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Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

Sqr(twg) Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (219 comments)

will be the new level of warfare.

Yes, and not in a good way.

It used to be the case that you needed experienced, diciplined soldiers to make snipers. If you tried to fight a proxy war by arming insurgents the way the U.S. armed the Mujahideen (al Quaeda), or the way Russia is arming Ukranian separatists, then you got a pretty inefficient force that could only win by war of attrition.

These new weapons will make it much easier for anyone with money (like the IS) to recruit people out of the slums and quickly turn them into effective fighting units.

Also it will increase the efficiency of child soliders, and therfore lead to more recruitment.

about two weeks ago
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Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group

Sqr(twg) Re:Hold on a second.. (126 comments)

You mean:

#1 Set up a website with 1.2 billion accounts.
#2 Have Russian hackers crack your website.
#3 Proclaim: "We have a list of 1.2 billion accounts that were compromised by Russian hackers. Pay us $120 if you want to know if you're affected."
#4 Profit!

about three weeks ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

Sqr(twg) Re:There is no incentive because they PAY for it! (316 comments)

It seems to me that Verison's problem is on the marketing side. Their technical implementation is correct.

This is basic QoS. For a simplified example, let's assume there are only two users (but the network is still congested). One is trying to download a fix amount of data, i.e. watch a certain number of YouTube videos. Let's call her the "limited" user. The other is trying to download as many linux-distribution isos as she possibly can. Let's call her the "unlimited" user. (We assume that the carrier can guess which user is which, based in historical bandwidth use.)

If the carrier throttles both users equally - what some would consider the "fair" solution - then the limited user will have to wait while her videos buffer (but we will assume that she still watches the number of videos that she had decided on). The amount of data that the unlimited user can download equals total network capacity minus the size of the YouTube videos.

If the carrier only throttles the unlimited user, then the limited user gets a better experience, but still watches the same number of videos, i.e. downloads the same amount of data during the period of the congestion. The amount of data that the unlimited user can download still equals total network capacity minus the size of the videos, so she doesn't actually get any negative effect from the "unfair" throttling.

(The above reasoning holds even if the unlimited user is also watching video, if we assume that she has a large enough buffer. But if both users are doing video conferencing, then it would be better to throttle both equally.)

Of course, the best solution would be to upgrade the network to 4G, and this is what the FCC should force the providers to do.

about three weeks ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

Sqr(twg) Re:Well at least they saved the children! (790 comments)

I've found it funny when I've made arguments about Google's ad scanning being something I didn't like, and people always came back with "but it's 100% automated and completely anonymous - no human ever looks at your mail".

I think that argument just got settled with this story - and I won.

No, you did not. This does not condradict Google's claim that no human ever looks at your email. The only thing that has changed is that in addition to being scanned for spam and viruses, attachements are now also being checked against a database of known child porn.

about three weeks ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

Sqr(twg) Re:Hash Collision (790 comments)

If someone won the lottery, was struck by lightning and hit by a meteor on the same day, that would be newsworthy. The likelihood of finding an incidental SHA512 collision is much, much lower than that even if you dedicate every computer on the planet to the search.

So yeah, it would be worthy of publication, and it would indicate that there is a flaw in the hashing algorithm.

about three weeks ago
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

Sqr(twg) Re:No, no unfair advantage at all... (175 comments)

So what? It's sports. Entertainment. For fun.

If there were scores of athletes showing up with amputated limbs, winning everything and distroting the rankings, then this discussion might be worth having. But these are the statistics so far:

    Long jump competitions won by peoploe without prosthetic limbs: A shitload
    Long jump competitions won by peoploe with prosthetic limbs: One

You might argue that he is getting an unfairly large share of the prize money, thus hurting the other athletes, but it is probably the other way around. He's drawing more attention to the sport, hence bringing in more sponsor money, to the benefit of all.

about a month ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

Sqr(twg) Re:Hipsterism at its finest (worst?) (288 comments)

The main way to make datacenters environmentally friendly is to build them near windfarms, and to build more capacity than you need. Then process data in the center where electricity is the cheapest, i.e. where there is an excess of wind at the moment. This increases the profitability of windfarms and leads to more investment.

about a month ago
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Private Data On iOS Devices Not So Private After All

Sqr(twg) So... (101 comments)

If you store sensitive stuff on your iPhone, don't make backups from it onto an insecure/unencrypted computer.

And if you were making backups from anything secure onto anything insecure, it is time to revise your security policy.

about a month ago
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Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

Sqr(twg) Re:weird choice (156 comments)

Battery-electric cars, in theory, actually stabilize a power grid, if the chargers are controlled to charge when electricity is the cheapest on the spot market, i.e. when there is a surplus of electricity.

about a month ago
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Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

Sqr(twg) Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (156 comments)

are you five?

As I wrote in the first sentence of the post you are replying to, I worked for seven years in research and development on fuel cell vehicles. You do the math.

Have you ever even driven a car or owned one?

I've driven a fair number of different vehicles, including prototype fuel cell cars.

You seem hot have no clue about weighing pros and cons or understanding the challenges new tech must overcome.

Unlike you?

