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Comments

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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

Solozerk Re:New, or just adapted from a story? (89 comments)

They didn't - they were 'simple' water collectors (such as, I think, already exist), providing a small amount of clean water at dawn but not generating any energy in the process.
This tech, however, would be a nice one to power the Fremen's stillsuits in the same universe - providing additional water from the atmosphere while at the same time powering the various pumps and recycling tech inside of the suit :-) though if I remember correctly Herbert described those as powered by the movements of the user.

about a month and a half ago
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TrueCrypt Website Says To Switch To BitLocker

Solozerk Re:I'll ask... (566 comments)

It's only a diff of the new fishy 7.2 changes. You can grab the source on the archlinux FTP though.
Presumably the guys in charge of the public crowd-funded audit could also provide a version of the source that would be deemed "trusted" by most people (and those that have already downloaded the source previously can offer confirmation).

about 3 months ago
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Gen. Keith Alexander On Metadata, Snowden, and the NSA: "We're At Greater Risk"

Solozerk Re:probabilities? (238 comments)

Leaving out the value part is where the system broke down.

What's the value all of the US's cities ? all the buildings, the infrastructure, the work of arts, the land itself (and its capacity to provide food, minerals and resources in general) ? for that matter, what's the value of the people in the US - builders, farmers, doctors, scientists ?

This is what the currency is backed by: the value of the country itself. The US government represent all the people in the US and all those valuable things - land, buildings, etc.... It emits currency and pays with it; that says to the people accepting the currency: yes, we represent all those valuable things, and worst case scenario if we cannot pay you back then we have collaterals - you can take a bit of land instead, or our scientists will work on your project for N years, etc... and it will sure help you more than some gold.

It's not perfect but it sure seems to me that it makes more sense than backing the currency with big lumps of yellow metal with relatively limited uses.

about 3 months ago
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Hulu Blocks VPN Users

Solozerk Re:Not their fault (259 comments)

I'm very okay with this kind of "freedom" proceeding slowly, even taking a couple steps backwards once in a while, because the advancements that it does bring are completely worth it when compared to not-100%-perfect ethical mores.

I'm not - why should we settle for small steps, when we already have the capability to make giant ones ? where would we be right now as a species if even half the money spent in DRM schemes/IP protection stuff had been thrown in global network deployment (there are still large parts of the planet's population with no access to the Internet, or even no electricity) and putting online courses/teaching material/culture online ?

Technology advances the fastest when people with LOTS of money have their way

While the rest of your post seems pretty reasonable and possibly less utopic/optimistic than mine, this I strongly doubt. It seems to me that the very resources inequalities we're seeing currently - the very fact that some people posess thousands times more money/power than most - is a major part of such an artificially enforced scarcity. It's just concentration of power, and people in power wanting to keep that power.

Maybe I'm just too young / not cynical (call it realistic if you will) enough; that being said, once again, having the capability to diffuse culture massively and willingly limiting that capability seems like a form of madness to me. Makes you wonder what'll happen when material, real-life scarcity will no longer be an issue (and I personally think we're not that far of).

about 4 months ago
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Hulu Blocks VPN Users

Solozerk Re:Not their fault (259 comments)

Do you /really/ think devs in the industry would implement DRM if we didn't have to? It's a pain in the neck to code and it keeps some of our customer base from using it at all! Half of us are Linux users at home and are just as pissed as you are when things won't work with it.

Then leave. Find a job elsewhere. Or even better: spend some of your free time writing and publishing (anonymously, of course - use tor) DRM-defeating software based on what you implemented at work - you already have the tech details since you implemented the DRM stuff (or just publish the tech details anonymously and let others implement the stuff). They can't continue playing this kind of games if no developer are helping them.

And I don't think doing so would stop the release or funding of entertainment stuff, either (be it games, movies or music); people have been making music & art for thousand of years without that kind of shit, and people are genuinely ready to pay for content if it's quality, easily available, and reasonably priced; even if it's available elsewhere for free. They are also ready to pay to finance that kind of development even when a release is not certain (look at the many successful crowdfunded projects). It would certainly decrease the amount of shitty games/movies created, though.

The very fact that we have the technological capability to massively distribute culture at a very low cost and we don't because of greed/artificially enforced scarcity is truly depressing.

about 4 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

Solozerk Re:"Robots" will never be as smart as a human. (294 comments)

It's all just matter and energy.

Indeed - very few (sane) people dispute the fact that consciousness can be generated with non-biological hardware (using silicon). We know that consciousness is the result of matter and energy - a more interesting question IMO, is: matter down to what level ? does the brain only use "classical" physics principles to generate consciousness, or does it somehow exploit quantum principles (we certainly know that natural selection has made use of those in some cases - see photosynthesis).
Maybe the brain requires quantum mechanics for randomness (where does a new, original idea come from ? it may simply be extremely complex recombination of previously seen concepts and ideal; but then again, it may include a true source of randomness), in which case the only thing required to create consciousness on a silicon medium would be a "true" source of randomness. Such a source of randomness in the brain could also come, for example, from the interaction between cosmic rays and particles in the brain - an interaction we actively correct for in RAM using error checks.

