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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

Andy Dodd Re:Weird article (168 comments)

Also note, one of the reasons the project got canned was supposedly its inadequacy at friend vs. foe identification.

Privacy advocates are freaking out about a system that apparently can't even reliably tell the difference between "friendly" and "hostile" let alone "that vehicle belongs to John Doe! FOLLOW IT!!!!"

Also, tracking ground targets over terrain (land) is likely feasible at FAR shorter ranges than the 340 miles given in the article.

yesterday
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

Andy Dodd Re:10000 feet (168 comments)

Yeah, I'm fairly certain APG's airspace is ALREADY restricted.

yesterday
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$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O

Andy Dodd Interesting (138 comments)

Hardkernel used to be one of the #1 purveyors of Samsung Exynos development boards (The other being Insignal). Unfortunately, both Insignal and Hardkernel's BSPs for Exynos boards tended to be vastly outdated. (Hardkernel was even violating the GPL with some of their Android 4.2 releases for some of the Exynos 4412 boards for a while - putting up binary images with no source code in sight.)

Now even Hardkernel is putting effort into non-Haxxinos boards...

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

Andy Dodd Re:Do something interesting (312 comments)

Yes. A proper root cause analysis is important here.

Is electronics the actual root cause? I suspect not. Most of the issues the OP describes are pretty typical examples of stress/burnout.

about two weeks ago
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Intel Processor Could Be In Next-Gen Google Glass

Andy Dodd Re:Had access to Glass for an afternoon... (73 comments)

That doesn't help either, but even for non-native stuff, the Haswells are about on par with Cortex-A15s (if Chromebooks are any indication) - and the Cortex-A15s are pretty much non-starters in the "small device" category, which is why Qualcomm's Krait architecture has become so dominant even in devices that are wifi-only. (See Nexus 7 2013 version)

Dual Cortex-A7s seem to be the "go-to" for wearables nowadays, providing similar performance (at greatly reduced power consumption) compared to the dual Cortex-A9s of the OMAP4. There are very few dual-A7 solutions out there, so the go-to seems to be to disable two of the four cores of a Snapdragon 400 (quad-A7). Nearly every Android Wear device except the Moto 360 is using a "crippled" Snap400, and the Moto360 keeps getting slammed for battery life due to being an older OMAP3. (One of its updates greatly improved that, but the "crippled" S400s still win as even on the same manufacturing process, Cortex-A7 is much more efficient than A9, and the A9 is more efficient than the A8 in an OMAP3. Add to that the S400s being on a 28nm manufacturing process instead of, if I recall correctly, 45nm for OMAP3/OMAP4.)

about two weeks ago
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Intel Processor Could Be In Next-Gen Google Glass

Andy Dodd Re:Had access to Glass for an afternoon... (73 comments)

The raw performance of the OMAP4 wasn't the issue, BUT the fact that it's an EOL architecture no longer supported by TI is showing in the current software quality of Glass. Ever since Google deployed KitKat to Glass (which has not been deployed in production to ANY other OMAP4 device), Glass has been unreliable and suffered from wildly inconsistent battery life. XE19.1 was a big improvement, but it was still a significant backwards step from pre-KitKat Glass. Then Google went and fucked it up again with XE21 - Twice in one week I had Glass run out of battery in only 8 hours with effectively zero usage other than sitting on my head idle. (1-2 notifications/hour, no Navigation, etc.)

Even before KitKat, the OMAP4 was a woefully inefficient CPU due to its age. A Snapdragon 400 with half the cores disabled would provide a MUCH better experience - more efficient/capable GPU, more efficient video encoding/decoding engine (no burning your head when recording), more efficient CPU.

I haven't worn Glass in nearly two months now. It's in desperate need of a hardware refresh to improve power management and stability, but Intel is the LAST thing Glass needs. Intel's mobile SoCs are worse than even Cortex-A15 in terms of power efficiency, which is why you see a number of Intel-based tablets and settop boxes, but next to no Intel-based phones (there are about as many Intel-based phones as Exynos5-based phones, another SoC that's woefully unsuitable to phones due to power consumption.)

about two weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Andy Dodd Re:LMFTFY (652 comments)

This has always been my opinion. We NEED another generation of modernized nuke plants to bridge us until renewables are more mature.

