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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

NewtonsLaw Re:Commodore Amiga 3000T (674 comments)

And my Cassio FX-115, going strong since the very early 1980s and it has *never* needed a replacement battery (perhaps because it's totally solar powered).

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

NewtonsLaw I loved the ads (285 comments)

Why is it that the ads in mags like Byte were a key part of the reason I bought the magazine -- but banners and online ads have become little more than annoyance and irritation?

The old print-media ads were informative and didn't slow down my reading in anyway so I guess they were excellent "secondary" content.

There's no way I'll patronize any site that uses full-page interstitial advertising -- yet the full-page ads in Byte and other printed mags were things I often read from start to finish.

Is it just me or have others had the same experience?

4 days ago

UAV Operator Blames Hacking For Malfunction That Injured Triathlete

NewtonsLaw What BS (178 comments)

Modern 2.4GHz RC gear requires a significant level of tech-expertise to "hijack" in the manner suggested.

Occam's Razor has the answer...

Simple mechanical, electrical or operator failure -- nothing more, nothing less.

Too many would-be "drone" operators have scant understanding of the need for a maintenance schedule and proper planning before deploying even the smallest and most lightweight of craft.

The problem is that far to many people buy these things and then treat them as if they'll just keep working forever -- simply charge the battery and fly!

Unfortunately, props fatigue, motor bearings wear, ESCs can overheat and flight controllers can fail.

There's a hell of a lot more to safely deploying one of these craft than flipping a few switches and wiggling some sticks.

I'm not a commercial operator -- I fly for fun but even *I* am very much aware of the importance of good housekeeping and planning when it comes to using these things safely.

about two weeks ago

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

NewtonsLaw How about... (306 comments)

"You wouldn't steal a handbag...

"You wouldn't steal a car...

"You wouldn't download a movie...

"But it's okay to claim someone else's IP as your own... if you're Sony!

about two weeks ago

Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way

NewtonsLaw Re:Um. WRONG. (323 comments)

Go buy yourself a Raspbery Pi, download the boot-image for Rasbmc, boot it up, go have a coffee and a sandwich.

When you get back -- you'll have all the TV and movies you could want -- for the cost of your monthly internet connection.

If Netflix was available here, I'd pay for it -- but since it's not (legally) available to NZers, I figure that the movie/TV producers don't want my money and use XBMC instead. I'm not going to force them to take my cash if they don't want it -- but they better not complain about the fact that I'm watching their stuff for free in the meantime.

about three weeks ago

Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

NewtonsLaw Not just a US problem (473 comments)

This isn't a problem that is limited to the USA.

I live in New Zealand and have a workshop on the local airfield.

Of the 9 hangars at the airfield, only two now have airworthy aircraft in them -- and most of those are home-built or microlite types rather than GA craft (like Cessnas).

Just about the only (semi) regular users of the runway are flight schools which train pilots for overseas airlines such as EasyJeet and JetStar.

The skyrocketing cost of maintaining a PPL combined with hikes in just about every other cost associated with flying has really seen the amount of activity plummet.

Even the local CAA (our equivalent of the FAA) field officer told me he's not going to renew his pilot's license because of the costs.

On the up-side.... the whole issue of drones being integrated into the national airspace may soon be made a lot easier -- since there'll be far fewer full-sized craft in that airspace anyway :-)

about 2 months ago

More Details About Mars Mystery Rock

NewtonsLaw Boy-racers at NASA (180 comments)

Oh come on... we all know that the mission controllers got bored and told the rover to do a few donuts when nobody was looking!

Hell, you're hundreds of millions of miles from home -- there are no police -- who's going to give you a ticket for a bit of "sustained loss of traction" in the company's rover? :-)

Then.... bugger! Forgot about the camera! Duh!

about 3 months ago

Photos Stream Back From China's Lunar Lander

NewtonsLaw Re:Are they claiming more territory? (268 comments)

Oh I wish I had mod points today.

