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Submission + - Shoot down drones by turning your microwave into a gun (scmagazine.com.au)

mask.of.sanity writes: A New Zealand researcher has detailed ways that UAVs can be crashed using cheap tools like Herf guns and GPS jammers, and could even be downed by flying drones with more powerful radio. The attacks (podcast) interfere with the navigation systems used by flying drones and are possible because security was not designed into the architecture of some machines.

Comment Re:Long-term costs (Score 1) 294

I never said Spain was an advanced, industrialized nation. Spain had a friggin' dictator until a just few decades ago. Even Mexico has a better track record than that!

Spain sounds a lot like Mexico as far as qualifications, BTW. In Mexico, you don't need an engineering degree to be an "engineer", you just get the job (because of nepotism/cronyism), and work under some more experienced person for a while. From what I hear, all the professional jobs are like this (and this isn't just in the government, this is private industry). No wonder Mexico has never produced much of value. Cronyism is a recipe for failure. Too bad America seems to be devolving to this too, at least as far as the government is concerned.

And as far as infrastructure rotting, it sounds like you're on par with America there. Our infrastructure is crumbling too, though it's largely because we'd rather spend all our money on military misadventure (along with government healthcare websites set up by overpaid cronies).

Submission + - 3D model of Australia's Great Barrier Reef & Choral Sea

brindafella writes: Research from James Cook University's Dr Robin Beaman has aggregated data into a new high-resolution bathymetry model of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, called gbr100. The 100 metre-resolution gridded bathymetry dataset covers an area of about 3,000,000 km2, from the Gulf of Papua to northern New South Wales, and easterly into the deep Coral Sea. There is also a really interesting colour poster (909kB PDF) to download.

Comment Hmm... (Score 1) 206

So they can drop 100 million on controller design but can't be bothered to make a surveymonkey poll to find out that their users still want to be able to sell used games before they shoot their mouth off about it at the opening presentation? The only thing that was more fun than watching that train wreck is the anticipation for SONY somehow managing to fuck up the golden opportunity they've been handed. However they do it, I'm sure it'll be epic. I mean, they could NOT fuck it up, but it's SONY we're talking about here...

Comment Re:How about NEW cars? (Score 1) 487

Are you sure about that? Other automakers have been talking for over a decade now about switching to a higher-voltage bus, because there's so many accessories in cars these days, and some of them use a lot of power (electric power steering for one). The Tesla is worse: it not only has EPS, but electric HVAC, in addition to things like window motors. A higher-voltage (42V) would allow the use of narrower-gauge wiring, saving vehicle weight. Normal cars haven't gone this way for various reasons, but the Tesla could do it easily since they already have a high-voltage battery pack, and converting to 42V wouldn't be any harder than converting to 14.4V. The main reason they probably wouldn't is because they can use off-the-shelf parts by sticking with 12V stuff.

Comment Re:How about NEW cars? (Score 1) 487

To be fair, gasoline cars that "just... catch fire" are older cars with poor maintenance. A 1-year-old car is not going to have leaking gas lines or oil leaks.

But comparing apples to apples, gasoline cars are not immune to catching fire after a collision either, and their gas tanks are much less protected than the Tesla's battery packs. Better statistics would compare cars 1-year-old or less to Teslas.

Comment Re:That explains the spike (Score 1) 233

For a regular currency, which actually represents commodities. Bitcoin is a representation of currency, so it is two steps from the physical, not one. You therefore have to invert the sense.

In this case, a product selling for one bitcoin two years ago required that you spend $18. Last year, that same product was worth $150. Yesterday, it was worth $900. The bitcoins are just tokens, so the number of them doesn't matter. What matters is the amount of cash MtGox will take from you and the amount the recipients will get.

Currency is merely a token-based barter system. National currencies buy things, bitcoins buy national currencies. A bitcoin, by itself, has no intrinsic value and no barter value at the physical level. Nor will they ever have. National currencies only do because the sum of all currency is always equal to the value of something - the nation itself, these days. A cent equals one share in the nation of the US. A definite, physical thing. Doubling the amount of currency (creating more shares) halves the value of each share. By exchanging currency for something, you are saying that that many shares represents the same percentage of ownership of American products as the product itself. If you like, you are trading virtual ownership of the thing for physical ownership. I see no difference between that and the iron rings used in Europe around 500 BC. Except dollars are lighter and cents are stupider.

It is no different for bitcoins and national currency. You and another person barter (yes, it's barter!) on a price and then swap one for the other. You cannot barter bitcoins for products any more than you can cast generic strings to floats. Well, you can, but it has no meaning. You can only barter compatible types - currency for currency, share for share.