Trying to mass-deploy renewables now WILL fail. We simply don't have the energy storage technology to do it.

One more generation of nuclear will bridge the gap. And ideally, during that time, in addition to renewables, work will be done on next-generation nuclear plants that can use the current generation's waste as fuel.

If I recall correctly, the IFR reactor design in the 1990s had the potential, if it had continued development, to be able to supply 100% of the US energy demand for 100 years, using only the existing reactor waste at that time as fuel. The resultant waste from an IFR fuel cycle would only remain hazardous for 500 years (as the longest-lived waste products from LWRs can actually be used as IFR fuel)

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Andy Dodd Re:It boils down to energy storage costs (652 comments)

Not entirely true, if anything, it's MORE dangerous if you're changing power levels to match load.

There's a reason France (along with nuclear-powered ships) are the only ones that do such a thing. (In both cases because they have to - those communities have gotten VERY good at doing so, but it's still NOT an optimal way to run a nuke plant and does introduce new ways for the plant to have an accident.)

Nuclear reactors have properties that cause delayed reactions to control inputs, if you don't handle these properly, Bad Things happen. (And in fact, such Bad Things DID happen in an extreme case at Chernobyl. They tried to restart a xenon-poisoned reactor too quickly, and when the xenon finally burned off, there was a massive power transient.)

about three weeks ago
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Google Wallet API For Digital Goods Will Be Retired On March 2, 2015

Andy Dodd Re:So, why the continued G-love? (105 comments)

Pretty much everything on your list of stuff that got dropped was in the category of:
1) Very few people used it in the first place (Wave, Buzz, Orkut, Reader)
2) Was not really dropped but replaced with a similar service under a different name with a method of migration (Picasa got integrated into Drive for all practical purposes, and actually technically G+ replaced Buzz)

The only thing I'm not sure about is Google Health - although remnants of that have been getting integrated into Android lately.

about a month ago
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Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Andy Dodd Re:About time for a Free baseband processor (202 comments)

"But at least the phone companies can know about it and mount a legal fight, if they so choose'

Really hard with current legislation.

Remember Lavabit? It's already been proven that the government has been using legal means to acquire the private keys of service providers for the purposes of MITM attacks just like this one.

about a month ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

Andy Dodd Re:My boss I am (204 comments)

Obviously not covered by the study but IMO important:

A major factor in "competence" is knowing your own limitations and being able to identify when you don't know something. So a boss that KNOWS their limitations and delegates those tasks is, IMO, a highly competent one.

about a month ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Andy Dodd This doesn't work (488 comments)

Last I checked, Denmark is already filling in their holes by using Norwegian hydro.

Effectively, when Denmark has a surplus, they sell it to Norway and Norway throttles back generation at their dams (allowing water to back up in the reservoirs a bit).

Of course, because this is a surplus and Norway doesn't really need it (other than effectively saving it in their reservoirs), it's sold to Norway cheap.

When Denmark has a shortfall, they buy back energy from Norway, but because demand is high, the price is high.

At least as of 2-3 years ago, no country had achieved more than 20-25% grid penetration of wind/solar. Denmark was the highest percentage, and to achieve their high percentage, they were critically dependent on Norwegian hydro resources as a form of "battery". There's only so far you can take hydro-based storage though.

That's the big problem with renewables - we just don't have the energy storage technology yet to make them feasible.

about a month ago
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The Disgruntled Guys Who Babysit Our Aging Nuclear Missiles

Andy Dodd Re:Science fiction comes to life, again (176 comments)

The cables between sites are contained within pressurized conduits buried pretty deep. You'd have to dig down to the cables without a patrol seeing you, then you'd trigger a bunch of alarms the moment you breached the conduit (drop in pressure triggers alarms)

about a month ago
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The Disgruntled Guys Who Babysit Our Aging Nuclear Missiles

Andy Dodd Re:Science fiction comes to life, again (176 comments)

One thing not well documented (but it is covered if you take the tour at the Minuteman National Historic Site):

A missle will not launch until at least two capsules "vote" for launch. For a capsule to "vote" - both operators must engage the key within N seconds of each other.

