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Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 1) 424

Yeah, seems everyone took out their camera that night to film either the rising fireball or the celebrations about it ;) The rebels have tried several times to assault it in the past but always been beaten back. Reports on why it exploded are conflicting; one early report suggested that a helicopter full of explosives crashed on a warehouse in the complex. Firefighters from Assad-controlled areas all over Aleppo were called in because the al-Safirah fire department was overwhelmed, but they couldn't get close due to the intensity of the flames and risk of further explosions. A number of people living in the vicinity of the factories were admitted to the hospital on poisoning symptoms from the fumes.

It's now an open question as to how much they're going to be able to salvage and get back in operation; no question that's going to be top priority for them at this point.

Comment Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 104

Sure, but unless you've developed a superconducting substrate, or come up with a reliable, efficient 3D cooling system, or are willing to run the 3D transistors only at very low speed/power, you're going to run into serious heat dissipation problems.

Back then I was proposing a diamond semiconductor - supported and powered by water-cooled silver busbars. Diamond is extremely conductive thermally. The bandgap is 5.5V, corresponding to the deep ultraviolet, so you can run it very hot without fouling the electrical properties (though you have to keep; it below 752 F or it will gradually degrade.) I'd want to put it in a bottle with an inert atmosphere so it wouldn't oxidize at high temperature, either.

The flip side of the big bandgap is that it consumes more energy - and generates more heat - when switching than current silicon designs which run at about a third that voltage.

These days I'd probably go for layers of graphine, which conducts heat even better than diamond.

With a rectangular solid you can get a LOT of transistors (and their interconnects) into a few cubic feet. The original proposal was for a six-foot cube - 216 cubic feet. Powering and cooling on two faces gives you 72 square feet of heat and power transfer serice, with 432 square feet on the other two faces for optical I/O fibers. Nowadays I'd take a page from Gene Amdahl and go a tad smaller: so, like the 1960s-era cabinets for IBM compter components, the block of logic and its supporting structures would fit into a standard elevator.

Comment Re:Wrong case for 4th amend, Customs can search (Score 1) 278

The cited article is a little ambiguous. The author refers to a "DHS officer". At no point is "TSA" mentioned.
The DHS includes both the TSA and US Customs, so it may very well have been a customs agent doing the searching.
The photo in the article is of a US Customs document and refers to "CBP officers" (Customs & Border Protection).

Submission + - Trump GOP convention infringed copyright for at least seven songs (theimproper.com)

Paul Fernhout writes: According to Keith Girard, writing for The Improper Magazine, "Donald Trump, the self-pronounced "law and order" candidate, stole at least seven classic rock songs used by his campaign during the GOP convention, infuriating the artists who own the rights to them."

Obviously, "stole" is a loaded word when talking about copyright infringement... Might this indicate a Trump administration could by sympathetic to reducing the scope and duration of copyright?

Comment What took them so long? (Score 1) 104

The report adds that processors could still continue to fulfill Moore's Law with increased vertical density.

What took them so long?

I've been pointing out that a three-dimensional arrangement off components could continue FAR longer than an essentially single-layer arrangements since at least the 1970s.

Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 1) 424

Oh, and I don't want to sound like the coalition hasn't done anything bad. They've actually had their worst incident in quite some time (perhaps the worst during this entire conflict) during the SDF siege of Manbij, after misidentifying a crowd as fleeing Daesh fighters; they killed dozens of civilians (including a number of children), with some reports over 80. That was about a week ago. Much of the Syrian opposition issued a unified demand that they stop the bombing (even though they're also fighting Daesh). They've long been very uncomfortable with how close the coalition is working with the SDF (Kurds, primarily) - they accuse the Kurds of ethnic cleansing arab villages in order to build "Rojava" (their Kurdish state in Syria)

I'm trying to think of the last time they specifically hit a hospital however. They recently captured the hospital in Manbij, but it wasn't bombed in the process.

(Honestly, if you asked the opposition the worst thing they'd done, the NySA would probably argue that it was abandoning them right as the assault on Al-Bukamal began, in order to pursue the Daesh convoy fleeing from Fallujah... they and their sleeper cells really got slaughtered because of that one)

Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 5, Informative) 424

I follow the Syrian conflict very closely and there's a new hospital or clinic hit by airstrikes about once a week on average... sometimes more, sometimes less. It's not always clear which airforce (Syrian or Russian) is doing it, but more often than not when the distinction can be determined it's Russian. There was a multiple clinic hit in Idlib about a week ago, while an ambulance was hit in Aleppo 4 days ago.

