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Comment This is not about the manufacturer's warranty (Score 1) 163

The written warranty gives the customer additional rights, such as replacement where the law only specifies repair, or give you a repair for something that could be normal wear-and-tear. But this is about 'implied warranties', such as a warranty of fitness, which the manufacturer or retailer cannot annul with pieces of paper. So they can write what they want, it doesn't matter.

If you were sold a device to do a certain thing, and it was suitable for it, then you are due a refund.

Comment If this happens to you, get a full refund. (Score 4, Interesting) 163

There is no possible argument against this - a device that is built to be connected to the internet, but has a remotely accessible security flaw, cannot be deemed to be 'fit for the purpose for which it was sold', and so the customer is entitled to a full refund, if they desire, regardless of how old the device is.

Arguably, you could consider installing available security updates within a reasonable timeframe - say, a few weeks after the customer has been informed of them - could be considered basic maintenance, as long as the procedure for applying the update is something that an ordinary user could do. In that case, the manufacturer and retailer could get away with an exchange program for bricked devices, where the devices are sent to a shop with JTAG, serial or other in-circuit programming equipment, or even just providing full instructions on how to unbrick, if this can be done without any additional hardware.

But if the manufacturer has not provided such updates, then full refund must be paid. And it is the retailer who is on the hook for this - they then have to get recompensed from their wholesaler, etc.

Comment Sterile females not as effective. (Score 1) 112

It isn't. Let's say, at the beginning of the season, with populations low at 100 males and 100 females, you release 1000 sterile males. Of the 100 females who try to breed, only 10 of them will do so with a fertile male, leading to a lot less mosquitoes. This can be even more effective if your sterile males, grown in perfect lab conditions, are healthy and strong, but the viable males who grew up in the wild, with limited food and water as well as sub-optimal temperature and humidity, are weak.

If you instead release 1000 female mosquitoes, the 100 fertile female mosquitoes will still find mates and breed normally, as mosquitoes aren't monogamous. Sterile females will have little effect.

Comment The sterile males still compete. (Score 1) 112

The change does not prevent the sterile males from seeking out females and mating. It just prevents the eggs being properly fertilized. If you can get your sterile males released in enough of a quantity, the almost all the fertile males will be out-competed by the infertile ones, leading to almost no successful breedings and almost no mosquitoes in the next generation. You have to keep up your production and release of sterile males, but this is very good at short-term control.

Comment Re:This is the worst possible case (Score 1) 249

I wouldn't consider this a realistic case - it is having almost all your power being used by cheap lights connected to chopper dimmers, turned down low. The result of this is that the power is all delivered in a sequence of sharp spikes, and that is all. Houses draw most of their power with normal appliances, or lights without dimmers turned down low. This normal load would reduce the effect of the current spikes, meaning that the meters would measure more accurately - probably within the proper margin for error.

The solution to this problem, if a problem it is, is to properly label energy saving lights so people won't use them with dimmers, unless they are built for this. (Inductor before the filter capacitor to eliminate that current spike, together with circuitry to measure the setting of the chopper dimmer, and adjust the LED current appropriately, or lights that come with their own dimmer units, which just communicate with the light using X-10-like protocols.)

(Footnote: The chopper dimmers consist of a timer that is triggered when the mains waveform drops to zero, and it holds the power off until the timer expires, when it turns the output on with a triac, which remains on until the waveform drops back to zero, when the timers is triggered again. You end up powering the device with something like a short-risetime sawtooth wave, which, powering a capacitor, charges it almost instantly with a huge current spike. There are few things that can measure such a waveform accurately.)

Comment This is the worst possible case (Score 1) 249

These tests are done using cheap switchmode power supplies and maybe even capacitative droppers, behind horrible 'chopper' dimmers. The power waveform in that setup would be horrid, and really hard to measure. It is also wrong, as those sort lights should no be used with dimmers.

Incidentally, problems with measuring works like this are the secret behind 'free energy' demonstrations!