So a person would need to, in addition to stretching their arms, twist two additional keys in a separate capsule using some sort of portal technology. Someone with such techology likely does not need nukes.

Also, as I understand it, in addition to the key turn, there is additional validation of launch codes by computer nowadays.

about a month ago
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Joey Hess Resigns From Debian

Andy Dodd Re:DebianNoob (450 comments)

No they can't. There is more to being able to buy out a company than merely having sales income.

Also, SAP and CA's sales income is irrelevant for comparison here, since they aren't in the operating system business.

The truth is, as far as platforms SAP and CA customers can run their software on, RH is a VERY big fish. If RH made a change that impacted Oracle or CA - Oracle or CA would have to adapt.

about a month ago
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Google "Evicted" the Berlin Wall From Property It Bought

Andy Dodd Re:Google hate. Again. (59 comments)

Also, if I am understanding various things I've read correctly:

Owners of the slabs did NOT want to sell the slabs to Google (Google was fine with this)
Owners of the slabs WANTED to move the slabs to a more public place (Google was fine with this)
Owners of the slabs asked Google for some time to figure out how to move/where to move two gigantic concrete slabs (Google gave them this time)

What I'm not sure of is whether the owners took longer than expected to move the slabs than Google originally agreed to, leading to this story of "eviction"

about a month ago
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Google "Evicted" the Berlin Wall From Property It Bought

Andy Dodd Re:This seems a missed opportunity (59 comments)

Based on other comments:

Google bought the building, but the owners did NOT want to sell the wall pieces to Google. The owners WANTED to move them to a more public place.

However, since moving gigantic slabs of concrete and finding a proper place for them is difficult, the owners asked for time to move the items in question after the sale.

about a month ago
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Human Clinical Trials To Begin On Drug That Reverses Diabetes In Animal Models

Andy Dodd Re:What's the name of the drug? (140 comments)

Yeah. Before insulin was discovered, Type I diabetes was a death sentence.

You would effectively starve to death within a year of symptoms showing up, regardless of how much you ate. (IIRC, actual starvation could prevent/slow the progress in some way)

However, once you've been on insulin therapy for a while, eventually you'll be in trouble within hours of insulin becoming insufficient. (An especially big problem for pump users - people using long-acting insulins like Lantus probably will have 1-2 days before they're in serious trouble after stopping administration of insulin.)

This reminds me of rumors of studies a decade or so ago involving administering long-acting insulin to diabetics in their "honeymoon period" (After diagnosis and starting insulin therapy, in many cases a diabetic's requirements for injected insulin will drop to near zero after not too long, but this only lasts for a few months after it starts) - reducing load on the pancreas seemed to prolong the period, allowing them to rely on their pancreas to handle meals and such.

Of interest is the "52 people between the ages of 19 and 45 that have received a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes within the previous three months" - That's a VERY rare category of people. The most interesting is that 3 months is typically within that "honeymoon period". Diagnosis of Type I diabetes that late in life is very uncommon (which is why Type I is often called juvenile diabetes). There's also the fact that this might be far less effective on diabetics who have had the disease for years, who basically have no remaining beta cells. (In most cases, Type I diabetes in mice is artificially induced - in humans the root cause is that the immune system attacks beta cells, however, this might allow at least some of the cells to survive the onslaught by preventing a failcascade due to the cells being overworked.)

about a month ago
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Ebola Nose Spray Vaccine Protects Monkeys

Andy Dodd Re:There are already ways to deliver vaccine (198 comments)

"Seems if needleless vaccination is your goal, this would be the way to go."

Did you even read the article you linked???

about a month and a half ago

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