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Comment Re:What exactly are they doing with it? (Score 4, Insightful) 54

It's a distributed trust network, right? Why would banks that survive on trust want that distributed?

Well there's two parts to it, one is the "chain" property where like git's commits it's not possible to edit one transaction later and have it go unnoticed. You can run independent background audits that confirm that this blockchain state corresponds to these transactions and account balances. It's a lot more difficult than adding one fraudulent transaction by itself, like that somebody deposited cash in your account when they never did. Obviously if you can add "genuine" transaction to the chain that's different, but they can be validated in the process.

The other part is inter-bank transactions where it's essential that everybody agrees on the state of affairs. I wouldn't use the "proof of work" but rather signatures of trusted parties, one party one vote. If 100 banks get an inter-bank ledger, 98 of 100 agree on the block chain all the alarms should go off in the last two banks. With signing and countersigning it's pretty hard to go back on anything as 100 banks have digitially signed that they saw your bank digitally sign that this block chain is correct. Because it's harder than you think to find one trusted master to rule them all, both domestically and internationally. Everybody wants to do their own verification which is exactly what block chains provides.

Comment Re:ELI5 (Score 5, Informative) 103

Annealing is an optimization algorithm, mainly. It can be applied to other things, but generally it is really good at optimizing complex problems with lots of variables. Used extensively in simulation packages for pretty much everything, and other problems without easy closed form solutions. Good for the traveling salesman problem also.

Comment Re:The problem with privitization? Or just no shit (Score 1) 442

Government does little in the way of firsts as they are bound by health and safety laws and sending people on fact-gathering missions is generally a waste of money. Technically the moon missions would come under military, even then, wouldn't they?

Technically, no they wouldn't as NASA is a civilian agency operating outside the chain of command. In every other respect, yes it was the military backing it and funding it.

Comment Re:Tonnage (Score 2) 198

They say it can transport about 100 tons. That's not much for a colonization effort. The Mayflower that transported the pilgrims to America was rated at about 180 tons. They could expect to live off the land for the most part whereas whoever takes the trip to Mars will be entirely dependent on what they bring with them. Without help from the natives it's likely that the Mayflower's people would not have done as well if they managed to survive at all. Maybe the Martians will help Musk's colonists.

Well, just like when Musk launched the Autopilot saying this is going to become our self-driving car he's exaggerating quite a bit what it'll do in the short term. It'll be an outpost, sustained by Earth resupplies and the bigger the outpost, the greater the need for resupplies. It'll be a very long time before you hit critical mass where each expansion would make it more self-reliant. It'll mostly be a proof of concept, can we expand the living quarters with on-site materials or do we need domes from earth? Can we generate enough food, water, air, heating and power and so on? The burden on Earth needs to go down, then the size of the outpost can go up.

I expect they'll keep enough emergency supplies and consumables in reserve to survive while they try things out and figure out what works and doesn't. But if it doesn't work, we have to send more supplies and less people or all supplies and no people or in worst case just abandon it. Though I don't really believe that, I mean if they just sit in a bunker and eat canned food like on the ISS it's hard to see any reason why they should be forced to leave. But they also wouldn't really be making any progress towards colonization that way, it'd be just survival. Then again, surviving Mars might in itself be the first step since we haven't actually done that yet either.

Comment Re:nice video, but the launch seems backwards (Score 4, Informative) 198

They show the spaceship being launched first, to be refueled by a drone tanker. Shouldn't the tanker be launched first? Unlike the spaceship, it can wait indefinitely in orbit if the second launch is delayed.

I think that whole segment is full of artistic liberty. I'm sure they'll have reuse and fuel boosters and "quick" turnaround, but the Formula One pit stop where the rocket lands right next to a fuel pod, it is hoisted in place and is ready for liftoff again is fantasy. I'd guessing that logistically they'd always do it backwards with a previously landed and refurbished rocket launching first with the fuel, then if successful a new rocket with people that afterwards lands and it refurbished. But I think it's fair to leave practical details like that out to convey the essence to non-nerds.

Comment Re:Mozilla is wasting money, brains, and time (Score 2) 97

I like Firefox and use it as my primary browser. It's a decent albeit imperfect bit of software. But if Mozilla really wants to make a difference they need to focus on solving actual problems instead of trying to do a second rate version of whatever Google is working on this week. They need to focus on a specific problem and do it really well. They did that for a while with browser software. Time to genuinely focus on something new.

Actually I wish they'd go back and do something old because they had the funds without needing the hype. If there was three things you'd find on any business desktop it was IE, Outlook and Office. One down, two to go. They might have to work on an AD/Exchange too in order to really succeed. I think it's nuts that in 2016 most people still use proprietary tech for simple documents and spreadsheets.

