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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Xylaan Re:Unsafe at any speed (above 100 MPH)... (443 comments)

Actually, since energy goes up at the square of velocity, a jump from 100 to 70 is double the impact energy.

Also, getting your car ripped in half after hitting a pole apparently is "normal", in that it happens to many cars. It's unfortunate, but physics isn't your friend in situations like this.

about a month ago

The Great Meteor Grab

Xylaan Re:Putting the cart before the horse. (152 comments)

From the article, however, the regulations that are being discussed are for meteorites on federal lands. From the article:

Courts have long established that meteorites belong to the owner of the surface estate. Therefore, meteorites found on public lands are part of the BLM’s surface estate, belong to the federal government, and must be managed as natural resources in accordance with the FLPMA of 1976."

In this case, I'm thinking that claiming that these changes will somehow apply to asteroids in space is a very long stretch. Especially since they don't apply to the significant volume of privately owned land in this country, let alone the rest of the world.

about 2 years ago

US Appeals Court Upholds Suspect's Right To Refuse Decryption

Xylaan Re:Foregone conclusion? (358 comments)

I think that if they had other evidence that there were encrypted incriminating evidence, such as an email to a third party referring to them, they might have had better luck.

more than 2 years ago

US Appeals Court Upholds Suspect's Right To Refuse Decryption

Xylaan Really? I mean really? (358 comments)

The first link is to a completely different case. Similar story, except that one ruled that the defendant must decrypt their laptop and was heard by the 2nd Circuit. The second link refers to the 11lth Circuit case.

more than 2 years ago

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Xylaan Re:CGI vs actors (239 comments)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within? Or are you talking about where all of the actors performances were done via motion capture? Avatar comes closer to the latter, but obviously isn't entirely done that way.

about 3 years ago

iOS 4 Releases Today

Xylaan Re:Unfortunately (702 comments)

Try reading it again. The pictures you quoted from are the compatible devices, not the incompatible ones.

"The iOS 4 Software Update works with the second- and third-generation iPod touch. Not all features are compatible with all devices."

more than 3 years ago

Sleeping iPhones Send Phantom Data

Xylaan Re:Does it explain the sucky battery life? (248 comments)

Except it shouts "Marco", then expects to hear "Polo" back. If it gets the response, great. Otherwise, it can increase power and try again. It will repeat this until it gets a signal or hits its maximum strength, and gives up.

I know my phone drains much faster when I'm in a poor reception area than when I've got a good signal.

more than 4 years ago

Bank Goofs, and Judge Orders Gmail Account Nuked

Xylaan Re:IMAP (594 comments)

Yes, but if the average layperson consistently sees the legal system deliver what they consider to be unfair judgments, how long do you think the average person will continue to respect said legal system.

more than 4 years ago

Bank Goofs, and Judge Orders Gmail Account Nuked

Xylaan Re:G-Mail? (594 comments)

I suspect that more than a small bunch fell for the 'The real estate market has been doing nothing but going up. Worst case, you just refinance later!' shtick. And that's assuming they really understood the terms of their mortgage.

more than 4 years ago

Wired Writer Disappears, Find Him and Make $5k

Xylaan Re:I could get him in ten minutes. (135 comments)

Simply having the credit card information does not make you an authorized user. Using the information without authorization counts as fraud.

about 5 years ago

Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

Xylaan Re:It's the bueracracy we hate ... (1322 comments)

I think the key is some sort of balance. Absolute dictators are bad, but if someone has to stand for election, then they can at least be voted out of their position. Or fired if they make bad decisions.

This is just an example of it swinging way to far to the process side.

more than 5 years ago

Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

Xylaan It's the bueracracy we hate ... (1322 comments)

... but somehow we keep creating.

The problem is that we don't want to trust people in authority to make decisions, so we come up with a process or committee or something to ensure that one person can't make the hard decisions. But time and time again, it's shown that if no one can make hard decisions, no one will.

And while it's probably going to beat the hell out of my karma for it, I recommend The Death of Common Sense, by Philip K. Howard. It basically goes into examples of how our unwavering belief that a legal processes can sort through the mess impartially causes all sorts of unexpected results.

As soon as the authority to make a decision is lost, how can bad behavior be punished?

more than 5 years ago

US Pentagon Plans For a Spy Blimp

Xylaan Re:Laser (374 comments)

An interesting article, and I hadn't heard of that.

Such a system (air->space or air->air) would probably be sufficient. But even the article mentions "... firing through the dense atmosphere would weaken the beam." Now, the example from the article is describing from flight altitude to a ground target, but the same problem would apply to a ground based laser system.

