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Comment Wow. Mix and Match -Anything- (Score 2) 170

So you can run Unity in Windows.

"Now it looks like you can even load Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment, making windows 10 look like Ubuntu."

First off, isn't that kind of like buying a Ferrari rag top and driving it around with reins and a buggy whip?

Second off, why on Earth would anyone want to inflict Unity on Windows. I don't much care for Windows, but have a heart!

Comment Jeremy Clarkson lampooned the vehicle (Score 1) 596

That episode may have annoyed Elon Musk, but it annoyed me too.

The essence of Jeremy's complaint was that the Roadster didn't get close to the advertised range and then made disparaging comments about running out of charge on the way to the Pub.

Except that he was driving the thing on a track at the time, and trying for "best time" laps. Does anyone think that comes close to "normal motorway driving?"

Jeremy, I -hope- you don't drive like that on the way to the pub.

Apologies for a bit off topic.

Comment It's not Big Brother (Score 4, Insightful) 314

Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are neither the oppressive arm of Government nor are they idiots.

They are, however, profoundly ignorant of how things work in the real (non-Beltway) world. They are of the same ilk that cannot understand that email kept on a small private server (small target) with a staff that gives a damn is quite likely a lot more secure than on a "secured government server."

They must be thinking, "the company will provide a back door and keep it secret." What a great concept. Unfortunately that idea belongs to a world where it took a whole government and a bevy of codebreakers to crack a simple substitution code - the Enigma codes. Today, a single hacker can put together thousands of cpu core resources to attack any system. If there exists a back door, if there is any way into an encrypted system, some 14 year old in Romania or Great Britian (or China!) will find it. Consider the fact that the FBI hired such to go after in iPad, and the thing was compromised in short order.

And lest we think that this is a good thing, so that governments can go after terrorists, let me pose a question on a personal level: "How big is your bank account? Would you mind if you woke up some morning and found it empty?"

There are thousands of terror targets and probably tens of thousands of would-be terrorists. There are quite literally billions of targets in the private sector. It won't make the even news for very long if Mr. Smith gets cleaned out, but to Mr. Smith it may seem pretty terrible.

And there is a worse side: Let's say that the government requires back doors everywhere. Does that mean that terrorists are going to give up and throw up their hands figuratively? Hell, no. Any competent programmer can come up with an encryption scheme not known to the government, perhaps with vulnerabiilities which are also unknown to the government. The good guys (Us!) have opened our bank accounts to the script kiddies, and the bad guys will go right on using strong encryption. The government will be right back where they are now, having to hire a hacker to break that encryption.

We will have given up the keys to our doors without putting a small dent in terrorism.

Not a good choice, imo.

Comment Only Outlaws will Have Encryption (Score 5, Informative) 156

You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

For those of you who don't remember, the software got classified as a munition, people who sold it could be arrested as arms trafficers. Downloads instantly moved from US servers to those in Finland (and elsewhere) and the end result was a big spectacular nothing.

Calmer heads prevailed, in the long run.

The technology is out there, the knowledge of how to do encryption is impossible to stuff back into the bottle.

Comment Re:details, details (Score 1) 91

I agree, Using the terms "exploded on landing" is PressSpeak, "If it Bleeds, It Leads".

Having said that, the landing legs sort of have to work.

What do you suppose the time frame is for "successful landing" ? If they stick then landing, and a typhoon dumps the booster in the drink, do you suppose the reporters will say "Booster Sank in Ocean while Trying to Land" ?

Comment Storage Well (Score 2, Interesting) 292

So this is a storage well for natural gas, right.

Is that anything like the proposed storage wells for captured carbon dioxide? Sequestering billions of tons of carbon dioxide in undrerground in deep wells so it doesn't get into the atmosphere and cause trouble?

Methane is lighter than air and disperses quickly -- in fact it goes to the upper atmosphere where it causes the problems that it causes. So this light gas which isn't particularly toxic hangs around long enough for it's impurities to force the evacuation of 1700 homes. Now what would happen if a CO2 storage facility would have a similar blowout, of a gas that is very heavy and creeps along the ground and kills people in houses (and livestock) instead of just stinking them out?

And unlike nuclear waste that is dangerous for thousands of years, carbon dioxide is deadly forever.

Is it really such a great idea to consider storage and capture?

Comment Ministry of Sabotage (Score 2) 118

Frank Herbert wrote a series of novels and short stories about a future in which the Government had become efficient, and because of that, sorely oppressive. In order to restore basic freedoms, a Ministry of Sabotage was instituted, whose job it was to throw wrenches into Government projects, especially ones that intruded into the basic freedoms of the populace.

Edward Snowden comes to mind...

Comment That's how Science Works (Score 5, Insightful) 294

It is unfortunate that in this day and age, it is necessary to explain how science works, and why it is different from other belief systems.

First science is a belief system. The fundamental axiom of science is that an objective reality exists, is independent of the observer, and that by investigation, truths about that reality can be discovered.

What makes it work is that progress in science depends critically on getting it wrong. A couple hundred years ago, people were looking at fire (Fire's Cool), and wondering how it works. Deep thinkers thought deeply about it, and came up with a hypothesis: There was this stuff, phlogiston, that escaped into the air and that was why fire burned, and why stuff that burned mostly disappeared. Good theory.

Then some pesky scientists - who were trying to put numbers to how much phlogiston was in different things - discovered that if you sealed up stuff, so air couldn't get in or out, and burned something, the weight was exactly the same. Hmm. The scientists first concluded that they had captured phlogiston. Great, let's figure ot what it is. Except that burning different things, led to different kinds of phlogiston. The science was a little wrong.

New experiments brought new results. Burning magnesium led to a weight gain, not a loss, so maybe it captured phlogiston. If that were true, then the ash (calx) should burn, right? More phlogiston! Except that it would not. More problems.

To shorten what could be a very long story, in 1774 or thereabouts, two scientists separately and independently came up with a more correct explanation, something to do with oxygen. In 200 years, their explanation has not yet been found to be fundamentally wrong.

Science moves forward by being wrong. A theory is presented, scientists test it's limits, and if there are things that are wrong, they are made better. The process repeats. Every time a mistake is found, every time science is wrong, it gets better. It's like a fine wine, it improves with age. Also, like a fine wine, it is not democratic. The fact that a whole lot of people seem to prefer that Thunder-stuff wine, does not make it a fine wine. The fact that a lot of people disagree with a scientific principle does not make it wrong, just unpopular.

Why is so much science wrong? Well, Homer, that's how it works.

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