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New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

jonwil It depends on the biofuel feedstock (162 comments)

Using corn to produce ethanol is about the worst possible way to do it, it actually takes more energy to produce x amount of E85 corn ethanol than you get out of it when you use it.
Using sugar cane to produce ethanol is a little bit better but still inefficient.

Using something like switchgrass on the other hand is much better, you can grow it in places where other stuff wont grow, you dont need anywhere near as much energy inputs or chemicals to produce it and with a little R&D and the right kind of processing plants you could get more output per hectare than either corn OR sugar cane.

7 hours ago
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US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

jonwil Re:Not going to disappear quickly.... (278 comments)

Looking at Wikipedia, Korean Air, Arik Air, Air China and Transaero have also ordered the 747-8 along with sales of 9 aircraft to what Boeing labels "business jet/VIP" (i.e. sales to entities that aren't airlines). Order numbers for the passenger variant aren't that far behind the numbers for the freight variant.

The older 747s are going away because they are inefficient and expensive to run and maintain. But the -8 contains technology from their latest aircraft like the 787 and the 737-9 to make it more fuel efficient and cheaper to run (being newer, the maintanence costs are probably lower too)

yesterday
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Former NATO Nuclear Bunker Now an 'Airless' Unmanned Data Center

jonwil Re: How is maintenance performed? (146 comments)

They can do what they do/did on some diesel submarines (or on space craft) and have tanks of oxidizer ready to pump into the generator along with the fuel.

yesterday
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YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default

jonwil Re:Also uses Media Source Extensions by default (224 comments)

Unless its using binary encryption or codec bits, it should be possible to just modify the browser code (of Chromium, Firefox or whatever) to save the video file as it gets passed to the video decoder code.

2 days ago
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EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

jonwil How do we get vendors to support this? (282 comments)

Its all well and good to talk about "encryption, encryption and more encryption" and to invent new protocols to help keep stuff from the eyes of those who would try to access private information (whether they be criminals, law enforcement, intelligence agencies or otherwise) but unless you can get vendors to adopt your new technology its not going to see widespread enough use to make a difference.

Take SSL/TLS for example. Right now when you visit a https site, your browser retrieves a certificate and checks that the certificate has been signed by a root certificate in your browser's local root trust store. There are a number of proposals out there to change this so that the public keys used for https connections are obtained in a way that doesn't rely on the broken CA model but as of yet none of those proposals have been implemented into any of the mainstream web browsers.

Why isn't more being done to get these new security ideas into the mainstream browsers? (especially the open source ones like Chrome/Webkit/Blink/Firefox). DANE (an RFC for storing https certificates in a DNSSEC secured DNS record) has a patch for Firefox posted in 2011 that has gone nowhere and vague mentions of work for Chrome but nothing else.

3 days ago
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Ubisoft Revokes Digital Keys For Games Purchased Via Unauthorised Retailers

jonwil Re:Vote against Ubisoft with your dollars (462 comments)

The newest game on the Wikipedia "list of Ubisoft games" that I have bought, pirated or played is Riven and that wasn't even a Ubisoft game at the time (Ubisoft bought the company that had the rights some time in the future)

I haven't purchased, played or pirated anything from Activision Blizzard recently either. (the newest game I can find on Wikipedia that I remember playing was one of the really old Tony Hawks games so before they became the scumbags that they are today)

My gaming dollars as of late have gone to TT Games (for The LEGO Movie) and Bethesda Softworks (for Oblivion 3) so I am doing my bit not to support the publishers that do evil crap like this.

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

jonwil Can't they include it in "Google Play Services"? (578 comments)

Google seems to be using "Google Play Services" (a piece of middle-ware downloaded from Google Play) as a way to support newer APIs on older Android versions and make sure apps can run on these older Android builds. Why can't they just put the newer web browser engine into either "Google Play Services" or some other downloadable bit that goes on Google Play and gives all Android users the same browser engine. Good for apps that embed it since they get the same behavior on all Android versions. Good for Google since it only has to maintain one browser engine version and doesn't need to care about older versions anymore. And good for users since they get a better browser experience (and less bugs) even on older Android versions.

4 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

jonwil IMO this is a GOOD thing (392 comments)

The more work a spy agency has to do to spy on someone the less likely they are to do it to people who aren't actually worth spying on.

Its the whole "lets collect every single piece of data we can just because we can" spying that we need to STOP. There is NO evidence that such spying was any help in catching the people who shot up the chocolate shop in Sydney or the newspaper office in Paris (or that stronger powers to spy on everyone or to force ISPs and others to retain more data would have helped catch these people).

