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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Alastor187 Re:Flight recorder (491 comments)

CVRs on those aircraft are 2 hours, not 30 minutes.

What I want to know, is why my phone (the smallest model made) can hold 1100 hours of compressed audio ... but these aircraft using NAND don't hold more than 2 hours of uncompressed audio (you don't want any quality sacrifices or artifacts from compression to screw up your analysis later) in a redundant array ...

Someones going to tell me that for the 30-40k those black boxes cost ... they can't put some actual storage space in the fucking things?

Probably because your phone isn’t reliable when exposed to 3,400g impact loads, or burning jet fuel, or a corrosive high pressure deep sea environment? Then again maybe you have one of those 'rugged' phones.

about 6 months ago
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FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights

Alastor187 Re:Keep the phone ban (221 comments)

Given that aircraft fly around in a veritable EM soup (AM, FM, VHF transmission towers, the spark gaps of an angry god, etc.), I would hope that every phone on the plane draining its battery in a coordinated RF scream would be a survivable event. Whether all the chatter raises the noise floor or introduces errors into sensitive measurements is a subtler but more likely issue.

What is outside the airplane is the least of the problems. A large commercial plane has racks of electronic equipment, dozens of radios, weather radar, flight displays, in-flight entertainment systems, power generation and distribution systems, pumps, servos,...etc.

All of those are potential sources of EMI that need to work together as a system. The only reason a cell phone is considered 'risky' is because it un-tested. There is nothing unique about cell phone electronics from an avionics point of view. Similar, and more powerful, systems are already integrated into the airframe.

about a year ago
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White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets

Alastor187 Re:Secret Emails and they fire a tweeter? (208 comments)

But the analogy doesn't work, because the government is limited by a different set of laws than a private company. The government cannot censor the speech of an employee, not because of employer-employee relationship, but because of the limits placed on government in general. Therefore, it is important determine if the government, in general, has over stepped its bounds. Ken White had a good write up last month about the relationship of University Professors and the State: Pophat

about a year ago
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Kim Dotcom Resigns From Mega To Fight Extradition, Run For Office

Alastor187 Re:Gee, he's got my vote (109 comments)

The politician you know is a felon is more honest than the one who claims not to be.

There is a lot of truth in this. Look at his behavior and personality. How is he any different than any other politician that has been exposed for wrong doing? Positions of power attract similar personalities, and the fact that Kim would direct his resources towards a political position implies he is cut from the same cloth as every other politician out there.

The shocking part is not Kim running for office, it is that people like Kim are already there.

1 year,12 days
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NSA Director Defends Surveillance To Unsympathetic Black Hat Crowd

Alastor187 Re:Privacy concerns now outweigh terrorism in poll (358 comments)

Or hanging out in a Moscow airport waiting for the President to offer the appropriate bribe to Vladimir Putin to have your ass sent back to the United States for the crime of causing the Surveillance State a little trouble.

A few year ago I would have been inclined to agree, but in this case it is Russia that is worried about returning a 'political asylum seeker' to their country of origin which would likely result in their torture and death. Authentic or not in this case Russia may actually be the morally higher ground. Another sad day for the US.

about a year ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

Alastor187 Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (262 comments)

Just because you are in public doesn't mean your location should be known by all parties with access to a database.

I think the unreasonable part is storing of the data. I see this technology very similar to a 'speed trap', where passing cars are locally affected. Generally speaking 'speed traps' are accepted as a reasonable police practice. However, if in addition to checking speed the police also uniquely identified each vehicle and then stored the date, time, location, speed...etc, the action would be significantly more intrusive if not unlawful.

about a year ago
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Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

Alastor187 Re:Anti-reflective with fingerprints? (175 comments)

You don't 'lose' the light. When light waves strike the AR coating some of the light is immediately reflected towards your eye. While the remaining light passes through the AR coating and is then reflected off a secondary surface towards your eye. However, as it passes through the AR coating the phase of the light is changed so that it 'destructively interferes' with the reflected light that did not pass through the AR coating, and therefore you see the reflection at a lower 'intensity'.

