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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Cassini2 World Energy Crisis (82 comments)

All that fuel to burn on Titan, and no air ...

The perfect inter-planetary refueling depot, and no oxidizer ...

What to do???

2 days ago
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Why Apple, Google, and FB Have Their Own Programming Languages

Cassini2 Re:NIH (161 comments)

The Google vs. Oracle lawsuit made a business case for not-invented-here syndrome. I think every major platform vendor will have there own programming languages in the future. Custom APIs and programming languages stops entire classes of patent/copyright lawsuits dead. It stops developers from moving between eco-systems. It even prevents your employees from stealing top-secret software and moving to a competitors. (And if they do steal the software, it becomes really obvious when law-enforcement shows up.)

I do agree from a portability/programmer perspective, NIH programming sucks. However, the legal perspective - it's great!

Also, the funny thing with lawsuits - even if you win, you still lose.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

Cassini2 Re:Illegal? (580 comments)

If you think that much about the answer, then the polygraph will assume you are lying.

about 2 months ago
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FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

Cassini2 Re:Polygraph (580 comments)

False positives create selection bias. A polygraph detects people that are *nervous about there lies*. It won't detect the unaware and clueless, because they do not know they did anything wrong. Most people download songs to their iPhone, and assume it is legal. The polygraph not detect people that assume they are innocent. On the other hand, some people lie all of the time. A sociopath will pass the lie-detector test because they don't believe they are lying, and one person in 25 is a sociopath.

These problems have already been encountered in the preemployment screening industry. This is one of the less biased artlicles. To quote:

One recent study found faked answers for one quarter to one half of the applicants.[44] So how can employers who want to use personality or EQ tests in their selection process mitigate against the risk of applicant faking? Counter-measures to faking include the test and retest approach to see if an individual is consistent in their answers, or asking questions that require quick responses.[45] But counter-measures to faking may result in less reliable and valid results since some tools used to detect faking do not work well.[46]

Bluntly, if your goal is to hire people that have done no wrong, then chances are that your hires have either lied to you, or are too clueless to realize their mistakes. Either way, it is really bad for the employer, especially if the employer is the FBI.

about 2 months ago
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Where Intel Processors Fail At Math (Again)

Cassini2 Re:Exact mathematical value isn't the ideal (239 comments)

I recall working with numerical methods from about 40 years ago, and all of the calculations that required a call to sin were range reduced to the region of +/- pi/4 anyway. The reason is that the taylor series expansions for sine and cos are most accurate in the region of zero, and for values in excess of pi/4, it is more accurate to do a transformation and implement a different call.

It is likely that the serious numerical code already handle this condition inside the internal algorithms.

about 2 months ago
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Where Intel Processors Fail At Math (Again)

Cassini2 Re:Exact mathematical value isn't the ideal (239 comments)

This is the #1 reason that banks use COBOL, and IBM makes Power processors with high-speed BCD arithmetic instructions.

about 2 months ago
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Test Version Windows 10 Includes Keylogger

Cassini2 Re: Friends (367 comments)

Words of warning from Microsoft. Be sure to read the third one:

Remember, trying out an early build like this can be risky. That's why we recommend that you don't install the preview on your primary home or business PC. Unexpected PC crashes could damage or even delete your files, so you should back up everything.

If you want to stop using Windows Technical Preview and return to your previous version of Windows, you'll need to reinstall your previous version from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC—typically a DVD. If you don't have recovery media, you might be able to create recovery media from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. You'll need to do this before you upgrade. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer's website for more info.

After you install Windows Technical Preview, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

Watch out! Installing this version of Windows disables the recovery partition.

about 2 months ago
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Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video

Cassini2 Re:Funny how this works ... (184 comments)

No. The CRTC does not have the power to block credit card transactions.

The CRTC has the authority to pull the TV station licenses, pull cable TV licenses, and in general, block or prevent any over-the-air broadcast activity. They also have the authority over any telecommunications providers in canada (over-the-wire or over-the-air.)

Netflix does not fall within any of the CRTC's typical mandates, other than the one that encourages Canadian content. However, the CRTC can only influence Canadian content via its other powers over broadcasters and cable companies.

A full list of the relevant statutes and regulations is at: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/statutes-lois.htm.

about 3 months ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

Cassini2 Re:Bullshit (358 comments)

This DRM technology is fascinating. The player automatically senses if any listening devices are present, and adjust's the output volume such that the listening devices are unable to record the music. In effect, it will play music so quietly that no one will be able to hear it or record it!

This is the latest in DRM technology, and people are going to pay million's of dollars to have it. Only Apple and U2 could pull this technology off. It is so new, it won't work with Linux, BSD, Zune, Windows, Android, and old versions of OS/X and iOS. Anyone using those older technologies will have to make do with cheap MP3 recordings of music.

DRM will work this time.

about 3 months ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

Cassini2 Re:Ask the US Postal Service (124 comments)

Management 101: If you don't trust your employees - you are screwed. You need committed and motivated employees, and you must take actions to keep the employees committed and motivated.

