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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Jeremy Erwin Re:About time (223 comments)

As the case of China shows, the population is willing to accept an increase in pollution

It's amazing how much the population is willing to accept, provided that they have no say in the matter.

4 days ago

Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

Jeremy Erwin Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (391 comments)

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4 days ago

Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

Jeremy Erwin Daily motion is the most oblivious, imho (391 comments)

I once was serenaded by infomercials (45 minutes long) when I tried to view some videos on their site. Yes, there's a skip buttion.

4 days ago

With New Horizons Spacecraft a Year Away, What We Know About Pluto

Jeremy Erwin Re:He drops back to pass... (128 comments)

mass can be thought of as a side effect of clearing one's orbit. There's lots of mass that pluto has not, and perhaps never will incorporate into itself.

about a week ago

Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

Jeremy Erwin Sounds about right (310 comments)

If you're assaulted by the police, they'll most likely charge you with assault.

about two weeks ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

Jeremy Erwin Re:Not for deaf/hard of hearing... (579 comments)

I think we should move to bladerunner type crossings..


It'll be just like living in the future, without quite so much smog.

about three weeks ago

Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Jeremy Erwin Re:It's 2014 (349 comments)

Spy who loved me: 126 minutes x 60 sec/min x27 mb/sec / 8 bits/byte = 25.5 gigs for video

bluray files are huge. Some of that is profligacy.

about three weeks ago

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

Jeremy Erwin drops in the bucket (116 comments)

Some of the companies leading the industry in annual clean energy savings include UPS ($200M), Cisco ($151M), PepsiCo ($121M) and United Continental ($104M).

Annual Revenues:

UPS: 55.4 billion
Cisco: 48.6 billion
PepsiCo: 66.4 billion
United Continental: 38.3 billion

United Continental only posted 571 million in profits last year, so yes, those savings definitely helped.
The others? Cisco: 9.9 billion; PepsiCo: $6.7 billion, UPS: $4.3 billion-- the savings reported are akin to rounding errors. It's not all that persuasive.

about three weeks ago

Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

Jeremy Erwin Re:Good? (273 comments)

As Lawrence Lessig mused "code is law". We don't need governments to try in substitute their feckless ancient law for our code. Imagine-- millions liberated by the promise of technology to start building their societies on Python, Perl, Malbolge and other industry standard codebases instead of leaving those sorts of decisions to outmoded, inefficient, and frankly just embarrassing artifacts of the so called democratic revolution. We live in the 21st century, people, and it's time we stopped paying homage to 18th century political philosophers and their devotion to the clockwork universe.

about three weeks ago

Netflix Could Be Classified As a 'Cybersecurity Threat' Under New CISPA Rules

Jeremy Erwin Re:Throttling = "less available"? (125 comments)

Not if it interferes with the mission critical aspects of the network, such as the ISP's video on demand products.

about three weeks ago

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

Jeremy Erwin Re:Corporations are not created under 501(c)(3) (534 comments)

I guess what the ACLU got their panties in a bunch about is that the organization also acts as a central point of contact for SWAT training/ purchases in the region.

So... a group of police, are setting their training calendars together so they can have a training session with more people at one time so they can save money on instructor costs. And they are buying stuff in bulk to reduce their costs.

You seem very intent on minimizing NEMLEC's role. Perhaps you are under the impression that the council is a mere social club organizing get togethers, banquets, golf outings, and dinner dances for men with guns.

The ACLMU's complaint suggests that this is not the case.
For instance:

46. For example, NEMLEC has purchased or otherwise acquired a Lenco BearCat, an armored personnel carrier that is designed for military or law enforcement use. See & (Exhibit M).

But if you are correct, and NEMLEC is simply brokering fleet purchases of armored vehicles, enabling the smaller police departments to militarize just as quickly as the Boston Police Department, but with the added savings of buying in bulk, we have nothing to worry about.

about a month ago

Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip

Jeremy Erwin Re:im still a bit skeptical. (143 comments)

To really run crysis well, you'd probably need something like the GeForce GTX Titan-- which has 896 double precision cores. However, if you raytrace the graphics, you might be able to run it on a 72 core Knights Landing chip.

about a month ago

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

Jeremy Erwin Re:That's a good thing. (133 comments)

You were the one who brought up kinetic energy-- rifle vs carbine is quite relevant.
M14: 850 m/s, 10 g bullet= 3.6 kJ
M16: 948 m/s, 4g bullet =1.8 kJ
M4: 880 m/s, 4 g bullet= 1.5 kJ

about a month ago

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

Jeremy Erwin Re:That's a good thing. (133 comments)

t. Diode laser powered weapons are now up to 10KW (big array of 10W or so diodes), and can shoot down small rockets and artillery shells in demos. Current thinking is that, at 50KW-100KW, they'll be militarily useful.