The goal is to get the 'intensity' of the reflected light well below the 'intensity' of the light from the device back-light. The greater the difference between these 'intensities' (e.g. the higher the back-light output with respect to the reflected light) the greater the 'sunlight readability'.

about a year ago
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Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

Alastor187 Re:Anti-reflective with fingerprints? (175 comments)

AR coatings in 'ruggedized' military and avionic displays is very common, the coatings are durable. Likewise, when used on a touchscreen an oleophobic (repels oil) coating can be used on top of the AR coating to minimize smudges and finger prints.

Also, it should be kept in mind that the cover-glass is only accounts for the 'first' reflection in the 'lamination stackup'. In order for an anti-reflection technology to work all subsequent air gaps need to be removed or similarly index matched to prevent secondary reflections. So while this is a step in the right direction for 'sunlight readability', the entire laminated assembly has to be optimized concurrently.

about a year ago
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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

Alastor187 Re:The theater is dead. (924 comments)

You're 50-60-70in TV with 5.1 surround isn't the same quality is what the theaters have. Sure maybe so really cheapo theaters but the standard AMC theaters have over a dozen channels along the sides alone. And yes watching a movie on a 50ft wide screen is considerably different than on a TV.

Yes, watching on a 50ft screen is different, but not necessarily better. If someone just wants to watch a movie on the biggest screen possible, then great go to the theater or get a projector. But the brightness, contrast ratio, and color reproduction on the big screen is sub-par compared to a modern HDTV. It is these characteristics, not size, that are most important for a clear and crisp image.

about a year ago
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USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

Alastor187 Re:Someone start a defense fund (955 comments)

>

I am standing up for a Hero was forced into a position where he had to chose between upholding the constitution (the first part of his oath) or following orders (another part of his oath). If he didn't blow the whistle, he would still be violating his oath.

The problem is in assuming that legality implies legitimacy. Just because a law is passed doesn't make it legitimate. How, can one be in a position of either up holding the Constitution or the 'law'? When in conflict, one must be correct, and the other illegitimate. Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land it's authority must supersede the other law, otherwise there is no limit to the authority and power of government.

about a year ago
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Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer

Alastor187 Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (521 comments)

I just told you we don't need to be reminded that you're paranoid. Christ

Take a step back from your opinion and re-read the GP post.

Tyranny is already here. It is just masked in Bureaucracy. All you need to know is that the Powers that be, have already targeted "enemies of the state", simply because they oppose the Bureaucracy's over reaching power.

The files for the original 3D printed gun by Defense Distributed were order to be taken down by the State Department. Note that is not known by the State Department if the files violate ITAR export laws, but since they were unsure they wanted Defense Distributed to assume their action was illegal. In other words any action not explitcly granted by State should be assumed to be illegal. That is not a how a free society operates. Tyranny is not 'all or nothing', it can be a slow corrosive process.

about a year ago
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Bill Gates Regains the Position of World's Richest Person

Alastor187 Re:Something is wrong (311 comments)

Well, anything above $5.25 million. Anything below that is *tax free*. That's a pretty sweet deal, considering how much tax you'd pay if you had to actually work for that money.

Sweet deal? You do know that inheritance involves someone dying, often a close family member. Also, do you realize that the deceased person already payed tax on the sum of money, so it not exactly tax free?

As machines get more efficient, the value of human labor is diluted.

Not it doesn't, only certain types of labor become less profitable, others become more profitable. I think this would be a good place for a 'horse and buggy' analogy from an RIAA related story?

The free market value of some forms of labor has already fallen below what people need to live with dignity.

What does dignity have to do with anything? There is no economic system that protects dignity, dignity is a personal choice, and only in a economic system that protects personal choice can one choose how to live with dignity (if they even care about it).

A cap on income and wealth might be a good thing, but I think it is more important to set a floor that no one is allowed to fall beneath.

