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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

esampson Re:Traitors to the American Dream (393 comments)

I don't like it because I think that it is an illustration of a broken system. It's like someone in a race who is throwing things to tangle up the other people's feet. Yes, they represent their people but that doesn't necessarily excuse their actions. It merely explains them.

Their actions are no more righteous than if the people of their districts directly voted to put obstructions in the way of SpaceX in order to protect their own interests. I only raised the issue of who they represent because the claim was made that they were not representing the American people (which is true).

about a month and a half ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

esampson Re:seriously? (393 comments)

Yeah. Like I said, he's not completely powerless. It is simply that the office has less power than Congress' (though again, it isn't divided up). I didn't really mean to turn this into a major discussion of Presidential power. It was more an answer to 'why do people listen to Congress?'. Because we have to.

about a month and a half ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

esampson Re:Traitors to the American Dream (393 comments)

At the risk of defending them (because really, I don't like these guys any more than you do), the are representatives of the people -who elected them-. That means the people in their district, so protecting businesses that bring money to those districts (and thus to the people they represent) isn't -completely- without merit.

Please note that I'm not advocating that they protect those businesses at the expense of their people by loosening regulations or anything like that. I'm just saying that in -this instance- some argument can be made that they are protecting and representing their people, at least in the short run, and it is almost impossible for anyone to get elected appealing to people on the grounds of 'yes, this is going to cost you money, but in fifty years from now you children will really benefit'.

This kind of action is more a symptom of what needs to be fixed than an illness in and of itself. Unfortunately going the other way and creating a system where representatives only look at the big picture instead of their smaller constituent group causes its own problems.

about a month and a half ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

esampson Re:seriously? (393 comments)

. . .more importantly why is anyone listening to people from a division of government with a 16%!!!!! approval rating. . .

Because crappy approval rating or not they are still the legislative branch of our government. That means that they are the ones who actually make the laws. The President only has the power to execute laws and other decisions of Congress* and the Supreme Court only has the power to interpret those laws (part of that power, however, means they could decide a law violates the Constitution and is unenforcable, but in such a case they are still interpreting law).

Congress actually has much more power than the President. The thing is that the power is divided up between 535 people so the office of the President is still more powerful than any one of them.

*The President does also hold a few other powers such as Veto but pretty much all of these powers can be overridden by Congress.

about a month and a half ago
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Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

esampson Re:Magnetic strip? (78 comments)

Audio tape is sequential access, not random access. The same thing with the magnetic strip. Usually this isn't a problem because the magnetic strip on your card contains a very small amount of information so it is quick to read the entire sequence but if you had to sequentially load just 16k of information from a tape it could take some time.

Ask anyone who had a home computer before floppy disks became available.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

esampson Re:Transistors was there but memory was not? WTF (78 comments)

This is resistive random access memory, which is non-volatile. Yes, with transistor you could have printer other forms or RAM before, but you would have to keep supplying power or that memory would erase itself.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

esampson Re:Density (78 comments)

Let's assume you carve your page up into 'pixels'. If each 'pixel' is one bit (2 colors or on or off) then you would have to have pixels of 100 microns (.1mm) on a side to have the same information density as this process. If each 'pixel' is 4 bits (16 colors) then your pixels would only have to be .2mm on a side to retain the same information density. I kind of doubt you could distinguish between 256 different colors reliably enough for computer reading of data under varying light conditions but if we assume you can that would mean your pixels could be just under half a millimeter in size.

about 2 months ago
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EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet

esampson Re:Theft (1010 comments)

No. Laws may be employed to control the populace, but they originated to prevent harm.

Kind of like how contracts originated so that both parties would fully know and understand their responsibilities and what they were agreeing to (and so third parties would have evidence of what the first two had agreed to). The fact that they are sometimes (or often) employed to trick or trap people doesn't change what the were originally intended to do.

about 10 months ago
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Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate

esampson Re:BUNCH OF CRAP !! (265 comments)

Quickly! To the Batdetector!

about 10 months ago
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Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate

esampson Re:Extraordinary claims? extraordinary evidence pl (265 comments)

Except that's not what the article is saying. The article doesn't claim that the system's bios was remotely compromised using audio. What it is saying is that a system that _has been compromised_ is using its sound equipment to communicate with other systems that have likewise been compromised, allowing infected systems to maintain communication with one another despite an airgap.