For reference, a standard round from an M4 rifle has about 1.5-1.65kW of kinetic energy upon leaving the barrel.

And the army already uses the M4 for shooting down small rockets and artillery shells?

(The M4 is not a rifle. It's a carbine. If you want a rifle,the M16 is readily available.)

about a month ago

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

Jeremy Erwin Re:More Republican garbage (133 comments)

Tell me, is the place in the center, between left and right wing, better or worse than the place that is furthest from the left wing? Do you aim to oppose, do you aim to unite, or do you aim to transcend? How you construct your left wing depends on your answers.

about a month ago

WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Jeremy Erwin Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

, at which point all the elements of the treaty will be public and heavily debated down to the last comma.

unless the treaty is subject to the fast track negotiating authority. Furthermore, it is is quite difficult to negotiate a treaty if if it is known that that ratifying bodies plan to make substantive changes after the conclusion of negotiations.

Better to debate before the treaty is signed-- and that cannot happen unless the negotiations are transparent.

about a month ago

Big Bang Breakthrough Team Back-Pedals On Major Result

Jeremy Erwin Re:Not the Big Bang (127 comments)

There's the standard model of particle physics.

and then there's the standard model of cosmology. They are rather different-- and while one may inform the other, they the validity of one does not say much about the validity of the other.

about a month ago

US Marshals Accidentally Reveal Potential Bidders For Gov't-Seized Bitcoin

Jeremy Erwin Re:This is what happens (101 comments)

Hacker: Who else is in this department?
Sir Humphrey: Well briefly, sir, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary. I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, 87 Under Secretaries and 219 Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretaries are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.
Hacker: Can they all type?
Sir Humphrey: None of us can type. Mrs Mackay types: she's the secretary.

about a month ago



No fourth amendment rights for hackers, US District court rules

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 9 months ago

Jeremy Erwin (2054) writes "Apparently, if you call yourself a hacker, you may lose fourth amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures

The court in Idaho decided that a software developer’s computer could be seized without him being notified primarily because his website stated: “We like hacking things and don’t want to stop.”

The developer, Corey Thuen, developed security software to protect industrial equipment against electronic attack. Thuen had hoped to open source some of his work, but his former employer, Batelle Corporation, claimed that Thuen's program Visdom, infringed on work he had done for Batelle's Sophia project.

What elevates the case from a run-of-the-mill intellectual property dispute is that Battelle persuaded the court to allow it to seize Thuen's computer to copy its files. The district court ruled that the programmer has the skills, as a "hacker", to release the contested code publicly, and destroy any evidence, if he knew a seizure was imminent: "The court has struggled over the issue of allowing the copying of the hard drive. This is a serious invasion of privacy and is certainly not a standard remedy... The tipping point for the court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act. And concealment likely involves the destruction of evidence on the hard drive of Thuen’s computer. For these reasons, the court finds this is one of the very rare cases that justifies seizure and copying of the hard drive." The plaintiff also obtained a temporary restraining order against Thuen and Southfork Security without a prior notice primarily because, again, the Southfork website declared “we like hacking things and we don’t want to stop"./auote?


New York Times: We've been hacked!

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Jeremy Erwin (2054) writes "The New York Times reports that Chinese hackers have been exploiting its lack of network security for the last four months, apparently in response to a Times article highlighting the fact that the family of Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, have been accumulating a fortune worth billions of dollars trading on Wen's political influence."
Link to Original Source

Why aren't there any civilians in military video g

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Jeremy Erwin (2054) writes "A columnist for Slate asks why there aren't any civilians in todays's military shooting games.

Mostly, they don't want to face the consequences of players' bad behavior. In an interview with the website Rock Paper Shotgun, Battlefield 3's executive producer Patrick Bach explained that he doesn't "want to see videos on the Internet where people shoot civilians. That's something I will sanitize by removing that feature from the game." Bach believes that video games are serious business but that players' irreverence is holding back the form. "If you put the player in front of a choice where they can do good things or bad things, they will do bad things, go [to the] dark side because people think it's cool to be naughty, they won't be caught," he said.