Comment Re:Mozilla is wasting money, brains, and time (Score 2) 97

Yup. They're without a mission. And looking in from the outside, all future/current missions looks like bad plays. IoT will play out like the smart phone thing, and so on.

So, what should they do? Well, you wait until a mission comes. You don't just cast around for one because you have money and the desire. You enhance, solidy, and perfect your current mission. Polish the heck out of FF, and wait for the next thing. It'll likely be adjacent to FF, and having an exceptional product on hand will make that leap easier and more likely to be successful.

They keeping trying to hop onto fads as they start -- like trying to get in on the bottom floor or not miss the boat. Instead, they need to wait for a problem to present itself and fester for a bit so that the ways to fix it are clear. Trying to catch every bandwagon just leaves you exhausted and covered in dust. My bet is that they still feel that "it's win" because they nudged to market towards a freer or opener place or something. But they'll never have impact, nor survive like that....gotta have the big marquee projects and successes also.

Comment Re:Human missions = funding (Score 2) 111

If that was the way the world worked, we'd have Saturn Vs to launch superheavy payloads into space right now. Or for that matter a Shuttle program. Using robots instead of people lets us be small and cost-effective instead of huge, expensive and risk-adverse and you say it like it's a bad thing. Those programs get axed, the staff reassigned and the capabilities lost because we can't even justify the operating/launch cost. To Mars with the SLS would be a one-time gig for human spaceflight, nothing more.

Also, you're wrong about the excitement. Today the landing site will be mapped out by robots in great detail in advance, you can probably do a VR tour long before the actual landing. They won't be explorers landing in the great unknown, they'll be scientists and researchers landing at an outpost. Sure there will be some excitement but it will never peak and pass quick, just read about the end of the Apollo program. And that was riding the high of the moon landing and Apollo 13, A mission to Mars will last too long and be so prepared before the humans arrive it'll never manage to hold the excitement.

Comment Re:And how many (Score 3, Informative) 153

And how many are still running Win 7

Well as of last week StatCounter puts Win7 at 39.46% and Win10 at 24.33% of the desktop OS market share, of course that's not all devices running Win10. But a whole lot and after the free offer ended there's not been much migration at all. I suspect Win7 will be even harder to kill than WinXP and that wasn't easy.

Comment Re:Bit fields (Score 1) 125

that probably would not have made much of a difference. People would have assumed that this would never happen and would have made practical implementation assuming a fixed 32 bit space. By the time it became a practical problem, we would have had a creep of devices that does not follow the norm, and managing that would be a nightmare.

Yes, but it would have put more pressure on the existing user base like Y2K compliance to follow the "full" standard. Right now it's like we're on IPv4, tagged WORKS4ME so why bother with IPv6. But I know I've made many more "shortcuts" than limiting something to 4 billion...

Comment Re:This isn't really that hard to understand (Score 0) 658

Given this, attacking on the basis of "CLIMATE CHANGE" is the absolutely worst approach. The ignorance of your target audience will prompt them to respond contrary to your goals. Instead focus should be placed on the specifics; clean air emissions, water discharge standards, ect... Why? Because these are things people can understand, and they are immediately relevant to them.

You're breathing CO2 right now, it's "only" 0.04% but pretty much anything that is actually toxic would have killed you at those concentrations. The Apollo 13 astronauts remained functional at 2%, even 5% isn't usually fatal and it's actually the absence of oxygen that kills you not the CO2 itself. Not to mention it's essential for photosynthesis so plants grow, it's far from obvious that CO2 emissions are bad for the local environment. Pretty much all the bad things that happen locally are from things that are not CO2, like CO from unclean combustion, NOx and various other particles that get whirled into the air. It's not like humans shy away from a fireplace...

Comment UTF-8 style would have been better (Score 3, Insightful) 125

So the 1992 UTF-8 specification didn't exist when the 1983 IP specification was created, but they could have done:

First 2^31: 0(31)
Next 2^59: 110(29) 10(30)
Next 2^88: 1110(28) 10(30) 10(30)
Next 2^117: 11110(27) 10(30) 10(30) 10(30)

And just declared that for now it's 0(31) - still 2 billion addresses but the sky is the limit. Heck, they might even have used shorts (16 bit) that way and declared that hardware/software should update as the need approached:

First 2^15: 0(15)
Next 2^27: 110(13) 10(14)
Next 2^40: 1110(12) 10(14) 10(14)
Next 2^53: 11110(11) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14)
(...)
Next 2^140: 1111111111111111(0) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14) 10(14)

As for PKI, that couldn't possibly have happened. US export regulations wouldn't have allowed it at the time, this was long before Zimmerman and PGP.

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