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Comments

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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

Mike Van Pelt Re:Elmer Fudd (184 comments)

Exactly the first image that comes to my mind at the words "Magic helmet", too.

4 days ago
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"Internet's Own Boy" Briefly Knocked Off YouTube With Bogus DMCA Claim

Mike Van Pelt Requirements for a DMCA takedown. (157 comments)

What's really needed (short of scrapping the whole thing) is to change the law so that DMCA takedowns must be of the form "I declare under penalty of perjury that I am the owner of this copyrighted material, and it is being used here in violation of my copyright." And start putting some of these bastards in jail for perjury if they keep this crap up.

about three weeks ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

Mike Van Pelt The Iron Law (538 comments)

College administrations are bureaucracies, and what's going on is the Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

(Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for this observation of emperical fact. Alas, without any sure-fire way to kill the damned thing.)

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Cloud Storage Service OneDrive Now Offers 15GB For Free

Mike Van Pelt Re:Big deal (99 comments)

Note also, if you take him up on that referral link, not only does he get an extra 5GB, but you do, too. 20GB, not 15GB. (Rats, he beat me to it...)

Another feature of copy.com is that the storage accounting for shared storage is shared. So, if you have a 1GB file that you share with nine other copy.com users, you each get charged only 100MB.

about a month ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Mike Van Pelt Re:Who are you? (646 comments)

My great grandfather was Mohawk. I typically say I'm part Mohawk, not indian or native American.

That brings up a question I've never been able to find the answer to -- is there, in any Native American language, a word for "Native American", as opposed to the people who came to this hemisphere a few thousand years after their ancestors did? I'm looking for a word that existed before, oh, say 1800 or so, not a recent coinage.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

Mike Van Pelt Re:Shamir's Secret Sharing and Encryption. (208 comments)

This. I've idly thought about this every now and then, and passguardian.com is exactly the tool I was thinking of.

In my case, what I'll be distriubting is parts of my LastPass login and password, with the actual data stored there.

about a month ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Mike Van Pelt Re:I just dont get it (646 comments)

That's what I get from Native Americans I know -- they don't give a rip about sports team names. They've told me the only ones that make a noise about this are "Professional Indians". (They say with a grimace of distaste.)

Basically, I don't much care, because I despise all professional sports equally, but I don't have any evidence for the claim that actual Native Americans find the team name offensive, and I do have evidence otherwise.

about a month and a half ago
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After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email

Mike Van Pelt Rosemary Woods did it? (372 comments)

There's an 18 minute gap in the backups.

about a month and a half ago
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After the Belfast Project Fiasco, Time For Another Look At Time Capsule Crypto?

Mike Van Pelt Thinking about making this a service... (170 comments)

The difficult part is finding some place to put your device where it can transmit data that everyone can receive, but it can not be otherwise accessed. ("Recipe for unicorn soup: First, catch a unicorn...") However, there are some possibilities. On the Moon would be good for a decade or so. Even an ordinary orbit, with "destruct if anyone gets close" circuitry, would be a possibility.

Now, the easy part. Generate a bunch of ginormous public/private key pairs, one for each day of secrecy expiration you want to provide with this device. Store the private keys on the device, programmed to continuously transmit all expired private keys. Publish the public keys.

Now, to encrypt something to be revealed on January 1, 2038, you just encrypt it with the "January 1, 2038" public key. Not even you can decrypt it until the private key is transmited by the repository.

Of course, there is the itty bitty trust issue that the entity making the device didn't keep a copy of the private keys.

about 1 month ago
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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities

Mike Van Pelt "States will compete for a repository" (187 comments)

Isn't that what was done before? With Nevada winning the competition, and all those jobs building the repository at Yucca Mountain?

about 2 months ago
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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

Mike Van Pelt Re:Police (584 comments)

Heh... Yeah, I'd like to see this fully generalized: If law enforcement is allowed to have it, private citizens are allowed to have it. If private citizens are not allowed to have it, law enforcement is not allowed to have it. No exceptions whatsoever, period, ever.

about 2 months ago
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Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't

Mike Van Pelt Consider the source. (204 comments)

As I was reading that article, my thought was "Who wrote this crap?" Tendentious scare-mongering and blatant misrepresentation of ... practically everything he mentions.

Then I looked at the URL at the top of my web browser. thebulletin.org. Ah. Figures. If I'd looked at where that link went before I clicked on it, I'd probably not have bothered.

