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Quickflix Wants Netflix To Drop Australian VPN Users

lgw Re:WAAAHHHH!!! (155 comments)

I think the plant metaphor he was looking for was: "and the Maples formed a union, and demanded equal rights; the Oaks are just too lofty, we will make them give us light". Not a story that ended well.

I'm ashamed to admit it took me 20 years to make the connection between "Maples" and "Canadian band".

8 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

lgw Re:This is why digital sucks (255 comments)

You don't need a reader though, you just need some patient geeks. Because the media is human-readable, it's just a matter of effort to recover the data. If the military really did back up a synopsis of modern science and engineering, one could imagine a future monastery full of monks patiently transcribing the works to scrolls for wider distribution. Of course, one could also imagine them mindlessly transcribing the pattern of dots with no clue as to the meaning of the holy tape, but that's people for you.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

lgw Re:This is why digital sucks (255 comments)

Stone tablets from Babylon are still readable because analog degrades gracefully.

Want real long-term storage? Write them to analog tape again.

Metal punch tape - chosen by the military to survive nuclear apocalypse and still be human readable without tools. Much denser than cuneiform, too.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

lgw Re:Final Cut Pro library (255 comments)

For pro video editing - which is to say lots of content that frequently changes - tape backup still makes sense. There's still no better way to archive large amounts of data, although 2.5 TB (IIRC) tape size for the latest LTO has fallen behind, and the next gen isn't due for likely a year.

But the one-time cost for tape drives is pretty steep. If you're going to use many tapes each month, it's worth it. Heck, I'd say even at 10 TB of new data a month being archived, there's no better way. But for, say, 10 TB of fixed data that just needs to be archived once, it's overkill.

Buy a few HDDs, keep their shipping containers, make a backup and ship them to a friend in a different state. Repeat yearly. That's the economical way. Eventually it will all fit on a single drive, after all (aren't there leading edge 10 TB drives already?), and so you're looking at ~$10/month long term (heck, no matter how much fixed data, eventually it will fit on one drive and cost about that much).

 

yesterday
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Navy Guilty of Illegally Broad Online Searches: Child Porn Conviction Overturned

lgw Re:Problem? (283 comments)

I just come back to "probable cause". Any search without a warrant is bad, and to get that warrant you should need to show that more than half of those you search have the specified contraband. That's what "probable" means, after all.

Bayesian reasoning tells us that's a remarkably high bar to clear based on any sort of profile, but it's technically possible. If, say, you have good evidence that more than half of those who visited Silk Road have illegal drugs in their house right now, then, OK, that's a legit reason to search the houses of everyone who did.

But most profiling and broad searches are closer to 0.05% than to 50%. Search all the computers in the state and find one guilty? What percentage is that? Stop 1000 people at a sobriety checkpoint for every drunk you find? Well, that's a bit less than half, now, isn't it. Search people who fit a profile because they have a one in a million, instead of 1 in 100 million chance of being a terrorist? "They're 100 times as likely if they fit!" Yeah, well, 1 in a million is less than 1 in 2, so keep working on that profile buddy.

Probable cause. It's a simple concept.

2 days ago
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Navy Guilty of Illegally Broad Online Searches: Child Porn Conviction Overturned

lgw Re:Where is the misuse of military equipment charg (283 comments)

Well, if civilian rules of evidence were in play, the evidence should still be thrown out - an overbroad search is an overbroad search. Even though might have found the same evidence with a narrow search, you didn't. But then, I have no clue what the rules of evidence are for the UCMJ, and it's a different world than civilian law. (And of course in the civilian world, they'd just use parallel construction to falsify the origin of the evidence.)

2 days ago
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Navy Guilty of Illegally Broad Online Searches: Child Porn Conviction Overturned

lgw Re:When the cat's absent, the mice rejoice (283 comments)

Everyone but you is construing your post to mean that the government investigators was OK to exceed his authority because child molesters are scum. When you call enough people idiots for misunderstanding you, you should start to think that you were perhaps unclear.

