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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Frickin' Lasers! (232 comments)

You can get around this by using an array of lasers, each of which is individually rather harmless, but focused together would be enough to destroy such a target. The "danger area" would be restricted to the focal point. Anything outside/beyond/inside that point would receive much less laser power and likely escape damage.

Now if your drone is using active terrain masking, that makes it more difficult to hit at range. However, such a system would probably require a human remotely controlling it, making that susceptible to jamming. I don't think automated terrain avoidance (in real time) is practical just yet for anything a non-military entity could get its hands on. And in any event, such a terrain-avoidance system would likely need its own sensors (radar/lidar) which could be detected, jammed, or both.

yesterday
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:shooting down with laser has problems (232 comments)

Or you could have an array of relatively low-powered lasers that focus on a target point to collectively do their damage. Any misses would be harmless due to them being outside/beyond the focal point.

yesterday
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Stronger regs ? Try a better radar (232 comments)

If you shield a drone it becomes heavier and then needs to be bigger. Also at that point the drone needs to either be self guiding or have a communication/control system that won't be knocked out. You get the old little more weight little more propulsion to carry the weight cycle going and all of a sudden your drone isn't small anymore.

So what's your point? That a more capable drone is also bigger? So? So what? That's obvious. Do you think the added size/complexity of such a thing would be any impediment whatsoever to a determined aggressor? If you want to penetrate controlled airspace to do something nefarious, you're perforce going to want something that's difficult to detect, difficult to jam, difficult to shoot down, and has enough payload to carry whatever you need to cause the damage you're looking for.

That seems an incredibly strong statement. So strong that it looks like it doesn't have enough thought behind it.

Really? Then let's hear your alternative options. I already covered sensors and weapons, but let's recap. Radar is vulnerable to stealth, so it won't do the job alone. Lidar is too short ranged to do the job alone. Acoustic is even worse. But put together, a web of such sensors would be very difficult to overcome. If there are other sensors out there that are even remotely applicable, please enumerate them.

As for weapons, you have only three options: ballistic, missiles, or directed-energy weapons. Ballistic weapons have all kinds of downsides, from trajectory computation to wind to limited ammo, not to mention the inevitable collateral damage from misses (of which there will be MANY). Missiles have similar downsides. DEW's have (almost) none of these, the sole one being the potential for (minor) collateral damage in the case of a miss. You could even potentially mitigate this by using an array of low-power lasers, individually almost benign, but focused together to take down a drone.

yesterday
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:radar would have no problem distinguishing quad (232 comments)

This assumes you can get a good doppler signature on the rotors at all. I'm not an expert on radar/stealth construction, but I know a fair bit about it. A rotor made of radar-transparent (or absorbent) material would make it rather hard to detect, at least until it was well within range to do damage.

yesterday
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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Why use a cable? (241 comments)

Hell, from an IT perspective you reach the limits of multimode fiber risers pretty quickly.

That's why God invented single mode fiber.

yesterday
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Lack the power to do much harm? (232 comments)

Forget outfitting it with a lawn dart. Any insufficiently powered heavier-than-air craft will BECOME a lawn dart due to that pesky "gravity" thing.

2 days ago
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Stronger regs ? Try a better radar (232 comments)

So please tell why a radar system would be in some way inadequate to detecting drones, or even operating in an offensive mode to burn out their electrical systems.

Small drones with significant non-metal construction will be more or less indistinguishable from birds. And it's not a stretch to imagine "stealth" drones specifically constructed or modified to mitigate radar.

Using a radar offensively, aka an EMP weapon, is a possibility, but shielding electronics is also a possibility. You'd need a very powerful signal to defeat that, and operating such a thing in a civilian area could lead to all kinds of unintended damage.

Radar, backed up by lidar and acoustic sensors, is the best route. Threat mitigation is best handled by a point defense laser. End of story.

2 days ago
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Stronger regs ? Try a better radar (232 comments)

Use this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0DbgNju2wE

Infinite ammo so long as you have power, instant hit, no ballistic fallout if you miss. And it's not like they can't afford it.

