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Comment Re:As long as the weather gets more pleasant in mo (Score 1) 345

Quick point of clarification...

35 degrees in the shade is considered the temperature beyond which humans are likely to die from hyperthermia if exposed to the heat for several hours.

However, this is 35C of wet-bulb temperature. This depends on dry-bulb temperature (what we normally use), relative humidity and air pressure.

So it's not that 37C is the threshold. That'd require almost 90% relative humidity in the Phillipines where the norm seems to be between 60 and 80. At 80%, a dry temp of 38.5C would yield a web-bulb temp of 35C.

Nonetheless, you're not far off.

Comment Re:She is so smart (Score 1) 367

OK. I too was confused by the applicability of CALEA here.

I mean, I can understand the SPIRIT of the article. I can understand the way CALEA works and how boundaries are defined.

But it does seem to apply much more to telephony infratructure manufacturers and telephony service providers.

Nontheless, the article states that the FBI has specifically pointed to CALEA to create the claim that once they get a warrant they can compel.

So, it seems based on that alone that we can continue to debate what CALEA does and does not permit.

Comment Re:As all are aware Einstein's math showed an expa (Score 3, Informative) 86

You raise a worthy query.

But I'd like to raise a couple of concerns. First, you could just have done a quick websearch on "Cosmological Constant". The Wikipedia article alone is enough to answer your query although the math there might turn some away. Second, though, and much more concerning to me is this strange apparent deification of Einstein. The man was a decent scientist. But he was surrounded by and worked with many other incredibly talented folk. On many things he was correct. However, he was on the wrong side of many debates. One of the cool things about Einstein was that he was able to admit when he was wrong (though it may have taken a bit of time and patience for folk to demonstrate where and why he was wrong).

But the Cosmological Constant? Nah. That one is easy. He added it, as you've described as much because of what he wanted to be true rather than what evidence had shown to be true. But when he did so, the evidence wasn't so strong either way. Pretty much as soon as the evidence rolled in, he backed off.

So why is it back in play now? Well, you need to understand it's been back for years now. This aspect isn't new. The authors of this article don't need to defend it. Indeed, nobody really does. Why? Because more evidence keeps rolling in and now we know we need it. Evidence trumps theories.

But this isn't a binary thing. It's not off/on. It, at the very least, is negative/zero/positive. Einstein set it to a negative value. He'd hoped this resulted in a static universe. Now we know that even that isn't correct. It's static, but unstable. When removing it, he essentially set it to zero. This matched an expanding universe. But as the evidence kept rolling in, it's clear that the universe isn't just expanding - it's expanding at an ever increasing rate. To get that, you need a positive value.

Comment Re:Arrogance (Score 4, Interesting) 296

Oh but it IS unreasonable search and seizure.

To appreciate this you have to step out of the context of this specific case and look at the bigger picture.

Keep in mind, any and all of that data you presuppose Apple has just lying around is something the Gubmint can very likely already obtain through a variety of legal mechanisms if they don't already have it.

It all hinges on what the Feds are seeking. If they just went to Apple, handed them the phone, and said "decrypt please" things might be different. If they said "THOU SHALT DECRYPT" based on whatever authority, it might be different. No, what they're asking for is that Apple provide them an alternative iOS firmware to deactivate the functionality of wiping the phone after so many bad password attempts. Then with this, the Feds can themselves simply brute force it and eventually hit upon the right password.

There may be valid reasons for approaching it this way. This may, for example, increase the sense of validity of the data procured from the phone since the Feds could demonstrate the methodology on any phone. It may also prevent accusations that Apple didn't provide real decrypted data but instead colluded with the Feds to create stuff. Maybe the Feds don't want Apple seeing the data. I imagine there may be other reasions as well.

Nonetheless, this request to create and deliver an alternative iOS is new and unwarranted. It's probably essentially unconstitutional/illegal. Legalize it's "compelling speech". In vulgar terms, it's slavery. And it grants the Feds to ability to do this to any other phone anytime they want. Next, it essentially reverses and undermines the entire functionality of the device whereby you have some measure of security that if your phone is lost or stolen, the data won't fall into others hands. Once this new alternative iOS is out there, it WILL be leaked. So this suffers from the same problem as almost all backdoor or key-escrow proposals that giving the Feds the backdoor opens it up for thieves as well.

Comment And the age of the sun is? (Score 3, Insightful) 143

How does this affect or is affected by our estimates of the age of the Sun and Solar System?

As far as I understand, the best guide we have of the age of the Solar System is rocks on Earth used to estimate the age of Earth.

How much extra time would be required for this supposed possibility of the inner planets forming after the gas giants sweeping in and back out?

