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Yahoo Issues Its First Transparency Report

bryanandaimee Why not publish all the numbers? (77 comments)

It's just metadata.

In fact tell us who requested data and which users data was requested. It's just metadata. As long as we don't know what the actual user data is then there can't be any harm in it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

1 year,23 days
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Internet.org: Altruistic, Or the Ultimate In Cynicism?

bryanandaimee Re:Or both? (174 comments)

I dissagree. Altruism itself is by definition not a profit motive, but only a very simple robot or a computer could possibly be driven by a single pure motivation (seek light, or some such.). I am always motivated by multiple things. Greed, desire to do good, desire to be seen doing good, laziness, boredom, desire to learn something new, fun seeking, thrill seeking, etc. all play a part in what I choose to do at any one moment. Even if it's 90% profit motive and 10% charitable motive, perhaps the project would have been ignored without that other 10%. And even that is too simplistic. If they are even remotely human I would guess you could easily add in, desire to be admired, desire to solve a difficult problem, ego, adventure, and a long list of other motivations for this single project alone.

about a year ago
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Internet.org: Altruistic, Or the Ultimate In Cynicism?

bryanandaimee Or both? (174 comments)

I'm not sure why we need to split the entire world into a series of false dichotomies. Couldn't they be altruistic and at the same time motivated by profit? What is the point of the constant adversarial split for every stupid little issue? Is Slashdot interested in news for nerds for the purpose of enlightening its user base or is it simply a money hungry capitalistic shill for the corporate powers that be?

about a year ago
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The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2)

bryanandaimee Again?! (155 comments)

I thought this subject was dead yesterday when the first story was published. How is it still viable? Why is it still kicking? Aren't we just beating a dead horse at this point? Why oh why won't it die!?

about a year ago
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The Secret Effort To Clean Up a Former Soviet Nuclear Test Site

bryanandaimee Original article worth a read (74 comments)

Reading the summary I thought "No big deal, so some contaminated dirt is out there and someone might refine it for a few grams of plutonium residue."

But then I decided to read the article. It was slashdotted of course so I went on Google and found the article at a non-slashdotted site. (I know, not really the slashdot way.) All I can say is, HOLY PLUTONIUM Batman! Not residue from tests, but hundreds of pounds of plutonium metal in useable form. Enough for dozens of nuclear bombs. And they capped it and left it there! And now they are telling the world where it is. I'm speechless. (Other than the preceding text of course.)

about a year ago
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$375,000 Lab-Grown Beef Burger To Debut On Monday

bryanandaimee Re:Beats meat (221 comments)

Yes, and I think it was missunderstood. I should have gone for something more obvious. How about

Scientist spends $375,000 beating meat in his lab. He says it's cultured.

or

Scientist spends $375,000 trying to beat meat in his lab.

about a year ago
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$375,000 Lab-Grown Beef Burger To Debut On Monday

bryanandaimee Beats meat (221 comments)

Scientist says you can't beat meat. Now that's cultured!

about a year ago
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Study Finds 3D Printers Pay For Themselves In Under a Year

bryanandaimee Missing the point (322 comments)

The authors seem to be entirely missing the point. 3D printers are for prototyping stuff that isn't already sold at the dollar store. Additionally they are useful for making replacement parts that are not available or only available as part of a larger assembly. For me the list currently includes:
Servo brackets for a 2DOF Quadruped
Replacement spacers for a trampoline safety net
Lead foil holders for a linear accelerator
Wall hook to hang a bow
Handle for a dead bolt lock
case for a raspberry pi
thermometer holder for a water phantom
ion chamber clamp for a water phantom

Has it paid for itself? No. Is that why you bought a 2D printer? Or did you buy one because it does useful stuff like print out recipes n stuff. Did you buy that compound miter saw after a careful calculation of payback time, or did you just buy one because it helps you do/build fun stuff. Do you buy a mill or cnc cutter based on time to payback? For most of us I would guess the answer is no. We buy these tools because they fit in with our hobbies and interests. The "usefulness" and "savings" are just arguments we use to get the significant other to buy into the purchase. (And he/she doesn't really believe you, but goes along anyway.)

about a year ago
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A Year of Linux Desktop At Westcliff High School

bryanandaimee Re:Think of the children (283 comments)

Exactly! Because we all know that school is first and foremost a job training program designed to replicate drone workers efficiently. You wouldn't want to expose those impressionable youngsters to alternative tech, or heaven forbid, non-PC thought.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: High-School Suitable Books On How Computers Affect Society?

