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Comment Re:cool link (Score 2) 251

You have it backwards. When the USB charger voltage droops, the phone (or other recharging device) will dissipate more heat as the phone's charging process becomes less efficient. Apple's USB chargers generally don't sag like some cheap equivalents do.

It's easy to monitor this using simple and cheap USB tools like this one which report both voltage and current:
(or many other equivalents)

Charge control is done within the phone, generally by a dedicated chip which also monitors battery temperature. In some cheap 'power bricks', the charge control is done via a microprocessor rather than a dedicated charge control chip, but this isn't common in more valuable products.

Li ion batteries have a separate protection circuit which monitors over voltage, under voltage and over-current (either direction). It opens the circuit when triggered.

Battery safety is controlled by IEC 62133, which was generated in the EU, but has been adopted in the US, too.

Comment Keeping the world safe for Quantum Mechanics.... (Score 2) 172

Susskind wrote a very interesting book on this topic, too. The Black Hole War, subtitled, "my battle with Steven Hawking to make the world safe for Quantum Mechanics". I was hoping someone in the thread would know if Steven Hawking's announcement was an acceptance of Susskind's position, or similar to it, or something else.

Submission + - Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Patent Troll ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Supreme Court ruled today (PDF) that Cicso Systems can't skip out of a patent suit against them from patent troll Commil USA. The case reached the Supreme Court because Cisco argued it had a "good faith belief" that the patent they were infringing was invalid. The justices voted 6-2 that such a belief didn't matter when a lower court found them to be infringing a patent. The Supreme Court's opinion is that a company must know of the patent it's infringing, and that their product infringes upon the patent — which, at least, is more than what Commil was pushing.

The case isn't completely over, right now — a $63.7 million verdict in Commil's favor was overturned by an Appeals Court, and now the Supreme Court has sent it back down for re-evaluation after it clarified the rules of infringement. The Appeals court could still overturn the judgment for some other reason. The other good news is that the Supreme Court dedicated a page in their opinion to telling lower courts how to sanction patent trolls and keep them from clogging the courts with ridiculous claims. "[I]t is still necessary and proper to stress that district courts have the authority and responsibility to ensure frivolous cases are dissuaded."

Comment Your primary duty.... (Score 4, Insightful) 1255

Your primary duty is to your child. I promise you, responsible parents agonize about the best options for their children. Sometimes private, sometimes public.

We started private and then left. The early years at private were probably worthwhile. I tell myself that. They were expensive.

But we've been delighted with the quality of our public schools. They operate from one third the budget of the private school (per pupil). The buildings and landscaping are dramatically tougher, but we're happy with the change. The teachers have been high quality, highly dedicated to the job and responsive to us. My kids are engaged and enjoy their schools.

You have essentially no control over the private school or the public school. In both cases, you will monitor your kids' work, talk regularly to their teachers, meet their friends and their friends' parents. Your recourse in both cases is to find a different school.

No one should demonize a parent for trying to do the best they can for their child. Your first duty is to your child. Social welfare and activism should come after family.

Submission + - Climate change poll

claykarmel writes: Not a scoop. A suggestion for a poll.

"Your position on Climate Change"
a) Believe it (not a researcher)
b) Know it (and can prove it)
c) Skeptic
d) Believe Climate Change is a hoax
e) Know Climate Change is a hoax (and can prove it)
f) Suspect CC is caused mostly by hot air about CC

Comment Viruses may accelerate mutations (Score 1) 190

This makes some sense. Homo Sapiens may have evolved through particularly rapid evolution. If viruses (virii -- what a word) play a role in genetic mutation, which I think is now a commonly held theory, Homo Sapiens might have 'stabilized' by boosting their immunity with some Neanderthal genes.

It's easy to imagine that slower-evolving species would have better immunity, if the virus theory is right.

Subsequent natural forces would probably discriminate against the offspring which were stupid, giving the best of both worlds -- smart and comparatively immune.

I'm not trained in biology -- just remembering other 'stuff that matters'. (early Homo Sapiens were sickly and smart? And then came to rule the world? I'd say that's News for Nerds.)

