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Comment Re:17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies (Score 1) 128

Codecs designed for conversation are limited in how much they can compress because they can't use as much correlation over a long period - to avoid long latencies. The Intelligence agencies have probably designed their own compression algorithm focussed on offline storage. My guess at the reasons that low-bitrate codecs are export controlled are 1) submarines and 2) covert channels.
Earth

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Comment Strachey and CPL (Score 3, Interesting) 149

Strachey was also the lead programmer behind the programming language CPL, the great-grandfather of C (via BCPL and B). CPL was too ambitious and was never completely implemented - it tried to do everything; a bit like Perl 6 really.

The overview paper:http://comjnl.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/6/2/134 is quite interesting; sadly it is now behind a pay-wall. There are some features of the language, such as type inference, which have not become common until recently. It also has some obvious poor decisions with hindsight - the same character starts and ends blocks; all lower case letters are single-character variable names; multiple-character variable names must be capitalised (this is done to allow implicit multiplication, ie, xyz=x*y*z). I suspect it could be implemented without huge difficulty with modern tools. Unfortunately, the full definition was never published, and only exists in a few copies of 'The CPL Working papers' archived in university libraries. Perhaps one day google will scan it.

Security

Submission + - Call 9-1-1, get yourself killed (livejournal.com)

ajb44 writes: What do you do if you discover a crime, and the criminals haven't seen you yet? Call 911 on your mobile. Problem is, some recent mobiles now squawk loudly when you do this, potentially alerting the criminals to your presence. A FOAF had this happen to her. Fortunately the criminals had already left, but she's now worried about using 911 when checking her woods for criminal activity. Verizon and Casio techs claimed that this is an FCC mandate, but it's not really clear yet. Please help tell the FCC, Verizon and Casio that this is a dumb idea.

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