Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff
Not matter what they claim, they will be tracking everyone, whether they sign up or not. I'm sure they already have some slimy lawyer bullshit in the existing terms of service that they can use to justify the practice.
It's not like users will ever know what they are doing. It could be going on right now and no one would be the wiser. Maybe the are rolling this out now because they have been keeping (and possibly using) this data, and they figure that pretending that there is an option available will give them plausible denyability. It would be consistent with their otther behavior.
The (pretend) government oversight agencies are a pathetic joke. The recent "net neutrality" clusterfuck shows that they don't even have to pretend that customers are stake holders or have any say in the matter. The FCC is now a fully owned subsidiary of the telecom industry. The only open question is how the monopolistic spoils are going to be divided. It's no different then gangs controlling their turf so they get all the profit from the various rackets that they run.
So what are you going to do, switch to TimeWarner or Comcast? The difference is the same as paying protection money to the Mafia, the Bloods, or the Crips or ...
Nothing to see here, move along. No capitalism, no democracy, no competition.
MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati
A turbine is the wrong technology. I think that this would work better with a Sterling Engine. The steam temperature is (obviously) 100C, and the cold side could either be ambient air temperature or water.
The Sterling crank output could drive a generator, and there are some existing Sterling designs that use the linear motion of the pistons as magnets with a coil for electrical generation. The boiling water is a closed loop that is the hot side of the Sterling engine.
This lends itself to a modular design where the water boiling and Sterling power generation are a sealed unit, and you get more power (and protection against single points of failure) by replicating the module. The major limitation of this system is that it only works during daylight hours. Even so, if it has high enough efficiency and low enough manufacturing cost it could be useful for environments without extensive electrical grid infrastructure.
Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance
It's easy. Since my crystal ball seems to be broken, we can just use yours.
A Peek Inside D-Wave's Quantum Computing Hardware
I have no strong opinion about the DWave machine. It might be doing quantum computing or it might be doing classical computing. I don't have the correct background to judge, and there is still a lot of controversy among those who do know this stuff.
However, if you read the article (which I did), they are doing real engineering. They are building very sophisticated superconducting quantum circuits. Their second generation machine has four times the qubits and cycles much more quickly. This is very difficult and advanced work, and they are making it happen.
So why is DWave getting so much flack on Slashdot? Somehow I doubt it's because there are vast number of quantum physics types just waiting to display their deep knowledge whenever the subject comes up. What I see are Slashdot Pundits: hoards of pseudotechnical wanna-be's who pile on with meaningless criticism. The motivation is not to have a useful debate but to pretend to be smart by talking trash. Maybe they impress each other, but from my vantage point it looks like a lot of eight year olds shouting curse words they don't understand and giggling over how cool they are.
India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates
Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial
a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.
Given the billion's of $US that various banks have been fined recently, for things like evading US taxes and money laundering for Syria, Iraq, and Somalia, isn't it about time that the legal system give the same treatment to bankers committing these crimes?
Why do they get to pay fines that don't have any real effect? Just look how their stock always go up after they announce a deal. If any individual ever gets fired it's always the low level person who takes the hit, and they all end up going to work for someone else and never face any real problems.
Oh, I just remembered: bribes/campaign contributions along with the revolving door and juicy high paying jobs for former regulators. To bad drug dealers can't have a revolving door with law enforcement.
No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say
For the1H-B workers, the irony is that as soon as they get their green card, or even eventual citizenship. they face the same job discrimination faced by US residents. As soon as you have a stake in the US, they don't want you as a skilled worker.
American capitalism hates American workers. They put greed above all, even the sustainability of the US economy. Why the hell are we putting up with this?
By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem
Assuming that our current technologically based civilization will prosper that long is not the only possibility.
It is conceivable that global climate change, perhaps with other unforeseen events, could wipe out civilized society. Bye-bye "superior" AIs.
This would be one answer to the Femri Paradox. The reason that we have not detected other technological civilizations is that technology is self destructive. If it develops it doesn't last very long.
Microsoft Opens 'Transparency Center' For Governments To Review Source Code
So they opened a transparency center for governments. What about some transparency for everyone else who uses their software? Or are we going to continue to be left in the dark?
To give some context into user's response to Microsoft's products, Windows 8 market share just decreased. Comparative figures showed that Windows XP share went up. That's right, the just discontinued OS is doing better then they current system.
I can't help but point that this is one of a painful series of mistakes that all happen when Ballmer was in charge. The question for the future of Microsoft is whether he was in command so long that they will never recover.
