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Google Buys IBM Patents

JoeBuck Re:Build custom Google chips??? (72 comments)

Possibly they think that Apple (who's making lots of chips these days) may be infringing those patents, so it would be something to countersue with if Apple attacks Android.

more than 2 years ago

Atomic Disguise Makes Helium Look Like Hydrogen

JoeBuck Chemicall, it's not helium at all (127 comments)

Helium behaves as it does (as an inert gas) because its outer shell is filled. The Pauli exclusion principle means that you can't force another electron into the same place, so an He+ ion would have its extra electron in a higher energy level and very loosely attached. But the Pauli exclusion principle doesn't apply if you have one electron and one muon; the muon's average position is much closer to the nucleus (since the muon is about 200 times heavier), shielding the positive charge of the nucleus. So to any other atom the "helium atom" looks as if it were a very heavy hydrogen atom, as if it had one proton and three neutrons in its nucleus.

Also, the muon's half-life is less than 2 microseconds, so any experiments have to be done very, very quickly.

more than 3 years ago

Is Retaliation the Answer To Cyber Attacks?

JoeBuck What if you "retaliate" against the wrong target? (142 comments)

Any competent attackers will cover their tracks, often making it appear that the source of the attack is in a completely different country. It's fairly easy to frame someone and make it look credible.

more than 3 years ago

Is Going To an Elite College Worth the Cost?

JoeBuck Did they factor in legacy admissions? (391 comments)

Many of the most elite schools have a "legacy admissions" policy (that's how the C-student George W. Bush managed to get into Yale). It gives the children of alumni priority admission, because they want their richer alumni to keep contributing money, and denying little Biff or Muffy their admission would be bad business. It's affirmative action for the rich.

more than 3 years ago

Iris Scanning Set To Secure City In Mexico

JoeBuck Don't worry, what can go wrong? (265 comments)

If someone manages to make a copy of your iris to create contact lenses that let them pose as you, we'll just issue you a new iris.

more than 3 years ago

Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

JoeBuck You're answering the wrong question (467 comments)

Useful data are not random. If it looks random, and you're devoting disk space to it, the investigator will assume that it is encrypted, or is key material for encryption (e.g. a one-time pad). Why else would you have lots of random data around?

more than 3 years ago

New Silicon-Based Memory 5X Denser Than NAND Flash

JoeBuck But you've got to cool it ... (162 comments)

... which may limit how much of the 3rd dimension you can use.

more than 3 years ago

Throwing Out Software That Works

JoeBuck Re:Yeah nothing works anymore (622 comments)

If it were only Flash it wouldn't be that big a deal. But Jobs wants a monopoly and wants to prevent any development platform that would let you write once, and wind up with an app that runs on an iPhone, a Droid, any other Android phone, and a Blackberry by providing an abstraction layer. The fanboys will complain that such an abstraction might result in an app that is somehow 10% worse than a "native" app. Big deal; if both kinds of apps existed you could choose the kind you prefer, but it shouldn't be up to Jobs.

more than 3 years ago

Market Data Firm Spots the Tracks of Bizarre Robot Trading

JoeBuck if this is a form of spam ... (483 comments)

... that is, if people are doing this kind of thing to gum up the works for their competition, one answer is to assess a very small fee per trade, less than a penny. This would be completely negligible to a normal investor, but could be quite expensive to those trying to saturate the system for the benefit of their trading algorithm. Market-makers like Goldman Sachs would also wind up paying significant amounts, but given their privileged position which basically gives them a license to print money it's only fair. The fees collected could go into an insurance fund to help cover the next financial meltdown, and if it slows down trading a bit, that may well be a good thing. Complex nonlinear systems have a tendency to go unstable, and damping is one way of decreasing this possibility.

more than 3 years ago

No, Net Neutrality Doesn't Violate the 5th Amendment

JoeBuck Re:he's right, but.... (322 comments)

There's a fringe of zealots who think (falsely) that any government action that imposes any restriction on anyone is a "taking", which would make zoning laws invalid. Sorry, that's fantasy law, not real law. It's true that if regulations go so far as to make the property completely useless to the owner, this might amount to a regulatory taking. But this is a very high bar. Since net neutrality would impose rules on ISPs that are very similar to the laws already imposed on telephone companies, these kinds of arguments aren't going to go very far.