Then again, maybe the brain requires quantum mechanics for something far more fundamental needed for consciousness - in which case the only efficient way to create an artificial consciousness may be to use a quantum computer, and using a "classical" computer may not be possible.

In any case, given the current rate of progress, I'd be very wary of making any assumption about the progress of tech and research, in that domain or any other - time will tell :-) I certainly hope to see the first artificial consciousness in my lifetime, though.

about 6 months ago
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CERN Wants a New Particle Collider Three Times Larger Than the LHC

Solozerk Re: Sounds great (238 comments)

Same here - used to get them very rarely but lately I seem to get about 10 a week. Weird indeed.
And before the conspiracy theory kicks in: I've been up modding anti-beta posts like crazy, don't use beta, and I still just got five more of them.

about 7 months ago
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Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination

Solozerk Re:QA (1038 comments)

Wish I had mod points for you.
There is no crime, no matter how grave, that justifies capital punishment. Beyond the obvious (yes, obvious - a society killing criminals has no right to call itself civilized) moral reasons, there is the fact that it has been proven time and time again that capital punishment does nothing to deter crime. At all. Beyond this, there is also the fact that the person you're killing might very well be innocent - no court is perfect.

Most of the comments on this story are really depressing - it reminds me of a quote (from, I think, Henry James):

"America Is the Only Country That Went from Barbarism to Decadence Without Civilization In Between"

On a related subject, I'm personally against the very idea of prison - here too, it has been proven time and time again to actually increase criminality instead of reducing it. However, I don't think there is a better system right now, although I believe being forced to home residence with an electronic ankle collar is a step in the right direction - it should IMO be the only option for non-violent crimes, never prison. For violent crimes prison is probably the best thing we have right now, but in that case it should be an open prison, similar to (I think) some in Scandinavia - a prison that is more like an isolated town where you are free to move about and work and have relative comfort. Something truly better than the shitholes we have right now, a "prison" that would actually improve the chances of the inmates being rehabilitated instead of being pushed even more towards crime.

Eventually, I'm hoping technological advances will provide better alternatives (something akin to Iain M Banks' slapdrones, for examples).

about 7 months ago
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Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta

Solozerk Re:Why nVidia only? (211 comments)

I think not - I may be wrong, but the last time I tried to use a proprietary ATI driver under Xorg it tended to have a lot of bugs - like for example, my resolution had to be a multiple of 16 or 32 (can't remember which) in order to enable anti-aliasing.
It's that kind of shit that made me look for a nvidia card on all my new laptops and desktops in the future - nvidia might not opensource their drivers, but at least they work under xorg, and they also offer proper CUDA support for the same (used it for mining LTC at the time).

Then again, I had a surprise with my latest laptop - it uses Optimus: a "new technology" that includes an on-motherboard intel chipset for common graphics as well as a real nvidia GPU for gaming, the later being used only for graphics-intensive stuff. Sounds like a good idea (especially for battery consumption), but almost no official support for Linux systems. Thanks christ for Bumblebee (http://bumblebee-project.org/) - an attempt at Linux support for Optimus. It requires you to run games and the likes through a wrapper that runs a separate framebuffer using the GPU while running an intel-based Xorg. It works pretty well, but still, it's more a hack than a real support for Optimus.

about 9 months ago
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JetBlue Launches Satellite-Based Inflight Wi-Fi

Solozerk Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (79 comments)

Why should we be forced to ?
Don't get me wrong, I usually sleep or read entertainment stuff (recently for me: either Pratchett or Iain M Banks - I heartily recommend his excellent Culture cycle, BTW) on airplanes, but what this is about is giving people choice in the matter. If you want to relax and "enjoy the peace and quiet", fine ! if you want to connect to the global planetary network, be it for work reasons or entertainment too, you should be given the choice.

I get what you're saying - but you can't say to people they *have* to relax just because they're traveling. I've co-founded and currently lead a small computer sciences startup and given the choice, I'd much prefer to read or sleep when I'm in an airplane. However, there were several times when I *had* to work (in my current job as well as the previous, more traditional / employed one) during travel to make sure I was ready upon arriving, just because I didn't have time before that to do it

Basically, what I'm saying here is: the more choice people have, the better. They might use the network to read their favorite news site (slashdot or some twitter feeds or other), or they might use the network to work, or they might simply relax using an old-fashioned book. The point is, if you add Internet connectivity to your flight, you are simply giving them more choice in the matter, which is good in my book.

about 9 months ago
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Evidence of water vapor venting off Europa

Solozerk Dupe (1 comments)

Dupe, there's already another (better I think) submission. Didn't see it, sorry !

about 9 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Solozerk Re:Jackpot (617 comments)

See, there's your problem right there. Just because they have lots of money, doesn't mean it's okay for you to defraud them

When the difference is so unbelievably huge, for me it does mean it's okay. If and when large corporations are taxed the same way I am, and tax loopholes are made unlawful, and in general if and when the insane income disparity is fixed (I'm not holding my breath), then I might reconsider that position.
Also, it's not like I actually abused their mistake - I might've ordered 10 covers on that third order so that I could resell the readers on ebay. I did not. As I said, I feel no guilt over this. I get your point of view, though, but I consider that in a sane society no person should ever hold hundreds of times the wealth of the poorest one in the same society. That I find very wrong.

about 9 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Solozerk Re:Jackpot (617 comments)

Happened more than once, and I do signal the error and give the money back ;-)
Mostly because in that case it's the clerk that it will impact, not the shop (although I do the same for the small shop owner next to my flat).

