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Comments

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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

arth1 Re:May I suggest RTFA? (265 comments)

It's also bullshit. For a weapon this age, there are no patents, and parts can and are supplied by a multitude of vendors. The number of vendors that specialize on supplying parts for firearms that are no longer produced is quite high.
What I see is an unfounded belief that buying long-term non-OEM support will be more expensive than buying support for a new weapon. In the real world, it's the other way around - new weapons are far more expensive to support. Never mind all the other costs of switching.

Mark my words: Five years from now, there are going to be Canadian news articles about how the original budget was blown several times over.

My guess: Someone has been promised kickbacks and incentives, and the choice of a replacement has already been made. It will now be followed by a circus to "determine" that it's the best choice. And it will end up costing the tax payers a fortune. I.e. a smaller version of the F-35 scam. Follow the money trail.

yesterday
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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

arth1 Re:May I suggest (265 comments)

How about the Lee-Enfield .303?
Obsoleting something because it's old is stupid. If they were obsoleting it because of requirements it doesn't fulfill outweighing the requirements the replacement doesn't fulfill, I can see it being a viable option.

But as it is, using the age as an argument is foolish. There's plenty of tech we use that's far older design.

It weight is a problem, do a root cause analysis, asking a few why's.
1: Why is weight a problem now?
1a: Rengers have to carry more other stuff.
1aq: Why?
1b: Rangers are not as fit as before
1bq: Why? ...
and so on. Presumably most of the root causes have nothing to do with the gun.

Only if coming up with a solution that replaces the rifle, and the risks or problems that may cause does not outweigh the current situation should a replacement be even considered.

People still buy factory new Colt 1911s, precisely because it's an old proven design.

yesterday
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Mixing Agile With Waterfall For Code Quality

arth1 Re:Agile is the answer to everything (132 comments)

Having done pretty much what this article is calling for. Dont do it.

Both methodologies work. They are however like oil and water. It allows for sloppy planing with the idea you can change it later. It does not work.

I think the point of TFA was that it does work. And on average, better.

Emulsions can be good.

3 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

arth1 Re:You want an idea? How about we fund NASA? (348 comments)

NASA is terrible. They take too long to do anything,

Yet, they actually do something.
Once companies takes pictures of Neptune or puts a man on the moon, I'll be suitably impressed.
Until then, they're leeches riding on NASAs skirt, playing around in LEO using NASA-derived designs, and not pushing any boundaries except executive bonuses.

3 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

arth1 Re:Begin planning use of Lockheed's fusion power (348 comments)

They do on a shoestring in a month what NASA does for billions in 20 years.

... using NASA designs as the foundation.
If they had to research everything from scratch, they would go nowhere. It wasn't a public company that sent up the first space vessel, nor the first satellite, nor the first manned spacecraft, nor the first satellite, nor the first interplanetary vessel, nor the first manned trip to another world, nor.... Catch my drift?

Private enterprises are good at cashing in money on other people's work. But they seldom push the envelope or break boundaries.

3 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

arth1 Re:How about... (348 comments)

No kidding. First manage one presidential term without killing anyone in other countries, and then consider diverting resources to lofty goals.

And why waste money on even collecting ideas? It's not like the republicans are going allow a massive NASA budget increase anyhow, unless it's weaponized.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

arth1 Re:Are you patenting software? (224 comments)

If you want to do the ethically right thing, don't buy yourself in any deeper. Don't bring them up to your employer, and don't try to charge them extra money when you write code for them that uses the math concepts that you've hoarded for yourself.

Don't use the patented implementation at all, no matter how tempting or whether you do it for free. If your employer finds out that you have used tech that you hold the patents to, the likely outcome is an immediate termination and a defensive lawsuit against you.
They can't afford the risk of you suing them.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

arth1 Re:You guessed it: It depends (224 comments)

It's worse than that. If the company you apply for a job at has any interest in the patents, chances are that they will not offer you a job.
The problem is that you selling/licensing patents to them while an employee will easily be seen as a conflict of interest.

If they want you and the patents, I believe they may require you to sign over any and all IP to them as terms of employment, compensated by a signing bonus.

4 days ago
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Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights

arth1 What I want to know (177 comments)

Dear Florian,

What can we do to make you go away?

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

Science is never rewritten. It's slowly added to and amended, but the reason it's never going to be rewritten is that it demonstrably works. Otherwise it wouldn't be, you know, called science.

