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Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 846

That's indeed the kind of ideas that is now floating around. I rank it in the category of Iraq coming to kill us all, with the same combination of inflating the threat and at the same time regarding the opponent as a pushover. I think Colin Powell has made some sensible comments on that. Russia is paranoid about us, about NATO. We scare them. They are a small power, we're a big one that is surrounding them more and more, and then sabre rattling is a sensible response.

That doesn't explain why they weren't rattling their sabers a few years ago. The Economist has a recent article that does offer an explanation that covers that as well The thesis is basically that domestic troubles caused by a weak economy have motivated Putin to seek ways to distract his people from domestic concerns. Specifically, he's tried to recapture the superpower position of the Soviet Union. He can't, really, because Russia isn't the Soviet Union. Without the central planning structure to force the massive overproduction of military resources, the Soviet Union wouldn't have been the Soviet Union, either.

But his people don't really realize this and, frankly, the rest of the world tends not to realize it much, either. So Putin can rattle his rusted and broken saber and the rest of the world reacts as though he was the mighty Soviet Union. Except... there is one area in which is military isn't so rusted or broken: nuclear weapons. Oh, his nuclear armament is aging and dilapidated, but it's still very real and Russia has the technological wherewithal to build highly functional nukes and missiles to carry them. Russia can't afford to build very many of them, but it doesn't really take all that many.

So, as it becomes more and more apparent that Putin doesn't really have the conventional forces to make the world treat Russia with the fear and respect that the Soviet Union got, he's almost certainly going to be making more and more use of the nuclear threat that the world can't ignore. And that will help to keep his people feeling like they're a major world power again, which will keep him in power.

Is this true? I don't know. Makes sense to me.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 140

Hangouts used to have seamless SMS/Hangouts.

No, it was never seamless in the sense that iMessage is. The seams were harder to see, and that was exactly the problem that motivated the clear separation; the failure modes of the combined messaging were subtle, hard to understand and opaque to users. The upshot is that the combination made Hangouts messaging appear to be unreliable.

Actually, iMessage isn't really seamless either. It breaks badly if iMessage thinks the destination device is an iPhone but it isn't. It's very good in a pure-Apple world, though.

Comment Re:Problem solved (Score 2) 161

Most businesses in the US already offer paid sick leave.

A small and set number of days, which is generally treated as short-notice day for doing anything that requires one to be out of office, like waiting for a plumber, having an eye exam, taking the car to service, or otherwise.

Once flu season starts, and employees have already used up their allotted sick days (whether due to actually being sick or not), they have to come in when sick or either be docked pay or risk getting fired.
So late fall and early winter, American companies tend to have a great many sick and contagious people.
And in some cases, these individuals even get bonuses for coming in to work despite being ill.

Comment Re:Yawn (Score 1) 63

Man, I hate the chip market. I want to have an affordable 6 to 12 core chip with 5 to 6 GHz default clock rate, not this low-powered Internet of things crap.

I don't want overkill. I want something stable, that won't need to be encased in a cubic meter of gold/lead alloy to be protected from cosmic rays because the fab die has decreased to barely usable. Something that will last for 15+ years, while delivering enough umph, but not orders of magnitude more than I need.

My main server is a PIIIs, and as it still runs the latest software, why would I need new hardware that's less reliable? It is more than enough to handle DNS, DHCP, internal web, incoming e-mail for multiple domains, and various other services, at an average load of 0.04 (and 0.03 of that is due to incessant incoming spam, mostly from IoT botnets).
Give me reliability, not bells, whistles and turbocharging I don't need.

Comment Re:iot toilet seats (Score 1) 63

You joke, but there is a market.
Japanese washlets are quite sophisticated, and can allow uploading of audio files for the sound masking. When you "produce", it's not uncommon to have a button you can push that generates a flushing sound, or otherwise camouflages the sound by playing another sound.

In some areas where water is a premium resource, it can also be useful to monitor the number of washes and flushes. A high number of flushes compared to washes might mean installing a dry urinal could save water. Or that a better sound for "flushing" could be useful, so users use that instead of actual flushes.

Comment Re:Boot timing and attacks? (Score 2) 63

I wonder how useful having the time it takes to boot be a measurement if a ROM is compromised or not.

You mean system, not ROM. ROM cannot be compromised unless physically replaced, as it by definition is read-only.

And all this will do is make any startup commands for malware run detached with a delay. That's child's play.

But, as you allude to, it will likely lead to lots of false positives, as startup can depend on not only things like file system checks, but external factors like SSID broadcast frequency, DHCP response time, and various other factors.

Comment Re:Hockey Stick is NOT the full story (Score 1) 358

Higher resolution reconstructions by groups like Mann... show temperatures matching the current day within the last 2k years

Mann says otherwise, right in the first paragraph of the study you linked to (emphasis mine):

Our results extend previous conclusions that recent Northern Hemisphere surface temperature increases are likely anomalous in a long-term context. Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years, but with additional strong caveats. The reconstructed amplitude of change over past centuries is greater than hitherto reported, with somewhat greater Medieval warmth in the Northern Hemisphere, albeit still not reaching recent levels.

Your reading his summary and not his data, and that matters. The recent warmth as recorded by thermometers is anomalous compared with the proxy reconstruction over the last 2000 years. As I noted in the post you replied to, Mann equally noted that the proxy reconstruction of 1950 onward has a systematic bias in the underestimation of recent warming. AKA, the warming since 1950 is anomalous against the proxy reconstruction since 1950 as well.