4 days ago
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Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

jonwil Re:House of Cards (216 comments)

These services all (as far as I know anyway) have requirements that vehicles being used have to be newer than a certain age. And it would be fairly easy for the services to require a mechanical inspection of the car before you are allowed to start driving or even on an annual basis (many jurisdictions already have requirements for regular inspections of cars or inspections when you sell the car or whatever so the infrastructure is probably there)

5 days ago
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Silverlight Exploits Up, Java Exploits Down, Says Cisco

jonwil Re:Netflix... (55 comments)

As others have said, Netflix will work in a recent enough build of Chrome on both Windows and Linux with no Silverlight required.

about two weeks ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

jonwil Re:I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free... (562 comments)

If there is evidence (even circumstantial) that an individual is a terrorist or plans to carry out illegal activity (or that a given email account or ISP account or forum account or other online identity is connected to terrorism or illegal activity) then that should be sufficient evidence to get a warrant from a court (even a secret warrant if necessary) to allow their communications to be monitored.

My real point is not that we shouldn't be going after the bad guys (we should) but that we shouldn't be using dragnet surveillance on everyone (good and bad) as a way to catch the small percentage of the population who are planning to do bad things.

about two weeks ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

jonwil Re: I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free... (562 comments)

What I am really trying to say is "we should not use terrorism as an excuse to make the world less secure or less free" (this includes bans or restrictions on encryption, internet censorship, unconstitutional or illegal acts by governments and their agencies, deliberate backdoors in off-the-shelf software and hardware to make it easier to break and wholesale collection and retention of data or metadata without a warrant or any suspicion of illegal activity)

As one of the founding fathers of the United States said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

about two weeks ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

jonwil I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free... (562 comments)

I dont like the scumbags that shoot up chocolate shops and newspaper offices or crash airplanes into buildings or blow up nightclubs but I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free than to see a single innocent person have their privacy, security, civil liberties or constitutional rights violated.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

jonwil Why are they still pushing cellphone plans? (314 comments)

Its clear from reading here and elsewhere that no-one likes the way Radio Shack hits you with the hard sell on cellphone plans the minute you walk in the door so why are they still doing it? Do they sell enough cellphone plans to clueless sheeple? Do the cellphone carriers pay them too much money for them to give up selling those products? Do they have contracts with the cellphone carriers that prevent them getting rid of the products? Or are their management too clueless to see what's going on in their own company and just how much is being wasted on crap like cellphone plans that they aren't making any money from?

about two weeks ago
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Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings

jonwil Re:The Taxi Lobby (299 comments)

Its not the taxis that have prevented the rail line to the airport, its the operators of the toll road out to the airport (dont know Melbourne well enough to know exactly which road it is). The contracts signed at the time the toll road was built specified that the government wasn't allowed to compete by building a railway line for x amount of time after the road was built.

Blame Jeff Kennett and the liberals for that mess (they signed the contracts and did the deals to build the Western Link toll road), not the taxi drivers.

about two weeks ago
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Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

jonwil Re:About time (417 comments)

Verizon and Verizon Wireless are 2 different entities.

about two weeks ago
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Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug Or a Feature?

jonwil Re:SimCity 2000 available for free (393 comments)

How is Origin malware? What does it do that makes it malware?
It does have DRM but (depending on the game) its not exactly rocket science to either remove the DRM or find an existing no-DRM crack for your purchased game.

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

jonwil Re:Libreoffice (324 comments)

+1 to this, Miranda IM (my IM client of choice) even pulls executables from SourceForge (infected with the crapware) as part of the update system (it says "hey, there is a new version available" and you press a button whereupon it opens a link to the sourceforge exe in your default browser for you to download and run)

I suspect the alternative (hosting binaries somewhere not-so-scummy) would involve costs the Miranda IM team cant afford to pay...

about two weeks ago
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UK Prime Minister Says Gov't Should Be Capable of Reading Any Communications

jonwil I don't get it... (329 comments)

Some random guys in ski masks shoot up a newspaper office because the newspaper prints something they don't like and all of a sudden most of Europe wants to bring in censorship and restrictions on the freedoms that a democracy is supposed to bring? Isn't that exactly what the terrorists want? Shouldn't we (and by we I mean the democracies of the world and their citizens) be protecting our freedoms in the face of bad people like this?

I dont support terrorists but I also dont support most of the actions that have been taken by governments in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and elsewhere in the name of the so-called "war on terror" (there are some measures like strengthening and securing cockpit doors that do make sense though)

about two weeks ago
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Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip

jonwil Re:WTF (319 comments)

Libel laws in the US generally may not be as broad as those in Europe. But try criticizing a company like Monsanto or Cargil or ADM or others in "big agribusiness" (even with the most rigorous proof that what you are saying is true) and see how far you get before being sued under "food libel" laws (which exist to make sure all the nasty stuff the "big agribusiness" companies do stays hidden)

about two weeks ago

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