* Posts by noem

16 posts • joined 5 Oct 2013

Leicestershire teen admits attempting to hack director of the CIA


Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

Oh wow! you have a function like this: codeIsSecureFromAllThreats(program):bool

that takes an arbitrary program as an argument. While you're at it could you also provide me with:


that would be much appreciated :)

While the point is that everyone should take basic security measures, neither of the above functions exist so guarding against all threats remains an exceptional feat. Equally true is: just because you can, does not mean you should. Secondly, your analogy suffers from the same problem that most analogies do, it is bad. If ineptitude excused a person's legal obligations, I'm almost certain that many legal representatives would urge the courts that their clients could not possibly have a guilty verdict rendered upon them, on the grounds that they were in some way stupid, like analogies.

How a Cali court ruling could force a complete rethink of search results


Re: Irritating


I've never said which way I actually preferred to have search operate, I akin search to a tool. You use the correct one for the job, Google will give you a ton of results, but something might be relevant. Other search engines might thin the results too much. I generally pick the tool that fits the job or try them all until I find what works. Rather than complaining my hammer does not work well with screws, I use a screwdriver (or a butter knife if I can't find the screwdriver). Some tools are better at certain tasks than others, the one size fits all is rarely that (the hammer screwdriver hybrid is less than ideal). Failing to use the proper tool is user error, ignorance or arrogance. Continuing to use the improper tool for the same task knowing full well it does not work and expecting a different result is insanity.

User error: "I just type in the search bar and it returns results from the whole interweb, right?"

Ignorance: "I can use something other than Bing?!?"

Arrogance: "Google is the best why would I use anything else!"

Insanity: "The last time bob used a fork in the electrical socket to get better AM reception, it shocked him bad, I was there. You're sure it won't do the same to me"

You can save yourself from google's shoddy work, by wait for it...using something else or continue to complain that your arm is numb and you don't feel so well, while carrying on with the fork.

The second part where I talk about comments not being especially relevant was meant to illustrate the irony of your own post, there's a pretty specific topic that that the legal case concerns and you've posted something that is not entirely relevant to the legal issue. You are exactly the same as the search engine you despise, you've created a new piece of data (ie. returned an irrelevant result) for users to wade through in order to get at the actual subject. Given that the comments should center on the merits of either side and the consequences of such a ruling on search usability/marketplace competition vs brand dilution/trademark. Given I've had to explain myself I've added another piece of irrelevancy to the comments section and ruined the joke to boot, this comment is in itself ironic!


Re: Exactly how is this a problem?

Given you can't find X, amazon has found Y. Y is clearly labeled as Y product. At best the hearsay the CEO of MTM offered up is hearsay, at worst he's liar and possibly guilty of perjury.

Now go and try this in amazon's search for yourself "MTM watches" vs "MTM" vs "Multi Time Machine", the first one containing the key word "watches" is the only one that yields watches the other two inputs which contain only the brand name are completely unrelated to timepieces.

So is it reasonable for amazon to return a search result containing watches if the input has that keyword or is it supposed to return absolutely nothing as soon as a brand is added to the search despite having a partial match for the input?

This post gave me math flashbacks :)


Re: Irritating

Considering the case concerns amazon, which is by definition a store. Which outcome would you rather have when going to the your local supermarket?

You: Hi, do you have any Grey Goose?

Employee: Nope!


You: Hi, do you have any Grey Goose?

Employee: We have a wide selection of other vodkas and since they all taste about the same why not give X brand a try. I've been told by customers that X brand is the best and is less expensive.

I hate when comments aren't exactly relevant to the post being discussed. When I jump into the comments I expect it to be rant free and on topic! It's these lazy commentators that fill up the comments with pages of off topic rants, I just wish they'd actually pay attention to the thing I came to discuss.

Seriously though, the issue at hand is whether search usability trumps copyright. In your case of altavista accuracy vs google's googol of results, the answer is much the same as the market spoke in 2013.

US Air Force launches not-so-secret space plane. Thanks Russia


Re: Ahem.

I was going to make some kind of joke about local sourced products vs out sourced as a play on Hear! Hear! decided it was too long a rant and then forgot to remove Here! Here! Have an up vote!


Here! Here! Cooperation between the US and Russia could be fantastic, I would suggest as the first order of business that both countries jointly invade the Ukraine and establish a "peace keeping force". Although things might be confusing with two different military forces in the Ukraine, I'm almost certain that a large wall between the two would prevent any friendly fire. The US and Russian could continue this across various "hot spots" across the world and would usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for all.

All kidding aside, everyone has different ideas on what works and what doesn't and those goals are sometimes mutually exclusive. SpaceX thinks a new design will offer a better solution, the ULA goes with a "time tested" design. Cooperation generally has a nice ring to it when it isn't saddled with bureaucracy or "in fighting". Organizations generally operate more efficiently when their size does not exceed their needs and when everyone isn't going in a different direction. I think what you meant to say was "lack of belligerence" instead of cooperation. A competition* allows all solutions to be tried and tested with maximum efficiency, given a lack of belligerence between groups.

*competition does have an aggressive connotation so I would suggest to think of competition in the same manner as trial, or experiment to gauge the success of different solutions.

Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it


Re: Why?

I'm certain similar statements were made around the advent of atomic weaponry. The raw power of such a weapon as the world had never seen; used only twice and inspiring a forced "peace" through unimpeachable tyranny and terror for more than half a century. However, once the box was opened it allowed us to harness the power of the atom and propel our understanding of the universe to new heights.

