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Comment Re:Rhetorical... (Score 1) 245

For the highest bidder they will hold the games anywhere. The Olympics are just a scam for the uber rich to make money off of unpaid athletes hoping for stardom.

I partially agree, the Olympics overall have become incredibly commercial and care more about profit than anything else. But I disagree on two points. First, for some sports (swimming, diving, track and field/athletics to name a few), the Olympics are really their "spotlight" event and are important to the athletes - sure there are worlds every year but it's the only time they really get good media coverage. Second, the Olympics haven't "belonged" solely to unpaid athletes in a long time now. I can't remember exactly when the IOC first started allowing it except it was sometime after 1984, but most if not all sports allow professionals to compete in the Olympics. Some of whom are making 10s of millions each year.

Comment Re:Just two words (Score 1) 190

This is a relatively huge deposit, agreed. We do waste a whole lot of helium. In fact, it may be that most of what's wasted is actually from natural gas fields not capturing the helium "byproduct".

I think you grossly understate that chilling it out of the air would be "signficantly" more expensive than recovering from ground reserves, it's far more expensive than that. A small helium recovery system for NMR/MRI instruments costs on the order of $200k installed, ignoring ongoing maintenance. We looked into one a few years back as helium prices rose - I manage 3 NMR instruments and we use ~60L/week of liquid helium keeping the cold - and the payback period for a recovery system at then current prices was on the order of 15 years again ignoring maintenance. That may be more like 12 years now. And that's for separating and reliquefying helium that's a very significant portion of the captured gas, not something that a small fraction of 1%. Economics get better as you use and recover more. I will say though that the newest large magnets come with built in reliquefaction systems - they still take several to many thousands of liters of liquid helium to cool and energize, but only require a small periodic topping up.

Pricing can be a bit tricky, but we pay ~$12/liter for liquid helium which is on the lower end of retail. One liter of liquid becomes something like 720 liters as a gas, so your per cubic meter price a couple of posts down is a bit low, it should be $15-20. A full party balloon has a negligible amount, though, if you figure 1/2 liter/balloon my one liter of liquid would fill almost 1500 of them, or about $0.01 each. I've filled a couple of dozen from one of our gas cylinders and the amount used didn't even register on the regulator.

Comment Re:Just amazing (Score 1) 198

My work password rules are set/enforced by hospital IT (I don't work in the hospital, but we unfortunately share IT). The rules are basically 10 characters minimum with 2 upper, 2 lower, 1 or 2 numbers, 1 non-alpha, no embedded dictionary words, some minimum level of difference compared to your last 10 passwords, and changed every 6 months. This is why you see things written down on sticky notes.

Submission + - Snap Packages Become the Universal Binary Format for All GNU/Linux Distributions 1

prisoninmate writes: Canonical informed us that they've been working for some time with developers from various major GNU/Linux distributions to make the Snap package format universal for all OSes. Snap is an innovation from Canonical created specifically for the Snappy technology used in Snappy Ubuntu Core, a slimmed-down version of Ubuntu designed from the ground up to be deployed on various embedded and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Starting with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Canonical launched the Snap packages for the desktop and server too. At the moment, we're being informed that the Snap package format is working natively on popular GNU/Linux operating systems like Arch Linux, Fedora, Debian GNU/Linux, OpenWrt, as well as Ubuntu and its official flavors, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, and Lubuntu.

Submission + - Online Loans Made in China Using Nude Pictures as Collateral

HughPickens.com writes: There is more than one way to get a student loan in China as People's Daily Online reports that many Chinese university students use their nude pictures as IOUs on online lending platforms, putting themselves at the risks of having everybody – including their parents – see them naked. Borrowers are also required to upload pictures of their ID cards and report their family information, including their address and cell phone numbers. "The nude photos will be made public if the borrowers fail to repay their debts with interest," an insider was quoted as saying. The credit varies based on the borrower’s education background. Usually an undergraduate student can receive 15,000 yuan ($2,277) in credit, while those studying at famous universities as well as doctorate students can receive even larger loans. Snapshots of threatening collection messages have also gone viral, with a photo of a female borrower and a message reading how the lender would send the photo and her naked video footage to her family members if she could not pay back her 10,000 yuan borrowed on an annual interest rate of 24 percent within a week. “Naked IOUs started long ago. Not only university students but many others also borrowed money with nude pictures,” says insider surnamed Zhang. Zuo Shenggao from Jingshi Law Firm says that nude photos are actually invalid as collateral in terms of laws. "Nude photos are not property. It is in the category of reputation rights," says Shenggao. "If anyone threatens to publish the photos online, they will violate the clients' reputation. At the same time, they are also spreading pornographic material. Both are illegal and they will commit double offence,"

Submission + - Laid-Off Americans, Required to Zip Lips on Way Out, Grow Bolder (nytimes.com)

Indigo writes: New York Times: American corporations are under new scrutiny from federal lawmakers after well-publicized episodes in which the companies laid off American workers and gave the jobs to foreigners on temporary visas.

