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Comment Re:John Carmack (Score 5, Interesting) 128

John Carmack was simultaneously working for Oculus, ID Software, and not mentioned at all here is Armadillo Aerospace where he was even doing NASA contracts all at the same time. Trying to be Buckaroo Bonzai by doing everything at once is more than most normal people could do. It was about the time Zenimax took over ID Software that John Carmack wanted to continue doing this sort of multi-tasking, but they insisted he decide who he was going to work for exclusively.... and he told them to go take a hike.

If you are an engineering who is moonlighting on multiple side projects, it can definitely get a little bit fuzzy about what stuff you develop on your own time vs. what you develop for your employer. In Carmack's case, the previous management was a whole lot more open to him pretty much doing as much as he wanted to do and however he wanted to do it as long as they got a piece of the action. ID Software got the better end of the bargain in that situation and made a whole bunch of money off of the work that John Carmack was able to perform on their behalf.

That these asshats tried to kill the goose that laid golden eggs... is what they are pissed about. Even more because that goose flew away rather than them getting to eat goose for dinner and laid some golden eggs for somebody else instead that made billions of dollars for those investors.

Comment Re:Only a fraction of US munitions... (Score 3, Informative) 183

So, nothing to do with all of the US troops and bases occupying their territory?

Boy, people have short memories. Iraq didn't renew a security agreement back in 2011 for political reasons. The local population didn't want it. The US was mostly withdrawn from Iraq at the end of December 2011. It took about 6 months before ISIS took advantage of the situation.

From 2nd link-

In July 2012, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement online announcing that the group was returning to former strongholds from which US troops and the Sons of Iraq had driven them in 2007 and 2008.[219] He declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls, aimed at freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons.[219] Violence in Iraq had begun to escalate in June 2012, primarily with AQI's car bomb attacks, and by July 2013, monthly fatalities exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April 2008.[220]

I'm too lazy to look up when the US sent sizable forces back to Iraq, but it was only on request and permission of the Iraqi government.

Comment Re:Why did it come to this (Score 1) 346

If you want to kill an evil food company, lets go after Nestle.

Nestle are saints compared to Hersey.

Everywhere all over the world (except the US), Kit Kat bars are under Nestle control. In the USA, we are stuck with Hersey. Outside the USA, there are multiple flavors of Kit Kat. Some countries have seasonal flavors which they rotate in and out. I believe Japan has more than 30 flavors! Kit Kat bars (even the original flavor) from Japan and Canada taste better than Hersey's Kit Kat bars (opinion).

Hersey basically buys up the rights to brands, and then does nothing with them except swap out ingredients for cheaper ones. Their chocolate is the worst tasting mass-produced chocolate of a company of their size. Nestle at least innovates and brings out new products and flavors.

Comment Re:Will they only make car batteries? (Score 2) 200

Indirectly, it is going to be making a huge difference for consumer cells. Most importantly, all of the production capacity that has been sucked up by Tesla for building their automobiles is going to be available for other folks (likely to be snatched up by other automobile companies for awhile) but in the long run it will simply imply that the whole market for Lithium-ion batteries is going to grow as a whole. All of the chemicals (besides Lithium) are also going to be made in much larger quantities, the machines which make the batteries are also going to be made... even to be made on an assembly line themselves... and more people simply getting familiar with how to cheaply and efficiently being able to make these batteries.

Besides automobiles, the one market that Tesla is getting into is power storage systems for homes and businesses. It is possible that you might end up having a bunch of these batteries in your home in the form of a Tesla power wall... especially if you have solar panels on your house. Other applications that require the storage of large amounts of electricity are likely to be the primary customers from this factory for awhile.

Tesla actually plans on building several of these factories in other locations too, because they anticipate that all of the production from this Gigafactory is going to be used for internal purposes (aka products that Tesla themselves are making where the batteries are but a part of those products). It is pretty odd that their planned consumption of batteries is going to outstrip this production facility.

