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Comment Re:Ham Radio? (Score 5, Interesting) 177

If I had modpoints today....

HAM radio is one of only a hand full of (organized, if you want to) hobbies that encourage you to explore almost all facets of the modern technological equipment we nowadays surround ourselves with. Analog and digital electronics (radios, computer interfaces, micro-controllers and programmable logic, power supply and storage), software (embedded, drivers, applications, communications protocols), metal working (antennas and masts, wave pipes, but also building your own cases)...
And then of course all the science and mathematics behind it. Electrostatics and electrodynamics, meteorology (propagation), some thermodynamics (noise), some solid-state physics (semiconductors)...

Also it can be a very social hobby, because if you want to, you can interact with people in any country in the world with a few hundred dollars worth (either store-bought or paid for in time to build from parts) of equipment. Although, I do confess, chances to interact with a North Korean are very slim indeed.
If you choose to become a member of a HAM radio group, there are also local gatherings of HAMs you can visit, ask for advice and maybe learn a thing or two from. I'm myself a member of VERON (Association of experimental radio research, Netherlands), a Dutch radio amateur club. In the U.S. you have the ARRL.
If you're interested in volunteering during emergencies, HAM can be a good way in or addition to other 'hobbies' in that direction. In the Netherlands there is DARES (Dutch Amateur Radio Emergency Service). The U.S. equivalent is simply called ARES.

Don't be discouraged about the science and math. You don't need degrees in them. You can choose to calculate and design of course, but also to 'just' experiment, and see where it goes. As long as you use your common sense and observe a hand full of regulations that keep you from some major stupid actions (like ruining cell tower coverage in your block, hampering other commercial and emergency radio services or do bodily harm due to bundled/high power radiation).
Without a license you're limited to listening and a few 'free' bands for low power equipment but getting your license isn't that hard. A novice license exam should be doable for anyone willing to spend a few hours every week, for a year in learning the basic science behind the hobby and for reviewing the proper regulations. But your high-school physics and math probably covers most of it, if you paid attention in class. If you want to pass the exam for a full license, you need to dig a little deeper. Most people with college degrees including physics and math find it easy enough and anyone with or close to a bachelor in any remotely related field (in my case: CS - half way at the time, and a precursor hobby experience of (non-radio) electronics and computer hardware) may not even need to study, maybe only 'leaf through' the exam material to pass for the technical exam. Don't forget to review the regulations 'though. I forgot, and still passed by answering that part of the exam on common sense, but you save yourself a lot of stress not following my example ;) .

73, PG8W.

Comment Re:Just what Corporate Security needs... (Score 1) 145

What a marvelous idea you have! And think of all the crimes of stolen laptops you can solve with an unremovable connection at the BIOS level! And, in time, less robberies. Less burglaries as well, I guess. Everything implemented in the most user friendly way possible of course. No need to be bothered installing your own, imperfect, anti-theft services. The 'cloud' will solve it all (including the breezy feel in your cranium).
How much safer this world will be! That pesky bit of freedom we have to offer for that is nothing compared.

You can now switch off your sarcasm detector if you usually have need for it.

If Microsoft ever implements mobile connection technology in PC-grade equipment, before I even remotely would touch that stuff, I want a guarantee I can swap out/backup/etc e-SIMs in that hardware myself AND hardware-switch enable/disable the feature. Yes, I want a ****** button and traces on the PCB I can follow that show me the hardware can be disabled.

Comment Re:Damaging C02 is not at ground level (Score 1) 119

CO2 is a heavier gas. Yes, it exists at higher levels, due to wind and such. But, give it a rest and it would float down (It's lighter than oxygen and nitrogen). If you reduce CO2 at ground level, natural atmospheric processes will cause it to be reduced at higher level as well. No need for airplanes and such. Wind will be your best friend.

Comment Re:"Super-Efficient"? (Score 5, Insightful) 119

Well, 'we' are already working on a not-happy outcome for 'us' due to 'our' own shortsightedness and hubris. Be glad there are still people willing to look into (even if they are radical) solutions to reverse this shit, instead of moaning about some imaginary economic doom scenario if they were ordered to actually move their asses for once.
There are already a lot of things making perfect sense (also economically) to do to reduce more damage. But often they aren't done because of established order and general inactivity and who-gives-a-shitness. Well, I do.

Comment Re:What is the carbon footprint? (Score 3, Informative) 119

Guess what. Enzymes are usually called enzymes because they make possible a biochemical reaction, or enhance the natural reaction in such a way that they are not used up. Like a catalyst, but catalysts can be inorganic. Enzymes are definitely protein based, and as such, organic molecules.
As other proteins, they can denature or even disintegrate due to external circumstances (too much heat, acidity level) but in the right circumstances they keep existing and can process virtually indefinitely.