2 days ago
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White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

prisoner-of-enigma Frickin' Lasers! (232 comments)

Not to go all Dr. Evil on the subject, but the Navy *does* have some recently-deployed point defense laser technology designed to shoot down incoming cruise missiles. These tiny drones aren't manned and they're violating what might be the most restricted airspace in the country outside of Groom Lake; there's nothing legally preventing them from being shot down by said laser. That's a far better course than trying to do it ballistically or with something like a Stinger missile, both of which would have a hard time hitting something small and have issues with what happens to the round if it misses (i.e. falls on a civilian).

2 days ago
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NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission May Not Actually Redirect an Asteroid

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Mars Needs Nothing (73 comments)

Mars is also a nine-month journey with no practical prospect of a "turn around and go home if something goes wrong" option. The moon is three days away and a free-return abort is built into the flight plan (along with a direct abort if the situation is dire). The scale of the two missions is completely different, with Mars being vastly more difficult mainly due to time.

I'm a big fan of the lunar base idea. Start there and develop -- or re-develop, as the case may be -- the technologies needed to get us reliably to and from the moon. Lunar habitats can be inflatable, or built underground using locally available materials. Hell, we could put robots on the moon to BUILD the habitats before we ever go there in person, making the whole trip a lot safer. And remotely controlling robots on the moon is a helluva lot easier than doing the same on Mars. Water is present on the moon for rocket fuel. Solar power is reasonable, but a small fission reactor would be much better. The escape velocity for the moon is lower than Mars and vastly lower than Earth. And asteroid capture missions could redirect to the moon instead of Earth, where the risk of "losing" and asteroid and having it impact would be negligible compared to aiming one at Earth and hoping you don't hit a populated area.

In short, a sustainable lunar base could be used as a springboard for future manned missions to Mars and the outer planets. The moon is IDEAL for this for every reason except one: it currently has no infrastructure for building or launching anything. Let's remedy that as soon as possible instead of trying to figure out how to haul everything out of Earth's gravity well and dense atmosphere. Grab an asteroid, send it to lunar orbit, smelt it down in orbit and construct your spacecraft THERE instead of on the surface. Complex items that cannot be easily made in orbit can be made on the lunar surface and launched via magnetic catapults into lunar orbit for final assembly. Or, for that matter, a lunar space elevator. The lower gravity and lack of atmosphere means we can construct a lunar space elevator with existing materials RIGHT NOW. Forget the magical unobtanium needed to make one on Earth; we just turn the moon into our launch platform for the solar system. Long term, instead of just redirecting asteroids to the moon, we can get to Saturn and grab a few cubic miles of water ice from its rings. Sent to the moon, it could provide water, breathable oxygen, and fuel for thousands of missions.

about two weeks ago
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NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission May Not Actually Redirect an Asteroid

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Just visit the damn Moon (73 comments)

The DC-X and NASP were cancelled because they were unworkable concepts. The prototypes you saw up until cancellation were about as space-ready as my toaster is. There were too many problems with materials and performance that we do not have the technology to overcome just yet. Boeing recognized this and that's why the ideas were shelved, not some Vast Corporate Conspiracy.

about two weeks ago
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NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission May Not Actually Redirect an Asteroid

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Just visit the damn Moon (73 comments)

Except for the fact that it does nothing to spread out the human species. Right now, if a calamity befalls Earth such as an asteroid/comet impact, or the explosion of the Yosemite supervolcano, or global thermonuclear war, we get wiped out as a species. In the long run, we MUST leave Earth if for no other reason that to get all our eggs out of one basket.

And, if you want to be REALLY forward thinking, we have to eventually leave this entire solar system, as our Sun will eventually burn out, turn into a red giant, swallow Mercury and Venus, and probably Earth as well if it isn't burned to a cinder already.

about two weeks ago
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Scientist Says Potential Signs of Ancient Life in Mars Rover Photos

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Time for some leaps and not baby steps (142 comments)

So for a return mission we would have to land both a rover AND a rather large rocket to get a sample back.

Why land a rather large rocket? Seriously. This same discussion took place pre-Apollo when engineers thought we'd have to land a large rocket on the moon. Their solution then would work equally well now. Send a lander with a small, lightweight return-to-orbit ascent stage. Leave the Earth-return rocket in orbit awaiting the ascent stage with sample. Your landing/takeoff mass problem is thus solved.

Granted, you now need an automated docking procedure in Mars orbit, but I can't imagine that would be more difficult to engineer than trying to orchestrate a much heavier land-and-return rocket setup.

about three weeks ago
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NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

prisoner-of-enigma Re:Go MS! (200 comments)

Remind me again who's been in charge of charge of the House, the Senate, and the White House for most of Obama's tenure? Sure, a Republican was pushing for this pork. But it passed a Senate and a White House both controlled by Democrats, either of which could have easily stopped it. Neither did. In fact, depending upon the timeline (which I'm too busy to fully look up at the moment), it's possible the Democrats were in control of the House as well at the time this was going on. I can't recall exactly when the Republicans took over the House.

The truth here is the entire system is contemptible. Both Republicans and Democrats bear equal responsibility for this debacle. And to suggest there aren't billions and billions of dollars of pork barrel projects championed by Democrats is disingenuous at best.

about a month and a half ago
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Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

prisoner-of-enigma Best ever! (299 comments)

Yeah, just like Prometheus was the "best ever" sequel to Alien!

about a month and a half ago
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A Backhanded Defense of Las Vegas' Taxi Regulation

prisoner-of-enigma Re:We've already seen the alternative to regulatio (93 comments)

Regulations can suck, but they don't -have- to.

Like any tool, regulations can be abused. That's why We The People should be especially vigilant in allowing them to be established in the first place. As hard as I might try, I can't find anything in the federal and state Constitution that empowers the government to look out for me making shitty decisions. Therefore, the government has no business saying who can or cannot drive a taxi. If Uber gives shitty service, they will fail because the market will MAKE them fail. It's not the government's job to choose winners and losers when it comes to providing voluntary services.

These regulations are protection rackets, no more, no less.

about 2 months ago
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A Backhanded Defense of Las Vegas' Taxi Regulation

prisoner-of-enigma Re:We've already seen the alternative to regulatio (93 comments)

Come on, man; nobody in the nerderati even knew about taxi regulations until we started talking about Uber.

Actually, anybody who knows anything about how labor unions -- and, in the case of Las Vegas, the spectre of organized crime syndicates -- use their political muscle to destroy free market competition knows pretty much whatever they need to know about this situation. Uber/Lyft represented a threat to the government-enforced near monopoly of the taxi market, using laws created by labor unions and pitched to politicians in concert with generous campaign contributions. Business as usual.

about 2 months ago
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Laser Creates Quantum Whirlpool

prisoner-of-enigma Next up... (59 comments)

Next up, Halo light bridges!

about 2 months ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

prisoner-of-enigma Re:More detailed ratings are a good thing (642 comments)

On the flip-side of this though is the MPAA. They are not a government organization, nor are they mandated by the government. They do possess quite the power to stop certain things from being shown in movie theaters though. Plenty of producers have forced the editing of movies so they could avoid certain ratings. And we are not even allowed to know who the people are who produce the ratings, or how they are created. It is a black box that controls what gets shown in theaters. Check out the movie "This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)" [imdb.com] if you want more details.

Ironically, the MPAA you cite possesses no power that the public doesn't give it voluntarily. The MPAA puts ratings on its movies. Movie theaters show these movies to the public. These theaters are under no obligation to ban unrated movies. That they have collectively decided to do so is a social phenomenon, not a regulatory one.

In this sense, the MPAA has no more power than, say, Consumer Reports Magazine. If I decide to open a theater chain showing any movie, regardless of rating, nobody can stop me. But my success will depend upon the public's willingness to ignore that lack of rating. Honestly, it might make a fun social experiment to see what would happen, but I lack the funds and time to do it. I suspect the results would surprise the MPAA, as social and moral attitudes have changed markedly in the last several decades. I don't think many people really care all that much about ratings anymore. It should be enough to note if a movie contains "adult content" or is "suitable for children" and that's about it.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Optimistic About Getting a Mammoth Genome Complete Enough To Clone

prisoner-of-enigma Re:I can see the curiosity aspect.. (187 comments)

Can't you be spending your time doing something more productive?

Consider that any successful experience in cloning anything adds to our knowledge base about cloning. By perfecting cloning, we can do a lot more than just bring back extinct species. We could, for example, grow entirely new organs cloned from your body to replace damaged or failing ones, organs that could be transplanted into you without fear of tissue rejection. Further, the practice of being able to reliably modify cells at the genetic level can lead to all sorts of other benefits in medicine, biology, and even far-flung fields as nanotechnology when you consider the scale you have to work in.

The whole "can't you spend your time/money better" argument is pretty short-sighted when you consider the enormous ancillary benefits. It's like saying why bother going to the moon when you can spend money on Earth. But without that impetus, we might not have the very computers and Internet you're currently using to read this post, or lasers to correct your vision, or lightweight, strong materials used to make the planes you fly on, or the fuel cells used to power zero-emission vehicles, or...you get the idea.

Stop thinking in checkers. Think chess. It's not the current move that matters; it's the move you make three moves from now that wins the game.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Ziff-Davis files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

prisoner-of-enigma prisoner-of-enigma writes  |  more than 6 years ago

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) writes "Ziff-Davis, publishing icon of the 1980's and 1990's and home to such classic two-inch-thick tomes like Computer Shopper, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. ZD lists more than US$500 million in debt with only around US$300 in assets, including ZDNet.com. ZD's assets will likely be sold off to try and pay creditors, but obviously at least US$200 million will never need the light of day. ZD's chief executive Jason Young says the filing will put ZD in a "position poised for wonderful growth," which is management-speak for "things are doomed, get out while you can.""
Link to Original Source
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Toshiba to throw in the towel on HD-DVD

prisoner-of-enigma prisoner-of-enigma writes  |  more than 6 years ago

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) writes "http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSL1643184420080216 Toshiba to give up on HD DVD, end format war: source Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:40am EST By Mayumi Negishi and Kentaro Hamada TOKYO (Reuters) — Toshiba Corp (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research) is planning to give up on its HD DVD format for high definition DVDs, conceding defeat to the competing Blu-Ray technology backed by Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research), a company source said on Saturday. The move will likely put an end to a battle that has gone on for several years between consortiums led by Toshiba and Sony vying to set the standard for the next-generation DVD and compatible video equipment. The format war, often compared to the Betamax-VHS battle in the 1980s, has confused consumers unsure of which DVD or player to buy, slowing the development what is expected to be a multibillion dollar high definition DVD industry. Toshiba's cause has suffered several setbacks in recent weeks including Friday's announcement by U.S. retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) that it would abandon the HD DVD format and only stock its shelves with Blu-ray movies. A source at Toshiba confirmed an earlier report by public broadcaster NHK that it was getting ready to pull the plug. "We have entered the final stage of planning to make our exit from the next generation DVD business," said the source, who asked not to be identified. He added that an official announcement could come as early as next week. No one answered the phone at Toshiba's public relations office in Tokyo. NHK said Toshiba would suffer losses running to tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollars) to scrap production of HD DVD players and recorders and other steps to withdraw from the business. Hollywood studios had initially split their alliances between the two camps, meaning only certain films would play on any one DVD machine. The balance of power tipped decisively toward the Sony camp in January after Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Warner Bros studio said it would only release high-definition DVDs in Blu-ray format. With that, studios behind some three-quarters of DVDs are backing Blu-ray, although some release in both formats. Toshiba responded by slashing prices of HD DVD players, but the loss of retail support has hurt. In addition to Wal-Mart, consumer electronics chain Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and online video rental company Netflix Inc (NFLX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) also recently signed up to the Blu-ray camp. The exclusive backing of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) was also put in doubt when the software giant said in January that it could consider supporting Blu-ray technology for its Xbox 360 video game machine, which currently works only with HD DVD. Sony has spent large sums of money to promote Blu-ray in tandem with its flat screen TVs and its PlayStation 3 game console, which can play Blu-ray movies. The Toshiba source said the experience would not be a total loss for the sprawling conglomerate, whose products range from refrigerators to power plants, which would learn valuable lessons. "Marketing was a weak point for Toshiba. We learned a lot from HD DVD. Strengthening marketing will continue to be an issue for us going forward," the source said. (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi, Kentaro Hamada and Nathan Layne, editing by Mike Peacock) © Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world."
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