Science has been rewritten numerous times.
The most known examples are general relativity and quantum mechanics.
With GR, pretty much every single formula of Newtonian physics became obsolete and wrong overnight.
With QM, our whole perspective on a baryonic universe changed.

Scientific models and theories are invalidated and replaced as we come up with new explanations that better fit the observed. That is what science is. Static is the one thing it isn't.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

Sorry, but no - you need to read the paper better, because you're jumping to conclusions that the paper does not support.
Rossi did not only provide the test cylinders. He provided the pumps, control boxes, cabling and pretty much everything except the meters.
Just like a stage magician provides everything except the eyes.

And much more telling, the test run and real run are not comparable because of one factor that was introduced in the real run - Rossi himself.
There are so many ways he could have turned on an electric power source while supervising the insertion and extraction with his fingers, and rigged it so this power drain would not show up on the meters.
Especially since he provided all the cabling and physically touching connections through which surplus power could be delivered without showing up on the meters.

The scientists here broke an obvious rule of measuring - when someone else delivers something to be measured, you have to do the measurement outside all the parts of the system that is delivered. Not inside, because that inserts the experiment into the chain of trust.

And it should be obvious, but you don't let outsiders be present during any part of the experiment. Especially not the person who provided the equipment, and absolutely not letting the person touch and control parts of the experiment. That's tainted as fuck.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

They didn't use just one "watt-meter", but two.

That should ring a warning bell, because it makes it easier to conduct (no pun intended) electric trickery.

You have two cables, each with a power meter clamped on.
Each cable has three wires. Two form a closed circuit, and the power consumption shows up on the meter. The third forms a closed circuit with the third wire from the other cable. Neither meter shows this current.

Also, power can be supplied in other ways, like through the scaffolding, through inductance, and many other ways.

You need to measure the whole system, and not only the part you think is relevant. Unfortunately, but predictably, no such measurements were done,

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

RTFP (Read The Fine Paper). They claim they DID measure input power themselves.

On cabling supplied by the magician. They seem to have taken Rossi's word for (a) the cables only providing DC and (b) not having any third conductor with the closed loop only being through two different cables.

And they did not measure the power of the entire system, including all the surrounding equipment. Which is what you really want to do with any over-parity claims. Every bit has to be accounted for, not just what appears to be the power source.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Any suffiently advanced tech... (972 comments)

Well, yeah, all naturally occurring non-hydrogen is a result of fusion.

Not true. Around 85% of the helium in the universe comes from the Big Bang, and only 15% has (so far, by our clock) been created by fusion. For elements heavier than lithium, it holds true[*], but the first three elements also coalesced directly from the baryon soup.

[*] For practical purposes. All elements and isotopes were produced directly during big bang, but for all but the first three, the ratio and amounts were so small that they can be disregarded. Not for Helium, though.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

Converting natural nickel to nickel 62 is a bit outside the magician's domain.

No, sleight of hand is well inside a magician's domain.
Rossi was present and operating the experiment both when the "fuel" was inserted and removed.

This is probably one of the oldest cons in the book. Alchemists "produced" gold from lead, and fooled princes and kings.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

As I understand it, it produces heat. Allegedly it produces more heat than can be accounted for by the electrical input.

But we don't know what the electrical input is. Rossi sets the stage, not the scientists who "verify" it. As long as Rossi provides all the outside equipment and power to run the show, there's no assurance that he doesn't somehow feed power from the outside.

Why won't he let others set up the tests and location, and he only providing the power generator? The answer seems pretty obvious, but then again, there's a venture capitalist born every minute...

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

Either it makes economical sense or it doesn't. If the nickel costs more than the energy that can be produced from it, then there's no sense in any further pursuit of this "idea".

You're wrong here. If this were a viable method of creating energy, even if horribly expensive, it would have enormous scientific and economical ramifications.
It would be a viable energy source in situations where you need power without being able to use a nuclear power source, price be damned. A drone you don't have to refill for months? Space probes and landers that don't need solar panels or nuclear power plants? Emergency power sources for important servers?
There would be a ton of applications, not to say anything about rewriting science and opening up a lot of new doors.

But, unfortunately, it's looks lie the same old con in new and improved wrapping. The earlier demonstrations by Rossi were exposed as fake (like when the "fusion" produced apparently produced copper in the same ratio of isotopes as naturally occurring copper, and not what a fusion process would produce). So why should we think that this one isn't a scam, and that he's just adjusted the end product to better fit his model?