What tests could be done with rocks from Callisto or Ganymede to constrain the age of the Solar System?

Comment Re:Oh dear god..... (Score 3, Interesting) 339

The mass of a Dyson Sphere of carbon with a radius equal to the orbit of Ceres that is 1 millimeter thick turns out to be...


slightly less than the mass of Earth.

And that's using the density of solid carbon. You could probably get a sphere out past Saturn's radius switching to a fancy aerogel or something.

And with "all material of our solar system" at "one atom thick"...

With that we'd get a Dyson sphere with radius a third the way to Alpha Centauri.

Ummm... about that remark of estimatory prowess...

Comment Re:For one, synergy... (Score 2) 128

The one thing missing in this description is requirements for and/or support of networking.

I've wrestled with stuff like this. I agree with all folk suggesting VNC, RDP and the like. If these can meet the need, then I bet the end experience will be better. Cheap KVM switches suck.

But, there's one simple thing that can render this unsuitable: VPN requirements. Several VPN clients are designed to shut off all other networking while initiating the VPN session. This will kill all these solutions that depend on local networking. So if one or more of his machines are essentially used to access separate VPNs, he really may be stuck with KVM-like solutions.

If this is the case, there may be one other solution. I was very pleased when my company switched VPN clients and I could finally have concurrent networking. I ditched my KVM switch. Now they're switching VPN clients again and supposedly the laptop will be locked down again. The solution here is to switch to a VM on said laptop and run the VPN client from within the VM. Now that we're going VM though, why even turn on the laptop? Well, if you will need to travel, you do want the laptop ready to go. So, keep the VM on the laptop. But for the OP, with just one laptop, I have to wonder if one of these desktops couldn't be folded into a VM on the second.

Comment Re:LOTR (Score 2) 167

First of all, plenty of people actually did do just that. That is, several novels were written by various authors based on their own experiences in a role playing game.

Indeed, not only do we have a number of books and series of the vanilla fantasy type which credit their role-playing group and friends for the genesis of the story, we also have a slew of books which overtly involve people crossing from the "normal" world into their role-playing or fantasy world.

Everything depends on what someone means or wants when they talk about translating D&D to a movie. If you want a fantasy story, then the reference to tolkein and the recent six movies was incredibly appropriate. The entire fantasy genre owes a heavy debt to Tolkein, including all fantasy RPGs.

But to extend this thought, as others have stated, by now (decades later) there are TONS more sources to draw upon to create good Fantasy movies. Why try to blow the dust off a 30-year old script?

If instead you want a movie about teenagers playing D&D, you've got an entirely different challenge to create a compelling script, especially one that is believable, realistic and appeals to a broad audience.

How about a movie that spends the first hour with character generation? Or rage-quits? Or endless arguments about what WOULD be possible in the game-world? Or arguments about the difference between what the PLAYER knows vs. what the CHARACTER would know? (you know... where the GM argues the fireball is volume-based; so cast in cramped quarters would end up frying the party while the player argues the mage would have known that!)

Comment Constant mistrust (Score 1) 108

The photo thing here is an interesting twist here.

But this attack vector seems to require the end-user to authorize things a number of times along the way. As stated in the article the real problem/danger is folk willy-nilly installing apps from heaven knows who.

I wonder if/when these things will simply never unlock the device. Just keep asking for more money. Or unlock it lock it again for no reason randomly in the future.

We seem to have reached a strange point with communications technology. We're barraged by blatant fraud from all sides. Nuisance and scam calls on the phones. Nonsense via SMS. Tons of spam to the email. Junk-mail and endless scams via snail-mail. Now fraudulent "we're the FEDS/IRS" via these goofy apps or websites.

We're being trained to trust nothing.

Comment Re:What does that mean? (Score 3, Interesting) 111


This is yet another product entering an ever-crowding field. This does not at all seem "new".

And it may not even be "better" or "cheaper" than the alternatives already available for purchase today.

Having said that, I'm more than happy to see this field growing. I find it hilarious we're getting to the point where shipping itself is possibly greater than product price for a "computer".

I'm having all sorts of fun with my Single-Board-Computers. I grabbed a couple (BananaPro) initially to act as simple TFTP servers with a bit of capacity for backup. I am still in an experimental phase to some degree but have started a soaking phase where part of the home network is dependent upon them. I've far surpassed my initial plans. At the moment I have this pair of SBCs working together as a High Availability cluster serving LTSP to clients. I'm typing from one of stations "soaking".

Comment "Misuse" of Encryption (Score 4, Interesting) 108

Anyone else catch the nonsensical bomb-threat at the White House yesterday?