more than 3 years ago

Sun Founders' Push For Open Source Education

JoeBuck Authors could still be paid ... (169 comments)

If a school district decides to commission a textbook as a work made for hire, and pays the authors handsomely, and then makes the work free, it can be a win-win. The authors get a guaranteed amount, but they won't collect royalties going forward. The schools don't go broke buying expensive textbooks, and poorer districts can benefit. Textbook writers can be booked again when revisions are made. Of course, it will be possible to identify people that make less money. That's life.

more than 3 years ago

What To Do About CC License Violations?

JoeBuck That's a rude way to start (437 comments)

Begin by sending a polite request to remove the content that is being used without permission.

more than 3 years ago

What To Do About CC License Violations?

JoeBuck That doesn't matter (437 comments)

Boing Boing releases their stuff using a license that would prevent others from picking it all up on a different web site and selling ads. This doesn't give them the right to use others' work in a way that conflicts with the license (other than fair use, which might allow for a thumbnail link). I think that this license violation on their part was inadvertent, the author of the web page thought he was filing his personal "I'm on vacation" announcement and forgot about the ads. In the case of BoingBoing I would politely ask them to take it down, and to respect that "noncommercial" means "don't attach ads to this". The copyright holder can still decide to grant permission if asked politely.

more than 3 years ago

What To Do About CC License Violations?

JoeBuck Re:SUE (437 comments)

There's an intermediate step: send them a DMCA takedown notice. If they defy it, then you have to decide whether you want to sue.

more than 3 years ago

Your Online Education Experience?

JoeBuck Stay away from for-profit degree mills (428 comments)

You know, the kind that advertise. It's a racket; they'll take your money, or financial aid money from the government, and give you a "degree". They don't want to let you skip "learning" what you already know because they want your cash. You need a legitimate institution, a community college or a state university.

more than 3 years ago

Flash Is Not a Right

JoeBuck Antitrust law may be an issue (850 comments)

In both the US and the EU, antitrust law might limit Apple's ability to ban developers from using methods they don't approve of to develop apps. Apple's power to control its platform is not absolute.

more than 4 years ago

Government Approves First US Offshore Wind Farm

JoeBuck I disagree (432 comments)

If you immediately try to go renewable 100%, you'll run into the problem that wind is intermittent, the sun doesn't shine at night and solar cells provide less power in bad weather, etc. But in the summertime, solar provides the most power just when you need the most A/C to power air conditioning. If you have to burn fossil fuel to cover the gaps, that's OK; you're covered and you don't need to import nearly so much from unstable or hostile regimes. In the long term, there are a number of possible mechanisms for energy storage to handle uneven availability of wind or solar. In addtion to batteries, you can pump water uphill to store both water and energy, use flywheels, reward people for using energy when it's highly available, etc. We'll end up using a mix of technologies, and that's a good thing, just like it's a good idea to diversify your investments.

more than 4 years ago

Anyone Can Play Big Brother With BitTorrent

JoeBuck Re:Copyright laws. (436 comments)

If the transmission is done with the permission of the copyright holder (either explicitly or because of a license), it's not infringement. And in some circumstances fair use (some countries call it "fair dealing") applies. But clearly most BT traffic is copyright infringement.

more than 4 years ago

What Is the Future of Firewalls?

JoeBuck I smell marketing (414 comments)

OK, jlmale0, are you working on requirements or marketing for a product in this space? You can tell us, it's OK.

more than 4 years ago

iPad Jailbroken

JoeBuck Re:Only Apple (624 comments)

If you get a developer's license, you have to sign the confidentiality agreement from hell, and you can't even tell anyone what you signed. Apple gets 30% off the top, they get complete veto power over your apps, and they aren't just restricting their review to malware. If your app competes with something they want to do, they can just block it. There is no appeal. With phones, maybe you can justify the lockdown. And the economy sucks so bad that many developers will figure that indentured servitude is OK.

more than 4 years ago


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