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Comment Re:Useless (Score 4, Interesting) 235

You know what apparently does work, based on a friend's experiences?

Putting a pair of amber lights out to the sides of your red center light, and having a sufficiently bright headlamp in front that illuminates a good chunk of road.

Those work because drivers assume that you're a motorcycle, and if you're a motorcycle then you're a lot heavier, and more likely to cause damage to their car.

With modern battery technology and modern, super-efficient lighting, it should be easy to fake a bicycle to light up like a motorcycle well enough to fool drivers at night.

Comment Re:Interessting in any case (Score 4, Insightful) 109

While I also doubt that this is possible today, I am sure the NSA is looking at placing the respective sensors. Then we will have to do "analog routing" and mix in mains hum form several places to obscure where and when things have been recorded. Maybe we should start to offer recordings of local grid noise. Would not be that difficult to do.

It's not even that complicated.

Many power lines have optical fiber strung in the middle of them, it's called optical power ground wire (OPGW) (scroll down a bit). That fiber is used as Internet backbone, as telecom voice, and as diagnostic for when there are power grid problems. If a line goes down then they can use an OTDR to determine the distance to the break instead of having to hunt for it.

All that they'd have to do would be to put devices at termination points and use dark strands. Sure, the equipment to transceive on single-mode fiber at those distances would be pricey, but it's completely within the technology that we have right now.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

Being black is what one is, not what one does.

Now, it's unfortunately common that participating in thug culture is interpreted as "being black". If someone is aspiring to thug culture in their mannerisms and how they attire and adorn themselves then yes, they will be judged based on their appearance, even if they've never committed a crime, and they will be scrutinized.

Every racial group has their own form of thug culture, and sometimes they overlap in style, or someone of a different ethnicity will participate in a different group's thug culture entirely, with varying degrees of success.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

No, because payphones started out being used for general-purpose.

If Irridium or any of the then-new satellite phone systems had been adopted by primarily a criminal or terrorist user base then they probably would be shut down or heavily modified to make it more difficult to use such a service in those circumstances for very long.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

The United States discontinued the regular thousand dollar bill with that exact reasoning. There are a few large-denomination bills, but they're not for regular transactions and probably couldn't be redeemed at printed value for smaller bills without going through official channels, making them close to useless if you're not part of the Federal Reserve system.

Comment It'll come down to an opinion (Score 5, Insightful) 255

It'll come down to an opinion as to whether or not the use of Tor implies an intent to allow others to break the law. While an anonymizer service itself can be used for both legal and illegal purposes, if the court later finds that its use is far more illegitimate than it is legitimate, then that will dictate how they rule on the matter.

That's the biggest difference compared to the car analogy, in that the demonstrated legitimate use of cars far, far outweighs the illegitimate use of cars. Using cars is the norm. Using Tor is not the norm, and so then it becomes a matter of scrutinizing what it does, who uses it, and for what purposes.

Same issues held true for networks like Napster and MegaUpload, and holds true for bit torrent.

Comment Re:cool inner-wall structure? Re:Plumbing & el (Score 1) 118

There's a construction technique called "tilt-up" where one pours the concrete for a wall on the ground or on a mould, flat on the ground, then after it's cured, rotate it up 90 degrees. Unfortunately it became common in the sixties to do this with really *ahem* avant-garde textures, and the whole method fell out of fashion. It would be just as possible to design a mould to be assembled with cheap or scrap wood to get the same sort of honeycomb cell structure. That sort of thing is already used when pouring multiple floors in some concrete buildings.

Comment Re: 4/$2.50 (Score 1) 196

There are eight bulb sockets in two of my ceiling fans. I've lost a total of three CFLs in about three years in those fixtures. Funny enough, the fixture that splits the power for the fan and the lamp at the wallplate has lost more bulbs than the one that supplies one run to the fan and uses on-fan switches.

I know that I've lost a CFL somewhere else, probably on one of those three-directional pole lights, but I can't place when/where.

Honestly CFLs have been less reliable than incandescents for me.

Comment Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (Score 1) 128

I've had a couple years where I flew six trips per year. My wife had a couple of years where she flew probably fifteen trips. The harried sales type was common on my flights and she's commented on such too. Usually agitated because something in a sales presentation wasn't ready or something.

Comment Re:Plumbing & electrical ? (Score 4, Interesting) 118

I still don't get how it's supposed to be more efficient than setting up prefabricated moulds, hanging the conduits and placing the rebar, then pouring concrete from trucks... Yes, the moulds have to be taken off after waiting for the walls to cure enough to support themselves, but typically mass-construction of even identical buildings will see staggered stages including rough ground prep, survey for foundation positioning and marking that, installing the in-ground utilities/services/piping, pouring the foundation and slab, finishing off the stub-ups through the slab, building the load-bearing walls, building the roof, roughing-in the interior wall studs, putting in electrical/plumbing/etc, then finishing the interior walls and exterior of the building.

That process can be staggered across several buildings so that the time to build ten buildings in-tandem isn't a lot worse than if two buildings were built, each start-to-finish before the next. I don't see how using a 3d printer really helps. 3d printers are great for prototyping and small-batch work, but it's almost always more cost effective to build special-purpose to make things in volume if the volume is enough to pay for the machines. 3d printing would work great at home or in a boutique shop, but I don't see it being a major factory process for finished goods.

Comment Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (Score 2, Insightful) 128

No airline will ban phones being used for calls, and even if they do make such a ban, if there's no law against it then that won't stop passengers from doing it despite such a ban as there won't be much recourse.

The abusers will be the business/sales frequent fliers, and worse, they'll be just as angry or harried or aggressive on the phone during the flight as they are before the cabin door is closed and as soon as the aircraft touches down. And since those are the passengers that earn the airlines the most consistent revenue stream through their frequent patronage they'll be allowed to get away with it.

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