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Comment An important question: (Score 1) 640

Who bought the car? I mean really, there are a LOT of cars out there with impressive 0-60 times. Ford Mustangs, Dodge Hellcats, Chevrolet Corvettes etc very much etc. They sell because people want them. The driver, or her husband, bought the car. And I'm pretty sure that that the quickness of the electric drive train was one of the selling points. (remember that Tesla cars target the BMW, Maserati, Mercedes and Aston Martin, etc buying demographic. ALL makers of quick and nimble cars) Used correctly, such acceleration potential can prevent accidents, giving you the ability to nimbly dodge a potential collision.

Of course, I don't care you who are, or how skilled of a driver you normally are. If you are three times the legal blood alcohol limit you cannot possibly handle any car properly. If the deceased driver had a car of lesser potential, she would have probably collided with the idiot going the wrong way instead.

As far as I'm concerned, the fault goes like this: A) The wrong way driver created an emergency situation, placing everyone else on that road that day in severe risk. B) Because of her asinine decision to drive drunk, the deceased was not capable of handling the emergency. She likely panicked and floored it to avoid the oncoming car. Thus, the wrong way driver caused the accident, the drunk driver's mistake(s) doubled down on the consequences of that accident. I'm pretty sure that even had she been in a more sedate vehicle, there still would have been an accident. If she had been sober behind the wheel of the Tesla, she might have been able to avoid the collision with the tree.

Comment Does anyone else remember Slashdots failed new loo (Score 1) 489

Instead of asking us victims, er, I mean users of sites and applications using this new approach to UI, why not ask someone who chose to inflict, err implement such a new look? It wasn't all that long ago that Slashdot decided to make an attempt at staying current by making some radical changes to how the website looked. As I recall, it had the following modern UI traits:

Reduced palette? : check

Too much white space? : check!

Awful font? : check

Reduced information? : check

Space wasted on unnecessary graphic art? : check

In my opinion; the new look for Slashdot looked altogether too much like an attempt to copy the look and feel of a glossy traditional print magazine. The overall effect made me think the (new) target demographic was people who didn't want details, people who wanted the web equivalent of a nice sound bite. The approach seemed like it was trying to give you an awareness of a news item, not an in-depth article for people who want to understand and debate the deeper aspects of it. Thankfully; the new look was not only disliked by a large majority of the Slashdot membership, but said members were also quite vocal in opposing it. More to the point; I believe the Slashdot membership did so in a more effective way than most websites would have experienced. I know of several of us, including myself, who took the time to go beyond the usual "the change sux and you suck for making the change!" that makes up the usual negative feedback any site experiences. In the comments appended to the article devoted to it, and again in many other articles, I and many others detailed each change from the previous look, why we disliked it and why we preferred the previous look. A LOT of it tied back to the idea of "who is your target demographic, what level of engagement/interaction are you expecting from them?"

In general, if you only give the bare bullet points of information and limit or obscure the users ability to customize things, you are planning for a one-way dialogue. For a news site, that is "sound bite journalism". For an application, that is promoting your concept of the desired workflow, not what the users might conceive as the best workflow for them. Contrariwise; if a news site gives the full story, links to supporting information and a full fledged forum for the readers to contribute, it is building a community and encouraging actual understanding of the news in question. It was that desire to understand, critique and debate that made and continues to make Slashdot special IMHO and was the detail I think the Slashdot staff at the time had overlooked.

It is my personal opinion that modern UI look and feel has its place, but that it is too often overused and largely because of the same error in thinking that Slashdot staff had been guilty of. The UI designers are going for something that looks pretty in presentations to management, is easy for the users to use as long as they are following the predicted workflow, on the predicted devices.

