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Comment No shortage of reactor-grade uranium (Score 1) 146

There's no shortage of reactor-grade uranium in the US. U.S. Enrichment is planning a bankruptcy due to lack of demand. URENCO's centrifuge plant in New Mexico is in full operation. New centrifuge plants are orders of magnitude cheaper to run than the old gaseous-diffusion plants like K-25 at Oak Ridge. They're also much smaller; K-25 had several mile-long buildings, while URENCO's plant is about the size of two Walmarts.

Comment Still no good water processing plant (Score 2) 157

TEPCO still doesn't have adequate water-processing capacity Fukushima. They installed three units of the "advanced liquid processing system" (which is basically a big ion-exchange resin water purifier) in 2012, and they are still not working reliably. Failures are occuring for dumb reasons: "TEPCO officials believe the cause of that problem was due to a failure to remove a rubber pad from the tank, leading to a blockage in the system." On another occasion, they had to shut down because a crane failed.

Toshiba has overall charge of the project. Why a major Japanese company is having so much trouble with routine industrial tasks is not clear. As a result of all these processing problems, Fukushima has far too much contaminated water in temporary storage.

The process won't remove tritium, but that, at least, has a decay life of only 12 years, and it's not concentrated by biological processes like strontium and cesium, so dumping tritum-contaminated water isn't too bad.)

Comment Offer spam (Score 2) 421

"You have been selected to receive our exclusive offer! For only $1500...!"

It's a commercial product. Soon (maybe already) anyone with the money will be able to buy one. Probably for less money.

If you want a Google Glass invite code, there are plenty of them on eBay, all with 0 bids. $8.99 or best offer is the going rate for Buy It Now.

Comment Google has a two-tier stock scheme (Score 1) 712

Google has two kinds of stock, A shares and B shares. A shares get one vote. B shares get 10 votes. The founders have all the B shares. Facebook has a similar setup.

The NYSE used to prohibit multiple kinds of stock for listed stocks, back when the NYSE had more clout. (The exception was Ford, which was grandfathered in. Ford has a two-tier stock scheme that has kept the Ford family in control for a century. That's why Ford didn't go bankrupt when GM and Chrysler did. A bankrupcy would erase that deal.) But the NYSE caved a few years ago. Now it's common with tech issuers.

Comment Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (Score 2) 293

I'm a bit bothered by the use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk as a source of survey participants. That's by its nature a group of people with lots of free time and few marketable skills. That's a likely place to find trolls.

Slashdot's moderation system seem to do a good job of preventing trolling. I just hope the Dice management doesn't break it, in search of higher "social engagement" or something.

Comment Re:Stupidity is contagious (Score 4, Interesting) 279

The distros are going with it presumably because they think they need it to turn Linux into a desktop or notebook OS. However, they seem to be ignoring the issues it presents for servers. Let's take my *THREE HOUR* debugging session on systemd yesterday. I had a netboot system up and running. Client boots from Server and mounts root filesystem from Server. I changed from Server A to Server B. Due to an NFSv4 vs. NFSv3 issue, Client could no longer mount the root filesystem read/write. Simple, right? It would've been with SysV init because the errors during the mount would've been spewed to the console and I would've seen them. What *actually* happened is that a bunch of services failed to start. Instead of spewing the error message, systemd "helpfully" told me to run "systemctl status" on the service to see the error message. Except that I never got to a login prompt due to the errors. And I couldn't mount the filesystem read/write so it lost the logs.

Two+ hours later, I managed to disable enough stuff to get to a login prompt where I was finally able to figure out what was going on (never did get systemctl to show me the logs, probably because they couldn't be written to disk and it doesn't seem to hold them in RAM).

Please explain to me what the advantage of systemd is again? Because I'm *REALLY* not seeing it. It took something that was trivial to figure out and made it astronomically difficult. I no longer have any idea what order my services start in or whether that order is repeatable. Yes, SysV init scripts were really long. But once you learned them, you realized that you only had to modify 5 or 6 lines of them to get a new service going. I have yet to figure out how to even create a service with systemd or how I figure out what I'm depending on.