Spat my coffee all over my screen when I read that.


about 4 months ago

Photos Stream Back From China's Lunar Lander

NewtonsLaw Re:Ignoring China ? (268 comments)

Reminds me of my favorite part of Iron Sky where the North Korean delegate stands up and ascribes credit for the approaching fleet of space ships to his glorous leader Kim Yong Ill.

Love that movie!

about 4 months ago

Trans-Pacific Partnership Includes Unwanted Elements of SOPA

NewtonsLaw Negotiations? Hardly! (129 comments)

Given that the NSA is busy tapping the phones and email conversations of the leaders with which the USA is "negotiating" this TPPA, it's hard to believe that this isn't just a one-sided deal.

How can other nations "negotiate" when the USA knows exactly what their bottom lines are (given that they've likely exchanged such information with their fellow politicians within their own country by phone or email)?

What's more -- why does this all need to be done in secret -- hidden away from the eyes and ears of those who these politicians are elected to REPRESENT and SERVE?

This is a huge con-job on the peoples of the non-US nations involved.

I strongly suspect there will be a great deal of "post-political career" employment on offer for those foreign politicians who agree to the US-dictated terms of the TPPA.


about 4 months ago

Google sparks online outrage with forced Google+ signups for YouTube users

NewtonsLaw Re:Not as bad as made out to be (3 comments)

Can you still leave comments on YouTube videos though -- after you've deleted your G+ account?

about 5 months ago

Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

NewtonsLaw There will *always* be a fire risk (375 comments)

Whenever you store a lot of energy in a small space and have the potential for rapid release then there will always be a fire risk.

Gasoline, electricity, kinetic energy -- it all poses a fire risk in the event of an uncontrolled release of that energy.

If you want 100% safety then walk.

Uh-oh, I forgot about the risk of spontaneous human combustion!

We're stuffed!

Damn, they even confiscated my asbestos underwear!

What are we to do now?

about 5 months ago

How You Too Can Be Shut Down By the Feds For Flying Drones

NewtonsLaw Re:I am a pilot... (195 comments)

No, the official definition of a drone is an "unmanned aerial/aircraft system" and if you dare to fly an RC model for financial reward, it automatically becomes a UAS, regardless of whether it's flown right in front of your face or 100 miles away beyond visual LOS.

about 6 months ago

How You Too Can Be Shut Down By the Feds For Flying Drones

NewtonsLaw Re:I am a pilot... (195 comments)

400 feet is *not* high, you need to get some telemetry on your models.

Whenever I've flown a telemetry equipped model and shown other RC fliers just how low 400 feet AGL is, they are surprised.

Given the low cost of telemetry these days, every club should have a model they can use to demonstrate how low 400ft AGL really is and that can be done by investing in a stand-alone system like this Wireless Copilot or adding an altitude sensor to any RC gear (such as Hitec, FrSky, JR, etc) that has inbuilt support for such.

As for the FAA's assertion that earning a single red cent from flying a model turns that model into an "unmanned aerial system" equivalent to a predator drone... well here's all I have to say about that: Trappy vs FAA (Youtube vid with ads I'm afraid).

about 6 months ago

Tesla Model S Catches Fire: Is This Tesla's 'Toyota' Moment?

NewtonsLaw So? (388 comments)

Of course a gasoline-powered car has *never* caught on fire after a crash [/sarc]

No matter what mechanism we use for storing large amounts of energy in a small package, there is *always* the risk that it will be subject to an uncontrolled release if it suffers a physical insult.

Call me when a Tesla spontaneously explodes in flames... then it's time to get worried.

about 7 months ago

Air Force Wants Technology That Will Let Drones Sense and Avoid Other Aircraft

NewtonsLaw Re:Working on it (148 comments)

I don't want to take investors on at this stage because the "cost" of that money would be too high.

