Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Attila the Bun Why is this a bash bug? (329 comments)

Why does bash have to worry about security? It's just a shell, a thin interface supposed to execute whatever commands it receives. Surely the bug lies with Apache et al. for not properly censoring the data they receive from outside and send to bash for execution.

I understand that the exploit works by appending malicious commands after a function definition contained in an environment variable. The environment variables aren't meant to contain anything more than the function, so executing the extra code is a bug. In that sense the bug belongs to bash. But the shells were never designed to be secure against this kind of attack, and as we're now discovering there are all kinds of related vulnerabilities. Server software such as Apache is made to be secure: it has to worry about sending arbitrary commands to bash, so why not worry about setting arbitrary environment variables too?

about three weeks ago
top

Is There a Limit To a Laser's Energy?

Attila the Bun Re:Wrong interpretation of energy (135 comments)

When the article is talking about 1 MeV, it falsely interprets this as if the laser is emitting a single photon at 1 MeV. That is not what happen

He is indeed talking about 1 MeV per photon. He's discussing the theoretical limits of photon power density in a hypothetical gamma-ray laser with an adjustable wavelength. An ordinary laser pointer stores more than 1 MeV of energy in its lasing cavity, although a physicist would not typically use eV to describe the combined energy of a light beam.

about 6 months ago
top

How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Attila the Bun Re:If you want to hoard bits... (983 comments)

That's what I thought. I have a backup server in the basement, built out of two Raspberry Pis attached to four USB disk enclosures. Goodsync takes about 15 minutes to scan my 4TB of data, depending on how many new files there are. It would be faster over a wired network. Scaling that up to 20TB across five 4TB drives doesn't sound expensive or difficult.

about 7 months ago
top

The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle Columbia

Attila the Bun Re:Paralysis by Analysis (247 comments)

This is exactly wrong. Putting more "human" decision makers in place is exactly what lead to the Challenger disaster and Columbia disasters.

Right. Certain people claimed that they "felt" that the weather was too cold on the day of the Challenger explosion. Others "felt" that the risk was one in a million. Who's right? If you scrub the launch whenever one of the thousands of NASA technicians feels nervous you'll never do anything. Only by quantifying the risk can you work out what to do, and it took Feynamn to demonstrate that.

about 8 months ago
top

Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken

Attila the Bun CLA? (279 comments)

Cleaning, Lubrication & Adjustment? Canadian Lacrosse Association? Carry Look-Ahead Adder? Certified Legal Assistant? Cigarette Lighter Adapter? College of Liberal Arts? Communist League of America? Cuban Liberator Army?

Somebody help me out here

about 9 months ago
top

Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

Attila the Bun Re:Here's some more stupid interview questions (692 comments)

Maybe they are clumsy questions -- I don't know the context. The question about boats may be following on from a comment about hobbies, or a desperate attempt to get a reticent candidate to open up. The question about luck may be triggered by something the candidate said which made the interviewer think they might be a chancer or risk-taker. Clumsy or not, the questions are neither rude nor inappropriate.

If somebody sneers at me every time my English dips below Shakespearean standard, I know we're not going to be working together.

about 9 months ago
top

Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

Attila the Bun Here's some more stupid interview questions (692 comments)

I have your CV, your references, and usually the results of a written test. So why would I spend a lot of time asking about your technical expertise?

The things I need to know are,

  • Are you willing and able to learn new stuff?
  • In a complex and dynamic environment, can you get things done?
  • How do you behave when your information is incomplete?
  • Do you care about making things work, or just about avoiding blame?
  • Do you have a bad attitude when taken out of your comfort zone?

These question are relevant in almost any job, and the writer of this daft article has answered all of them.

about 9 months ago
top

If UNIX Were a Religion

Attila the Bun Only a metaphor, but... (392 comments)

It's only a metaphor, but holds surprisingly well. Worryingly well. So well that we, if we claim to be modern enlightened people, should have some kind of response.

But what? Switching operating systems - like switching religions - involves a lot of work if you do it properly. Unlike religion it is possible to "worship" two or more OSes, but many people find that an inefficient way to work. So how can we avoid unwarranted faith in our way of doing things, fighting between neighbouring factions, and all the other destructive forces that religions suffer from?

The Linux kernel does a good job of holding all the myriad Linuxes together: all need the kernel to evolve and improve, but none can afford to implement those changes alone. Android and iOS have opened peoples eyes to other ways of interacting with computers and rendered the Windows-Mac conflict less important.

Technology evolves, preventing us from stagnating and developing unchangeable "holy" rules. It's a natural human tendency to break into tribal factions, but it seems that technological progress puts a damper on this, forcing us to widen our horizons and helping us to work together. Suddenly progress seems more important than ever.

about 10 months ago
top

Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

Attila the Bun Re:It's an "ology"! (230 comments)

If you are a good scientist, then you will easily prove the specific claim "some black rocks attract one another". You will repeat the experiment, thereby showing that particular rocks consistently attract one another in controlled conditions. You will lend those rocks to other experimenters to test, proving beyond all doubt that certain rocks behave as you say. Then you will get on the cover of Prehistoric Nature magazine, and be given funding to find out why certain black rocks are special. Other researchers will scour the earth searching for more special black rocks, and reference your paper every time they succeed or fail. Eventually you will become a respected become professor in the department of black rocks.

Parapsychology fails because it cannot meet the requirements of the scientific method. Until it can offer a prediction which (a) differs from existing knowledge, and (b) can be tested in a reproducible experiment it is, by definition, not science. Science being the only method we have for establishing whether a claim is trustworthy, ologies which can't meet the requirements of science must be labelled untrustworthy.

about 10 months ago
top

Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

Attila the Bun Re:It's an "ology"! (230 comments)

String theory?

Here's why string theory is different from crackpot hokum such as parapsychology:

  • - Nobody is claiming ST has passed any complete scientific test. Parapsychology proponents put forward their claims as reality.
  • - ST is compatible with known facts. Parapsychology is not.
  • - ST is interesting because it might help current research to find the way forward. Parapsychology is disconnected from all scientific knowledge.

One should keep an open mind, but not gaping. Life is short, and we have to be critical. If we spent all our time re-testing already discredited theories we would have wasted our lives.

about 10 months ago
top

Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

Attila the Bun Re:It's an "ology"! (230 comments)

Parapsychology theories have been given every chance. They've been tested under proper laboratory conditions according to the scientific method. They've been tested again and again, over and over, given far more chances than any ordinary scientist might expect to be given. The tests were scientific, and the theories failed those tests.

Hanging on to disproven theories is what makes parapsychology a non-science. The -ology suffix is just a desperate attempt to associate with proven laws of nature. Science is right to give crazy ideas a chance, but also right to shun them when they are emphatically shown to be wrong.

And when the pseudo-scientists persist in dressing up their mumbo-jumbo, quackery, and bullshit as respectable ideas as, you can forgive the real scientists for getting a little bit cross.

about 10 months ago
top

Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

Attila the Bun It's an "ology"! (230 comments)

For "unconventional science" read "mumbo jumbo". Parapsychology does not qualify as science, unconventional or otherwise. It only qualifies as quackery and bullshit.

about 10 months ago
top

DARPA's Atlas Walking Over Randomness

Attila the Bun Inflexible feet (76 comments)

An impressive balancing act, but the really interesting thing is to see how Atlas stumbles on objects which shift under its weight. It vividy shows the need for flexible feet on a biped. That's going to be an interesting engineering puzzle to solve.

about a year ago
top

Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC

Attila the Bun Re:Dallas? (263 comments)

True enough, but I don't think we're ready to design the next big accelerator anyway. The science is at an impasse, and these machines are too big and costly to build speculatively. What we need to do is keep developing various novel technologies, including laser and dual-beam wakefield acceleration as well as muon sources, and hope fervently that new discoveries at the LHC will soon show us the way we should go next. If the LHC does not discover anything beyond the Higgs, then I think particle physics may be in for some dark ages.

about a year ago
top

Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC

Attila the Bun Re:Dallas? (263 comments)

There are also ideas to build a circular muon collider. Muons are similar to electrons so give a nice clean signal in the detectors, but being 200 times heavier than electrons they lose much less energy as they circulate around a ring-shaped path.

The problem is muons are unstable, with a half-life of just 2 micro-seconds. But if you can collect them fast enough and accelerate them to near-light-speed, their lifetime increases due to time dilation. The nearer they get to light-speed the longer they last for, and it's thought that it would be feasible to get them going fast enough that they would last for a useful amount of time.

There are lots of advantages to circular accelerators: You can re-use the expensive accelerating sections thousands of times over by recirculating the beam; the beam itself is re-used over and over (only a tiny fraction of the particle are lost on each collision); and most importantly you can install more than one detector. Having two independent measurements is very important in establishing the reliability of any results.

about a year ago
top

Man In Tesla Model S Fire Explains What Happened

Attila the Bun Re:They should upgrade the warning ... (526 comments)

The guy is an idiot.

Why? He stopped when the car said he should, got out, and was fine.

We have no idea how bad the impact was. It might not have felt very serious at the time, and presumably the battery did not actually start overheating until the second warning. In any case switching off the "ignition" would not have prevented the battery from catching fire.

about a year ago
top

8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars

Attila the Bun Re:Electric cars are *not* more energy efficient (327 comments)

Fair point. But even at 130 miles per 19 kWh, there's some way to go before you rival the energy efficiency of the best diesel cars. BTW Honda's own figures are much more pessimistic - any idea why that is?

It's not that I especially like diesel as a source of energy. The fumes are unpleasant and unhealthy, and as a cyclist I breath in more than my fair share. I just think it's important to be aware of the true impact of electric transport.

about a year ago
top

8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars

Attila the Bun Re:Electric cars are *not* more energy efficient (327 comments)

Piss off fanboy. We don't want you or need you.

Unreasoned belief ... hatred when confronted with other ideas ... do you have a special book too?

Go back to whatever you know about and let the real engineers discuss energy use

C'mon, one last chance. This thread is getting old now. The subject is "energy efficiency of electric cars", and to give you something to shoot for I've revised my calculation:
Since the Tesla makes so much of its ecological credentials, I'll compare it with a Toyota Prius T3. I'll also take into account Tesla's charger efficiency (80% reported by Tesla owners), and use better numbers for battery lifetime (500 full cycles) and power station efficiency (33% in the US).

The Tesla-S consumption at the socket is 814 kJ/km, and battery manufacture is 543 kJ/km. The heat energy required to generate that much electricity is 4.47 MJ/km, or 6.81 mBtu/mile.

Meanwhile the Pruis T3 claims 60.3 miles per US-gallon, which is equivalent to 1.40 MJ/km or 2.14 mBtu/mile. That's three times better than the EV!!!
(No, I don't include engine manufacture, same as I don't include the manufacture of the electric engine and regenerative braking system the EV uses.)

Off you go.

about a year ago
top

8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars

Attila the Bun Re:Electric cars are *not* more energy efficient (327 comments)

If you're interested in environmental science and would like to improve on my calculation then you're very welcome. However your fact-less attack smacks of religious fanaticism, and that's not ok.

Too many people are getting rich by making environmental claims that don't stack up. Resources are wasted on technologies that don't work, delaying progress towards solving our energy problems. We need less hype and rhetoric, and more careful analysis.

about a year ago

Submissions

Attila the Bun hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

Attila the Bun has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?