Comment Disclosure is a tool to get the problem fixed. (Score 4, Insightful) 73

Actually following through with the threat to disclose in 90 days (which is far too long in my opinion) is the only way to get corporations to take vulnerability reports seriously.

Microsoft made a choice - to push their big marketing and style changes to all their users by bundling them with necessary security updates. This bad decision means that they can't push out small security-only, no-reboot-required updates on an as-needed basis. It is this profit-driven motive that makes a short disclosure period hard for them. The right way for the world deal with this is keep up the pressure, so they switch back to pushing out small security-only updates as needed when needed; to rebuild their customer's trust that Microsoft's updates won't break people's systems, won't suddenly uninstall legacy software, that sysadmins don't have to put updates through verification because they'll probably break something. This way, vulnerabilities in windows are fixed within days of them being reported.

There is zero excuse for not fixing a vulnerability for 90 days. If something makes it hard for a corporation to fix vulnerabilities quickly, then it is that something that needs to change. Responsible disclosure like this pushes corporations to make such changes.

Comment The plan is to pull water to the surface. (Score 4, Informative) 401

Normally, the sea ice freezes over the water, capping it off and insulating it. Heat soaks only slowly through the ice, cooling the water under the ice and freezing it, slowly.

Instead, if we pump seawater up and drop it on the top of the ice, it will freeze quickly. So we can increase the thickness of the ice, so it will, hopefully, last longer.

If done on a large scale, however, it will warm the arctic winter, as heat is added to the system in the form of liquid water to be frozen, water surface that is 0 degrees C instead of solid ice at maybe -20 degrees C. The increased ice is probably a net positive for the artctic, but I dislike all these goengineering kludges.

Comment That is the situation now, always has been. (Score 1) 310

If a third-party does a repair, an that repair causes a problem, then it is the responsibility of the person who did the repair.

But that doesn't absolve the manufacturer of their responsibility to fix manufacturing and design flaws not related to the repair, for the working life of the product.

Comment The genie and the bottle... (Score 1) 301

There is no point in not using something for good because it could be also used for bad. The existence of CRISPR is known, so the genie is out of the bottle.
However, these techniques can't cause the nightmare you are considering. You need to inoculate the embryo to change it's genetics. So 'jumping species lines' would only be possible if the two species naturally interbred.
So, enjoy your fictional nightmares - but we will remain in the real world, where only possible scenarios need to be considered.

Comment Hmm. Less European Black Rats.... (Score 1) 301

Honestly, there are few places on this planet that couldn't do with a good eradication of the European Black Rat. Even if they did this with the domestic Cat - if every male cat was either neutered, a professional breeding animal or a GE males only animal - a whole lot of the world's feral cat problems would be solved. The only issue would be with animals that are potentially at risk in their native habitats - such as the possum.

Comment Someone who needs it. (Score 2) 101

The main reason why crossfeed isn't being worked on is that the extra capacity it would deliver isn't needed by any customers. The heavy is already a beast of a launcher without it. But, if someone came up with a mission that required the extra capacity and was willing to pay for its development, then they would restart work on crossfeed.

Comment Animal Waste is Also a Major Source of Methane. (Score 2) 181

Normal disposal of placing the waste into a pond really encourages anaerobic bacteria, which produce methane, which is an important greenhouse gas.

Any handling method that prevents that is a nice plus. Even if it converts it to CO2 instead. If they capture the energy and use it to replace fossil fuels - hey, big plus.

Comment Solar studies essential, for Climate and more. (Score 4, Insightful) 107

You have to be trolling.

Knowledge of what the Sun is doing is essential for anything we do in space, including studying the weather and climate, because solar radiation is dangerous to equipment as well as people. And down here on earth - someday there is going to be a solar storm such as happened in 1859, which set telegraph cables sparking across the planet. Today, such a thing would fry our phone and electric systems if we can't predict it with the certainty needed to, literally, shut down and disconnect our electricity and copper communication networks while it passes by.

And of course, while it is CO and methane that are driving climate change, the heat it traps comes from the Sun, so good knowledge of what the Sun is doing is needed to understand our measurements of temperature.

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