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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

FridayBob Re:As long as certain rules are kept (383 comments)

I'm ready to switch passwords for anything else as long as:
1 - It can't be extracted from me by an easier method than torture or blackmail.
2 - It stops working forever if I'm dead.

Agreed. Other authentication factors can be taken from you without much difficulty, but password access requires actual conscious cooperation.

On the other hand, I know where they're coming from. For the last five years I've been working on getting as many network services as possible to work with Kerberos authentication. So far, I've got OpenLDAP, OpenAFS, Netatalk (AFP), NFS, OpenSSH, Exim (SMTP), Dovecot (IMAP) and Apache (HTTP) to work with it, which has eliminated a lot of password use, as well as improved security. It would be fun to add MFA to the equation, but I'd still prefer to somehow remain consciously involved in the authentication process. Finally, people may hate having to remember new passwords all the time, although they get used to it, but the fact that they are so easy to change is also an advantage.

about a month ago

With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

FridayBob Re:Environmental impact: sea snakes in the Atlanti (322 comments)

The lake they plan to use is above sea level. They would need at locks on either side of it to use the lake.

Oops, I missed that. Running a set of locks so large will require a huge amount of fresh water, and Lake Nicaragua is much larger than Gatun Lake in Panama, but I still wonder if they will have enough to prevent the lake from slowly draining. If not, I reasoned, a lockless approach, bypassing the lake, would be the only solution... and an environmental disaster.

about a month and a half ago

With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

FridayBob Environmental impact: sea snakes in the Atlantic (322 comments)

If the Nicaragua canal does not contain any locks, as does the Panama canal, one particular sea snake species, Pelamis platura , will almost certainly enter the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean where there are currently no sea snakes. So far, Pelamis and other sea snake species have been prevented from entering the Atlantic due to the cold waters in the north and south, the higher salinity of the Red Sea and the system of locks and fresh water of the Panama Canal. If the isthmus of Central America is breached by a lockless canal, I see no reason why P. platura (just this one snake species) and many other unwanted tropical denizens of the Pacific will not make it through to the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, while many from the Caribbean will get through to the Atlantic. In other words, without any locks, this will be a recipe for an environmental disaster. Let's hope I'm wrong and they're planning to build a minimum set of locks anyway.

about a month and a half ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:Not as original as they claim (218 comments)

(...)because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

It's not unaffordable. It's uncompetitive. A Dacia Sandero costs $9k, runs on LPG, transports 4 plus luggage. $16k covers a lot of cost for the fuel price difference, and you get a lot more use cases out of the vehicle.

The Lit C-1 doesn't compete head-to-head with cheap cars, like the Dacia Sandero. Yes, the Sandero has all of those advantages over the C-1, but cars like that are much more expensive to own in the longer term, will never be as environmentally friendly, are less agile in traffic, probably less fun to drive and certainly don't look as nice. Those are also the reasons (in descending order) that I would have for buying a C-1.

Perhaps I should also mention that I live in the Netherlands where the gas price is currently about $9.00 a gallon (the highest in the world, mostly due to excise tax) and commuters tend to spend a lot of their time stuck in traffic -- another reason why I find the C-1 so appealing. Also, the Dutch government has extra taxes for people with cars than run on diesel and LPG, so cars that burn those fuels only makes sense for people who expect high mileage.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:wow....200 whole orders??? (218 comments)

200 pre orders?? Screw that. The Elio has 20,000 pre-orders, and it's not built yet, has a nice low (projected) cost of $6800 and gets 84mpg. And I'd much rather have the Elio than the C-1 (although for a brief moment, I considered the C-1)... But for the long range I need, the Elio fits my requirements better.

An interesting concept, and at less than a 3rd of the price of a C-1 I can see why this is a popular idea. However, the Elio is still a gasoline-driven vehicle and even if it were possible to get 85 MPG all the time, that would not even be twice as efficient as my old Honda Civic and nowhere near as efficient as will be possible with the C-1 (0.6 cents per mile). In fact, the C-1 is so much more efficient, that here in the Netherlands it could mean saving the cost difference between an Elio and a C-1 within four years (note, however, that in the Netherlands gasoline currently sells for about $9.00 a gallon -- the highest price in the world). The C-1's 200-mile range-limit may make it an unacceptable option for you today, but battery technology has come a long way and performance is only getting better. And I've been told that battery upgrades for the C-1 will be possible.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:This is Awesome (218 comments)

Does it come with air conditioning? Wonder if you could have a two-seater?

