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Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 381

It's also well worth the effort (and it is a lot of effort) to read the third volume, Sorting and Searching.

I've greatly enjoyed the first three books, and especially Sorting and Searching. The chapters are independent, so you can treat the volumes as a collection of nonfiction short stories. I recommend it as bedtime reading.

Except, these short stories open up possibilities, and contribute to my understanding of ways to handle tomorrow's problems. There are three kinds of computer books: ones that teach one tool (pretty useless ten years later, when the tool obsolesces), ones that teach from the bottom up (again, pretty useless when 6502 is replaced by 65816, and in turn 68000, 68040, PPC601, PPC603e, G3, G4, G5, core duo, Xeon...), and those that teach from the general principles (top-down style).

Algorithms knowledge at the mathematical-tool level really REALLY helps sometimes. And it remains helpful forever (like the Pythagorean theorem) rather than becoming quaint (like the art of making an '035 keypunch program card).

Comment Re: That's nice (Score 1) 142

What are they supposed to do, buy all the parts manufacturers including Samsung and Intel?

Well, no, but it would be nice if the batteries could be replaced, or the OS and other software updated to a more recent version. Third-party and counterfeit batteries for a favorite laptop are ... discomfitting. As is finding that my version of a Safari browser can't ever get an upgrade so my bank will talk to it.

Comment Re:Laws are for suckers! (Score 1) 500

There probably were current legal and Democratic campaign strategy data on the laptops. Keeping them would leave them open to a possibility of FOA requests, leaks, etc.

Excellent observation! The Nixon administration had to sponsor burglars to get data from the Democratic offices in the Watergate building; a corrupt congressional committee could claim access to similarly important data in these laptops under the guise of 'investigation'.

The Fox news treatment suggests that this deal dims that prospect, and the Republican-dominated congressional committee publicly bemoans their lost opportunity. Actually, while the letter from Bob Goodlatte (no other committee members signed it) does include some slanted questions, it is merely a formal request for information. The committee has NOT subpoenaed anything in the computers, and knows no cause ever to do so, and The Honorable Bob Goodlatte has not suggested otherwise.

Comment Re:Good. Hopefully destruction of evidence will... (Score 1) 500

To stop the investigations, we have to destroy the evidence...?

Didn't read the article, did you? The laptops' data relating to the investigation is not to be destroyed. For security reasons, however, OTHER data is to be destroyed, rather than leaving it lying around 'in custody' for an indefinite period of time. There is no grounds for a search of 'everything' on those drives, and no search warrant covering the incidental information that would be erased. So, the Justice department doesn't care (and, absent this kind of agreement, could be careless in handling the hardware). The 'erase-afterward' agreement is sensible.

Comment Re:Stoooooooooopid ; no, just optimistic (Score 2) 93

"If invisible to humans, the power could also be increased without danger of harming someone, further increasing speed and distance." That's an incredibly stupid thing to say, since it isn't true. Just because it's "invisible" to human eyes doesn't mean that it can't/won't hurt human eyes.

But this was about UV light spreading out over several square inches at distance. The lens of the eye is cloudy to near-UV light, and won't focus to a spot. The reason it's invisible, makes it less likely to damage your retina.

Tinkering near such sources, you'd want to be careful, of course. Protective gear, for that wavelength, is rather common, because arc welding produces the same light in hazardous intensities.

As a tower-to-tower relay for high speed signals, it's unlikely to impinge on anyone's face. Weather, though, will be a problem. It won't replace microwave links if reliability is important.

Comment Looks like a good decision (Score 2) 85

The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires agencies of the federal government to honor "any request for records which. . . reasonably describes such records". So, if a description can be entered into a sophisticated search, that's the obvious way one would comply.

The allegation is that only searches of an incomplete index are ever performed for FOIA purposes, and such searches are (1) archaic and unusual nowadays, (2) rarely find the requested material. That's more likely misfeasance than innocent.

The DOJ is an agency that ought to find compliance with law of primary interest, and arguments of 'needlessly duplicative' ring false. The plaintiff's test was amusing: he asked DOJ to find his previous FOIA requests, and was told there was no record...

Comment Latinum induplicability issue (Score 1) 180

>> It's explained that latinum cannot be replicated

>Which is a stupid writer cop-out, there's no good reason for it if transporter technology exists.

Speaking of early SF writers, George Smith's _Venus_Equilateral_ (1940s era) matter duplicators and transmittters were also defeated by a wonder-substance. Writers will ALWAYS add in rights management to technology, because (1) it's imaginable, and (2) it adds complication.

To be a writer, you need imagination. To move a plot, you REALLY need complication....

Comment Re:Hydogen is just a way to store energy (Score 1) 630

The original article is PR dreck. Hydrogen is capable of fueling very simple vehicles, and when you make a few hundred million cars and trucks cheap, there's lots of available money to spend on tens of thousands of filling stations, and hundreds of power-conversion-to-hydrogen and local storage centers. The economics favors inexpensive leaf nodes of the distrubution tree, not inexpensive trunks. For public-relations purposes, someone with Tesla stock wants to claim that better electric-power decisions are not in Tesla's future plans, and that that is OK for the investors. He might be right, or wrong, but he won't change his claim as long as he's holding his Tesla stock... regardless of facts. If he offloads his stock, he may experirence a revelation as regards the merits of Hydrogen as a fuel.

Comment Re:Wrong, temperature helps plant growth (Score 1) 173

The pauses between opening pores (stomata) can be longer, for any given CO2 uptake, and that conserves water. Maybe that's significant. Let's not believe, yet, that it will help grow crops; plants aren't little CO2 indicators, vegetable production isn't going to be proportional to atmospheric CO2.