CEO 101: Employee problems are management problems.

Financial Investor 101: A bad CEO can wreck the company.

The USPTO has experienced all three problems, and financial investors in lots of different tech companies have paid dearly.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Cassini2 Re:How about your employer? (635 comments)

A paper tape reader / punnch. It is used to program an ancient CNC machine with SmartCAM running on Windows 95.

about 4 months ago
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Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

Cassini2 Re:Plot Twist (346 comments)

What kind of intelligence agency traps an agent in Moscow?

It is possible Snowden is working for the CIA. Either the American's are really dumb, trapping him in Moscow, or they are smart and deliberate.

about 6 months ago
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Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

Cassini2 Thermodynamically Impossible (311 comments)

Isn't it impossible for solar cells to melt significant snow?

The black road surface will effectively capture almost all of the sun's energy. In the northern U.S. and Canada, roads routinely get covered in snow.

The solar cell can capture a portion of the sun's incoming energy, and potentially use it to power heaters to melt the snow. This approach has several problems. Firstly, the solar cells / heater mechanism is less energy efficient than a black road surface. Secondly, if the snow falls when it is dark, the solar cell will stop working (unless it has some big batteries are present, and even they won't last long in a heavy snow fall.) Lastly, the best sun occurs in the summer, and the snow hits in the winter, when less solar energy is available.

About the only way a solar cell can keep up with incoming snow is if the solar array is much larger than the area of snow being melted. However, even then, you still have the problem of the solar array getting covered in snow ...

about 7 months ago
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UPS Denies Helping the NSA 'Interdict' Packages

Cassini2 Re:No need for UPS to help (207 comments)

They also have custom's warehouses for out-going goods. On the U.S.-Canada border, there are warehouses for goods going in both directions. US bound goods get Canadian warehouses, and Canadian bound goods get Canadian warehouses. Both are easily accessed by persons with the right American security credentials. Treaties, special agreements, and informal arrangements are all up-and-working.

Times have changed. Canada is closely aligned with U.S. security policy. During the Vietnam war, draft-dodgers claimed refugee status in Canada. Starting with the new conflicts, fleeing soldiers are sent back as deserters.

about 7 months ago
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UPS Denies Helping the NSA 'Interdict' Packages

Cassini2 Re:No need for UPS to help (207 comments)

Many (all?) custom's warehouses are operated by third-party companies. This will be a little bit more complicated than inspecting luggage. However, the companies (subsidiaries) that operate those warehouses get their entire revenue from allowing people to transport goods across borders. I suspect the NSA can get away with almost anything in that environment.

about 7 months ago
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The Mere Promise of Google Fiber Sends Rivals Scrambling

Cassini2 Re:Making sure Google Fiber isn't profitable (258 comments)

Monopoly playbook 101: protect your monopoly. Cut prices anywhere there is competition, simply to discourage/bankrupt the competition.

about 7 months ago
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NASA, France Skeptical of SpaceX Reusable Rocket Project

Cassini2 Risk Statistics (333 comments)

In the case of NASA, people were on-board for every shuttle launch, and each launch cost billions. The satellite payload could cost over $400 million each. If a $15,000 dollar component has a 1 in 10,000 chance of scuttling a launch, it was easy to justify fixing it. The space shuttle had many subsystems, and each and every subsystem was built from from many small individual components. Thus, NASA rebuilt, checked or replaced everything on the entire shuttle on every launch.

I don't think SpaceX is going after the same market. For human rated launches, ISS resupply missions, or expensive satellites, they can sell brand new rockets. For inexpensive payloads, it could pay to roll the dice. SpaceX rockets are designed to be much less expensive than the competitions.

about 7 months ago
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Toyota Describes Combustion Engine That Generates Electricity Directly

Cassini2 Re:Efficiency? (234 comments)

The issue is weight. In a car, weight is an issue. A mechanical gear box is a very light method of adapting engine output for use at the wheels. Electricity cannot match the power/weight capabilities of a mechanical gear box.

On the other hand, a locomotive is a very different application. A train has a huge mass, and the electric generator/motor approach does not add significantly to the total weight of the train. Also, huge advantages exist in the electric generator/motor approach on a locomotive. The diesel engine can be operated at optimal fuel economy. It is possible to apply the maximum torque to the locomotive drive wheels while avoiding wheel slip. When accelerating very large masses, following the optimal acceleration curve is a big advantage. Also, a safety issue exists in trains where wheel failure (and hence derailment) can occur if excessive wheel-slip occurs. Hence a constant traction drive on a locomotive has benefits.

about 8 months ago
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WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

Cassini2 openWRT runs, without wireless (113 comments)

I agree with Andrew Johnson. Almost everyone will want a wireless router. A Linux, open-source, router was the segment that the WRT54GL filled.

It's a bit of a shame. I need a bunch of new routers with wireless support and ideally cellular support too.

about 8 months ago

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