See this FAQ. I was told a while back that the C-1 will also include air-conditioning, cruise-control, and even a head-up display (HUD), but I wonder how much of that will make it into the final production version. However, they also wanted to make many of its parts upgradeable, so perhaps it will be possible to add some of those bells and whistles later on. It will be possible to take a passenger, but they say you will only want to do that for relatively short distances (whether this is due to excessive battery drain or discomfort, I don't know).

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:I prefer more tires for more contact with the r (218 comments)

I like it when my brakes stop me before I slide into something.

Motorcycles are actually better at stopping than most cars. Ever heard of a stopee?

(I ride a motorcycle, I find riding in the rain to be unpleasant for a variety of reasons)

Yes, because if you manage to get your motorcycle's front wheel to slide, it usually means you fall will over. But, that's exactly one of the reasons why the C-1 is so cool: it's gyroscopically stabilized, so if it slides for whatever reason it won't fall over. In that respect it will behave much like a car.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:Suspension? (218 comments)

The wheels are very close to the chassis. I wonder whether the vehicle has any suspension at all.

Yeah, I saw that too. But, remember that the one in the video is only a prototype. I have little doubt that any production version will have more suspension travel. For example, I suspect that the latter will have slightly smaller wheels.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:So it's a gyrocar? (218 comments)

Gyrocars are nothing new. ... What makes this one so special and why do they think this gyrocar will succeed where others have failed?

Thanks to the fact that the C-1 is electric and makes use of modern computer technology, it's simpler, lighter and cheaper to produce than its conceptual predecessors and has the potential to be much more reliable. Oh, and a gyrocar in production... that would be something new.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:Not as original as they claim (218 comments)

They are not as original as they claim. There was a similar concept in kit car magazines in the 90's. There is a Youtube video (Yes, it is Flash but so is the video on the story)-

Yes, and over 30 years before that there was the Ford Gyron, which was much more like a car, and even it was not original. However, nothing like that has ever made it into production. If the C-1 does, it'll be the first gyroscopically stabilized vehicle ever to make it to market. And I figure it has a good chance of success, because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:Guaranteed Death (218 comments)

Guaranteed death in a car accident -- what's not to love?

That's an unfair comparison. You're thinking of it as a very, very small car, which in the case of a collision involving almost any four-wheeled vehicle can never offer its occupants an equal chance of emerging unscathed (the reason why a friend of mine always preferred that his wife drive a Cadillac). Instead, think of the C-1 as a greener, much safer and more comfortable version of a motorcycle that also has a cost per mile of 0.6 cents.

about 3 months ago

It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

FridayBob Re:Why? (218 comments)

The gyos add complexity, and dropping a third wheel doesn't save that much space. ...

You must be thinking of something like the Peraves MonoTracer, but my impression of it is that it takes some getting used to. The C-1 will be much, much easier to deal with (not to mention better looking). As for the added complexity, the gyos make it easier to drive and don't make it prohibitively expensive ($24k, v. $104k for the monotracer), so who cares? As long as it works.

about 3 months ago

NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

FridayBob Re:Change is coming for car dealers (455 comments)

...electric cars don't have alot of things that car dealers make money with ... . Alot of dealerships make much of their profits from such things, ... . So the dealers have alot of money, alot of friends ...

Just between you and me, "alot" is not a word, although it could be a misspelling of the verb "allot". In this case, you mean "a lot" (two words), as in many. As for style, it may have been deliberate, but generally it's distracting when a word or phrase is needlessly repeated so often in just a few sentences, especially when there is so much else to choose from, e.g. "many", "plenty of", "large numbers of", "(is/are) flush with (cash)", "lots of", etc.

But, now that you have my attention, I agree with your opinion. That's crony capitalism for you; it's the downside of deregulation and industry knows it (which the best way I can think of to fight in general is to get money out of politics). Let's hope other vehicle manufacturers follow Tesla's example.

about 3 months ago
top GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

FridayBob Re:Nice, but money is the root problem here (422 comments)

The solution is to vote out your incumbent. Period. It's the only way to get Congress to listen to us.

In any other case you'd be right, but the problem is that for the candidates, money makes too much of a difference. How else can they be expected pay for all those expensive TV adds? If you don't have any serious money (millions) you almost never have a chance (candidates like Dave Brat being the exceptions). So, chances are that the person who wins is someone who has accepted those legal bribes and, after the election, will not do for their constituents as promised. That's why money in politics is so corrosive and must be eliminated before most of us can even begin to trust our elected officials again.

about 3 months ago
top GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

FridayBob Nice, but money is the root problem here (422 comments)

This sounds like an interesting method by which individual problems, such as immigration reform, might be solved, but we must recognize that the root cause of disfunction in DC today is money; that bribery in US politics is now legal and that the politicians see it as the norm. As a result, they -- particularly those in the federal government -- almost never care about what their constituents think: in 94-95% of all cases all they have to do is raise more money than their political opponents so that they can outspend them all in every next election.

When seen in this light, it becomes clear that issues such as immigration reform are not going to be solved unless those who fund our politicians also agree. Those donors are big corporations and very rich people, and in this case they seem to think that immigration reform will likely lead to higher wages and thus less profit, so they will tell the politicians to vote aginst any such reform or else their money will diverted to the next politician in line who will vote against it. The politicians think they have no choice in the matter, but that's also how they got elected in the first place (by doing what their donors told them to do).

So, anyone who thinks that the politicians they vote for should be acting primarily in the interests of their constituents, instead of the rich and powerful, should realize that we first all need to act together to get money our of politics. And it can be done! After that DC will once again start to get things done.

about 3 months ago

Red Dwarfs Could Sterilize Alien Worlds of Life

FridayBob Flare stars suck (76 comments)

Being small and dim, red dwarf stars exhibit relatively violent flare activity. For example, flares occur regularly on our own star, but the energy this releases is small compared to what is produced in total. However, a flare like that on a star 10.000 times dimmer than ours can momentarily double the energy output. Moreover, flares on red dwarf stars can emit up to 10.000 times as many X-rays as they do on our sun. Oh, and remember that there can be more than one of these flares at a time. So, any life on planets orbiting stars like these has a lot more to contend with than just atmospheric erosion.

As more red dwarf stars are studied in detail, increasing numbers are being classified as flare stars. This may have to do with the type of core that these class-M stars have. Solar flares are caused by magnetic reconnection events that are responsible for the acceleration of charged particles (mostly electrons) that interact with the solar plasma. Our own sun, a G-type, has a radiative core that may result in a more stable and even magnetic field than is produced by the convective cores of M-type stars. If so, then it may turn out that all red dwarf stars are flare stars and, since class-M stars are by far the most numerous, this will have significant consequences for the Drake equation, i.e. the likelihood of finding other intelligent and communicative civilizations in our galaxy.

about 4 months ago

Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

FridayBob Nothing to stop the errors creeping in (200 comments)

For a few years I maintained a sizeable collection of Wikipedia articles. I was very meticulous in checking all of the data, trying to use only the best sources and citing them all, per section of each sentence if necessary. However, it was a constant battle to keep others from adding anything from dubious information found in newspaper articles ("Somebody printed it, so it must be true!") to subtle attempts at vandalism (e.g. changing 501 mg to 502 mg for no reason). Many poor articles are eventually raised up to a certain level, but over time the good ones are also erroded to a point where they contain many more errors than expected. Other than relying on armies of experts (who often receive little respect) to constantly police their articles, Wikipedia has no mechanisms to prevent this from happening. It's a fundamental problem for them, but one which they can do little about without changing their most basic policies.

about 4 months ago

Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

FridayBob Not drive, but "be transported by" (437 comments)

IMO it's not a question of letting kids drive autonomous vehicles, but whether we should let them be transported by them without any adults on board.

It would be simple enough to not allow children to give the vehicles any instructions regarding their destination, but perhaps such vehicles would also have to be made "child proof". They should not be able to influence the vehicle's behavior even if they tried and it would be preferable if an adult could intervene remotely at any time in case the vehicle got into trouble, or was stopped by e.g. a police officer. For instance, it would be good if the car had lots of cameras and microphones, as well as a few screens and speakers with which the vehicle's owner could see and speak to the child (say, via a smartphone), as well as anyone else inside or outside the vehicle, and possibly give the vehicle a new destination.

However, things can get more complicated if an incident occurs, no matter how seemingly innocuous, and the kids manage to get out of the car. Who's responsible for them at that point: the police officers, who might have wanted to search the vehicle? The garage owner, who needed to fix a mechanical problem? Or the parents, shouting at them from the car's speakers? Ultimately the latter, of course, but there will probably be situations that are not so clear.

about 4 months ago

To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution

FridayBob ISPs simply need to be regulated (338 comments)

The supposed solution here in order to guarantee net neutrality -- public ownership of the hardware -- is overkill. Other countries have net neutrality without that, so why can't the United States do the same?

