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Comment Re:"Anonymous platform moving away from anonymity" (Score 1) 68

I think that it was more text based(and obviously included vastly more overhead, being a smartphone 'app' and all); but your summary is chillingly accurate. Take the awesome power of an internet connected general purpose computer and carefully emulate a moderately obscure, insecure, and kind of noisy short range communication medium. I can't imagine why it wasn't more popular.

Comment Re:So.... Yik Yakked? (Score 1) 68

In a sane world, their body would have been cold ages ago; but given how big the hype for "social/mobile" is, and the chatter about "zOMG did Facebook/Google/etc. 'miss mobile???" the VCs probably figured that it was a worthwhile bet just because it had a chance of scaring one of the incumbents enough to get bought out for stupid money(not entirely implausible, given things like instagram and tumblr somehow being 'worth' a billion dollars each).

It's annoying; but a really stupid investment can be sensible if somebody even dumber is available to take it off your hands for more than you paid. In this case, it looks like that won't be happening; but I can see why somebody would be willing to make the bet(as part of a diversified portfolio, anyone who invested more than they could afford to lose in one company, especially something dumb like this, is denser than most rocks).

Comment Re:"Anonymous platform moving away from anonymity" (Score 3, Interesting) 68

I suspect that their plan to move away from their core business is totally doomed; but I would also suspect that they came up with that plan because their core business was totally doomed(and they couldn't find some idiot to aquire them for silly amounts of money, maybe Yahoo was busy when the called...).

The world is pretty full of message boards and chat apps; and the combination of proximity filtering and 'anonymity' produces a really, really, low-value environment. Because of the geographic boundaries, it's useless for any of the 'connecting with other enthusiasts of my weird and potentially embarassing hobby/fetish/etc' applications of anonymity, since you can only interact with people in a fairly small area around you; but since it purports to be anonymous(obviously, an application running on your phone with location data mandatory isn't anonymous at all from the perspective of the company operating the service) it mostly attracted the...high quality comments... that people wanted to make about each other; but weren't willing to say to your face.

Shockingly, people's appetite for that appears to be limited; and the most enthusiastic users are the people most likely to drive the rest of the users away and generate enough unpleasant stories to spook potential advertisers.

Comment It must be nice... (Score 3, Interesting) 36

It must be pretty cool to be in a position where you can commit fraud against ~2.8million people, sit on the proceeds for several years; and then settle the whole matter for 'compensation' that, at worst, might wipe out your original profits on the fraud.

Not quite as good as impunity; but perhaps an even better mockery of the perception of 'justice', since the whole process gets to play out as a pitiful farce, rather than just being ignored.

Incidentally, why is it that, given the American propensity for a good spree killing, you never hear about unpleasant things happening to the people behind schemes like this? Occasionally somebody shoots up their workplace and kills an immediate supervisor or the like; but nobody ever seems to go any higher up the food chain.

Comment Good News! (Score 3, Insightful) 88

"But in the short term, AI will most likely help you be more productive and creative as a developer, tester, or dev team rather than making you redundant."

So, in the short term it'll make some of you redundant, with the 'more productive and creative' picking up their workload until the bots can finish the job. Sounds good.

Comment Re:Can't wait to get one in my watch. (Score 1) 156

Yeah, I was thinking more in terms of 'end user does something stupid, now somebody gets to collect the plutonium dust' type problems. I suppose that the major advantage is that people are somewhat less likely to do dumb things to electronics that they'd need to cut open their abdomens to get at.

It's really the end-user/disposal problem that makes me nervous about nuclear batteries, not the 'will the engineers screw it up?' aspect. 'Sealed sources', containing various isotopes neatly packaged as radiation sources, are even simpler to implement than nuclear batteries; and generally aren't an engineering problem; but the DoE has gone to a lot of trouble hunting down 'orphan sources' that have left responsible supervision for one reason or another; and it's hardly unheard of for those to end up in some 3rd world junkyard being crowbared open by people who have no idea what a mistake they are making.

Pacemakers have the advantage of a more or less automatic paper trail(since the diagnosis of cardiac abnormality and implantation surgery tend not to be handled in cash and off the books) and people don't tend to cut through their own bodies in order to do stupid things to their gadgets; but I'd be rather pessimistic about the possibility of sound lifecycle management for nuclear batteries in broader application.

It's too bad; because they'd be extremely useful for a variety of low power off-grid stuff; but when people can't even be bothered to separate their trash from their recyclables; it's hard to be optimistic about their safe disposal of nuclear batteries.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 278

At a population level, farming is close to automated. When ~2% of the population is farming and the rest of us aren't starving you know that we've wrung serious gains in efficiency out of the process.

As with many areas, though, it gets harder to justify once you pick off the low hanging fruit. If you absolutely must have your tech demo, robotics can probably provide something that at least doesn't have any visible humans except when techs are on site dealing with failures; but you'd have to be replacing some pretty expensive farmers to have it make any sense.

Comment Re:wait... (Score 1) 87

My understanding is that, outside of the worst areas(the reactor complex itself and some areas that were most heavily exposed to fallout during the accident) the level of ionizing radiation isn't particularly high. The main area of concern is that some of the more persistent isotopes in the soil could become a serious problem if people were to live there or grow food there. Alpha emitters, in particular, are essentially harmless unless taken internally; but quite nasty if they are(and some of them have the unpleasant property of being chemically similiar to biologically relevant elements in safer areas of the periodic table).

It is true that radiation is bad for semiconductors(though worse for ones where details matter, like microchips; and merely accelerated aging for things like PV panels) but if you take care to avoid disturbing the soil too much, it's not as though the whole place is bathed in gamma rays.

Comment Re:Restricted zone (Score 1) 87

I don't know if the design calls for this; but it wouldn't be rocket surgery to lay out a PV generating facility such that it doesn't disturb the soil much(possibly some posts driven into the earth if there is a risk of high winds) mostly just a frame laid on top; raised walkways between all the areas that will need to be serviced periodically; and a parking lot where you can check people coming in and out.

You certainly don't want people coming home from work coated with strontium; but, especially at scale, it's probably cheaper to take a few protective measures than it is to buy real estate that somebody actually wants. As 'brownfield' sites go, the zone of alienation is pretty seriously brown.

Comment I don't get it. (Score 2) 23

It's not exactly news that Twitter is in need of ways to wring more cash out of their operation; and it's not news that these sorts of compromises and temporarily having your precious brand mouthpiece go off the rails can make customers a bit jumpy, so why don't they offer some appropriately overpriced enhanced authentication setup for the relatively deep pocketed users?

You've got a variety of solid options(RSA fobs, FIDO tokens, PIVs, etc.) for authentication; and could also add some options for delegation/limited roles to suit accounts where multiple people are generating tweets; without just having everyone share credentials in an egregious breach of sensible practice.

It'd hardly be free to implement; but when dealing with customers who routinely buy things like TV advertising time, you could probably get away with charging a fairly decent price for it.

Comment Re:Always a good sign... (Score 1) 111

Plus, the ad guys are busily competing with one another to enhance their techniques; and since they are (on the whole) turning a profit, they have no incentive to stop.

The feds have the disadvantage of being more likely to call down the jackboots on you; but unless particularly irrational their desire to spend money on further surveillance is usually outweighed by their desire to fund other projects once they are reasonably confident that the major threats are being watched.

It has really been terribly depressing watching the breakdown of even the pretense of privacy, and the rise of people talking about the most egregious commercial surveillance like it is inevitable, or even a feature.

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