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Comment "NASAfacts" are unfortunately rather vague (Score 3, Interesting) 81

The NASA press release talks more about how rockets are loud and how the camera power cable came unplugged than how the camera works.

The most I've found so far is the short .pdf at NASA, which suggests they're either rolling their own HDR sensor or modding someone else's HDR video camera:

Camera exposure will instead be controlled at the chip/pixel level and then integrated into a high-speed video camera. The resulting HDR capability will be easier to install and operate within the SSC test stands because the entire system will be contained within a single camera; this is a completely revolutionary and innovative means to generate HDR capability with high-speed video when compared with the labor-intensive steps associated with the careful alignment required when multiple cameras are used to generate similar imaging results.

Note that an HDR video camera is not in and of itself particularly "revolutionary and innovative", and there's no indication of how the NASA camera might differ from existing offerings (higher frame rate? better dynamic range? more "scientific-ness!"?). But when fighting for budget the more clickbait one's research generates the easier it is to convince a politician to fund it - so everything becomes "revolutionary." (This is the science and engineering PR version of the music industry's "loudness war.")

Anyway, revolutionary or not, the rocket is big and the pictures are pretty.

"Game Changing Comment Uses Disruptive Technologies Based On Emerging Advances To Bring Revolutionary Full Stack Vacuity To Slashdot."

Comment Cass "Cognitive Infiltration" Sunstein (Score 1) 121

This is the same man who proposed infiltrating and attacking any groups that dared think something of which his government didn't approve.

Although as a deeply-connected member of the Obama Administration, I'd have to agree that, at least when it comes to his own efforts at governance, "Human beings often see coherence and planned design when neither exists."

Anyone who's ever worked for George understands George himself was, however unconsciously, the model for both Darth Vader and the Emperor. Frightening but revealing that Sunstein would use this - a ruthless dictator who in truth has neither coherence nor a plan - as his template for constitutional government.

Comment Remember this event when listening to any US claim (Score 1) 231

This level of evidentiary "certainty" is what's used all the time by the U.S. to justify killing thousands with drones, or millions in war. It's merely easier in this case to recognize the claims as being laughably - or perhaps disturbingly - false.

What's even more frightening than the idea the U.S. would conduct an act of war just to save a large corporation from some bad PR is the realization the people doing this are either too clueless to know how obvious is their charade or they're too deranged or too honey badger to care.

I suppose one could go for the clueless deranged honey badger (with WMD) trifecta.

But as long as lies distract people from talking about CIA torture, Wall St. crimes and economic collapse, and anything else meaningful, and direct Americans' desire for accountability and punishment away from powerful people and onto shadowy phantoms...then the lies have worked.

Comment The NK story was cover to protect Sony (and NSA) (Score 5, Insightful) 282

Of course North Korea didn't attack Sony. Asking "Did North Korea really attack Sony?" is like asking "Does NORAD really track Santa?"

The North Korea story was spin to save Sony from the devastating bad publicity about the depths of their business and technological incompetence. (The politicians who defended them will get repaid for this favor during the next election cycle. My previous comment about this from last week: They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!")

The Dear Leader Of The Free World announcing "don't blame poor Sony, they were helpless victims of the evil North Koreans" totally changed the media story, saving Sony huge $$$ in both public perception and future lawsuits.

But just how America's President and trillion-dollar national security state could get things so wrong - but should always be trusted when saying who's bad and deserves to be killed, like some kind of psycho-Santa delivering death from his sleigh filled with drones - will never be questioned.

Businesses and politicians will never stop lying when it works this well.

Merry Christmas.

Comment The bogus NK claim protects Sony (and NSA) (Score 1) 236

The Sony hack is just a simple case of incompetent corporate management and the lengths to which big-money donors and their political friends will go to protect themselves and advance their own ends.

By claiming this is all North Korea (the best Korea!)'s doing, what was initially lose-lose (Sony burns their multi-billion-dollar business to the ground, and the NSA gets exposed for not having any ability to stop it or even give warning) is now suddenly win-win (Sony gets to portray itself as a helpless victim and thus no liability, and NSA gets to argue for even more spying).

Sure makes it easier to avoid bad press and expensive lawsuits when the President himself comes out and tells the world "It wasn't Sony's fault."

(I bet that will be worth a lot come campaign contribution time. Sort of the Hollywood version of how Obama sold all Americans to the health businesses, in exchange for their support and donations to D's.)

