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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

McGregorMortis They're right about one thing (1007 comments)

"Natural selection is not evolution" is actually correct. Evolution is the observed fact that species change over time. The fact that evolution has occurred is not really open to debate, unless you're prepared to entertain loony notions like "God put those fossils there to test our faith."

Natural selection is the mechanism that Darwin proposed to explain why/how evolution happens.

about a month ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

McGregorMortis Banning CNC would be utterly pointless (651 comments)

An AK-47 receiver made out of a rusty shovel:


Perhaps the problem is that the receiver is the legally-controlled part of the gun. Everything else is spare parts. Making receivers is easy now.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that making a barrel is the hardest part. Why isn't the barrel the controlled part?

about 2 months ago

Bitcoin Exchange CEO Charlie Shrem Arrested On Money Laundering Charge

McGregorMortis Re:Money Laundering? (330 comments)

Sure, I can hide the origin so it's not obvious where the money came from. So, if I'm a high-school chemistry teacher, and I used this bit-coin trick to "launder" the millions of dollars I made selling meth, then can I just go out and buy a mansion and fleet of Lamborghinis, and expect to stay out of jail? I think not...

about 10 months ago

Bitcoin Exchange CEO Charlie Shrem Arrested On Money Laundering Charge

McGregorMortis Money Laundering? (330 comments)

Perhaps I just don't understand what "money laundering" means, but I don't really see how bit-coin is of any use whatsoever for money laundering.

Money-laundering, as I understand it, means to disguise the true origin of ill-gotten funds, so as to make the income appear legitimate.

I think there's confusion in the two different means of the word "disguise". In one sense, it means simply to hide or obscure. In another sense, it means to make something or someone appear to be something else.

Bank robbers wear a disguise in the first sense. A bank-robber doesn't wear a Richard Nixon mask because he wants people to think Richard Nixon robbed the bank. He just doesn't want to be identified in a line-up. This is the same kind of disguise that bit-coin offers. And even in that, it doesn't really stand up.

But I think people interested in money-laundering are using the other sense of the word: they want to be able to actually spend their ill-gotten gains without arousing suspicion. They need to make it look like legitimate income. That is why Walter White bought a car-wash.

Merely obscuring the true origin of your money is useless. If the government is even a tiny bit curious about the true origin of your money, you're already well and truly fucked, whether or not they can ever figure it out.

about 10 months ago

Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

McGregorMortis Re:Isn't this what the Taiwanese believe as well? (262 comments)

In another sense, China is a province of Taiwan. It just happens to be under the control of a band of rebels at present.

1 year,26 days

Celebrating a Century of Fossil Finds In the La Brea Tar Pits

McGregorMortis Obligatory (93 comments)

There are no La Brea Tar Pits in Scotland!!

1 year,29 days

In Iceland, Tap Cellphones To Avoid Incest

McGregorMortis It all makes sense now (296 comments)

So, in Iceland accidentally sleeping with your cousin in a very real danger. That explains some things... like Bjork.

about a year and a half ago

CT State Senator Wants To Ban Kids From Using Arcade Guns

McGregorMortis No link? Then research it again. (335 comments)

And you'll keep on researching it, until you give us the answer we want.

about 2 years ago

Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts

McGregorMortis Why the lower receiver? (528 comments)

I don't know much about gun technology, so maybe somebody can explain why the lower receiver is the controlled part. Why not the barrel? It seems to me that the barrel is the heart and soul of a gun. You can make a gun with just a barrel and nothing else: it's called a cannon.

Furthermore, I would think the barrel would be the hardest part to manufacture, given the forces and temperatures it must endure, and having to be perfectly straight, and rifled. I would imagine that 3-D printed barrels are probably a long, long way off.

3-D printed receivers are already here, and only going to get better and cheaper. If they don't change the regulatory framework to start controlling the rest of the parts, then soon anyone that wants to will be able to make a gun at home and all the gun control laws in the world will just be so much pissing in the wind.

about 2 years ago

California Software Maker's Fortunes Track Dispute With Chinese Gov't

McGregorMortis Look at me, I'm a hacker! (94 comments)

I write lots of that "hidden computer code known as comments." I'm so l33t.

