Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize

jeffb (2.718) I wonder what a government node could do. (79 comments)

Mesh networking, peer-to-peer, power to the decentralized people -- it all sounds great. But some of those people will still be on the side of the government. I wonder how much information one mesh node could accumulate to incriminate other participants? How many of "the people" will be willing to participate in an uprising like this if they know that a government stooge is likely no more than two or three hops away?

yesterday
top

Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

jeffb (2.718) Fine. Legislate for externalities. (460 comments)

There's a long tradition of regulating electrical utilities -- their new-plant construction, their service build-out, and most especially their rates. If connecting single-household solar installations and buying back power from them is imposing an undue burden, and they can prove this, adjust the tariffs accordingly.

But you shouldn't quash an entire emerging industry just to protect an old and established one. Unfortunately, that seems to be one of the main duties of legislatures.

2 days ago
top

3D Bioprinter Creates "Living Bandage" Skin Grafts For Burn Victims

jeffb (2.718) Psst. It's 3D printing for LIFE EXTENSION. (26 comments)

I repeat. It's 3D PRINTING FOR LIFE EXTENSION -- specifically, preserving the life of patients who would otherwise face a fairly quick (and extremely painful) death.

I'm listening for that faint sound of a certain Fark refugee's skull rupturing in the distance.

5 days ago
top

Device Allows Paralyzed Rats To Walk, Human Trials Scheduled Next Summer

jeffb (2.718) Food for thought for rat supporters... (85 comments)

If this kind of rat experimentation bothers you, and I can't say that it shouldn't, I'd like to ask two follow-up questions.

First, have you ever seen what a cat does when it encounters a rat or a mouse? Cats are predators, but they don't always just swiftly kill and eat their prey. They often toy with it for quite a long time.

Second, having learned about this behavior, are you ready to call for the abolition of cats? I'll promise you that cats torture and kill far more rats worldwide than all scientists put together, and we gain far less from that activity than we do from medical research.

If you oppose animal testing, I can see that as a principled and well-supported stand. But if you aren't willing to go further and call for the end of domestic cat propagation, I'd very much like some insight into your reasoning.

about a week ago
top

Assembling a Micro-scale Biochemistry Lab Like Snapping LEGOs Together

jeffb (2.718) I'm not sure how I feel about this... (26 comments)

As a chemistry hobbyist, I always wanted one of those big organic-labware sets with pluggable components -- you could build a multi-stage vacuum still, controlled-atmosphere reactor and separator, whatever you wanted -- but true micro- or nano-scale chemistry never seemed as appealing.

By analogy, I always thought playing with discrete components or small-scale logic chips was a lot more engaging than wiring up a microcontroller and loading it with canned or slightly-modified firmware.

On the other hand, you can unquestionably get a lot more done with the canned-complex-parts approach. I'll be fascinated to see where this leads.

about a week ago
top

Service Promises To Leak Your Documents If the Government Murders You

jeffb (2.718) TinfoilHat.org? (98 comments)

...nah, somebody's already got it parked.

about a week ago
top

Home Depot Says Breach Affected 56 Million Cards

jeffb (2.718) Re:Credit cards? (80 comments)

So, all these folks who are saying "low-life criminals are the problem, and we need to stop them by whatever means necessary" shouldn't be calling for harsher penalties, but more pervasive surveillance (because the important factor is how likely you are to be caught, not how severe the punishment is).

Yeah, I'm sure they'll get right on that.

about two weeks ago
top

The Minecraft Parent

jeffb (2.718) Re:Slenderman (173 comments)

That's right, some psycho kids once tried to kill another kid in the woods. So DON'T EVER THINK OF LETTING ANY KIDS GO INTO THE WOODS EVER!

Keep them inside, where nothing bad ever happens to kids. No kid ever suffered harm while locked in the basement. Right?

about two weeks ago
top

eBay Redirect Attack Puts Buyers' Credentials At Risk

jeffb (2.718) Arbitrary JS in listings! What could go wrong? (37 comments)

I remember yelling and waving my arms at some length years ago when I discovered that you could put arbitrary JavaScript into your auction descriptions. Sure, it lets you have cool expanding images and whatnot -- but I can't imagine securing it against attacks that do something like this, or attach event handlers to the controls in the eBay-served sections of the page, or any number of other nefarious things. Everybody told me to calm down and shut up at the time, and my posts on eBay's discussion forum disappeared pretty quickly.

I'm only surprised that it's taken this long for an attack to get even this minimal degree of coverage. (I was going to say "I'm surprised it took this long for someone to implement an attack", but I have no reason to believe that this is the first one.)

about two weeks ago
top

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

jeffb (2.718) Re:10TB of RAM? (296 comments)

I can't possibly hope to "keep up", because you'll always be able to make up random nonsensical claims faster than I can debunk them. Enjoy your perpetual leadership.

about two weeks ago
top

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

jeffb (2.718) Re:10TB of RAM? (296 comments)

Let's see what happens when you cut the transistor size by three orders of magnitude...

Oh, is that all you have to do?

That was an awfully big wall of text to write for just one nibble.

about three weeks ago
top

Universal Big Bang Lithium Deficit Confirmed

jeffb (2.718) The Elder Races got to it first. (171 comments)

The civilizations that evolved earlier than us harvested it all to power their plugin-hybrid starships. What are you going to do about that, Elon?

about three weeks ago
top

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

jeffb (2.718) Re:Just wondering... (296 comments)

Oh yes, and that whole thing your school teachers taught about electrons orbiting a cluster of protons and neutrons is a lie; it's just a convenient way of visualizing what's happening.

Nice condescending swipe. Now, would you care to explain why you said you need "a gap no greater than two protons thick" to block the escape of helium atoms, each consisting of a nucleus with its attendant populated orbitals, several orders of magnitude larger than the bare nucleus that you seemed to be describing?

For that matter, how exactly would you define "a gap no greater than two protons thick" in an object made from molecular matter -- that is, matter bound together by those clouds of electrons that you alluded to? You know, the things that "don't really take up physical space" (except that they really do) and "have no mass" (except 9.10938291 × 10e-31 kilograms), and don't really "orbit" (but certainly do interact to form what's "conveniently" conceptualized as a van der Waals surface)?

about three weeks ago
top

Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

jeffb (2.718) Re:in other words... (211 comments)

Nonsense.

The argument seems to be that, because we don't see "evidence of technological activity" when we look out at the universe, intelligence leading to technological culture must be rare or absent. If an entity or a culture doesn't cause huge, recognizable perturbations in its environment, it must not represent "intelligence".

Think of an electrical engineer from the 1880s studying the data cables that run through a modern city. He might cut into a cable, expecting to find a wire carrying electrical impulses. Instead, he sees a bundle of glass fibers, glowing brightly if he nicks or breaks them. No tools at his disposal would let him even detect the gigahertz-scale fluctuations in that light.

For that matter, consider a 1960s "exobiologist" trying to decode an intercepted 2014 video stream. If you told him it was image data, he might look for periodicities that would let him determine rows, columns, and pixels. In an MPEG-compressed stream, he wouldn't get far. Heaven help him if it's DRMed.

My point: the things we look for as evidence of technological civilization may just be evidence of insufficiently advanced technological civilization. The "filters" we fear -- nuclear annihilation, bioterror, grey goo -- may indeed claim a lot of civilizations, or they may be laughably uncommon. It seems to me most likely that, instead of trying and failing to build space-opera-scope interstellar empires, most civilizations simply grow into something that we aren't yet sophisticated enough to notice.

about three weeks ago
top

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

jeffb (2.718) 10TB of RAM? (296 comments)

You seem to have a really... optimistic view of the size, cost, and power budget for RAM.

about three weeks ago
top

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

jeffb (2.718) Re:Just wondering... (296 comments)

So it really all comes down to the seal: if they can get the seal to leave a gap no greater than two protons thick (He comes in stable isotopes of 1 or 2 neutrons), then no helium can escape. Good luck getting a seal that good though.

Well, you just need to squeeze your neutronium together really hard along the joints.

Seriously, "a gap no greater than two protons thick"? Have you completely forgotten about electrons? You know, those things that hold all Earthly matter together (and apart)?

about three weeks ago
top

AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

jeffb (2.718) Re:Demographic (533 comments)

You'll notice that whenever companies engage in discussions about this sort of thing, they seem to be talking about households of one person. I have no idea how 10MBPS would suffice in a house of, say, four people.

Why, they're all gathered around the radio in the evening, while Father smokes his pipe and Mother does her knitting.

Er, TV, not radio.

about three weeks ago
top

Private Police Intelligence Network Shares Data and Targets Cash

jeffb (2.718) Letters of marque and reprisal? (142 comments)

It's a fine international tradition, but one that I thought had fallen out of favor some centuries ago.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

top

CES: Laser headlights edge closer to real-world highways

jeffb (2.718) jeffb (2.718) writes  |  about 9 months ago

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) writes "Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on optics.org describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a "laser beam" from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the "speckling" interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.

HOWEVER, if multi-watt blue laser emitters go into mass production for the automotive market, it's likely to drive down their prices in other applications — for example, grey-market multi-watt "laser pointers". If you're looking for a tool to burn holes in the tires of drivers who offend you, this technology may indirectly help to fulfill your wish."
top

Son of Therac-25: CT overdoses from "reset error"

jeffb (2.718) jeffb (2.718) writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) writes "As the LA Times reports, 206 patients receiving CT scans at Cedar Sinai hospital received up to eight times the X-ray exposure intended. (The FDA alert gives details about the doses involved.) A misunderstanding over an "embedded default setting" appears to have led to the error. Human-computer interaction classes from the late 1980's onward have pounded home the lesson of the Therac-25, whose usability issues led to multiple deaths. Will we ever learn enough to make these errors truly uncommittable?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

jeffb (2.718) has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?