And the Rahm Emanuel playbook - "Never let a good crisis go to waste" - is still clearly in use in D.C. Instead of people demanding to know "why didn't the outrageously expensive and unconstitutional NSA surveillance of every American (and the whole world) protect anyone against this?" the political spin can now be "see, this is why we need restrictions on everyone's use of the Internet."

(As an amusing political side note, even though the Republicans are well aware North Korea had nothing to do with this, and are seething at how the Democrats will be able to use Obama's move for huge amounts of Hollywood support in 2016, the R's can't say a damn thing - because if they do they end up looking like they're defending North Korea!)

But it is impressive the level of influence some people have. "Tell Obama we need him to hold a press conference and say our negligence and malfeasance that destroyed our company wasn't our fault."

They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!"

Who knows, maybe someone will even dig up from the Archives that patriotic old WWII song "Good Old Sony."

Comment A lesson with perhaps unintended consequences (Score 1) 644

Never ejaculate anywhere near America.

At least, not without your lawyer present. ;-)

To be safe, your lawyer and all parties involved should probably be male.

(I wonder if this court recognizes their attempt to defend heterosexual reproduction is also indirectly championing gay sex? I guess it's a reproductive politics version of the "dropping a cat with an open-face peanut butter sandwich on its back" paradox.)

"Kansas Welcomes You And Reminds You Of The Severe Consequences Of Non-Homosexual Sex"

Comment Hardware vs. software implementation...of slavery (Score 2) 464

You see, the easiest slave to control is one who doesn't realize he's a slave.

"Totalitarian" governments control their populations physically, with chains, clubs, physical restriction. "Democracies" control their populations mentally, with imagery, thoughts, mental restriction.

They're both the same process - one implemented in hardware, the other in software.

Comment Land of the Free Range (Score 1) 464

Well said. History is just the cognitive version of those hagiographic paintings rulers like to put up in the palace.

And as far as "Land of the Free," there's free as in speech, free as in beer, and free as in range. Americans are "free" in that final sense: "Land of the Free Range."

Hey, at least we're waking up.

"When we said 'We the People,' we didn't mean you."

Comment Re:Google's first try got the age algorithm wrong (Score 1) 157

Nope, stopped reading reddit long ago after discovering the mods' penchant for silently censoring comments and entire story threads they didn't like.

That the original Doodle might have accurately depicted poor-but-industry-accepted COBOL coding practices (i.e., approving and committing code where the program logic is wrong but the result of the calculation may still appear correct if an invisible dependency on a separate section of the program happens to work out in the programmer's favor) is either deeply nuanced, deeply disturbing, or both. ;-)

(Showing enough COBOL to correctly calculate age-in-years would make for a verrrry long Doodle.)

Comment Google's first try got the age algorithm wrong (!) (Score 2) 157

The first version of this Doodle got the algorithm to compute age wrong (!). The original version of the Doodle used the COBOL expression

SUBTRACT CurrentYear FROM BirthYear GIVING Age

which actually computes the negative of the age (for most people born after Christ, anyway).

I wondered whether this might be a nod to her pioneering work in software debugging, as also referenced in the flying moth at the end of the animation, but since Google has since corrected the bug, it seems even the mighty Google still sometimes commits the simplest of programming errors. (Right on their main page and logo, too. Oooops. I suppose there's also the view that the code was wrong because it was a woman doing the coding. You misogynist Google bastards.)

Whatever the reason, happy birthday and many thanks to Amazing Grace.

(full disclosure: I submitted this as a story overnight, but since it didn't get picked up, it seemed too funny to let it completely slip into the ether.)

Submission + - Google Doodle Honoring Grace Hopper Has A Real Code Bug (google.com)

Eternal Vigilance writes: Today's Google Doodle honoring the 107th birthday of computer pioneer Grace Hopper has a bug (no, it's a feature!) in the COBOL algorithm to calculate age. The animated gif uses the expression "SUBTRACT CurrentYear FROM BirthYear GIVING Age" — but since CurrentYear >= BirthYear that actually calculates the negative of the person's age. Whether this bug is truly a bug, or a subtle reference in code to go along with the animated bug at the end of the doodle celebrating Hopper's popularizing of the word that is both the bane and job security of the world's programmers, the doodle doesn't calculate. Perhaps this is as close as we get in COBOL to a joke (there's your setup, +5 Funny people).

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