Watch how easily I launch an attack: /* format c: */

See how that worked?

about 2 years ago

Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA

McGregorMortis Prosecutor's Fallacy (513 comments)

I haven't RTFA, but from the summary, this sounds like a textbook example of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecutor's_fallacy, which is a special case of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy

If you have a suspect in hand, then DNA evidence can be pretty compelling. But when you comb through the population trying to find a suspect using DNA evidence, then you're walking straight into a miscarriage of justice.

about 2 years ago

Voting Begins For Canadian Digital Currency App

McGregorMortis Re:Mintchip is designed to track you (84 comments)

People are always worrying about digital currency destroying the anonymity of cash. And certainly the government appears to have a number of motives for doing so, which fall at various points on the good/evil spectrum.

But I wonder if the government really, in its heart, wants to do that. The complete eradication of anonymous transactions changes the game entirely, and it would alter society in ways that are hard to predict.

There are a lot of activities that people want to keep secret, but that don't involve terrorism, drug-trafficking or pedophillia. Those less-than-squeaky-clean activities will become impossible. As long as humans have been around, it has been possible to deviate somewhat from socially-acceptable behaviour without too much fear. Suddenly, circa 2013, it becomes impossible. The government knows everything about everyone. By extension, everybody knows everything about everyone (because they can't keep their systems secure any better than anyone else.) So, what unintended consequences of that change might follow?

The people who make up the government are part of society, and they'll reap what they sow along with the rest of us.

The Mayor of Xyzzy may have liked to spark up a doobie now and then. But there'll be no more of that. Perhaps the Minister of the Frobnitz occasionally enjoys the company of those ladies who advertise in the back pages... sorry dude, that can be traced right back to you.

For selfish reasons alone, the government may want think twice about making anonymity impossible.

more than 2 years ago

20th IOCCC Source Code Released

McGregorMortis Turbo button? (46 comments)

Your age is showing...

Yes, kids, PCs used to have turbo buttons.

more than 2 years ago

The Sounds of Tech Past

McGregorMortis Apple Disc II (231 comments)

They should have used the Apple Disc II. I always loved the sound of that drive. Kind of a soft swishing, not the angry gronk noise of most 5.25" drives.

I also fondly remember the sound of an Atari 800 booting from floppy. Especially if you had the US Doubler modification... the sound of speed.

more than 2 years ago

Leaked Heartland Institute Documents Reveal Opposition To Science

McGregorMortis Re:"Climategate" (615 comments)

We can call this one "Denialgate".

more than 2 years ago

In Rural UK, Old 2G Phones Beat 3G Smarphones For Connectivity

McGregorMortis Changing priorities (88 comments)

The 2G phones were designed at a time when the manufacturers still thought people gave a shit about coverage or battery life.

Apple has shown us all that they don't. Give 'em a slick user-interface and an App Store, and they'll just accept the poor coverage and the need to charge the phone every day.

more than 3 years ago

Experimental Batteries Charge In Minutes

McGregorMortis Re:Aluminum-air (335 comments)

The other difference is that the energy storage medium is reusable or recyclable in some way, whereas burning fuel is a one-way process. We have no practical way to turn the combustion products back into fuel again. Nature can do so, over a long period of time, but we can't.

In the case of hydrogen, we don't typically bother to capture the water vapour to turn back into hydrogen and oxygen. We could do so, but it's easier to just release it into the environment, and grab new water somewhere else.

more than 3 years ago

Experimental Batteries Charge In Minutes

McGregorMortis Re:Aluminum-air (335 comments)

It feels like the aluminum is being consumed as fuel, like gasoline, but it's not.

Recycling the aluminum oxide back into aluminum is done using the same electrolytic process that is used when smelting aluminum (which is also oxide.)

It requires a great deal of electricity to do it. In that sense, the aluminum is just being used as a storage medium for electrical power, just like a regular battery, and can be expected to put the same kind of burden on the electrical supply.

I don't know how much energy ends up being wasted in this cycle either.

Similarly, hydrogen is best viewed as an energy storage medium, not as a alternative fuel.

more than 3 years ago



Robotic Presence for a Telecommuter

McGregorMortis McGregorMortis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

McGregorMortis (536146) writes "Ivan lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and telecommutes to work in Waterloo, Ontario. But in meetings, speakerphones suck. Can't hear everybody, can't move around, no visual contact. So, he made an IvanAnywhere robot to give him a physical presence in the office. If Ivan wants to talk to you, he just steers radio-controlled IvanAnywhere into your office for a chat."


McGregorMortis has no journal entries.

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