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Comments

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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

mspohr Re:.info (175 comments)

I have stuff that I only want to share with close associates. I wouldn't use any social media site to do it, though.
This idea is just stupid. However, there are a lot of rich people with more money than brains so it could be wildly successful.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

mspohr Re:More importantly (389 comments)

The entire car is built of aluminum so it should last a long time (and can be easily recycled into beer cans or new cars at low energy cost).
Li batteries can also be recycled... wait for it... into new Li batteries.

3 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

mspohr Re:Who to believe? (389 comments)

Musk never said he'd build the hyperloop. He just said, here's an idea (free) to use if you want.
OTOH, SpaceX and Tesla Motors are doing quite well, thank you.

3 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

mspohr Re:Still pretty affordable (389 comments)

Electricity costs much less than the cost of gas.
Electric cars use about 250 wh to go one mile. This costs about 3 cents at 12 cents/kwh (my cost of electricity in California is about 10 cents/kwh).
A gas car at 25 mpg and $4.00/ gal costs 16 cents to go one mile.
It's just math. 3 cents is less than 16 cents.
Looks like a big cost saving to me... the HOV lane, etc. are just added perks.

3 days ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

mspohr Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

One important problem is that nuclear has a lead time of a minimum of 10 years whereas renewables have a lead time of about one year. We can't burn fossil fuels at the current rate for another 10 years waiting for nuclear.

5 days ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

mspohr Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

Thanks for this clear and reasonable reply.
Clearly you don't just stop the flow of fossil fuel without having a replacement source.
The credible way out of the problem of burning fossil fuels is to replace as many energy sources as possible with renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, etc.). This will cost money and there need to be strong market signals to accelerate the change. Something like a carbon tax with the proceeds going to develop renewable resources would work (for some value of $tax and $subsidy).
The problem is political (mainly in the US) where the corporations which count fossil fuels and fossil fuel infrastructure as "assets" are able to corrupt the political process to prevent the necessary incentives from being put in place. I fear that it is already too late since we are now experiencing the effects of climate change and it will get much worse going forward. However, any reduction in CO2 now will help in the future.

about a week ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

mspohr Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

It reduces the CO2 footprint of the oil by reducing how many fossil fuels are needed to extract it. You can't just "Stop using oil" that's not possible, even remotely. So get over.

Even reducing the CO2 cost of extraction, this oil is very dirty and produces more CO2.
Yes, it's hard to stop using oil but not impossible....
"So get over."... ?

about a week ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

mspohr Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

"With present technology, the extraction and refining of heavy oils and oil sands generates as much as three times the total CO2 emissions compared to conventional oil."

This isn't present technology, this is future technology. In other words you are using old data to tarnish the image of an improved technology, let me call you a green liar maybe even a green troll.

This does help with reducing the CO2 impact of extraction but not of transport and refining... so still should leave this oil in the ground.
The rest of your post is gibberish so I can't respond.

about a week ago
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School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

mspohr Re:Not about ease, about authority (230 comments)

Old geezer here.
My school lunch was a "standard meal" and cost 27 cents. We paid it to a sweet little old lady in cash. She knew us all so no chance for anonymity.

about a week ago
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School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

mspohr Re:Not about ease, about authority (230 comments)

I knew it was the teachers fault.
Teachers are running the cafeteria now... what's next?... the school buses (they are death traps, I hear).

about a week ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

mspohr Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

This is a good example of greenwashing.
They're using solar steam generators to extract heavy crude oil and tar sands. This oil is difficult to extract and environmentally costly to refine.
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...
"With present technology, the extraction and refining of heavy oils and oil sands generates as much as three times the total CO2 emissions compared to conventional oil."
This oil should probably be left in the ground.

about a week ago
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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

mspohr Re:I can explain the failure[s] (182 comments)

Well I have a theory. I has help up in all circumstances I have observed over the few decades I have spent as a tax paying citizen.

When things are free, expected outcomes, which would generally benefit subject populations never materialize..."

Ah, yes... the good old protestant work ethic... we must suffer and sacrifice...
I guess that "free" (tax paid) libraries, fire protection, police service, roads, etc. just don't work.

I have a few examples:

1: Collapse of the Canadian cod fishery industry

Tragedy of the commons. This is greed. Nothing to do with an infinite resource (bandwidth).

2: The extreme stress experienced by the so called "socialist" medical care system wherever it can be found. Result will be failure inevitably.

I have heard the stories about the failure of European health care systems... they manage to deliver better health outcomes at half the cost of our system (But I'm sure they are about to collapse...)

3: The obvious poor quality elementary and post elementary pupils western countries produce compared to kids from the Asian subcontinent where monies paid by hard-working parents, or even students themselves.

"Obvious" to no one but you.

4: Hunger in some so called underdeveloped countries where starvation is obvious in the midst of lush green vegetation.

Let them eat leaves!

about a week ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

mspohr Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

Not exactly a free market when you are picking favorites and subsidizing industry. This really distorts the market.
As for "the people can just throw the bums out if they don't like the way they are spending their money"... this is remarkably naive.

about a week ago
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Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

mspohr Re:External IP (210 comments)

They already have your IP address.

about a week ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

mspohr Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

I find it ironic that all of these "free market" people are so keen on providing subsidies, etc. to corporations. Rick Perry, a staunch "free market" Republican is famous for running around handing out Texas state government subsidies to hand-picked corporations. You can call this socialism, crony capitalism or fascism... it's all basically corrupt and screws the 99% in favor of the needy 1%.

about a week ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

mspohr Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

In Nevada, they can't write a law exempting a specific company from taxes, etc. but to get around this they write the law with enough specifics to practically make it apply to only a specific company.
In Tesla's case, the new law says "any company" which invests at least $3.5 billion and manufactures electric cars... etc. so theoretically another company could qualify for the exemption but not likely to find another company which meets all the criteria.

about a week ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

mspohr Re:Shouldn't be a problem (462 comments)

Maybe the cesspool that is the tar sands region is driving them out.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

mspohr Re:Tesla's in Nevada? (260 comments)

Geography... it matters.
Hoover dam is in Southern Nevada, the factory is in Northern Nevada... big desert between them with not much infrastructure.
Also, most of the power from Hoover Dam goes to Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas.
Also... climate change and drought.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

mspohr Tesla is a battery company (260 comments)

This confirms my suspicion that Tesla is really a battery company masquerading as a car company. The cars are just a vehicle to sell lots of batteries ;).
The grid in Reno might have a problem handling large swings in renewable power but since the factory should have lots of batteries, they can use them to smooth out the power fluctuations and use this as a demo site to sell battery grid backup systems.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Is the Universe a Hologram?

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about two weeks ago

mspohr (589790) writes "An article in The Register explains an experiment at Fermilab:
"How can we tell from the inside of our Universe if it’s actually real or just a hologram? Boffins at Fermilab have set out to answer this thorny question with a new experiment in the National Accelerator Lab called the Holometer."
"Scientists reckon it’s possible that, just like the pixels that make up the 3D image on your TV, all the information about the Universe could actually be encoded in tiny packets in just two dimensions. These natural pixels would be ten trillion trillion times smaller than an atom – a unit known as the Planck length. Things get heavily quantum from this assumption on"
(Note: I always get confused when things get "heavily quantum".)
"The Fermilab’s Holometer will attempt to measure the quantum jitter of space itself using a pair of interferometers placed close together. Each instrument will send a one-kilowatt laser beam at a beam splitter and down two perpendicular 40m arms. The light will then be reflected back to the splitter when the two beams recombine, creating fluctuations in the brightness if these vibrations exist."
(Sounds good so far...)
“If we find a noise we can’t get rid of, we might be detecting something fundamental about nature – a noise that is intrinsic to space-time,” said Fermilab physicist Aaron Chou, lead scientist and project manager for the Holometer. “It’s an exciting moment for physics. A positive result will open a whole new avenue of questioning about how space works.”
(Yes... how does space work?)"

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Cobol Forever!

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about two weeks ago

mspohr (589790) writes "Interesting article in Computerworld about Cobol's die hard fans which include large companies with millions of lines in Cobol code which they keep up to date even though there is a dwindling supply of Cobol coders. One example is Blue Cross:
"The healthcare insurer processes nearly 10% of all healthcare claims in the U.S., and uses six top-of-the line IBM zEnterprise EC12 systems running millions of lines of optimized Cobol to process 19.4 billion online healthcare transactions annually. Its custom-built claims processing engine has been thoroughly modernized and kept up to date, says BCBS of SC vice president and chief technology officer Ravi Ravindra. "It was always in Cobol, and it always will be."
"Cobol was designed to handle transactional workloads, and for large-scale transaction processing it still can't be beat..."
"Some 23 of the world's top 25 retailers, 92 of the top 100 banks, and the 10 largest insurers all entrust core operations to Cobol programs running on IBM mainframes"
So... should we all start learning Cobol?"

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Want to have a real impact on climate change? Then become a vegetarian.

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about a month and a half ago

mspohr (589790) writes "A thought provoking article in today's Guardian makes the case that raising meat for human consumption is one of the most climate damaging human activities with studies showing that between 18% and 51% of climate change is due to human meat consumption.
"Raising animals to eat produces more greenhouse gasses (via methane and nitrous oxide) than all of the carbon dioxide excreted by automobiles, boats, planes and trains in the world combined. "
"Yes, quitting meat can reduce your carbon footprint significantly more than quitting driving.""

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New tools help neuroscientists analyze 'big data'

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 2 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes ""New technologies for monitoring brain activity are generating unprecedented quantities of information. That data may hold new insights into how the brain works — but only if researchers can interpret it. To help make sense of the data, neuroscientists can now harness the power of distributed computing with Thunder, a library of tools developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus.
"Freeman chose to build on a new platform called Spark. Developed at the University of California, Berkeley's AMPLab, Spark is rapidly becoming a favored tool for large-scale computing across industry, Freeman says. Spark's capabilities for data caching eliminates the bottleneck of loading a complete data set for all but the initial step, making it well-suited for interactive, exploratory analysis, and for complex algorithms requiring repeated operations on the same data. And Spark's elegant and versatile application programming interfaces (APIs) help simplify development. Thunder uses the Python API, which Freeman hopes will make it particularly easy for others to adopt, given Python's increasing use in neuroscience and data science.
Researchers can find everything they need to begin using the open source library of tools at http://freeman-lab.github.io/t...
To make Spark suitable for analyzing a broad range of neuroscience data — information about connectivity and activity collected from different organisms and with different techniques — Freeman first developed standardized representations of data that were amenable to distributed computing. He then worked to express typical neuroscience workflows into the computational language of Spark.""

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Earth in the midst of sixth mass extinction - the "anthropocene defaunation"

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 2 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "A special issue of Science magazine devoted to Vanishing Fauna publishes a series of articles about the man-caused extinction of species and the implications for ecosystems and the climate.
"During the Pleistocene epoch, only tens of thousands of years ago, our planet supported large, spectacular animals. Mammoths, terror birds, giant tortoises, and saber-toothed cats, as well as many less familiar species such as giant ground sloths (some of which reached 7 meters in height) and glyptodonts (which resembled car-sized armadillos), roamed freely. Since then, however, the number and diversity of animal species on Earth have consistently and steadily declined. Today we are left with a relatively depauperate fauna, and we continue to lose animal species to extinction rapidly. Although some debate persists, most of the evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extinction of this Pleistocene fauna, and we continue to drive animal extinctions today through the destruction of wild lands, consumption of animals as a resource or a luxury, and persecution of species we see as threats or competitors. "
Unfortunately, most of the detail is behind a paywall but the summary should be enough for Slashdot readers."

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California pays Wisconsin farmer to burn methane

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 4 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "Can bottom-up cap and trade work?
California has funded a $3.2 million system to burn methane from dairy cows in Wisconsin.
It's all part of California's "cap and trade" effort to reduce climate change.
"California’s program is the latest incarnation of an increasingly popular — and much debated — mechanism that has emerged as one of the primary weapons against global warming. From China to Norway, Kazakhstan to the Northeastern United States, governments are requiring industries to buy permits allowing them to emit set levels of greenhouse gases. Under these plans, the allowable levels of pollution are steadily reduced and the cost of permits rises, creating an economic incentive for companies to cut emissions."
“We might be witnessing the birth of a new system, without quite realizing it,” said Glen P. Peters, a climate researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. “When you think of all these bottom-up initiatives around the world, maybe we are living through the transformation right now.”
"Experts who support cap and trade contend that a market mechanism can reach more deeply into the economy than any other approach, changing the behavior even of people and companies that might not necessarily care about global warming.""

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NSA "Knows the way you think"

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 4 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "“As you write a message, you know, an analyst at the NSA or any other service out there that’s using this kind of attack against people can actually see you write sentences and then backspace over your mistakes and then change the words and then kind of pause and — and — and think about what you wanted to say and then change it. And it’s this extraordinary intrusion not just into your communications, your finished messages but your actual drafting process, into the way you think.”

More information here:
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature..."

Link to Original Source
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3D Printed houses are a reality!

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 5 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "China’s Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering company has released new images and further details on its 3D printed houses. The ten houses were built entirely out of recycled materials, in less than 24 hours.
The monstrous 3D printer measures 32-meters long, by 10-meters wide, by 6.6-meters high and is fully capable of printing the 200 square meter houses, in Shanghai’s Qingpu district. It uses a mixture of construction and industrial waste to produce each house. The inexpensive materials used during the printing process and the lack of labor, means each house can be printed for under $5,000, an impressive achievement for a relatively new construction process."

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Bugs in SCADA software leaves 7,600 factories vulnerable

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 6 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "The BBC reports:
The discovery of bugs in software used to run oil rigs, refineries and power plants has prompted a global push to patch the widely used control system. The bugs were found by security researchers and, if exploited, could give attackers remote access to control systems for the installations.
The US Department of Homeland Security said an attacker with "low skill" would be able to exploit the bugs. About 7,600 plants around the world are using the vulnerable software.
"We went from zero to total compromise," said Juan Vazquez, a researcher at security firm Rapid7 who, with colleague Julian Diaz, found several holes in Yokogawa's Centum CS 3000 software which was first released to run on Windows 98 to monitor and control machinery in many large industrial installations.
The researchers also explored other SCADA software: "We ended up finding over 1,000 bugs in 100 days,""

Link to Original Source
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Reporting from the Web's Underbelly

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 7 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "The NY Times has an interesting article about Brian Krebs (Krebs on Security):
"In the last year, Eastern European cybercriminals have stolen Brian Krebs’s identity a half dozen times, brought down his website, included his name and some unpleasant epithets in their malware code, sent fecal matter and heroin to his doorstep, and called a SWAT team to his home just as his mother was arriving for dinner."
His reporting is definitely on the edge. "Mr. Krebs, 41, tries to write pieces that cannot be found elsewhere. His widely read cybersecurity blog, Krebs on Security, covers a particularly dark corner of the Internet: profit-seeking cybercriminals, many based in Eastern Europe, who make billions off pharmaceutical sales, malware, spam, frauds and heists like the recent ones that Mr. Krebs was first to uncover at Adobe, Target and Neiman Marcus."
The article concludes with this: "Mr. Joffe worries Mr. Krebs’s enemies could do far worse. “I don’t understand why he hasn’t moved to a new, undisclosed address,” he said. “But Brian needs a bodyguard.” (He does have a shotgun.)"

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Want to remotely control a car? $20 in parts.

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 7 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "From the The Register:
"Spanish hackers have been showing off their latest car-hacking creation; a circuit board using untraceable, off-the-shelf parts worth $20 that can give wireless access to the car's controls while it's on the road.
The device, which will be shown off at next month's Black Hat Asia hacking conference, uses the Controller Area Network (CAN) ports car manufacturers build into their engines for computer-system checks. Once assembled, the smartphone-sized device can be plugged in under some vehicles, or inside the bonnet of other models, and give the hackers remote access to control systems.
"A car is a mini network," security researcher Alberto Garcia Illera told Forbes. "And right now there's no security implemented.""

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Travel to Sochi for the Olympics, Get Hacked?

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 7 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "If you're headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, it might be best to stay off the grid.
The State Department has already warned travelers that they should have no expectation of privacy while in Russia. And now, NBC's Richard Engel has demonstrated just how easy it is to get hacked while at the games.
Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent, teamed with Kyle Wilhoit, a threat researcher with TrendMicro, to test how quickly devices could be compromised while in Russia.
According to Engel's report, the smartphone was attacked almost instantly... The PCs were also breached almost instantaneously from someone who appeared to be in Russia.
(Wilhoit said he will publish a more technical blog post on Friday that details exactly how the devices were compromised.)"

Link to Original Source
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Make your own Bitcoin!

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 8 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "Since the source code for Bitcoin is open source, we have seen several copies or enhancements of Bitcoin (Litecoin, Dogecoin or Coinye West, anyone?... There are about 70 listed on this site: http://coinmarketcap.com/ )
Now you, too, can have your own cryptocurrency! Thanks to Matt Corallo, a veteran bitcoin developer, you can easily create your own at this site: coingen.io
He has automated the process of modifying the source code to create custom currencies. Just enter in the name for your new currency, a logo image and set a few parameters (or accept the defaults) and for the grand sum of as little as 0.05 Bitcoin, you can have your own cryptocurrency in 30 minutes! Source code and some customizations are a bit extra.
Once you have your own "coin", you just need to convince people that it is worth something."

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Claims of virgin births in U.S. near 1 percent

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 9 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "Each year, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) publishes a set of interesting articles which are, while scientifically correct, do not meet the usual criteria for publication (untraditional papers).
This highlight of this year's edition is one which found that 0.8% of US females reported virgin births. That is, they reported that they had never had intercourse and that they had been pregnant. It should be noted that they did not claim immaculate conception, they just reported (on regular surveys) that they had been pregnant and (in a separate section of the survey) had never had intercourse.
"The authors of "Like a virgin (mother)" — whose prose is devoid of irony — say such scientifically impossible claims show researchers must use care in interpreting self-reported behavior. Fallible memory, beliefs and wishes can cause people to err in what they tell scientists."
These results are from a large, well regarded, longitudinal study of women in the USA.
Some insight into these findings:
"Of those who said they became pregnant as virgins, 31 percent also said they had signed chastity pledges; 15 percent of nonvirgins who became pregnant said they had signed such pledges, in which a girl vows not to have sex until she marries."
Also:
"The ostensibly chaste mothers were also less likely to know how to use condoms, according to the report. " (duh... this could be a big clue here!)
Finally the authors also report (again, without irony) that: "The researchers found that although the mothers in question were more likely to have boys than girls, and to be pregnant during the weeks leading up to Christmas, neither similarity to the Virgin Mary was statistically significant."
Merry Christmas to Jesus and all the gang."

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Pee Analyzer and RFID to stop drunk drivers

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 10 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes "A Singapore nightclub has installed devices in their urinals which test for drunk patrons. When a patron is over the limit, the device identifies him by the RFID card in his pocket and tags the card. It also displays a warning above the urinal. When he goes to pick up his car, the warning is displayed and there is another opportunity to take a cab.
Apparently they don't prevent claiming the car but about 2/3 of patrons decide to take a cab.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2OdA7DUOAQ"

Link to Original Source
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David Miranda is Nobody's Errand-Boy

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about 10 months ago

mspohr (589790) writes ""When Glenn Greenwald’s 28-year-old Brazilian partner was detained in London this summer while transporting documents related to the bombshell Edward Snowden story, many assumed he was unfairly roped into a situation he didn’t understand. That couldn’t be further from the truth."
BuzzFeed has a lengthy interview with Miranda which gives lots of interesting details about Snowden in Hong Kong, Laura Poitras in Germany, his detention in the UK, and his life with Greenwald in Brazil.
Warning: This is a long article. If you don't have the time to read it, please don't comment tl;dr... just move on."

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Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about a year ago

mspohr (589790) writes "An interesting article in the NY Times: "Two researchers discovered that they could freeze, or crash, the software that monitors a substation, thereby blinding control center operators from the power grid."
These two engineers wrote software to test for vulnerabilities in the control systems of electrical power grids which use a protocol called DNP3 to communicate with sub-stations. They first tested an open source implementation of the protocol and didn't find any problems. They were worried that their software test wasn't adequate so they started testing proprietary systems. The broke every single one of the 16 proprietary systems they tested initially and found a further 9 systems vulnerable in later testing. They were able to install malware and also found firewalls ineffective.
They reported this to the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, I.C.S.-C.E.R.T. and didn't get much of a response.
Scary that our electrical grid is so vulnerable and there doesn't seem to be much urgency to get it fixed. A few patches have been issued but who knows if the systems have been updated?"

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Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russia

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about a year ago

mspohr (589790) writes "Interesting interview with Edward Snowden in the NYTimes where he talks freely about his decision to start collecting documents. His experience in reporting problems and abuse convinced him he would be discredited. He also states he didn't take any of the documents to Russia and that the Chinese don't have them either. He turned them all over to the journalists. He also corrects last week's NYTimes story about the derogatory comment in his personnel file... it was due to him discovering and trying to report a vulnerability in the CIA's internal software. Interesting read."
Link to Original Source
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Cyclists' Time-Trial Dilemma Solved

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about a year ago

mspohr (589790) writes "The MIT Technology Review has given us a definitive answer to the age-old question: "On a closed track against a powerful head/tailwind, what racing strategy should a cyclist adopt?"
The problem is that aerodynamic drag, which is the predominant drag force, is not linear. After making a few simplifying assumptions, he comes up with a simple rule of thumb: "His rule of thumb is to ride at the target speed plus a quarter of the wind speed when you have a tailwind and to ride at your target speed minus half the wind speed when the wind is in your face."
Full paper (un-gated): http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.1741"

Link to Original Source
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Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe

mspohr mspohr writes  |  about a year ago

mspohr (589790) writes "An interview with Bruce Schneier in the MIT Technology Review offers some unique insight and hints at future revelations on the Snowden papers. Bruce points out "What these leaks reveal is how robust NSA surveillance is, how pervasive it is, and to what degree the NSA has commandeered the entire Internet and turned it into a surveillance platform."
In addition: "They’re not just spying on the bad guys, they’re deliberately weakening Internet security for everyone—including the good guys. It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state."
He also has an interesting analogy for the way the NSA "asks" for backdoors: "The way it seems to go, it’s never an explicit request from the NSA. It’s more of a joking thing: “So, are you going to give us a back door?” If you act amenable, then the conversation progresses. If you don’t, it’s completely deniable. It’s like going out on a date. Sex might never be explicitly mentioned, but you know it’s on the table."
Finally, he disses his five tips for avoiding NSA surveillance: "My five tips suck. They are not things the average person can use. One of them is to use PGP [a data-encryption program]. But my mother can’t use PGP. Maybe some people who read your publication will use my tips, but most people won’t. Basically, the average user is screwed."
He hints at further revelations in articles he is preparing for The Guardian."

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