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David Cameron Says Fictional Crime Proves Why Snooper's Charter Is Necessary

ATestR I agree with his logic (179 comments)

Of course, the stories I'm following are the ones that picture totalitarian governments. We should therefore pass laws barring any government agency (there than very local law enforcement) from having any powers.

about 8 months ago

New Home Automation?

ATestR Off the Geek Track (336 comments)

Ok, I may take some flack from everyone on this, but I'm not going to suggest more wiring in the walls, etc. etc. Instead, I would suggest, if you have the option, to consider earth sheltered concrete. Properly designed, you can minimize heating and/or cooling load on the structure, potentially eliminating the need for gas/oil/electric furnace all together.

That said, once you've got your basic structure, feel free to load it up with all the wires, wireless, automation, and other toys you like.

about 8 months ago

How Do You Move a City?

ATestR Just wait (172 comments)

Sooner or later, the City Center will move all by itself... vertically.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are We Older Experts Being Retired Too Early?

ATestR Re:Lie a little (629 comments)

It's not lying to omit older information on your resume. Typically, you only need to go back 10-15 years... unless there is something specific you want to reference from before that.

What I find hard to conceal is my gray beard.

about 10 months ago

Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns

ATestR Re:Oh Okay (199 comments)

So by this logic, someone could write a computer program that would randomly file a take down notice against and it would be OK, since it was done by a computer algorithm.


Seems to me that they should suffer the same kind of damages that they would insist on if someone tried that stunt. Can we say $N,000,000 per instance?

about 10 months ago

No, the Earth (almost Certainly) Won't Be Hit By an Asteroid In 2032

ATestR We have to act fast! (142 comments)

With only 19 or so years to go, we'll have to act quickly to get a long range space craft up to this asteroid if we want to alter its trajectory so it certainly will hit Earth! There's no time to waste if we're going to set up for this future crisis!

about a year ago

What the Insurance Industry Thinks About Climate Change

ATestR Objective? (385 comments)

I've read some of the comments, one way and another, and would like to make a couple of observations:

  1. Insurance companies collect money whether a claim is paid or not.
  2. Collecting higher premiums is good (from the insurer's perspective).
  3. If, after having collected said higher premiums, the claims against policies are not higher, this is even better (for the insurance company).

The only thing preventing the insurance companies from raising rates is competition. If they can point to something like GW as justification, they stand to make more money. At worst, they won't loose any. Yes, there are higher costs associated with weather related events, but as has been pointed out in many posts, there are more people building (more expensive) structures in areas subject to those events. Global Warming? Can't say, since I'm not scientifically trained in climatology. But you might want to hedge your bets either way.

Not everyone agrees.

about a year ago

What Will Ubiquitous 3D Printing Do To IP Laws?

ATestR Still a ways go go (347 comments)

I don't know what the tech will be like in 10 to 15 years, but right now the material that you use in the current generation of 3D printers to produce an object costs more than the object would if made using traditional manufacturing. The only place that it makes sense to use it right now is where you can't use mass production techniques... i.e.: individually customized items.

Of course, that is now. If those costs drop (and there is no reason to believe they won't), then traditional IP will be out the window. At that point, a consumer would be able to print a standard widget for the cost of running the printer. At that point, customization of the CAD drawings will be where the money will be at.

about a year ago

Black Holes Grow By Eating Quantum Foam

ATestR Does Quantum Foam Have Density? (164 comments)

I'm not up on the details of contemporary physics, but it occurs to me that since the universe is supposed to have been expanding since the big bang, the overall density has decreased during that time. Does space/time and the Quantum Foam also have a density that might affect the rate at which super massive black holes could gobble it? Could conditions in the early universe encourage black hole growth/consolidation more than the current space environment?

Black hole growth via this method may still occur today, and be measurable in our own and nearby galaxies, but the rate may be so slow that it is hidden by other factors, e.g.: consumption of local stars/gas clouds.

1 year,6 days

Nissan Plans To Sell Self-Driving Cars By 2020

ATestR I'm sure it will all work out fine (333 comments)

Meanwhile, I'm glad I drive a pickup. My next one, bought in three or four years, will probably last me until I don't need to worry about driving any more.

1 year,21 days

NASA Testing Frickin' Laser Communications

ATestR Questionable Utility (108 comments)

Using lasers for communications is not new. HAM Radio geeks have been experimenting with it for some time. The big problems seem to be maintaining the alignment of the laser, and atmospheric attenuation of the signal. That aside, the bandwidth of visible light signals will be awesome, compared to longer wavelengths.