I wish we could check the money trail, and find out whether he has bought some very expensive copper and nickel isotopes that his reaction allegedly produce.
But I'm sure the believers would have an explanation for that too - any explanation except that they've been conned.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

The devices are fairly small, so it's easy to isolate them from any conceivable unknown energy input. Electricity input can easily be monitored. Output can easily be monitored. If you have done a careful job of isolation, and the output over time is more than the same amount of mass could produce chemically (i.e., even a super-powered chemical battery), then you have a nuclear reaction. It's that simple.

No, input cannot easily be monitored, unless someone trusted to be impartial can provide and set up the lines.
You can have two different power lines going to the device, with each of them in addition to the two normal wires also has a third. The hidden wire is [+] in one wire and [-] on the other. The meters you clamp on to each of the cables will show a low current, not detecting the real power source.
And Rossi needs multiple low-power cables, and won't let others provide the equipment.

It isn't as though Rossi had one bolted to a table and wouldn't let anyone under the table to look.

Well, yes, that's exactly what it's like. The chain of custody is compromised, in that he does not allow the test to be set up in a 3rd party controlled environment, and doesn't allow them to replace any of the outside equipment that isn't part of the "trade secret" core.

If this was legit, Andrea Rossi could seal a unit, and send it to independent testing along with instructions for how to test it. It would be reproducible, and he would still keep his trade secrets. But he has refused this.

about a week ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

arth1 Re:Hoax (972 comments)

Except that it allegedly needs a very expensive isotope of nickel, which costs far more than the cost of the electricity produced. Thus he needs money!

To me and many others, it looks like a scam, all the same, from someone with a long history of selling fantastic claims.

about a week ago
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Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

arth1 Re:For those who said "No need to panic" (415 comments)

I wasn't playing semantics games. i just immediately understood what the GP meant, unlike you.

(But he was also wrong - this is disregarding the two simultaneous cases we had last month in Atlanta. The score now is 4 confirmed cases, 3 of them imported cases, one death, which may rise to two. Plus the possible case in Boston, but at this point I think it's more likely to be a case of hysteria than Ebola.)

about a week ago

Submissions

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Blog pioneer WELL close to closing

arth1 arth1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arth1 (260657) writes "One of the first Internet communities outside Usenet, The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) is in dire waters. The owners, Salon, have laid off the entire staff, and are looking for buyers.

The WELL started out as a BBS-like entity, and proceeded through telnet to also support web and e-mail. Its web interface may seem dated by today's standards, but it works quite WELL, and was an influence on many later online communities, including Slashdot.

Subscribers received an e-mail from Salon Media Group's CEO Cindy Jeffers, stating:
"[....]as part of the company’s review of its strategic objectives, we have determined that The WELL no longer aligns with our business plans and accordingly we are exploring transferring The WELL to new management."

This came as a surprise to the employees. Gail Williams, one of the (former) employees wrote in a newsletter:

"On May 30, 2012, the community department at Salon was disbanded, and the three employees who had been working from 30% to 100% on running The WELL were laid off. We were shocked, of course."

Now is the time to make an offer to save this historic landmark on the Internet."

Link to Original Source
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arth1 arth1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

arth1 (260657) writes "From the Bay City news wire:

"A friend of Nina Reiser, an Oakland woman police believe was murdered, has helped set up an education fund for her two young children.

Ellen Doren said people who want to contribute to the fund should make out checks to "Education Fund for Rory and Nio Reiser" and send them to Education Fund for Rory and Nio Reiser, 6114 LaSalle Ave #127,Oakland, CA 94611."


Sounds like a good idea; orphan kids are stuff that matter."

Journals

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Letter frequencies in URLs

arth1 arth1 writes  |  about a year ago

Doing some maintenance on a few squid cache servers, I decided to look into the letter frequency distributions for URLs, and how it matches normal written text.
Four caches were scanned for the URLs of currently cached content only, constituting around 1.5 million URLs.

In short, the results have some of the same characteristics as normal text, but with notable exceptions. You don't get an etaoin shrdlu; there are a lot of h, t, p, colons and slashes in URLs which skew the results. I'm also surprised that w scored so low, given all the URLs that start with www.

If anyone else finds a use for this, here is the data. Each character in the URL is followed by the number of times it was used in each cache, plus the total for all four caches.