Link to Original Source

Russia targets dissidents with anti-piracy raids

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Jeremy Erwin (2054) writes "The Russian Government is using the pretext of software piracy to suppress dissident organizations, seizing computers and shutting down websites, regardless of whether the targeted groups actually use unlicensed software. Similar groups, allied with the government, remain immune to harassment. The New York Times article notes that Microsoft's behavior has not been completely above board."
Link to Original Source

Agriculture: Invented, so that we might have beer

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jeremy Erwin (2054) writes "Our Neolithic ancestors might have first experimented with agriculture in order to ensure a steady supply of alcoholic liquids according to a new book by Patrick McGovern, Uncorking the Past The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages

"Archaeologists have long pondered the question of which came first, bread or beer. McGovern surmises that these prehistoric humans didn't initially have the ability to master the very complicated process of brewing beer. However, they were even more incapable of baking bread, for which wild grains are extremely unsuitable. They would have had first to separate the tiny grains from the chaff, with a yield hardly worth the great effort. If anything, the earliest bakers probably made nothing more than a barely palatable type of rough bread, containing the unwanted addition of the grain's many husks."

Calcium Oxalate is considered by most brewers to be an undesirable byproduct of alcohol production. Lacking a firm grasp of chemistry and filters, early brewers simply created special grooved beer crocks would allow the beer stone to precipitate out of solution into the grooves. 5500 years later, the deposits remained, providing archaeologists with evidence of beer production."

Link to Original Source



Nytimes is afraid, very afraid

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I confess I do like the nytimes. I've been reading it regularly since high school. Perhaps I'm attracted to the shear verbosity of it-- I'd rather read a 30 column inch story than an AP supplied 6 column inch blurb. With so much wordiness, it just has to be insightful... And, of course, the Grey Lady has a certain eliteness factor associated with it, adopting color presses long after the McPaper did it. They don't have an astrology column. They have a Science section. And so on.

But occasionally, the institutional interests of the New York Times Company pop up to remind its readers that the newspaper is a conservative beast, at odds with the interests of its readers. When David steals Goliath's Music is one of those occasions.

Both the court and Congress should be sensitive to evolving technologies. But they should not let technology evolve in a way that deprives people who create of the ability to be paid for their work.

Ooh. Now that's a solution. Leave the R&D up to Congress.


Fastest Supercomputer is BlueGene(L)

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I just checked Jack Dongarra's site (on a tip from Boing Boing).

BlueGene(L) takes the lead, with an Rmax of 70720 GFlops. It's followed by Project Columbia, at 51870 GFlops. Earth Simulator is third, with 35860 GFlops. Several clusters are benched at ~20GFlops. It looks like a site needs at least 10 GFlops to enter the top 10-- and it's even possible that Virgina Tech's System X will be knocked out of contention, if a couple of surprise entries publish benchmarks before the Nov 09 top500 list.


strange spam messages

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 9 years ago

The following spam arrived in my inbox from some internet drug dealer.

enjoy your girlfriend's medical problem like never before

I really don't want to know. It sounds quite unethical.


Of the cheesy and the profane

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Patrick Smith, a columnist for Salon, has recently been writing about the supposed "terrorist dry run".

About a month ago, Annie Jacobson shared a flight with a group of Syrian musicians travelling to a gig in the states. Observing their peculiar habits (traveling together, speaking arabic, praying), she came to the conclusion that this group was in fact, an Al Qaida cell, preparing for a 11 September attack. The Air Marshall on board came to a rather different conclusion.

One of the groups that has attacked Smith for his skeptism is the Federal Air Marshals Association, which may of may not be associated with actual air marshals.

Anyway. their website opens with a flash introduction. It's pretty cheesy-- interpolating pictures of the World Trade Center disaster (complete with falling bodies) with quotations from American Revolutionaries-- "The tree of liberty must periodically be refreshed with the blood of tyrants"-- that sort of thing. It's all set to one of those vaguely mournful funeral pieces that classical symphonies dredged up for "9-11" memorial concerts and the like.

I'm not sure I really want the Air Marshall on my plane to be motivated by thoughts of bloody revenge and patriotism. I would prefer a purely professional motivation-- so that if skyjackers attempt to take the plane, the marshall will react with competence and professionalism, and not be inspired by thoughts of martyrdom.


Bourne Supremacy-- a bit of a dissapointment

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

Warning: Spoilers follow.