Or as the old saying goes "if everyone you see is an asshole, look in the mirror".

2 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

lgw Re:KIlling off the Microsoft Store Name Too (352 comments)

Only children care about looking grown-up and sophisticated. Sure, they aren't exactly fashionable, but Apple already makes the overpriced fashion accessory and there's not really room for another in that space (well, maybe in a generation or so).

4 days ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

lgw Re:Seems reasonable (461 comments)

Again: by the standards of men ruling men, not by the standards of angels. In each decade, look at what other powerful nations were doing - we come off pretty well, until recently.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

lgw Re:KIlling off the Microsoft Store Name Too (352 comments)

The apps from big companies are there, right? Kindle, Audible, Netflix, that sort of thing? I can't think of any way to filter the rest effectively, since the latest craze always seems to be from some indie company.

Windows has never once succeeded when playing Apple wannabe. If your idea is to make some sort of "elite phone for (people who think themselves) smart people", sorry, MS will never be fashionable. Nor will it ever be geek chic - too many bridges burned. Its current strength is in the low-end market and the app store would need to be compatible with that.

I'd absolutely love to see a store full of $2-5 games with no phoning home or in-app purchases, rather then free games with that BS, and I think it would sell well, but how the heck would you actually do that without a seriously labor-intensive screening process?

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

lgw Re:Counter-productive renaming obsession (352 comments)

Hey now, he also took a keen interest in sweating, and in throwing chairs. Leadership Deficit Disorder - I like it.

5 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

lgw Re:KIlling off the Microsoft Store Name Too (352 comments)

In terms of units sold, Windows phone outsells iPhone in poorer parts of the world.

Honestly, it's fine as a phone, nothing wrong with it. It's not at all like the WinCE phones (seriously, they named the OS "wince", eesh). I played with them in the store this summer, and the UI is pretty slick, but there are so few apps. MS really needs to find a way to run Android apps too if they expect the phone to ever take off.

5 days ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

lgw Re:Seems reasonable (461 comments)

I was born in America, and thus I am as much a "native American" as one of my great-Grandfathers, a Cherokee, or anyone else born here. There were other people here before the Cherokee came: they displaced the previous tribes to inhabit their lands. No doubt there were wave after wave of conquerors over the ~13,000 years since the Clovis culture. Heck, reading through Wikipedia, they maybe weren't the first humans here either.

No nation lasts forever, due to conquest or occasionally starvation, but the US has a darn good track record of living up to the ideals expressed by the Founders, by the standard not of angels but of men governing men in the real world. This sort of police corruption is distinctly un-American, and we shouldn't put up with this shit.

5 days ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

lgw Re:Seems reasonable (461 comments)

It's great that our allies are starting to shame us for this! This is such an embarrassing failure of our ideals, and there's really no excuse.

The war on drugs got police in the habit of supplementing their budgets (and wallets) with seized cash. Policy allowing this trained a generation of police that seizing cash was not only OK, but important for the budget. There's little we can do as individuals, but as a democracy we need to push back against this, strongly.

There's no corporate corruption at work here that we need to fight, just the need for governments at all levels to start directly outlawing civil forfeiture without a specific criminal case to tie it to, and even then to keep cash and legal valuables in escrow, not in the cops hands, and insure their prompt return unless forfeiture is a specific legal penalty for a crime that someone is found guilty of.

5 days ago
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X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

lgw Re:Made in America (145 comments)

Depends on where you live. When I lived in Cali, I knew people who were hoarding supplies but were strongly anti-gun. OTOH, for the guys with actual bunkers, well, they aren't called "bunkers" for nothing.

5 days ago
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X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

lgw Re:Made in America (145 comments)

I figure the best strategy is to have a gun and a well-prepared neighbor. However, I'm too lazy even for that level of preparation.

5 days ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

lgw Re:How? (363 comments)

In the Seattle area, buses are packed with the high income tier. But given they mostly work for MS, whipping out your iThingy might still be rude.

about a week ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

lgw Re:It should be (363 comments)

Do we give a shit about Poland? Not so much.

"Don't forget Poland!" - George Bush

about a week ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

lgw Re:HALO (368 comments)

What was exciting about Halo? No clue here, never heard of it before MS.

about a week ago
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Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

lgw Re:I started wondering... (134 comments)

Meant to have a "large amounts" in there. I thought it was part of the rules to track money laundering, just as any transfer over $10k (or is it $5k?) must be reported. Banks definitely scan large deposits, but I can't find a link to a legal requirement for the serial numbers (they scan for counterfeits as a matter of course). Bill serial number scanners are a real product, but they seem to be marketed to police evidence rooms, not to banks, so I could just be confused on this one.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Journals

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Economics in Brief (Internet Flotsam)

lgw lgw writes  |  about 5 months ago

Here's some internet flotsam attributed to a graduation speech by Thomas Sargent (without digging into whether this speech really happened: the content is interesting).

Economics is organized common sense. Here is a short list of valuable lessons that our beautiful subject teaches.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their
choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.

7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you'd like to make but can't. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.

8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.

9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).

10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

12. Because market prices aggregate traders' information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.

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Geothermal vs Solar Power

lgw lgw writes  |  about 3 years ago

Here are the basic numbers on aailable geothermal vs solar power (since this has come up in discussion more than once).

The surface area of the Earth is about 5.1 x 10^14 m^2. The cross sectional area is about 1.3 x 10^14 m^2 (one quarter of the surface area, of course).

Per this paper found as a cite on wikipedia, the total heat flow out from the Earth's interior is 4.42 x 10^13 W, or 0.0867 W/m^2. Of course, the available power is much less because it's only the subsurface-surface temperature difference that's available.

Total solar irradience is 1361 W/m^2 by NASA's latest estimate (so about 1.7 x 10^17 W across the entire cross section), or about 1000 W/m^2 on the surface at noon on a cloudless day. Averaged over the day-night cycle (surface area vs cross-section, so 250 W/m^2), and taking clouds into account that's about 180 W/m^2 (I can't find a solid source on that yet, but it looks close).

So, total solar power flow is about 4000 times as large as total geothermal flow. I'm not quite sure how to estimate the (ideal) available power as a percentage of the total geothermal power flow, but if we use a WAG of 50%, then the available power from solar is also about 4000 times per square meter more than geothermal - significantly more if we average solar power only across populated latitudes.

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Global Warming Link

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This is the best summary of the great global warming fraud I've yet seen, and published in the most unlikely of places.

To be told, as I have been, by Mr. Gore, again and again, that carbon dioxide is a grave threat to humankind is not just annoying, by the way, although it is that! To re-tool our economies in an effort to suppress carbon dioxide and its imaginary effect on climate, when other, graver problems exist is, simply put, wrong. Particulate pollution, such as that causing the Asian brown cloud, is a real problem. Two billion people on Earth living without electricity, in darkened huts and hovels polluted by charcoal smoke, is a real problem.

Although I feel Harold Ambler makes some good points, he misses what I've always felt was the most important. Given that the climate will change (as it always has), do we want it to be warmer, or colder? As glaciers covering Europe (the norm for the ice age we've been in for the past 100M years) seems to me far worse than rising sea levels, I've never understood why we'd want to fight warming in the first place.

I think the whole global warming fraud started by ignoring all of the available evidence and blindly asserting that the climate is naturally stable, so therefore if man did something to break that stability we'd be creating an otherwise-avoidable catastrophe. What BS. The only thing historically unprecedented is the inexplicable stability of the climate for the past 10K years. Change is unavoidable, with or without the actions of man.

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Some quotes I like

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 9 years ago

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." - Abraham Lincoln

"Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me.'" - George Orwell

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