You know what? nobody gives a crap! the three important things for hydrogen stations are cost per mile, fuel source, and GHGs. nobody cares about mathematical efficiencies.

Efficiency is the most important factor in determining cost per mile. A car that requires four times as much electricity will have approximately four times the cost per mile. It will also cause four times the green-house gas emissions, assuming that the source of the electricity is the same.

(Protip: If you want to be taken seriously in any kind of scientific argument - Don't say that "nobody cares about mathematical ..." Scientists do care about math.)

you know what people do care about? range and convenience time. you know what's not convenient? recharging for four hours every 20 mins!

Four hours charging for every 20 minutes of driving was over twenty years ago. Today, most electric cars have a range that exceeds what their owners drive on an average day. This means the owner spends 10 seconds per day (one minute per week, assuming that he has Sundays off) plugging in the car when he gets home. The average non-electric car owner spends much more time than that filling up his car. A fuel cell car owner would spend even more time, because hydrogen cannot be transferred as quickly from one tank to another as liquids can.

about a month ago
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Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

Sqr(twg) Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (156 comments)

I worked on fuel cell vehicles for seven years, but quit because I realized there will never be a future in it.

There are lots of reasons, but the main argument is this: It takes about four times as much electricity to power a fuel cell car as a battery-electric car. (Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity at about 50 % efficiency, and making hydrogen from electrolysis has about 50 % efficency, not counting losses in compressing the hydrogen and when tranferring the compressed gas to the car. Batteries can have 95 % efficiency both in charging and discharging.)

You could make hydrogen from natural gas, of course, but the "no fossil fuels" argument goes away, and efficiency is still no advantage over a combustion engine that runs on natural gas directly.

The only advantage a fuel cell vehicle has over a battery-powered one is range, but range is less of an issue whith batteries, because chargers could be everywhere, unlike hydrogen tank stations that have lots of safety issues.

about a month ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

Sqr(twg) Re:Bah (280 comments)

Using a password manager with one strong master password + randomly-generated passwords unique to each website is better.

...if, and only if, the password manager is completely secure in itself.

If the terminal used to access the password manager is compromised, then the attacker gets the master password and thus access to all keys - not just the one that was requested.

In other words, you might have used an insecure computer to log on to slashdot, and the attacker now has your bank login credentials.

about a month and a half ago
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Google's Project Zero Aims To Find Exploits Before Attackers Do

Sqr(twg) Re:Code name "Only our back doors" (62 comments)

You don't have to trust them. Even if they don't point out the vulnerabilities that the NSA use, they will point out vulnerabilities that the Russians or Chinese might use, and that's already better than nothing.

about a month and a half ago
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Fighting Climate Change With Trade

Sqr(twg) Re:Does anyone oppose this? (155 comments)

The tarrifs are a result of the German company SolarWorld's decision in 2012 to use its influence on the US state department to impose tariffs on Chinese exports. The Chinese responded in kind.

Presumably there are still some companies that sell more domestically than they export. The question is then: how much political influence do these companies have.

(If it weren't legal for corporations to buy US politicians and civil servants, the problem would probably have existed in the first place.)

about a month and a half ago
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How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Sqr(twg) Re:If they learn chess on tablets, (128 comments)

Either that, or just poin a webcam at the table so that a remote judge can be contacted when needed.

When I played chess as a kid, we'd often play tournament games without a referee. Both players are required to write down the moves (unless short on time) so the game can be played back afterwards if there's any ambiguity. This approach might not work if one of the players is an asshole, but none of the members of our club was.

The proposals in TFA (brain implants, rfid tags in chess pieces) are stupid beyond belief.

about a month and a half ago
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Insurance Claims Reveal Hidden Electronic Damage From Geomagnetic Storms

Sqr(twg) Obligatory (78 comments)

xkcd

about a month and a half ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

Sqr(twg) Re:consent (130 comments)

[citation needed]. Almost every major website does A/B_testing. Is there a law againt this? (That's not a rethorical question. I actually would like to know.)

about 2 months ago
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Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

Sqr(twg) Re:This is the final nail in the coffin of Fuel Ce (216 comments)

the only reduction in CO2 comes from the centralization of production

...where you can do CO2 sequestration and, theoretically, bring emissions down to zero.

(Other than that, I agree with everything you wrote. I worked in R&D on automotive fuel cells for seven years and quit because I believe there's no future in it. They might have been a good idea when the competition was lead-acid batteries, but not any longer.)

about 2 months ago
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Endorphins Make Tanning Addictive

Sqr(twg) I've seen it. (51 comments)

I can certainly believe that tanning would be addictive. I know some people who just don't seem to be able to stay off the tanning beds. At age 30 they have the skin of 60-year-olds. (Although this is in Sweden, where you only get a couple of hours of natural sunlight per day in the winter, and lack-of-sun depression is probably more common than tanning addiction by orders of magnitude.)

about 2 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

Sqr(twg) Re:Negative accidents (490 comments)

Clicking through to the actual study, I found this quote: "Boise was 150%-252% safer (2.05-2.52 times safer)." Looks 150% correct to me.

about 4 months ago

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