This could be viewed as 'extraordinary' in the sense of 'something that does not ordinarily happen', but it is not 'extraordinary' in the sense of 'something that defies conventional belief'. As many people have pointed out this is the same basic principle that modems use, merely in a somewhat different 'packaging'.

In that sense it is no more extraordinary than claiming that someone has painted an elephant blue. It is not something which commonly happens yet the possibility of its existence hardly defy belief.

about 10 months ago
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Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate

esampson Re:Dupe (265 comments)

It's so infectious it's already reproducing on Slashdot?

about 10 months ago
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FAA Wants All Aircraft Flying On Unleaded Fuel By 2018

esampson Re:Who's going to pay for it? (366 comments)

The government isn't asking you to do anything. It's asking the fuel companies to come up with a 100 octane fuel that will run in your older engine that doesn't contain lead.

Now if you want to get indignant about the poor, put upon oil companies, have at it.

about a year ago
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Internet Payment Processor Liberty Reserve Accused of Laundering $6 Billion

esampson Re:Heh. (205 comments)

Three thousand hours, three thousand hours clicking on that mouse, collecting weapons and gold. It's almost as if it was a huge waste of time.
--Sheldon Cooper

about a year ago
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Mars One Has 78,000 Applicants

esampson Re:312 km coast to coast (355 comments)

Mercifully it looks like the math error might be on the part of the poster rather than the article. I did a quick skim of the article and didn't see anywhere were they mentioned anything like how far apart people would be if stretched from coast to coast.

Of course it is always possible that the article was edited by the time I saw it but since the post doesn't appear to be a quote ripped from the site Occam's Razor is that the poster wrote up the post, did the math, and got it wrong.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would Real Space Combat Look Like?

esampson Re:speed limit (892 comments)

Because everything is so far apart.

Seriously. Ignore for a moment any questions about energy or mass. The distance to the moon is 384,403,000 meters, give or take. At 1G you accelerate at 9.8 m/s. This means if you fly straight to the moon (or to where the moon will be when you arrive) under 1G of acceleration you're looking at about 2 1/2 hours to get there, at which point you plow into the moon at some god awful speed because there's no way to slow down in time. Assuming you only accelerate half the time then turn around and decelerate the remaining half so that you arrive at something approaching a sane velocity it would take about 3 1/2 hours.

That's an awful long time in terms of combat and the moon is incredibly close (if you are considering targets like Mars). Sure, it is incredibly fast in comparison to our current technology but a lifetime when people are shooting at you.

(N.B. The numbers provided are 'back of the envelope' calculations. The actual time would be quite a bit different because you could accelerate faster as you clear Earth's gravity well since a 1G acceleration would mean the astronauts would be subjected to 2G's on the ground. Assuming you were staying at a constant 2G's of force on the passengers your acceleration would increase the further you got from Earth until you reached your halfway point. However the math to deal with all of that is way, way to ugly for me to even consider right now).

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would Real Space Combat Look Like?

esampson A bit broad (892 comments)

Not sure if anyone else has posted this since a 'space combat' thread on Slashdot generates so much traffic it seems as if it should crash the servers (Dude, I heard you liked Slashdot....)

Anyway, it's kind of hard to talk about what 'space combat' will look like since 'space' is simply the theater for the conflict to occur in. Its like asking what 'land combat' looks like. When? 2012? 2025? 1942? 550 A.D.?

You probably need to start of with some assumptions concerning your technology. Lasers are a big one. I am not a laser physicist but as I understand it there's certain maximums of focal range that are related to the size of the lens. As I understand it in order to focus a laser at a spot about half a light second away you would need an absolutely gargantuan lens, one so big as to be impractical for combat. Now maybe I am wrong on this but this is an example as to why using lasers over such long distances might not be as easy as some people think.

Of course that assumes we don't find 'loopholes' around the problem such as somehow creating a synthetic lens through spatial warpage or some other technology. On the other hand if you've got some kind of technology that allows spatial warping then you quite possibly have much more effective weapons than photons.