Comment Re:" it was even a Boeing aircraft" (Score 1) 139

Except that the citizen sleuths page on the materials found on/in the tie make it clear that:

a) It isn't titanium dioxide, but actual titanium metal, in shapes that indicate the particles are swarf and debris from machining operations.

b) the x-ray spectroscopic data show that the particle tested isn't pure Ti but is pretty darn close to being so. No other elements approach 1% of the total spectra.

c) one fragment was found to have close association with aluminium crystals, which might indicate an alloy. (is there a metallurgist in the house?)

d) yet another particle showed 400 series stainless steel embedded in a fragment of titanium. The shape and texture of the bond between them suggests one tool was used to work both metals. One possible scenario, a drill bit was used to male a hole in SS and then make a hole in Ti, smearing a bit of SS debris onto the Ti swarf during the operation.

e) there were several spiral chips of 500 or 5000 series aluminium, which is an alloy with the principle alloying metal being magnesium. Not particularly strong until and unless heat treated, but with good machinable qualities and corrosion resistance.

The evidence seems pretty clear that the tie was worn in a machine shop environment where, for the time, some unusual materials were being worked with in conjunction with more common fabrication materials. Given the variety of the materials found, it is not unreasonable to suppose the tie was worn in such an area more than once, during different operations or stages where different materials would have been worked on. In addition, the tie had to have been worn by someone who would wear a tie in a machine shop. No machinist, tool and die maker or shop operator would wear a tie, even a clip on like the one D.B. Cooper left behind, while working because of the obvious safety hazards. The sleuths reasonably conclude that D.B. would have been an engineer or shop manager. (the tie being a clip-on, I lean towards the engineer option. back in '71, a clip on tie would have been seen as even more tacky than it is today. It's seems more likely to me that an engineer would wear a clip on in deference to what he sees as a silly dress code than a manager would, who might be a wee bit more style and status conscious than an engineer)

Comment I suggest a few things (Score 1) 303

a few things off the top of my head:

1) Don't put the switch, router etc in the same volume of space your desk is going to be in. You could do something like a soundproofed closet, with baffled vent for air flow. But, as you said, there is the risk of theft still to consider. I see no reason why your networking gear needs to be in what amounts to a small garage in your backyard. Sticking the gear in a closet goes a long way to protecting you from the white noise of the fans and protecting the machinery from dust, but a closet in the house is even better.

2) Look into using what's called in the trade a "split" air conditioner. You may have seen these installed in places like Hong Kong apartment buildings and retrofitted Russian buildings. Instead of having a big window with a large metal box that is easily removable, you can have small, high windows that are far more burglar deterring than a big window. You also get a unit that is permanently installed instead of a window unit that gets pulled out every winter. Splits are more efficient and available in bigger capacities than window units. As a bonus, you'd get larger expanses for that whiteboard of yours and lower heating/cooling bills.

3) Talk to your insurance broker about this. Investigate whether you need insurance for business interruption in the event of fire, theft, hurricane etc or if a simple rider on the existing house insurance will cover it. (another area where sticking your network gear in the house will help you.)

4) Don't forget your backup strategy! Your goal should be, in the event of any disaster, you can pick up a cheap laptop and go to a coffee shop and continue to work for at least a few days. Having one backup in the home office, another in the basement with the rest of the IT stuff *and* a copy on the cloud somewhere will be a lifesaver if you ever need it. For that matter, don't forget your free backup opportunities through your employer if appropriate. Your working data is absolutely something they should be backing up already. You may be able to get them to store a image of your laptop as well. Talk to your IT guys at work. (unless *you* are the IT guy, in which case why the hell are you asking us? )

Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 1) 406

I think you've been misled by the graphic in the USA Today article the summary links to. Nowhere in the text does it give a location. CNN reports in the text of their article that the navy ship Bowditch was roughly 100 miles away from the Subic Bay port (but says only 50 miles in the video embedded in that article). Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal reports the location as 50 nautical miles to the north west of Subic bay. Nobody is saying where the unit went during its mapping mission, just that the Chinese grabbed it when the Bowditch was preparing to recover it.

China has been trying to expand it's zone of control in the area for a while now. They've been busy building artificial islands on reefs in the Spratly and Paracel Island chains. My guess (posted previously) is that China is trying to exploit the differences in how various maritime boundaries are determined, specifically the archipelagic rule, which establishes sovereignty based on the most outlying points of a nations territory. The construction efforts haven't won de jure sovereignty for China (international courts have ruled against them) but they still maintain de facto sovereignty over large areas of the South China Sea that they didn't have before they began all of this.

