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Comment Re:Only fatal if it kills someone (Score 1) 38

It depends. If the device uses bluetooth, then the proprietary commands could be reversed engineered and an app be put together. Imagine sitting next to someone while changing settings on their pacemaker. You get up and leave, and five minutes later the person dies. The chances of someone putting 2 and 2 together are slim, and even if they remembered you, you're just another guy on his smartphone. If the device uses a proprietary communications protocol on another part of the radio spectrum, then a transciever box would be needed to access the medical device. Such a box can be built, but it would be more noticable and would require someone with specialized knowledge. Then, common methods would be cheaper and easier to use.

Comment Re:A simple truth: (Score 3, Informative) 316

The Lehigh Valley (Allentown/Bethlehem) had one of the first Cable Companies -- Service Electric, founded around 1948 if I remember correctly. The Lehigh Valley had a hard time receiving signals from Philly, New York City, or Scranton/Wilkes Barre because of the mountains, so antennas were put on top of the mountain(s) and the signals from NYC, Philly, and Scranton/Wilkes Barre were re-transmitted. When we first got cable (around 1970) that is all it was. Then around late 1972 or early 1973 Service Electric started offering a new pay service - Home Box Office. A special box was required to receive it because it was placed on a cable channel between channels 6 and 7 (some TVs could had tuners that could receive HBO). A few years later, they began scrambling HBO, and added Cinemax, PRISM, and The Disney Channel (the original version) -- all scrambled. By the late 70's news channels (the forerunners to CNN) began appearing, and by the 80's Nickelodeon, MTV, and other channels began appearing, all on the new cable channels. The pay channels (HBO, Skinamax, PRISM, etc.) were commercial free, but the other "premium" channels always had commercials, but not in the quantities that we have them today.

Comment Re: Fiat currency is doomed! Doomed I say! (Score 1) 388

Deflation happens when there is not enough disposable income to support prices. This happened during the early 1930's during the great depression when unemployment was rampant and there were no "safety net" programs. FDR was able to stimulate the economy with programs such as the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the NRA (National Recovery Act) which put men to work doing public works projects. The economy didn't truly rebound until WW2 when idle factories were put to work producing materials for the war.

We are in a similar situation today, except that we have social programs and instead of no jobs, many good paying jobs are being replaced by low-paying part time work. Easy credit has allowed certain sectors of the economy to jump up in price (Student Loans, Housing, etc.), but eventually the loans will come due and the piper must be paid. So far the piper has been paid by expanding the national debt (4 Trillion in 2000, almost 19 Trillion now), but eventually that train will be derailed. A boat load of cash may have been created in these last 10 years, but it has not gone to the middle class to stimulate the overall economy.

Comment Re:People have no idea what their elevation is (Score 1) 172

I don't believe it is a crock -- most people know roughly what their elevation is -- if not Google is your friend. I grew up around Allentown (actually Macungie) and I knew it was around 400 ft back in the '70s, long before Google was even a thought. I now live in Louisville, KY (Ohio RIver Valley) and we are at 550-600 ft above sea level depending where you are (I'm closer to 600 ft). For y'all who think in Metric, that's 122 meters, 168 meters, and 183 meters, rounded.

Comment Speed is good, but what about range? (Score -1, Redundant) 410

Electric motors are efficient as far as speed, but IMHO the Achilles's heel of electric cars is the range on a charge along with the ease and speed of charging the vehicle. I'd hate to be motoring down the Autobahn at 130-140 mph and run out of battery. A gasoline or diesel powered car has a range of 300-500 miles (depending on speed, engine efficiency, and size of tank), so assuming a 1/2 full or better tank, running out of fuel after 80-100 miles is not an issue. Even if the tank is low, it is easy to find a station and fill up in a few minutes, then get back on the road.

Comment Re:I want a Delorean (Score 1) 443

DeLoreans can go fast, it just takes a little while to get that fast -- the stock engine wasn't the greatest. Interesting trivia fact from Back to the Future -- the DeLorean speedometer actually only goes to 85 MPH, like all cars made back in the 80's (federal law). The 95 mph speedometer in the DeLorean in BTTF was custom made for the movie so that 88 mph wasn't "faster than the speedometer went."