Who decides what the upper and lower limits will be? How do they ensure that beneficial activities such at spending $28 billion in charitable contribution is persevered? How do they know that once the current upper limit economic activities have been eliminated there will remain enough economic activity to support those who cannot or choose not to be productive? How do they wade there the infinite number of needs and wants with the unlimited number of outcomes to determine what economic activities people can or cannot undertake?

about a year ago
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A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale

Alastor187 Re:2nd Amendment Question (551 comments)

The second amendment (since thats what the thread is labeled) is to protect us from the government. as such having a weapon equal to our government is indeed perfectly acceptable to me.

I agree with you on this statement, but disagree that this applies to military weaponry. I believe 'firearm parity' needs to maintained with local and federal law enforcement only. I don't believe that military hardware is applicable to the 2nd Amendment because 1) it is illegal to use the military for federal/local law enforcement, 2) when the 2nd Amendment was ratified there was no desire for a permanent standing military, proven by the fact the Continental Army was disbanded after the Revolutionary War. That fact that we now have a standing army in a time of 'peace', means we now have to live with the associated risks.

I could however see a case to made for a person being allowed to develop or build any weapon themselves for personal use on private land.

about a year ago
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In Germany, Offensive Autocomplete Is No Laughing Matter

Alastor187 Re:Good to know (200 comments)

Yelling fire in a theater is a bad thing. It's the application of that to "show" that passing out a communist flier should be illegal because it's like yelling fire in a theater. Yelling fire in a theater is illegal, so not all speech is always protected. Now that we are in agreement that we don't have "free speech" in the USA. The follow up question is "where do we draw the line?"

Fire in a theater helps us understand this and leads to discussion on it.

Actually it doesn't help because more often than not it is misquoted. The actual quote is:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.

The emphasis is mine. Falsely shouting fire in order to create a panic is illegal, or rather the person making the speech is accountable of the resulting harm. However, shouting fire in a crowded movie that is actually on fire is not illegal, as most reasonable people would agree that there is a moral responsibility to letting others know of imminent danger.

about a year ago
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Mars One Has 78,000 Applicants

Alastor187 Re:Math is way off. (355 comments)

Somebody needs a math lesson. 3000 miles * 5280 feet per mile / 78000 = 203 feet. That is a tad more than 40 cm.

Seems appropriate given this is a story about sending something to Mars.

about a year ago
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Crowdsourcing Failed In Boston Bombing Aftermath

Alastor187 Limited Data Set (270 comments)

Could a crowd of sharp-eyed citizens uncover evidence of the perpetrators? No, but they could definitely focus attention on the wrong people.

This isn't totally fair. While there are certainly a lot of opportunities for amateur detectives to end up focusing on the wrong people, the reality is that information available online was limited. It was not the same set of data that the government had access to. Unless the actual perpetrators were documented in the online data set, and it doesn't appear they were, the online search was bound to fail.

Had the online community been given the exact same set of information as the FBI, it would have been very interesting to determine what conclusions would have been reached. That would have been a much better test of crowd sourcing.

about a year ago
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'Download This Gun' — 3-D Printed Gun Reliable Up To 600 Rounds

Alastor187 Re:The way things have been going. (582 comments)

True. It needs virtual testing before it gets printed.

If the machine can be modelled and all the math is done, weak spots in the designs should be detectable and the design updated. Why do they have to print it and test it? Sounds unsafe.

That is not how it works. You can create mathematical models for analysis, such as a Finite Element model, but that takes time, know-how, and money. As well, analytical approaches help get one closer to the best solution before actually 'cutting metal'. Nevertheless, even with up front analytical work everything needs to be tested to verify the design. All analytical models now matter how complex are still approximations, and there is no substitute for real world testing. For someone with limited resources it may be more practical to simply test.

about a year and a half ago
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Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

Alastor187 Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

I'm not supporting Obama's policy but I don't think this is as evil as everyone is making it out to be. Our country is theoretically "at war" with Al Quada as an organization (whether that makes any sense is a whole other tangent). During World War II, plenty of German-American citizens living in the US flue back to Germany and fought against American forces.

So now a theoretically declared war against a poorly defined group of individuals is the same as a congressional deceleration of war against a sovereign nation?

