter-Terrorism Op? (Score 0) 1130

In the movies, when there is a lot of shooting in public places, the official explanation is often, "This was just a multi-agency joint training exercise." Yeah right. I'm suspicious that this event may be a(nother) counter-terrorism op about which we may never learn the truth. Multi-city suggests nick-of-time disruption of near attack. Multi-agency including military suggests possible NBC weapon.

Comment Personal experience (Score 1) 455

I have run into this circumstance in the past with Linden Labs and SecondLife. Content I created was being copied and sold by others as their own original work without my permission. I followed the same procedure as you did: Notified Linden Lab. They took down the content. Then the other party did exactly what happened to you: they filed a counter claim. At that point Linden Labs told me that they could do nothing more without a court order. They, like YouTube, are not in the business of - nor do they have the resources to - investigate this stuff. They did everything legally required of them. So it all boils down to how much is it worth to you and what do you want to spend?

Comment F22 VTOL heat damages runways (Score 1) 416

Talking with people-who-know recently about air bases and their problems let me in on a factoid that is relevant to this discussion: The engines on the F22 when it is in VTOL configuration are so hot, and powerful, that they actually seriously damage runways. Any given runway is good for only so many t/o or landings of this aircraft. The damage is so bad that it requires much more than a simple patch. This is one of the factors holding up wider deployment (as if pilots blacking out from oxygen deprivation wasn't enough!)

Comment Re:Hollywood beat them to it (Score 1) 29

I like the way you think. Color outside the box? What box! A technology such as this could have many positive applications as well. Need to learn how to fly a helicopter in an emergency? Flash. Done. It is a good question whether skills can be evoked in the same manner these experimenters have activated memories.

Comment Human brains solve NP-Hard problems (Score 5, Interesting) 204

Assuming the analysis is correct and these games are NP-hard, then what is interesting is not that some of us failed miserably at the games but so very many people did quite well. The human brain is a special-purpose computer that excels at solving problems critical to the species' survival. This suggests to me that reformulating problems of interest into a form that the brain can process (e.g., video games) might be an excellent way to tap the computational power of the brain. Wouldn't it be interesting if the millions of brains playing games were actually solving major problems in physics, biochemistry, etc.? Call it "crowd-sourced computation".

Comment delta-V, gravity, Lagrange points, time (Score 1) 892

Space combat, to the extent that weapons would need to be brought within relatively short distance to a target and positioned, might be somewhat like combat between the great sailing ships. Instead of the wind, a ship would need to work with -- and against -- gravity. Changing orbits requires a lot of energy to apply well calibrated force in a given direction. This speeds up the ship, slows it down, etc. It takes lots more energy to change an orbit out of the plane of the Solar ecliptic. We typically refer to these energy requirements in terms of "delta-V" which means just what you think it does. Knowing how to wisely spend the energy on board to bring your ship into firing position would be a fine art of combat in space. Skillful energy management means knowing how to navigate by using single and multi-body gravity to your advantage because that can give you essential free delta-V (e.g., like the various "slingshot" maneuvers deep spacecraft now use to get to the outer planets). The Lagrange points around every massive body (there are 5) are points of gravitational equilibrium. Something positioned there doesn't move (much) relative to the nearby mass bodies. L points can also be orbited in various ways. The lowest energy trajectories in the Solar System are between Lagrange points -- but that can take a long time. Fast, more direct routes take much more energy. How long can you accelerate? How long should you coast? Interplanetary navigation is extremely hard and not many people in the world today can do it well. Combat would be a chess game of picking trajectories, changes in orbits, keeping options open as long as possible so not to tip your hand to the enemy, and feints to mislead them about your intentions. Once committed, it is likely that many engagements would be very high speed passes. So fast that human reaction time would be far too slow. That means the ballet of space combat would be worked out well in advance and handled in real-time by computers, along with any contingent actions requiring speed. Another key point is that with the distance between ships in deep space necessarily come light-time delays. Two ships separated by a distance on par with Earth and Jupiter would experience a one-way light time delay of around 9 hours. That means they are seeing what the enemy did 9 hours ago! So predicting an enemy's moves is very important -- and very hard. Firing ballistic kinetic weapons at a distance would be EXTREMELY problematic, although if you could predict where a ship would be a kinetic weapon would do massive damage due to the relative velocity involved. Energy weapons might very well deplete your total energy for maneuvering, so that is another tradeoff to manage. So I agree with other posters -- space combat would be mostly very boring for everyone apart from the planning of the engagement and the actual firing of weapons -- possibly being on the receiving end of weapon effects. Great topic!

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