Meanwhile, it is well recognized that building artificial islands, even if based on reefs normally exposed at low tide, will change the local currents, thermocline layers and so on. This is critical information for the US Navy because these factors dramatically affect a submarines ability to navigate and hide from the enemy. The US Navy needs top quality data to hide their own subs as well as help find enemy subs. The data the drone collected was itself unclassified, but of utmost importance for creating charts that are classified. My guess is that China knew what the object was long before they grabbed it (even though they claim they were investigating a potential navigational hazard). They would have grabbed it in order to pull a data dump from it. That would give the Chinese navy clues to the charting and navigational capabilities of the US Navy.

What would be interesting to me is what the data would reveal about the course the drone took during its mission. As I said, the Chinese are trying to expand their control in the area. It would not surprise me if the drone took a course directly through what China regards as their territorial or exclusive economic zone waters, but that the rest of the world (incl the US Navy) still maintain are actually international waters.

Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 1) 406

No I don't work for China, nor did I ever claim to agree with what they are doing. What I described was simply my own theory about what China's motives and reasoning is to do this. And, for what it's worth, the text of the article listed in the summary makes no mention of the distance from the disputed Spratly island. The graphic describes the capture as taking place in Subic Bay itself. (which strikes me as highly unlikely!) On the other hand, CNN lists the incident as occurring ~100 miles (I assume statute miles here, not nautical miles) from Subic Bay, while the Wall Street Journal claims it occurred 50 Nautical miles north west of Subic Bay. This data seems to imply that the underwater vehicle was operating in the international waters close to the Paracel islands, not the Spratly chain. Unlike the artificial island in the Spratly chain, China has controlled Paracel Island since the 50's. Only Vietnam and Taiwan have seriously contested this and China obviously ignores Taiwanese protests because official Chinese policy is that Taiwan is still a province of China, just temporarily under the control of the (rebellious) Chinese Nationalist forces.

Since China has de facto sovereignty over the Paracel Island, it's not much of a stretch to imagine them basing their territorial and economic zone boundaries on its inclusion. With an economic zone extending 200 *nautical miles* from Paracel Island, China *might* claim that the research vessel was trespassing. (which, I will stipulate, still violates the "innocent passage" requirements...)

Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 1) 406

Oh absolutely they are encroaching on Vietnamese and Philippine waters, that's one of the reasons why everyone with interests in the area are getting so tense about it.

And I am not claiming that China is in the right in all of this. I'm just making an inference of their likely motives and reasoning based on what they've done so far and what (little) I know about international maritime law. It seems likely to me that they are trying to play guardhouse lawyer here, using the differences between the definition of territorial, archipelagic and continental zones. Right now, they have de facto sovereignty over the artificial islands they've built so far. De facto sovereignty will remains until either

a) Someone big enough to provide a credible threat is willing to fight China for possession of the island(s) force China to cede the territory or

b) China accepts the existing de jure decisions and vacates the islands voluntarily. (some sanctions would be useful here, but I don't know if any of China's biggest trade partners have the political will to do so...)

As far as I know, International maritime law does not distinguish between natural and artificial islands. The catch here, and what I think the majority of international community is basing their objections on, is that natural or artificial, you can't just go and claim uninhabited land that exists beyond your existing boundaries. For example, if the island in the Spratly chain had been increased through vulcanism, it would have been unclaimed territory, but the Philippines would have arguably the best claim on it, since it falls within their economic zone. (similar reasoning would obtain for the Paracel chain and Vietnam, with the added argument that those waters have been fishing grounds for Vietnam for centuries)

Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 4, Informative) 406

It is my understanding that there are several different distinctions, each with its own measurements, for what constitutes a nations waters.

First off, as far as I know, all measurements are determined from the low tide water line(s)

Second, most treaties and decisions are based on Nautical Miles, leading to much confusion on the part of laymen, especially if they are converting from metric kilometres to miles and neglect to distinguish between nautical and statute measurements.