Because almost all of US politics on the federal level is corrupt. Or else, how an earth did Tom Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and telecommunications industry, ever get to become the current chairman of the FCC?? Because our politicians were paid by the industry to let it happen. And the worse thing about it is that the Supreme Court says this is perfectly legal these days (talk about activist judges). So, where previously the communications industry may have been reasonably well regulated, it's not anymore.

There is only one solution to this problem: get big money out of politics. And we can actually do this.

It would be difficult a thing to do in any other country with such a thoroughly corrupt political system, but lucky for us the United States Constitution includes Article Five, which describes an alternative process through which the Constitution can be altered: by holding a national convention at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds (34) of the country's 50 States. Any proposed amendments must then be ratified by at least three-quarters (38 States).

Is anybody working towards this yet? Yes. WOLF-PAC was launched in October 2011 for the purpose of passing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will end corporate personhood* and publicly finance all elections**. Since then, many volunteers have approached their State Legislators about this idea and their efforts have often been met with unexpected bi-partisan enthusiasm. So far, 50 State Legislators have authored or co-sponsored resolutions to call for a Constitutional Convention to get money out of politics! Notable successes have been in Texas, Idaho, Kentucky and Illinois.

However, if the State Legislators are also corrupt, why are they helping us? Well, maybe they aren't as corrupt as you think. And even if they are, the important thing is that they seem to be just as fed up with the Federal government as we are -- so much so that they seem quite happy to help out with this effort. After all, it's a pretty simple proposal that speaks to both Democrats and Republicans.

If you think this idea makes sense, you can sign this petition, donate, or even take action by personally contacting your favorite State Legislator and asking for a meeting. It's easier than you might think and as a result we might be able to change this awful situation sooner than you think.


*) Over the years this has become the source of a problem that has lead to a series of bad Supreme Court decisions equating money to free speech. The decisions include Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti in 1978, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission in 2014, but there are probably more. Yes, legal personhood is important in that it provides a way to safeguard personal assets against the claims of creditors and lawsuits, but the truth is that if legal personhood were to be revoked we could simply pass a law to provide this protection in some way other than personhood.

**) At the State level, more than half of all political campaigns are already publicly financed in some way, so there's nothing strange about doing the same for political campaigns for federal office.

about 5 months ago

Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection?

FridayBob Obama leads from behind (312 comments)

This is typical of our current President. If pressed on the issue, he might say that he would "prefer" the NSA not to collect phone records on all Americans, but that so far the opponents of the system just haven't been vocal enough about it for him to take any action on the subject. "Hey, Mr. President, where's all that _change_ you promised us?" I'm sure he would prefer to to do all those things, except that his donors would not be too happy about that.

To think that I voted for this guy... twice. Not that the alternatives were any better, but sometimes I wonder if this administration really is any better than the previous one. And I seriously doubt the next one will be any better. Why? Because today the donors are the ones who are actually running the country (with the recent McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling only adding insult to injury). The only solution I can think of is to attack this evil at its source by getting money out of politics.

about 5 months ago



Twitter is something I...

FridayBob FridayBob writes  |  about 4 years ago

FridayBob (619244) writes "Twitter is something I...

* am completely addicted to!

* use most of the time

* use a lot

* make regular use of

* do not use regularly

* use only sometimes

* do my best to avoid

* will never, ever use!"

OS poll at the BBC

FridayBob FridayBob writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FridayBob writes "The BBC's Technology page is currently running a poll to see whether or not people are thinking about upgrading to Apple's new Leopard operating system. If not, it asks if you're either happy with Tiger, running Windows, or use Linux instead. At the risk of skewing their results, how about we let them know what we prefer? Of course, to be really effective, we have to keep this a secret..."

Compressed Air Car

FridayBob FridayBob writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FridayBob (619244) writes "Yesterday, a Belgian newspaper published this article (translation) about a new car that runs on nothing but compressed air. Apparently, it can run for about 200km on a tank of air filled up to a pressure of 300 bar (4351 psi). Special filling stations can refill an empty tank in only 3 minutes, but the car can also refill itself in six hours using an electrical outlet and its own on-board compressor. The car was developed by MDI (lots of info), a company set up by French engineer, Guy Nègre (ex-Formula One), that makes its money by selling patents and manufacturing licenses. It will become available in Belgium some time next year for a minimum price of only EUR 4,000 ($5,402). The Indian company, Tata, have also bought a manufacturing license and plan to sell a model for as little as EUR 1,835 ($2,478). This Wikipedia article has some interesting information regarding the air engine. Until a good enough battery appears with which to run an electric car, this seems like an excellent solution."


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