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Comment Forget that XP is software. Pretend it's a table (Score 1) 829

Or something. For people with zero brains about software, security doesn't register. There's this object they need, and so long as they don't kick the legs out from under it, it should work.

Then along comes the seller (the whole "licensing" concept doesn't register either) and says "I'm gonna let people into your office to smash up your table. And all the crazy stuff you put on top of it."

That's just Not Done in the world of tables, and likewise for software in a lot of people's minds.

Add something about, "Pay up. I wouldn't want anything to happen to that nice little business you got there." and to plenty of people it's going to look like extortion, not the obvious result of the fact that software is not actually like a table.

(Personally, I'd want to say, "Move to open source. You can do what you want there." But I know that's even stupider than Microsoft. What are the chances someone who doesn't want to move from Windows to Windows is going to move all the way to some extrasolar weirdness?)

Comment Re:Oh I love how they pander... (Score 1) 174

[Google] doesn't somehow fucking get that their company exists only because they are in the business of data gathering.
Exactly. Now that it's all out there, now -- gee whiz! -- they want it to stop. (Note: then turn off the tracking on your own damn servers. See? Simple.)
The time to stop it was years ago, when some man of wealth and taste first suggested it in a meeting.

Comment Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (Score 0) 345

It takes about five years, lots of concrete = lots of CO2 emissions, to build a 1GW reactor. You'd need to complete about one per week for the next 35 years to replace ONE-SEVENTH of the energy we now get from fossil fuels. (Pascala and Socolow, Science pdf 2004) (Stanford pdf on implementing sustainable energy.) Finish one reactor per week. Good luck with that.

And if you managed that, you'd run out of fuel for those reactors within a couple of decades. (Don't start with the but-but thorium!, or fusion, or god-knows-what-all. The testing and permitting on new tech would take us way past peak oil.)

You'd have to take care of the expected waste, plus the unexpected waste from accidents, for ever.

Meanwhile, Germany is implementing soloar and energy efficiency and is AHEAD of its targets.

The more time, effort, and money we waste chasing nukes, the less we have for a real solution.

Comment 23andMe is just plain bogus (Score 2) 146

They can't do analysis, a secondary market can't do it, nobody can. The science just isn't there yet to draw useful conclusions for an individual on the basis of DNA in isolation.

Note that: in isolation. That's what 23and Me was peddling. Hospitals and genetic counselors and doctors are doing something else. They have the whole medical history. They have, or should have, enough training to understand population genetics, statistics, and where somebody's DNA data fits in to all that. (Although a comment lower down this thread talks about a blank-brained counselor. They happen. Run, do not walk, out of their offices.)

So, no, it would not be "great to see a secondary market in this kind of analysis emerge." It would be just as bogus as 23andMe, given our current state of knowledge.

Comment Re:So we should ditch Ubuntu and then (Score 1) 346

I'm sure my story is not unique. Parent is right.

Yup. Me too. Way back when, mid 1990s, I started using Redhat, but I had too many issues with it to use it full time. (CUPS? Remember CUPS before it got the finally-it-works! makeover?) Then Ubuntu came along and -- boom! -- I could switch everything over to it. That was a version or so before Dapper Duck or whatever it was called. 2004? I loved it, loved the community, spent hours helping other noobs on the forums.

After a while, they kept changing default packages to something stupid instead of seeing what you had and respecting that. It took more and more time to fix upgrades. Then they moved the buttons around AND were snooty about it. That's when I started ditching them. Unity was the final straw, with its nasty tracking by default and with its "Customizable? Whaddya mean, customizable? You'll eat your gruel and like it, jerk."

I've been on LinuxMint Debian going on three years now because LM smooths out some of the tough spots in Debian for noobs. But if LM loses its mind too at some point, then straight Debian, here I come. Together with the five or six people for whom I'm tech support.

Comment Re:Google is a business...pretending to altruism (Score 2) 87

What's offensive is not making a (reasonable) profit. It's acting all trippy and cool about helping the poors, and then being all about the profit. If they'd launched the balloon idea saying "We'll make a mint off rock concerts," people would have probably said only, "Interesting" and moved on.