Third; there are several basic levels of control over waters:

a) Internal waters (bays and rivers, no right of innocent passage by third parties)

b)Territorial waters (12 NM from low tide line, nation must allow innocent passage but all laws of nation are in effect)

c) archipelagic waters, (baseline drawn from outermost points of peninsulas and and islands. Nation is completely sovereign, but must allow innocent passage AND traditional fishing rights of neighbouring countries.

d) Contiguous zone (measured another 12 NM out beyond the territorial waters. (only customs, taxation, pollution and immigration laws are in effect)

e) Exclusive Economic zone. (TWO HUNDRED NM out from baseline, nation has exclusive rights to exploit all natural resources in the area except where already covered by Contiguous Zone.) and finally

f) Continental Shelf 200 miles from baseline OR to the natural edge of the geologic feature WHICHEVER IS GREATER, to a maximum of 350 NM. Nation has rights to resources attached to, or below, the sea bottom in this area.

What China appears to be doing is building artificial islands in what previously had been international waters. If it can get tacit or explicit acceptance from the international community that China is sovereign on those islands, that will allow China to dramatically expand its control in the region based on the archipelagic rule, which in turn will expand its exclusive economic zone. Remember that there is a clear difference between de facto and de jure sovereignty. The Permanent Court of Arbitration can only rule on de jure and historically, de jure sovereignty has always been secondary to de facto sovereignty. Thus, China does not need international acceptance in order to gain de facto sovereignty. By building the islands and providing military and border patrols, it already has that.

Comment Some helpful context: (Score 5, Insightful) 406

The article doesn't mention this, but I know it's been posted on Slashdot before, large swathes of the South China Sea are no longer clearly International Waters as the current article implies. For a couple of years now, China has been building artificial islands in the region. China appears to be doing this mainly to expand its territorial waters. China's efforts have been centred largely in the Spratly and Paracel Islands regions. The Paracels are arguably within the Vietnamese territorial waters, while international treaties recognize the Spratly group as being within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

Thus, from the Chinese point of view, the drone was likely a) spying on their military bases being built on one of the islands they are expanding and b) doing so from within waters they claim as their own.

From the US point of view, a) they were operating in what is still internationally recognized as either international waters or waters controlled by their Philippine allies. and b) getting the closest possible look at the military installations a major power was building, which are responsible for a major change in the balance of tensions in the region. (One can easily argue that these efforts by the Chinese government are deliberately provocative)

As a final note; I do not believe for one moment that the drone deployed by the US navy only gathers such non-classified data the article mentions. Drones are primarily intelligence gathering platforms after all, not science research vessels. If I were developing, deploying and operating multi-million dollar drones in an area currently under a great deal of military and economic tensions, I'd be loading that drone with every type of sensor, (active and passive) that I could possibly fit in its hull. Given the current tensions, I'd be using only its passive sensors to be sure. I wouldn't want my drone getting caught. The best intelligence, after all, is the intelligence the opponent doesn't even know you have. But I'd be certainly doing more than measuring temperatures and salinity. My primary interest would probably be using passive sonar to *thoroughly* map the sea bottom and gps/ inertial tracking to chart how the Chinese construction was affecting the local currents and thermocline depths. Should hostilities ever break out, such detailed knowledge of the area would make finding and combating submarines much easier as well as giving my own subs the tools they need to maximise their own efforts at hiding.

Comment Re:Eh... (Score 4, Insightful) 29

My take on that is that, while lithium has its potential dangers, it seems like any other really power dense technology has the same fundamental problem. Whether it be chemical, electrical, electro-chemical or kinetic, storing a large amount of energy in a small package is going to be dangerous when (not if) power storage devices, or the devices which contain them, fail in certain ways.

For the sake of illustration, suppose we develop a better plastic that allows classic, well understood flooded lead-acid batteries to use a stronger solution of sulphuric acid and combine that with a way of making a reticulated lead foam. What you get is a lead-acid cell that can be up to half the size of the existing product, perhaps with a slightly better initial voltage or better cold cranking amps.

Only now: a) the risk of hydrogen build up explosions is higher b) the damage done by a leaking battery/acid spill is greater. c. Because a smaller form factor means closer terminal spacing, it is even easier for a mechanic to get a wrench or screwdriver caused short, shocking him and potentially welding the tool in place. d) Any hypothetical plastic that is resistant to very strong concentrations of sulphuric acid across a wide range of temperatures and internal pressures is likely going to be next to impossible to recycle.