bryanandaimee Hackers by Steven Levy (140 comments)

Hackers by Steven Levy. It is not so much about the effect of computers on society as it is the effect of computers on early computing pioneers. It is very readable and makes the early history of the PC revolution both human and exciting.

about a year ago
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Google Raises Campaign Funds For Climate Change Denier

bryanandaimee Re:'Arrogance' is an Appeal to Emotion (365 comments)

I totally agree. I would watch the debates more often if there were a buzzer that sounded every time either candidate tried an ad-hominem or straw man argument. Except you'd have to re-train the politicians or it would just be a lot of buzzing with a few words in between. And no politician would participate in a debate like that. I'm surprised some philosophy department hasn't done something like that already. Take the debate and dub it with captions and perhaps exploding head animations for each logical fallacy.

about a year ago
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Google Raises Campaign Funds For Climate Change Denier

bryanandaimee It's not the science (365 comments)

Inhofe sounds like a bit of a nut, but for me it's not about the science. I think the science of global warming is pretty well understood. But when it comes to political policy, the science of global warming is only ever used to promote thinly veiled marxism and anti-business, and even anti-human policies. If the global warming crowd ever got behind nuclear power, or ever admitted that technology is quickly erasing polution in our day, or ever even showed a small amount of restraint in the demand for all countries to cede large swaths sovereignty for the sake of cutting carbon emissions, I'd be a little less inclined to dismiss the rest of the agenda.

I guess you could say I'm a climate change believer and a marxism denier. The two don't have to go together, they just alway seem to in the current political climate. So even though Inhofe may be a cook, that doesn't mean that his policy prefferences won't be better than the alternative. And even though some other politician may be very bright, that doesn't mean that the marxist policies he/she promotes in the name of science/global warming wouldn't be very damaging. (And yes, I do mean more damaging than the pro-growth alternative.)

about a year ago
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New Atomic Clock Could Redefine the Second

bryanandaimee A good time to be a time nut (76 comments)

Between this and the WWVB anniversary it's been a good run the last few days for time nuts.

"A man with one clock knows what time it is. A man with two clocks is never sure. But I would add further: A man with three clocks is more sure than a man with two clocks."
Quoted from one of the quintisential time nuts at
http://www.leapsecond.com/

about a year ago
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New Atomic Clock Could Redefine the Second

bryanandaimee A new summary (76 comments)

The new (less than a decade old) optical latice clocks (OLC's) in which 10,000 atoms of strontium-87 are trapped in (what else) an optical lattice have been shown to be better (within 1.5x10^-16) than the current world standard cesium fountain clocks (within 3x10^-16), but haven't yet beat the best clocks, which are measuring emissions from single ions trapped in an electro-magnetic field (within 1x10^-17). But researchers are hopeful that OLC's will eventually emerge as the new standard because 10,000 atoms beat 1 atom for measurement statistics and because the other two technologies measure frequencies in the microwave spectrum, while the optical lattice clock is measuring in the visible spectrum. Statistics and higher frequencies should eventually win out as the technology matures.

about a year ago
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A Case For Unilateral US Nuclear Warhead Reductions

bryanandaimee Re:It's a about money. (211 comments)

50% is not just the beginning, it's the worst case scenario for the longer term mortality including immediate death and radiation sickness. More realistically you see more like 10% with most of the damage being at military bases and other infrastructure. Long term mortality rates may climb somewhat due to induced cancer but only in a severely pessimistic scenario (rampant slaughter and barbarism) do they increase massively. In what reality do 200 million educated, skilled americans allow their entire civilization to crumble around them without raising a finger?

And I might add that some simple and inexpensive precautions that the MAD politicians have advocated against would reduce even the 10% number.

The radically pessimistic estimates of life after thermonuclear armageddon are based on poor back of the envelope estimates and eroneous premises. It's all in the books cited above. They are actually pretty well written and easy to get through.

about a year ago
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A Case For Unilateral US Nuclear Warhead Reductions

bryanandaimee Re:It's a about money. (211 comments)

As others have stated the combined arsenals of Russia, US and China are not capable of destroying the world 12 times over. Might I suggest a little light reading? Herman Kahn wrote some clear books on the subject. "On Thermonuclear War" and "Thinking about the Unthinkable". In summary the worst case scenario, in which all nuclear weapons are launched at high population density areas, gives about 50% casualties long term in US and Russia. But there is very little chance of that scenario as even the most maniacal despot would go after enemy military bases first and population second. That is not to say that 50% casualties is acceptable or that nuclear war is not frightening, but we need more clear thinking and realism and less hyperbole and hysterics. Clear headed strategy is a much better deterrent than a head in the sand reliance on MAD as your only deterrece philosophy.

about a year ago
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FSF Certifies First Device in "Respects Your Freedom" Program

bryanandaimee Re:Can I use this printer... (79 comments)

The electronics are a RAMPS shield on a standard Arduino. The plastic parts are indeed printed by other 3d printers in the Lulzbot bot farm. So depending on your definition of "make" it can indeed make more 3D printers. The frame is based in large part on the MendelMax design. All of this is open source and available on the reprap.org site, and other related sites.

