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Comment Google to get several versions in seconds... (Score 2) 438

These files are in the open. The are publicly available to anyone who wants to look. I found several in minutes.

This ITAR issue is prior restraint...trying to put the genie back into the bottle. It reminds me of the silliness in trying to get people with security clearances to not read the Snowden files.

It is public record. Subjecting it to ITAR at this point simply makes it glaringly clear just how incompatible ITAR is with Constitutional principles.

Comment Meanwhile.... (Score 4, Insightful) 174

Autonomous vehicles turned into car bombs...Guy with a home wet lab and a lot of savvy creates a serious disease and releases it, someone poisons an an entire metro areas water system....

These things are several orders of magnitude easier, more damaging, and likely than a nuke. I'm not worried about those things, so how am I going to find the time and motivation to be worried about rogue nukes? Anything can happen, but I can also stub my toe.

Comment Re:"capability to cut cables" (Score 1) 273

Unfortunately, even at great depth, underwater explosions in contact with any surface can easily be intense enough to induce substantial cavitation. The long duration impulse from the explosion is converted to a very short duration impulse on collapse. This impulse is sufficient to cut though plate steel at appropriate depths (at depths where the close proximity pressure wave intensity is greater than ambient pressure) . The confinement of the explosion impulse to a small area at greater depth allows a relatively efficient conversion to the impingement energy. The time available to lose energy thermally is greatly reduced. The impulse intensity and duration in these kinds of operations is more than sufficient to blow apart an optical cable about the size of your thumb... by a wide margin.

Other than that, being in close proximity to a cable of that size, it is far easier to simply cut them.

Comment This is old news, not a new threat. (Score 1) 273

The Russians, Americans, French, British, Germans, and others all have active programs to disrupt undersea communications, and they have had them for a long, long time.

This is not rocket science. A group of undergrad and graduate engineering students has demonstrated the use of low-end side scanning sonar and Rube Goldberg AUV tech to detect and track underwater cables for up to 2 weeks and 350 miles autonomously. The cables themselves are scarcely bigger than your thumb in deep water, and quite fragile (easily cut or percussively disrupted). The current they carry (yes, the optical ones too) are detectable from dozens of meters with inexpensive sensors as well.

The undersea infrastructure has always been prone to periodic failure, let alone vulnerable to deliberate attack. There is little a determined naval forces can do to prevent these possibilities aside from attempt to provide redundancy, which is not a military function, or deterrence, which is arguably a function that can be effected with political or non-naval resources better than naval resources.

The bottom line: nothing new here, no greater vulnerability exists now than before the Navy was fighting the backchannel war to feed the mouthbreathers to get more funding.

Comment Journals are prestige merchants... (Score 3, Interesting) 204

Journals were once curators of information relevant to a subject for areas of interest outside the reach of traditional library curation.

Library science has been quietly and revolutionarily been relegated to obsolescence in the age of the internet.

Journals would be functionally relegated to the same fate were it not for an additional value they add to academia...the constant search for prestige and citation that academia demands.

A Nature pub simply offers more social intangibles than Arxiv.

More societal benefit might be derived from other open access alternatives, but those alternatives offer no career and personal intangible benefits in the way that Nature offers.

Comment Winds... (Score 2) 61

The winds at the float altitude of 120k' (36km) have frequent and sustained gusts exceeding 25 m/s. The air is thin, and barely perceptible, but the effects of vortex shedding around structures is still vexing for those of us who try to keep payloads pointed and vibrations minimized. The PSD of the vibrations is sometimes significant in the lower frequencies. The PSD of the vibration profile shifts, sometimes dramatically, in real time to the measured winds and directional changes of the payload gondola at those altitudes.

As for a microphone freezing over, the environment at those altitudes will very quickly shed any moisture accumulated in any phase on exterior surfaces. A balloon typically rotates throughout its mission, and the extreme cycling between view factors for albedo, direct solar radiation, and deep space cycle any moisture accumulated in the tropopause or below in minutes unless the surfaces are somehow unusually shielded.

Comment this machine can be used to make a pipe bomb. (Score 1) 449

Or a chew toy. Or a switchblade. Or a baby pacifier.

Who cares?

The only thing that keeps us safe from bad people is a lack of bad people that want to do us harm. Anyone anywhere can make or procure the necessary materials to kill, maim, or otherwise harm someone else or commit mass murder. Legislating common tools like a mill or a hammer is an affirmation by a sponsoring legislator that they might not be particularly intelligent and that only the most reactionary fear based rhetoric can move legislation in modern America.

As.for this scheister...he is no revolutionary hand model. He might as well be screeching, "F=ma....F=ma!!!". The only reason he is getting attention in the first place is because he is obsessively calling attention to simple truths that cross people's preconceived notions about security, government sanctions, rights, etc.

I'm always surprised how basic discussions of these things become embroiled in frothy emotional Turret's outbursts on every side of an issue.

Comment Why is this interesting? (Score 4, Insightful) 449

I have large CNC machine shop. Anyone else I know with a CNC machine shop in their garage of any size has probably made guns. Some of them have made full auto versions. Some have made mortar launchers and artillery cannons and other stuff. This has been going on for many decades...and yet it is barely even visible. No end of the world. No crime wave. The difference here is volume, not principle.

Guns are not even interesting after growing up with them. I don't understand why people are so obsessed with them...but then again, I don't know why Pharrell's "Blurred Lines" was even a blip on the music scene. But I have to admit the fetishization of firearms gives me the is a disturbingly reliable indicator of a state of mind I am wary of, avoid, and consider pitiable.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to defend the right to make and use firearms because once I declare the 2nd amendment is worthless, their state of mind could easily compel them to decide that any of the freedoms I enjoy are equally worthless. Heck- a majority of Americans already do. I tend to place the majority of persons around where I live who openly carry in the same category as some of the unfortunate homeless ranks who suffer to spew collections of epithets at passersby. It is generally harmless, certainly within their rights, although somewhat disturbing. To feel they are that much under threat by the world around them is a lousy way to get through a day. To outlaw that sort of thing would also be a crime.

Build guns. I don't care.It is the least of any imagined problems that Americans have, and to ban the information or even their manufacture literally on a par with banning books or ideas in my mind.

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