Similarly, a kinetic system like a flywheel holds the potential to fail in entertaining (from a distance) ways if the bearings fail or if the base materials fail under load.

Comment Re:PLEASE...make a sports car again!! (Score 1) 247

And McLarens are far, FAR less likely to be parked on the street in front of the owners house or in the Local Wal-Mart parking lot.

If you're a thief and want to steal a McLaren or other million dollar car, how do you find one that isn't alarmed, indoors, under CCTV monitoring and possibly guarded as well? Whereas, if you're in the market for a hot Camry, Accord or what have you, any public parking lot is sure to have a few to choose from.

Also, if *I* owned a million dollar car, I'd definitely invest in Lo-Jack or similar GPS recovery system so that even if some hoodlum drags me out of the car at gunpoint while at a traffic light, he'd only have a few hours to find and disable the Lo-Jack before promptly re-locating the car to where it will actually be stripped or shipped out.

Comment The irony is just sickening... (Score 1) 114

Here we have a bigoted person advocating genocide, arguably one of the most violent acts any species, let alone any ethnic grouping of humans, could ever achieve. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that one ethnic group did manage to kill off all members of a chosen group/set of groups. We'll ignore for the moment the pragmatic reality that, thanks to many centuries of interaction (good AND bad) most peoples are genetic mongrels, with ancestry from 3 or more backgrounds. We'll even ignore the fact that, in many cases, the groups that hate each other most tend to be very closely related, (Semitic peoples as already mentioned, Chinese/Japanese/Korean, French and UK, the list goes on) again, because of centuries of interaction, both good and bad. That makes it practically impossible for anyone to actually accurately target ANY hated group.

sociopathic, genocidal murderers and their heirs will be all that is left

Even IF such a thing were technically feasible or to become so. There are still two really big problems that the hate groups never seem to even realize, let alone admit to anyone.

1) Who decides who is desirable vs undesirable? White supremacists would chose blacks, browns and yellows, pretty much in that order. There are elements in militant ethnic or religious groups who would happily eliminate whites from the world in turn. What you end up with is a MAD situation, with everyone (hopefully!!) being too sane to be the first to pull the trigger and making side deals with others in the room to gang up on the first one who does so.

2) There are many post apocalyptic stories and movies out there which can give us at least a passing notion of what a truly depopulated world would look like. None of the bigoted nutjobs seem to really think that through. At best, some seem to think this means law and order collapse and they get to take what they please at the point of the gun they've been hugging and whispering to. More likely, it means the utter collapse and likely extinction of the human race. ONE PLAGUE wiped out as much as 50% of the human race. We survived because a) People tended not to travel as much or as far/fast as they do today. The disease spread slower than it would today. b) Something like 80% of the population was involved in food production and nobody utterly relied on preserved and/or widely transported foodstuffs. c) The disease struck mainly the poorest and the ones living in the most crowded conditions the hardest. Most monasteries, for example, were almost or completely unscathed. Which also meant that the accumulated knowledge of the human race also survived. (and even if the librarian monk dies, the books are still on the shelves. If our electrical grid goes down permanently, everything stored electronically will be essentially GONE.) Because our civilization is so interconnected and interdependent, what *I* think the result would be:

A) Death tolls easily matching the First, Second and Third pandemics put together. It will happen within weeks, perhaps even days, compared to the months and years of the earlier plagues. That would eliminate 80+% of the human race.

B)There will be warfare as nations blame each other. Warfare that is quite likely to include nuclear weapons. That right there accounts of ~80-90 % of the human race. FOLLOWED BY

C) Wide spread and immediate Great Famine which accounts for 50-60% of who ever is left. FOLLOWED BY

D) Rampant dysentery and other diseases, caused by being surrounded by seemingly endless dead bodies and no access to clean drinking water. (many people in the west don't even know where their water comes from, let alone have the means to get there and extract it without power during a pandemic. FOLLOWED BY

E) A loss of human knowledge and know-how akin to the Viking sacks of the Irish monasteries, but occurring WORLD-WIDE. FOLLOWED BY

F) A drastic crash in world wide climate, perhaps even another Little Ice Age as we had in the medieval period. This may well account for the 5-10% of humanity that is left, huddling and starving in the dark. If the Little Ice Age had any help from Nuclear winter, it could easily be the tipping point to another Snowball Earth which would wipe out 95+% of ALL LIFE on the planet.

no, any sane individual, regardless of race, colour, creed or condition should be utterly terrified of the possibility of ANY wide spread bioweapon.