/: 83198 130244 3028097 2929538 6171077
t: 73026 99729 2727455 2641930 5542140
e: 52801 95537 1746624 1753865 3648827
.: 35317 60175 1478231 1467006 3040729
o: 40941 86873 1423124 1448453 2999391
a: 43075 72450 1408451 1384211 2908187
c: 36078 64921 1308435 1295986 2705420
s: 41946 76684 1251987 1278493 2649110
p: 28248 44907 1214805 1190698 2478658
m: 29609 45768 1168769 1195505 2439651
h: 22543 41992 1029463 1019494 2113492
i: 37846 58586 974977 994693 2066102
n: 30006 51596 815477 795344 1692423
r: 26958 53239 801514 774606 1656317
g: 23689 57734 666533 790131 1538087
d: 23304 36637 746244 697523 1503708
:: 15442 27059 639115 649013 1330629
w: 25563 41061 622672 629215 1318511
1: 9697 12580 577523 561429 1161229
l: 21855 32824 560110 542960 1157749
2: 9890 13516 492565 514385 1030356
u: 11878 15246 440808 431176 899108
0: 10333 13106 404229 445998 873666
v: 7450 8415 328991 292590 637446
b: 9980 26743 280533 285767 603023
3: 6296 6905 299391 272352 584944
f: 9866 25830 265685 266037 567418
4: 4738 5931 273161 244104 527934
k: 4202 5641 235501 230456 475800
5: 5957 6920 212941 235172 460990
7: 6497 7333 230677 200956 445463
9: 4327 5215 206613 195295 411450
8: 5363 6697 210689 178565 401314
6: 5761 6487 209092 175203 396543
x: 3853 5755 168401 144265 322274
-: 3516 11325 124398 133481 272720
y: 4348 5272 114803 96971 221394
_: 2301 2683 87749 80901 173634
j: 4436 5058 89043 72567 171104
=: 1555 1437 37342 35214 75548
q: 1494 1538 32910 37861 73803
z: 741 907 29563 30037 61248
,: 3282 2848 21099 14688 41917
&: 493 413 12558 9222 22686
%: 220 460 9640 11420 21740
;: 2878 2254 8281 8281 21694
?: 322 294 4796 9264 14676
+: 45 35 1333 1758 3171
~: 31 7 996 735 1769
$: 0 0 425 670 1095
^: 6 0 420 228 654
*: 27 10 187 188 412
!: 0 2 282 122 406
[: 0 0 292 23 315
]: 0 0 272 23 295
|: 8 8 77 167 260
@: 10 0 113 38 161
(: 0 0 75 55 130
): 0 0 69 55 124
{: 0 0 75 0 75
\: 0 0 6 4 10
': 0 0 1 1 2

Does it have any practical use?
Perhaps. In proxy.pac files, a common method of load balancing based on URLs, known as the Sharp Superproxy script, is to sum the ASCII values of the cache entries, and mod it by the number of servers, to pick a server to use. .pac files are javascript, and javascript does not have an easy method to return the ascii value for a character. So what's generally used is a function like:

function atoi(charstring) {
    if (charstring=="a") return 0x61; if (charstring=="b") return 0x62;
    if (charstring=="c") return 0x63; if (charstring=="d") return 0x64;
//.....
}

This can be speeded up by ordering the list in the order of frequency, starting with "/", "t", "e", ".", "o", "a" - just moving those few to the front, reduces the latency of the script significantly.

Also, hashing in URL history handling can be sped up if the most prevalent buckets are created. This could also be useful for other URL collections, like AV software URL matching. I am unaware of any that work directly with character based lookups, but it is certainly one way to do it.

Other uses?
In pen testing, having a frequency table like this can greatly aid in URL discovery speed.

But all in all, it was a fun exercise. Note that the variations may be great, especially for the bottom half of the list. Also note that the low count for the letter 'x' in the URLs might not match your users.

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Slashdot clandestinely scanning its users

arth1 arth1 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I just discovered something I'm not sure I like.

Whenever I post something to slashdot, slashdot connects back to port 80 on the machine I post from, looking for an open proxy on port 80.
This isn't behavior I really like to see. It's unsolicited, and more to the point, it takes advantage of a local firewall possibly being temporarily open for traffic FROM an address for a short while after connecting TO it.
There might be a "good cause", like collecting a list of open proxies for the poor guy behind the Great Firewall of China or something similar, but it's still unsolicted, clandestine and not documented.

Here are a couple of web log entries showing this:
216.34.181.45 - - [10/Sep/2008:15:47:47 -0400] "GET http://news.slashdot.org/ok.txt HTTP/1.0" 404 271 "-" "libwww-perl/5.812"
216.34.181.45 - - [10/Sep/2008:20:32:18 -0400] "GET http://mobile.slashdot.org/ok.txt HTTP/1.0" 404 273 "-" "libwww-perl/5.812"

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