This effect has OTHER implications: most plant species are weeds, so 'helps plant growth' isn't necessarily a good thing for agriculture. I'm not fond of eating kudzu.

If water is plentiful, the effect won't matter. If water is scarce, it means the plant growth/death cycle might change, but is that good? What if dry-season stress is the end of root development, and the beginning of fruiting? It might be a very healthy root system under your orchard, but the apples don't ripen until November (and don't get very sweet, when the sun is low in the sky).

CO2 levels skyrocketed without any kind of correlation to actual temperature increases...

Whoa, BIG misconception there. Warming can melt glaciers, thaw permafrost, and heat oceans. You cannot instantly tell from air temperature alone whether heat is building up, you need to monitor the BIG repositories of heat. The signal here is large, positive, and agrees with calculated greenhouse effect. Look up 'hockey-stick curve' and/or do some math, and stop abusing the word "correlation".

Comment Re:Did you expect a different result? ~nt~ (Score 1) 321

What if it really was for ISIS? I don't see the problem.

Like, Isis, the old Egyptian deity? Why would beer money, transferred within the US, be confiscated rather than allowing an offering to the goddess of some tasty beverage? The "Office of Foreign Assets Control" is bound to return the guy's money, if they have it. "Unreasonable ... seizure" is prohibited by the US constitution (amendment #4). It might not happen soon, but unless a court orders otherwise, they can't keep the money. 'Detaining' someone's property can be a problem. I can see it, clearly. Why can't you?

Comment Re:Don't confuse "old" with "poorly designed" (Score 1) 474

While cars are built to order, most of the parts are off the shelf and common to a bunch of systems (things like wheels & electrical parts) BART can't use any of these off the shelf parts

Nonsense; of course they can use lots of off-the-shelf parts, like seats, windows, nuts, bolts. The running gear that fits their rails, will simply be made to specification - with modern tools, it's as easy as ordering steel and sending the right files to your machining center.

There isn't any alarming 'trend' in the BART maintenance data, there aren't any good reasons they cannot engineer minor improvements to old designs, and the flurry of recent failures due to overvoltage is going to be understood in a day, re-engineered to never reoccur, in a week, and will support a buzz of half-informed news coverage for months.

In all the nattering about the gauge of the tracks, there hasn't been any REAL complaint. BART only carries passengers, doesn't need to use interstate tracks, doesn't need the variety of boxcars, container flats, dining cars, auto haulers, oil tanks, coal cars, and sleepers that come in a 'standard' gauge. They never need to couple to enormous loads, or transport hazardous goods... it's a LIMITED USE rail system, and the users like it just fine. Compatibility with unuseful rolling stock is not interesting.

Comment Re:Security Theater (Score 1) 45

This is a theatrical event put on for people in the US and to a lessor[sic] extent, Europe.

Oh, it's more than that. It's public notice that criminal misbehavior by the persons named has been uncovered, and that the US is NOT declaring war, but is seeking all normal cooperation (including extradition) of friendly nations in apprehending them. It's much more polite than Stuxnet, and isn't in response to treaty violations by a nation (like, the nonproliferation treaty violations that got Iran into past difficulties).

Political fashions come and go, maybe Iran will extradite the miscreants some day. At the very least, it's gonna give rise to a few thoughtful moments, maybe even discussions.

Comment Re:Interesting spin because it's Vermont (Score 1) 740

This is clearly a case of states' rights...This is apparently acceptable because it's being done in Vermont.

No, it's not being done in Vermont. The Vermont statute controls foods produced elsewhere and sold in Vermont: it's a major interstate commerce demand, and will add its burden to a broad swath of folk who couldn't vote in that state. Sadly, it's probably enforceable: state liquor laws have long created similar schisms, which is why a favorite pastime of yesteryear was to load up a few cases of a favorite beer from state A to take home to state B. So, I wonder how long it will take to certify non-GMO status for pepper from India? Coffee from Brazil? Will stocks of unlabeled seed from before the law came into effect be presumed GMO untill proven otherwise? Will liars prosper, or will false claims actually be investigated? How? I think the law reeks. What information I would like to have, won't be on the label. And learning that the poppy seeds in my salad dressing were genetically modified... is worthless, a waste of ink and paper.

Comment Re:Man!! Cold Revolution. (Score 1) 162

No, I think most people think that Apple and every other company should comply with court orders. Because that has been part of the law since the founding of the country ...

Half-truths described as 'part of the law' - accurate, but quite amusing. Search isn't the only issue, here, there's also command authority over software creation and compulsion of Apple's signature.

The court may not arbitrarily order any action; the order must be limited, and must not impose undue hardship. And the court should NOT order Apple to damage their customers in the tens of millions, even to the minor extent of abusing their trust. The problem for Apple is one of ethics: the intentional retraction of privacy is a kind of wrongdoing, and while a court order might make it legally defensible, it doesn't make it ethical, nor does it limit the scope of damage to Apple's reputation, credibility, or even safety. If a back door into data ever comes into existence, all persons who guard the door come under attack by any and all prospective data thieves. The story of Lavabit is history we can all learn from.

Apple has every reason, and right, to pursue this matter. The courts may decide in Apple's favor.

Comment Re:not much special about diamonds (Score 1) 23

diamonds are not that seldom and there are a number of well known process to artificially create them.

The researchers who first made artificial diamonds, were informed by the discovery in meteor sites, of diamond in iron matrix. That was their clue that good crystallization could be achieved using iron as a 'solvent'. The Lonsdaleite saga, though, is a carbon story without the iron, and is really new science.

Also, it involves lasers, X-rays, asteroids... I see the possibility of a really fine video game in this!

_The Diamond Makers_, by Robert Hazen, is a good treatment of the early years of diamond creation.

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