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Comment The water follows the cracks... (Score 1) 154

I dont get it. The average depth of oil/gas wells here in Oklahoma is approx 5,000 ft. The typical depth of earthquakes here in Oklahoma is approx 16,000 ft. I'm not seeing a connection between the two.

First: You're looking at the wrong wells. What's the depth of the injection wells?

Second: The depth of the well doesn't particularly matter, as long as it connects the water to a fault system. The water spreads out through the fault, turning it into a hydraulic jack the size of a small eastern state or so. The faults aren't purely horizontal and the pressure (except for an added component at greater depth from the weight of the water above it) is the same everywhere.

So of course the earthquakes take place at the usual depths where the "last straw" rock finally gives way.

Comment Slashdot is not generally a primary source. (Score 1) 37

This was on Gizmag yesterday... like many of Slashdot's articles...

Give it a rest.

Slashdot is not an investigative journal or a follower-and-repeater of press releases. It's a bunch of nerds pointing out interesting stuff to each other, and talking it over, with a few nerds vetting the postings before they go up on the "front page".

That means, like Wikipedia, it's not generally a primary source. It also means that, for real news items, it is generally about a day behind.

If you want news in a timely fashion, go read Gizmag and a bunch of other acutal reportage sites. If you're willing to wait a little bit and then talk it over with a crowd of acquaintences (some of whom might actually know more about it than the newsies), this is the place for you.

Comment Re:Confusing article (Score 1) 37

Is the end result graphene, a lattice of carbon atoms, or not? What exactly is a "substitute carbon nanosheet" if not graphene itself?

It sounds to me like they're hedging because they haven't fully characterized what they get.

As I undetstand it, producing carbon fiber from plastic consists of stretching a plastic (such as rayon - a string of carbon hexagons joined by oxygen links, or polyacriolnitrile - a carbon backbone with a C2N group hanging off every other carbon) so the long-chains are alligned, then baking off the other elements (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen). This leaves just the carbon backbones (with additional carbon-carbon bonds from the loss of the hydrogen and whatever. Result: long, narrow, straight or crumpled ribbons of graphite-like hexagons, in a bundle, perhaps with occasional crosslinks, side-bumps, and other debris.

So I'd think that, if they did this on a surface, with something that didn't polmerize in two dimensions, they wouldn't end up with the nice, clean, carbon chicken-wire fence of graphine. Instead they'd end up with little graphine patches and strips, interconnected irregularly, and not restricted to an atom-thick plane.

But I'd expect the result to, like graphene, conduct well and be very strong. Just not as strong and conductive as a perfect graphene layer, perhaps with some odd electrical activity from the deviations from the regular structure acting as "impurities', and higher resistance due to shorter mean free paths for charge carriers as they bump into these irregularities.

Comment Antigua! (Score 1) 349

[suggests] relocate[ing] GitHub (servers, company and all) outside the US to avoid those DMCA take downs? ... Next question: what country would be most friendly to Open Source yet resisting the insatiable hunger of the copyright trolls?

How about Antigua?

Antigua recently won a suit against the US over its ban on online gambling (a major source of foreign exchange income for the country). As a penalty, the WTO awarded Antigua the right to freely distribute "American [copyrighted] DVDs, CDs and games and software", up to $21 Million per year.

GitHub doesn't charge for the software it distributes (getting revenue mainly from things lik companies storing their OWN, PRIVATE repositories on their servers). So I'd think a company like GitHub, incorporated, owned, and hosted there, would consume $0 of the $21MM/year allocation, and could freely and legally distribute copyrighted material with US copyright holders - at least until the year after the US congress finally repeals the anti-online-gambing laws.

Comment Ausdroid says Qualcomm already repudiated them. (Score 1) 349

Oh that DMCA was issued by Cyveillance ...

According to an Ausdroid "excllusive", a "Qualcomm representative" has already:
  - repudiated and retracted the takedown notices,
  - promised they will pursure any issues directly with the project maintainers.
  - appologized to the project maintainers.

Unfortunately, this was in a communication with Ausdroid and apparently not in a form that would let GitHub over-the-holiday staff put the repositories back up immediately.

That's a pity. Many of the contributors to open source projects are volunterers with day jobs. This makes three-day weekend holidays "prime time" for a hackfest. Taking down the repositories over such a period is a serious hit to productivity. If they'd done it early in the week, rather than just before a three-day holiday, their error could have been corrected in hours rather than (exceptionally important) days.

(Fortunately, since the revision control system is git, where each checkout is a full copy of the repository, the hit is mainly impeeding inter-member cooperation, rather than bringing all work on the projects to a screeching halt.)

I hope both Qualcom and some of the affected projects bring actions against Cyveillance, if only to make them leery of issuing anti-FOSS takedowns at such sensitive times.

Comment Pay to receive counter-notice contact info? (Score 1) 349

The DMCA does not allow you to refuse to process notices due to unpaid processing fees.

Does it allow somethig like this?

1) OSP charges the takedown filer a $1,000 (or $10,000, or whatever) fee to process a notice.

2) The fee is waived if the alleged infringer fails to file a counter-notice.

3) If a counter-noitce, is filed, the takedown filer is notified, perhaps with a check-box list of the alleged imfringer's claim(s), but DOES NOT RECIEVE THE CONTACT INFORMATION until the fee is paid (or satisfactory payment arrangements made).

