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Comment ECC (Score 3, Insightful) 42

This is why ECC is used to protect memory and data busses. At least on the good stuff :-) . One of the issues is die shrink. As the minimum detail slze of the IC process gets smaller, the potential for radiation to flip a bit gets higher.

Silicon-on-sapphire is the main way to implement silicon-on-insulator, which is more protective of radiation bit flips and less likely to latch-up. But since these have historically been required only for space satellites, they have been horribly expensive. Imagine running an entire IC fabrication just to make a few chips. As there are more applications for rad-hard chips, the price could fall.

Comment Re:Boo hoo, just stop rainwater from leaching lead (Score 1) 118

You might not think so, because elemental lead is not water-soluble. However compounds of lead like hydroxides or carbonates are soluble and can form from elemental lead by contact with water, e.g., 2Pb + O2 + 2H2O -> 2 Pb(OH)2.

This is why it's perfectly safe to drink wine from leaded crystal wine glasses, but a bad idea to store wine in a leaded crystal decanter.

Comment Re:Missing theory (Score 1) 48

A view Russian probes got lost while flying over HAARP, I think Phobos Grunt was the most recent one. The theory is that their electronics was grilled by these high-power transmitters. This one actually makes sense though.

This was obfuscation on the part of the Russians. According to the failure report issued by Roscosmos there were other reasons, including use of non-space-qualified components that were susceptible to radiation damage, and insufficient ground testing.

Comment Re:Boo hoo, just stop rainwater from leaching lead (Score 1) 118

So as long as you keep the lead from escaping into groundwater (could bury them in a landfill with a clay or plastic lining in a big mountain), this is fine. If lead prices are so cheap that it's easier to mine new lead than it is to recycle it from CRT glass,

True, and true, with reservations. Somebody has got to pay for keeping the lead from escaping into groundwater. Should it be everyone, or the people who benefited from the use of the lead?

And if everyone pays, human nature being what it is people will pay to make the problem "go away" without looking too closely at the details, where "go away" includes "making it someone else's problem."

The thing is, if you could completely internalize all those expenses so the cost of dealing with never just "went away", the market would do a fine job of efficiently managing lead and disposal management as a resource. But that doesn't happen naturally, by itself.

Comment Re:Not all of them (Score 1) 82

I'm the kind of person that doesn't replace something that works. I kept my first cell phone for years, I finally decided I needed a new one when the battery life barely lasted the day and the antenna was falling off. I happened to be near a Radio Shack that had a big sign in the window advertising a cell phone sale so I went in. In the process of setting up my phone the carrier, Sprint, gave me a new phone for free and $50 on top. The cashier said he'd never seen anything like that before. I found out later that the reason Sprint did this was to comply with some new FCC regulations on cell phone frequency use and cell phones giving more accurate location data when calling 911.

I mentioned that incident with my old cell phone so that I can ask this, what does the FCC think of old cell phone technology in devices other than cell phones? If Sprint felt so motivated to buy me a new phone and pay me to get it then certainly there is some incentive to upgrade these old cars to meet current standards on radio spectrum use. Is it possible to update these vehicles? Will the dealers do this for free?

Comment Re:Shiva Ayyadurai is a fraud. (Score 3, Interesting) 66

Well, it's possible that he's mildly delusional, as most of us are about beliefs about ourselves that we hold dear.

It strikes me that Ayyadurai is in a legal catch-22 situation. Let's suppose for a moment he did "invent" email. That would make him a public figure, and the legal standard used to establish defamation is "actual malice. That's a difficult standard to meet.

I assume Ayyadurai's complaint are claims that he is a "fake" or a "liar". Suppose some random shmoe is interviewing for a job, and you tell the interviewer that he's a "liar". That is defamation, unless you have actual reason to believe he is a liar. But if you say the same thing about a politician running for office, it's NOT defamation unless you have actual reason to believe he is NOT a liar. That's because the politician is a public figure.

It seems to me nearly impossible to defame someone by calling him a liar in the context of his claiming to invent anything. His very demand to be recognized for his achievement makes him a public figure, whether that claim is true or not.

Comment Re:An obviously bad move (Score 1) 211

I was reading a piece by a mozilla dev where he seemed to be arguing that he didn't see what the problem was, because a lot of stuff like firebug is broken already, and all people have to do is find an equivalent extension in the chromium extensions...

It wasn't clear to me why one wouldn't just switch to chrome, rather than continue with mozilla jerking their user-base around (this is the third big one, by my count, and I wouldn't be surprised if I'm missing a few).

Even worse than all this though is that it all seems like a symbolic surrender: mozilla is giving up on firefox and forking chrome instead.

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