Comment Re:Ah, no. Just no. (Score 1) 163

An attacker who controls the meter also controls the meter's software, allowing him to cause it to literally explode."

.

No. Just no. Look them up, at most what they have is remote disconnect relays with a cycle time of 30 to 120 seconds. The aren't solenoids (wire coil relays) but stall motors that move the contanctor open or closed and are not fast acting. That is their only active function. The rest are passive. So they might be able to fiddle the bill, or turn your power on and off. But make the meter explode? I've not seen any designs that would fail in that way. Admittedly, I've not seen every design, but most use a stall motor to move a spring loaded armature/contactor set open or closed.

Consider these devices to be like a home router. You can hack one router, possibly cause someone some grief, but it generally won't affect them much even if their router is part of a big botnet.

The problem I worry about is if someone were to hack hundreds or thousands of these smart meters and started cycling large numbers of them simultaneously in a nefarious way. Electricity grids are generally managing a predictable demand. To do that, calculations are performed which consider time of day, forecasted temperature, weekday vs weekend vs holiday, recent rate of change of the demand (average of several time periods), yesterday's demand at the same time, etc. If the demand was suddenly unpredictable, managing the grid would become very difficult, possibly even impossible.

Comment Re:has to be asked (Score 2) 574

Not an expert here. Far from it, but it sounds like the electric generation and the grid control systems have the possibility for multiple sites of failure as well as multiple sites for intrusion by bad guys. This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Hopefully critical sites such as the defense department, local police departments, hospitals, etc., have standalone electric generators independent of the grid and web. Then again, a large enough cohort of spies and terrorists could disable those. Maybe we need a system of signal fires, flags, carrier pigeons to keep the grid up in an emergency. If the fuel supply or cooling water to power plants is shut down, why worry about the Internet controls.

At the end of the day, every major electrical generation site has means for some sort of manual control. There are enough "blackstart" (electrical plants that can start up without any external power) units in place to restart the grid in the event of failure. Syncing a generating unit to the grid "by hand" is not that hard (I have done it). You watch your Synchroscope carefully and flip the switch at the right moment. Then you open the steam valves to your turbine and start "pushing" on the grid, if the grid is small enough that you can actually push the grid past 60.3Hz or so, there are local systems in place to close the steam valve slightly, and automatically.

Much of the automation in place in the grid is mainly for convenience, stability during adverse events, and manpower reduction. You could have somebody physically at each major valve and switch with a radio and have them control the thing. I have done that too, it is a boring job but it is possible.

There are enough varied systems out there that launching a wide-scale attack would take a lot of time to prepare, and somebody would likely notice. Smaller attacks are possible but not particularly worthwhile, you can probably cause a small utility some grief and money but it wouldn't accomplish much. Stuxtnet was a huge wakeup call to the industry and NERC has been ramming good IT practices downwards to utilities and equipment OEMs for the last 6 years. The protections in place aren't foolproof but nothing is. The industry is full of engineers and we generally weigh the likelihood of risk & cost to recover.

Submission + - Researchers Send Information Using a Single Particle of Light (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to research published Thursday in Science, physicists at Princeton University have designed a device that allows a single electron to pass its quantum information to a photon in what could be a big breakthrough for silicon-based quantum computers. The device designed by the Princeton researchers is the result of five years of research and works by trapping an electron and a photon within a device built by HRL laboratories, which is owned by Boeing and General Motors. It is a semi-conductor chip made from layers of silicon and silicon-germanium, materials that are inexpensive and already widely deployed in consumer electronics. Across the top of this wafer of silicon layers were laid a number of nanowires, each smaller than the width of a human hair, which were used to deliver energy to the chip. This energy allowed the researchers to trap an electron in between the silicon layers of the chip in microstructures known as quantum dots. The researchers settled on photons as the medium of exchange between electrons since they are less sensitive to disruption from their environment and could potentially be used to carry quantum information between quantum chips, rather than within the circuits on a single quantum chip. The ability to scale up this device would mean that photons could be used to pass quantum information from electron to electron in order to form the circuits for a quantum computer.