Comment A lot of confusion - here's what they are doing (Score 1) 140

There is a lot of confusion among the early commenters. Some think this is a form of differential GPS, some think this is a network of WiFi devices, or a hybrid of WiFi and FM radio.

It appears to be none of the above.

It most likely is a pseudo-lite (a terrestrial device which mimics a satellite), except that it does not operate in the GPS (L1 or L2) band(s). The government, researchers, FAA and Air Force (which runs GPS) are working on real pseudolites which may run in the GPS bands. But this private company couldn't get rights to do that, so they are transmitting in 'the same band(s) used by WiFi. That is, they are broadcasting spread spectrum signals in the ISM band(s).

They apparently scatter a number of these, at highly precise locations, and a compatible user device would then listen to several and calculate its own position. Since their geometry is as flat as the nearby terrain, they will have very poor altitude accuracy, but because they don't have bending or delays in the atmosphere (or rather, those inaccuracies are trivial in comparison), they will likely have very good 2D accuracy.

Notice that things flying over the top of these devices would likely have good 3D (the geometry improves for them).

What is less clear is why this is preferable to using DGPS. DGPS is a 'station' at a known location which can measure the errors of each satellite (including bending/delay) and transmits corrections to nearby devices. DGPS is a government service in many areas, I believe, but can be set up as a private service, too.

The one real liability to the new Locata system, if I understand it (and I probably don't) is that they don't necessarily use GPS time. One of the really fabulous things about GPS is that it established a world-wide synchronous, highly accurate clock. In many applications that may not matter. It does for a lot of systems which rely on GPS time (too many to mention nowadays).


Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!
Social Networks

Journalist Tricked Captors Into Twitter Access 141

itwbennett writes "Kosuke Tsuneoka, a Japanese freelance journalist held captive in Afghanistan since April 1, was released over the weekend. His freedom came a day after he sent two Twitter messages from a captor's phone. 'i am still allive [sic], but in jail,' read a message sent at 1:15 p.m. GMT on Friday. It was followed a few minutes later with a second message, also in English, that read, 'here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.' The message referred to the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz where he was being held. On Tuesday, speaking in Tokyo, Tsuneoka revealed how he managed to convince his captors to give him access to the Internet. 'He asked me if I knew how to use it, so I had a look and explained it to him,' said Tsuneoka. 'I called the customer care number and activated the phone,' he said."

Geek Squad Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter To God Squad 357

An anonymous reader writes "A Wisconsin priest has God on his car but Best Buy's lawyers on his back. Father Luke Strand at the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac says he has received a cease-and-desist letter from the electronics retailer. From the article: 'At issue is Strand's black Volkswagen Beetle with door stickers bearing the name "God Squad" in a logo similar to that of Best Buy's Geek Squad, a group of electronics troubleshooters. Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the car is a creative way to spur discussion and bring his faith to others. Best Buy Co. tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it appreciates what Strand is trying to do, but it's bad precedent to let groups violate its trademarks.'"
The Courts

SCO v. Novell Goes To the Jury 67

Excelcia writes "Closing arguments in the six and a bit year old slander of title case between SCO and Novell occurred today and the case is finally in the hands of the jury. It's been an interesting case, with SCO alternately claiming that the copyrights to UNIX did get transferred to them, and that the copyrights should have been transferred to them. 'Judge Ted Stewart said, after the jury left to begin to deliberate, that in all his years on the bench, he's never seen such fine lawyering as in this case.' We're not going to find out the results until at least Tuesday, however, as one juror is taking a long weekend. Great lawyering notwithstanding, we can all hope next week that the Energizer bunny of all spurious lawsuits will finally go away."

How the TSA Plans On Inspecting Your Monkey 114

The uncertainty of what might happen to your service monkey at an airport security checkpoint won't keep you awake at night anymore, thanks to the TSA. They have issued an easy to follow list of how they will ensure your helper monkey won't go all Planet of the Apes on your flight. Some of the security techniques used to make sure your primate is not a terrorist include: "Security Officers will conduct a visual inspection on the service monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection. The inspection process may require that the handler to take off the monkey's diaper as part of the visual inspection."

Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality? 735

e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."

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