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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

usuallylost Re:He tried patenting it... (986 comments)

I have to admit that this is very similar to my thinking on this. A man that shows you a device whose exact function he refuses to explain that does some miraculous thing is always to be suspected. History is full of such conmen. Just watch an episode of “Mysteries at the Museum” and odds are it will feature at least one of them. The sad fact is that no matter what the researchers find we can’t trust it unless he allows them full and unfettered access to the entirety of the process. Allows them to see the entire apparatus explains how it works and allows them to test it in a setting completely outside of his control. Better yet if he wants us to believe this he should hand these scientist the plans and let them assemble their own machine from parts not sourced from him and let them test it. If he is worried about his technology he should have them sign very strong non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements. Setting up a test where they just monitor the outcomes isn’t a valid test due to the potential for fraud. His current behavior comes off as the behavior of a conman. If he isn’t a conman he would be well advised to stop acting like one and allow some real testing of his machine. Nothing would make me happier than to find he’s just a paranoid fool who made a world changing discovery. I am just not betting on it.

about a month ago
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Brits Must Trade Digital Freedoms For Safety, Says Crime Agency Boss

usuallylost Re:Trading Freedom for Security? (264 comments)

Just from reading these articles over the years, watching the news and my general observations I think their motivations are fairly clear. Powerful entrenched economic interests such as the entertainment industry, news media and financial industry all feel threatened by the freewheeling ways of the Internet. Those interests are demanding action from the government to protect their economic models. Governments fear terrorists. In some ways they fear them more than the public does as nothing motivates politicians more than preserving their power and position. None of them want to be the one that didn’t foil the next big attack. Governments also fear the free flow of information among the public. That fear manifests in places like China with the Great Firewall and similar technologies deployed in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia. It also manifests in things like so many countries attempting to develop things like ability to turn off the Internet. In the Western countries it seems to be manifesting as this desire to monitor everything and everyone. My gut feeling on this is that their proposed strategies for dealing with these things do more harm than good. I guess that is not surprising in my view considering fear, especially irrational fear, is not a good basis for developing public policy.

about a month and a half ago
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Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

usuallylost Re:I'm gonna go with (200 comments)

As a general rule I agree that the US Bureaucracy is surprisingly honest. In my experience most corruption in US projects doesn’t come from the bureaucracy but from congress. US government procurement rules are designed to pay off the various political power blocks associated with darned near every person in congress. The rank and file government employees know it is corrupt but they have to follow the law as written. For some items these rules very likely double the cost.

about 2 months ago
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Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

usuallylost Re:Australia voted... for a kick in the nuts. (212 comments)

We have been watching these sorts of things come out of Australia for years. The labor government was at least as bad about it with their black lists and various censorship schemes. In the article also notice that the bill has the support of both the conservative government and the labor establishment. So blaming this on the conservatives seems questionable. A more accurate assessment is that the Australian government is just prone to this sort of behavior. As for as I can see there is no party, other than the greens, who are really against this stuff in Australia.

We have the same problem in the US. The Republicans passed the Patriot act and the Democrats have embraced and expanded it. The sad fact is that people in power benefit from very strong intelligence services and powerful state apparatus. The fact that these things can harm the public doesn’t seem to enter into the equation.

about 2 months ago
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Now That It's Private, Dell Targets High-End PCs, Tablets

usuallylost Re:Mind boggling (167 comments)

I wouldn’t go so far as to say shareholders are shortsighted. It really depends upon who your shareholders are. If your shareholders are hedge funds or people like Carl Icahn then they are as you describe. If your shareholders are individuals or things like pension funds with long time horizons they frequently don’t think that way. I think, in my case anyway, I tend to view it as you describe most of the time because the shortsighted investors are the ones we see the most in the news. They are the ones destroying companies or making obviously bad decisions that get into the press. The other kind of investors don’t make it into the news and you never hear about the companies that are just chugging along for generations.

