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Comment Strange swarm behavior (Score 2) 220

We've seen strange swarm behavior here in Southern California the past two years. Anecdotes follow:

Last year, we had a swarm that probably lost its Queen (or didn't have one to begin with). They maintained a big ball in the tree for nearly four months, gradually all dying off. They made no honeycomb, just a few weird strands of propolis. In the past, when swarms failed to form a new hive, they didn't continue to go and harvest pollen and function like a hive, but all died off much more rapidly.

This year, we had a swarm ball up in a tree mid-afternoon. They hadn't found a hive by the next morning. By the next evening, they were all falling to the ground and writhing as if poisoned or something. By the second day, there were just heaps of dead bees all around the garden.

I don't claim to be any expert (although my Dad kept several hives when I was a kid). Still, I haven't seen this before. I don't know the cause of either phenomenon.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say. (Score 1) 117

When I first saw the pictures (and didn't know who was piloting) I was not surprised. A lot of weekends that (or another similar) yellow PT-22 has been hotdogging over Mar Vista - flying too low and being overly exuberant with wing waggles.

I'm in the Mar Vista "return path" area south of KSMO, and about a year ago, I tried phoning the FAA when he (or a similar PT-22) flew at about half the altitude that the normal traffic uses. Engine was backfiring and really making a hell of a noise. Not surprisingly, FAA wasn't interested. After all, I'm just estimating elevation (true), I'm not a professional pilot (true), and there are a lot of spurious complaints (not true in this case).

Apropos Surfridge ... good luck clearing West Los Angeles. I don't have major objections to the air traffic, but when someone flies low enough to shake my house on the turn-around, it makes me want to join one of the anti groups.

Comment Re:More ambiguous cruft (Score 1) 514

Yeah, as I understood it, the objection is that it forces farmers to buy seeds yearly. That's fine in a first world economy, but subsistence farmers need to be able to re-seed with their own crop yield. Many of them may never see enough cash to buy seeds in the first place, but there was concern about "first crop is free!" type promotions.

I don't know how realistic the concerns were in this particular case, but the history of companies like Nestle and their milk formula scheme is enough to give pause to a lot of people.

Comment Awwwww crap (Score 1) 211

This has me more concerned than some of the other recent bugs, primarily because it's so easy to exploit by script kiddies.

Plus, there are huge, vast, barely conceivable numbers of network-attached embedded devices that use the gethostbyname() call. What percentage of these are remotely update-able? What percentage of these will have their firmware re-flashed?

This one seems like it gives black-hats the ideal way to get a swarm army of (relatively) weak and/or dumb devices. Yet even these weak, dumb devices should be sufficient to set up warrens of ssh tunnels, nodes for DDoS attacks, etc.


Comment Re:360K already double-sided (Score 1) 173

No, I had a Teac DSDD drive on my TRS-80 Model I. I had to build a custom disk controller to support it though. This was in '80, so it predated the IBM PC by about a year and a half. Also, the PC used soft sectors, didn't it? The TRS-80 drive controllers were all hard sector.

I also had a Shugart 35-track SSDD drive, if I remember correctly.

It's obviously been a while, but I remember 35 track hard sector SSSD, 40 track hard sector SSSD, 40 track hard sector SSDD, and the brilliant Holy Grail of 40 track DSDD.

Comment Re:Missing option: CNC Router (Score 1) 175

ABS melts at around 200F, not 200C. But even at 100F you'll find that a lot of plastic structures lose their integrity. And it they're load bearing in any way, they're goners. PLA has a higher melt temperature, and Nylon higher still. You might be able to get away with those.

Still, aluminum! brass! wood! soap! er ... wax! ... er ... well, I dunno. I just like the idea of a diversity of material to work with. If I had more cash, I'd have both a 3D printer *and* a CNC router. And if I had even more? A full on 4+ axis CNC mill!

Comment Missing option: CNC Router (Score 1) 175

I will have one of these soon.

It will work on materials other than soft plastics and nylon (e.g., wood, brass, aluminum), so it will be usable for fabricating real parts that can withstand temperatures like southern California car dashboards.

The downside is that the affordable ones are 3 axis, so you can't have overhang in parts. With clever use of zeroing and flipping the part, you can mitigate that somewhat.

I guess if I was willing to cast in metals, a standard 3D printer would be OK. Print in wax, make a mold, and cast. But that seems like a lot more work than its worth for most of the things I want to fab up.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 79

Someone wanted to deliver content via webserver and then sue people who received this delivery as violating copyright?


They seem to be saying that, in addition to displaying the content on your screen, your browser also writes a copy into its cache, and that's two copies.

I wonder what they'd say of, say, a RAID1 file system, which makes two copies of the cached page, on two different disks. Would that mean two violations of the copyright? And if, after sending it from the screen to your eyes, the information in your brain is a third violation?

It's even worse. From the copy on the screen, each of your eyes makes another copy on its retina.

And on the technical side, all the routers temporarily put the data into a buffer. So it causes one extra copyright infringement for every router the data passes.

Comment Re:Wait (Score 1) 153

Less than 1% of the electricity generated in the US is from oil. Solar and Wind only generate electricity.
So well under 1% of all oil is used to generate electrical power. It was less the 2% of all oil in 2004 and has gone down to under 1% of the oil used in the US.

What you say may be true. As non-American I'm not terribly interested in the details of the American energy mix. Indeed, before that post, I couldn't even know which county you are from, so even with perfect knowledge of the American energy mix I could not have decided on the truth of that statement.

But your definition of "stupid" is wrong. "Stupid" is not the same as "uninformed", "misinformed" or "wrong".

And you just flunked your skeptic and critical thinking test.

There was no critical thinking test. I didn't make any statement about the energy situation of the US or any other country. I only made a statement about your use of "stupid".

1. You assumed you knew the truth.

I didn't assume to know the truth of the statement. I did (and still do) assume I know the truth about the meaning of "stupid". And your use of that word doesn't fit that meaning.

2. You failed to question the truth.

OK, I indeed didn't consult a dictionary (but I'm convinced you didn't either). Well, let's do now (I omit the pronounciation and ethymology parts):

stupid I a: slow of mind: obtuse b: given to unwise decisions or actions 2: dulled in feeling or sensation 3: marked by or resulting from dullness: senseless (a stupid mistake) 4: dreary, boring (a stupid plot) [Source: Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary]

None of those fits your use of stupid.

3. spouted off without doing any research.

Yes, I did not do any research on the meaning of "stupid". Nor did you, apparently.

4. You trusted without question those that told you that Solar and Wind would reduce our dependence on foreign oil when it is less than 1% of our oil use.

Does not apply. I didn't make a statement about wind and solar energy, I made a statement about your use of "stupid".

5. I am willing to bet that you are proud of your critical thinking skills and consider yourself an enlightened skeptic yet you showed none of those skills.

While I do think I have some critical thinking skills, I certainly didn't need to use them on your comment. Basic language knowledge was sufficient. In that sense I agree that I didn't show any critical thinking skills in my reply, because there was no critical thinking skill needed or sufficient.

You better think about what your answer says about your critical thinking skills.

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Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce