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Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

j-b0y Re:Total map size (77 comments)

Very little that Gaia observes is truly discarded -- just the main astrometric system needs a mix of stable, well behaved stars and very distant quasars, that could be between 10% and 50% of the objects detected. There will be an attempt to classify objects -- which you need to do in order to grab the quasars for the astrometric system

about 4 months ago

Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

j-b0y Re:The real test... (77 comments)

Well, Gaia won't ever observe the Moon, nor Venus and Mercury which are always on the sun-ward side of the solar-shield. Jupiter is so bright that it really messes with the detectors when it transits the focal plane, but it should be possible to do some interesting general-relativity experiments with the light-bending effects of Jupiter's mass for stars that are close (not not too close) to Jupiter when Gaia observes near it.

about 4 months ago

Schneier: The US Government Has Betrayed the Internet, We Need To Take It Back

j-b0y Education (397 comments)

I think a necessary step is to make sure that there is a general understanding that this is a problem -- here we must not merely preach to the choir but reach a wider and maybe technically illiterate audience) Who are we dealing with

1. People who willingly forgo their right to privacy (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
2. People who are ignorant their privacy rights are not respected (and therefore do not understand the issue at hand)
3. People who are aware that their privacy rights are not respected but wish to interact with 1) and 2) and therefore give up some or all of their privacy rights (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
4. People who will protect their privacy rights at the cost of limiting their ability to interact with at least those in 1) and 2) (and therefore understand the issue at hand)

We cannot save those in category 1), they know the risks and accept the "terms and conditions" of using the internet with public and private data mining/surveillance in place. These people are lost to the Dark Side.

People in category 2) need education on what the consequences of their actions are, and may then resolve into one of the other groups.

People in category 3) should accept that their permissiveness strengthens the hand of the NSA et al. If a practical alternative solution is presented they will probably help to bring people in category 2 away from the Dark Side.

People in category 4) are probably a small population already using Tor, Freenet, PGP, etc. They can help by adopting new technologies that do not compromise (too much) their desire for privacy.

about 8 months ago

The Book That Is Making All Movies the Same

j-b0y New rating: the Snyder scale (384 comments)

One point for each beat present, with a bonus point for being in the right place

Then we can easily tell how generic the structure is...

about 9 months ago

A Critique of the Boston Bombing News Coverage (Video)

j-b0y See also News Wipe (175 comments)

Charlie Brooker did a longer series (NewsWipe) on the problems of reporting in the 24h rolling news world and the overall decline of TV news journalism over the years; check them out on YouTube.

1 year,5 days

Ariane 5 Has No Chance, Says Elon Musk

j-b0y It's all about the payload (188 comments)

Ariane 5 is and continues to be a success but the premise on which Ariane 5 was built -- heavy payloads -- is a small and shrinking market segment. Ariane 5 can launch two payloads, but matching payloads -- the right orbital configuration and mass constraints -- is not easy.

Arianespace hedged their bets by bringing this Soyuz launchers over to CSG with a new (ESA-funded) launchpad at Sinnamari. The much smaller Vega rocket is way off in the distance. The reasoning for Ariane 6 (not having to pay the Russians, as far as I can work out) is sound enough, but the politics (money for France for A6 vs money for Germany for revised A5) is getting in the way.

about a year and a half ago

Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

j-b0y April Fools again so soon? (769 comments)

Anyhoo - the more people on _both_ sides of the argument who actually look at the data rather than just attack the conclusions, the better for everybody concerned.

about a year and a half ago

Photographer Threatened With Legal Action After Asserting His Copyright

j-b0y Well, of course... (667 comments)

Elrond: We cannot use the DCMA. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil.

about 2 years ago

Spanish Extremadura Moving 40,000 Desktops To Linux

j-b0y Good for them... (137 comments)

Extremadura is one of the poorer regions of Spain and with the general funding squeeze trying to get the public deficit under control, I reckon they have a lot to gain from this.

more than 2 years ago

US Navy Creates MMO To Fight Somali Pirates

j-b0y LFG Pirate Den 2/5 need healer (318 comments)

Or give the pirates WoW subs. They'll be too busy with the rep grind to do anything else

more than 2 years ago

British ISPs Respond On Filtering

j-b0y Re:Router filters (163 comments)

You'd need to update the list very frequently to keep it up to date, and even then, who's going to compile it?