4) The fee (or the bulk of it, or a pro-rata share) is waived if the takedown filer notifies the OSP, in a timely fashion, that it does not wish to pursue the takedown at this time and the OSP may put-back the material immediately, rather than waiting for the statutory time.

Assuming the OSP may legally withhold the counter-filing contact information pending payment without jepoardizing the safe harbor, this could be implemented entirely by an OSP. A troll operation would have to pay up to get the information needed to pursue its extortion. The OSP would not be stiffed for its fees if the trolls want to move on to the next step (and could still pursure collection even if the trolls DON'T pay up after the counter-notice is filed).

It would have the advantage (over "losing filers get a big financial hit" approaches) that it does not create a financial incentive for copyright claimants to pursure an iffy or bogus suit in order to avoid a large fine or damages payment.

Comment Needn't be done on the power company's premisis. (Score 1) 109

How hard would it be to send signals from the power plant or substations across different parts of the grid creating a signature that could be detected in recorded hums?

It wouldn't have to come from the substations. It could be injected at any power feed (though the higher-capacity feed the better). B-b

It might also drive the power company nuts - especially if it was close to the line frequency, because that would look like a large and rapidly varying power factor.

Comment Re:Well, sort of. (Score 1) 109

I've been trying to think of how there could possibly be enough variation to fingerprint someone based on the hum caused by that 60Hz frequency noise. I've been in transmission control centers where they monitor, regulate and occasionally wet themselves over frequency shifts, and I've seen that the amount of variation needed to cause sheer panic is shockingly low..and it rarely ever happens for even a second. And those tolerances have been the same everywhere I've gone.

The frequency is synchronized across the whole grid.

The phase shifts, due to several factors (which way the power is going on the lines (treated as signal transmission lines), power factors of loads switching on and off, etc.) Much of this shiftig is local (motors on your transformer starting and stopping, etc.). Some of it is regional (for starters: the average across a distribution block of all those motor loads switching).

The combining of the varioius contributibutions to the phase offset is essentially linear. So if you have a recording system that is including power line hum and sufficiently stable on a tens-of-seconds time scale, the phase can be extracted and correlated with a recording from a nearby part of the grid. The closer they are (in electrical term), the stronger the correlation.

I could imagine the NSA recording this phase signal from one or several places in each city or rural region and archiving it, then using a cross-correlation against such a signal extracted from a recording. The amount of data to be stored and processed would be pretty small and a hit would stand out like a beacon.

First run against a national average (or several regional signals) to get enough of a hit to identiy the time of the recording. Then run against that time segment of the whole database of local samples to get a rough location. (With enough samples this should get you down to a "which cell tower" level.) Then see what suitable recording studios are in the identified region and look for other clues.

Possible countermeasures:
  - Notch-filter out the power line frequency and its first few harmonics.
  - Bandpass filter out the low part of the audio.
  - Add in a small amount of hum of your own, with a pseudo-random phase jitter (and still more phase jitter on the harmonics). Be sure to use a set of pseudo-random generator that they won't be able to identify and cancel out - like by using several of them to continuously adjust the amount of phase noise added and such.
  - Jitter the sampling rate.
  - Re-record it with deliberate injection of a larger amount of real power line hum at a different time and location, before releasing the recording. B-)

Identifying edits in a recording consists of lookinf for a gross jump in the phase of the hum. Identifying the recording location from the pattern of small phase shifts (and other artifacts) in the power line signal is a much signal to find in a much larger amount of noise. I'm not convinced yet how doable it is. But with the above description of what I think they're doing, I expect a bunch of slashdotters will soon be playing with their audio cards, hacking up code to analyze recordings. B-)

Comment Re:The problem with Bitcoin (Score 1) 115

I think that Amazon and others love BTC simply because they dont have to pay a tithe to credit card companies

That's only true if they operate their own exchange - otherwise they're paying exchange fees. (Which admittedly are likely far lower than what they pay the credit card companies.)

but credit card companies help us deal with fraud, bad products, identity theft, etc. If you pay your credit cards off in time you get a company that can be helpful in dealing with fraud and identity theft vs nothing.

BTC is like walking around with krugerrands and bearer bonds without security.

This. And also the reason I refer to BTC as "casino tokens" rather than "cash money".

Comment Re:Myths are socially hilarious (Score 1) 198

To be fair, in the domain of common experience a 7' tall ape man living in the pacific northwest *is* far less crazy than the idea of a subatomic particle being in two places at once.

Good point, and one many of the /. types often forget.

There's this great book

But here... here you come off the rails. How about not acting like a creepy religious zealot who must witness and prosthelytize and lead people to the Light?

Comment Re:Waste of Tech (Score 1) 66

Ever wonder why, after almost a century of technological development, a lot of small time and hobby farmers still drive 1940's era tractors?

Because they're either dead broke, stupid, or they're fascinated by retro things. 1940's era tractors are uncomfortable, low power, and at best middling in reliability. (And while you can with ever increasing investment of man hours jerry rig them along, you can't get parts for them anywhere but on the (expensive) hobbyist market.) Just as with cars and most other things, anyone who can afford better has long since moved onto better.

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