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Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught In the Act

14erCleaner Re:timothy = fail (48 comments)

The reported video is from 2013, so NatGeo must have been reporting something else.

2 days ago

$75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

14erCleaner Lack of backup (194 comments)

From an alternative story:

"[Getting a new prosthetic hand and iPod configured to work together] takes a long time," Eberle told the San Antonio Express-News. "It's tedious and it's a lot of work with the hand itself."

So in fact, another ipod could work, but it has to be trained first. A good backup of the training data should allow a new ipod to be set up quickly, but it sounds like they didn't do that.

3 days ago

Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

14erCleaner Re:Hydroelectric Dams (518 comments)

I shudder to think how many insects die on America's highways every second (billions?), but that seems OK to most people.

about two weeks ago

Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

14erCleaner Re:Safety vs Law (475 comments)

The speed limit on I-70 heading out of the mountains into Denver used to be 55 mph, but most people drove 75 or more. It was changed to 65 about a year ago, and it appears to me that traffic has slowed down since then.

about two weeks ago

Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

14erCleaner Re:Why speed only a little? (475 comments)

I for one would buy Google car tomorrow if it could get me to work in brief bursts at 120mph shaving seconds off my commute.

FIFY. Get real, self-driving cars aren't magic, and will still need to deal with traffic.

about two weeks ago

35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

14erCleaner Re:Lies and statistics... (570 comments)

Also, if you dig into their footnotes, you find that the median debt in collection is $1349, far less than the average (mean) that they so prominently feature.

about 1 month ago

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

14erCleaner Re:And less than four years later... (211 comments)

Space travel is a big dead-end. Outside of sci-fi, nobody really wants to live in anyplace remotely as horrible as the friendliest of non-Earth planets. Think about the worst places on Earth: summit of Everest, South Pole, bottom of the ocean, middle of the Sahara. All of those places look like Eden compared to the nicest environment available within 10 light-years of here. Get real - we're stuck with our one Earth, and we should take care of it.

about a month ago

UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life

14erCleaner Limited Imagination (97 comments)

This result (which basically says that any planet with life has to look like ours) reminds me of an article I read long, long ago speculating on what ETs would look like. The author basically concluded that they'd have to look exactly like us, i.e. two arms, two legs, head on top with two eyes and a mouth and a nose, etc., and he had arguments for why each of these things was necessary. Of course, almost none of the thousands of other species on Earth look exactly like us, but that didn't faze him in the least in his application of logic...

Why does everyone always assume that life requires water, anyway? Couldn't there be a planet out there infested with silicon-based life forms who live at 300 degrees Celsius, or whatever?

about a month ago

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

14erCleaner Re:Turing test not passed. (285 comments)

So now anything we understand is not intelligence???

When I was in grad school back in the 80's, I knew a guy who was researching AI. He complained that as soon as some technique was understood, people would say it wasn't AI any more, so as a result the AI profession as a whole never got much credit for advancing.

about a month and a half ago

Microsoft Opens 'Transparency Center' For Governments To Review Source Code

14erCleaner Re:How to prove the source code maps to the binary (178 comments)

The other way to hide the backdoor is to make it a hard to find bug. Plausible deniability is quite high.

Reading a huge codebase is an unlikely way to spot backdoors anyway. After a few thousand lines the reader's eyes would glaze over, and anything subtle would be missed. This isn't as easy as looking for two-digit year fields a la Y2K reviews.

Besides, the Heartbleed bug should have been a clue that open source alone doesn't make security issues "transparent". Somebody has to both read and understand the code to detect these things, and an OS like WIndows is so huge that nobody can understand the whole thing. Even a relatively small, specialized module like OpenSSL slid by for years without anybody noticing the problem.

about 2 months ago

Alleged 'Bigfoot' DNA Samples Sequenced, Turn Out To Be Horses, Dogs, and Bears

14erCleaner Reinhold Messner was right! (198 comments)

Legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner once wrote a book about his encounters with suspected Yetis in the Himalaya. He concluded that they were bears, a variant of Ursus Arctos, the same species as polar bears.

about 2 months ago

Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

14erCleaner Re:Bad summary is bad (199 comments)

Actually it's about non-standard-conforming "security" hacks causing unexpected results. If the result of an operation is undefined, the compiler can insert code to summon Cthulhu if it wants to.

about 2 months ago

In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

14erCleaner Re:secure by default (248 comments)

I'm disappointed that you're disappointed.

And I'm disappointed that you're disappointed that he's disappointed. Snowden has sure been bad for morale.

about 3 months ago

In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

14erCleaner Re:How does one determine the difference... (389 comments)

The biggest problem with general jury duty is it is unbounded.

IMO, the biggest problem is that the two sides get to reject jurors. If they just picked 12 random people without any challenges allowed, then required (say) only 10 of 12 to agree on the verdict, the system would work more efficiently and with less gaming. Maybe exceptions could be made for hardship or disruptive jurors could be ejected (and fined), but the current system is mostly gamesmanship. Lawyers don't want intelligent jurors, they want jurors they can manipulate.

about 3 months ago

Terran Computational Calendar Introduces Minimonths, Year Bases, and Datemods

14erCleaner Re:Umm .... (209 comments)

Disregarding that a year is one orbit around the sun, if you consider a year that is 1/13th of the current one, we would all fry.

This redistribution of orbital motions is trickier than I thought.

about 3 months ago

Terran Computational Calendar Introduces Minimonths, Year Bases, and Datemods

14erCleaner Re:Umm .... (209 comments)

It's simple; you just need to change the motions of the heavenly bodies so that Earth orbits the sun exactly 13 times per year, the Earth rotates exactly 28 times per month, and the Moon orbits the Earth exactly once per month. If you can arrange that, I'll gladly switch to your new calendar.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

14erCleaner Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (466 comments)

I diagnose you egomaniac paranoid

Is that a showstopper? I mean, he's a fucking genius, cut him some slack. :)

I like the idea of having the interviewee read code. In a team environment, that's more important than how much code you can crank out.

about 4 months ago

Virgin Galactic Passengers May Just Miss Going into Space

14erCleaner Re:What a complete waste of time and money (203 comments)

we have a civilian launch system

Or at least a way to launch rich people and vapid celebrities to 50 miles above seal level. Unfortunately, we have no way to keep them from coming back (yet).

about 4 months ago



Amazon Raises Free Shipping Threshold, Then Beats Revenue Expectations

14erCleaner 14erCleaner writes  |  about 10 months ago

14erCleaner (745600) writes "Three days ago, increased its threshold for free "Super Saver" shipping from $25 to $35. This led one short-seller to speculate that they would badly miss earning estimates. Yesterday evening, Amazon announced earnings of $17.1 billion for the third quarter of 2013, handily beating the average estimate of $16.8b. They still lost 9 cents per share, but they're making it up in volume."

Malware for Android Surges

14erCleaner 14erCleaner writes  |  more than 2 years ago

14erCleaner writes "According to Juniper Networks, malware for Android platforms has increased 472% since July. 55% of the identified malware acts in one way or another as spyware. The other major type of attack, which make up 44%, are SMS Trojans, which send SMS messages to premium rate numbers owned by the attacker in the background of a legitimate application, without the owner’s knowledge. They credit the more open app store, with no up-front review process, for the greater amount of malware versus the iPhone platform."
Link to Original Source

TSA Sabotage Results in Two Year Sentence

14erCleaner 14erCleaner writes  |  more than 3 years ago

14erCleaner writes "A federal judge sentenced a Colorado Springs programmer to two years in prison Tuesday. Douglas Duchak was caught trying to insert code that would have interfered with processing searches into the TSA's no-fly list in October 2009, after he was notified that his contract job was being terminated."
Link to Original Source



14erCleaner 14erCleaner writes  |  more than 10 years ago I work for a company called Xpriori (, which creates an XML database system called NeoCore. This system consists of a server which stores XML documents, a web-based console for administering and querying the database, and client APIs for C++, Java, and COM. The server is available for Windows (2000 or XP), Linux (RH 9.0 or equivalent), and Solaris.

I'm obviously biased (despite not having any equity in the company yet :), but I think this is a great product, and I wish more people knew about it. Hence this self-serving essay...

A free version of NeoCore is available for download from our website. This server has no time limits or other B.S. in its licensing, but does somewhat limit the size of the database (10 GB, which isn't very limited), the number of CPUs used (2), and the number of simultaneous active clients (about 10). There are extra-cost options (obviously; we have to make money somehow) which give you direct support, online backup, larger limits, etc. Support of the free version is through an online forum - free registration is required.

I'm especially proud of our XML query language. It's based on the W3C XQuery language; we've customized it to make it more suited for database access (versus e.g. XSLT addressing), and have left out support for some of the features. Partly we just wanted to keep our query language small (XQuery is a huge language). In one case (schema support) we consider it a feature to leave out a feature, if that makes sense (by not requiring predefinition of XML structures allowed, we can store any XML documents and query them immediately).

Our query language allows retrieval of documents via a path-based language (a la XPath), augmented with a moderate-sized function library, FLWR statements for iterating over result sets, XML constructors for making new documents for output, and built-in sorting by multiple keys.

NeoCore has quite good performance and capacity. Our core technology is based around a set of patented search techniques, and we index absolutely everything (all XML tags and each tag with its data content). Despite this hyperactive indexing, our storage footprint is often smaller than the XML that is stored (chalk this up to the redundancy in XML more than our cleverness).

So, please give it a look if you're interested in XML storage. Please be tolerant of our website, as it seems to be a no-no in product marketting to mention what the product actually does (I'm reminded of Kermit the Frog in "The Muppets Take Manhattan"). You might get something very useful for no cost, other than your time.

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