As someone who's successfully been through the process many times, I know that the cost of investment capital falls significantly as you move towards commercialisation. Besides, I don't need money -- all I need are a bunch of idiot bureaucrats to admit that there is *no* real difference between flying an RC plane over a grassy field in the country and flying the same an RC plane with a 250g payload over the same grassy field.

Simply classifying something as "commercial" does not increase the level of risk to anyone and, as I've already stated, many hundreds of people all over this country fly their RC models over grassy fields (and even in busy city parks within controlled airspace) every weekend -- without the need for a pilot's license and other bureaucratic nonsense.

And yes, I *do* understand how GA works. Been working around aircraft for a long time and have had a workshop at the local airfield for over 10 years.

Why do people presume so much when they know so little?

about 7 months ago

Air Force Wants Technology That Will Let Drones Sense and Avoid Other Aircraft

NewtonsLaw Re:Working on it (148 comments)

Sorry, but you are wrong on just about every point.

And, as I've always claimed, intelligence is inversely proportional to one's propensity to engage in profanity.

I guess you're also talking about all the other people who fly RC models all around the world -- since that's *exactly* what I'm trying to do here.

And, for the record, I've been involved in aviation for decades. I spent many year servicing avionics and provide consulting services to several local aviation companies.

You should check your facts before embarrassing yourself.

about 7 months ago

Air Force Wants Technology That Will Let Drones Sense and Avoid Other Aircraft

NewtonsLaw Re:To Hell With You Types (148 comments)

The rules sir, are an ass.

Please explain how the fact that their *might* be a commercial result to my flying an RC model should somehow make the risks associated with that flying so great as to require a full-sized pilot's license and a raft of other compliance hurdles to be negotiated -- while at the same time people with far less skill/experience are crashing their RC models in parks all over the country on a weekend?

Did you even read what I posted?

Unless your children are tresspassing and illegally standing in a privately owned grassy field miles from anywhere in the middle of the countryside (which is where I would be flying my 900g RC model), how would I be flying over them? Do your children regularly tresspass onto private property? You need to teach them about property rights.

They are far more likely to be hit by some novice RC flier trying to control their much bigger and more powerful RC helicopter or plane down at the local park.

And remember -- we're not talking about a "drone" here, we're talking about an RC plane that weighs 900g, is made of foam and is simply a vehicle for carrying a few bits of electronics into the air to collect some data. You do know the difference between a foam RC plane and a Predator don't you?

So yes, I guess (even if only because I read what others have written), I guess I *am* smarter than some -- well smarter than *you* anyway. :-)

about 7 months ago

Air Force Wants Technology That Will Let Drones Sense and Avoid Other Aircraft

NewtonsLaw Re:Working on it (148 comments)

Yes, I have spent a lot of time around these sort of systems.

Testing on a bike is fine -- in a 2D environment and a degree of that testing has already been done -- to verify the concept and the first-level implementation.

What's needed now is some real-world testing in a 3D environment so that the firmware can be refined to provide the desired level of performance and its effectiveness can be validated.

Obviously I'm not giving the full story as to the mechanisms involved but suffice to say that the system presently meets all the expectations had for it - but the firmware requires quite a bit of refinement. To undertake that refinement I need to collect some real-world datasets and that involves flying the system while logging the data collected from the sense elements.

Unfortunately, since I only have around 50 years of RC flying experience and am considered by many to be something of an "expert" in the field, I'm apparently wildly unqualified to strap 250g of electronics to the side of a small foam model and fly it around for a few minutes over a remote grassy field so as to collect this data.

about 7 months ago

Air Force Wants Technology That Will Let Drones Sense and Avoid Other Aircraft

NewtonsLaw Re:Working on it (148 comments)

The problem is gaining patent protection in all the key markets.

Sure, it's easy enough to file for a provisional patent in NZ - but then there's Australia, the UK, USA and many other countries that would also require the same process so as to ensure the IP was adequately protected.

Right now, my best protection is to keep the system in-house for as long as is possible and I don't need any additional funding to continue the work so why sell-down at such an early stage when the ony real hurdle is a bunch of stuffy bureaucracts?

about 7 months ago



Google sparks online outrage with forced Google+ signups for YouTube users

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 5 months ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "Although Google has copped flak before when they've messed around with the winning formula that is YouTube, the world's most successful and popular video sharing site, I suspect that they weren't ready for the tsunami of anger that has been unleashed against them as a result of their latest changes.

All non-passive YouTube users (ie: anyone who wants to leave or reply to comments on videos) must now create a Google+ identity and link it to their YouTube channel.

Cynics (such as myself) are seeing this as a nasty piece of *evil* blackmail on the part of Google as it attempts to boost the numbers of G+ users and the levels of activity within the G+ community.

Unfortunately, in doing this, Google seems to have completely forgotten the KISS strategy that made their search engine so distinctive and a darling of Net users everywhere. The YouTube comments system was also very simple, very clean and surprisingly effective.

Now however, users must fight their way through the acres of dross that are associated with a Google+ account and although the new system offers a few extra features, much of the essential core functionality of the previous YouTube comments system has been destroyed.

There are presently several online petitions demanding that Google reinstate the old comments system and numerous "rant videos" from upset YouTube users but perhaps the best demonstration of how poorly this forced change has gone down is the like/dislike ratio and the nature of the comments on Google's own YouTube promotional video for these changes.


Google now forcing Google+ on YouTube users

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 6 months ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "Google have started rolling out their plan to force all non-passive YouTube users to join their GooglePlus service.

As of last night I noticed that I can no longer access the comments on my videos via their dedicated comments page and attempts to respond to comments posted by others simply by clicking on the "to reply, click here" link in the advisory email fail to show the comment concerned. This forces me to go to the actual video page each time and manually locate the comment within the hundreds that may be there.

For weeks, Google has been in nag-mode, constantly trying to coerce YouTube account holders link their channels to a G+ identity and now that this strategy has failed, they're basically saying that unless you do as they say, no more easy access to the comments on your videos. In fact they say this quite literally in a big red banner at the top of the screen when you log on which proclaims " Connect to Google+ to maintain access to new comments".

As an early adopter of YouTube and many other Google services I now find myself with a real mess on my hands. Most of my Google service accounts have different email addresses, therefore are different identities. To comply with Google's diktat, I will have to create several G+ accounts, meaning more logins, more passwords, more complexity!

I am not alone in this — users all over the Net (and on YouTube) are really annoyed that the "do no evil" company is forcing them to sign up to services they do not want and breaking stuff in the process.

The reason for YouTube's success is that it's relatively simple to use and focused. YouTube makes it easy to post videos and comment on them — full stop! If they start messing with that formula by adding the complexity and "features" of G+ then I fear they will pay a price.

In the past, one of the biggest benfits of Google was that it wasn't Facebook. It seems that is no longer the case (especially in light of their recent "we'll use your face and comments to promote products" initiative).

It would appear that Google is about to turn a silk purse into a sow's ear.


Drone flier cops $10K fine from FAA

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 6 months ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "Raphael Pirker, otherwise known as "Trappy" is the guy who flew his RC model plane over the Statue of Liberty and parts of NYC a little while back and got a lot of media attention in the process.

Trappy has travelled the world with his FPV RC models, getting some stunning footage that has been posted to his YouTube channel.

On occasion, he has been commissioned to make specific flights and take aerial video of particular locations — professionally but this is something that the FAA considers to be involation of their policies (note: policies — NOT the law). After a recent commissioned flight around the University of Virginia, the FAA hit Trappy with a $10K fine, alleging that he was operating a UAS without the necessary authority and had been reckless in his actions, creating danger to person and property.

More background and info on this can be found in this Wired.com story and this sUAS News report which lists the exact charges.

While it could be argued that Trappy's flying may have been a little reckless, the defense from his lawyer is that no LAWS were broken — because there are no laws pertaining to these craft.

I posted a YT video-rant about how the FAA (and other airspace administrators around the world) are failing to do their jobs and have instigated "policies" rather than create proper laws in respect to this new technology. I also argue the point that it's ridiculous that, in the eyes of the FAA, a small RC plane suddenly becomes a UAS and is treated as being the same as a Predator drone in respect to its potential as a threat to public safety. I won't post a link to the video (don't want to be a whore) but I'm sure folk can find it if they're interested.

The bottom line is that in equating a small RC flying wing made of foam with an evil baby-killing Predator drone, the FAA is way, way out of touch with reality and way-behind the game in respect to making reasonable and effective laws in this area. Also, by relying on "policy", they are allowed to play judge and jury so can apply unfettered bias and prejudice in their actions with impunity."

Can the Slashdot effect save Ed Snowden?

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 9 months ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "I read that Iceland has refused asylum and citizenship to whistleblower Ed Snowden.

In response to this, I wrote a very polite, email to the office of the Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (details on this webpage) expressing my disappointment at the decision and my sympathy for a once-proud nation that seems to have lost its nerve when faced with the might of the USA.

If anyone else wants to do the same then perhaps it's not too late to alert the Icelandic government to the fact that they could win millions of new friends from all over the world if they were to show their courage and bravery by helping Snowden, as they have with others in the past.

Of course any such communication needs to be polite, concise and focused on showing Iceland that the internet community supports Ed Snowden and those who are prepared to help him.

Maybe the Slashdot community can help. Why not spend a few quick minutes firing off an email so we can find out for sure."

The real reason why the MPAA fears piracy

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about a year and a half ago

NewtonsLaw writes "I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this will be aware of the movie Iron Sky.

I've been waiting for a long time to watch this movie and finally it has been uploaded to YouTube so I watched it on the weekend.

As the title credits rolled, I rushed off and pre-ordered the BluRay disk of the movie, which isn't due for release here in NZ until December 14th.

I am proof that making your wares available for free can actually promote sales — but only so long as your content is good enough (which Iron Sky certainly is). So, perhaps the reason that the MPAA fears piracy is because it lets people see just how crappy most of their material is *before* they fork over their hard earned cash.

I blogged about this in more detail today"

Link to Original Source

No such thing as "local" any more?

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 2 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "There was a time when a small group of locals flying their RC planes from a virtually dis-used airfield in the countryside of a tiny nation on the backside of the world would have had no chance in a battle against bureaucracy and the loss of their right to fly would never have been heard.

However, in the case of the NZ RC model-flying club with a YouTube channel that has had almost 27 million views and has over 15,000 subscribers — the injustice has had far reaching consequences, prompting people to voice their outrage and support from all over the globe. It seems that RC fliers from around the globe are not afraid to voice their anger when world's most widely viewed RC club is shut down without due process or rules of natural justice being used.

Even the small-town paper with a circulation of just 10,000 copies has found its facebook page receiving comments of outrage from all over the world.

Perhaps this shows that, in the age of the internet, there is no such thing as a "local" issue any more. As local authorities, bureaucrats, and indeed any "controlling body" who act unjustly will soon discover.

Note: please don't be tempted to mailbomb the wooden-heads involved, it won't help one bit and would only inflame the situation. Anyone who wants to help could vote in the poll on the facebook page linked above (although I suspect not many Slashdotters are also bookfacers)."

Link to Original Source

UK court rules headlines covered by copryright

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "A UK appeals court has upheld a previous decision that news headlines are a "literary work" and therefore are protected by copyright — enabling online publishers to demand payment for their use or sue for unlawful use. This particularly affects aggregators but has the potential to affect bloggers as well.

Aardvark Daily asks the question: if a two or three-word headline now carries copyright protection, what's the point in trademarking a catch-phrase or product name?

And what about Fair Use? If a short headline is a complete literary work, will critics, reviewers and comedians be allowed to use it in its entirety for the purposes of plying their trade?"

Link to Original Source

50-year-old anti-gravity device rediscovered

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 3 years ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "Today's Aardvark Daily rediscovers an article from an old edition of Popular Mechanics magazine which features a device seemingly capable of defeating the laws of Newtonian physics and even levitating solid objects by defeating gravity.

How could a venerable magazine like PM be duped by this story?

Or were they really duped? After all, there is a picture of the levitating device and diagrams that allegedly describe exactly how it works, using simple mechanical components and principles.

Could it be that the future of anti-gravity drives, the long-awaited flying-car, and space travel has been lurking in the archives of Popular Mechanics for 50 years all along? (Yeah, right).

Sometimes it's fun to look at the science/technology follies of half a century ago."

Link to Original Source

21st century robots break Asimov's first law every

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "Asmiov's first law of robotics is "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

So how come the most advanced robots on the face of the planet today (military UAVs) regularly bring death to insurgents (and sometimes innocent civilians) with impunity?

What ever happened to Asmiov's principles? Have they been ignored out of expediency?

Are they yet another casualty in "the war against terror?"

Is (as the article suggests) Asimov spinning in his grave right now?"

Link to Original Source

How do I start my own pay-TV channel on the web?

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NewtonsLaw (409638) writes "I've got a pretty successful "all original content" YouTube channel (my vids viewed over 6 million times, most subscribed NZ channel in sports, 19th most viewed NZ Channel) but it doesn't earn me a bean.

What I'd like to do is create a new channel (covering a completely different topic) with premium content that I can make available to people who want to pay a *small* monthly or annual subscription. I see this as a far more viable way of earning money from this kind of video content than Google's lame overlaid ads and the accompanying (lack of) revenue share.

I did suggest to Google/YouTube that they offer a turnkey pay-channel setup for people like myself, using the YouTube infrastructure.

Content creators could just upload their content, set a monthly/annual subscription rate and leave the rest to Google. Google would sign up the subscribers and take a clip on each sub to earn their share of the profit and provide the access control and subscription management back-end. The balance of each sub paid would be forwarded to the channel-operator by Google, as they do with AdSense payments (each month that the minimum payment threshold is reached).

For Google/Youtube — $profit$
For the channel operator — $profit$

For everyone else — a chance to get access to premium content for a small stipend.

Unfortunately, despite the ongoing losses being racked up by YouTube, Google don't seem to be interested in exploiting this opportunity.

So I'm left looking for a service that *can* deliver what I'm after.

And before anyone suggests I just host the stuff myself — I don't want to build a subscription management system, payment processing or other elements and I don't want to have to organize enough bandwidth to serve up all that video content — I just want a turnkey solution I can use for a share of the subscription fees.

Any ideas folks?"

Why it might be a good idea to catch swine-flu

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "The current strain of swine-flu that appears ready to sweep the globe is putting many people in a panic — but I'm suggesting that it might be a really good idea to find someone who has the flu, shake their hand then suck your fingers.


Well it seems that doing so could provide you with a degree of immunity against what might be a far more dangerous mutant strain of the same virus later on.

Even the CDC agree that an encounter with one variant of a flu virus can provide a measure of immunity against later closely-related variants for a period of up to a year or more — so maybe now is the time to get infected, before a deadly related strain appears.

I blogged about this today.

Might self-immunization be a good way to dodge the bullet of what may turn into a lethal pandemic once the virus mutates a little further?"

Link to Original Source

Buzz-bomb engine attracts 21st-century foofighters

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  about 5 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "Back in WW2 there were many stories of strange unidentified craft being seen in the skies. These days we call them UFOs and some are certain they are the vehicles of superior beings from other planets.

Well over Easter, some friends and I were flying our models, including one powered by a pulsejet engine (just like the German V1 flying bomb of WW2). After posting one of these videos to YouTube, a viewer spotted what appeared to be a UFO in the footage so I edited-up a new video that shows just that segment in slow motion. (Here's the original full video)

Based on the speed at which it travels across the frame, it certainly is hard to explain what this unidentified flying object might have been, especially as there were no other aircraft (models or otherwise) in the air at that time. Given just how loud the pulsejet engine is (120dB+) it's also very unlikely that it would be a bird flying nearby — in fact we saw no birds that day.

Do Slashdot readers have any ideas?

Could it be that the foofighers have been lured back by some WW2 engine-technology? :-)

Or is there a more sensible and down-to-earth explanation?"

Link to Original Source

Fighting scammers and spammers using YouTube

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "I've been trying to get "the great unwashed" out there to wise-up to these HHO "run your car on water" scams for quite some time now and noticed that affiliates of these schemes are absolutely flooding YouTube with their dross.

Just do search for run car water and look at the same names, same spam and bogus titles popping up, all trying to get people to buy lame ebooks and kits that allegedly offer them a 40% improvement in fuel economy or to even "double" their mileage.

Well I decided I'd try to fight fire with fire and created my own YouTube video to counter the spam.

Apparently it *is* having an effect on the sales of this scam, as witnessed by the comments on this discussion forum.

It's also fun to note how illiterate and ignorant many of those who purport to be getting those "40% fuel savings" are, if their comments on my video are anything to go by.

When their science is challenged, they inevitably fall back to a conspiracy theory — ha!

So is this the best way to deal with scammers/spammers who pollute YouTube's already murky waters with their dross? Or do Slashdotters have a better idea?"

Link to Original Source

Why the world's hackers are partying today

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "The USA has just announced that as of January 2009, all those traveling to (or through) its borders under the widely used "visa waiver" program must register their details on a website at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

But in light of a long string of security breaches in respect to US government-operated websites, isn't the online database of personal information (including passport numbers etc) that this creates going to be a huge drawcard for hackers?

What would a breach of security on such a database mean to those who would just love to use that data for spamming, phishing and identity theft?

What would it mean to those whose information was stolen from such a database?

I've editorialized on this in my daily blog and I ask some important questions.

In light of the fact that I slipped in and out of the USA unnoticed back in 2003 to work on an episode of JunkYard Wars, when the US administration was busy condemning me for building a DIY cruise missile (hosted through Planet so may be a bit flakey right now), seems to indicate that US border control could certainly do with some extra effort."

Link to Original Source

Those "run your car on water" scams

NewtonsLaw NewtonsLaw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NewtonsLaw writes "If you enter the search term "water powered car" into YouTube or Google you'll come up with an endless stream of videos and webpages that claim you can run your car on water. (an example)

Inevitably these systems involve the electrolysis of water (using power from your car's electrical system) and the injection of that "magic" HHO gas into your car's air-intake.

A huge number of people are claiming improvements of fuel-economy of 40% or more — but suspiciously, many of them are also pitching books (through affiliate schemes) or kits to install in your vehicle.

I wrote an article in which I have attempted to alert the "great unwashed" as to the scamminess of these schemes and the lack of sound science behind them, but there are still legions of people who swear they work.

From the perspective of energy conservation, the math clearly doesn't stack up for those claiming the hydrogen releases more energy than was required to create it, so now the HHO fan-boys are now claiming that the benefits come from the way the monatomic (yeah, right) hydrogen generated by their "fuel cells" improves the efficiency of gasoline combustion and that's where the 40%+ improvement in mileage comes from.

I still think this is a case of faith versus fact. There is some evidence from credible scientific papers that hydrogen *can* improve the combustion efficiencies of hydrocarbons but this effect is nowhere near enough to account for the massive results that the HHO fanboys are claiming.

This whole area of Browns gas and HHO seems to be littered with ill-informed zealots and psuedo-science.

Perhaps someone with a stronger grounding in the physics and chemistry involved can shed some light on all this. Do these schemes work? If so, why aren't they now standard-equipment in every car that's sold in these days of skyrocketing oil prices? Or is it all just snake-oil and unscrupulous scammers looking to dupe a naive public into wasting their money?"

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