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Comment Re:Hello, this is Windows technical support (Score 1) 68

I managed to get one of those guys to talk to me "honestly" for a while. He started his patter and I said I knew this was a ransomware scam. I politely asked what his plans in life were.

We played a little guessing game about where they're based, since the accent is obviously Indian-subcontinent. Took me a couple of tries, but the answer is Sri Lanka. I suggested he learn to program if he wanted to have a more successful career.

The next time one of them called I asked how the weather was in Columbo that evening and blew his mind a little bit.

Comment A problem that will solve itself before too long (Score 1) 542

GPUs and CPUs keep getting faster and faster. It won't be long before phones come with better silicon than a PS4/Xbox One. Two refreshes of iMac or Macbook and they'll be good enough for VR. Luckey's right that there's no point doing anything before then of course.

Comment Re:Might be illegal (Score 1) 339

That's pretty much the definition of a contract. Consideration (e.g. money) in exchange for service. If the contract has a clause saying the seller can refund the deposit and cancel the order, then the buyer agreed to that and too bad.

However, there is also civil law regarding business - the Uniform Commercial Code in the USA. That law preempts contract terms. The question then becomes, does the UCC forbid those kind of clauses. A little research leads me to believe it does not. That would make sense since companies like Gamestop cancel pre-orders all the time.

Given all that, Tesla are within their rights to say, "too bad, here's your money back".

Comment Re:Can we stop this ? (Score 1) 155

NASA Ames had an interesting concept for that, which is not only to use the large amount of water a long-duration mission would need as shielding, but to use the "waste products" of the astronauts to replace that shielding as the water was lost (extremely hard to avoid small losses even with really good recycling tech).

Getting the mass off Earth is expensive but not difficult per se. Re-usable launchers will change that game, because the amount of mass per launch is flexible, unlike launching a giant space station. Water's water, whether it takes 15 launches or 17 isn't that big a deal.

Comment Re:Private companies aren't taking us to Mars (Score 1) 155

I think that's an unfair characterisation of what SpaceX has done/is doing.

Landing an intact first stage after it was travelling 6,000mph the other direction is pretty groundbreaking. Propulsive landing of a space capsule for re-use is pretty major too. That one's only partially demonstrated, but it's not the blocker in Dragon 2 progress and the work on Falcon 9 re-use feeds into it as well.

Then there's the Raptor engine, most of the way through the development with some components already tested to a high degree. A full-flow gas-gas staged combustion engine and a large one at that. No-one's built an engine like that before. The Russians had the RD-270, which does most of this (and was 3x the thrust, which is very impressive indeed) but not with cryogenic propellants nor having them be fully gaseous when they drive the turbopumps. Mastering all the technologies for that is a big deal.

Comment Re:I don't understand the big deal (Score 2) 83

These are not patient-portable devices. They attach to an IV pole and control delivery of whatever drug is fed from the bag. They're modular, so they get mixed and matched from pole to pole (and presumably some stash on the ward) as necessary. They are not isolated; they communicate with other systems on the ward so that, for example, the nurse can come by and check on the patient when the bag is empty.

Getting access to one of these wouldn't necessarily be that hard. Go to the ER with something that will get them to give you IV fluid and you'll find yourself left alone with one of these pumps. Install a worm and over time you'll have a lot of devices at your command and perhaps have gathered a lot of information into the bargain.

Comment Re:Write-only code. (Score 1) 757

I'm not a Linux programmer so I may be out of date on this, but there isn't or wasn't a single C++ ABI on Linux between the various compilers. If the kernel used C++ for those interfaces it would potentially require that the kernal and all kernel modules were compiled with the same toolchain. Rolling their own implementation means the ABI is compatible across all the different compilers and compiler version with a side benefit of being able to write kernel modules in languages other than C/C++.

Comment Re:This sounds silly ... (Score 1) 411

I read the paper and their premise seems to be that MINSETs can be browsable/searchable and good enough to let programmers figure out whether a given function is worth investigating further. Basically they're a better replacement for text search and class browsing.

I'm skeptical about that, especially looking at their examples, but I can't dismiss it outright. I think it might interact in a favourable way with metaprogramming techniques, whether C++ templates or Lisp macros, but that's just speculation.

Comment Re:wow (Score 1) 571

Can you explain in more detail? It wasn't clear to me how this problem was handled. I did a little research and learned that the fast neutrons cause neutron activation, creating often long-lived radioactive isotopes of what they hit - which will generally be the reactor containment walls.

He did mention breeding tritium via lithium, so is the idea to plate the inner walls of the reactor with lithium? In that case, does the amount of tritium generated balance with the amount consumed? Or, does that just naturally reach equilibrium?

In any case, I think all of this is only alluded to in the video. If you have more insight, I think it would be useful to share it.

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