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Tesla Model S Gets Titanium Underbody Shield, Aluminum Deflector Plates

kamakazi Thse tests are all the same car (314 comments)

Did anyone else notice those seem to be successive tests on the same car? In the alternator test you see a fastener toward the back of the belly plate gets loosened, in the trailer hitch test you see the fastener actually come out, then in the concrete block test you see the belly plate actually flap under impact, and you can see what appears to be the hole that fastener came from.

I am fairly impressed that, not only did they do real world tests (which do fall short of shearing off wheels and battering through concrete walls) but they apparently did not put the car on a lift and return it to perfect condition between successive tests.

That makes the test a bit more real world like, cars get driven and accumulate wear and tear, so they are not necessarily going to be in factory mint condition when they hit something.

You get the feeling, regardless of what you think of Musk or the car, that he is very proud of that car, and it appears justifiably so. Yes, he is defensive when the press screams disaster and trumpets doom and gloom about the car, but he doesn't ever try to hide from the press or try to spin the reports, instead he makes a change to improve the car, then does his spin on his own terms.

Obviously titanium might be a bit pricey for the "cheap" Tesla when it arrives, but I bet the anti-penetration armor design will be there, even if it ends up being constructed of less expensive materials.

In this way the response to the overhyped Tesla accidents and fires will help us all in the long run, just like the German automakers pioneered crash simulation in the 80s and 90s, and now all cars have crumple zones.

about 4 months ago
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Dead Reckoning For Your Car Eliminates GPS Dead Zones

kamakazi Re:many moons ago (151 comments)

Yup, this, I think. I definitely remember in my much younger years a Popular Science review of a system that used dead reckoning, basically you told it where you were to start, and it used distance measuring, nothing as sophisticated as accelerometers, but whenever you turned a corner it would realign itself to the map.

It did not work well if you drove many miles in a straight line, but worked well in city driving, which of course was all that was needed when people could still use a map to find the right city.

It is a wonderfully elegant solution, since it predated public availability of GPS systems and had no external dependancies. It was also delightful in that it was an exact computer analog of nautical navigation since the discovery of the compass and knots on a rope.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Beautiful Network Cable Trays?

kamakazi Who is the customer here?? (250 comments)

I guess I may have misunderstood, but I thought this was an office. Don't architects and designers design to a functional spec? If I hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design a garage for me, it darn well better hold cars. I don't care what your designer thinks, if he is designing an office, it has to be a functional office first, and a showcase for his skills second. If he has to jump through hoops to make it both, those are his hoops, not yours. Anytime a designer expects a functional change to make his design easier it demonstrates two things:
1- He misunderstands his position in the scheme of things
2- He is not a good imaginative designer, who would make a way to either hide the cabling or make the cabling aesthetically pleasing and harmonize with the rest of his design.

If the Bobs at your place of employment actually weigh design and function equally they are equally wrong. You can have functioning ugliness or your can have functioning attractiveness, or you have dysfunction, one of those does damage to the future outlook of your company.

Bah! I feel scrooginess coming on.

about 8 months ago
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Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns

kamakazi Is this a possible tack? (199 comments)

In fighting these overreaches in the courts, would it be possible for a party whose legally owned video was "accidentally" taken down by someone like Warner Bros. to bring a suit for libel? Warner Bros. or some computer they have empowered to act for them has made a false claim that they (the legal video poster) committed a crime.

If I were to tell the grocery store down the street in writing that my neighbor Joe stole bubblegum, and the store took action against Joe, based on my known false statement; Joe could sue me for libel with a good prospect of success.

Is this case much different? Even if the DMCA says that someone can claim works they don't own, it doesn't it definitely does not say they can testify in a legal document that someone broke the law without the accused having recourse in the courts.

I would love to see them held in contempt and found guilt of perjury, but it appears that isn't going to happen. However when actual damages have occurred such as loss of YoutTube accounts or damage to reputation it seems to me that someone should at least talk to a lawyer about the possibility of a libel suit.

It would really be fun to see a class action libel suit brought by a group of victims of false take downs.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes You Uninstall Apps?

kamakazi umm... do they? (243 comments)

When I look at my friends phones I don't think they do uninstall apps, screen after screen of unused little icons that do marvelous things that no one remembers.
I think they just install stuff until they think their phone is too slow, then upgrade and start over.

about 8 months ago
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Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics

kamakazi Its all... (600 comments)

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey... Stuff

about 10 months ago
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Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet

kamakazi Re:GNUpg To The Help (986 comments)

hmm, do you live in a city? I have seen dogs bite a porcupine, in fact the same dog multiple porcupines, and our porcupines have barbed quills, unlike your friendly little hedgehogs. I don't think that was a very apt simile, even though the dog does whimper and yowl a lot while you pull the quills out of their nose with a pliers.

On the actual point of your post, exactly what pointy fur am I gonna grow? Exactly how does my using GPG do actual damage to the government dogs when they do bite me? The principle behind a hedgehog's defence is that it hurts the offender, how do I do that to the government? Are you advocating some kind of militant response?

The fact is that when we have to preemptively encrypt all our personal email because we know it is being intercepted, as opposed to sometimes encrypting sensitive emails in case it gets misdirected, then the mental/emotional damage PJ is talking about in TFA has already occurred. We have already been deprived of the concept of personal privacy, we are already in Auschwitz with Primo Levi.

Whether the government actually is intercepting all our email or not no longer matters. It is no longer just the preppers and the tinfoil hat types that see the NSA behind every door, it is now a significant percentage of the unwashed masses.

At this point what intelligent person would actually believe the government if the were to come clean, admit what they had done in the past and give us transparent oversight into what they are doing now?
Based on history most of us would immediately assume there is yet another three letter acronym behind the NSA, with even quieter black helicopters, that has been pulling the strings all along, and will continue to do so unseen by us.

It is much like what Asimov did with his foundation series after the first three, there is always a darker more hidden organization behind the ones we uncover, and they are always better manipulators than the ones before. We are just discovering psychohistory, but in reality a hidden group has been steering all of human civilization for thousands of years, and yeah, they are robots.

This rant went a little over the top, but I am thinking of all the stuff I did as a kid that my children will never be able to do, and it pisses me off.

about a year ago
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What Wi-Fi Would Look Like If We Could See It

kamakazi Re:Is the article confused? (120 comments)

Yeah, I looked at those troughs and crests and said
"Wait, that isn't wifi, I don't see any Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing there, he must have accidentally visualized the NSA scanner waves protecting Washington DC from any stray intelligence"

And then I realized the NSA scanner waves must really work.

1 year,7 days
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Ask Slashdot: Wiring Home Furniture?

kamakazi Re:Hmmmm (235 comments)

I have encountered 2 of these devices in my life. The first one I was a teenager, and still smart enough to realize the only way to make it safe was to immediately cut both ends from the cord.

If you are into that kind of excitement we could probably make you a phone charger that involved metal contacts on your shoes and a walk on the third rail....

By the way, there are actually recessed male receptacles, designed specifically to use a normal (or sometimes twist-lock) extension cord, they are seen on the side of most campers and motorhomes, and on the side of my kids playhouse. Makes it easy to make the playhouse electrically safe, just put the extension cord away.

They even come in rain resistant outdoor styles, or, if you want to drop a buncha money, in actual water proof styles.

Electrical safety really isn't all that hard, but you do have to avoid being an idiot.

If you want GFCI for your couch, or anything for that matter, go to your local building supply store (the one contractors use, not the one with blister packed picture hanging kits) and buy a 1 foot GFCI interrupter cord, they are required on construction sites in my area, just plug it between your couch and the wall.

about a year ago
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State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2

kamakazi Re:Not as strange as it sounds (976 comments)

"In any case, the representative is full of shit. When I'm walking my kid to school, and we get to the door, I can smell the exhaust of the dozens of cars sitting there. It does not smell like that from an equal number of people breathing."

I am pretty sure it isn't the CO2 you are smelling from those cars.

I am also pretty sure that CO2, even in concentrations that will heat the globe and drown us all in rising seas before it cooks the flesh off our bones in broiling deserts does not present an immediate health risk to individual humans.

However the stuff you do smell in those car exhausts does present a real immediate health risk for the people who breathe it, and a cyclist doesn't emit any of those chemicals no matter how hard he pedals.

It is starting to annoy me that the global warming hysteria (I am not a denier, global warming does appear to be a real, already occurring problem) has made all other pollution issues invisible. Yes, global warming will cause suffering, probably even in my lifetime, but the toxins we emit by burning fossil fuels have been causing individual suffering for generations. After all, CO2 is not directly toxic. Many of the other compounds released by burning fossil fuels are direct primary toxins, even in small PPM concentrations.

about a year ago
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Three Low-Tech Hacks for Phones and Tablets

kamakazi Oh I get it! (286 comments)

This article was really a very subtle commentary on the misuse of the word "hack", using a parody of creative reuse of household objects to point out that common sense doesn't require any special qualifications.

I am afraid that it is too subtle for most people to understand, especially those who normally use the stuff they own to accomplish what they want to do, as opposed to those who use the things they own strictly for the use pictured on the box.

Oh, also, don't most geeks have a camera tripod around somewhere? Wouldn't that have saved the ridiculous expense on the milk crates and the emotional stress of the ugly bookshelf?

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New?

kamakazi Re:A few items (338 comments)

I have not only seen cat3 in the wild, I still know of a dorm that is pre-cat3, uncategorized phone cable. It is a very loosely twisted air cable, and it is punched through standard 66 blocks, sharing cables with analog voice. Sometimes to get a room the 2 pair needed a single pair is stolen from 2 other rooms.

And for you cable monkeys out there, there are spots in that building with cables carrying ethernet on cables spliced with UYs

  Yep, it does work, and will even connect at 100M most of the time.

It is the last dorm on campus that isn't at least Cat5e, with several that are Cat6a now. It is becoming less of a problem, since almost all students are coming equipped with laptops, and 802.11n wireless is much more convenient. There are probably a few runs in that building still nailed down at 10half, because those runs were flaky enough that the NIC would negotiate to 100M and then error 99 percent of the packets.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New?

kamakazi Re:A few items (338 comments)

I still have a box of single sided 3.5 floppies, on which the shutter latches open, and has to be manually released. Got the drive they fit also, it hooks to an HP portable via a current loop connection, along with a thinkjet printer. Haven't fired it up in a few years, but it predates all the flaky Chinese capacitors, so it should be good to go, barring decomposed drive belts and rollers.

about a year and a half ago
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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

kamakazi Re:Make it illegal (1199 comments)

The problem I see here is they say you aren't free to do whatever you want in your own home. For a municipality to not hire you or worse, fire you, for doing something legal on your own time in your own house seems to fly in the face of the spirit of equal opportunity law, even if it doesn't break the letter.

    I have no problem with a private company making whatever rules it wants, hire just women, or no women, or no blacks, or only people that own cats, whatever, but when a government does it that is contrary to my view of what liberty actually means.

    I notice in TFA that this is a policy enacted by commissioners, not a law which would have to be passed by a legislative body. I would imagine that it would be much more difficult to pass a law, and I have a feeling that it won't take too many years for policies like this to start falling in court. As the article mentions, the list of legal but potentially hazardous activities is fairly extensive.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Physical Input Devices For Developers?

kamakazi Wow, I have stuff like this (147 comments)

Somewhere in my collection of stuff I have a box of SGI knobs, and I think some buttons as well. SGI made them as serial devices to hook to their workstations, probably in the Indigo days, maybe as recently as Indigo 2.