I just got back from seeing the Bourne Supremacy I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Bourne Identity, its predecessor was refreshing at the time because it marked a return to Europe, it was decently plotted, and the characters were at least somewhat believable.

Over the past half century, cinematographers had learned how to properly film a gunfight amid a East German winter. They had learned to highlight the crimson blood against fresh fallen snow, to contrast the crack of sniper rifle against the tranquility of nature. And when the bodies had fallen into the powder, the spy could retreat to the seemingly exotic cities of Berlin, or Paris.

After the wall fell, and the Soviet Empire began to crumble, such European films were eclipsed by the "Columbian Drug Lord" movie, or the "Islamic Terrorist" film. Perhaps these settings were less anachronistic, but somehow the sands of Arabia or the jungles of South America were less aesthetically pleasing.

The Bourne Identity, blessed with the exotic cities of "Zurich", "Marseilles", and "Paris" (which were all, I'm led to understand, redressed sections of Prague), piled on believable characters, a suitably complicated plot, and blessed lack of comedy. Sure, the ubermensch assassin archetype is itself a little absurd, but somehow Damon, with the help of his costar Potente ,pulled it off. The plot departs from Ludlum's original novels, but that's forgivable, as Carlos the Jackel is a non entity in these modern times. And lack of comedy made lines like "I want Bourne in a body bag by sundown" seem more serious and authentic.

And of course, Identity had one of the greatest car chases in the history of cinema.

The Bourne Supremacy, which was not directed by Doug Liman, Identity's director, is still largely set in Europe-- after a brief stop in Goa India, the action moved briefly to Naples, then to Berlin (a profoundly ugly city--at least in Greenglass's lens), and then onto "Moscow".

I hope I'm not giving much away by revealing that Potente, after a listless performance, exits the stage in Goa. Damon spends the rest of the film without her company, and chasing after his adversaries, whom he believes to be agents of the CIA's Treadstone project.

Meanwhile, we learn that "Pamela Landy", played by Joan Allen, is investigating the ruins of her failed operation, which she believed was bloodily disrupted by Jason Bourne. Early in this investigation, Allen announces that she believes that Bourne/Treadstone is running some two bit scam to defraud the CIA financially. We, the audience are initially amused by this notion, because we know that Treadstone is about black-ops work and not about money.

Or is it? In the end, we learn that Allen's inititial suspicions are not so far off the mark-- and Bourne, the $30 million dollar piece of "US Government Property" will find his answers not in a plot to kill government leaders, or steal bombs, or launch coups d'etat, but in a humdrum "Russian Petroleum" fraud.*

It seems a waste-- and though Damon is given ample opportunity to show off his automobile racing skills-- Greenglass's frenetic photography is more blurry than truly engaging.

[*]Yes, I'm well aware that a certain famous CIA mole sold his country essentially for a lifetime supply of "Red Lobster" dinners. But that doesn't mean that his story makes for engaging cinema,


On Kerryisms and Bushisms

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

For a number of years now, Slate has been running what its author calls Bushisms-- reports of incidents in which the president has been tripped up by apparently simple english, and blurted out malapropisms, mangled syntax, and the odd Freudian slip For a leftist such as myself, they serve as a comforting "reminder" that the (p)resident is an idiot.

For the past few months, in a spirit of bipartisanship, Slate has also run Kerryisms which serve to highlight Kerry's excessive use of guarding phrases and caveats. The author of Kerryisms, William Saletan, takes it upon himself to simplify the Senator's verbiage, replacing phrases with footnotes, so that:

"I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist ... who doesn't share it." [Ellipses in original transcript]


"I oppose abortion1. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.2 3"

[1] personally

[2] But I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist ...

[3] who doesn't share it.

If a reader skips the footnotes, the meaning of the phrase changes, from a strict pro-choice position to a rather more pro-lifeish position. "I really don't care about your personal decisions" becomes "I may care deeply enough to enact my personal position into law." For this sort of thing, Saletan has been roundly accused of distorting Kerry's message, and failing to appreciate nuance.

Nuance seems to be highly valued among liberals-- the world is a bit too complex for simple maxims. Others see only the result of such "nuance" and mistake it for flip-flopping. Synthesis becomes mediocrity. Flexibility becomes amorality.

But it takes a good speaker to properly present such nuance. Kerry is, on occasion, not up to the task. On such occasions, his capacity to translate his mind-language into english is so slow that he is tripped up into oversimplifying- and is forced to grope his way back to complexity.