That doesn't make bitcoins less of a currency. If it wasn't a currency, you couldn't barter currency for it. Duh. It actually makes it a meta-currency, a more abstract currency. Which is a GOOD THING because if it was share-driven, like national currency, you have to have something that originated the shares. A BAD THING in a decentralized system. (Economics 1066 and All That.)

Now, going back to the inversion property. Each level out from the original item can be regarded as an image, with the bartering at that level acting as a lens, mirror or some other single-step image-generating process. More merchandise equals more physical things to own equals greater value. More national currency equals more shares equals less national value. The next step cannot produce even less value, because it isn't a share of a share. It is a standard unit. Amongst users, at any rate. Nations currently peg against the dollar, but that is changing. It is inevitable in the long term that they will peg against a cryptocurrency because those have (relatively) fixed quantity and shares in nations do not. Electronic gold, if you like.

This means two things. It means that inflation/deflation swap meanings, because these terms refer to barter value against things. It also means bitcoins can never replace a national currency. In both cases, it is the wrong level of abstraction.

Basically, almost nothing anyone (me included) ever learned about economics will apply to bitcoins. Directly, at any rate. Economics makes assumptions that cannot be guaranteed to hold in the abstract. The rules were never designed with abstraction in mind. Some will end up holding, because not everything is defined by the inheriting class of container, some things are defined by the parent object or further up. But nobody knows which. Hell, the Great Recession was due to the rules not even applying across the child classes.

XBox (Games)

Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop 206

mrspoonsi writes "The Xbox One controller went through many radical designs, including a built-in pico projector and a cartridge designed to release smell. Apparently, 'the core base didn't appreciate them,' so these wacky features were dropped in favor of a standard controller. According to VentureBeat, over $100 million worth of research went into the design they ended up using. 'Microsoft’s first tweaks for a new controller focused on the overall size and how it’d fit into hands, golden or otherwise. Using the Xbox 360 controller as a starting point, the engineers would make plastic-molded or 3D-printed prototypes that were each 1 millimeter wider or narrower than the last, testing a full range of up to plus or minus 8 millimeters. “That gave us the ability to test, with actual users including women and children, which width feels best,” said Morris. “We tested with more than 500 people throughout the course of the project. All ages, all abilities.” ... Morris and his team then looked at different thicknesses and shapes of the grips (or “lobes,” as he calls them), plus the angle of the triggers, different styles of analog sticks, and more.'"

Comment Re:Long-term costs (Score 4, Informative) 294

The point is that in advanced, well-run countries like Germany, the government (at different levels, this is about a city government) actually does this in an effective and sensible manner, which is why Munich was able to successfully switch to open-source software and save a lot of money. In crappy, corrupt countries like the USA, we get expensive debacles like the current Healthcare.gov disaster where big projects are given to political cronies and provided vastly inflated budgets, and disaster ensues.

Comment Re:Success through constant failure (Score 1) 168

There were some basic comedy rules, like power-rivalry and sudden role reversal. You could have some strong characters like Vikings come across a Death like ferryman, covered head-to-toe like a leper. With a deep booming voice Death summons their leader to sit in the boat and be ferried to the land of his ancestors and feast for all eternity. The Viking leader knocks him into the river, steals the boat and goes off looking for women. Next thing you have the Death frantically paddling in the water, shouting that the leader is a big bully, he's taken out a loan for the boat and he's got a wife and kids to feed, and furthermore he can't even swim.

Then you can have apparently uneducated characters like peasants in a field having philosophical discussions with a king over political leadership, self governance and collective rule. Fawlty Towers was another good example of power-rivalry. They actually based it on a hotel owner who had mental health issues. That had a certain balance in that Basil Fawlty could tell Manuel what to do but Cybil his wife would keep him in check, while Polly always tried to cool things down.

The other rule was escalating chaos slapstick; the best one is Jabberwocky, where there is the workshop for repairing knights armor. It's a highly well oiled setup, but then one guy has to be a nuisance and keep distracting the team leader. Eventually, the whole operation goes out of sync because the hammer guy hits his assistant, who then turns round, starts hopping about and knocks someone else off, balance who then drops the knight he's hauling up on a rope, back onto the horse which then gallops out of the castle, tearing down bunting, pulling down tents, knocking over urns of hot oil, before shooting out of the castle entrance straight into the breath of the Jabberwocky.

It's not so funny when it happens to normal characters, but when it happens to bossy impatient characters or the bad guy then it's funny.

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