* Posts by Martin Audley

6 posts • joined 22 Jun 2010

Belgian court says Skype must provide interception facilities

Martin Audley

Seems to me that WhatsApp could happily respond by simply offering the telecommunications authorities recordings of the encrypted data flows, and saying "There you go - now you've got everything we have.. Deal with it".

WhatsApp cannot decrypt those - and nor (even with GCHQ's supercomputers applied to the problem) could the authorities.

Without the government banning P2P or P2C encryption (which would, obviously, kill banking) there's not really any other alternative.

Skype, with their broken encryption, isn't used by anyone who cares about privacy anyway.

Punctual as ever, Equifax starts snail-mailing affected Brits about mega-breach

Martin Audley

Re: WTF..?

Probably obtained via credit checks made by car hire companies?

Still doesn't explain why they needed to keep that information though.

It would breach Data Protection Act clauses straight away if the information was kept just for the sake of it.

¡Dios mío! Spain blocks DNS to hush Catalonian independence vote sites

Martin Audley

Do you want to incite an increased Catalan wish to leave their authoritarian control?

Because this is how you do it.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Martin Audley

Re: Popcorn

Not normal brakes - if you don't recapture the electricity from regenerative braking you won't have a competitive car with decent range.

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Martin Audley

TFP is unlimited - Re: All this reminds me of something from Jerry Pornuelle

Nope - there's no limit to TFP, (that is, right up to the hard-limit ability where, Star Trek-like, we can abandon economics altogether as irrelevant.)

We already make cars in near-lights-out factories full of robots. You might say that there's an efficiency limit reached once we reduce the number of staff to zero. But there'll still be efficiency savings to be made on the amount of steel used in the cars, or in who's making the robots for the factories.

When I worked at Toyota, there was a kinda company meme going around that "We don't build cars - we build factories that make cars". Toyota 'got' the point that to be truly efficient, you go meta - you build something that builds something else efficiently, reproducibly, reliably.

A similar concept hypothetically applies to software engineering - you don't (generally) code at machine code 'bit' level - you abstract up to a higher level language that can churn out machine code.

Back in the physical world, we've got that abstraction still to come - but the singularity is fast approaching. Once robots can build robots (and once robots can design and build robots that build robots) then humans can take the day off and go to the beach.

How, in that future economy (of 99% permanent unemployment) we manage to give an income to those non-workers - via a Citizens Income to buy ice cream there - remains an exercise for the reader - and that's when politics will get really interesting.

Big EU imports of Sahara sun-power coming soon?

Martin Audley

You did read the figure, right? €400 BILLION

Not million. *BILLION*. *400 BILLION EUROS*. 400 * 10^9 EUROS. That one project would be equivalent to 2.7% of the total EU GDP.

For a power system which will provide no power to Europe in the winter at night.

The project's target is to provide 20% of EU power. And all that power needing to be backed up by the same power output of standby gas turbines for whenever the sun doesn't put his hat on.

It would provide a small proportion of the EU electricity consumptions of 342gigawatts.

"It might scale up to the gigawatt range" Yeah right. Even if it produced 10 gigawatts that's still 40,000 Euro/kW. When a nuclear power station costs around $10,000/kW worst case, and down to $1,000/kW.

Good luck with that. If you're still interested, I've got a bridge you like to buy...


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