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Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

mpe Re:Phone numbers (109 comments)

There are real physical historical reasons why telephone numbers were not portable until recently and why its a beaurocratic nightmare why its a hassle for everyone involved to this day.

Note that "recently" in this context probably means several decades ago. SPC exchanges having been around since the 1960s.

yesterday
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

mpe Re:Adding yet another box (428 comments)

If you happen to already own the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 console, how much energy does it take to manufacture and ship an Apple TV box and an automatic HDMI switch box?

Since in such a situation you are likely to end up using both devices this has also increased the ongoing power consumption.
With energy, as with software, TCO figures can be "cherry picked". With the T rarely actually equating to "Total" for all the senarios.

yesterday
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

mpe Re:Duh (767 comments)

Even in our (Australia's) supposedly modern democracy, politicians can say anything at all to get elected and can't be held to it once they are.

Is there any place where politicians held to what they say in their campaign or political parties are held to what's in their manifesto?

2 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

mpe Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (767 comments)

In other words, causes, no matter how big, don't really get power until they can pay enough to be taken seriously. That might mean lobbying, marketing, or awareness campaigns, but it still takes money to look like your cause has merit.

I wonder how many of these groups first use their influence to gain a source of public funding. Which would entrench their position.

2 days ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

mpe Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

Sure, and your retina can't see VGA resolution resolution either.
Not if you stand far enough away from the screen...


e,g, if it's the visor on your "cleaning suit".

2 days ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

mpe Re:The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (275 comments)

Heinlein's 1966 classic The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is wonderful and visionary on many levels but still tripped over some contemporary assumptions. Like one big computer ran everything, including the phone system. It could synthesize audio but it had to jump through fancy hoops to do video.

The other assumption made here was that it wasn't too difficult to create a functional AI. Something which modern authors don't tend to consider as easy as producing video good enough to fool people.

2 days ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

mpe Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

Most authors back in Asimov's day saw the world like that - astrogators using books of navigation tables, slide rules, taking sextant readings from the stars, etc.

An obvious example of this would Heinlein's "Starman Jones" from 1953. Where the use of such tables forms a critical part of the plot. With the real Apollo Guidance Computer being far more "user friendly" :)

2 days ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

mpe Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

So one person guesses in the mid-19th century that we will have horseless carriages in the future--but also thinks they'll run on steam engines and cause great depletion of our wood and coal supplies.

The first steam driven vehicles date from the early 19th century. One of the problems with the London Steam Carriage (of 1803) was that it cost more to run than a horse drawn carriage (needing a fireman in addition to a driver.) There were steam cars built which used liquid (petroleum based) fuels too.

Another person forsees an interstate highway system, but thinks it will be used for giant horse-drawn land trains.

By the mid 19th century nobody would seriously consider trains drawn by anything other than a locomotive.
Even around the turn of the 20th century there was plenty of competition between steam, internal combustion (both types) and electric engines when it came to "horseless carriages". Ironically a century old electric car can have a similar range to a modern one.

2 days ago
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Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

mpe Re:Only in America... (307 comments)

No as was already pointed out, North America is a continent, South America is a differnet continent and Central America is a region where the two connect.

Rather "Central America" is the southern part of "North America".

3 days ago
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Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

mpe Re:um.... (307 comments)

Yeah, and how hard is it to divide 22 by 7 with a twig in the dirt, "Mr. Mathematician"? That's also an acceptable approximation of Pi that is 4.0249943477E-2 percent off the "true value".

Or memorise 3.1419 or 3.142...

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

mpe Re:WHAT? (727 comments)

http://www.homepower.com/articles/wind-power/design-installation/ask-experts-car-alternator-wind-turbine "A car alternator is a bad choice for a wind generator. The efficiency in normal use is never more than about 60 percent."

Wind is a poor way to generate electricity in the first place. Since the available power varies randomly. Even the most primative of steam engines would be a better choice.

3 days ago
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IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

mpe Re:Wow! If this is the way things work (322 comments)

Or they could do the sane thing and move their employees off of decade-old hardware.

Presumably you won't be boarding a bus, train or commercial flight then :)

5 days ago
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IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

mpe Re:Microsoft wants more money again (322 comments)

Windows 7 has been hands-down more solid and stable. In the 4.5 years I have been running it, on 5 PCs, I can count the number of BSODs I've had on one hand -- and those are typically attributable to unstable, unsigned device drivers.

5 PCs is no kind of "enterprise" setup. There's also no way to directly upgrade from XP to 7. The only way is a reinstall then finding out which applications still work with 7. Worst case senario being applications which install without any obvious issues, start up apparently fine, but certain functionional is either missing or different. Or maybe applications need to be "upgraded" with the new version being functionally different.

5 days ago
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IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

mpe Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (322 comments)

It is like if you buy a car from a Toyota dealership. It comes with a 3 year warranty, Toyota fix things that break on the car for 3 years. After 3 years they no longer provide free repairs, and you *gasp* must pay to have things fixed and replaced.

Plenty of places have laws that require goods to be of "reasonable quality".
In the case of a manufacturing defect these can be applicable for considerably longer than 3 years. (Possibly with seller, rather than maker, having to pay.)
A problem with software is that it can fall outside the scope of such laws. Even if it's sold as a "widget".

5 days ago
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IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

mpe Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (322 comments)

Software doesn't have "mechanical" wear, but it has ongoing discovery of security vulnerabilities that require maintenance from the vendor. Delivering that maintenance costs money.

Such vulnerabilities can also be introduced by "maintenance". Also they can't be easily related to some metric of usage or time, unlike mechanical "wear".

5 days ago
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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

mpe Re:Drones are still too dumb (214 comments)

Here's a small Parrot drone at 1553 feet in the UK. It's little, but if it was sucked into a jet engine, the engine would definitely be damaged and might fail. In 2013, someone was flying a drone near JFK in New York and the drone had a near miss with a jetliner.

Unless drones were to start flying in large numbers of "flocks" they are unlikely to be as big a hazard to aircraft as birds.

5 days ago
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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

mpe Re:The FAA has no authority over low flying drones (214 comments)

By the law, their authority starts at something like 700 feet. Stay below that and they have no business saying anything one way or the other about it.
These drones pose no threat to conventional aircraft because they operate at closer to ten thousand feet... not under 700.


You'd typically find aircraft operating down to zero feet at or near airports. Also aircraft performing things such as powerline surveys and firefighting can be flying very low. So there might be cause for concern. But obviously not a big worry if the FAA has effectivly sat on this for several years.

5 days ago
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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

mpe Re:Commercial drones are forbidden (214 comments)

And commercial flights of drones are forbidden in the US. The FAA is writing the regulations about what is and isn't going to be allowed, but until they finish that, any commercial flights of drone is in violation of the existing rules. I'm not sure why it's so hard for Libertarians to grasp that.

The point is that what this guy was doing in no way fits the definition of "commercial".

5 days ago
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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

mpe Re:Cherry picking the data much? (852 comments)

Shockingly, and unsurprisingly, by limiting themselves to the last 500 years, such pesky issues as the Medieval Warm Period go away,

Often the LIA, MWP, RWP, etc. Are waved away as "not global" / "local". By someone unwilling/able to give an objective metric for "global" vs "local". (Often the same applies with "weather" vs "climate".)

5 days ago
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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

mpe Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (852 comments)

Yea, look at this ice core data. Much warmer in the past, with no anthropogenic CO2 influence.

Also this data shows CO2 following temperature rather than vice versa.

5 days ago

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