Submission + - World's Largest Hedge Fund To Replace Managers With Artificial Intelligence (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The world’s largest hedge fund is building a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm, including hiring, firing and other strategic decision-making. Bridgewater Associates has a team of software engineers working on the project at the request of billionaire founder Ray Dalio, who wants to ensure the company can run according to his vision even when he’s not there, the Wall Street Journal reported. The firm, which manages $160 billion, created the team of programmers specializing in analytics and artificial intelligence, dubbed the Systematized Intelligence Lab, in early 2015. The unit is headed up by David Ferrucci, who previously led IBM’s development of Watson, the supercomputer that beat humans at Jeopardy! in 2011. The company is already highly data-driven, with meetings recorded and staff asked to grade each other throughout the day using a ratings system called “dots”. The Systematized Intelligence Lab has built a tool that incorporates these ratings into “Baseball Cards” that show employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Another app, dubbed The Contract, gets staff to set goals they want to achieve and then tracks how effectively they follow through. These tools are early applications of PriOS, the over-arching management software that Dalio wants to make three-quarters of all management decisions within five years. The kinds of decisions PriOS could make include finding the right staff for particular job openings and ranking opposing perspectives from multiple team members when there’s a disagreement about how to proceed. The machine will make the decisions, according to a set of principles laid out by Dalio about the company vision.

Comment Re:It's the controller, stupid (Score 1) 221

If they'd make a nintendo-branded bluetooth dpad and holder we wouldn't be having this conversation, it would be a conversation about how much money they're making.

Touchscreens aren't everything. Humans have fingers. D-pad is brilliant. Stop drinking the Ive kool-aid. Poor Mario.

Oh, and make some more of those NES classics. Stupid nintendo. I'd have bought at least 5 of them if they were available. I got a knockoff chinese USB d-pad clone instead.

The future of gaming in my family is looking more and more like it will be Retroarch on either Android or Windows for the older games, and Steam for the newer ones. Nintendo offers a pretty decent walled garden, but it isn't a very big garden and the per-game cost is high enough to give pause when compared to the bargains that can be had on Steam.

Comment Re: "doing business" (Score 1) 55

No. Transportion of individuals and their belongings (your flight in), accommodations for a private individual (your hotel), etc are not mentioned in any of the piles of sanctions. And Americans can, to this day, send money electronically to a tour company based in China and receive a DPRK visa (delivered to Beijing for you to pick up there) in a couple of weeks. Take it from a guy who went there in 2013. "USA has very nice people but we don't like your government" was the attitude that North Koreans came to me with. The 8-day tour was hugely helpful for me to learn how to understand the reasoning of people from VERY different backgrounds.

Comment Re:A confused article (Score 1) 220

Except where it mentions actual cost per MWHr. ' It started with a contract in January to produce electricity for $64 per megawatt-hour in India; then a deal in August pegging $29.10 per megawatt hour in Chile. '

These production costs are huge. Prices in the Houston area wholesale are approximately $20-$25 per MW-h on any given day. And this is in a first world country with high labor costs and a high standard of safety.

The google term you are looking for is "LMP map", which is a map showing the wholesale price of electricity. (LMP stands for Locational Marginal Pricing) Add the term "MISO" for the midwest, "ERCOT" for Texas, "PJM" for the eastern atlantic states, "ISO New England" for the northeast, etc.

Houston seems be benefitting from excess wind production in other areas of the state, many of which are at substantially negative cost. Why would anyone sell wind turbine power at negative cost? Wouldn't it make more sense to shut the turbine down and spare the maintenance? The answer is the subsidies. Many wind farms make much more from the subsidies than their actual function of providing power. These factors are not shown on LMP maps, but you can imagine the subsidies must be quite high- there are pockets in Texas as I type this currently at -$20 to -$50 per MW-hr.

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