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Comment Government run program (Score 1) 274

This is one of the times I think the EPA could do a lot of good by picking a site out west, setting up a furnace and simply grinding and melting these down to then refine out the lead and other metals. They should run it themselves, not contracting it out, and accept all CRTs and e-waste that make it to the loading dock, for free, no questions asked.

Comment A VLF maser? (Score 2) 69

Right there, in the Wikipedia page for the project, in list of main scientific findings (#3), is that it can be used to generate ELF (extremely low frequency) signals in the range of 0.1 Hz by modulating conductivity of the ionosphere to the already present DC flow from the solar wind. I once did the math, and concluded that this would result in turning the ionosphere into the VLF equivalent of a MASER, and the power flow there is on the order of a Terawatt (if I recall correctly). ..I believe this is what Tesla was attempting to do with his huge transmitter at Wardenclyffe.. A few megawatts could generate about a gigawatt of VLF if done right.

Converting that VLF back to usable power, on the other hand... I have no idea how that would happen.

Comment LEDs detect light already (Score 2) 33

There obviously aren't many hardware hackers watching this thread, but I just wanted you to know that LEDs also function as photodiodes... back in the 1990s I breadboarded an alarm circuit that used a bi-color LED, with the green as an emitter and the red as a detector, to sense a reflector from a few feet away. I'm fairly certain that you could probably do interesting things with this knowledge and an arduino... like make a device that has a lock that has an single LED as it's heartbeat output, and its unlock input, with a matching keychain, for example.

Comment No, it's the Operating System, silly! (Score 1) 148

Analogy time: Imagine homes with no Circuit Breakers. Any short circuit anywhere could burn down a house. Lawyers and lawmakers arrive on the scene and declare that everything you want to plug in needs to be short proof. Every product has to be certified not to burn down houses, no matter what failure happens. The designers of even a simple lamp can end up being charged with murder, and as a result nobody really wants to use electricity.

We have circuit breakers, which limit the amount of current to be supplied to an appliance. If you have a special big appliance, like an air conditioner, you have to use a special circuit to supply it with power. Circuit breakers serve to limit the side effects that are possible when you use electricity.

There is no analogous circuit breaker in our widely used operating systems. When you run an application as a user, ALL of your authority is given to the program, and you have to just hope that it does the right thing. There are systems which do place limits on the side effects of a program when you run them, and they are even user friendly and fairly easy to understand.

It's up to us to start to use operating systems that have the ability to limit the side-effects of programs. One example is the Genode project. There is also the perennially late GNU Hurd

Comment Eliminate Ambient Authority in the Human Body? (Score 1) 259

Ambient Authority is the root cause of most of the woes of modern computing. Your OS of choice doesn't know how to even ask "which files should this program have access to, for this instance", and just gives programs free run to do as they please... until this is fixed, we're going to have virii.

Cancer on the other hand is a situation where a cell already has resources it's supposed to have, but doesn't get rate limited in the use of them, allow it to grow, divide, and multiply.

Two fundamentally different problems.

Comment The targets aren't fixed points. (Score 4, Insightful) 191

The problem with predicting where to go to stop crimes is that many of the crimes in Chicago are gang related, instead of property related. Houses to be robbed don't move, but rival gang members can be found anywhere. Predictive algorithms assume fixed targets.

If there was a real crackdown on Gangs, crime would decrease for a while, but I think that too many bribes are preventing that from happening. It would be far better to legalize drugs, defunding the gangs.

Of course, as a privileged white male from the suburbs, I could be wrong.

Comment Eliminate Ambient Authority (Score 1) 55

If we eliminate ambient authority, it would go a long way towards fixing this whole mess. Having operating systems which blindly trust applications to do the right thing is just stupid. This was figured out back in the early 1970s, but nobody seems to have learned the lesson.

Capability Based Security is a way to never trusting applications, in a user friendly way... just raising awareness of it is a good first start.

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