I think these days you would look either to the music world or the arcade cabinet builders if you were looking for something that would give tactile input and didn't require a lot of hardware hacking.

more than 2 years ago
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Worlds With Two Suns May Sport Black Plants

kamakazi yup, they might (211 comments)

They might also be blue, or orange, or maybe frictionless black on black. Who actually thinks we have enough data to populate a computer model to make this wild conjecture? For Pete's sake, we can't even model Earth well enough to predict vague global temperature trends, how in the world can we have a valid model of an theoretical ecosystem that might or might not exist somewhere in the universe, which might or might not have life systems that use the energy from starlight to feed chemical reactions to store and use energy???? Can we please start using dewey decimal to categorize these stories so we know which ones are fiction without bothering to read TFA?

more than 3 years ago
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University Switches To DC Workstations

kamakazi Re:This is interesting (468 comments)

I guess I was referring to a transmission system, not a single long distance link. In a transmission system which includes the voltage reduction mechanism at the various tap-in points the fact that you can use simple transformers adds significant simplicity and reliability to the system, which actually matters as much if not more than the actual transmission losses in the wire. In fact, I understand that resistance losses in the wire are a good thing in climates that have icing problems in winter, since the HV lines are self heating. In fact, in the wikipedia article you mentioned it appears the only place HVDC has real transmission advantage over AC is in constrained wire cables, such as undersea links, where capacitance kills the AC. The phase decoupling when using a DC link between AC grids would also be extremely beneficial, but for other uses the inherent difficulties of switching and converting high power DC lines seem to outweigh the benefits

more than 3 years ago
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University Switches To DC Workstations

kamakazi This is interesting (468 comments)

It has taken a while for the economical advantage of this to trickle into user space. Electronic devices are almost all DC in nature, and the efficiency improvements here are not actually the computers, they are the lack of individual power supplies. Other poster have made comments about laptops, but normal laptops are actually no more efficient than desktops. They use less power, but that power brick is not any more efficient than a good desktop power supply.

What they get to do here is run one big, presumably very efficient power supply, and run it outside of populated space, moving the noise and heat generation to where it can be more efficiently controlled.

Of course telco types will say "Umm, yeah?" because a lot of telco heavy iron has been DC forever, for the same reasons TFA is bragging up this system.

This doesn't apply very well to consumerland, because houses don't lend themselves well to special DC wiring that doesn't easily move when you rearrange the room.

And before people start asking "Why don't the power companies just use DC?" Electricity transmission over distance is much more efficient as a high voltage/low current AC than DC current, especially since you can't use transformers on DC.

But I can very easily imagine datacenters utilizing a rack sized high efficiency DC power supply to run row(s) of server racks. This would tie in very nicely to Googles battery-in-every-server method.

more than 3 years ago
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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police

kamakazi Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (421 comments)

"Most college networks require a login to use- even from your personal computer(s)."

Actually, not a login, for the simple reason that that breaks all non-browser devices. They require registration of your device, but if they required a login then no Playstations, Xboxes, or iPhones would work, because you can't login with an email client or a video game. Once a machine is registered (Identified by the closest thing there is to unique, the MAC)then all the bad guy needs to do is check to make sure the target machine is not on at the moment, and spoof the MAC address. The traffic will be logged as belong to the poor innocent spoofee. And yeah, it may be less than 1% that know how to do it, but a single innocent person be persecuted or prosecuted is too many.

more than 3 years ago
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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police

kamakazi Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (421 comments)

Managed switches don't help prevent MAC address spoofing unless you actually allow a MAC to only connect through the port it first connected on, which kinda gets in the way of people roaming on wifi. Yes there are actually wireless solutions that will approximate physical location by access point triangulation, but good luck in a busy spot. Actually identifying a specific computer on an untrusted network (which they all are these days) is extremely difficult. Knowing what port a particular machine is plugged into is easy, but knowing what machine it is is not. Some wireless solutions now also backhaul all traffic to a wireless controller, so when you roam your connection point to the network doesn't change, but like I said, specifically locating a wireless machine is also next to impossible in a busy public spot.

The problem with MAC spoofing is the incredibly difficult time the person who gets spoofed will have proving their innocence. And of course the legal types on the plaintiffs side will attempt to tell a jury that a MAC address uniquely identifies a machine, and if the poor innocent spoofee gets a normal non tech-savvy lawyer they will probably succeed.

more than 3 years ago

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