But while corporate executives have been outspoken in defending their labor practices before Congress and the public, the American workers who lost jobs to global outsourcing companies have been largely silent.

Until recently. Now some of the workers who were displaced are starting to speak out, despite severance agreements prohibiting them from criticizing their former employers.

Submission + - Congress moves to limit civil forfeiture (dailysignal.com)

schwit1 writes: A bill now moving through both houses of Congress will place some limits on the ability of state and federal governments to confiscate private property.

The bills most important provision will be to shift the burden of proof to the government, not the citizen. However,

Unfortunately, while the DUE PROCESS Act contains many of the procedural reforms that The Heritage Foundation and a broad coalition of organizations have called for in our recent Meese Center report, “Arresting Your Property,” it does not tackle two of the most perverse aspects of forfeiture law: the financial incentives that underlie modern civil forfeiture practices and the profit-sharing programs known as “equitable sharing.”

Under federal law, 100 percent of the proceeds of successful forfeitures are retained by the federal law enforcement organization that executed the seizure. This money is available to be spent by these agencies without congressional oversight, meaning they can—and do—self-finance. This profiteering incentive is extended to state and local agencies through programs administered by the Justice and Treasury departments known as “equitable sharing,” which allow property seized at the state and local level to be transferred to federal authorities for forfeiture under federal law. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the resulting revenues to the originating agency.

Thus, federal law provides every law enforcement agency in the country with a direct financial incentive to seize cash and property—sometimes at the expense of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting actual criminals—and simultaneously encourages state and local agencies to circumvent state laws that are more protective of property rights or restrictive as to how forfeiture proceeds may be spent than the federal standard.

The simple fact is that civil forfeiture is already blatantly illegal, as per the plain words in the fifth amendment to the Constitution:

No person . . .[shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is a horrible tragedy that so few people today respect these plain words.

Submission + - Liberal Arts majors best for a tech team (wsj.com)

DavidHumus writes: The founder of Reverb.com blogs about a change of heart he's had based on his experience over the past several years. He used to think — and preach — that "... the demand for quality computer programmers and engineers ... [means] we need more students with computer-science and engineering degrees." However, he has since concluded "...that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best-performing software developers and technology leaders."

Comment Re:[X] instead of Cancel (Score 1) 376

But how exactly is this a violation of "standard Windows conventions"? Clicking a corner [X] button has always been an indication of the user's desire to dismiss the window being closed and take no further action

Exactly, the key words being "take no further action". In other words, don't change anything on my computer...

Comment Re:Proposal (Score 1) 376

The 'x' is expected to mean "close this window and take no action".

Close, but most users expect clicking the 'x' to mean something closer to "close this window without doing/changing anything". I know it's a relatively subtle distinction, but most users are going to expect that, by clicking the 'x', they're canceling the planned update, and somebody at MS is exploiting that. At best, it's mere incompetence and the exploit was unintended - this particular dialog really shouldn't even have an 'x' but a pair of large buttons: "Upgrade to Win10" and "Keep using Win7". More likely this setup is deceitful by design.

Comment Re:"an additional opportunity" (Score 1) 376

Microsoft says they'll give "an additional opportunity for cancelling the upgrade"

And that helps anyone who was automagically updated (whether they they wanted it or not) how, exactly?

I'm pretty sure my supervisor would prefer going back to Win7, but with the various reports I'm seeing of rollbacks leading to BSOD/reinstall, the risk of data loss is probably significantly worse than just going forward with Win10. We may have upgraded anyway before the free period expires, but we were certainly planning of a full system image/backup first which we never got to do because the OS updated itself overnight without notice.

Comment Re:Malware trick (Score 1) 376

I probably shouldn't reply to ACs, but you can't necessarily cancel, especially if you never saw the notification in the first place. We had one computer here upgrade itself fully last night - walked in this morning to see "Welcome to Windows 10". Not my PC, and AFAIK it was set to automatically apply Windows updates. I spent a good part of the morning walking my supervisor through disabling most of the phone-home stuff and "acclimating" him to some of the bigger interface changes.

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