I, for the good of humanity, volunteer for this strenuous task. Or at least for the good sites anyway.

more than 3 years ago

UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

j-b0y Copyright cuts both ways (179 comments)

While we desperately need some sanity injected into the system after the Digital Britain Bill, I suspect this is going to really favour big-media's use of our copyrighted work.

"He said the law could be relaxed to allow greater use of copyright material without the owner's permission."

There must be plenty of companies drooling at the idea of smash and grab raids on flickr accounts and GPL'd software.

more than 3 years ago

AI Pushing the Boundaries of Space Exploration

j-b0y Re:Knowledge systems are not wisdom systems (89 comments)

Which is exactly why you will never see anything more than an expert system in space. There is no way any space agency is going to punt hundreds of millions or euros/dollars/pounds into space without a full understanding of the decision tree in the spacecraft control loop. It is hard enough at the moment without introducing outliers into the system.

more than 3 years ago

Broadway Musicians Replaced With Synthesizers

j-b0y Re:What about the artists? (319 comments)

Indeed. I'm not sure what the industry could do in this case. It would be up to the theatre owner to contact the musicians - which they can choose not to do. I imagine the composed would get a cut if electronic score has to be licensed for public performance (it would be slightly strange for this not to be the case).

It might be hard to find musicians later though; I'm not sure many musicians make a full time career out of this sort of work, but it might be just be the last straw - god knows I've seen enough string quartets busking these days and that can't be much of a money spinner.

All in all, it sucks to be a musician these days - composing, recording or performing seems to be a talent which is rather unappreciated (to the extent that anybody is willing to pay for what a musician produces).

more than 3 years ago

Interview With the Man Behind WikiLeaks

j-b0y Re:Team up with the Daily Show! (489 comments)

Satire and journalism are not necessarily incompatible. Private Eye has mixed both for years although the loss of Paul Foot undoutably was a big loss to them.

more than 3 years ago

NASA Revamps Historic 4-Million-kg Mars Antenna

j-b0y Re:Just Goldstone is Being Worked On? (66 comments)

Robledo (Madrid) was done a few years back - they had to replace the bearings IIRC. In fact it was largely due to the work on DSS63 at Robledo that NASA started to look at the DSS14.

more than 3 years ago

Senators Want Big Rocket Instead of New Tech, Commercial Transportation

j-b0y Re:You forgot the 800lb Gorilla. (342 comments)

I love how 'mercenaries' has been replaced by 'private contractors' in the minds of people, it's just really scary how Orwell knew the workings of language.

more than 3 years ago

Kepler Mission Finds 752 Extrasolar Planet Candidates

j-b0y Re:Data Archives (103 comments)

"proprietary" is just the standard terminology for data that has not entered into the public domain - used to distinguish from "published" in the sense that the data has been analysed and the results published (in a journal etc etc).

Information may want to be free, but there's plenty of people who want to keep it locked up

more than 3 years ago

NASA Warns of Potential "Huge Space Storm" In 2013

j-b0y In unrelated news... (464 comments)

NASA seeks more funding for their Solar Sentinels program

more than 3 years ago

O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones

j-b0y PcPro maths fail (272 comments)

The PcPro number are stupid and dumb. They assume that all 26 million customers are on 3G data plans which is fucking nonsense.

The Guardian has more realistic numbers, which judging by the nerd rage in comments above, might make Slashdot explode.


Consider: This is the UK mobile network, so NO tax dollars spent on infrastructure.

more than 3 years ago


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