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# Slashdot: News for Nerds

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### FCC Bars Lightsquared From Using Airwaves

Re:Queue the Lightspeed Defenders (178 comments)

Except that if you add the filtering to GPS receivers so they can reject that billions of times stronger Lightsquared signal in the adjacent band, there would be no GPS in your phone. In fact no handheld GPS receivers. Not to mention turning most of the installed base of GPS receivers into doorstops.

The whole point is that satellite signals are really weak, so we put all the satellite frequencies together and keep terrestrial broadcasters out. That's also why satellite frequencies are cheaper than terrestrial ones. But in today's "money trumps reason" world that means nothing -- after all, this science stuff is just a theory.

more than 2 years ago
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### Selling Used MP3s Found Legal In America

Re:I'm fine with this but... (281 comments)

What's stopping me from selling numerous copies of my MP3s and retaining my original copies?

• 2. It's illegal.

more than 2 years ago
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### Boeing's Enormous Navy Laser Cannon

Re:Is it feasible to bounce the beam off satelites (291 comments)

High power lasers are hard to reflect (or refract). For example if your mirror/lens is 99.9% efficient (much higher than real-world optics), it absorbs a thousandth of the beam's energy. In other words if you want to reflect a megawatt laser beam, the mirror has to dissipate a kilowatt.

more than 3 years ago
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### Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems

I'm with you bro -- but it's not the place of the fucking government.

Here's a New Yorker cartoon, 1972.

more than 3 years ago
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### Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems

Re:In every train station? LOL (890 comments)

A truly erroneous hard-left outlook, but stupidity is fitting given your account name. ... The primary driver of jihad is the desire to subjugate the entire world to the dictates of Islamic dictatorship.

Such busllshit. Apparently all you inbred mouth-breathing teabagging fascists are as dumb as Republicans. (How do you like them ad hominems?)

Do you actually know any radical muslims? (Any muslims?) Have you talked to a suicide bomber? The plain fact is that the vast majority of humans -- muslims, christians, or atheists -- really don't give a shit about subjugating worlds and craps like that, they just want to live their lives and raise their families. To get populations riled up to violence you have to invade their country and attack their families and communities. You know, like those 19 Saudi guys on that date that all you wackos fetishize. And like what we're doing right now in so many places around the world.

more than 3 years ago
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### Scientists Fight Back In Canada

Scientists ought to seek out other countries for funding. ... China ...

Other countries, perhaps. But China? Why do you think a scientist will feel more free to speak his or her mind in China than in Canada?

more than 3 years ago
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For photos, it might make sense to use drones when they can get closer without attracting attention.

Never going to happen. The fundamental principle in the US National Airspace System is "see and avoid". If you're not actually in a cloud, you are responsible for avoiding other aircraft. If there's no pilot in the aircraft, it can't avoid others. (Remember that some aircraft do not even have electrical systems, let alone fancy shit like radios and transponders.)

The military can fly unmanned aircraft, but (supposedly) only in airspace that excludes non-participating aircraft.

more than 3 years ago
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Re:Hi-res airport imagary too (141 comments)

Something tells me they had to get SOME kind of special permission for this:

Why do you think so? Right now you can go to your neighborhood airport and hire an aircraft and pilot for around $500 an hour, and take as many airport pictures as you like. Yes, even military airports and installations. more than 3 years ago top ### Nicholas Sze of Yahoo Finds Two-Quadrillionth Digit of Pi Re:how do they do it (299 comments) So, do you have to keep the whole number in the memory to calculate some more digits? No, you don't even have to calculate the previous digits -- see spigot algorithms like the BBP algorithm. more than 3 years ago top ### Google Engineer Decries Complexity of Java, C++ Re:C too complex? Hilarious. (878 comments) There I was reading your message and agreeing with everything until ... what, was he hired by Google as a janitor? This is not some random google engineer, this is Rob Pike . You should pay attention. about 4 years ago top ### World's First Molten-Salt Solar Plant Opens Re:Conversions... (316 comments) 30,000 square meters = 30 square kilometers = 18.5 square miles Whoa there, buddy! I know a meter is large, but not that large! 30,000 sq m is the area of a field that is 150 m by 200 m. Which is about 500 feet by 660 feet. about 4 years ago top ### Knuth Plans 'Earthshaking Announcement' Wednesday Re:TeX (701 comments) TeX 3.15 will get released. You misunderstand TeX version numbering. It's 3, 3.1, 3.14, 3.141, ... you get the idea. I bet that's the announcement: that the last bug is fixed and TeX is at version \pi. more than 4 years ago top ### Senate Votes To Replace Aviation Radar With GPS Re:Great... (457 comments) You may be right about congress, but in this case we're not talking about laws but regulations. Regulations are enacted by agencies, and Congress passes appropriate laws so the agencies regulations have some teeth. In the present case: the aviation regulations -- the FARs -- are all about exactly how things are done. Try reading an airline's Ops Spec sometime -- it spells out exactly what is to be done and how, for all operations conducted by the airline. The FAA specs on navigational beacons lay out everything about the system, not just what but how. This ensures that all users of the ATC system have the same view of reality. So of course ATC (not "tower") cares about exactly how the information is sent from an aircraft to the system. ATC does in general care about what kind of nav system you're getting your info from, since the different systems have different error characteristics. (Also, this is an automated system, we're not talking about pilot reports.) All the information required for a company to implement the components of the system -- like the airborne transmitter -- is fully specified. Radar doesn't require an active participant on the other end. Not true. You're thinking of what's called "primary" radar, where the target reflects the transmitter's signal. The problem with primary radar is that range falls off as the inverse fourth power of signal strength -- inverse-square loss on the way to the target and another inverse-square from the target. That's why most ATC radar is "secondary" -- there is a specialized transmitter on the airplane (called a transponder) that the radar system interrogates, and the aircraft replies with its ID, altitude, and a couple of other things. Since it's an active system, it's ordinary inverse-square falloff, and it provides more information. (If you look carefully at airport radar installations, you'll notice that there are two antennas spinning together, one above the other. The "secondary" antenna is usually on top and flat; the primary is on the bottom and is usually paraboloid. Today, in the US, primary radar is almost never used; most controllers configure their screens to not show "primary only" targets. more than 4 years ago top ### Oracle/Sun Enforces Pay-For-Security-Updates Plan Re:Absurd! (238 comments) There really is no sound business model for making software of this caliber unless ... If there is a conflict between a company's business model and ethics, it should mean that the company folds or changes its plan. (But the capitalist way is to convince people that ethics are outdated and then carry on.) more than 4 years ago top ### Oracle/Sun Enforces Pay-For-Security-Updates Plan Re:Centos (238 comments) Nexenta is Gnu libc and userland with the OpenSolaris kernel. more than 4 years ago top ### Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? Re:Yes, it's dying (411 comments) Honestly, unless you're a DJ, it's pretty unlikely that you have any audio that doesn't exist as something digital (MP3, AAC, WAV, etc.) Well, you know, there are still a couple of people around that play musical instruments (you know, those expensive things you don't have to plug in), and we sometimes like to record the sounds that we make. And others sometimes go to listen to people playing these instrument things, and they sometimes like to record the sounds. Craziness! more than 4 years ago top ### Darwinian Evolution Considered As a Phase Re:Once again (313 comments) It's not quite 'blind' trust, though. It is reasonable trust, because we've seen that in the past, the methods and models those guys talked about have actually been verified. They invented electronic things that have had a profound effect on humanity. History tells us modern medicine has improved human health immensely (if you're rich enough, of course). And I (an ex-researcher) do know how the scientific method works and what its limitations are. Therefore my "belief" in science is reasonable. The best part is that it works for you even if you don't believe in it -- so creationists can still enjoy the fruits of science. Science is better. more than 4 years ago top ### A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? Re:Priorities are a function of Probabilities (114 comments) And what exactly do you suppose we puny humans can do about that "huge locomotive with blaring sirens that's about to hit [us]"? We can neither deflect the "locomotive" (your "dinosaur killer"), nor can we get out of the way (move the whole planet). Not like there's anything we can do about preventing earthquakes either. But even if we had the ability, do we have the wherewithal to actually do anything about either asteroids or earthquakes? We're demonstrating how good we are about ignoring the future and playing ostrich, just look at the prospects for our petroleum-happy way of life. more than 4 years ago top ### Offline Book "Lending" Costs US Publishers Nearly$1 Trillion

Re:The First Book Is Free. (494 comments)

Like any good drug dealer they need to keep the first "hit" free.

Except that these "drug dealers" aren't doing it for money, they're performing a public service. ("Public service"? Isn't that something commies do?)

more than 4 years ago
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### Offline Book "Lending" Costs US Publishers Nearly \$1 Trillion

You think this is a joke? (494 comments)

Here's Pat Schroeder, then the incoming president of the Association of American Publishers, in the Washington Post of Feb 7, 2001. She was interviewed at the meeting of the AAP, hence the "brie-eating mortgage holders".

"We," says Schroeder, "have a very serious issue with librarians. ... Technology people never gave their stuff away, but now folks are saying, 'You mean the New England Journal of Medicine is charging people?' ... Markets are limited. One library buys one of their journals," she explains, pointing to the Brie eaters. "They give it to other libraries. They'll give it to others." If everyone gets a free copy, she says, the publisher and the writer and others involved in making the book go unpaid. "These people aren't rich," she says of those in the room. "They have mortgages."

These are the people arguing against making publicly funded research publicly available. Here's the full article: Pat Schroeder's New Chapter.

more than 4 years ago

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