The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA
I grew up at Naval Air Weapons Station (nee Naval Weapons Center nee Naval Ordnance Test Station - bureaucracy at work) China Lake where my father was a top engineer. The base in those days operated much like the private space companies of today. Much of that culture is captured in the book "Sidewinder: Creative Missile Development at China Lake" which describes the freedom to tinker, rebuild and test things from what would have been scrap (radar antenna motors would be resued as the proof-of-concept drive motors for prototype missile seekers, for instance) and to, er, "repurpose" new equipment as necessary. Engineers might not expect to have a desk, carpet or file-cabinet but every one had their own fully equipped workbench chock full of signal generators, scopes, meters and whatever else they needed and they attracted a group of incredible engineers from Cal, Stanford, MIT, CalTech and the like who developed weapons like the Sidewinder, Walleye, HARM, Shrike and more - many of which the top brass hadn't even conceived of but the engineers knew were needed. Sidewinder was originally described as a "local fuse project" and developed skunkworks-style in-house with a variety of volunteer efforts and budget shuffling. It didn't become an official program until 5-years after it was started and was mature enough to demonstrate to Admiral Parsons at the Bureau of Ordnance. Nowdays that would result in congressional investigations and charges instead of praise.
Sadly China Lake, too, has devolved into knee-deep carpeted program-management offices overseeing outsourced contractors and no longer has the same attraction for the freewheeling inventor that it once did. Fortunately there are still places where the workbench-first ethos still thrives.
Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
I interpret this the same way. It doesn't say "recorded by us" or "recorded by us exclusively" but merely "may be recorded."
In fact the phrase "may be recorded" is open to interpretation and can mean both "we might record it" and "we give permission to record it."
Still, I wouldn't put it past some company to try the "you recorded us illegaly" tactic.
For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs
Exactly what I was thinking even without tongue in cheek. Perhaps communications majors do communicate (as don't we all) but, unlike in technical fields, I haven't seen too many job postings requiring a degree in communications. But those people are by-and-large working in law, advertising, insurance, etc. yet nobody seems to feel the necessity to do a study on how many communication majors aren't working in communications.
Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?
Having worked in the past in law enforcement and in security systems I would sometimes tell people this joke:
Two guys are camping when they hear a bear outside the tent. As one guy starts putting on and lacing up his shoes, the other says, "don't be silly, you can't outrun a bear."
The other guy responds, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."
Each little bit of security makes you just a tad "faster" then your tentmate. Lock your doors. Lock your windows. Get a dog. Get an alarm.
But realize the time delay with an alarm. Someone kicks for a while at your door and finally breaks it in at which point the alarm activates. They dash in and ransack the place and split - usually in a minute or two - sometimes less. Meanwhile the alarm system calls the alarm company who calls the police dispatch and gives them the info. You have probably passed 60 seconds already. Then the call goes out to the officers - assuming they are available and there aren't higher priority calls on the board. Car accidents, robberies, and many other events take precedence over alarm calls which are typically 95+% false. Unless the officer just happens to be right around the corner, it is another couple minutes till they arrive. And these are best-case numbers. The burglar is usually long-gone when the officers arrive.
Don't forget that the bad-guys don't respect life or property. They rip earrings out of ears. They smash windows and wreck dashboards to get a $150 stereo they can fence for $10 (if that). Or, in the case of a good friend who had upgraded his alarm, added security locks on the windows, installed lights and more, they simply backed their pickup across his front lawn and through the french-doors and proceeded to throw whatever they could get in 30-seconds (hundreds of CDs, stereo, TV and other easy to move stuff) into the truck and sped away.
In that vein, a safe may protect your goods but put you at risk for a home invasion (http://xkcd.com/538/).
As others have said, insure, encrypt and archive (off-site).
BTW, good neighbors are great. I ended up following two of the four burglars that hit my neighbor's house. Cops surrounded the block they ran into and eventually let the dog bring one out when he refused to come out on his own. Recovered all the property as well. When our friend's car down the block was damaged in a hit-and-run it was a neighbor who provided the plate and description. We are organizing a neighborhood watch and working to catalog the available security cameras on the block at which point we will probably get the city to put up a "video monitoring in force" sign at the ends of the block.
One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
I remember my first assembly class when we toggled in our initial few programs directly at the front panel of a PDP-11. (Not even really assembly at that point but direct machine instructions.) The paddle switches were in colored groups of three leading to the only really use for octal I have ever encountered: you could get very fast at reading octal and setting the switches with your index/middle/ring fingers.
Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds
For cars any fast-charge battery doesn't remove the *ahem* "current" stumbling block but rather *moves* it.
Tesla's fast-charger claims a 4-hour recharge on a charger pulling 16.8kW and a charge will get you rougly halfway from San Francisco to LA - a trip easily made on a tank of gas.
To match a gas-station fillup you would need to transfer that amount of energy in about 5 minutes requiring a supply of a touch over 800kW. At 600VDC - the voltage used by BART - your cables would *only* need to carry about 1,300A to the car. By my reading, this means approximately six "strands" of 0000 wire per conductor or a dozen for a two-conductor cable. That cable will weigh approximately 6-pounds/foot plus an undoubtedly hefty plug and it will still get pretty warm during charging as well as being enormously attractive to copper thieves.
But since the fuel-powered vehicle gets 2-3 times the range on that refueling a more realistic comparison requires you to at least double the above numbers to reach refuel-time/driving-range parity. If they don't double the range on the electric vehicles then you need double the refuling stops with the attendent increase in number of "pumps" or stations. The required energy needs to get to the vehicle somehow.
When I pulled into Costco to fill up there were 20 pumps all with cars at them. Even if only half were actually fueling, the station would need an 8,000kW feed before even factoring in burst and safety-factor requirements.
To make matters worse, most people refuel in the daytime when electric loads are highest. Of course this is offset somewhat by the fact that daytime is when solar is available.
Overall, high-speed recharge for cars may bring as many or more problems than it solves, especially when the battery-swap alternative allows for load-leveling, for leveraging the ability to purchase at the cheapest or most environmentally friendly times, for eliminating the need for an owner to worry about large battery-replacement costs and potentially even for returning power to the utilities at peak-demand times.
Half of US Nuclear Missile Wing Implicated In Cheating
Nothing to worry about. It's just a 50th Anniversary tribute to Dr. Strangelove.
IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share
The statistics are "collected from W3Schools' log-files..." So an English-language site for people interested in web development is now considered an accurate proxy for browser usage? I think not. Predictably, the results are way out of line with, well, pretty much everyone:
Slashdot PT Cruiser Spotted In the Wild
About a year ago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9...
Like any good geek car, it was parked near a brewpub:
EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet
At least the current law in California. Most of section 498 deals with diverting from "utilities" though it may be considered "personal property" and fall under another theft section.
I remember a couple decades back the University Police in Berkeley were beset by complaints about loud late-night music constantly blairing from a boom-box operated by a homeless guy in one of the parking structures. "Disturbing the peace" is a tough sell and he didn't ever get the clue till they started arresting him for stealing electricty from the university since he was plugged into an outlet there.
I've always thought back to that case and wondered if I'm at risk when I charge my laptop from a wall outlet at an airport or coffee shop.
NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns
Works for Switch in Las Vegas. Cold in winter and cools off at night so 70% of annual hours they can pull in ambient air through filters. Evaporative cooling, whether direct or to cool the hot-side of a refrigerated system, works best in dry climates but it's only used to improve efficiency as they can run fine with air-cooling albeit at much higher power costs.
I'm still surprised at the number of places that think cooling is optional. We had equipment in a Sacramento data-center that had plenty of backup electricity for servers but couldn't run the AC in a power outage. The SLA only had provisions for exceeding 80-degrees for more than something like 90 or 120 minutes. *Ahem*, cold-comfort when a dense data-center can blow through 100 in minutes without AC.
UC Berkeley had a widespread power outage about a week ago. The main campus data center had power but, you guessed it, couldn't run cooling and had to "gracefully" shut down most of the core systems while watching the center breach 100F.
But I agree with your base assumption - really bad planning and/or execution on the power systems.
Ask Slashdot: Time To Regulate Domestic Drones?
As with many activities, people who break the already existing rules mess things up for everyone.
I was at the exciting finale of the America's Cup out on the pier with something like 10,000+ people watching the boats race to the finish line shadowed by three helicopters providing video coverage. So what does some dope do? Launches his quadcopter from the middle of an outdoor crowd and flys it out over the finish area. What part of "away from populated areas" and "away from aircraft operations" did this idiot not understand?
It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body
It is ridiculous to use "roughly" and "2.99" in the same measurement. Seriously?!? A professor informed my engineering class that adding extra decimal places implied that that level of precision was known and/or required. It is at all plausible that the variability in the "average" human body is less than a one part per thousand?
Sounds a lot like Karl Marx when he took material costs in "round numbers", "assumed" costs for spindles and rates of waste, arbitrarily "put" wear and tear at 10% and "supposed" a value for rent then somehow, miraculously, calculated that surplus value equaled 153-11/13%
Kudos to Scientific American for being sensible enough to say "about three."
Team Oracle Penalized For America's Cup Rules Violations
I've been watching almost every race and photographing them as well (http://www.flickr.com/photos/97903173@N03/collections/72157634780455306/).
The technology is amazing. Not only the boats but also the stuff that Stan Honey has cooked up for the live-view on TV (http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/the-augmented-reality-americas-cup)
Banning/penalizing the actual participants in the cheating is fine. But the America's Cup World Series was a warm-up for the real events and designed primarily to give the crews experience and to promote the sport throughout the world so the 2-race penalty makes no sense to me. It's sort of like finding a couple baseball players used a corked bat in the pre-season so you nullify the teams first 20 wins in the regular season.
San Francisco Fire Chief Bans Helmet-Mounted Cameras For Firefighters
As others have pointed out, the original story is very out-of-date and ignores the fact that the policy has been in-place for a long time.
Privacy vs. public access is not completely black and white. Just a few issues that could be reasonably debated (not on the Interwebs, of course, where no reasonable debate occurs) are:
Should firefighters be rescuing people and fighting fires or d*cking around with their GoPro to get cool Youtube videos?
As medical responders, what about HIPPA? Does a person have the right to call for help secure in the knowledge that the rescuer won't be spreading helmet-cam footage of their nude mangled body across the Internet or news?
I see some similar issues with radio traffic and release of 911 recordings. While I enjoy checking the local goings-on with a scanner I wonder if "...respond to 1234 Main Apartment 3 for a 34 year old female suicide attempt via overdose..." is broadcasting just a bit too much personal medical info.
And don't get me started on search-warrants. The cops *love* to issue press-releases about all the stuff they have recovered even though nobody has been charged or convicted. A couple bricks of .22, a Playboy and the pills from your doctor are "drugs, pornography and thousands of rounds of ammunition" by the time it hits the blotter. It just a bit too much power to smear someone's reputation without trial for my taste.
As AOL Prepares To Downsize Patch, CEO Fires Employee During Meeting
They killed it months ago. Now they are just dragging the corpse through the streets instead of giving it a proper burial.
Last year there was an actual reporter posting actual news relevant to and about our town. Readers posted comments - sometimes hundreds on a single article. There were lively discussions about school issues, traffic safety and other local issues with generally one to three new articles every day.
Then they announced "exciting upgrades." The look and feel of the site went from OK to awful. Our local reporter has been "reassigned to a regional area." The local news is an irregularly updated mish-mash of cut 'n' paste police blotter info posted well after it has already been available on Nixle, reposts from other news sources (and not very local), and "reporting" consisting of things like a brief listing of the city-council agenda followed by an "article" saying "Were you at the meeting? What are your comments?" And still they sometimes can't get any news posted for days. Really?
They have added lots of "sponsored" Patch localities advertising Planes, Smurfs and the like.
The "local" reporters are now, if you look at their profiles, all over the country and making errors in articles that just make them look like idiots to anyone actually living here. Reviews and articles about places that closed a year or two ago do not make for credibility.
Much of the supposedly local news is just repackaged national stats. "How is unemployment in YourLocalTown compared to the rest of the country?" and the like. Other stuff is somewhat local looking blog stuff that turns out to be identical on all the sites.
It's sad. The site used to be fun and interesting. Too bad they couldn't make it a successful business.
Compared to my 1st computer's memory ...
This could have as easily been phased as "my current video card has X times the RAM of my first computer" (about 10000) or "my current computer has X times the RAM of my first hard drive" (about 1000).
UnGrounded: British Airways Attempts to Bottle Some Startup Spirit
Obligatory Hitchhiker's reference aside, who thinks it's a good idea to stick a bunch of the professed best and brightest together on the same trans-Atlantic plane? Apparantly they are ignoring the lessons learned by corporations that have had their entire leadership killed in a single crash and therefore forbid members of upper management from taking the same flight.
Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51
Is my new sig. RIP Atul.
Questioning Google's Disclosure Timeline Motivations
It's no wonder this article was posted anonymously. The whole tone and writing style is exactly what one would expect in a position statement cranked out by a corporate PR flack. I wonder whose flack it is.