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Firefox 31 Released

whodunit Re:Trash (171 comments)

Have you got flaky plugins installed?

Everyone does. It's called Java.

2 days ago
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Firefox 31 Released

whodunit Trash (171 comments)

As I watch Firefox download the update, I contemplate how useless it is. With a fresh install, no add-ons enabled and javascript/flash/etc. all updated and working properly, Firefox still crashes more than Malaysian airliners. If Chrome's devs could pull their heads out of their asses just long enough to implement a tab bar that wasn't a total pile of shit, I'd be using Chrome right now. As for the Android version, it is quantitative worse than the Android default browser. Chrome has it beat hands-down for mobile. Farewell, Firefox. We hardly knew ye.

2 days ago
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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

whodunit Rubbish (433 comments)

The relevant passage from TFA is thus:

What performance characteristics make a rocket defense effective? To successfully intercept an artillery rocket of the type Hamas has been firing, an Iron Dome interceptor must destroy the warhead on the front end of the rocket. If the Iron Dome interceptor instead hits the back end of the target rocket, it will merely damage the expended rocket motor tube, basically an empty pipe, and have essentially no effect on the outcome of the engagement. The pieces of the rocket will still fall in the defended area; the warhead will almost certainly go on to the ground and explode."

tl;dr: Terminal intercept is hard. This is something we already know. For boost-phase or midcourse intercepts, however, destroying the rocket booster is more than enough to screw up the warhead's ballistic trajectory, bringing it down well short of the mark (entire cities) where they explode harmlessly in the wilderness. Unfortunately, after a half-hour of searching Google, I was unable to find any concrete data or information on the common intercept profiles of Iron Dome launches, the interceptor missiles capabilities, or likewise. One of the best civilian sources (i.e. people who sell technical information on military weapons to journalists, like Janes,) globalsecurity.org, has a sparse article long on general information and completely lacking hard data or numbers. This indicates to me that the data is simply highly classified and not being published, which makes perfect sense for a new defense system currently being employed against attackers who are actively adapting to it.

This means that, in addition to the ratio of boost-phase/midcourse/terminal intercepts Postol is making very free assumptions about the interceptor's warhead weight, their blast profile, the composition, density and thickness of their fragmentation jackets, density of the resulting fragmentation cloud, the exact range, detonation parameters and capabilities of the proximity fusing systems and the position of the Iron Dome batteries vis-a-vis the launch sites. If interceptors are indeed making frequent "tail chases," this would imply the rockets are flying over the batteries on their way to their targets, and the rockets are in fact performing mid-course intercepts - if they were located near the target area, intercepts would much more frequently be coming in from the front quarter. The latter is highly undesirable because (as Postel notes) its much harder to guarantee a "hard kill" of a warhead as opposed to simply shooting down the entire vehicle, but also because the combined closing speed of front-quarter intercepts drastically reduces the interception window, and thus accurate intercepts. The more time the interceptor has to track the target, compute solutions and make course-corrections, the better its chances of getting as close to the mark as possible.

Finally - and this should go without saying - Postel's entire argument is predicated on (apparently) a handful of contrail pictures with no context, frame-of-reference, or further data, this appears to constitute his "proof." If he has, in truth, analyzed gazillions of contrail images, then he should be presenting his portfolio of images, each one with as much contextual data as is available, along with his analysis. This is what actual, paid military analysts who know what they're doing would do, and indeed what most scientists know to do - document, document, document. If Postel wishes to idly theorize, then by all means, let him theorize: but to post such drivel as an actual argument is an insult to anybody with half a fucking brain.

2 days ago
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Senate Report Says CIA Misled Government About Interrogation Methods

whodunit wow (207 comments)

BREAKING NEWS SPIES LIE

about 4 months ago
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Interview: Ask John McAfee What You Will

whodunit Re:Belize (172 comments)

"Justice" is not a trait commonly associated with the judicial system of Belize.

about 4 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

whodunit Re:Read the bill yourself it mentions nothing abou (917 comments)

Tell him to fuck off. I serve Democrats at work all day. I know they're Democrats by their pins, bumper stickers, etc. I don't like Democrats much, I don't like them at all. I don't feel an overwhelming need to act like a fucking asshole about it and get in their face because they dare have a different opinion then I do. People afflicted with such holier-then-thou attitudes (often literally) are the real problem; its their conviction that they're Right, above all reproach, that we need to worry about.

about 5 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

whodunit Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

Best post I've seen on /. all month. Thank you. Wish I had mod points.

about 5 months ago
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We Can Avoid a Surveillance State Dystopia

whodunit Re:Wait what (267 comments)

Bullshit. George Washington didn't set off wagon bombs in the Boston Market to get his way. Anyone who targets civilians with violence in order to coerce a civilian government is a terrorist, and anyone who tries to conflate that with any kind of military action is a damned fool. i.e. you.

about 5 months ago
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New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

whodunit Re:I believe it (1010 comments)

You said everything I wanted to. Wish I had mod points for you.

about 7 months ago
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Space Junk or a Meteor? Fireball Lit Up Midwestern Skies

whodunit Re:National Weather Service? (87 comments)

That's the federal government for you, trigger happy assholes. You NEVER get elerium out of a shoot-down. They can't do anything right.

about 7 months ago
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Will You Even Notice the Impending Robot Uprising?

whodunit Re:Yeah (246 comments)

I'm one of those very people who will shout you down by yelling MARXIST! IN fact, I have done it elsewhere in comments on this very story! And I am right, it is Marxist... ... but "Marxist" means "Marxist," not "wrong." If you think Marxism has a point or some observations worth value, please do call people like me out. Robotics is "means of production" and "ownership of labor" rolled into one - its exactly what Marxist theory is all about! I believe that history has soundly refuted Marxism to the point where I don't feel obligated to explain why every time I mention it - but that doesn't mean I'm exempt from having to back up my argument if someone DOES challenge me on it! By all means, challenge - many people express opinions they don't truly understand because they're "accepted" truths that are never challenged; those people are just as ignorant as any other.

about 7 months ago
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Will You Even Notice the Impending Robot Uprising?

whodunit Re:Reminds me of Manna (246 comments)

"Manna" starts out with a very interesting take on how Artificial Intelligence/automation might affect low-skilled labor in a manner very different then "traditional" predictions; but it soon devolves into the same old worn-out Luddite bullshit with a generous side-helping of classic Marxist paranoia. In a post-scarcity society where armies of tireless, self-repairing robots can provide 100% of needed labor, what happens? A paradise on earth where nobody has to work for a living? No, of course not, those EVIL CAPITALISTS lock all the "poor" people in dungeons made of literal dirt because they're evil and like to see people suffer! Unlike the liberated wonderful citizens of Australia, who implement post-scarcity society along with some neat little improvements - such as slicing out a chunk of your spinal cord and replacing it with a computer, allowing the government to monitor your every waking moment, through your own damn eyes, and literally shut you down like a stolen car with On-Star the second you do something they don't want. In the story, that last little breathtaking bit of Orwellian nightmare is expressed in breathless tones of approval, by the way. Skip Manna. It's crap, and it adds very, very little to intelligent discourse on this subject. But then again, so do most comments in threads like these. For a site supposedly populated by tech nerds, every story on Robotics draws Luddite comments like moths to a flame.

about 7 months ago
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Edward Snowden's New Job: Tech Support

whodunit In bed with the enemy (328 comments)

When Snowden first started leaking intel, it almost all pertained to the blatantly illegal and overreaching domestic surveillance of US citizens. Now that Snowden is in Russia, being offered jobs by Russian firms, his leaks are ones that greatly embarrass the US on the international level and spoil relations between the US and its NATO allies. This isn't a coincidence. The Russians snapped up Snowden the instant he landed in their territory, and now he's entirely dependent on them - even for a livelyhood, now. I wonder just who has custody of that laptop with all the encrypted files he was toting around, at this very moment. Even if Snowden still has physical possession of it, I rather suspect the Russians are the ones making "suggestions" about how he uses the data therein. He started this as a whistleblower - and he might well still be one, but I doubt he's calling the shots anymore.

about 9 months ago
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Crashing Rockets Could Lead To Novel Sample-Return Technology

whodunit Re:Lithobraking (18 comments)

With the new springy suspension landing legs in the latest version, it actually works, too.

about 9 months ago
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The Cloud: Convenient Until a Stranger Nukes Your Files

whodunit Re:*sigh* .. "The cloud" doesn't exist (262 comments)

I stored all my pokemon on some random guy's PC for years and never had a problem...

about 9 months ago
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Nissan Plans To Sell Self-Driving Cars By 2020

whodunit Alarming (333 comments)

It is alarming how eager people are to turn over so much control to computers

about a year ago
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"Slingatron" To Hurl Payloads Into Orbit

whodunit come on, people (438 comments)

Anybody claiming that this system cannot put a rocket motor into orbit is wrong. The military has been usung rocket-assisted artillery shells for a long while now, as well as GPS guided shells. Right there, you have enough tech to put a solid rocket motor into orbit with enough control and telemetry to establish stable LEO.

about a year ago
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Google Glass: What's With All the Hate?

whodunit The "why" (775 comments)

People keep on comparing Glass to bluetooth headsets without actually reflecting on why we hate them. It bears repeating: we hate them because of those several awkward seconds where you try to reply, thinking you're being addressed. The "asshole" part comes when the headset user says something like "hold on, this guy thinks I'm talking to him" or something else that implies you're an idiot for not immediately recognizing the headset. It's embarrassing, and insulting, and dismissive. In short, it takes basic social conventions and protocol and rudely slugs it in the face. Said social conventions, even the customary "good morning" a fuel station clerk greets you with, is lubricant for the social gears of society, and those headset users are sand in the works. It's not the headsets at all - its the people using them that never apologize for the misconceptions they cause, or politely put their conversation on hold when they walk up to a pay window.

Everyone screams and wails about being "recorded in public," which I find hilarious, considering how much we're already recorded, tracked and observed. If you're in public, people can record you freely, and no court of law is going to give a rats ass that somebody was able to SEE you when you went walking around on a public sidewalk. No, the real discomfort comes from having a computer screen between you and the person you're talking to. Google Glass is the first step towards things like augmented reality and other such technologies; but the precedent we've all learned from is the Arrogant Headset Asshole; and so naturally that's the first association we make.

about a year ago
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North Korea's Twitter and Flickr Accounts Hacked By Anonymous

whodunit Re:I approve. (212 comments)

This is a non-trivial problem that people who say "just wipe out NK" don't fully appreciate. Seoul is a city of over 10million less than 50 miles from the DMZ and is within range of thousands of conventional artillery pieces. Unless there is an incredibly coordinated plan, wiping out North Korea will probably mean sacrificing Seoul at the very least.

Thoroughly debunked. http://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-special-reports/mind-the-gap-between-rhetoric-and-reality/#axzz2PjxGYDxd

about a year ago
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Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person

whodunit Re:Last of the Mohicans (489 comments)

Lets play Occam's Razor! Which scenario is more likely: A, you're full of shit, or B, there really IS a "complicit hand of the economic elite" that destroyed that perfect postwar-to-80s world because it was a "threat that could not be allowed"? If you'd added some mad ranting about Jews and moonbase-lasers your argument would be no more convincing, but at least it'd be slightly less stale.

about a year ago

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