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Comment Re:$2000 rebate on a $40000 electric vehicle (Score 1) 119

This isn't just for full electrics, but also for plug-in hybrids.

For example, Prius Prime, about $27,000 MSRP, minus (for that car, based on it's battery kWH, it gets $4,500 from the federal credit. If it gets even half of the NYS credit, that brings the price down another $1,000 to $21,500, which is definitely on the affordable side of new cars.

Comment Some providers are already doing this (Score 1) 66

Some providers are already doing something similar, and have been for a while. Ooma has had this as part of their 'premier' service for years.

http://support.ooma.com/home/call-blocking-meta-article

This unfortunately doesn't help for all the spoofed callerIDs that are being used though - especially for pure fraud (not just simple telemarketing).

Comment Re:US Post Office always secure. (Score 5, Insightful) 454

Oddly, the party known for vote fraud seems to do quite well in Oregon.

There is no party "known for vote fraud". All studies and investigations have shown voter fraud to be virtually non-existent.

There is, on the other hand, a party that continually tries to restrict voting and disenfranchise voters while raising the specter of that non-existent voter fraud.

Comment Re:I wonder how the USA would rate... (Score 3, Informative) 88

You do realize that the EPA was brought into existence by the uberRepublican, Richard Nixon, right?

Yes - absolutely. George H.W. Bush's administration got the 1990 extensions to the clean air act passed that were very successful. Environmental protections used to be bipartisan.

Then one party (I'll let you guess which) abandoned any pretense of care for the environment and have actively pushed back against any environmental protections (and not just regarding climate change). That isn't to say under the democrats it has been perfect either. The Flint water crisis was primarily due to Michigan but the Feds (EPA) were asleep at the wheel too.

Comment Re:Bruce Schneier says (Score 1) 285

The best solution I've seen so far, from right here on Slashdot, is to have future firmware updates require the phone to be unlocked. IOW, the user is presented with an alert, and the user must type in the passcode before the update is applied.

This would seem to solve the problem for future releases, Apple could legitimately say that there's no way to unlock the phone.

I think this is a great idea, but I don't think they can do it now until this situation is settled in the court. Not doing what the government has taken them to court on is one thing, but making what they are wanting harder while it isn't settled is obstruction of justice (I'm not a lawyer so the charge may not be exact but you get the idea).

Submission + - Small asteroid burns up over Atlantic Ocean

The Bad Astronomer writes: On Feb. 6, an asteroid roughly 6 meters across burned up over the Atlantic Ocean, exploding like a 10 kiloton bomb. Although this was the largest event since the Chelyabinsk superbolide in 2013 (which injured 1000+ people), there were no witnesses. It happened 1000 km off the coast of Brazil, and was reported by the military, though it's unclear how they detected it.

Comment Let's not let the legitimate uses be ignored (Score 3, Insightful) 275

These laser pointers are being used by a relatively small number of idiots/criminals, but being used by many for legitimate uses. They're fantastic for astronomy - many amateur astronomers use them to point out stars, constellations, nebulae, etc.

They're a great tool for astronomy education and outreach and that use is far more common than the criminal ones.

Comment Re:Which string theory? (Score 1) 148

There may be 40 things called string theory, but they all boil down to a few things:
  - point particles are actually vibrating strings
  - there are extra spatial dimensions
  - there isn't much in terms of specific testable predictions made by string theory

The LHC tests may show things that hint at extra dimensions (of small but testable size, not planck length). This in and of itself wouldn't prove any of the individual string theories. But showing nothing that could indicate super symmetry or extra dimensions or other 'stringy' things would be an issue for strong theory.

Disclaimer, I am not a physicist (string or otherwise).

Comment Remote opening? (Score 0) 385

Seems like the easiest thing in this situation is to have the ability for someone on the ground (flight control, the airline, etc.) to be able to override any locks on the cockpit and open the door. Just put some sort of satellite communication device outside, near the door of the cabin.

This would be available in a situation like the Germanwings flight, or if the pilot became legitimately incapacitated.

Comment Re:More than curious, (Score 1) 188

Their management tools are transitioning, slowly to web based. There are tasks that ONLY work in the web client now but there are also tasks that ONLY exist in the Windows only desktop client.

If you're only running guests, then you can get away with the slow web client. If you're managing the hosts you need to use both, for different things now.

Comment Barrier will reduce over next couple years (Score 1) 186

The biggest challenge however is one that both Apple and Google face: Only a small fraction of the 10 million or so retail outlets in the U.S.â"220,000 at last countâ"have checkout readers that can accept payments from either system.

That is definitely true, but most credit card readers in the US that do not support EMV (aka Chip & Pin or Chip & Signature) have to be replaced if the merchant doesn't want to bear the liability for fraudulent transactions.

The liability for compromised cards is shifting in October of this year (aside from some unattended systems like gas pumps which happen later). If a merchant does not support EMV and an EMV card is compromised or used fraudulently, the merchant is liable.

Many of the new EMV capable terminals are also capable of NFC/contactless transactions. It will get a lot more of the physical readers out there. Whether the payment processors/acquirers support it is a different question.

Comment Customer-centric? (Score 2) 419

I don't see them as customer-centric as much as self-serving. There is definitely a trend of non-US companies moving or thinking of moving their data off US servers. Moving them off US company/subsidiary servers in other countries is a huge threat to Nadella's cloud-focused Microsoft.

It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

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