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Comment Re:Is Fred Pohl still alive? (Score 4, Informative) 148

Right. And these idiots used the name of a completely addictive beverage that, once hooked, condemns the drinker to a lifetime of consumerism ? I've heard of tongue in cheek, but jeez... why not just name it Liquid Heroin and be done with it ?

""'s what makes this campaign great in my estimation - each sample of Coffiest contains three milligrams of a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it's simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest - three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar.""


New Surveillance System May Let Cops Use All Of The Cameras ( 117

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: [Computer scientists have created a way of letting law enforcement tap any camera that isn't password protected so they can determine where to send help or how to respond to a crime.] The system, which is just a proof of concept, alarms privacy advocates who worry that prudent surveillance could easily lead to government overreach, or worse, unauthorized use. It relies upon two tools developed independently at Purdue. The Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit superimposes the rate and location of crimes and the location of police surveillance cameras. CAM2 reveals the location and orientation of public network cameras, like the one outside your apartment. You could do the same thing with a search engine like Shodan, but CAM2 makes the job far easier, which is the scary part. Aggregating all these individual feeds makes it potentially much more invasive. [Purdue limits access to registered users, and the terms of service for CAM2 state "you agree not to use the platform to determine the identity of any specific individuals contained in any video or video stream." A reasonable step to ensure privacy, but difficult to enforce (though the team promises the system will have strict security if it ever goes online). Beyond the specter of universal government surveillance lies the risk of someone hacking the system.] EFF discovered that anyone could access more than 100 "secure" automated license plate readers last year.
United Kingdom

British Spaceplane Skylon Could Revolutionize Space Travel ( 226

MarkWhittington writes: The problem of lowering the cost of sending people and cargo into low Earth orbit has vexed engineers since the dawn of the space age. Currently, the only way to go into space is on top of multistage rockets which toss off pieces of themselves as they ascend higher into the heavens. The Conversation touted a British project, called Skylon, which many believe will help to address the problem of costly space travel. According to IEEE Spectrum, both BAE Systems and the British government have infused Skylon with $120 million in investment.

Comment And the MMM is not just about software projects (Score 1) 281

Having managed projects ranging from R&D, defense systems, construction, and software development.. the MMM is all about work teams. Most successful project managers learn this sort of thing from experience (read pain and failure). Everybody thinks they have some sort of 'new concept' that is the magic bullet to 'solve software development problems'.

Forgetting that the one common element is... people. No matter WHAT methodology you claim to follow, I guarantee at least half of your team will think it's bullshit, and begrudge the paperwork that is getting in their way of just getting the job done.. THEIR WAY.

The best thing a good manager does is remove restraints and barriers, and filter bullshit. And let the team gel and get their shit done.

Comment Obvious to the most casual observer (Score 1) 303

Some years ago my home network was zapped with a lightning strike that came in via the coaxial cable. Modem, router, and two switches died to save my computers. In military designs, we used opto-isolators to shield sensitive circuits from attack.

Despite the hysteria, this is not a 'broad attack threat'. The attacker needs physical access to the network, and will probably only compromise part of the network due to the energies and damage modes involved. Unless he's Nikola Tesla and carrying his own lightning bolt. Then all bets are off.

I do recommend that you isolate your network from power threats with surge suppressors on your coax line or RJ-45 line from your ISP, and of course your power lines.

Comment Re:This is just the looong tail of the distributio (Score 4, Insightful) 122

Absolutely agree that it's much ado about nothing. AND bad statistics ! CERN as an example is a lot of nonsense... it's a HUGE project with a HUGE population of PhD's, grad students, undergrads, managers, technicians, and everybody else. All working towards a common goal. And the science developed by those thousands of authors is an enormous collaboration, enabled by ... yeah, you guessed it, the World Wide Web. Which was INVENTED at CERN to enable... Collaboration.

WSJ, you look like a bunch of idiots. Stick to talking about stocks and rich people stuff. You suck at science.


Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon 66

An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."

Comment PDP-8 ! (Score 1) 620

At work we have a PC Board component inserter robot that runs off a PDP-8. Programmed with paper tape. Yes. Paper tape. OK, well, plastic punched tape. There is a short stack of 'spare' PDP-8 rack units sitting in the crib just waiting for a failure. But you know what ? Digital Equipment made some rugged machines.

And in my old job in the defense industry we used a surplus Nike-Ajax missile radar, that was run off a synchro computer. I designed a digital interface to run it off a Z-80 processor.

Comment Better idea: Think VAR/Dealership vs. Tesla sales? (Score 1) 287

One industry that died with direct PC sales (Yes, you Mikey Dell) was the entire Value Added Reseller industry. There are a few still around, but the serried ranks of 'experts' went poof. This can be equated with the attempts to bypass the Auto Dealership model by Tesla.

I encourage this. The idea that consumers are too stupid to buy cars without expert assistance is as dumb as the idea that consumers needed help to buy complicated computers.

Comment Re:wha? (Score 4, Informative) 65

Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte (Systems, Applications, and Products).

Basically it's one of the two the largest Enterprise Resource Planning software companies in the world. Oracle is the other one. And since most SAP systems are run inside a highly protected corporate network, the self-promoting hysteria from this article is so much bullcrap.

Comment Re:No they don't (Score 2) 226

Since anti satellite technology is quite mature and tested, anyone who thinks that such a system would not have the equivalent of a few dozen nuclear shotguns permanently parked near it is... clueless. Of course the effect of having to destroy that would effectively make Earth orbit a no-go zone for decades until someone started sending up sweeper robots.


Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon 214

schwit1 writes: Moon Express, a Mountain View, California-based company that's aiming to send the first commercial robotic spacecraft to the moon next year, just took another step closer toward that lofty goal. Earlier this year, it became the first company to successfully test a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The success of this test—and a series of others that will take place later this year—paves the way for Moon Express to send its lander to the moon in 2016. Moon Express conducted its tests with the support of NASA engineers, who are sharing with the company their deep well of lunar know-how. The NASA lunar initiative—known as Catalyst—is designed to spur new commercial U.S. capabilities to reach the moon and tap into its considerable resources.

Comment Re: Add noise (Score 3, Interesting) 86

Properly shielded equipment uses different methods to 'break the cage'. It's been many decades, but some of the heavily shielded designs I did in the 80's involved opto-isolators. Yes, that's right. Want to avoid radiating information ? Use light.

Keep in mind that the structure of the faraday cage depends on the frequency of the data being transmitted. It does not have to be unbreakable tin foil. Properly sized metal mesh will also do the job. Just ask anyone who tries to get a Wifi signal through an old wall with expanded metal lath and plaster.

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