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Robot Jet Fighter Takes First Flight

bezenek How Many G's Can it Pull? (119 comments)

This plane can potentially fly in scary, unbelievable ways. It is too bad a full demo will give away too much. I wonder what the minimum turning radius is for a plane moving a Mach 2. Exciting!

-Todd

more than 3 years ago
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Why Warriors, Not Geeks, Run US Cyber Command Posts

bezenek Why hire real doctors? (483 comments)

Why do we bother to hire real doctors to work in medical units? Aren't they going to have trouble figuring out whether or not someone was shot? Shouldn't we train military people to operate on wounded soldiers?

Sheesh! This is yet another case of the average person thinking technical people spend years learning what they know and somehow they are not valuable experts the way other specialists are.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Anti-Product Placement For Negative Branding

bezenek Denial of service. (130 comments)

Where is her dumpster?

more than 4 years ago
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Crack the Code In US Cyber Command's Logo

bezenek Re:md5? (380 comments)

Apparently they came up with the idea for the logo "code" before they hired the talent.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Tracking Down Wi-Fi Interference?

bezenek Re:Use your local ham radio club (499 comments)

A quick clarification: The top of the AM dial (around 1500) is 1500kHz, or 1.5MHz. This is not close to the 2400MHz, or 2.4GHz at which WiFi operates.

The ability to identify the origin of the interference using an AM radio relies on the fact that the interference is produced from a source (often an electrical spark or arc) which generates RF noise on the entire spectrum. The spark plugs in car engines are a notorious cause of this sort of interference. If the spark plug wiring in a car is not shielded properly, you will hear a whining sound on an AM radio which changes pitch as the engine RPM changes.

AM radios happen to be easy to find and are very good at "hearing" the noise produced by an arc. If the noise is something like a microwave oven, which produces RF energy only at about 2.4GHz, then the AM radio will not help you find the problem.

I hope this helps to clarify the issues.

-Todd

p.s. As an interesting experiment. If you have WiFi and a microwave oven in your house/apartment, start downloading a large file. Look at the download rate (300kB/sec. or whatever). Then, start the microwave and look at the download rate. Mine drops to about 10-20kB/sec., because the microwave interferes with the WiFi signal.

more than 4 years ago
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Tracking Down Wi-Fi Interference?

bezenek Re:Use your local ham radio club (499 comments)

First try what is suggested by BabaChazz in his comment above and is what most Hams would do to start. Listen for the noise on an AM radio. You do not want FM, as one of the characteristics of FM is to block this noise.

Take your (preferably hand-held) radio and tune it somewhere on the dial where there is no station. Then, you can try moving it around your computer to hear all of the RF interference your motherboard, etc. are giving off. If you cannot hear this noise, something is wrong with the radio--be sure it is set to AM. :-)

Leave the radio on, and you might hear the noise start at the time your WiFi drops. If you do not, the interference is not covering the AM frequencies (an arc will cover everything), and it is probably time to call in a Ham.
It is likely you will hear it.

If you hear it, you can walk around inside and outside your house listening for where the noise gets stronger. Often this will be tracked down to a phone pole or something else.

Once you find it, contact the appropriate person (electric distribution supplier, city, etc.) Convincing someone to fix a problem like this is not always easy.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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3D Displays May Be Hazardous To Young Children

bezenek Maybe They Can Help Correct Strabismus (386 comments)

I know nothing about this other than my own inability to focus on different points without the aid of a stereoptic viewer. Many people can do this, but I cannot.

It would seem that anything which hinders the development of the ability to focus both eyes on a single point could be designed to help train one's eyes to do this.

Hopefully, if this has not already been researched, this issue being in the news will catch the interest of a PhD student with the proper background to look into it.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Tracking Down a Single-Bit RAM Error

bezenek Cosmic Rays Tend to Flip Multiple Bits (277 comments)

Cosmic ray events tend to affect multiple neighboring transistors. For this reason, they tend to affect multiple bits. However, by laying out memory cells so immediate neighbors are from different locations, the ability of single-bit-correction-double-bit-detection (SECDED) methods to detect most events is usually preserved.

The main concern is for structures with no error correction, such as the gates in the processor pipeline. Several research ideas have been put forward. See here (PDF) for a good overview of the issues.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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What US Health Care Needs

bezenek How many different service lines? (584 comments)

Dr. Gawande suggests the "13,600 different service lines [doctors] deliver" is an issue in health care costs. I put forth these comments:

* How many services are listed in the manual which guides the number of hours an auto mechanic is allowed to charge for a repair, e.g., replace spark plugs: 0.75 hours. How many items are in this book?

* How many different services does a software engineer deliver over a year's time?

I suggest the problem is related to control over charges. Car mechanics have a job with similar complexity to what doctors face. Software engineers often face a problem much more complex. (How many "surgeries" require several weeks to solve a single-line bug?)

The control of health care "service" in the US is in the hands of the AMA and the bureaucracies created around hospitals and other facilities. If they were willing to reduce their profit margins (assuming we can eliminate the defaults they see because of uninsured/under-insured patients), we could see significant reductions in general health-care costs.

