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Comment Leap Seconds (Score 2) 173

A smeared second is stupid IMHO. People have had since 1973 to put leap seconds into their software. However, this is how NTP does it, so many computer clocks will have a smeared second even if they don't use Google.

UTC with leap seconds was set up to support celestial navigation. You can still take out your sextant and determine your position to a km or so using standard clock time. There is still a feeling that that is a useful attribute.

My personal feeling is that the Internet should just adopt TAI, but I have never gotten anywhere with that proposal.

Instead, this will go on until some plane crashes or rocket explodes or there is a massive exploit* due to a leap second being incorrectly handled, and then this will be fixed.

* There are some security protocols that make implicit assumptions about the time being roughly coordinated. On leap second day, those assumptions may be false,

Comment Bergius process? (Score 4, Informative) 181

Sounds a lot like the German Bergius process to convert coal to oil (which largely kept Nazi Germany running in World War II). That ran at ~500 C and ~50 MegaPascals; although it ran on coal, what it really did was hydrogenate carbon into oil. I suspect that they have just adopted this for use on carbon-rich garbage. I also suspect it will be tough to make a profit on it, at least at the present price of fuel oil and gasoline.

Comment What's the inbound provisioning? (Score 1) 135

With a combination of 1 Gig and 10 Gig customers, I have to wonder what the inbound provisioning is. For example, if everyone is downloading 1 Gig videos, when will it max out?

I also wonder if this bandwidth is symmetrical. Could he, for example, offer web hosting, for example (maybe paying a little more for a static IP)?

Comment The press will get burned. (Score 1) 361

Suppose you had 30,000 purloined emails, and access to the resources of a major state. A simple disinformation move would be to have minions read them all, and select and modify a tiny number (say, 5 or 10) to become explosive (add a racial slur, a phrase about keeping ill gotten gains, etc.). Make those changes, and then release the whole mess*. Wait for the press to find your land mines, enjoy. Yes, these changes could probably be disproved in court, but that's not the goal of a disinformation campaign.

In this scenario, the press will inevitably become collateral damage, but the perpetrators are not likely to care (and may even view that as a side-benefit).

* If there are integrity checks, such as MD5 sums, either hack them or remove them. I don't think that will hinder anyone with an intelligence agency behind them.

Comment What BS (Score 2) 174

Most "social uprisings" result from unforeseeable impulsive events (like a shooting). How are you going to predict those?

Maybe, just maybe, you could give a weather report like "chance of uprising is X%," but I would want to see some verification of these probabilities (are they better, for example, that just saying that riots are more probable in hot, humid weather than immediately after a snowstorm?).

Comment Many (Score 1) 1042

"Many," as in "not many."

However, I have a simple solution to their problems. All they have to do is to send me all of their money. They don't believe it's real anyway, and I promise to follow the Silicon Valley ethos and only use that fake money to convince more billionaires to give me their fake money too.

Comment Re: Market failure (Score 1) 428

You have no idea what market failure or profiteering look like, do you?

This is not a "market failure". When supply is constricted, prices should go up so the rides go to those who need them most. There are two choices: higher prices, or some sort of rationing. The higher prices are always better for sellers, and usually better for buyers as well.

There is a long history, including in this country, of imposing rationing during and immediately after wide-spread emergencies, even if a form of congestion pricing has to be paid to induce enough people to work in the afflicted area.

Comment No magnetometer (Score 1) 106

that would require Pluto to have a magnetic field -- something that would have been detected during New Horizon's flyby, yet no evidence of one was found.

New Horizons didn't carry a magnetometer, and thus did not provide evidence for Pluto's magnetic field one way or the other.

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