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A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

sadboyzz Re:Your taxes at work (501 comments)

Great Wall of China... Mongols. I rest my case.

Yeah, that worked real well.

Actually, it's a common misconception to think that the Great Wall was built as a military defense mechanism in the event of full scale war. For one, it's too low, easily scalable by an army with the right tools. And secondly, it's too long, and can never be effectively manned along the full length. All in all, the Great Wall was never designed to function like a city wall.

What the wall really does, and it does well, is act as a deterent and early warning mechanism against the annual and semi-annual small scale border raids from the northern nomadic tribes, where riders would just charge down south, loot what they can and quickly retreat back into the great prairies. It's actually a (relatively) economical answer to a persistent problem -- for it's very expensive for a settled agricutural civilization to mobilize an army, while it costs almost nothing for the nomads to gather up a group of riders and raid a small border settlement.

And BTW, China is far from the only one in building a wall. Almost every settled civilization on the Eurasian continent, from Korea all the way to England, built a wall at some point in their history. The Chinese wall was the largest simply because China face the greatest threat from the Mongolian plains, which produced some of the most brutal and effiecient nomadic people in human history.

about 3 months ago

Was Watch Dogs For PC Handicapped On Purpose?

sadboyzz Re:hum (215 comments)

If you read some of the comments it seems enabling the graphics also enhances performance at the same time. The theory is that the decision to castrate the PC version was perhaps made at the last minute and they didn't have enough time to test and optimize the crap version.
Disclaimer: this is second hand info as I do not own the game.

about 3 months ago

Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

sadboyzz Re:Here's an idea... (394 comments)

You sound as if the cable boxes and DVRs have to be such power drains. The point is they can be made to use only negligible power on standby, had the people who made them been just a bit more competent.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

sadboyzz Re:SIM card (259 comments)

Yes, the problem with Verizon nowadays is the other way round -- it's impossilble to get a non-Verizon phone to work on the Verizon network, because of their proprietary CDMA, and their non-contract phones are generally way overpriced. Which was quite a headache for us when my wife dropped her new HTC One in the sink last year...

Hopefully this should become less of a problem once they start their VoLTE rollout.

about 3 months ago

A Different Kind of Linux Smartphone: Samsung To Sell Tizen-Based Model Z

sadboyzz Re:Replicant (105 comments)

He probably means the availability of drivers

Since the OP is talking about privacy concerns, more likely he means the possibility of replacing the manufacturer supplied binary drivers with free/opensource ones that can be audited. To that end one needs to reverse engineer the binary drivers, and he presumes this job would be easier on Tizen (standard Linux) than on Android.

about 3 months ago
top Domain Name Suspended

sadboyzz Re:Criminal scum (226 comments)

No, there is a big difference because Google's main intent is not to promote piracy.

I think what promotes is simply the sharing of digital content, with or without the copyright holder's consent, not robbery and violence at sea. I could be wrong though.

about 4 months ago
top Domain Name Suspended

sadboyzz Re:Mod parent interesting (226 comments)

So spam and poisoning is a real problem, but not an unsolvable one.

Email spam is a very different problem from p2p file sharing spam. With email, the spam filter has the luxury of getting to see the entirety of the message before deciding if it's spam. On the other hand, a p2p file sharing client only gets a filename + hash. With better heuristics it could conceivably rank the filenames based on relevance to your search term, but that is unneccessary in most cases. What's more important is to decided whether the filename actually describes the content identified by 'hash' (which could be tens to hundreds of GBs). The only reliable ways to "solve" this problem, as far as I can see, are: 1. Download the file and see for yourself (emule, gnutella, etc.) 2. Have a centralized authority/community screen the file for you (BitTorrent)

about 4 months ago

Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

sadboyzz Re:Editorial (475 comments)

That's why it's cheap, and it is very cheap.

Uh, what country are we talking about here? South Korea? Japan? Germany? Because I'm sure you're certainly not talking about the good ol' US of A.

about 4 months ago

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Experts Unable To Replicate Inmarsat Analysis

sadboyzz Re:Simpler: Electrical Fire (245 comments)

You are probably scoffing and going "Bah, what are the odds of that!"

Indeed. You haven't even got to the part where the plane apparently flew around Indonesian radar.

But your alternative scenarios are "Plane was hijacked by... conspiracy... secret landing... passengers killed/being held.... etc..."

No, the alternative scenarios simply involves a suicidal pilot, which has happened before. This one may be holding a grudge against the Malaysian gov, and trying to inflict maximum political damage by crashing the plane and making it as hard to find as possible.

about 4 months ago

Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

sadboyzz Re:Blame Hollywood (477 comments)

The highest quality streams are still no where near Blu-ray quality though.

about 4 months ago

China Censors "The Big Bang Theory" and Other Streaming Shows

sadboyzz Re:One of these things is not like the others... (166 comments)

Not really. In fact, The State Media (CCTV) itself is in the process of translating The Big Bang Theory and releasing it in mainland China , and that is probably the real reason for this ban. IOW this isn't about censorship at all, this is simply using the censorship tool to protect the (incompetant) state media from competition by the more competant private media streaming companies.

about 5 months ago

Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

sadboyzz Re:Sad, and not black and white either (351 comments)

And to think in this vast Universe, we are likely just another tribe, living on this tiny isolated planet we call Earth. I just hope we don't get to meet the metaphorical White Man in my life time, because no matter what their intentions are, it never ends well for the tribers...

about 5 months ago

CISPA's Author Has Another Privacy-Killing Bill To Pass Before He Retires

sadboyzz Re:Conservative?? (138 comments)

Jefferson was much more Hamiltonian when he himself was in the presidential office. Just sayin'.

"Ideals" and "beliefs" are mostly useful in getting the sheeples in line, because sadly for most people "ideals" and "beliefs" are much easier pills to swallow than facts and evidence. How many "ideals" and "beliefs" have we had throughout the centuries, and how much good has ever come out of those? Those great men who actually got things done and moved our society in a positive direction almost always compromised.

Well, erm, so I guess my point is, it may be more constructive to critise a politician based on the actual issues, rather than painting him with a brush and attacking his "ideal".

about 6 months ago

New Information May Narrow Down Malaysian Jet's Path

sadboyzz Re:Map not factual (227 comments)

may be a source of official embarrassment.

Yes, because the need to avoid "official embarassment" outweighs the needs of the 239 lives on board and the anguished relatives on the ground. Naturally.

about 6 months ago

Turing Award Goes To Distributed Computing Wrangler Leslie Lamport

sadboyzz Re:supercilious bastress (40 comments)

That's a good one, probably explains why Lamport only just got the award now and not much sooner :)

about 6 months ago

US Navy Strategists Have a Long History of Finding the Lost

sadboyzz Re:Maylasian military fucked up (145 comments)

Sad indeed. But it's not my fault that Malaysia Airlines chose Facebook as their official channel. Here's a non-Facebook quote if that makes you feel any better, though I suspect all non-Facebook sources are second-hand sources who themselves copied from MA's official Facebook page..

about 6 months ago

Measuring the Xbox One Against PCs With Titanfall

sadboyzz Re:Nice but pointless for me (377 comments)

About the only thing Steam doesn't require here, is a plugin for your browser.

Steam also doesn't require an "install", the game is playable after the download, unlike origin.

about 6 months ago

US Navy Strategists Have a Long History of Finding the Lost

sadboyzz Re:Maylasian military fucked up (145 comments)

Nope. That NYT piece seems to have forgotten about the initial statement from Malaysia Airlines, which said the last time of contact with flight 370 was at 2:40am:
That was before the Malaysian authorities went into full denial mode and claimed last contact was at 01:20am. The 02:40 time was inconsistent with their estimated "crash site" in the Gulf of Thailand, which was one of the initial sources of confusion. However, 02:40am turned out to be the exact time of last military radar contact which they were forced to confirm more than 5 days later. Additionally, there were the "small" details that two transponder systems were turned off one after another more than 10 minutes apart, and that the ACARS system was turned off before the last voice contact with the pilots.
In order to fit all these facts into a theory of stupidity, you'd have to accept that: 1. an unidentified flying object the size of a 777 can just fly across the width of Malaysian airspace (more than 1 hour of flight time) at cruising altitude without being noticed by the Malaysian military 2. that 02:40am time from Malaysian Airline's initial statement just turned out to match the time of last military radar contact by complete coincidence 3. nobody noticed the time descrepancies between the two transponder systems turning off.
This is clearly beyond the realm of incompetance, and can only be explained with a touch of malice. The Malaysian authorities knew from the beginning what was going on, but was more concerned with the possible liabilities and damages to their "image" resulting from a rogue pilot, than with actually finding the plane. With wanton disregard for the 239 lives on board and their relatives on the ground, they knowingly misled the international community on a wild witch hunt across the Gulf of Thailand, delaying the search for at least five crucial days, thereby eliminating any possiblity of finding survivors (if the plane had ultimately crashed), and quite possibly lowering the likelihood of finding the cockpit recorders to near zero.

about 6 months ago

Free Software Foundation Endorses a "Truly Free" Laptop

sadboyzz Re:Harddrive firmware? (340 comments)

Is the harddrive running open-source firmware too? How could I possibly store my data on a device that uses proprietary software?

The firmware residing in hardware ROM is considered part of the hardware. The FSF only takes issue with the binary firmware that are distributed as part of the driver software, i.e. those binary blobs under /lib/firmware. RMS even said if the hardware manufacturers put those blobs on ROM then it would be fine [1].

about 9 months ago


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