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Comment Re:Uhm... (Score 3, Insightful) 311

He is not more truthful than any other head of state. As every head of state before him, he tries to get through his agenda. But differently than many an head of state before, he vastly overestimates his own abilities. So far, all of the prominent election promises he tried to implement were wrecked because the way he tried to implement them didn't work. Maybe he will learn. Maybe he recognizes that there is more to being a president than making bold promises. Maybe he finds out that there is a reality which does not care about ideology but just is as it is. And reality does not change just because the President of the United States watches TV and misunderstands what he sees.

Comment Re: Lots of valuable information... (Score 1) 394

I've also been considering getting a VPN service. I run OpenVPN, in order to get to my home network while away. I've found a service, and one of the VPNs they support is OpenVPN. But I've heard that OpenVPN isn't that great in terms of performance. It doesn't matter now, because I don't push that much traffic through it.

But if the VPN is becoming my default route, performance will be much more important. Which has also let me to realize that I'll probably do somewhat messy routing, letting primary sites go directly out, while "other stuff" goes through the VPN. I don't care if advertisers know I visit Slashdot or Ars Technica, nor if I go to Amazon. It's all of those other links, like non-Amazon shopping or medical searches. Who cares if they watch me downloading OSS to compiler for Gentoo?

Submission + - Why You Should Care About The Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges (consumerist.com)

rmdingler writes: A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase “patent exhaustion” is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it?

Here’s the background: Lexmark makes printers. Printers need toner in order to print, and Lexmark also happens to sell toner.

Then there’s Impression Products, a third-party company makes and refills toner cartridges for use in printers, including Lexmark’s.

Comment Re:That's what happened ... [well...] (Score 1) 226

The holocaust has been investigated, is currently investigated and will be investigated in the foreseeable future.

But that's quite different than just crying "We've been lied too! It never happened!". If you have serious doubts, that's fine. State the doubts, state which specific claims you find doubtful, state, how to investigate the claims and which result would you convince that the claims are actually true. Everything else is just denial, as Henri Poincaré rightfully said: "To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection."

Submission + - Astronomers Observe Supermassive Blackhole Ejected by Gravitational Waves (nasa.gov)

An anonymous reader writes: From NASA:
"Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.

Though there have been several other suspected, similarly booted black holes elsewhere, none has been confirmed so far. Astronomers think this object, detected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a very strong case. Weighing more than 1 billion suns, the rogue black hole is the most massive black hole ever detected to have been kicked out of its central home.
Researchers estimate that it took the equivalent energy of 100 million supernovas exploding simultaneously to jettison the black hole. The most plausible explanation for this propulsive energy is that the monster object was given a kick by gravitational waves unleashed by the merger of two hefty black holes at the center of the host galaxy."
The findings of the study will be published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics on March 30th.

Comment The term "planet" is arbitrary, whatever we define (Score 5, Informative) 150

Originally, the planets (greek: wanderers) were those objects in the sky that didn't remain fixed in the stellar constellations, but actually wandered through them. Thus, Sun and Moon were considered planets too, and besides them, five other objects were constantly visible to the bare eye with no fixed place: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And because they were seven, and seven was considered by the ancient cultures of the Mediterran to be a holy number, everything was fine. (Occasional comets which aren't constantly visible were thus considered shakeups of the celestial order and taken as bad omens.)

And then Ptolemy's geocentric model put Sun and Moon in a special group, because differently than the other planets, they never change direction in the sky, which the others do. Thus, the trajectories of Sun and Moon were easy, while the other planets needed cycles and epicycles to describe. This was one of the reasons, Nicolaus Copernicus came up with the heliocentric model, because then it made sense why Sun and Moon were "circular" wanderers, while the other planets were "epicyclic" wanderers, So, Sun and Moon were no longer considered planets, a position already shaky in the Ptolemian model. But it added Earth as a new planet. Copernicus' system didn't come up with good predictions of the planetary positions though, thus it wasn't widely accepted and even considered heretic by the Catholic Church. Johannes Kepler improved on the predictive power of the Copernican system, but Ptolemy's model was so finely tuned by now that it still was preferred for practical reasons. Galileo Galilei's discovery of the Iovian Moons gave credibility to the Keplerian model, but for navigational and other purposes, Ptolemy was still more exact. And it created a new class of celestial bodies: Suddenly, there wasn't one Moon, there were several moons out there. From a classical point of view, all moons were planets too: no fixed positions within the stellar constellations. At the end of the 17th century, Isaac Newtons Theory of Gravity gave a better model, Ole Roemer's discovery of the Speed of Light added some clues, and finally, the heliocentric model was better at predicting planetary (and lunar) positions than Ptolemy. But then a flood of new discoveries of celestial bodies clouded the view again: Uranus, Ceres and finally Neptune were discovered, and then all the other asteroids circling the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Somehow the size of the Earth moon was used as a cut-off: Everything larger than the Moon circling the Sun was considered a planet, everything else an asteroid (which literally means "star like"). It was as arbitrary as anything else, but the Moon was close by and well studied, so for practical purposes, it made sense.

When Pluto was discovered, it became planetary status, because at first, its size could not be determined from direct observation, only because of the brightness (15 mag), it was at first considered to be Earth sized. So it got the planetary status. Later there were better pictures with larger resolution, and the estimated size shrank down to ~2500 km in diameter, and in the same way, the estimated reflectiveness (albedo) increased, so in the 1980ies, Pluto was considered a "dirty snowball", consisting mainly of water ice mixed with planetary rock. Thus the cut-off point "Moon size" was crossed, and doubts about Pluto's nature as a planet arised. It was speculated that it was a former Neptune moon losing its orbit. And when the next transneptunian objects were discovered, like Eris, with about the same size than Pluto, the whole "what is a planet" question became virulent. Simple enumeration as in "The planets are those nine celestial objects we call Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto" didn't work anymore, and a meaningful definition which included Pluto, but not too many other newly discovered objects, wasn't readily available.

Comment Re:Self-incriminating password. (Score 1) 517

I believe the legal counter to this which is slowly starting to emerge is 'We're not ordering you to divulge your password. We're ordering you to decrypt the drive. We quite specifically don't want, or need, your password, nor do we care if the drive is encrypted with a passphrase, biometrics, physical token, whatever. We're just ordering you to decrypt it.'

Much like your 'papers' are immune to unreasonable search and seizure, but are subject to reasonable search and seizure, i.e. with a duly sworn out warrant and all that, so are your digital papers. I think this is the correct result.

I believe that, if the cops find a file in a locked file cabinet, said file being labelled 'Plans to murder my wife' and full of, well, plans to murder your wife, you don't get to have them declared inadmissible under the fifth; you get to refuse to answer questions like 'did you create these plans' and 'did you carry out these plans.' Seems to me that a directory full of documents, said directory being labelled 'plans to kill my wife' would be treated the same.

Comment Re:Opposite effect of that intended (Score 1) 319

And part of the modern tribalism problems are because Europeans drew some lines on a map and said 'This is now a country, surely you two tribes that have been in conflict for countless years can now just get along, yeah?'

Note that Europeans have done this to themselves; WW2 was a direct result of this sort of crap after WW1.

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