But, overall, an interesting read. But I suspect an adversary capable of such a laser system would also be capable of shooting it down with more conventional air force weaponry.

more than 5 years ago

US Pentagon Plans For a Spy Blimp

Xylaan Re:Invisible my foot (374 comments)

Well, compare it to say, a 747 (250 feet long, and a cruising altitude of what, 35000 feet)? It subtends an angle of 0.4 degrees as well, but they're not always clearly visible.

The Moon has the advantage of being a significant source of light in addition to its size. Now, I would expect that during certain times of the day (around dawn and dusk), the angle of the sun would be such that the blimp would actually reflect light down to an observer on the ground. In that case, the blimp would fairly obvious.

Plus, if they put radar on it, a hostile government could almost certainly find it by simply by looking for the radar signals being sent out. Active radar systems don't tend to hide very well from people with the technology to detect them.

more than 5 years ago

US Pentagon Plans For a Spy Blimp

Xylaan Re:Laser (374 comments)

It's amazing what 65,000 feet of atmosphere will do to your nice laser. Plus the joy of keeping it focused on one place to allow the heat to build up sufficiently.

more than 5 years ago

1-Click Smacked Down Again, While Reexam Languishes

Xylaan Re:required car analogy (72 comments)

Your analogy really isn't that far off, however, I think it all comes down to the invention in question.

In your example, I think the inventive step is how your car figures out how you're close to it, but does so in a way that is effective with one half of the system required to be low power (the keyfob), and is accurate enough that it doesn't unlock while you're not present, as well as determining that you want it to be unlocked, and you're just not walking around with your keys inside your house (which could trigger it, based on how close you are). A workable, comprehensive, and accurate solution to this could be fairly non-trival.

On the other hand, you're comparing it to the 1-click patent. Now, I think that the one-click is an excellent example of patenting it based on 'while no one has done it before, so it must be inventive'. Remember, when this patent was filed, e-commerce was still relatively new. Businesses were still trying to convince everyone that it was safe to use the internet to buy things. As such, the shopping cart analogues were the most popular.

As part of a shopping cart system, assuming they have some sort of login (which was popular then, and is still quite popular even now), they will have information about the customer. If that customer has purchased from you before, they could even have all of the financial information necessary to place an order. At the time, however, most businesses didn't keep full credit card information on file after a transaction had completed, if for no other reason to avoid potential liability if that information was compromised. But they COULD have easily done so (as the customer had to enter it the previous time they placed an order).

So Amazon's 'inventive' step was to say, hey, we should ask the customer if we can save this information, and then use it next time they order so we don't have to ask again. So their inventive step was storing the financial and address information in a database, and looking it up later. While it hadn't been done before, there wasn't a technical reason, but a social reason. To many technologists, the inventive step seems to be very weak, and shouldn't have passed the muster of 'non-obvious'.

So, your analogy isn't really flawed. Just your choice of the invention is a bit stronger. A slightly closer analogy would be basing opening your door by passing an RFID-enabled keyfob over a sensor which is part of the doorframe. Its range would be only a few inches from the door. Now, that would be closer to the 1-click, as I have such a system where I work where the RFID is embedded in my work ID. As RFID enabled door locks already exist, I would hope it would be difficult to get a patent on an RFID enabled car door lock.

more than 5 years ago

Student Arrested For Classroom Texting

Xylaan Re:Mandated (1246 comments)

I suggest you read the arrest report in its entirety. Basically the officer waited till after class to ask her if she had a phone. After she said no, the officer confirmed with the teacher and two other students who had seen her with the phone. After being confronted with this, she STILL denied it. So the officer arrested her for disorderly conduct for her disrupting class and lying to him.

She then proceeded to lie to the officer regarding the phone number that could be used to contact her parents. After eventually getting in contact (presumably by requesting the information from the school records), her mother was contacted and informed that her daughter would be searched. At that point, the female officer (who had been sent) proceeded to perform the search. Where the phone which belonged to her father was found.

This is not the case of an officer immediately arresting her because she was texting. It was an officer who arrested her after he confirmed that several people had seen her texting despite being asked not to. He even stated that her arrest was partially due to her continued lying.

more than 5 years ago

Student Arrested For Classroom Texting

Xylaan Re:Laaaawwwsuuuuit (1246 comments)

Except the article simply states that the teacher asked her to stop, then she was questioned by the safety officer (see excerpt below). There could have been time between the request to stop texting and the questioning. In fact, as they referred to the safety officer and 'a female cop' separately, there could have been additional time between the request to turn over the phone and the frisking.

That time allows for events such as asking her to leave the room, asking her to hand over the phone, and any response from her to have occurred. Those separate events could have merited both the search and the charge. This story just gives me a vibe that we're not getting the whole story.

The teenager was busted last Wednesday at Wauwatosa East High School after she ignored a teacher's demand that she cease texting. The girl, whose name we have redacted from the below Wauwatosa Police Department report, initially denied having a phone when confronted by a school security officer.

more than 5 years ago


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