We didn't need due process to kill them on the battlefield. Whether you're an American citizen or not, if you're on foreign territory and pose a threat to our armed forces, there's not a large legal barrier to killing you.

In a genuine time of war exceptions to due process are made. We are not at war. We are not at war with Yemen, yet American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi was killed there by a drone strike because of the memo you support. He was considered to be a high ranking al-Qaeda agent.

Two-weeks later is 16 year old son, Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, was killed in similar air-strike. He too was an American citizen. He was traveling with a high ranking al-Qaeda agent, who was the actual target of the air strike. The strike was 'OKed" because Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was considered to be a "military-age male."

We are not at war. As a country we have lost our way. A secret memo is released and we justify why it is OK to kill Americans abroad without any due-process. We claim we want transparency, and yet accept secret memos. We accept killing of foreign men, woman, and child in countries in which we are not at war, because 'civilian causalities are low'.

The President says "If We Can Just Save One Child..." we should give up are constitutional rights. According the Bureau of Investigative Journalism some 175 children have been killed by the drone program. What about saving just one of those lives? No, lets all attack the Bill of Rights when American children die, but programs that operate on the fringe of legality are OK because foreign children are not afforded the same protections.

Does our hypocrisy as a country have any limits? Do we ever look around, and say WTF is wrong with us. Do we not believe our rights to be natural, and our government is unique in that it recognizes and protects those natural rights? And if we believe these rights natural are they not natural to all people? If natural to all, then shouldn't our government, a government that respects natural rights, also at a minimum respect the natural rights of people in foreign countries, US citizen or otherwise? Or are the principles upon which the country was founded, tied only to the earth on which it is rooted?

about a year and a half ago
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USMA: Going the Extra Kilometer For Metrication

Alastor187 Re:What's the point? (909 comments)

I think the OP was referring to building blue-prints. Where I work all our drawings are in a single unit, inches. Any drawing that might be seen by the customer will have inches and then the millimeter equivalent in brackets for reference, e.g. 1.000 [25.4].

about a year and a half ago
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Why The Hobbit's 48fps Is a Good Thing

Alastor187 Re:Tired of Luddites calling higher FPS "soap oper (599 comments)

Most of the time you can't even tell the difference between frame rates, except when it emerges as artifacts at 24 fps.

24 fps movies are purposefully shot with more motion blur to hide the jerkiness. But nothing really gets around it when panning.

So 24fps primarily equals artifacts: Blurring, jerky motion, and juddering pans.

How nonsensical is it, and how resistant change do you have to be, to worship these artifacts. They are no more beneficial than ticks/pops were on Vinyl. There is certain nostalgia value to listening to something with ticks/pops sometimes, but it isn't something we put everywhere because we can't do without it.

So these resistant to change, Luddites in love with quite irritating artifacts have taken to calling superior motion video with less blur, less judder and less jerking: "The Soap Opera Effect".

Do a freeze frame on a soap opera and good movie. You can still tell which is which when frozen. Soaps look like crap, because they have crap production values. Poor sets, poor lighting, poor cameras, shot without any flair.

Shoot 48fps (or 60 fps or 120 fps for that matter) with great sets, great lighting, great cameras and great flair and it will be amazing and have nothing in common with soap operas.

The Soap Opera Effect originated from TV performance not theater performance. Modern LCD TVs have refresh rates between 120-240Hz in addition to built in motion correction hardware. You can take the any source and basically make it look like a Soap Opera, smooth and fluid. For many people, myself included, this is very distracting. Maybe I am just old, and use to seeing certain types of formats, but when I see a smooth and fluid movie it looks odd.

Personally, I turn off all the motion correction hardware on my TV. I choose to watch TV has it was intended by the creator. General Hospital is smooth and fluid while Hawaii Five O not so much. I have a PS3 set to output 24p, so it also will not perform any video processing, and I can watch a movie in it's most raw form.

On a 120Hz LCD TV there are not juddering pans, painful transitions, or any other negatives associated with watching a movie in the theater. If you have never watched a 24 FPS movie on a properly configured modern entertainment system then don't be so quick to judge the desire to retain the ‘film look’.

about 2 years ago

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