Also, about that reasonable profit: GOOG has a bigger profit than the GDP of lots of countries. They're making that off tracking you and feeding generally off other people's data and the (publicly funded) internet. So where's my check for 10% of what they're making off me? Capitalism is not actually supposed to be synonymous with "rip off." (I know. I know. Ridiculous to even mention it at this point.)

Submission + - Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service

quixote9 writes: From Krebs on Security Oct 13th. (Did I miss this earlier on Slashdot?)

An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers — as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans — purchased much of its data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, according to a lengthy investigation by KrebsOnSecurity. ... [A]ccording to Martin there were other signs that should have alerted Experian to potential fraud associated with the account. For example, Martin said the Secret Service told him that the alleged proprietor of had paid Experian for his monthly data access charges using wire transfers sent from Singapore. “The issue in my mind was the fact that this went on for almost a year after Experian did their due diligence and purchased” Court Ventures, Martin said. “Why didn’t they question cash wires coming in every month? Experian portrays themselves as the databreach experts, and they sell identity theft protection services. How this could go on without them detecting it I don’t know.

With everybody from the NSA to Splunk getting into our business to "help" us and "protect" us, you'd think, since they're so worried about us, they'd be real concerned about keeping our data out of the hands of (obvious) criminals.

Comment Re:Barefaced corruption of Wikipedia (Score 1) 219

"The most outrageous part of this is that Wiki-PR claims to have Wikipedia admins on their staff, not just normal editors. There is one, and only one response to this - find out who they are and remove their admin status immediately."

Yes. Christ on a bike. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Why hasn't Wikimedia already done this? Anybody specific I can badger to tell them to hurry up?

Comment Charcoal is a soil conditioner. Not fertilizer. (Score 1) 228

If the writer of the article doesn't even know that, what else if he ignorant of? (Any potassium, phorphorus, and trace elements will act directly as fertilizer.) Furthermore, as soil conditioners go, you'd be much better off including it in a compost and then spreading the compost. Straight charcoal will make soil alkaline and plenty of crops wouldn't like that.

So this process is definitely not producing loads of free fertilizer. Energy? Sure. Gasification has been around for decades. And it sounds more carbon neutral than trying to convert bio-waste into methanol or ethanol. Plus the small fact that we're pretty bad at using waste to make ethanol. This sounds like a much more practical process to enable the use of agricultural wastes for fuel.

But spare us the ill-informed blather about fertilizer.

Comment Re:How about the old design? (Score 1) 1191

"at least it ... doesn't have somewhat related stock photos taking up space on the page."

And like everyone else says, the articles are skinnied down to newspaper width so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll and etc. And the comment organization is way better in the old system.

If you want the stuff to be all cutesy on a mobile, then just have a button near the top that says "mobile format." Sheesh. You'd think that wouldn't be something that needs saying on a geek-run site. (Or is it these days? Has Marketing taken over?)

So, yeah, like everybody else, one more vote for "Hate the new design."

Submission + - "Black body" solar collector in the works ( 2

quixote9 writes: Ronald Ace won't say yet how he's doing it. Part of me sympathizes, given the track record of big corporations ripping off inventors. Part of me says "vaporware." But very exciting vaporware.

“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive background in thermodynamics. ...

A major stumbling block for solar thermal energy devices invented to date has been that, as temperatures rise, increasing amounts of energy escapes, or radiates away, from their receivers. At 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, currently designed receivers would radiate as much energy as they collect, sinking their efficiency to zero, solar experts say.

In his patent application, Ace wrote that his invention amounts to “a high-temperature blackbody absorber”. ...

The key, he said, is his trap’s ability to absorb nearly 100 percent of the sunshine that hits it, while allowing only a tiny percentage of energy to escape, even at ultra-high temperatures.

Such a feat would astound many solar experts, who have had little success combating radiation losses in pilot solar plants, which use fields of mirrors to redirect and concentrate sunlight on common receivers.

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