I think most people do, too - either for the same reason or because there's an actual human being in front of you (which makes it very different psychologically than ordering from an automated system).

about 9 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Solozerk Re:Jackpot (617 comments)

Well, you're a better guy than me then, I guess :-)
That being said, the online store in question is very large (first or second largest in France I think), has a reputation for screwing customers when it comes to warranty/customer service, and has repeatedly been highlighted in the media for cutting their workforce while having record profits.

Given all that, I care little for their ~540 euros loss. Had it been a smaller store, I would certainly have pointed the mistake (but even then, I might not have sent the product back, unless it was a very small shop).

about 9 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Solozerk Re:Jackpot (617 comments)

Forgot to say that this was in the EU - we were in the UK at the time, ordering from a French online store.

about 9 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Solozerk Re:Jackpot (617 comments)

No idea either - however, something close happened to me a few years ago.
I ordered an e-ink ebook reader (for 200+ euros) as well as a cover (~20 euros) for the same. A few days later, package arrives: there were two ebook readers in it, no cover at all. I said to myself "lucky ! they made a mistake", did not tell the online store they did (it was a large, national one - I have no guilt over this), and proceeded to order two covers on the same store for the two readers I now possessed.
A few days later, package arrives, contains two other ebook readers. At that point I thought "what the hell", and ordered four covers, one for each of the readers, half expecting four new readers to arrive. This time however, they had fixed the mistake, and I received the product I ordered - the four covers. At that point, me and my flatmates (there were four of us) each had a reader and a cover to go with it anyway.

Frankly, I expected them to at least contact us or use legal action, but the only thing that happened is that we received a phone call with a weird guy asking us "did you order something online recently ?". We simply asked who he was and he answered "I can't tell you that", at which point we simply hung up. Never heard from them again.
This suggests to me that since they made the mistake, they weren't allowed to try and get the products back - I could be wrong though, and I was overseas from said online store at the time, so they may simply have considered that legal action in another country would simply cost them too much.

about 9 months ago
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FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

Solozerk Re:This app never seemed necessary (187 comments)

The "built-in" torch function you're talking about in CM is an app. It's open source - see here: https://github.com/CyanogenMod/android_packages_apps_Torch .

You make it an app because it makes no sense to integrate such a feature directly in the OS/ROM - it would take longer, and that way you can update it and have additional features (morse code flashing, for example).

What baffles me is why people would install an app named "Brightest Flashlight Free" (name sounds like a moron-magnet), which probably require network access and include ads, when there are tens of ads-less Open-Source alternatives in the Google market as well as outside it.

about 9 months ago
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RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

Solozerk Re:Already done in Bitcoin (287 comments)

There are several tumblers existing for exactly this purpose. See for example: http://bitcoinfog.com/
I do not know whether or not they did indeed attract the attention of law enforcement, but since they are running as a tor hidden service and such a tumbler is pretty easy to code/deploy (meaning any such service taken down would be pretty assuredly replaced by 10 others the next day), it is unlikely LE could do anything about it.

about 9 months ago
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Google Wants To Help You Tiptoe Around the NSA & the Great Firewall of China

Solozerk Re:A little late to the party... (140 comments)

Google enabling SSL may be privacy-relevant when using an open wireless network or to prevent wiretaps from other countries but it does not protect you from the NSA listening in on your traffic, since they force Google to provide all the private keys.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Evidence of water vapor venting off Europa

Solozerk Solozerk writes  |  about 9 months ago

Solozerk (1003785) writes "NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface.
Previous scientific findings from other sources already point to the existence of an ocean located under Europa's icy crust. Researchers are not yet fully certain whether the detected water vapor is generated by erupting water plumes on the surface, but they are confident this is the most likely explanation."

Link to Original Source
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Independent, third-party testing of Rossi's cold fusion device reports success

Solozerk Solozerk writes  |  about a year ago

Solozerk (1003785) writes "Intalian inventor Andrea Rossi's alleged cold fusion reactor has been mentionned on slashdot previously. Up until now, reports have been limited to unsupported claims by Rossi himself that he indeed had a working reactor capable of producing ground-breaking amounts of energy through an unknown reaction.
However, a third-party independant report has now been published (arxiv link) that appears to support Rossi's claims and describes his "reactor" as being "one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources". A Forbes article has also been published on the subject. What do Slashdot readers think ? is Rossi's device actually real — and if so, does it has the potential to change the world ?"

Link to Original Source

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