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Comment Re:Small potatoes (Score 2) 115

Nope. It's not $150,000 per instance, it's $150,000 per "infringed work". So if Bitmanagement Software were to go the statutory damages route, they could only sue for a maximum of $150,000 since only one work was infringed upon. What they're doing is going for actual damages (the license fee for each copy of their program) and since the fee is about $1,000 per copy and they're talking about 500,000 copies, that's quite a bit of money.

Comment Re:DNA storage capacity seems to be wildly oversta (Score 1) 42

True enough. Although looking at the figures given in the summary, there's one hell of a lot of redundancy in their 2.2 petabyte/gram estimate. Looking up the molecular masses of the base pairs plus the sugar chain to make up a DNA molecule and assuming 2 bits per base pair, I get approximately 160,000 petabytes per gram of material (no redundancy), so the estimate given in the summary has a redundancy factor of about 73,000.

Comment Re:As little as I like Microsoft (Score 1) 70

Might want to reconsider your statement DarkOx, the real issue is that the US Government attempted to use a warrant where it should have used a subpoena. A warrant and a subpoena are two different legal documents with very different powers and limitations.

Warrant - Government is allowed to seize evidence without prior notice or opportunity to challenge, but the government is required to specify where the search is to occur and describe exactly what it is searching for. Additionally, the search location has to be within the United States.

Subpoena - Grants the government the power to require a person to collect items in their possession, control, or custody regardless of their location and bring said items to court. However, the one served with the subpoena may move in advance to quash the subpoena.

What the US Government was attempting with Microsoft was some sort of strange document that combined all the powers of both a warrant and a subpoena, but with none of the limitations of either.

Comment Re:I'm not a company (Score 1) 208

... Teach your children to use their brains. ...

Are you kidding me?!?!?!?

Actually having the population use their brains would totally undermine politics as we know it. Do you have any idea how much chaos would happen if people actually started thinking critically instead of reacting emotionally? What would our demagogues^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h statesmen do for a living?

Comment I propose a counter offer.... (Score 3, Interesting) 117

Require the "owning" company to move connections, etc., in a reasonable amount of time after being notified. If the connections aren't moved within the legally mandated time, then "ownership" of the pole is transferred to the requesting company. That would prevent the "we don't have time" or "we're going to ignore you" or the other kinds of slimy activities that the owning company would perform in order to handicap their competitor.

Comment Re: What's wrong with using COBOL? (Score 3, Interesting) 217

Yep, it's just a language. The thing I find oddest about it is how it handles subroutines. A long time ago, I attempted to figure out how I would translate from COBOL to assembly and figured out that the only way to actually do so and duplicate the behavior I'd see with COBOL would be to not use a stack, but instead have a little epilog at the end of each paragraph that was the last paragraph of a perform statement. In pseudo code, it would look something like this.

      Load address of RESUME in register temp1
      Store register temp1 in PARAGRAPH_B_EPILOG
      Jump to PARAGRAPH_A
    code continues here....

      Load register temp1 with contents of PARAGRAPH_B_EPILOG
      Load address of PARAGRAPH_C in register temp2
      Store register temp2 in PARAGRAPH_B_EPILOG
      Jump to address in register temp1

Somewhere in data
      WORD VALUE initialized to address of PARAGRAPH_C


Really odd and didn't require a stack. But would account for the behavior observed whenever some did a PERFORM statement and somewhere within the target paragraphs did a GO TO to some other section of code. If they did that, it would "look" as if things were OK, but if for some reason the code execution path later crossed the boundary between the last named paragraph in the PERFORM statement and the next paragraph, the flow of control would suddenly jump to the statement following the PERFORM statement. It would also account for the situations where PERFORM statements would be used on overlapping ranges of paragraphs. Definitely an odd language, but understandable since the S/360 didn't have a stack.

Comment Re:Very niche product. (Score 0) 171

To all those who think a transparent display would be useful as an automotive HUD....
You are wrong.

The focus issues have already been adequately addressed, but there's even a more fundamental issue. Namely, light. The transparent display is basically a selectively opaque display and it requires a light source on the opposite side of the display from the observer. This might work during the day, but would definitely not work during the night.

Comment I used to not block ads (Score 4, Interesting) 317

But I now use an ad blocker for a very simple reason.

I was looking at a web site for some information that I was interested in and in the middle of my reading, the page suddenly scrolled to somewhere in the middle and started playing a video ad. I stopped the video and then spent a fair amount of time attempting to actually resume my reading at the place where I was interrupted (not extremely easy since it was a long page with lots of dense text and I had been involuntarily scrolled away from my place without warning).Just as I resumed reading, the damn ad once again scrolled me away from where I was and started playing the video again. After a few cycles of this bullshit, I decided to install an ad blocker and then went back to the page and actually managed to get the information I desired. And since it's quite frankly easier to block all ads instead of configuring the ad block to only block on certain pages, I by default block all ads. And I have no desire to go back to having ads again. My web pages load faster and I no longer have the damn ads attempting to vie for my attention.

Comment Re:I thought we all knew those things where BS... (Score 3, Interesting) 125

About the US Government requiring a polygraph to hold a Top Secret clearance and higher....

That's both true and false.

If the person is in the military, then a polygraph isn't taken. The reason is that duty assignments are considered "involuntary" and as such requiring a polygraph would be unjust. However, civilian employees are required to pass a polygraph. In fact, there have been a few cases where a military member left the service and immediately came back to the same organization as a civilian and was required to take a polygraph .... and failed ... so were denied employment at the very same organization that they just left.

I used to be active duty military and at the end of my career was working in WHCA (White House Communications Agency). That position required a TS/SCI Yankee White investigation (they tend to be a bit paranoid when you're in a position where you could physically touch the president without the Secret Service batting an eye). It was an interesting assignment, but eventually I left the service and took employment with a government contractor and was required to obtain another TS/SCI clearance. And yes, a polygraph was required.

The first polygraph that I took had "issues" and I was rescheduled to take a second polygraph. I too had issues with the polygraph since it felt to me that a game was being played where I wasn't informed as to the rules. So in my typical fashion, I researched polygraph technology and found out quite a few interesting things. One item I encountered was a reference to a classified study on polygraphy. I wasn't able to obtain the study itself, but assuming that the study reflected the publicly available information on the polygraph and if I were to be a classification authority, then I too would have classified the study.

Because simply, the publicly available information boils down to this.
Polygraphy as a means of detecting true or falsehood, it's totally worthless. But as a means of eliciting voluntary confessions from naive subjects, it is extremely effective.

Notice the phrase "naive subjects."

Let's just say that on my followup polygraph, I understood the rules of the game, informed the polygrapher and she was the one who had an unhappy time. The results were inconclusive and I did get my TS/SCI clearance.

Yes, as a civilian employee in the United States, you are required to take a polygraph to obtain a TS or higher clearance, but that it just one element of the clearance process and it doesn't require the subject to actually believe in the effectiveness of the polygraph.

Comment Re:The general consensus amongst many Americans (Score 1) 488

I would be rather interested in where you're getting the figures for that assertion. Looking at the graph at is that for the period from 1958 to 2015, CO2 levels have changed from 315 ppm to 405 ppm which most certainty doesn't look like "doubled".

Comment Re:The general consensus amongst many Americans (Score 1) 488

Well, let's just say that I'm less than impressed by the knowledge that mankind is causing approximately 0.2% to 0.3% of the greenhouse effect on earth. I'm also less than impressed by people who when asked "What greenhouse gas has the greatest influence on the greenhouse effect on earth?" and they answer ... no, let me correct that ... parrot "Carbon Dioxide".
Hint: Carbon dioxide is only about 5% of the total greenhouse effect on earth. The actual major contributor to the greenhouse effect is water vapor. But the problem with water vapor is that the government can't demonize it and use it as a basis for a power grab. But carbon dioxide is quite easy to demonize. Too bad that mankind only produces about 5% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.. And too bad that several studies seem to be conveniently ignored when discussing climate change.

The key issue is that scientists have found a good correlation between global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide by examining tree growth rings, gas bubbles in ice core samples, etc. And yep, they see that higher levels of CO2 are correlated with higher temperatures and visa-versa. But there's just one little catch..... The changes in CO2 levels LAG the changes in global temperatures by approximately 40 to 50 years. I don't know about you, but I'm a firm believer that if there's a cause and effect relationship between two variables, that the cause happens before the effect, not the opposite. So if CO2 level changes lag temperature changes by several decades that indicates that temperature changes are the cause, not the effect.

Now what might be the reason for CO2 levels to change after temperature changes? One of the first things that comes to mind is that the solubility of CO2 in water is inversely proportional to temperature. Higher temperatures mean less solubility and lower temperatures means greater solubility. So if the global temperatures change, the oceanic temperatures also change, but with a significant lag due to the thermal inertia of such a great mass of water.

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The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh