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Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

Capt.Albatross Re:Such a shame (77 comments)

To see anybody even considering this only illustrates how easy they fall for every con in the book, and not even new ones. This shell game goes back to ancient times.

Unless this is just a cover story for a decision that was made on the basis of undisclosed benefits specifically to the people making the decision, in which case it is another game, equally ancient.

It used to be that a sufficiently blatant appearance of corruption could get a public official into trouble, but SCOTUS put a stop to that. This has led to a predictable increase in the lameness of cover stories for this sort of thing.

yesterday
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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Capt.Albatross Reasonable Models (391 comments)

The link titled 'questionable weather models' was to a lightweight piece of reporting, mostly covering Gary Szatkowski's mea culpa (something that public officials have to do, regardless of whether there was any negligence.) There was no informed reporting on whether the models performed worse than anyone has a right to expect.

The forecasters themselves were well aware that small deviations made a large difference to the models' predictions, but that aspect was almost entirely lost in the reporting, which was mostly about how bad it could be. If public officials don't act, on the grounds that the outcome is uncertain, the press and public will be all over them if it turns out as forecast (or worse), as happened to Bloomberg in NYC a couple of years ago.

The forecasters have more information than the public knows what to do with.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

Capt.Albatross Re: In after somebody says don't run Windows. (467 comments)

When I was testing AV software, I played with a number of real and test viruses in my disposable VM, yet the host system never alerted on any of them.

Did you verify that they were actual viruses, in that the allegedly infected programs you had were actually capable of spreading the virus to another program, and that the newly-infected program was also capable of passing this test?

I ask because it was (and maybe is) not unusual for published tests to have been performed by someone who did not do this preparation, rendering the results meaningless.

5 days ago
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Scientists Slow the Speed of Light

Capt.Albatross Re:Physics 101? (139 comments)

Umm... This sounds like Physcis 101... Something traveling through a medium vs a vacuum will always be slower was one of the first lessons I learned

That fact may be basic physics, but understanding why requires something more.

5 days ago
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Elon Musk's Proposed Internet-by-Satellite System Could Link With Mars Colonies

Capt.Albatross Re:For the love of god.. (105 comments)

Please stop with the Elon Musk circle jerk.

Elon Musk attracts interest because he does interesting things. That, IMHO, is one of the better ways to attract interest.

about two weeks ago
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Elon Musk's Proposed Internet-by-Satellite System Could Link With Mars Colonies

Capt.Albatross The Hard Part (105 comments)

The hard part of communicating with and between Mars colonies over a network of micro-satellites is setting up the Mars colonies.

about two weeks ago
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FCC May Permit Robocalls To Cell Phones -- If They Are Calling a Wrong Number

Capt.Albatross Re:Time to abandon normal phones? (217 comments)

Maintaining a personal white list is not easy - do you want your kid's school to be able to call you? Your credit cards' fraud-detection unit? Any hospital a close family member might be taken to in an emergency?

If this rule change is passed, then maybe it is time for some means to redirect these calls to the personal phones of FCC commissioners and board members of the companies pushing for the change.

about two weeks ago
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Do We Need Regular IT Security Fire Drills?

Capt.Albatross Re:Pro- vs Re- (124 comments)

well but if your "proactive" is doing a fake reactive to the point of doing a "forensics investigation"... then you're just playing games.

When your proactive penetration testing finds a vulnerability, or one of your vendors issues a critical patch, follow through as if it were for real.

about two weeks ago
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WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

Capt.Albatross Re: Yawn (556 comments)

Feel free to discuss it, doesn't make it news or newsworthy.

The claim that X is not newsworthy is almost always less interesting than X.

about three weeks ago
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WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

Capt.Albatross Re: Yawn (556 comments)

So what you're saying is, every time there's an op-ed piece, someone get's to have a retort published? Really?

So what you are saying is that it is invalid to discuss the editorial policies of major newspapers?

No, that would be just another hyperbolic outburst of the sort that I am replying to here.

about three weeks ago
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Vast Nazi Facility Uncovered In Austria; Purported A-Bomb Development Site

Capt.Albatross Re:Tunnels everywhere, A-bombs nowhere (292 comments)

There are two branches in nuclear research: weapons and power.

Early on in the Nazis' research, Werner Heisenberg miscalculated* the critical mass necessary to produce a workable bomb, placing it at around one ton. Largely as a result of this, research on weapons production was halted. Hwever, it is entirely possible that research on power poduction continued on. Who really cares how heavy a fixed reactor core is?

*Or he mislead the Nazis for political or moral reasons.

Jeremy Bernstein makes a good argument that the Nazi scientists were unaware of the true value of the critical mass, let alone other important but less basic issues such as the significance of prompt vs. delayed neutrons, until they learned, while being detained in Farm Hall, of the bombing of Hiroshima (Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall, ISBN 978-0387950891). These recordings of their conversations among themselves indicate initial astonishment and incredulity, but after several hours (days?) of work, Heisenberg was able to present to the group an analysis of how it could be done. Bernstein argues that that Heisenberg's initial back-of-envelope calculation for the critical mass, based on the mean free path of neutrons in uranium, was never questioned. While they may or may not have found this useful in discouraging Nazi hopes of an atom bomb, it seems unlikely that they were aware it was wrong.

They also incorrectly measured the neutron absorption cross-section of graphite (IIRC due to contamination by boron) and ruled it out as a moderator, making themselves dependent on vulnerable heavy water supplies from occupied Norway.

According to Thomas Powers' book, 'Heisenberg's War: The Secret History Of The German Bomb' (written before the Farm Hall transcripts were released), creating a power reactor was indeed their assigned task, but the Third Reich had more pressing priorities, so it was never funded in the way the V weapons were. If they had tried to build a reactor on the basis of Heisenberg's assumption, they would probably either have irradiated themselves out of existence, or found the errors in their theory. Either way, it does not seem likely that they would have been in a position to be so astonished by Hiroshima as they evidently were, if they had made much progress in that direction.

about a month ago
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Vast Nazi Facility Uncovered In Austria; Purported A-Bomb Development Site

Capt.Albatross Re:Tunnels everywhere, A-bombs nowhere (292 comments)

There are many branches in nuclear research: weapons, power, medicine, nuclear chemistry, particle diffraction, etc.

Most of them depend, in practice, on having a working nuclear reactor.

about a month ago
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2014: The Year We Learned How Vulnerable Third-Party Code Libraries Are

Capt.Albatross Security Bugs are Different (255 comments)

When everybody has the same goal, as is pretty much the case for usability issues, the shallowness of bugs posited by the many eyes hypothesis would be a good thing. When it comes to security issues, it sets up a race between the white hats and the black hats, and there is more incentive for the black hats (collectively, the rest of us have as much incentive as do the black hats, but that is not the case individually - for one thing, an attacker satisfies his goal by finding just one vulnerability.)

about a month ago
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2014: The Year We Learned How Vulnerable Third-Party Code Libraries Are

Capt.Albatross Re:But *are* there enough eyes? (255 comments)

The phrase might be true, but we're seeing the effects of insufficient eyes.

If there are insufficient eyes, then the truth of the phrase is moot.

about a month ago
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Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

Capt.Albatross Re: How about mandatory felony sentences instead? (420 comments)

It makes me laugh when people say "according to studies" without actually citing any studies.

I suspect he was referring to a self-administered study.

about 1 month ago
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Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

Capt.Albatross Re:How about mandatory felony sentences instead? (420 comments)

Is there evidence against the efficacy of a mandatory interlock program? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that harsh sentencing in other drug-related crimes does not work.

Reserve the harsher punishments for anyone who violates one of these restrictions, or who facilitates any such violation (the weakest link that I see in this proposal is the loaning of cars by relatives and friends.)

about a month ago
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Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

Capt.Albatross Re:How about mandatory felony sentences instead? (420 comments)

so whats your solution . "you've been a naughty boy, don't do it again"?

This is just a wild guess, but perhaps beelsebob was thinking of mandatory interlock devices. I read about them on Slashdot somewhere.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

Capt.Albatross Re: Rossi (183 comments)

The first sentence in the Wikipedia article: "Andrea Rossi (born 3 June 1950) is an Italian convicted fraudster, inventor and entrepreneur." (Though the footnote to "fraudster" indicates he was ultimately acquitted, on what appears to be a technicality, of the major charges relating to an alleged oil-from-trash scam.) The best you can say about E-Cat is that Rossi seems to be doing everything possible to make it look like a scam (Starts with a Bang.)

Rossi's E-Cat was the first thing I thought of when I read of Gates trip to Italy, but he was apparently visiting the Frascati ENEA labs of the University of Verona, which is "recognized for excellence in [cold] nuclear fusion research", whatever that means. I do not know if it has any connection to Rossi.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

Capt.Albatross Technically Illiterate (183 comments)

The 'Tech Metals Insider' article contains a link to what it describes as another of its articles on Low Energy Nuclear Reactors, but it is actually about the hohlraums used in some inertial-confinement laser fusion research. The author is apparently unaware that this is a very different technology, and so cannot be regarded as a reliable guide on the subject.

about a month ago
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New Record Set For Deepest Dwelling Fish

Capt.Albatross Depth Limit for Fish (33 comments)

A recent article in New Scientist (paywalled, I don't have an alternative) suggests that 8 km is about the limit for fish. The problem, apparently, is that the pressure distorts protein shapes, eventually preventing them from working properly. The tissue (particularly muscle) of deep-sea fishes contains trimethylamine oxide, which may protect against this problem, and the deeper you go, the more of it the fish have, but by about 8km they are saturated with it.

Invertebrates have been found deeper, so presumably they have a different mechanism.

       

about a month ago

Submissions

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An Online Game of Skill, Played for Money

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 2 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Jason Rohrer, a game developer with an artistic flair (Passage, Sleep is Death) is developing a new game, Cordial Minuet (an anagram of 'demonic ritual'). It is a two-person game of skill, to be played online for money. Rohrer believes that, as a game of skill, it avoids falling foul of U.S. gambling legislation. Emanuel Maiberg's interview of Rohrer discusses the game play, Rohrer's steps to avoid legal problems while monetizing it, and whether games of skill avoid the ethical problems of gambling."
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Yosemite Wi-Fi Problems

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 3 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Sophos' Naked Security blog is reporting that some users of Apple's OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) operating system are having problems with wi-fi: "Your network works fine for a while, typically between about 30 seconds and five minutes, and then fairly abruptly begins to suffer almost total traffic loss. The network shows up as active, and low-level packets such as PINGs can be sent and received as normal. But traffic such as UDP and TCP just doesn't get through."

Apple's own Support Community has much discussion, and some proposed workarounds, but no definite explanation or solution appears to have emerged yet."
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Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught in the Act

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 5 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The flat surface of the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is littered with rocks, some weighing hundreds of kilograms, each at the end of a track indicating that it has somehow slid across the surface. The mechanism behind this has been the subject of much speculation but little evidence, until a trio of scientists caught them in action with cameras and GPS."
Link to Original Source
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A Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  1 year,1 day

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Slate, Chris Kirk presents a map of schools in the USA that both receive public funding and teach creationism. It also shows public schools in those states where they are allowed to teach creationism (without necessarily implying that creationism is taught in all public schools of those states). There is a brief discussion of the regulations in those states where this occurs, but the amounts involved are not discussed.
 "
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A Diagnosis for Healthcare.gov

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about a year ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Slate, David Auerbach reports on Thursday's hearing concerning the healthcare.gov debacle. It was "a spectacle of tech illiteracy and buck-passing", he says, which may not elicit much surprise around here. He is particularly scornful of the contractors' obsession with checking off milestones rather than with delivering something that works, their willingness to call something 'done' before having tested it, and their apparent obliviousness to how incompetent this shows them to be."
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Twitter Buzz as an Election Predictor

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "A study presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting suggests that simply comparing the frequency with which the candidates' names are mentioned in tweets can predict the result of elections almost as well as conventional polls, even without considering the sentiment (for or against the named candidate) of the messages. Furthermore, the correlation seems strongest in close elections.

Additional commentary can be found at the Wall Street Journal and from Indiana University."
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Thorium Fuel has Proliferation Risk

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Thorium has attracted interest as a potentially safer fuel for nuclear power generation. In part, this has been because of the absence of a route to nuclear weapons, but a group of British scientists have identified a path that leads to uranium-233 via protactinium-233 from irradiated thorium. The protactinium separation could possibly be done with standard lab equipment, which would allow it to be done covertly, and deliver the minimum of U233 required for a weapon in less than a year.

The full article is in Nature, paywalled."

Link to Original Source
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Promoting Arithmetic and Algebra by Example

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "A couple of months ago, the New York Times published political scientist Andrew Hacker's opinion that teaching algebra is harmful. Today, it has followed up with an article that is clearly intended to indicate the usefulness of basic mathematics by suggesting useful exercises in a variety of 'real-world' topics. While the starter questions in each topic involve formula evaluation rather than symbolic manipulation, the follow-up questions invite readers to delve more deeply.

The value of mathematics education has been a recurring issue in Slashdot."
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Is Algebra Necessary? -- New York Times

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 2 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Andrew Hacker, a professor of Political Science at the City University of New York and author of 'Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — and What We Can Do About It', attempts to answer this question in the negative in today's New York Times Sunday Review [registration may be required].

His primary claim is that mathematics requirements are prematurely and unreasonably limiting the level of education available to otherwise capable students ."
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Righthaven Redux... With a Difference

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 3 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza reports that, in an act of delicious irony, Swiss ISP Ort Cloud [sic] has acquired Righthaven's domain name and has relaunched Righthaven.com as a web hosting service diametrically opposed to the practices of its original owner, a notorious but ultimately unsuccessful copyright troll. The new owners, in partnership with first amendment lawyer Marc Randazza (who was instrumental in the original Rigthhaven's demise), promise "infrajuridsictional infrastructure" — uptime that would require international cooperation to bring down. "Frivolous plaintiffs will find little comfort here" says Ort Cloud's Stefan Thalberg.

The domain name became available in a court-ordered auction of Righthaven LLC's assets, to pay its creditors."

Link to Original Source
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To Learn, Test Yourself

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 4 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The New York Times summarizes a paper published online by Science:

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

"

Link to Original Source

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