This is just a thought...

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Second Straight Rocket Failure For South Korea

bezenek Re:Soviet space program (143 comments)

This sounds pretty much like the US space program.

This is not flamebait.

The first attempt at launching a US satellite blew up shortly after launch. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard_TV3

The Explorer program which followed, started with the successful launch of Explorer 1, the first satellite placed by the United States.

The Explorer program has launched about 100 satellites, but 8 of the first 17 failed.

Everyone seems to forget that it took a while to make these launches consistent as we saw (mostly) with the Gemini and Apollo missions.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Second Straight Rocket Failure For South Korea

bezenek Re:Soviet space program (143 comments)

I guess they're just following the Soviet era tried and tested rocket development program. Start by blowing up rockets, and continue until they stop blowing up. Then strap some pilots on top.

This sounds pretty much like the US space program.

It is unfortunate people still have to learn from their mistakes when this has already been done at least twice (CCCP and the US). A person might figure they could afford to hire a couple of engineers who already went through this trial and error.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Google-Backed Wind-Powered Car Goes Faster Than the Wind

bezenek Don't Let Google Get ALL of the Sponsor Credit. (393 comments)

Let us remember that Joby Energy also sponsors this excellent project!

I would also like to add my insight to the previous excellent comments, as this is what allowed me to understand how the car goes faster than the wind:

What is the wind hitting to drive the vehicle forward? Where is the flat spot on the back of the vehicle the wind is pushing against? It is the rear surface of the propeller. The wheels are not driving the propeller to make the car go, they are keeping the relative speed of the air hitting the rear surface of the propeller at the proper speed so the car acts like a sailboat sailing at an angle to the wind.

The fact that this seems counter-intuitive at first makes it a cool problem. With the above, I now feel this makes sense and I have no problem believing it.

I hope this helps other people.

-Todd

p.s. I am a systems architect/software developer available for employment.

more than 4 years ago
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Frank Zappa's Influence On Linux and FOSS Development

bezenek Linux Penguin Born in 1996. (195 comments)

In the early '70s Zappa wrote a song called 'Penguin in Bondage,' an obvious foretelling of the anti-Linux lawsuits and threats from SCO, Microsoft, and other evildoers.

Since Tux came into being in April-May of 1996, it is impossible for Mr. Zappa to have used a penguin reference to suggest anything about Linus in the "early '70s." See: http://www.sjbaker.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_History_of_Tux_the_Linux_Penguin

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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What Scientists Really Think About Religion

bezenek Einstein on Religion (1123 comments)

Some past scientists were in a position where they could speak about religion without fear. Unfortunately, I am not certain that is the case today. Examples from Einstein:

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

I think this one is of interest given our religious-values/anti-socialist Republican party:

One strength of the Communist system ... is that it has some of the characteristics of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion.
(Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years, 1950)

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Data Center Building Boom In Silicon Valley

bezenek Re:I'm not impressed (96 comments)

...and add on dehumidifying on top.

Recommended relative humidity in data centers is a range centered at about 50%. In California, this is going to mean adding moisture if anything.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Data Center Building Boom In Silicon Valley

bezenek Re:A lot of commercial real estate sits empty (96 comments)

Several former office-space buildings are being converted to data centers.

In a regular commute from West San Jose to the Google-plex area in Mountain View I have seen these changes. An existing office building has its windows removed/covered and then a sign goes up showing data center space available or the name of a data warehousing company.

This conversion seems less wasteful as far as materials, but I am not sure how using an existing building compares to building a data-center-specific one for long-term energy efficiencies.

-Todd

more than 4 years ago
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Amazon Kindle Fails First College Test

bezenek Poor Engineering Communication with Management (256 comments)

It is disappointing to see Amazon finding out only now that engineers will want to scribble on pages, highlight items, need color, etc.

Amazon employs hundreds if not thousands of engineers, most if not all of which could have told senior executives this.

Unfortunately, many companies in Silicon Valley are being run by executives who have forgotten their companies were built by engineers, and consulting with them once in a while might be useful.

This is not meant to be flame-bait. It is from personal experience and the experiences of other engineers, e.g., Bob Colwell and the inability of Intel to acknowledge the failure of the Itanium processor line before it wasted billions of dollars and several years of engineering time (read Bob's book The Pentium Chronicles for more detail.)

-Todd

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Another Healthcare Radiation Overdose Problem

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "The New York Times has an article about a linear accelerator-driven pinpoint radiation device (this is not a radiation-source driven device, or Gamma Knife) which radiated four people because of incorrectly placed beam-blocking plates. No one has determined how the error occurred, but it may have been avoided by more careful operators or a more carefully engineered system. The company that makes the device had warned users about the possibility of the treatment data being garbled during transfer between multiple computing devices in the treatment pipeline.

I wonder if we will decide to require certification of software engineers the way we do with engineers who design bridges and electrical systems. It will not eliminate all problems like this, but at least we will have some control over who builds these lifesaving and sometimes life-taking devices.ex"

Link to Original Source
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Law Schools Inflate Grades

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "From the NY Times article:

[Loyola Law School Los Angeles] is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market. ... Students and faculty say they are merely trying to stay competitive with their peer schools, which have more merciful grading curves... [M]any Loyola students are ineligible for coveted clerkships that have strict G.P.A. cutoffs.