Comment Re:Disheartening (Score 2) 164

I have used AC commenting in the past because I was also moderating a discussion - then found out I just had to respond to something and me posting non-AC would mean to undo all the modding I already did... dilemma and sometimes a bit vexing when you see 'your' post reaching +5 in the process...

Banning or removing AC functionality doesn't solve any problem unless you make it very hard to register an account or do some very unsavoury things like banning on IP, user profiling using network/browser data and pre-ban positive matches and banning VPN/Tor connections to prevent entry by (nearly fully) anonymous users. And unfortunately I don't have a definitive answer to the 'big' question either. Seems it has that in common with other imperfect systems.... Democracy (tyranny of the majority), Socialism (incentives of labour), Capitalism (money 'uber alles'), Liberalism (individuality at all cost), Religion (Words, the only truth), Science (Proof, the only truth)... *sigh*

Comment Re:EU lawsuits against tech companies (Score 2) 165

Sure, go right ahead. All England and Wales have to do to make this break really quick and (iron wall-like) permanent is pull a stunt like Ireland did, tell the rest of the EU about it beforehand (or not) and that the EU can, taxes concerning, go eff themselves. The rest of the UK isn't really sure about brexit yet - they are keeping all options open, including secession from the UK.
I'm pretty sure the UK politicians know that themselves as well, especially those (who were) pro-brexit - when you look into their post-brexit-vote behaviour. But history has seen stranger things. Germany declaring war on both the United States and Russia, France trying to occupy Moscow in winter or Japan attacking Pearl Harbour. Sometimes people choose to do things that are doomed to fail from the get go. I'm afraid when it reaches that point we can only let it rage and try to build from the ashes.

Comment Re: Also kicks out scores from third party purchas (Score 1) 85

Actually, yes, that's exactly what I did.... twice.
The Fallout 4 Pip-boy edition, which comes with CDs and steam key, I installed by Steam download (because my internet connection is faster than my optical drive) and just a few days ago I read something about being able to register Games for Windows with Steam. So I took my dusty Supreme Commander with Forged Alliance bundled CD's, saw a weird looking (for Steam-key, weird looking) CD code on one of its booklets and Io and Behold, it registered this time. I did a shift-del of my ancient-half-patched SupCom folder and re-downloaded the always up-to-date Steam version. Steam usually == happy gaming experience... but with some things I do wonder...

Comment Re:Prepare to be (Score 1) 532

Ok, i'll bite...

-Video-conferencing using a mobile phone - in extension, carrying an 80's standards super-computer class device in your pocket you can interface with using mere touch input and with an integrated graphics output in splendid resolution.
-An extend-your-self computer kit a seven year old can learn to use, the size of half a tablet of chocolate (Raspberry Pi)
-Autopilot for cars (Tesla, Google, ..., take your pick - even 'though they are not yet perfect).
-Full automation of the home using off-the-shelf products.
-A.I. beating chess grandmasters - A.I. beating Go grandmasters even more so.
-Direct detection of earth-like exo-planets.
-The full extent of the world-wide web ('nuff said)
-On-demand high-resolution video streaming to both hand-held devices and commercially ubiquitous, large, potentially wall-sized flat-panel monitors.
-Commercial space companies able to technically achieve interplanetary missions.
-Whole genome sequencing in a day.
-Finding the Higgs boson - both the physical instrument, the LHC and the global network of supercomputers and storage servers transporting, dividing, combining, parsing and storing LHC's results.

Should I go on?

Comment Re:RF harvesting can work for power. (Score 4, Informative) 110

Most rechargeable batteries have a substantial self discharge rate and will go to zero in a few months with charging.

This used to be the case, but for a decade or so now there are rechargeable 'ready to use'/'low self-discharge' (LSD) NiMH batteries on the market that can hold a significant amount of their charge for several years (for good ones, 75% after 3 years). LSD NiMH's do have a bit smaller capacity per volume but that is maybe a 10-20% difference, at the most.

But maybe these sensors have a rechargeable Li-Ion battery? I don't know about LSD types of those but Li-Ion have very bad charging characteristics when almost empty (high internal resistance - so it's harder to charge the emptier it is) so I don't think they are useful when recharging in these extremely low power conditions. And then there are supercapacitors, but they have a way too high self-discharge rate to be able to claim 5 years of operation on the 'battery' alone.

Submission + - New Whistleblower Points To Lawful Disclosure Method Edward Snowden Didn't Try 1

blottsie writes: John Crane, a former head of whistleblower protections has become a whistleblower himself, laying bare how official channels designed for government workers to safely expose wrongdoing are ensnaring them instead. Though some are calling the revelations “vindication for Edward Snowden,” the Crane refuses to condone Snowden’s decision, telling the Daily Dot that the former National Security Agency contractor left a key, legal avenue unexplored.

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