In short, for a server, I have yet to see a single advantage of systemd over SysV init. Maybe I'm missing something and someone will enlighten me, but I'm extremely skeptical.

Am I just resistant to learning new things? Maybe, but learning stuff takes time and my time is money for my employer. So if I'm not getting a return on my investment of time (in new capabilities or reduced debugging time or *something*), why would I invest the time to become an expert on systemd?

Comment Re:Antitrust (Score 3, Interesting) 163

The official position of the U.S. Department of Justice is squishy-soft on antitrust enforcement on tie-in sales. This is partly in response to the "U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's 2001 decision in United States v. Microsoft (the Internet Explorer/Windows tying case) which rejected application of the per se rule to "platform software," thereby "carving out what might be called a 'technology exception' to that rule.

What's killed the effectiveness of the Clayton Act is Justice Department policy on "economic analysis". The economic argument is that allowing monopolies to achieve economies of scale is good for the consumer. Read the DoJ position statement linked above, especially the sections on "prosecutorial discretion", to see this.

Comment Re: Transaction limits (Score 1) 135

Another is "off chain transactions". ... clearing house ... That's pretty much what happens in the traditional banking system.

You've now replicated the costs and headaches of the traditional banking system, added on top of the costs and headaches of Bitcoin. The whole point of Bitcoin was supposed to be to eliminate the need for centralized, trusted organizations.

Comment No, it's not a conspiracy. (Score 4, Insightful) 135

This isn't a "government conspiracy" sending out bogus transactions. It's some jerk.

If you need to sell Bitcoins right now, Coinbase and Kraken are still up and running. Bitstamp is off line, and Mt. Gox is, as usual, screwed up. Mt. Gox hasn't paid out US dollars since June 2013. Whether they are incompetent, broke, or crooked is a subject of considerable speculation.

There's a technical fix in the works, but it will have the annoying side effect that when you spend Bitcoins in your own wallet, some Bitcoins you are not spending will be tied up for an hour or so. Bitcoin wallets don't really have an "account balance". What they have is a collection of items of different values. When you spend Bitcoins, the wallet software tries to put together a set of items that's over the value to be spent, with one output to the recipient and one output ("change") sent back to you.

Until now, you could can spend that "change" immediately, even though the distributed network hadn't yet confirmed it. It looks like that will be disallowed, and only confirmed items will be usable. The way this looks to the user with a wallet program is that you have a "Balance" and an "Unconfirmed" amount. Soon, when you spend, the "Unconfirmed" amount (which you can't spend) will go up for a while, then go to zero when the network catches up. Bitcoin is a distributed "consistent eventually" system. "Eventually" is about an hour. Longer during busy periods. (That's the next Bitcoin problem. The whole network has a limit of about 7 transactions per second. A few times in 2013, that limit was hit.)

Expect everyone except Mt. Gox to have this straightened out in a few days.

Comment Re:Do they need it? (Score 1) 212

I thought that of all the candidates, Romney was the most moderate of them all. If anything, had he stuck to his guns, rather than try and appease the Tea Party extremists, he had a pretty good chance of winning. Post the GOP nomination, Romney should have gone back to taking a moderate stance, which would have helped him immensely with some of the moderate voters. Instead, he tried appeasing the far right, at which point he pretty much lost any chance of a victory.

Personally, I felt that between Obama and Romney, this country could not lose. While they weren't ideal, they were both pretty competent, well-educated, and sharp, with a proven track record. I'm not sure any of the other GOP contenders even stood a chance (Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? Rick Perry? Herman Cain? Heck, Ron Paul?).

Comment O'Reilly has nothing useful to say on this. (Score 2) 142

The article is just blithering without much useful content. They couldn't even get the right illustration. The steam engine shown is just some random engine with Corliss valve gear. This is the engine that powered much of the 1876 exhibition. It was big, impressive, and inefficient, even for that exhibition.

The "Internet of Things" may be the Next Big Thing from the industry that brought you 3D TV.

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