Saletan's renditions are at least partially accurate-- those simplifications are what Kerry's oratorical skills allow him to say-- and the caveats are a crude attempt to salvage the original thought.

In that respect Kerryisms complement Bushisms fairly well. Both depict poor oratorical skills struggling to keep up with other thought processes. If such gaffes are representative, the presidential debates will be excruciating to watch.


Random thought on the Israel/Palestinian "wall"

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

One of the most common reactions to the recent World Court decision condemning the Israeli security barrier is the utilitarian argument:

Who cares if it cuts through Palestinian land? Who cares if involves a massive land grab? It stops terrorists, doesn't it?

The utilitarian response to this sort of argument would be diminish the utility value of the wall itself-- if a novel terrorist tactic renders the wall useless, the costs of building and maintaining the barrier will come to outweigh the benefits...

I'm not of a mind to propose such a "novel tactic"-- but I would not be surprised if hamas has their "best men" working on novel methods of murder-- and the conflict will will shortly resume its rather bloody course.


A little History is a dangerous thing

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

Saddam Hussein has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the ad hoc court currenty trying him for various war crimes.
In today's Washington Post, a letter argues that there is ample precedent for trying heads of state in the trial of King Charles I.

The letter writer, Tony France, approvingly cites the words of Lord President John Bradshaw

[Charles Stuart] "out of a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people.


France concludes his missive with these words:

"Many at the time challenged the legitimacy of the trial of Charles I, but the bottom line is that England is still here today, a cornerstone of free thinking and a bastion of a free people."

Conveniently, though, France forgets what really became of Mr Bradshaw, who so foolishly argued that the king can be held hostage to the law. Upon the restoration of Charles II, the various conspirators were charged with and convicted of Regicide-- meaning that the legal doctrines by which Bradshaw and his associates convicted the King were fraudulent, and therefore, the execution of Charles Stuart was an act of murder.

Bradshaw himself died in 1659-- but his corpse was exhumed and hung in chains at Tyburn. His fellow conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered.

"Challenged the legitimacy" seems a bit of an understatement.


More Florida Voting shenanigans

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

Worried that the current generation of electronic touch screen voting machines precludes a recount? Don't be. According to an April 2004 rule issued by the Florida Department of State, "manual recounts [are] not required for the touch-screen machines because the machines do not permit the types of errors that are subject to ballot recounts."

Sometimes it takes a lawsuit to deflate such overconfidence.


Democrats are free; Republicans, slaves to the Borg

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  about 10 years ago

Might as well post this little article, which notes that John Kerry and the DNC are using LInux to host their websites, databases, and other support systems, while Bush's coterie relies on Microsoft.

I do hope that this not a facile comparison, and that this choice reflects, on the part of the democrats, a willingness to reconsider the IP-grabs of recent note. But I'm not holding my breath.


That peculiar American Institution: Creationism

Jeremy Erwin Jeremy Erwin writes  |  more than 11 years ago

In the NY Times, Nicolas Cristof berates northeastern elites for ignoring the fact that Americans outside the region cling to religion. Evangelicals, in particular, are ignored. Hence, when Bush refers to his religious beliefs-- it is something to be noted.

Kristof points out that "A new Gallup poll shows that 48 percent of Americans believe in creationism, and only 28 percent in evolution (most of the rest aren't sure or lean toward creationism)." I'm not so sure that this is a particularly admirable quality--most in Europe would call this evidence of scientific illiteracy rather than sincerity of religious belief-- but in the Good Old USA, it's a test of world views.

How would I answer the poll? I don't believe IN Evolution. I don't believe IN Creationism.

Evolution is not something one believes in. I do not cling to faith in Charles Darwin. However, evolution is a more scientific answer to the origin problem. One can theoretically confirm it through observation. In Bioinformatics, certain extrapolations from the theory of natural selection can be applied to protein and genetic homology problems.

But believe it it? Not a chance. If a more useful theory comes along, I'll give it a whirl. What I believe in, is Science. Objective truth is obtained through systematic observation.

Apparently, I am in the minority.

I view this as a problem, not as some testament to the pious nature of Americans. One does not have to be an atheist to believe that creationism is, as an explanation, less fit than, say, natural selection.

Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that Evolution is too often presented as alternative to creationism, and not as a framework for researching Biology. Evolution, as "taught" to millions of Americans, has no value other than to attack religious beliefs. So why not believe in creationism? Saving one's soul from a jealous and vengeful god is more practical than a abstract, useless theory...

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