How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?
When you say "politically influenced sciences" you are showing you political bias. You couldn't even finish a complete sentence without substituting opinion for fact.
Climate Science is a part of the physical science. It is subject to all the formal and social controls that other physical sciences are subjected to.
Economics is a part of the Social Sciences. The standards there are generally lower then the physical sciences. There is already an ongoing debate about the acceptable standards for reproducibility, and big changes are in the works. Psychology is already starting a methodological change to address this problem.
Even by current practice Economics is in bad shape. This latest study shows just how pervasive the problem is. It's an intellectually corrupt discipline.
At some level it's not surprising that someone of your dishonest stripe would pick Economics, with it's lack of formal rigor, as a way of smearing actual science.
Go back to your flat earth bible camp and leave the adults to talk about facts.
Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?
What, no TECO?
TECO does not really have syntax
I have a worn copy of the BLISS-36 manual somewhere. I only used once or twice to try it out.
Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight
Remember when VP Cheney said he didn't have to comply with record requests because he not in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branch of government? This is copy of his playbook.
It's become a rather common excuse. These days it is typically mixed up with corporate claims of privacy. Essentially corporate secrecy is used as a way if short circuiting the rule of law. That's how the police departments that use Stingray cell phone interception technology to shred constitutional protections avoid admitting what they are doing: they have a confidentiality clause with the company who makes the device. Same thing with fracking chemicals: they can pump any toxic crap that they want to into the ground because it's a business secret.
So where were all the right wingers when this was going down during the Bush era? You know, the ones who are now claiming that Obama is destroying the constitution? Massive amnesia and/or massive hypocrisy?
(Personally I am furious with Obama because he has continued the blatantly unconstitutional policies of the Bush years, but at least I am not lying through my teeth and supporting one executive while screeching like a stuck pig when a democrat does the same kind of crap.)
Astronomers Discover Earth-Sized Diamond
Warning: ACTUAL PHYSICS, not typical Slashdot half-assed speculation.
This class of white dwarf stars are a mixture of primarily oxygen and carbon. Depending on the mass the amount of carbon and oxygen are roughly the same, but sometimes there is more oxygen. As the star cools it goes through a phase transition where the core becomes crystallized. This releases heat through two mechanisms: heat of crystallization and the release of gravothermal energy.
The inner crystallized section is enhanced in oxygen. The outer fluid mantel is enriched in carbon. Calling this a diamond is simply wrong. Perhaps at some point in the distant future one of these will cool and part of it will become a form of crystal carbon, but considering that the cooling time without mantle carbon crystallization is on the order of 10 Gigayears, it is not likely this has happened yet considering that the universe is around 13.6 gigayears old.
The Cooling of CO White Dwarfs: Influence of the Internal Chemical Distribution
White dwarfs are the remnants of stars of low and intermediate masses on the main sequence. Since they have exhausted all of their nuclear fuel, their evolution is just a gravothermal process. The release of energy only depends on the detailed internal structure and chemical composition and on the properties of the envelope equation of state and opacity; its consequences on the cooling curve (i.e., the luminosity vs. time relationship) depend on the luminosity at which this energy is released.
The internal chemical profile depends on the rate of the 12C(, )16O reaction as well as on the treatment of convection. High reaction rates produce white dwarfs with oxygen-rich cores surrounded by carbon-rich mantles. This reduces the available gravothermal energy and decreases the lifetime of white dwarfs.
In this paper we compute detailed evolutionary models providing chemical profiles for white dwarfs having progenitors in the mass range from 1.0 to 7 M, and we examine the influence of such profiles in the cooling process. The influence of the process of separation of carbon and oxygen during crystallization is decreased as a consequence of the initial stratification, but it is still important and cannot be neglected. As an example, the best fit to the luminosity functions of Liebert et al. and Oswalt et al. gives an age of the disk of 9.3 and 11.0 Gyr, respectively, when this effect is taken into account, and only 8.3 and 10.0 Gyr when it is neglected.
China Leads In Graphene Patent Applications
Note that the US is not directly involved in any of the major patent holdings. IBM is not really a US company anymore. They are "international". To a great extent they are getting out of the US. A few year ago they stopped listing their employment by country, because they wanted to hide what they were doing. So if there is ever a situation where US interests collide with IBM economic interests then the US will get the short end of the stick.
This is what happens when you let everything get privatized, including basic research. You end up with no stake in the future.
Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry
As someone with 45+ years of software experience I can personally verify that software development has not improved significantly over the last 25 years or so. The two most important changes are that there is much less assembly programming (outside of imbedded systems) and each hardware vendor does not have their own completely incompatible operating system. Most of the rest of the "improvements" are pretty much moot beyond that.
OOP has never lived up to it's hype. No matter how "object oriented" a system is, it is still just as likely to be late and/or broken as in pre-OOP days. Development, maintenance and modification is not automatically better with OOP.
I can't be certain, but I strongly believe that one of the reason for the lack of progress is that there are not a lot of old programmers still in the profession. Unlike other engineering fields, say civil engineering, chemical engineering, etc careers tend to be short. There are not enough people around to say "we tried a version of that 15 year ago, and it had these pitfalls." The result is that the same mistakes keep getting made over and over again. This fits in with the observation that as a profession we have not improved much on estimating project requirements and being on time and on budget.
That's one of the reasons I hate the term "Software Engineering". We are not real engineers because we can't deliver on time with predictable results and a predefined cost. It's not that this happens all the time in other engineering areas, it's just that it rarely happens with software.
Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops To Deceive Judges About Surveillance Tech
You want contempt for the constitution? Where were you when Cheney said he was not a part of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of government, so none of the rules apply? (Sound of crickets.....)
I'm pissed off a Holder as well, but obvious right wingers start calling him the most corrupt, all I smell is the stench of ripe hypocrisy. STFU until you are willing to call out someone on your side of the political fence.
Russia Wants To Replace US Computer Chips With Local Processors
The current Haswell generation, and some of the previous generations have something called WiDi. It's for wireless HD where some of the WiFI processing is done in the CPU.
Haswell CPUs also have multiple autonomous CPUs (besides the built in graphics) that can run even when the chip is nominally powered down. These controllers have no published specs. The architecture is unknown, the software is unknown.
In the post-Snowden era it is also known the the NSA has a way to get data off systems that are separated by an air gap from the outside environment.
Now if you were one of the major powers in the world would you want to have a supercomputer, or any computer in a sensitive installation, saying "Intel Inside"?
It's not just about nuclear simulation or CFD weapon design codes. It's about oil/gas exploration, wartime logistics, economics, drug design, and climate forecasts (even if the Republicans don't believe in climate change, the Russians and Chinese are not that stupid).
So building your own CPU on fabs where you have physical control is a matter of national security. It would be unsurprising if certain government programs in the US only used Intel chips made in the US. If it was my responsibility that's what I would do.
Unisys Phasing Out Decades-Old Mainframe Processor For x86
The Burroughs part is a tagged memory architecture. There is no assembler, a variant of ALGOL is the system programming language. It's a hardware stack machine. Each memory word has tag bits that identify what kind of information is stored. Memory addressing is through segments, which do hardware bounds checking. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burroughs_large_systems for details.
The hardware and software were designed concurrently. This means that the system is very efficient and not very prone to software errors. Because of the hardware addressing mechanisms and the memory protection bits, this machine was immune to many of the security issues that plague modern CPU architectures. It is near to impossible to break security, because it is enforced by a combination of hardware and software. No current x86/Power/Sparc/??? will ever be as secure as this kind of machine. (The Mill CPU has some of the same characteristics, but lacks tagged memory bits in main memory.)
As a field, computing took a wrong turn when it went after MIPS as a measure of "goodness". Using hardware resources to enforce secure computing address the fundamental problem of writing reliable software. It protects against coding errors and against malicious attacks. Now that hardware is cheap, the additional cost of tag bits in memory or address range checking could be easily supported.
But we're stuck with fast insecure architectures and there seems to be no turning back. It wouldn't be surprising that current systems are in fact less efficient when you take into account the cost of trying to make insecure hardware secure along with the costs associated with software failures and stolen data, corrupted data bases, down time, debugging, etc. (By the way, Burroughs systems had great up times, which was also true of Symbolics Lisp systems, which also had memory tag bits and was programmed from the bottom up in a high level language.)
A Seriously High Speed Video Camera (Video)
You're absolutely right. You should immediately stop whatever you are doing and develop that exact camera at a significantly lower price point then anything else out there using your vast knowledge of electronics and photography.
Or you could stop being an arm chair quarterback and STFU. Have you ever done anything vaguely like this? Have you ever done anything on your own initiative at all? Somehow I doubt it. You post here so you can pretend to be knowledgeable by denigrating people who are actually doing something.
Why don't you get your cheap shot ego fix somewhere else? You are the sludge that makes Slashdot a bore to read. Go away and leave us alone. We don't like you and we don't need you. Go away. Now.
Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes
As opposed to the tiny cute nuclear plants that you can get in all sorts of different colors and patterns.
Boing Using Accounting Tricks to Throttle SpaceX
Required Snark (1702878) writes "Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put forth a proposal that all US launch providers must "be required to submit financial reports before transporting astronauts to the ISS." This would keep all the launch providers except Boeing /United Lauch Alliance from making manned ISI flights.
At a hearing on May 1, Shelby said that “NASA is spending billions to help private companies develop a launch vehicle, but has little to no access to the books and records associated with its investment.”
The White House responded stating
their concern “about language that would seek to apply accounting requirements unsuitable for a firm, fixed-price acquisition.” The House said that changes made would “likely increasing the program’s cost and potentially delaying its schedule.”
As previously posted on Slashdot, loosing access to these motors could impact up to 31 scheduled missions.
So why is Senator Shelby siding with Boeing and the Russians?
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby today discussed important issues facing Alabama and the nation, including job growth, during his visit to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) production facility in Decatur, Ala., where ULA manufactures both Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.
“In light of sustained high unemployment rates, I am pleased that ULA employs hundreds of Alabamians and plans to hire dozens more producing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle here in Decatur,” said Sen. Shelby. “These high-skilled workers assemble a unique national asset whose success currently underpins the very existence of our national security space program. ULA’s presence is welcome in Alabama. I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation with the company’s workers and the citizens of Decatur to discuss our country’s deepest challenges and lay out a positive vision for the future.”
So Red White and Blue Senator Shelby has decided that jobs in his state and campaign contributions (a.k.a bribes) from Boeing are more important then access to space. He also seems to have forgotten the American values of free enterprise and technical innovation in favor of state sponsored entrenched interests in both the US (Boeing) and Russia (NPO Energomash).
I wonder what Shelby is doing on the Fourth of July?"
Thick Chinese Smog is Harming Agriculture
Required Snark (1702878) writes "The smog in China is so thick and pervasive that it is having a large scale negative impact on agricultural production.
Scientists say China's smog blocks natural light, thus slowing down the photosynthesis process necessary for plants to thrive.
He Dongxian, an associate professor with China Agricultural University's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, conducted experiments in Beijing over recent months which she says showed a drastic slowdown in the photosynthesis process.
As part of He's experiments, chili and tomato seeds, for example, took more than two months to sprout at a greenhouse farm in Beijing's Changping district, while the same outcome is typically achieved in 20 days under artificial light in a laboratory. Air pollutants adhere to greenhouse surfaces, reducing by half the amount of light available to the plants, she said.
Most seedlings at the farm were weak or sick, He told the Post. "They will be lucky to live at all."
If China's smog persists or intensifies, He warns, the country's food supply faces devastating consequences. "Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic."
According to the story "much of north and central China — about one-seventh of the country — was also covered in smog last weekend", so the problem extends far beyond Beijing."
Link to Original Source
San Francisco Rail Commuters Ignore Man Flashing Gun: One Killed
Required Snark (1702878) writes "
The man drew the gun several times on the crowded San Francisco commuter train, with surveillance video showing him pointing it across the aisle without anyone noticing and then putting it back against his side, according to authorities.
The other passengers were so absorbed in their phones and tablets they didn't notice the gunman until he randomly shot and killed a university student, authorities said.
"These weren't concealed movements — the gun is very clear," District Attorney George Gascon said. "These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They're completely oblivious of their surroundings."'
The next time you are out in public, put in your ear buds, and zone out while connected online, just remember even though your mind has "left the building", you are still actually physically present..
Sometimes ignoring your surroundings is the wrong thing to do. In this case, everyone was so spaced out they were all sitting ducks.
So ask yourself: when was the last time I was so plugged in that I missed something big? Has anyone had a life threatening experience due to being on line at the wrong time?"
Link to Original Source
Lockeed "Skunk Works" Announces Fusion Power Demo in Five Years
Required Snark (1702878) writes "
At the recent Google “Solve for X” conference on February 7, Lockheed Martin's long-term R&D department (“Skunk Works”) announced they are working on a compact fusion reactor. With what seems a 4th generation prototype called "T4", the aerospace giant says to have developed a high beta configuration, which allows a compact reactor design and faster development timeline.
Public reactions describe the announcement of their activities on nuclear fusion remarkable, because Lockheed Martin doesn't usually make public announcements about Skunkwork projects unless they have a high degree of confidence in their chances of success. The developement timeline indicates plans to have a prototype 100-megawatt nuclear fusion machine of Lockheed Martin tested in 2017, and that a fully operational machine should be grid-ready ten years from now.