I was passing a TV set to CNN and that was the focus. I've not seen much about it otherwise.

But they evacuated the Press Room once or twice.

Eventually somebody stood at a podium to opine about how we all need to address this issue of Encryption because it hinders their ability to catch the bad guys when the bad guys "misuse" encryption.

I was incredibly offended at the very idea. It's so stupid - you either use it or you don't. Using encryption to keep the feds from looking over your shoulder and reading your communications is not "misuse". It's the entire purpose and absolutely correctly used as such. And in the context of the US, it would seem we have the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments to consider.

Not only was I disgusted at this moment of sheer propaganda, I found myself very inclined to believe the entire thing was completley staged.

Comment Re:Exodus (Score 1) 692

Well... to continue along this non-pedantry path...

How do YOU define "geometrically growing"? I would interpret that as implying a geometric progression a la:

And in the context of our discussion, this WOULD be exponential.

Even more importantly, however, is that there's a significant problem with your observation about the cube function being "higher" until a crossover point. To understand this better, you'd need to separate the geometric progression to each individual planet and then sum all things up. The limits aren't "overall" if we're bound by speed-of-light travel. Each planet reaches its capacity separately. And from the very beginning, the planet(s) in the core of this expanding bubble of humanity are increasing much faster than the fringe. It matters not that the bubble keeps expanding if you cannot move people to the fringe just as fast as population grows.

Comment Straw man arguments? (Score 2) 260

This is a very strange article.

I'm happy if folk are drawing attention to issues of statistics, flawed studies or ways one can inappropriately draw conclusions from relatively small data sets. Reminds me of the old adage "Figures don't lie... but liars do figure".

But this seems to trivialize (or outright ignore) the actual purported benefits of cocoa. Why in the WORLD would it be acceptable to suggest "whole food" folk are fascinated with dark/bitter chocolate because of the weird idea that "since it tastes bad, it must be good for you". Is it really that hard to dig into the research, propaganda, whatever, in order to find out WHY folk are suggesting cocoa is good for you? Here's a clue. The dark/bitter chocolate is suggested not because it tastes bad (which is, of course an opinion - I like it dark) but because you have half-a-prayer of having more genuine cacao in such.

Next, I must confess I was ignorant of any study or claim that eating chocolate would help one lose weight. Even if I heard of it, I almost certainly would have simply immediately discounted it because of a number of factors. It's just one study. Let peer review deal with it. It also smells too much like other factors predominate. You're on a low-carb, calorie controlled diet? If you ADHERE to those two requirements, you can probably eat whatever you want and lose weight. Caloric balance/control is within an order of magnitude all that matters.

So, I may have an unwarranted perspective here. But it seems strange to get all excited about folk trouncing a study or argument I never heard of, nor would have respected to begin with. In essence, it seems like they're setting up a straw man to knock down.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 5, Interesting) 85

So did I.

But then I stopped and thought a bit about the concept of Testing for Success vs. Testing for Failure. The former is weak testing... lazy testing. It WORKS. That's nice... But does it fail as it should? Have you tested when and how it fails? Do you know the limits?

So... I decided to act as an identify thief. As previously reported then and now, getting the credentials to sign up are easy. OK. But I had already signed up. So that'd protect me, right?


It was trivially easy to sign up again. Oh sure, an email gets sent to the first email address set up. But this leads to one of two situations. First, the proper user doesn't check his email for a while. Then whatever the thief is going to do they can do. Second, the proper users finds out immediately and gets on and takes it back over. All good? Comically, no. Believe it or not (and I was really stunned at this part) the webapp doesn't force logout the identity thief when the proper user reregisters.

I was a tad sickened at this point.

As far as I could tell, this was utterly and completely insecure. The only way for an "average joe" to protect themself here was to sign up and then freeze credit completely at all the credit bureaus. Supposedly (haven't finished this part yet) once you do that, the 20-question stuff will IMMEDIATELY fail and anything like this IRS.GOV site that depends on it will also fail.

Oh... but it was rather interesting to see what the IRS had stored on me... and what they didn't have. It was somewhat perplexing.

Comment Re:It only increases accountability (Score 1) 294

Cameras would seem to be great for establishing or discounting liability.

It might not be terribly easy for the engineer to sue Amtrak in order to obtain the video showing that his refusal to obey an order which would have placed the passengers in danger. But it would certainly serve as decent evidence in the wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

But if the engineer DID obey such an order and the wreck occurred, the liability of Amtrak would be damning. I'm not an expert in tort. But I imagine the amount of damages would be signficantly greater in this case in comparison to if the video just showed the engineer was texting.

And that fact might also serve to increase safety.

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