So, if you look at Mann's data in the linked article you can see that the proxy reconstruction for 2000AD is no warmer than 1400AD, 1000AD, 800AD, and very close around 400AD. It is only the instrumental record that is much higher.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 140

Hangouts does everything you describe. It's what I use all the time. It is seamless across my phone and table and my PC. And it is seamless across windows, linux and apple.

It is seamless between SMS and the internal delivery system, and the conversations are synced to my gmail account allowing me to search them.

I like Hangouts and use it constantly, both personally and for work (I work for Google, where it is arguably the primary means of communication), but it isn't quite as seamless as iMessage in one respect: SMS integration. In iMessage there is no distinction between SMS and iMessage messages; they're all just messages. If they can be delivered via Apple's infrastructure, they are, if not they're routed via SMS. With Hangouts, SMS and Hangouts chat messages are distinct. They look similar, but they're different in subtle ways.

Of course, Hangouts clearly is superior to iMessage if you or your friends use non-Apple devices, because Hangouts works on a much wider variety of platforms, and for those who understand the distinction it's *good* to know what is SMS and what is not, because SMS is inherently unreliable -- and in some parts of the world SMS is also ridiculously expensive while data is cheap.

So, although depending on your context Hangouts may be better than iMessage, it's definitely not as seamless in a pure-Apple world as iMessage is.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 846

So the Marshall Plan fucked up Europe then?

In some ways, yes, both because of the highly uneven distribution (Spain got nothing), and because how it was distributed, with agreements requiring recipients to also buy from the US, creating long term dependencies, and only being given to recipients who could afford to pay the subsidized prices to their local governments. I.e. the poorest did not benefit, and it caused a greater distance between rich and poor.

The Lend-Lease agreement during the war was worse, where it ended up being European countries lending equipment and personnel to the US, but the US would lease personnel and equipment to European countries. Some countries were still paying the US for that up into the early 2000s.

Comment Re:What could possibly go wrong (Score 1) 491

Now you might be implying that abruptly powering off Windows would corrupt the file system, but that kind of wrong thinking belongs in another decade. Windows has used self-repairing journaled file systems for 15 years. Journaled file systems for Linux entered common use in the same year, and you don't think twice about what happens to the file system on your Linux box or Android phone when it loses power.

Well, yes, I do. Every day. For a living.

File system journals (and fsck) help maintain file system integrity, not file integrity nor medium integrity. It's only the middle layer.

If a program has only written half the data to the OS drivers by the time power goes, and those writes are replayed from the journal upon boot, you have a working file system but a corrupt file. I much prefer to be able to signal the apps to complete their output and shut down gracefully.

Likewise, cutting the power during a physical write can cause all sorts of problems, especially on media where the controller lies about whether a write is finished in order to improve write speeds. That includes most consumer hard drives and removable media. The OS removes the write from the journal as committed, while in reality it's still being handled by the hardware. Unless you have a hardware disk controller with battery backup, and turn write caching off on the physical media, this is a very real cause of corruption for power outages, and one a journal can do nothing about.

You mention Android phones. With microSD cards, where there generally is no way to disable caching, the problem is so bad that most phones make it incredibly hard to not do a controlled shutdown. But find that hidden reset switch in your phone, and hit it a few times during operation, and you will likely have corruptions, despite journaled file systems.

Incidentally, the use of non-enterprise journaled file systems is an exploit vector for intruders. If they can find a way to reset the system, and the journal replay helpfully makes valid files out of half-written temporary files, there can be a wealth of information there that shouldn't have been accessible. Good enterprise file systems like JFS and XFS will err on the side of caution and zero files that were read locked and partially written (causing a lot of complaints from those who don't understand why), while more commonly used file systems err on the side of retaining data over security.

Comment Re:Hockey Stick is NOT the full story (Score 1) 358

Proxy data might give a rough idea of the temperature of a century, but is it precise enough to show climate change within a century? And why would we use that when we have much more reliable measurements for the last century?

You do realise that by asking 'why would we use that' is the same as asking why the researchers that built the reconstruction in question should have ever bothered doing so. You are burying your head in the sand as badly as those denying man can affect the climate at all.

The importance of reconstruction covering the instrumental record is to give context to our current warming. We know the planet has been warming for the last century because of our CO2 emissions. Putting that into a context of how normal or abnormal that trend is historically helps us understand the scope of the problem we are creating. Halting the proxy record when the instrumental record begins limits that understanding. The best test of the sensitivity of the proxy sources to current change is to run compare the proxies over the current century as well and compare the result to the instrumental record. The only efforts to that affect I've seen have been in the calibration phase of proxy reconstructions and they have shown a systematic underestimation of recent warming. Identifying the degree of that bias MATTERS to more accurately understanding things.

Comment Re:It's not the FWD that are the real problem (Score 1) 131

And based on the preorders they have investors lining up to loan them money. It's like the US national debt, it's only a problem if you don't expect to be able to repay it or if nobody wants to lend you money at reasonable terms. Tesla is not going to fold due to lack of funding sources, they might be less profitable in the medium horizon because they're paying off loans (but really, corporate rates, even for a company with their run rate, are at historic lows right now so it's not THAT much of a drag on future earnings), but they've got access to plenty of capital.

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