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Submission + - Appeals court tosses FCC's Indecency Rule (

GovTechGuy writes: The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the FCC's policy of fining broadcasters for curse words used on live television. The court found that the threat of being fined would ultimately force broadcasters to self-censor their content in violation of the First Amendment. The ruling traces the FCC's change in policy to the 2003 Golden Globe awards, where U2 frontman Bono exclaimed "This is really fucking brilliant" upon winning an award. The ruling also expresses references a Fox decision not to re-broadcast an episode of "That 70s Show" which garnered praised for its capable handling of the topic of masturbation.

Comment Re:The way this ought to work (Score 1) 913

The way this ought to work is that there should be two different sensors in the pedal, and they should be of different types, like one resistive pot and one Hall-effect transducer.

They won't do this; it'll cost too much. Remember, when dealing with quantities in the 100,000s, a $1 savings on a part adds up to a lot. This isn't aviation; they don't care about redundancy in cars.

I knew the people who designed the Ford EEC IV in the 1980s, and they thought like that. They were terrified of a software problem that affected safety. In the EEC IV, the program was masked directly into the CPU chip's ROM, and cannot be changed. (There's a bolted-on ROM unit that has the data tables for each engine model, and you can replace that, but there's no code in it.) It never needed to be; cars with the EEC IV are still running, and there was never a recall for a "firmware update".

Yes, and that was back in the days when embedded systems were programmed in assembly. Now, they have tons of C++ or Java libraries, multi-GHz CPUs, buggy OSes, etc.

Comment Re:hp48 (Score 1) 289

The previous version of the "post-48" series was the hp49g+.

Absolutely godawful keys. Really horrible and also not great.

The hp50 is _much_ better, and I agree with other posters (on other forums) that it is the first calculator to be "better" than the hp48gx.

But it's not much better, and some things are less intuitive.

If you get one the bible (aka advanced user/programmers guide) from is mandatory.

Comment Re:Not news (Score 2, Interesting) 374

Correct me if I'm wrong (I very well may be; I'm not overly familiar with the Drake equation), but doesn't that broadcasting time apply mainly to before a civilization has the technology to broadcast? What about when they still broadcast, but in such a way that their signals don't pollute deep space? Is that taken into account?

Comment Re:Capacitors (Score 1) 240

Don't read news articles -- read the paper. Here's a basic summary of how it works; they get into the numbers later:

"In this paper, we investitage energy storage in arrays of reverse-biased nano vacuum tubes, which are similar in design to nano plasma tubes, but contain little or no gas. The key design parameter is the gap size, the distance between the electrodes. Electrical breakdown in vacuum gaps has been studied or more that 80 years [8-10] for gap sizes above 200nm. However little is known about vacuum gaps in the nanometer range. We show that in reverse bias, the electric eld near nano-tip anodes can be orders of magnitudes larger than breakdown eld in conventional capacitors, varactor diodes, and nano plasma tubes. Since there are only residual gases between the electrodes in vacuum junctions, there is no Zener breakdown, no avalanche breakdown, and no material that could be ionized. Electrical breakdown is triggered by quantum mechanical tunneling of electrode material: electron eld emission on the cathode and ion eld emission on the anode. Because the energy barrier for electron eld emission is large and the barrier for ion eld emission even larger, the average energy density in reversed-biased nano vacuum tubes can exceed the energy density
in solid state tunnel junctions and electrolytic capacitors. Since the inductance of the tubes is very small, the charge-discharge rates exceed batteries and conventional capacitors by orders of magnitude. Charging and discharging involves no faradaic reactions so the lifetime of nano vacuum tubes is virtually unlimited. The volumetric energy density is independent from the materials used as long as they can sustain the mechanical load, the electrodes are good conductors, and the mechanical supports are good insulators. Therefore, nano vacuum tubes can be built from environmentally friendly, non-noxious materials. Materials with a low density are preferable, since the gravimetric density is the ratio between the volumetric energy density and the average density of the electrodes and supports. Leakage currents are small, since the residual gases contain very few charged particles. Nano vacuum tubes can be fabricated with standard photo lithographic techniques [11] and could be easily integrated in integrated circuits as a rechargeable battery."

Comment Re:Cheating (Score 5, Insightful) 296

I guess the main reason for this will be so you can play pirated games. Homebrew is already possible on PS3 and lets not kid ourselves, piracy is always what these things are mostly used for.

You're forgetting one thing - homebrew is possible, but access to the 3d hardware is disabled so that unofficial software can't compete with official games. That, combined with the removal of the ability to even use a 3rd party operating system in the new hardware revisions, is a rather compelling reason to hack the PS3.

Comment Re:That's why I stopped using Wordpress (Score 0) 100

Humorously enough, a friend and I stated rolling our own minimal blog software after realizing that a base install of Wordpress is over 6 MB.

It supports comments, multiple posting users, categories, has RSS, will let you theme it (although there is still a bunch of hardcoded HTML generation that we're working to remove for the next major revision) and is less than 300 KB installed.

Sourceforge project at


Submission + - New attack exploits virtually all intranets, VPNs ( 1

redsoxh8r writes: Security researcher Robert Hansen, known as Rsnake, has developed a new class of attacks that abuses a weakness in many corporate intranets and most browsers to compromise remote machines with persistent JavaScript backdoors. Threatpost reports: "The attacks rely on the long-term caching policies of some browsers and take advantage of the collisions that can occur when two different networks use the same non-routable IP address space, which happens fairly often because the amount of address space is quite small. The bottom line is that even a moderately skilled attacker has the ability to compromise remote machines without the use of any vulnerability or weakness in the client software. "If you're even vaguely clever, developing this might take you two hours. It's not that difficult," said Robert Hansen, the researcher who wrote about the attacks in a white paper published this week, called "RFC1918 Caching Security Issues."

Submission + - One-fifth of us have lost sight of Milky Way (

An anonymous reader writes: Light pollution has caused one-fifth of the world's population — mostly in Europe, Britain and the U.S. — to lose their ability to see the Milky Way in the night sky. "The arc of the Milky Way seen from a truly dark location is part of our planet's natural heritage," said Connie Walker, and astronomer from the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Yet "more than one fifth of the world population, two thirds of the U.S. population and one half of the European Union population have already lost naked eye visibility of the Milky Way."

Submission + - BLOB 1.0 Released! (

SF:t3h933k writes: BLOB 1.0, the first public version of the lightweight blog software, is out now! Get it while it\'s hot! Get it while we haven\'t yet decided to make version numbers nonsensical!

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