1 year,24 days

News Worth Buying On Paper

ATestR Advantages of Paper (106 comments)

We buy a Sunday paper almost every week because it's really hard to line the bird cage using a flat screen monitor.

about a year ago

DOJ: We Don't Need a Warrant To Track You

ATestR Re:Don't be Stupid (259 comments)

Obviously you can't stop them from tracking you. But the point about saving your battery was worth saying.

about a year ago

HBO Asks Google To Take Down "Infringing" VLC Media Player

ATestR Re:Penalties (364 comments)

I think his point is that you should have used the words "due diligence".

about a year ago

FCC Rural Phone Subsidies Reach As High As $3,000 Per Line

ATestR Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (372 comments)

That article was specifically addressing Washington state. While other states will also have a tax burden on the poor, it will vary from place to place.

Of course the rich pay local and sales taxes as well. The main point your are trying to make is that they may not have to buy as much of the taxed items to live comfortably. But almost everyone I know spends all of their money on something, and it is fairly difficult to find places to buy things now were you don't pay taxes. I will tell you that when I buy stuff in is a lot more than 3%! Of course, I'm not in the highest-income class you mention. Maybe the folks who spend their money on big Yachts and private Jets do.

Should we subsidize country poor? Sure. But you can buy and maintain a satellite phone more cheaply than $3000/line!

about a year ago

UK Steps Up the Search For Alien Life

ATestR Meaningless Effort (119 comments)

The headline as presented is about as worthless as the UK project.

First, is there non-terrestrial life? Almost certainly, given the number of planets that we are seeing just in the nearby stars in our own galaxy.

Second, is any of this life intelligent? I would speculate that somewhere, there is what could be termed intelligent life, just on a statistical basis.

Third, can we contact that intelligent life in any way? This I have grave doubts about, since even in the best case, it lies many light years distance from our solar system, and the amount of effort required to transmit a detectable signal is huge... even if you know exactly what direction to point your signaling device.

Is the project worth doing? Perhaps, but only for entertainment value, and perhaps to generate some spinoff tech that can be used for something useful.

about a year ago

FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

ATestR Re:historical context of licensing in america (371 comments)

To add to nimbius's comment, the provision's of the currently proposed rules amendment are not a general relaxation of the anti-crypto use of amateur radio. They are specifically addressing the use of encryption during emergency public service events where Hams work with government agencies that use encryption to send sensitive information. It's a case of not being able to support the emergency (public service) without ignoring the rule for this specific instance.

Disclosure: I am a licensed ham with an Amateur Extra license, just because I liked studying for/taking exams.

about a year ago

FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

ATestR Re:It's dead either way, why not try this? (371 comments)

By its nature, Ham radio transmissions are even more open the TCP/IP. Anyone can monitor any transmission... if they're tuned to the right frequency and within range of the signal.

Whether or no the NSA bothers to listen to HF/VHF/UHF/etc is another issue. If they wanted to, they could. The only signals they might have trouble with is some of the shorter wavelengths working simplex, where the transmissions don't go far enough to reach a listening station.

about a year ago

FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

ATestR Re:It's dead either way, why not try this? (371 comments)

Not really. The "fees" for an amateur radio license are trivial... $14 is the going rate to take a license test, and its good for 10 years. The government isn't making money on it. The rules are in place and generally followed by people because everyone who is currently licensed have agreed that is how they want to play.

Again, as the grandparent post pointed out, if you don't want to play the game that is being played, choose another game. There are other radio based services that are different and may allow the type of communications that you want.

about a year ago



More greenhouse gases from Biofuels

ATestR ATestR writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ATestR (1060586) writes "A Times of London article mentions a study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics measured the relative greenhouse gases produced by biofuels produced by two common organic sources, maise (corn) and rapeseed (canola).

From the article: "Rapeseed and maize biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. The concerns were raised over the levels of emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Scientists found that the use of biofuels released twice as much as nitrous oxide as previously realized. The research team found that 3 to 5 per cent of the nitrogen in fertilizer was converted and emitted." The scientists taking the measurement estimated that this is at least 50% greater than similar pollutants produced by fossil fuels.

The article was republished on"

ATestR ATestR writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ATestR (1060586) writes "From the Article (, one pole of the sun is cooler than the other. That's the surprising conclusion announced today by scientists who have been analyzing data from the ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft.

Measurements of the Northern Solar pole taken by Ulysses in 1994 and 1995 observed a temperature difference of 7 — 8 percent from the recent measurements taken of the Southern pole. Since the average Solar temperature has been measured to be constant during this twelve year period, the scientists invovled with the project are scratching their heads over the difference."


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