Ah well, looking on the bright side, at least it wasn't a goatse link.

about 3 months ago
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A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Mike Van Pelt Re:Camera gun (765 comments)

Every place in the entire Federalist Papers that firearms are mentioned, maybe?

about 3 months ago
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Interviews: Stewart Brand Answers Your Questions

Mike Van Pelt Best Quote Ever on the nuclear power issue: (22 comments)

In a TED Talk debate by Stuart Brand and someone who was taking the "All we need is sunny days when the wind is blowing energy" type person, Stuart Brand made the statement:

"I am not so much pro-nuclear as I am pro-artithmetic."

This, big-time. Industrial-technological civilization is not compatible with "energy only on sunny days when the wind is blowing". The numbers just do not add up for the energy storage schemes proposed.

Aritimetic denialism seems to rule the day among most of the people who claim to be oh so very concerned about CO2, alas.

about 3 months ago
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Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

Mike Van Pelt Re:Q: Why Are Scientists Still Using FORTRAN in 20 (634 comments)

If you haven't seen or used modern Fortran and think it's anything like Fortran 66/77 then you're mistaken.

As Seymore Cray said, when asked what the scientific programming language of the 21st Century would be, "I have no idea what it will look like, but I'm sure it will be called Fortran."

about 3 months ago
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Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet

Mike Van Pelt Re:next 50 to 100 years? (453 comments)

Meanwhile, nobody has solved the Drake Equation, to actually give us the correct odds of either extreme.

No, but one term in it, the probability of a star having planets, has recently been determined to be pretty close to 1.0.

Doesn't tell us anything about abiogenesis, etc., of course.

about 3 months ago
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Cody Wilson Interview at Reason: Happiness Is a 3D Printed Gun

Mike Van Pelt Re:Getting attention at the expense of 3D printing (207 comments)

Besides, speaking as someone who made quite a bit of that particular mixture ... oh, 40 something years ago ... I can state as a fact that James Tomcat Kirk's formula could not possibly have worked. Sure, he probably had the proportions right. But getting a kaboom? That requires extensive grinding to get the mixture really thorougly incorporated together at a small scale before you get anything that's possible to light at all. Then, for any kind of projectile device, there's the korning process...

about 3 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Mike Van Pelt Pay someone else to do it (386 comments)

Fortunately, I've got a friend who does taxes professionally. I suspect what he bills me is less than his normal rate.

I used to use software (Anything But TurboTax: IA! IA! INTUIT FTHAGAN!!!) but one year, I dumped a bunch of ESPP stock into a managed investment account, which does well, but THE TAX FORMS!!! It's a metropolitan phone book sized stack of paper, and I could not figure out what of all those pages and pages and pages of numbers in very small print were supposed to go in what boxes of the tax forms.

As violent Rambo-esque fantasies started to dance around in my brain (which at my age and shape (round) is really ridiculous) I decided to seek professional help, and that's what I've done ever since.

about 3 months ago
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Double Take: Condoleezza Rice As Dropbox's Newest Board Member

Mike Van Pelt How many decades... (313 comments)

How many decades is it going to be before the hyper-partisan Democrats are going to be able to admit that maybe, possibly, it just might be that some things that "aren't right" are not, after all, George Bush's fault?

about 4 months ago
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Jesse Jackson To Take On Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity

Mike Van Pelt Re:Sleazy extortionist (397 comments)

Has Jackson forgotten what happened 15 years ago when he brought his extortion racket to the Valley and tried it out on T.J. Rodgers over at Cypress.

Heh heh... Great quote from T. J. Rodgers: "Jessie Jackson is like a seagull. He flies in, craps all over everything, then flies back out again."

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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West Africa Internet connectivity slashed

Mike Van Pelt Mike Van Pelt writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Mike Van Pelt writes ""Large parts of West Africa are struggling to get back online following damage to an undersea cable."

Where will I go to get my get my (big bucks from the purloined millions of random deposed dictator of the day) now?"

Link to Original Source
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Google Maps missing satellite view

Mike Van Pelt Mike Van Pelt writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mike Van Pelt writes "Google seems to be missing the satellite images tonight — when I click on any map at any resolution with the satellite option set, it shows the roads but no images, then replaces the roads with tiles of its "We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region" message.

This is an example, screen-captured before it had completely replaced the map with the "no imagery" messages.

http://mikevanpelt.com/images/Google-no-sat.png

Have they perhaps overreacted to the lawsuit reported earlier?"

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