Kudos to the Lulzbot team.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Ideal High School Computer Lab?

bryanandaimee My Ideal Computer Classroom (268 comments)

Well as has been said, it depends on what you are teaching, but "High School Computer Teacher" may mean A+ computer repair, Programming, Microsoft office, etc. I taught computer repair, and the thing I wanted most was work space. It would be nice if the monitors could swing away under or behind the desks and have some hooks for keyboard and mouse on the side or something so you could clear the desk space for doing actual labs like tear down some donated computers and reassemble them, explore the parts etc. To facilitate this the computer should not be on top of the desk. In so many labs I've seen the computer/monitor/keyboard take up every inch of desk space so that you can't even find a good place for reference material, books, or other tools. If I go really crazy the classroom looks like this.

1. Small form factor computers under the desk or attached to the underside.
2. Pico projector and pull down/up screen built in rather than a monitor
3. Place to stow keyboard and mouse

The projector should automatically go to sleep when the screen is rolled up. Going from computers on to computers gone should take ~10 seconds. You do your lectures, labs and other exercises with the computers completely out of the way, and bring them right back up when they are required. Oh and the screens should be slightly translucent so you can see what the kids are doing from both the front and the back of the classroom.

more than 2 years ago
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Electric Motor Made From a Single Molecule

bryanandaimee Re:Nanotechnology here we come! (82 comments)

A space elevator is one technology that needs no huge breakthroughs. We are within an order of magnitude of the required materials science to produce such a thing. The main obstacle is will to do. Given funding and an Apollo type effort, this could be a reality soon, and allow "cheap" access to space.

Africa is mainly a political problem, so I doubt any amount of technology will affect the situation there much. Africa is so far behind current tech that advances here make very little difference there. But current nuclear/solar/other power sources could revolutionize Africa if the warlords ever went away.

As for slavery and civil rights being products of advancing tech, I would tend to disagree. I think it might have been facilitated by advancing tech, but the elimination of slavery was first and foremost a political/social solution. Tech just made up the difference once slavery was outlawed. Try to tell all the estimated 12 million present day slaves (Not talking US here) that modern technology has made slavery a thing of the past.

Current lifespan is due almost entirely to vaccination and sanitation. Neither of those is cutting edge tech. But a large advance in lifespan would have to be technological, not political or social. You have me there.

Medical care is expensive in large part because it is so effective. The more effective the treatment the more complex it tends to be. The higher the technological advancement of the product, the more expensive it tends to be, (computer chips being possibly the only long term exception)

We could solve the fossil fuel problem right now if we wanted to with nuclear power. Fusion would be nice but isn't required. Fission could power the world quite well for a very long time. Unfortunately the greens hate nuke, and you can't do anything in this world without their blessing.

Gross oversimplification here

about 3 years ago

Submissions

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Cell Tower Jammer Created From Cheap Phone Using Open Source Firmware

bryanandaimee bryanandaimee writes  |  about a year ago

bryanandaimee (2454338) writes "A few years ago the baseband code for the Vitelcom TSM30 was leaked to the public. From that leaked code others have written open source GSM firmware firmware for the baseband processor. Using that code researchers in Berlin have created firmware to intercept the cell tower to cell phone handshake and block calls and text messages from getting through. A single hacked cell phone can bring down a cell."
Link to Original Source
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NIST Ytterbium Atomic Clocks Set Record for Stability

bryanandaimee bryanandaimee writes  |  about a year ago

bryanandaimee (2454338) writes "An optical lattice clock like the one discussed earlier on slashdot has broken the stability record. Comparing two OLC's using trapped atoms of Ytterbium, the stability of the clocks was measured to 2 parts per quintillion (10^18). While the previously reported OLC used strontium, these clocks, built by another group, use Ytterbium. Interestingly, while the stability of the clocks is now the best in the world, the accuracy has yet to be measured."
Link to Original Source

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