Comment Re:missing the obvious (Score 1) 443

The other problem with electric cars is the range. 60 to 100 miles is fine for a commuter vehicle (for most commuters), but is no good for longer distances. So far, battery technology has not been able to create an all electric car with the range and recharge convenience of a gasoline, diesel, or natural gas vehicle. Find a way to solve this problem and get the cost down, then the electric car will be practical.

Comment Re:You couldn't learn all that in high school (Score 1) 632

When I was in High School (graduated 1981) in Pennsylvania, we (the High School) had access at school to the Lehigh University using an old paper tape reading terminal at 300 baud. We were able to write and run BASIC programs using this set up. We also had a TRS-80 (the original model) in the "computer" room. Granted, this was a fairly limited setup, but I'm sure if our High School was able to get access to a University system, then so could other High Schools.

We were lucky to have a computer savvy math teacher and a High School that was willing to purchase computer time from Lehigh.

I was able to afford a Radio Shack EC-4000 (rebranded TI-57 calculator) - did lots of "programming" on it. I always wanted a TI-59, but was unable to afford it. A classmate of mine had a TI-58.

 

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The Fuel Cost of Obesity 285

thecarchik writes "America loves to complain about gas mileage and the cost of gasoline. As it turns out, part of the problem is us. How much does it really matter? A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 1.1 percent increase in self-reported obesity, which translates into extra weight that your vehicle has to haul around. The study estimates that 1 billion extra gallons of fuel were needed to compensate for passenger weight gained between 1960 and 2002."

Comment Re:Why not high school? (Score 1) 1138

WWII brought the U.S. out of the Great Depression not only because jobs were created making bombs, guns, planes, tanks, etc., but because by the end of 1945, most of Europe's and Japan's factories were destroyed or in bad shape due to bombing, while factories in the U.S. were untouched. This lead to the economic boom in here in the States during the 1950's and 60's. We rebuilt the destroyed factories in Europe and Japan with the Marshall plan, so by the 1970's Europe and Japan had new factories, while the U.S. was still using the same factories built in the late 19th and early 20th century. This was one (of many) reasons why so many factories and mills closed in the 1970's and beyond.

When I was growing up, a guy from my parent's generation could graduate High School and get a job with Bethlehem Steel, G.E., or any number of companies, and have a "job for life." Those jobs payed well enough to raise a family, buy a house, a car, and maybe a toy (like a boat or R.V.) on one salary. Now those jobs (and many of those companies) are gone, and everything is made in China.

Not everyone is College material, but College is required for almost any job. I'll get off my soapbox now.

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Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."

Comment Re:hey, it beats (Score 1) 545

I'll second you on that. Every one of my Daughter's friends has Limewire installed on their computers, and I'm sure their parents use it too. When I clean up their computers, the culprit is usually something that was downloaded from there. I see the usual songs that I would expect teenagers (and younger) to download, but I also see a lot of stuff from the '70s and '80s. Those are most likely downloaded by (or for) Mom and Dad, but on the other hand, I see kids wearing copies of tee-shirts and listening to music that were popular back when I was in High School and College (Pink Floyd, Rush, etc.), so those songs might not all be from/for the parents.

Personally, I use uTorrent (micro torrent) or Frostwire once in a great while, but that is just me.

Comment Re:Okay, You Have the Floor (Score 2, Informative) 507

I'm not sure how it works everywhere, when my Daughter went to High School here in Louisville, KY., the band had to pay for the music they used on the field and in competition. The band director went through an organization that supplied the sheet music, made sure that the show purchased was not being used by any other band in any of the shows we were going to compete in, and made sure we had the right music for the instruments we were using. For our size band (50 to 75) students, the cost of the show we used in the 2008-09 school year was somewhere between $2500 and $3500. The cost of the show varies by popularity and band size. Our band organization foots the bill (read band fees and fund raisers) since the schools do not provide any funds to speak of. The cost of the show includes any and all performance fees, so in the end, yes, we are paying performance fees. A High School Band, costs a lot of money, especially if the band is big, and the suppliers of the music make sure that they get their cut.

Comment Re:BILLY MAYS HERE... (Score 1) 523

If we allow Star Trek type replicators to copy cars, then before you know it GM and Chrysler will go bankrupt, then before you know it Billy Mays will die. We can't allow that to happen. Wait, what's that....

Never mind. Instead of changing with the times, our pals at the MAFIAA (BSA has honorary membership) has to create another joke video instead. Oh, well...

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