The article includes a list of other schools who have changed their grading schemes, including New York University, Georgetown, Golden Gate University,Tulane, UCLA, UC Hastings College of the Law, and Vanderbilt University. Other law schools are eliminating grades for a pass/fail system. These include Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Yale."
Link to Original Source

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BP Documents Changed Risk Assessment

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "The quote from the New York Times article speaks for itself.

In April of this year, BP engineers concluded that the casing was â½ÂÅ"unlikely to be a successful cement job,â½Â according to a document, referring to how the casing would be sealed to prevent gases from escaping up the well. The document also says that the plan for casing the well is â½ÂÅ"unable to fulfill M.M.S. regulations,â½Â referring to the Minerals Management Service. A second version of the same document says â½ÂÅ"It is possible to obtain a successful cement jobâ½Â and â½ÂÅ"It is possible to fulfill M.M.S. regulations.â½Â Andrew Gowers, a BP spokesman, said the second document was produced after further testing had been done.

"

Link to Original Source
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I Should Be Able to Play in the Masters

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "I have been watching the Masters golf tournament on the Web. My limited AT&T 2.5Mb/sec connection gives me an HD-quality view almost as good as cable/broadcast TV.

I see no reason why my Tiger Woods PGA Tour PC game could not let me play along with Tiger's group in the Masters in real time.

This would be very cool!

-Todd"
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How Do I Get a Job Being Given to an H-1B?

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "I have a masters degree in electrical engineering and a masters degree in computer sciences (top-tier research school). I have over 20 years of programming experience. (If you count college courses, I started programming more than 30 years ago.)

I see H-1B applicants with much less knowledge than I do filling jobs. Right now there is an opening as a result of a green card application which I could fill. The position pays very well.

There are three problems:

1. The H-1B candidates in some cases do not know what they need to know to do their jobs--thus I would by default be a better candidate. Here is an example to prove my point: I interviewed an H-1B applicant for a position writing support scripts for Linux systems. It was a struggle to find a question the candidate could answer. One example: Question: Given a directory of text files on a Linux system, show me how you can get a list of the files which contain the word "error." After several tries, I asked the candidate if they were familiar with grep. I never did get an answer to the question. The candidate was hired for the job, but not based on my review.

2. If I apply for a position which has to be advertised before a green card is issued, I burn all of my bridges with the hiring manager who wants to keep the person they already have--otherwise why would they be going through the trouble of applying for a green card. (Remember, the H-1B visa is meant to be a way to hire someone temporarily when there is not someone available with the appropriate knowledge and/or skills. Too keep the person beyond a certain time, a green card must be obtained.) I also probably burn every bridge at the company, since HR is going to have to be involved.

3. If a company hires an H-1B and I know I am better (or as) qualified, there is no one to whom I can complain. I tried this once. I called the Department of Labor, the CIA, and a couple other government organizations. Everyone said there was no one in charge of enforcing the H-1B laws.

So, the problem is, how do I find out about jobs which are being given to H-1Bs which I might be able to do. And, how do I place myself into those positions without upsetting people?

Any suggestions?"
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Would a Seasons Selection in Google Earth Be Cool?

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bezenek (958723) writes "Google Earth seems to always show "summer" pictures.

I have seen aerial pictures of snow drifting into intricate patterns in winter, and colored leaves on trees or drifting on the ground in the fall. I have witnessed streams swelling to rivers in the spring, and wildflowers blossoming across a field as far as the eye can see (and visible from the position at which Google Earth photos are often taken).

I think it would be cool if Google Earth had a "season" selection. What do you think?

-Todd"
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Developer's Cafe/Lounge

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Todd Bezenek writes "When I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, the Computer Sciences Department provided a room of about 300 square feet called the Undergraduates Projects Lab. The lab was stocked with cast-off or donated equipment used by motivated undergraduate students to do some pretty cool things. This lab provided a petri-dish-like environment for creative projects. Several of the students involved in the lab progressed to industry to make significant contributions.

I suggest a chain of labs for the public, like libraries, where developers can commune with others who have similar interests. A developer's cafe will need chairs and benches, high-speed Internet connections, and a "guard" to police the environment. Monitors for laptops and machines for people who do not want to bring laptops might also be included.

These cafes will result in projects of use to venture capitalists, companies interested in advancing their APIs, and industry-supported open-source projects.

For the cost of space and on overseer (hint--I am available), it is possible to create a crucible for new and--in many cases--unexpected projects/results.

If you are interested in this idea, contact me at "bezenek" (at my Google email address).

-Todd"

Link to Original Source

Journals

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I Should Be Able to Play in the Masters

bezenek bezenek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I have been watching the Masters golf tournament on the Web. My limited AT&T 2.5Mb/sec connection gives me an HD-quality view almost as good as cable/broadcast TV.

I see no reason why my Tiger Woods PGA Tour PC game could not let me play along with Tiger's group in the Masters in real time.

This would be very cool!

-Todd

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