My fear is that the shortsighted shareholders are becoming more prevalent. Though I don’t have any proof of that other than the general trend of the news. The problem is the news often provides a false view. If you listen to the news, for example, you’d think violent crime is running wild. Yet the statistics are that violent crime is way down. It just looks like it is running wild because of the 24 hour news cycle where every bad thing in the country gets reported over and over again. I wonder whether we are seeing a similar phenomenon with financial news where the actions of the bad players are being magnified because of the 24 hour news cycle.

about 2 months ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

usuallylost Re:RT.com? (540 comments)

Fascism is not "a form of capitalism" it is another form of socialism. The difference is that that under communism the means of production are outright owned by the state where as under fascism the preserve the illusion of individual, i.e. capitalism style, ownership. Actual economic control economic control under Fascism is actually state controlled. So it is not accurate to claim that Fascism is a form of capitalism it is more accurate to say it is a variation of Socialism. Just as Communism and the post war European economies are all variations of Socialism.

As whether Communism requires tyranny it would seem that in practice it does. Simply because there are no examples where both Communism and freedom have co-existed for any significant period of time. From the evidence of what has happened it would appear that the level of control required by Communism, and Fascism for that matter, is simply unachievable without coercion. Entire populations simply don’t like surrendering complete control over their lives to the government. So no matter how high minded the Communist authorities start out they invariably have to adopt tyrannical policies in order to enact their program. Simply because there are always too many people who do not want it to enact it any other way.

Where Socialism has managed to exist without becoming a tyranny is in places like Europe. Where they adopt a limited amount of Socialism but still allow people to pretty much live as they like. Socialism without freedom and a certain amount of Capitalism ends up in tyranny. Capitalism without a certain amount regulation and government intervention, i.e. Socialism, ends up in a different kind of tyranny. Fascism and Communism are just variations on the same theme and both invariably lead to tyranny.

about 2 months ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

usuallylost Re:This does not bother me (237 comments)

Whether you have to drive around a military base depends upon where you are. Here there are several large military installations in and around a densely populated metro area. One of the main roads goes by not one but two of them. There simply isn’t a realistic way to avoid them here. I’d have to drive 50 miles or more out of my way every day to avoid them. Even then half the metro area would be off limits to me. So whatever they are doing I am pretty much going to have to accept it because I am probably driving into and out of their area 10 times a day. So I am really hoping it is just for base security.

about 3 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

usuallylost Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

Depends upon the circumstances. When I was in high school I knew a guy who had a fairly serious alcohol problem. One night he had gotten drunk and was walking along the side of the road and just staggered into traffic at the wrong moment and got run down. The woman that hit him was just driving along and he just stepped in front of her. Under those circumstances it was just a terrible tragedy. There were no charges of any kind for the woman.

about 3 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

usuallylost Re:Not Very Prepared (191 comments)

Prior to 2011 there had not been a significant earthquake in my area for a bit over 100 years. When the quake hit in 2011 what we discovered is that pretty much nobody was prepared for an earthquake. Fortunately the damage was mostly restricted to building damage. In particular we have a lot of masonry structures in Virginia and some of them got damaged. The front steps to my house suffered some cracking and the sidewalk is not at a slight angle that wasn’t there before the quake. I am eventually going to have to get that fixed.

I do have some general emergency supplies. Water, good radio, good flashlights, fresh batteries, a supply of medications, and some food that doesn’t require cooking. Things which are useful in any emergency but which could also service in an earthquake if needed. That stuff came in handy in 2012 when we had a Derecho come through. That took out power, phones (both mobile and land line), knocked down trees and uprooted the sign at the Wendy's. Some people were without power for over a week from that.

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

usuallylost Re:Source is HVAC Contractors (303 comments)

I had an old HVAC system replaced in my house a few years ago. The contractor went to great pains to carefully pump out the old coolant before decommissioning the system. He told me that in my state if you get caught not doing it you can lose your license and incur significant fines. Perhaps your area simply doesn’t have the kind of enforcement mine does? Still from the article the amount being released is equaling 30% of the peak from before the ban. So while illegal dumping and venting may account for some of it I doubt it is all of it. My guess is we are going to find that some country is using it on a fairly sizable industrial scale. Based on their record of doing things like still using asbestos even though it is known to kill people I would look at India. That or some rogue country like North Korea.

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

usuallylost Re:china did it (303 comments)

The history of China is that their government tends view their citizens as cheap expendable assets. If pollution related illnesses don’t kill them in inconvenient numbers they are willing to accept the impacts of the pollution. At least as long as those impacts fall on the general population and not the elites. I suspect you’ll find the elites have taken steps to protect themselves. Things like filtered water and air in their residences and offices etc. As far as the general public goes their real concern is that they are kept placid so what they are looking for is a scape goat to focus public anger on. So when people complain about pollution they trot out “evil people in the west did it”. Since they control the media and it is a police state ridiculous statements like that can pretty much stand mostly unchallenged.

about 3 months ago
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

usuallylost Re:Dammit! Adam you rolled over... (63 comments)

The reason I say it is a silver lining is that the money Adam Carolla lost is mostly crowd funded money. So a lot of people lost $20 each. The trolls didn't bankrupt him, it appears that they didn't succeed in forcing him to pay and they very likely lost ~$500,000 out of pocket. So for the trolls this is a net loss. Depriving them of funds, generating publicity for the cause and having them fail at their goals are all good things. Not as good as winning an outright victory but better than losing to them.

Lawyers as a general rule are loath to see anything that generates legal activity go away. No matter how abusive of the system it is. Just look at how much money lawyers spend defeating any measure that might be construed as tort reform. Still at the end of the day when a lawyer is being paid, assuming the lawyer isn't a crook, they generally act in their client's interests or at least within the confines of the client's instructions. From the point of view of the individual lawyers involved the very best thing that could happen is this case drags on for years and they get to bill a lot more hours. A case like this is a gravy train for lawyers and now it is ending.

about 3 months ago
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

usuallylost Re:Dammit! Adam you rolled over... (63 comments)

It would have been great for him to invalidate their patent. I can however see where the economics of it might not work. Especially considering that the trial was occurring in a venue considered friendly to trolls. It sounds like he, and his legal team, made a calculation and figured that they were going to spend a lot more money with no certainty that the court would do the right thing. Also with no certainty that they would be able to recover any of their non-trivial legal fees. I can see where he would decide it was time to cut his losses. The silver lining here is that if he spent over $500,000 odds are they ended up spending something similar. So this whole endeavor has likely been a big money loser for them.

about 3 months ago
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Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

usuallylost Encourage over fishing? (180 comments)

I agree that eating the invasive fish is a good idea. After all if we didn't put catch limits, and encourage catch and release, on the normal game fish people would have fished them to extinction. So really all we have to do is convince people they are good eating and then make no efforts to protect the invasive fish. My guess is once it gets going people will gleefully over fish them. Just have to make sure people stick to the undesirable fish.

I don't know about lion fish but both Asian carp and northern snakeheads are good to eat. They eat Asian carp extensively in China and the northern snakehead is commonly consumed in Thailand. I have seen them for sale in markets where the northern snakehead was stuffed with what looked like lemon grass, other herbs and covered in a layer of salt and then grilled. I never tried it simply because I am not keen on fish.

about 3 months ago
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Aaron's Law Is Doomed and the CFAA Is Still Broken

usuallylost Re:Face it ... (134 comments)

That is good advice. A huge number of Americans do not understand that we have a two election system. The primaries for the various parties and then the general election. The party's policy positions are frequently fought out in the primary process. Since such a small percentage of the population participates in those the will of the party elite tends to hold sway. If you want to change what happens a primary challenge is a much smaller undertaking and has the potential for greater impact than any other method of directly challenging the current system. Absent a primary upset odds are that the person on the ballot for both parties is an entrenched establishment player. Mostly because they are the only ones who come out for primaries.

The Virginia seventh district is a prime example of how a comparatively small and not well funded group of upset voters can change the entire dynamic of a race. An unknown comparative outsider came into the race and spent ~$250,000, which is chump change in congressional elections, and took down Eric Cantor. Because the voter pools are so much smaller it is much easier for a group to impact policy at that level. In the general election you frequently add a zero to the number of voters involved and to the amount of money you have to spend to get your message out. The key is upset local people changed the power structure in the house by particpating in the primary.

about 3 months ago
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Least Secure Cars Revealed At Black Hat

usuallylost Re:Too much bullshit (140 comments)

Check around my guess is you can get software online that will let you let you reprogram the computer. I used to own an Audi. On some versions of my car you could hold the unlock button on the fob for some number of seconds and it would roll all the windows down. Holding the lock button would roll them all back up. They wouldn’t enable it on my car because it wasn’t a feature on my model. Come to find out that my car supported it but that they had simply programed the computer not to do it. A friend of mine, also an Audi owner at the time, bought a $20 cable that came with a software package that gave you complete access to the computer on the car. We were able to change any parameter that the dealer could change. In my case the only parameter I changed was changing the feature for opening and closing the windows from the key fob from off to on.

The same package also let you access all the error codes that the system logged and had a handy database that told you what they all meant. Which was a great help in figuring out problems with the car.

about 4 months ago
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French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

usuallylost Re:Rejected! (111 comments)

I hope you are correct. I have already had Sprint burn down one mobile phone Company around me, NexTel, and I don’t look forward to going through that again. This seems like a much better deal for consumers to me.

Actually Sprint has screwed me twice with mobile phones. I had a Sprint Spectrum phone when they just pulled the plug on that network rending my phone useless. They got sued and the worthless class action made some lawyers rich and they gave those of us who lost the use of $300 phones $50 gift certificates to use toward buying new $300 phones from Sprints new service. The second time was when they burned down Nextel. Frankly I am seriously dreading the idea of going through that crap again.

about 4 months ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

usuallylost Re:And no one will go to jail (266 comments)

Even if they do refer it for prosecution it will just go to the Justice department’s Assistant Attorney for the Washington area who will refuse to prosecute. DOJ has already refused to even investigate this so it is unlikely they'll actually prosecute it. The sad fact is that there is really not much congress can do at this point. They can whine and complain, hold hearings, perhaps hold up some legislation/nominations or mess with the budget. Nothing that the White house can’t get away with simply ignoring. If by some miracle they actually pass something the President will simply veto it. So realistically it would take 2/3 of both houses agreeing to do something to really take any meaningful action here. I do not see that happening

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Confessions

usuallylost Re:I must be the outlier (234 comments)

I cancelled my Comcast service a couple of years ago. Mainly because I had their DVR service and they absolutely refused to make it work. They just kept sending me new DVRs. After replacing six DVRs in a year, which pretty much defeats the purpose of a DVD, I got fed up and went to Verizon FIOS. The sales rep from Verizon told me I’d have less hassle if I just turned in my equipment locally than if I tried to call them. He even very nicely gave the address of my nearest Comcast facility and their hours of operation. You are doing something seriously wrong when Verizon has better customer service than you.

There is one use for these customer retention people. I used to call Comcast every year or so and say I was leaving. Without fail they would give me various discount packages. I don’t think I paid full price for their services for the last decade I had them. In a typical year I’d reduce my bill by 25 to 50 percent just by calling up and trying to cancel. If they are going to be obnoxius you may as well benefit from it.

about 4 months ago
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Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

usuallylost Re:11% fuel efficiency improvement (138 comments)

If they can make this work at a reasonable cost the trucking industry is defiantly a place I’d expect to see it. After all fuel efficiency is one of the biggest factors in whether a trucking company makes money or not. I am not sure a dynamic system such as being described in the article makes that much sense for cars and trucks. Making some sort of prefabricated body panels that have some pattern permanent imprinted it in seems like it would be much cheaper and require less long term maintenance. Even if you only got a portion of the 11% improvement it could still equal millions of dollars a year to a large trucking company.

As far as they sort of dynamic system described in the article I have to wonder if that wouldn’t be more appropriate to something like the aviation industry. Aircraft have a large enough cost that even if a system like that was $100,000 to put in the impact on the overall cost of the aircraft wouldn’t be that great. It is another industry, like trucking, where fuel costs are among their greatest expenses so an 11% improvement would be significant.

about 4 months ago

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