My guess, in shorthand, is that combat in space will bear a certain resemblance to current combat. I suspect you will see guns for a long time (when jets were first becoming widely used by the military a lot of theorists thought that guns were going to go away because of the ranges and speeds jets would be engaging at. You'll notice they are still there because it turns out that at short ranges a missile often isn't the best option). I suspect you will have lots of your 'cheap' units (infantry, drones, spearmen, etc.) backed up with heavier units (tanks, fighter planes, knights on horseback, etc.) often employed along with small numbers of 'heavy hitters' (bombers, battleships, catapults, etc.).

The exact form these all take will be dependent upon the technology of the day.

more than 2 years ago
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Man Digs Out Basement Using Radio Controlled Toy Tractors

esampson Math seems wrong (169 comments)

Average rate of 9 cubic feet per year X 7 years = 63 cubic feet.

That's a cube of dirt 4' x 4' x 4'.

Hardly sounds like 'excavating a basement'.

I'm guessing that the 9 cubic feet number is wrong. Maybe 9 square feet (with an undisclosed height of about 8'-10') for an annual average of 72-90 cubic feet and a final excavation of a room about 8' x 8'?

more than 2 years ago
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Lawsuit Claims Sony Canned Security Staff Just Before Data Breach

esampson Re:TFA doesn't answer the relevant question (99 comments)

There's a reason the article doesn't answer that question; because the answer is really, really dull.

At least that is what I'm assuming. The truth of the matter is that two weeks prior to the company's servers being hacked (March 30th) Sony Online Entertainment was forced to lay off a large amount of staff (I believe the number I read was 1/3) due to financial reasons. This layoff included programmers, designers, artists, administrative staff, and yes, people involved in the network security division.

I for one seriously doubt that there is really a causal relationship between the reduced network security staff and the breach. Two weeks just isn't long enough for things like that to fall apart. Just because people left the security they set up doesn't immediately shut down.

And for anyone who suspects that the employees who were let go caused the breach themselves, technically all those employees were still employed (there's a legal requirement that employees affected by large scale layoffs like this be given 60 days warning before being laid off, however because of reasons of security once people were given their warning they were sent home and paid for the next 60 days even though they didn't do anything). That would mean those employees would have been endangering six weeks of 'free' pay, their severance, and being paid for unused PTO.

While that doesn't absolutely rule out the possibility it does make it much less likely in my mind.

more than 3 years ago
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Passwords That Are Simple — and Safe(?)

esampson Re:Anyone else see the problem with this? (563 comments)

Yes, but in most of those cases the hacker could already reasonably assume that the password is in existence. As an example use the password "123456". On rockyou.com over 290,000 accounts used that password. That meant that out of 32 million accounts the odds that any given account used the password "123456" was about .9%. Even without feedback informing a hacker that "123456" is overused it is going to be one of the first passwords that they try on any system that will accept a 6 character password composed entirely of digits.

Compare this to a system in which the hacker receives confirmation that "123456" has reached its limit and he knows that 100 accounts are using it. In the first system he doesn't receive any feedback but he can very safely assume that well over 100 accounts are using that password. In the second system even though he receives the feedback the system is more secure against that particular form off attack because there are far fewer accounts using that particular password.

more than 4 years ago
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Passwords That Are Simple — and Safe(?)

esampson Re:Seems to Be Some Confusion (563 comments)

...The final piece of the puzzle is building in protection so that attackers cannot "query" the Oracle to find out what are popular passwords in your system that have reached their max...

Actually that isn't a problem. If a hacker finds out that "passw@rd" has been used 10 times and reached the limits of use they still have to figure out which of the 1,000,000+ accounts use it. Randomly trying accounts means that they have less than a 1 in 100,000 chance of hitting one that accepts it.

This is as opposed to the hacker simply trying "123456" on a system of 1,000,000+ accounts without limits where there will probably be over 9,000 accounts using that particular password (based on the analysis of rockyou.com's passwords back in January).

The problem with this approach is that it fails if the password file itself becomes compromised. If that occurs the hacker can simply hash "passw@rd" and then look for any accounts using that hash. If strong passwords are enforced the hacker would have to launch a brute-force attack to find out that accounts have the hash of passwords such as "i1492,Cstob".

more than 4 years ago

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