Comment I don't think they are "new installs" (Score 2) 333

TFA links to NetMarketShare, but doesn't detail how NetMarketShare determines whether a given machine is an existing or new installation. Windows 7 only went up by 0.11%, while Windows 10 went down by a mere 0.06%. Trying to make any solid conclusions with such skimpy changes in the numbers strikes me as futile.

One possibility occurs to me to explain the increase of Windows 7 installs. For a year, users of 7 and 8.x were allowed a free upgrade. (and let us not forget the shenanigans Microsoft pulled in "persuading" users to upgrade.) Thing is; none of those upgraded users received a physical copy of the Win10 installation media or a license key. So if a hard drive dies or the install gets corrupted badly enough, the user is going to have to reinstall whichever version they had been using previously. (I won't get into the stupidity of having ones physical copy of the OS actually be provided by a hidden restore partition on the root drive)

As far as I know NetMarketShare is just counting installations based on what peoples user agent strings are reporting during normal web surfing. I don't know of any way to determine an OS date of install from a user agent string.

Comment Speaking as a Canadian and privacy advocate... (Score 4, Insightful) 121

I've read a number of posts thus far and it seems the anti-police contingent is out in force tonight. Many of the paranoid or anti-police comments thus far have been posted by AC, so I don't know what prompts their attitudes.

In my opinion; Canadian police forces are far less deserving of anti-cop, paranoid rhetoric than US or Latin American forces. In this case, the police obtained a court ordered warrant before asking the telecoms for the tower dump info. This is exactly how the law is supposed to work The police are seeking information that they cannot obtain through the usual personal observation or talking to people one on one and one at a time. Traditional foot work just isn't going to produce the leads they need. They came up with a way to essentially canvas a virtual neighbourhood. Obtaining phone numbers and sending an sms message to everyone who was within a certain area and during a certain time seems to me to be the digital equivalent of knocking doors, asking residents if they've seen anything suspicious.

The only aspect that I can see where someone might make a legitimate objection is if the police then also use the list of numbers and names as a way to populate their list of suspects. Being a suspect, even if only a routine "talk to you so they can strike your name off the list" would trouble many people. Thing is, that is entirely within the bounds of normal police work. Using data that was legitimately obtained for further uses within the same case is an accepted and necessary part of police work.

As for myself, I have only two points of concern in this case:

1) I would want to be assured that the police didn't share this list with anyone else. Other investigations must go and obtain their own warrants. That way if a case might be helped by this data, but itself doesn't merit having a judge issue a warrant, it doesn't get that data. It also makes sure that the police or other authorities don't get handed an easy way to build a database of citizens and the numbers associated with them.

2) That the police do not retain this data. That way, if a user found in the current data changes his or her phone number down the road, they don't have the police looking at them for a crime committed by someone else who later got that number.

Comment Is it actually confirmed to be the GPS network? (Score 1) 176

The summary and the article it links to both say GPS, but there is no other information on which system and devices are showing the errors. Thing is, there are a handful of satellite navigation systems in use these days. The EU, India and China all have their own systems. But the Russians have their own system as well. GPS is a common term for satellite navigation, especially in Western media. Thus; I think there is room to ask if it is actually the American GPS doing this, or if it is the Russians own system. Also, I don't know the current state of export controls on satellite navigation systems. I just know that, at one time, GPS devices were not legal to import into a number of countries, mostly (ex) soviet bloc nations and known sponsors of terrorism. As a result, I would expect that most Russian citizens, especially high level officials, would be using devices that use the Russian (GLONASS)

Come to think of it, it's possible that many consumers devices actually track based on multiple satellite networks to increase availability and precision and the intermittent nature of the error is because the error depends on which satellite/satellite system is in view at the time.

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