Some of the properties reported from the presentation:
- A self-tuning feedback mechanism whereby the magnetic field increases the farther out that the plasma goes
- Novel magnetic field configuration that has very few open field lines compared to tokamak design
- Very "good arch curvature" of the field lines
The system has a beta of about 1
- System is working with D-T fuel
Although the presentation is short on details, Lockheed Skunk Words has a phenomenal track record, and they are putting their reputation of the line when they make this kind of announcement at a high profile Google event. A video of the presentation is here."
Link to Original Source
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C
Required Snark (1702878) writes "Let the Language Wars Begin (Again). Damian Katz of CouchDB published a blog post entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C".
"For years I've tried my damnedest to get away from C. Too simple, too many details to manage, too old and crufty, too low level. I've had intense and torrid love affairs with Java, C++, and Erlang. I've built things I'm proud of with all of them, and yet each has broken my heart. They've made promises they couldn't keep, created cultures that focus on the wrong things, and made devastating tradeoffs that eventually make you suffer painfully. And I keep crawling back to C."
Among it's other virtues, he points out that it is a fantastic high level language that "makes it easy to reason about high level algorithms and low level hardware at the same time." It offers the best speed, debugging environment, consistency of execution, a uniform ABI, compatibility with other languages, and a fast build-test-debug cycle. It has many flaws, but as Katz says "Its flaws are very very well known, and this is a virtue. All languages and implementations have gotchas and hangups. C is just far more upfront about it."
So, Slashdot, is everything old new again?"
Link to Original Source
High Frequency Trading: Far Worse then you Thought
Required Snark (1702878) writes "High Frequency Trading is a software engineering disaster, according to a study by the Chicago Federal Reserve. As reported at The Economic Populist, problems include:
Industry and regulatory groups have articulated best practices related to risk controls, but many firms fail to implement all the recommendations or rely on other firms in the trade cycle to catch an out-of-control algorithm or erroneous
trade. In part, this is because applying risk controls before the start of a trade can slow down an order, and high-speed trading firms are often under enormous pressure to route their orders to the exchange quickly so as to capture a trade at the desired price.
Another area of concern is that some firms do not have stringent processes for the development, testing, and deployment of code used in their trading algorithms. For example, a few trading firms interviewed said they deploy new trading strategies quickly by tweaking old code and placing it into production in a matter of minutes.
Chicago Fed staff also found that out-of-control algorithms were more common than anticipated prior to the study and that there were no clear patterns as to their cause. Two of the four clearing BDs/FCMs, two-thirds of proprietary trading firms, and every exchange interviewed had experienced one or more errant algorithms.
To sum things up, the well being of the entire world economy is now in the hands of greedy, incompetent corrupt insiders who will do anything to achieve a profit. The regulators are all off on a permanent vacation. (The Federal Reserve does not regulate HFT.) What could possibly go wrong?"
Link to Original Source
Former IBM Japan President Otoshi charged for taking up-skirt pictures
Required Snark (1702878) writes "Takuma Otoshi was the President of IBM Japan from 1999 to 2008, and had an ongoing senior adviser position until his recent arrest. According to Toyko police reports:
Police records say that around 8:00 AM on August 22nd, Ototshi was cited for violating Tokyo’s public nuisance ordinance by using his Apple iPod’s recording function to film up the skirt of a woman as she rode an escalator at the JR Yotsuya Station. A nearby male commuter is said to have witnessed what happened and told the station’s authorities. Investigators say once Otoshi’s iPod was checked, they found a number of incriminating pictures.
Does this mean that IBM endorses the IPod?"
Link to Original Source
Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group
Required Snark (1702878) writes "A remote control drone operated by an animal rights group was shot down in South Carolina by a group of thwarted hunters.
Steve Hindi, the group president said "his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying." After the shoot was halted, the drone was launched anyway, and at this point it was shot down. "Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out," Hindi said in the release. "As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter." "It is important to note how dangerous this was, as they were shooting toward and into a well-travelled highway," Hindi stated in the release."
Link to Original Source
Sea water can cause uranium polution from fuel rod
Required Snark (1702878) writes "UC Davis researchers have found a mechanism where the sodium in sea water can cause uranium nano-particles to be released from nuclear reactor fuel rods. Normally the uranium oxide compounds composing the rods are very resistant to leaching into water. This could have serious consequences for the Fukushima disaster, since sea water was used for emergency cooling."
Link to Original Source