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Comment this isn't being reported by mainstream media (Score 1) 357

The story hasn't been picked up by Canadian media at all, and by hardly anybody in the US. However, in England, the BBC and the Guardian are running this story.

The situation might be different if this was taking place in China; then it would be reported by N.A. media as a human rights story.

Comment Re:Keeping up with the emojis (Score 5, Informative) 175

Bitstream Cyberbit was closed source, and had a license incompatible with GPL. Noto is free and open source. The source files for the fonts, and the build tools, are all open.

Noto is an ongoing open source project that will continue to track the Unicode standard, while Cyberbit implemented Unicode 1.0.1 and then just stopped.

Noto has Sans and Serif variants in a range of weights and styles, unlike Cyberbit, which had only a single style and weight (serif).

So that's more than just "the same thing all over again".

Comment Re:This is the missing piece (Score 1) 132

Ion thrusters aren't the best for Mars colonization, because then it takes too long to get to Mars. The trip to Mars is very dangerous, due to space radiation and the effects of microgravity on human health. For actual colonization, as opposed to just an Apollo-like exploration mission, you want to minimize the transit time. In Andy Weir's "The Martian" (he worked out a realistic plan for a Mars mission and did all the math), ion engines are used, but the travel time is 250 days. In Musk's plan, powerful rockets are used, and the travel time is 90 days.

I agree that nuclear rockets would be even better, if the political problems could be overcome. (Maybe we'll have to mine uranium from the asteroid belts before we have manned, nuclear interplanetary travel. Or maybe China will do it.)

Comment of course, no alien overlords (Score 1) 151

If you are an advanced alien race that needs more living space, it's much more practical to construct a partial dyson sphere in your own back yard, than to colonize other star systems. Our galaxy is big enough that there should be multiple inhabited star systems out there, and possibly multiple partial dyson spheres. But the laws of physics make visits from flesh and blood aliens highly unlikely.

Comment ZFS and GPL (Score 5, Informative) 207

An AC said: "Which could get Canonical into hot water with the GPL."

Whether or not this is a licence violation depends on Linus Torvalds and The Linux Foundation. They are the ones that set the terms for how Linux is licensed. Under U.S. law at least, it's the copyright owner's intent that matters, and not some third party interpretation interpretation of the licence text.

Torvalds has previously stated that a kernel module can't violate the kernel licence agreement unless it is a derivative work of the kernel (and the module licence violates the GPL). At the very least, it needs to have been designed with knowledge of the Linux internals. Since ZFS was developed independent of Linux, it seems unlikely that The Linux Foundation will be suing Canonical.

If you want to thoroughly understand the issues, you could read Eben Moglen's opinion (he's the lawyer behind the GPL 3): https://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2016/linux-kernel-cddl.html

Comment "tough" vs "hard" (Score 1) 2

There is a difference between tough and hard. There is usually a tradeoff between the two qualities.

Super hard materials resist drilling and sawing, like this phone. But they break rather than flex, so they are brittle.

Tough materials are not brittle. They withstand flexing forces without breaking.

For a cell phone, I want the phone to not break if I drop it, which requires toughness.

Comment Hurd is the kernel component of GNU Emacs (Score 1) 312

Seriously, if you google "GNU Guix", you'll see that system startup scripts will be written in Lisp, the package manager will use Lisp to describe packages. Also, I note that the microkernel architecture will allow code that is traditionally part of the kernel to run in user mode and be written in Lisp.

It looks to me that they are building a new system that combines the best aspects of Unix and the legendary Lisp Machine. Which would be kind of cool.

Comment Lost wax and lost PLA (Score 2) 49

One of the hackers at my makerspace has successfully used lost-PLA casting to cast steel. The result was a functional part used in a battle bot. That's using a standard consumer 3D printer.

Jewelers have been using 3D printers for lost-wax casting for years; there are specialized 3D printers sold for this.

Comment Summary (Score 1) 201

The slide at 24:49 in the video summarizes the argument:
* Open Hardware licensing attempts to work using copyright but is unsuccessful in doing so. (You can't actually enforce an Open Hardware license in the courts, where the mechanism is a copyright on an electronic circuit. You can't really copyright a circuit.)
* Open Hardware licensing only works as the developers would have it work when there is a *patent* on the design.
* Patents are expensive to pursue, and not particularly attractive to people who work on Open things.
* If the law was changed to allow electronic circuits to be copyrighted, that would actually cause more harm to the community than good. (The reasons for this are discussed later in the video.) We could, through our own actions, make that happen.

Submission + - Google finds D-Wave machine to be 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing (blogspot.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: From Google Research blog:
We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core. We also compared the quantum hardware to another algorithm called Quantum Monte Carlo. This is a method designed to emulate the behavior of quantum systems, but it runs on conventional processors. While the scaling with size between these two methods is comparable, they are again separated by a large factor sometimes as high as 10^8.

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