It's really a meat grinder over there :(

A lot of the time the hits on civilian targets are accidental. Sometimes they're on purpose. Most of what Russia uses, and virtually all of what the Syrian air force uses, are "dumb bombs". For the past month the vast majority of Russia's air power has been directed at north Aleppo (Handaraat / al-Mallah, primarily), so there's been a great amount of white phosphorus and cluster bombs, but in denser-populated areas near Castello Road they use a lot more high explosives. So there's a lot of potential for accidental hits. On the other hand, in many cases it's hard to interpret the attacks as anything but deliberate attacks, particularly on hospitals that are treating wounded rebels - multiple hits on the same target, targets with no conflict in the immediate area, with no obvious targets of value nearby, etc. They do a lot of "double tap" hits on them as well.

Just in case anyone isn't aware... this isn't "ISIS" that they're focusing on. Daesh (ISIS) doesn't exist in Aleppo, let alone Idlib (further), let alone Latakia (even further), let alone the freaking Jordanian border which they've been bombing recently much to the anger of the Pentagon (whose "New Syrian Army" is there trying to take Al-Bukamal from Daesh and cut off Daesh traffic to and from Iraq). When they do bomb Daesh, it''s overwhelmingly in two areas: Palmyra and Deir ez Zour. The latter is a Syrian government pocket in the middle of Daesh territory that they've been struggling to hang onto for a long time, against constant assault. The former is well known. One exception: the government forces, with some Russian air support, tried an assault from Ithyria toward the Daesh city of al-Taqbah, but they were basically baited into a trap and suffered massive losses. They retreated back to Ithriya and haven't retried since then.

Oh, and while we're talking about Syria, two things of mention:

1) The massive "factory of death" southwest of al-Safira exploded last week, with a huge earthquake that rattled houses 50km away, was visible 75km away and audible 100km away. Hopefully that'll reduce the barrel bomb and elephant rocket attacks... at least somewhat...

2) There's a lot of chatter that Nusra is imminently going to break with al-Qaeda. This would be huge if it happens, but I'll trust it when I see it.

Comment Re:Here's more credible evidence of Trump-Russia t (Score 2) 424

A more assertive US? From the guy who wants the US to leave Ukraine to Russia, and overrode the Republican party on the platform issue? Stating that he wants to give Putin a free hand in Syria? Insists that there's no evidence that he kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries? The guy who's exchanged repeated back-and-forth praise with Putin on the campaign trail, with fawning language like "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond" and "a very bright and strong leader"... so much of a bromance that people in Eastern Europe have started painting murals? Are you talking about the same Donald Trump here?

Comment Re:XKCD Predicted this (Score 1) 61

The sad thing is that Spirit could still be with us today too if things had played out differently. When Spirit got stuck a lot of their early attempts to get out so that they could get to a good wintering grounds were in vain. However, right near the end they came up with a clever way to "swim" the wheels through the sand and were nearly out when winter hit and they had to leave it in a poor location... where it failed to wake up the next spring, most likely due to excessively low internal temperatures.

Curiosity is great, but the cost of Curiosity-style rovers is just so high. When I think of all that could be done with the Mars 2020 budget (Curiosity-style clone).... ugh. I would have rathered they make incremental improvements to a Spirit / Opportunity style design than a Curiosity one. Maybe more / larger radiothermal heaters so that they're not as cold-sensitive and improved wheels and flash storage, for example. Get their price down to ~$350M USD per mission (from $410M/rover for Spirit & Opportunity) rather than 2,1 billion USD per mission (aka Mars 2020, down from $2,5M for Curiosity). Send a new pair for $700M with new sets of instruments to new areas, save $1,4 billion, and put, say, $800M toward a new Titan mission and $600M to a new Venus mission.

I just don't like how Mars keeps becoming more and more of a money pit that sucks the funds from exploration of every other part of the solar system.

Comment Re:Encryption (Score 2) 278

I do not, nor have I ever, used my personal cell phone for work purposes. Key work people may have the number for emergency purposes, but it's made clear that me providing that number is a serious point of trust, and that it should never be used except for the most dire circumstances. My work cell not answering doesn't count. Clients are to *never* get that number.

About a year ago, I took a job where they don't provide a phone. I chose instead to purchase a separate line that is used entirely for business. Only a few personal contacts have the number (parents and wife, basically). If I ever leave the company, the line gets disabled (phone was purchased off contract) so I don't have to field calls from clients. Even if I choose to use the phone with a new employer, it will get a different number. The cost of the phone and extra line comes off taxes each year.

When traveling internationally, the phone gets backed up, wiped, and reinitialized with a separate ID that has no links to the old except for necessary work contacts. Something similar happens to the notebook. After returning home, what little new data is present is backed up, then the pre-trip backups are restored.

All devices are fully encrypted, so reinitialization gets a fully clean start.

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