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Comment Re:second hand e-smoke (Score 1) 314

Nicotine and caffeine are in different leagues: Coffee is available everywhere, can be consumed in almost every situation and the withdrawal symptoms are short and mild compared to nicotine.

I quit smoking after 15 years and not having to look for the next place to buy or smoke cigarettes is a big relief. E-Cigs can be used in more places , but you still need a steady supply (plus batteries!) and there is always a chance that the thing breaks when you can't buy a new one easily.
Another problem is that since it makes smoking easier quitting becomes less desirable. I know some heavy smokers who use them during work hours and switch back to cigarettes whenever they can smoke freely.

Comment Re:humans (Score 1) 97

Plants and animals generally have a lifespan long enough to procreate - then they are a waste.

Not necessarily. Being alive (and relatively fit) when your grandchildren are born might increase their chances of survival and therefore the probability of your genes being passed on to the next generations. After all you are the only backup plan in case something happens to the parents.

However, I totally agree on your views regarding the human diet. I try to eat paleo whenever I can.

Comment Re:Making Peace? (Score 2) 270

I don't agree that Korea would be in the same position as Germany. A Korean reunification would be far more challenging for a number of reasons. First of all the population ratio is more in favor of the north (2:1 compared to 3.5:1 in Germany). It's also noteworthy that East Germany was an industrialized country with educated workforce and a functioning agricultural sector. The GDR wasn't great but compared to North Korea it was highly developed and the standard of living was at least similar to that of the western population. Apart from the economical differences the societies didn't have so much time to drift apart and the GDR was more open to external influences (people had Radio/TV from the west, relatives were allowed to visit etc).
Based on the way the unification went in Germany I'm not really sure South Korea could cope with a collapse of the NK regime in the same manner.

Comment Re:I must be new here (Score 2, Insightful) 146

Probably not, but reputation must be worth something in criminal enterprises. Giving out a bunch of bogus products kills the word-of-mouth.

I can't imagine how they could sell those individually to gamers. For them it makes more sense to single out invalid accounts and to sell large blocks to less skilled criminals at a premium. Just like in the normal business world one would pay more than twice for a product which has a 0% failure rate instead of 50%. Of course one could just pretend that all accounts are valid, but word of mouth would be your least least problem in that scenario ;)

Comment Re:Moldova? (Score 1) 233

Anyway, cheers to all of us for being ahead of North Korea. At the end of the day, when we think our country has thoroughly embarrassed and disappointed us, we can still usually say "At least we're not in North Korea."

They don't appear in the stats because they are using a satellite link to a Berlin based ISP. So whenever someone privileged enough runs such a test in NK it appears as if it came from Germany.

There used to be a connection via China, but I guess they wanted to avoid the great firewall (most likely they are censoring themselves). I never heard of IPB in any other context, even though my office is quite close to theirs. I guess NK is their main customer.

Comment Re:Why is this different? (Score 2, Insightful) 291

The quality of the password, or the size of the lock doesn't matter.

In real life I'd totally agree. But you don't secure your house with a lock which opens if you state the place where you met your future husband as prove of your identity. Just imagine how a case of trespassing would end in court if you had such kind of security.

He crossed a line, but is it really computer fraud if you bypass a system by common knowledge?

Whenever I'm forced to state my favorite dog or my mother's maiden name I type some random stuff - everything else would be highly irresponsible.

Comment Re:Blue print company (Score 1) 235

Even if your numbers are right it's so much cheaper to use 2 or 4 DSLRs with kit lenses (Canon's EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS for example has practically no distortion, so no reason to spend more than $ 175 on a lense). Most projects I've seen in the last year use the 450D, which costs roughly $ 600 including the lense I mentioned above. It features 12.2 MP and IIRC its successor will feature 15 MP for the same price. Canon is very popular in that field because they are the only manufacturer offering a stable API for accessing their cameras.

You can find further information here. There is also Atiz which offers very promising sets including software. I haven't seen their products in action yet (they don't do much business in Europe) and AFAIK they only offer book scanning devices, but the software should be able to do maps as well.

Another option is to use traditional overhead scanners. They are extremely expensive but their quality is unmatched. Zeutschel and Imageware are pretty large manufacturers.

Comment Re:Untested software (Score 1) 233

Covering the connectors will force the reader to take the stripe if it can, and many do.

That's exactly how many retailers in Germany currently deal with the situation. If the customer's card doesn't work they just put some sticky tape on it. The banks affected have also modified their ATMs to fall back to stripe-mode in case the chip has the bug. Of course that is just a workaround, because this "fix" doesn't work internationally.

Comment Re:Uh? (Score 1) 327

That's good, so if I'm helping them pay for two nuclear power plants, I'm getting paid for the use of my basement, or at least getting it for free, right?

Like I said they are not actually replacing two nuclear power plants. The company providing the generators doesn't own any nuclear power plants (would be strange since Lichtblick is a "green" electricity provider)
The generator provides warm water to the house and electricity to the grid. Of course the homeowner gets paid for the electricity. I don't know any details, but this deal could be pretty attractive if your replacing you'r heating system anyways.

Comment Re:Uh? (Score 3, Informative) 327

The quote is a little misleading. They are not planning to shut down 2 power plants when the swarm comes online. They are simply stating that it will generate power equivalent to two average nuclear power plants.

Different story: Technically it might actually replace those plants, because the government decided in 2000 that all nuclear power plants will be shut down until ~2019. But we have elections coming up and it's possible that this decision gets revoked.

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Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce