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Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads

Pinckney Re:My Face (344 comments)

If you pay for the photograph, it's a work for hire that belongs to you, absent a contract saying something different.

In the US, that is false. See wikipedia for details; essentially there are several criteria that must be satisfied for work by an independent contractor to be work for hire, including in particular that there must be a written agreement between the parties stating that the work is made for hire.

more than 3 years ago

Cell Phone Industry's Six Biggest Failed Schemes

Pinckney Re:Is it really too much to ask (163 comments)

I'd really rather if they not do that. If it becomes standard to link to the print version of articles, sites will just remove the print option entirely. As it is, we, who care, get to enjoy these articles in a relatively clean form for minimal work, and the people who don't care effectively subsidise us (thanks!) with their ad impressions.

more than 3 years ago

Explosive-Laden California Home To Be Destroyed

Pinckney Re:Wow ! A house full of hidden explosives .... (424 comments)

The MOVE bombing wasn't even remotely similar. Firstly because it was a row house, i.e. physically connected to the adjacent buildings, secondly because the firefighters at that site did nothing to control the resulting fire, and thirdly because the area was not evacuated prior to the bombing. This is a ranch house, so the fire is unlikely to spread, firefighters are on site to control the resulting fire, and the area will be evacuated.

more than 3 years ago

Developing StarCraft 2 Build Orders With Genetic Algorithms

Pinckney Re:On the subject of games (200 comments)

Try Combat Mission, though the troops can require a lot of manual pathfinding. Simultaneous turns (RT optional in the latest).

about 4 years ago

Building a Telegraph Using Only Stone Age Materials

Pinckney Related: POW radio (238 comments)

There is a fascinating account of building a radio in a Japanese POW camp during WWII virtually from scratch.

So we hit upon the idea of taking some tin foil or aluminum foil from the lining of the tea chest from which the Japanese supplied with the rice rations, then by the well known equations for calculating capacity and the relationship of the surface area and spacing of the plates, we built a capacitor or, at least, I built a capacitor which according to calculations should have been about ".01 microfarad."

more than 4 years ago

Proving 0.999... Is Equal To 1

Pinckney Re:This is second place (1260 comments)

You are confusing a symbolic representation for a number because the symbol contains numbers in it. It is physically impossible to represent certain numbers using base 10. Pi for example. Is is less obvious, but still a fact that 1/3 and 1/9 are in fact impossible to accurately represent using base 10. The .1111... .33333... and .9999... are all of rather limited accuracy symbols, not numbers, just as if I were to say pi = 3.14159+ The 3.14159+ is a symbol representing Pi, not a number, similarly .9999999... is NOT a number, but is instead a symbolic representation of a number.

.1111... is understood to stand for the supremum of the set {0,1/10,11/100,111/1000...}. See Rudin, "Principles of Mathematical Analysis", page 11. Likewise for .3333..., .999999...., and 3.14159+... where the sets are defined accordingly.

The fact that long division or electronic calculators come up with those results is an indication of human accounting for the limitations of our mathematical symptoms.

Calculators produce such results because they are useful approximations of the supremum.

In base 8, .11111111 = 1/8 + 1/80 + 1/800 + .... That number, multiplied by 7 becomes .77777777777... or 7/8 + 7/80 + 7/800 +... You can use the same bad math you used earlier to prove that 1 = .7777777... base 8 that you used to claim that 1 = .99999 in base 10

Here you are in error. 7*.111111...= 7*(1/8+1/8^2+1/8^3+...) = 7/8 + 7/8^2 + 7/8^3 + ... = (7/8)/(1-1/8) = 1; the reduction from an infinite geometric series to 7/8/(1-1/8) is a common result from any high-school algebra course.

Note in particular that 7/8+7/80+7/800+... is not equal to 1.

more than 4 years ago

US Says Plane Finder App Threatens Security

Pinckney Make your own. (524 comments)

"Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness. The Government must look at outlawing the marketing of such equipment."

Perhaps they should consider banning the ADS-B transmitters, then?

In any case, banning the app would do nothing to anyone with the funds for a SAM. See this document to make your own reciever.

more than 4 years ago

Designing Wireless Sensors To Be Dropped Into Volcanoes

Pinckney Misleading summary (126 comments)

According to Horsfall and his fellow nails-tough tech developers, their carbide electronics can keep working up to temperatures of 900C. This is actually sufficient to withstand immersion in some lavas/magmas, though by no means all. In any case it's difficult to see how any wireless signal could be transmitted through molten minerals, so presumably the inventors are talking more about locating their kit in places within a caldera which - although extremely hot - are not enough so to actually melt rock.

The caldera is not a synonym for lava puddles. They're talking about putting a sensor in the caldera where it can detect gasses. It's not likely to be floating, much less submerged, and in fact that would presumably interfere with the mission of detecting various gasses.

(I've only read the article, not the papers)

more than 4 years ago

Flight Data Recorders, Decades Out of Date

Pinckney Re:It's absolutely ridiculous (266 comments)

On Emirates 407:

The ATSB investigation found that an incorrect flex temp was applied, based on an incorrectly entered aircraft weight. This resulted in a lower than necessary engine thrust and consequently insufficient acceleration and airspeed.

On the others, I will agree with you.

more than 4 years ago

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time

Pinckney I played it only last year... (362 comments)

I played it for the first time only last year, and was pleasantly surprised. The controls are perfect. I felt like the shareware Episode I was most enjoyable, perhaps because I was reluctant to use the plasma and rocket weapons when they became available. The later episodes also seemed to involve me getting hemmed in more often.

Personally, I prefer Doom: The Roguelike overall, but Doom is still a fine, if ugly, shooter.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Losing Big To Apple On Campus

Pinckney Re:I'm surprised at this... (764 comments)

There are a LOT of programs at most universities that require you to buy a Mac.

I'm currently a college Junior and have never encountered this. What programs require a Mac, and why?

more than 4 years ago

IBM's Patent-Pending Traffic Lights Stop Car Engines

Pinckney Not necessarily forced (423 comments)

Upon receiving the stop-engine notification, the vehicles may automatically switch off the engine, or display an alert informing drivers to manually switch off the engines. A vehicle may optionally notify the service once its engine is switched off.

For all of you concerned about not having complete control.

The summary doesn't effectively explain when this would be useful. At most lights, it won't matter. The example the patent gives is a 2 minute light, for which it is inefficient to restart the engine state. It suggests "waiting for 10 minutes for a railway to clear" as a case where this would be useful.

The patent seems very vague. It talks about processing information about the movement about other cars, doesn't comment on what should be looked for, how that information is to be determined, or how wait-time should be estimated. It basically seems to be a patent for the idea of signaling the car when a long wait is anticipated.

more than 3 years ago

Air Force Sets Date To Fly Mach-6 Scramjet

Pinckney Re:Great step forward (252 comments)

Again, horozontal Gs (e.g. normal to the spine). Fighter pilots experience vertical Gs (parallel to the spine). From wikipedia "Early experiments showed that untrained humans were able to tolerate 17 g eyeballs-in (compared to 12 g eyeballs-out) for several minutes without loss of consciousness or apparent long-term harm."

You might want to take a look at the Gloster Meteor F8 Prone Pilot, an experiment to control a plane from a prone position to better cope with Gs.

more than 3 years ago

How Do You Handle Your Keys?

Pinckney Cargo pants are nice. (763 comments)

Do you really need all those keys on you? It seems to me that the *three* keys for your girlfriend's place are probably somewhat redundant. Maybe they're front/back/basement keys, in which case you probably need only one unless you're living there. Your roof key can probably be stashed at home.

Cargo pants are really nice, if you can wear them. In general, keyfobs aren't worth the hassle. If you need what they have--the SAK, for instance--take them off the keychain and carry them either in your pack, which you apparently have with you most of the time, or in some other pocket. Though the later doesn't reduce the total volume of hardware, it does spread it out, and is thus much more comfortable.

more than 4 years ago

How Old Is the Oldest Computer You Regularly Use?

Pinckney I've got one of the oldest primary computers here (543 comments)

A few months ago, my Thinkpad R61's GPU died at about 2.5 years. Being of the cheap and miserly sort, I opted not to spend the money to have this fixed or replaced, and rather set it up as a server. I dusted off my old Thinkpad R31, now 7 years old, installed Debian, worked out a few quirks, and started using it as my primary computer--that is, the computer that I use to write papers, check email, browse Slashdot, program, etc. It works reasonably well. All the games I play are even older than the computer (Civilization III, Close Combat, Combat Mission, Nethack, ADOM), and Debian, even with Gnome, is reasonably lightweight. All that old software is still around. You don't need the latest bloatware, for the most part. Mathematica and Matlab, I run via SSH. Flash video is about the only thing that really gives me trouble--it stutters badly. The battery is dead, but the same could be said for the R61.

Replacement parts are promising to be a pain. I considered upgrading the RAM to something more reasonable, but balked at the $70/512MiB price of the obsolete SDRAM sticks it needs.

more than 4 years ago

Astronaut Careers May Stall Without the Shuttle

Pinckney Re:Don't they already have jobs? (142 comments)

I thought so too, so I looked into it. Apparently this was the case in the early days of the program, and is still mostly the case for pilot astronauts. "At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable." [1] (In practice, they all seem to be test pilots). This is not a requirement for Mission Specialist Astronauts.

I also suggest browsing some of the astronaut bios from the last couple batches. Of the last five pilot astronauts candidates, all five are former military test pilots. Among the twelve Mission Specialists selected during the same period, there is only one that I can confirm as a test pilot. At least four have a military background, and at least three were pilots before entering the program. At least two others were flight surgeons; this may well mean that they qualified as pilots

Really, though, they're all very well qualified in their respective fields. They may lose their jobs, sure, but I doubt they'll have trouble finding others.

more than 4 years ago

BC Prof Suggests Young Children Need Less Formal Math, Not More

Pinckney Summary is misleading (427 comments)

In addition to removing arithmetic from the curriculum, they added

recitation. By "recitation" he meant, "speaking the English language." He did "not mean giving back, verbatim, the words of the teacher or the textbook." The children would be asked to talk about topics that interested them--experiences they had had, movies they had seen, or anything that would lead to genuine, lively communication and discussion. This, he thought, would improve their abilities to reason and communicate logically. He also asked the teachers to give their pupils some practice in measuring and counting things, to assure that they would have some practical experience with numbers.

Simply removing all math from the curriculum would very probably not produce the same results.

more than 4 years ago

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down

Pinckney Re:They have the money already (634 comments)

Because it pisses off a wide audience, not just the typical Slashdot reader. This may matter when it comes to selling other games. In particular, the people affected are the people ill-informed enough or naive enough to pay for such software. Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

Also because it kills the argument that this DRM isn't a big deal for anyone who doesn't plan to play the game for years. I know I've been told (by, when inquiring about their system) that I was more likely to stop playing after years due to compatibility issues than because their DRM servers closed. Ubisoft presumably would have said similar, if asked about the end-of-life of their servers.

more than 4 years ago

How Do You Measure a Game's Worth?

Pinckney Obvious flaw (188 comments)

This would measure the worth of an uninspired grindfest, obtained for $0.01, to be great, even if it's a waste of time to play.

more than 3 years ago

Student Banned From Minnesota Campus Over Facebook Comments

Pinckney Re:Anyone remember... (806 comments)

I don't see how things have changed. You can still vent in the same old ways, privately, face to face, to friends. Just because facebook is available, doesn't mean you should use it for all your interactions with others.

more than 4 years ago



Backscatter X-Ray Machines Easily Fooled

Pinckney Pinckney writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Pinckney (1098477) writes "A paper by Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson in the Journal of Transportation Security asserts that x-ray backscatter machines are not very effective even in their intended role. While carelessly placed contraband will be detected, the machines have glaring blind-spots and have difficulty distinguishing explosives from human tissue. As they write, "It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake [of with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology... It is also easy to see that an object such as a wire or a boxcutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible.""
Link to Original Source

Breathalizer Code Flawed Afterall

Pinckney Pinckney writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Pinckney (1098477) writes "Remember that Breathalyzer manufacturer that fought to keep its source code hidden? They lost, and the defendant's software analyst has come back with some damning flaws, including their failure to average readings correctly. Schneider covers some of the highlights, but the summary of their findings is also worth a read for problems such as "Defects In Three Out Of Five Lines Of Code" and that "If the airflow is slower than the baseline, this would result in a negative flow measurement, so the software simply adjusts the negative reading to a positive value.""
Link to Original Source

CCP meets directly with Eve Online players

Pinckney Pinckney writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Pinckney (1098477) writes "CCP, makers of Eve Online, recently invited nine community-elected representatives to attend a summit dealing with issues related to the game, and to suggest improvements. CCP has a short recap of the summit on their site, and the New York Times has printed a longer article (cookies required; clear them if it requests a login) which focuses on the people and social aspects of the meeting. There is very little on the technical comments of the representatives ("Most of the deliberations were taken up with matters of fairly arcane concern"), but it is nevertheless interesting to see a community discussion gathering such media attention."
Link to Original Source


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