Ultimately knowledge is neither good nor evil. I tend to be more hopeful, and see the hypersonic tech transferring to efficient global transport, bringing every one closer together. The internet (also a military project) allows our thoughts to traverse vast distances in an instant. Here's to hoping that hypersonic tech removes the physical barriers.

Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully


Re: I wonder...

If you watch the ARGUS drone video from a few years ago at about 1 minute in the system demonstrates that it is able to catalog and track individual objects. If we presume that each satellite can do similar processing, the actual imagery need not be sent back to its minders. Considering that who went where, and with whom are the primary questions that a "real time" system would seek to answer it makes even less sense to send the actual imagery rather than just the data.


Intel bungs PC on an SD: Tiny computer for Internet of Things and wearables


Re: Key aspect?

spark core. Use their cloud for testing, building and deployment of IoT devices (free), or deploy your own servers (when they release the source). Depending on what you're doing you should take a look. cheers!


Now THAT'S a sunroof: Solar-powered family car emerges from Ford labs


While I too do enjoy eco-friendly technologies, I do have to wonder if this will actually pan out. Given your average joe goes to work between 9-5 (the hours the sun is up), the solar concentrator would have to be at a place of business to be of any use other than on the weekend. I cant imagine what the interior of that car must be like or even the door handles, steering wheel after sitting for several hours. While the concentrator is certainly a way to improve the collection of energy, I have to wonder how long those panels will last at the higher operating temperature. All in all it's nice to see an automotive giant like ford producing eco-friendly vehicles, but it seems a bit half baked.

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners


Re: The Wild-West days are here again

I think that because they seem to be the subject of much pulpy space adventure from the golden age of scifi, that a lot of people discount lasers or DEWs. A DEW would only have to heat a target spacecraft to a temperature that causes component failure, given a spacecraft's relatively small mass and poor heat dissipation this task seems workable. Of course building a single death ray would be less than optimal and probably quite hard to do, so instead the weapon would most likely be composed of the most efficient single power output for a single DEW module times number of modules required to form an array of DEWs to arrive at a desired total weapon output power. While throwing rocks is effective, a weapon that has near unlimited range (compared to conventional weaponry), is highly scaleable, has near unlimited ammunition and travels at c would be terrifying indeed to spacecraft, especially considering it would take months to get that rock to arrive at the target destination.

Fishy fishers' fishing figures fingered using Google Earth Gulf pics


Re: Progress

A quick gander at the Wikipedia world population page will show you just how much we've grown from just the 1800s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population). The sheer amount of people that need to be satisfied by a given resource is not even remotely the same as "a few millennia" ago, even if we were to shorten the time period to a single century ago it would still not even be close. Part of adapting to the pressure of having more people on the planet is utilizing resources in the most efficient way possible. Here's some quick critical thinking questions that should alleviate your suspicions:

If no new juveniles make it to adulthood, what does that do to a dwindling population's genetic diversity?

How does decreased genetic diversity hurt a species when its environment changes?

If each person has to eat a set portion of fish a day and a juvenile weighs a tenth of the adult weight how many fish do you have to catch to get the same portion?

If you catch one adult for every ten juvenile how many more fish can be born when the juveniles mature?

If you change from standard commercial fishing practice to solely utilizing weirs, how does that change the ratio of juvenile to adult caught?

Is a population considered sustainable if there are no new breeding stock?

Given that weir catch smaller fish what does this do to the cost (energy, time, cost to end consumer) of processing a set tonnage of fish?

Over fishing is a serious problem, and the fact that weirs kill many times the fish for the same tonnage only compounds it. Ultimately it creates a condition where there is less available breeding stock. When you consider the question of genetic diversity and expected environmental changes to occur in the next few decades (global warming), the genetic stagnation that weirs uniquely induce is especially troubling. That is not to say that commercial over fishing is OK, it's still very bad, but your proposal that juveniles be caught instead of adults, doesn't make sense when all you would have to do is over fish the juvenile population for as short a period as the average adult life span for the given species and it would then be trivial to demonstrate the cause for a particular fish's extinction.


Re: Progress

I'm quite sure that was not the point of the paper. The reason for examining the fishing weirs via satellite was to estimate the impact of illegal fishing practices. Though efficient, the problem with fishing weirs is that mostly juvenile fish swim close to the shore, ergo weirs primarily catch juvenile fish. As they are obviously smaller than adults, the weight discrepancy must be accounted for with additional numbers of fish caught for the same tonnage. Fishing weirs are banned in the gulf and elsewhere because they decimate the juvenile fish population (meaning even less fish growing to adulthood to have little fish babies) and thus are not a sustainable method of commercial fishing.

From the source science journal:

"Although regulations governing fishing effort (e.g. fishing licences and spatial restrictions) in the Persian Gulf have been implemented since the 1960s, most stocks are either fully or overexploited (Grandcourt, 2012). This is partly because fisheries management (if any) is based on unreliable fishery data and limited stock assessments, and also because weak or ill-enforced regulations are commonplace. Fishery agencies in the area tend to be development focused, rather than seeking to implement long-term sustainability plans (Grandcourt, 2012).

In the case of Qatar, our methods revealed 17 operating weirs (14 visible directly and 3 added to compensate for poor resolution and imagery availability), despite their ban in 1994 (M.S. Al-Muhindi, Ministry of Fisheries, pers. comm.).

Because weir catches in the Persian Gulf consist mostly of juvenile commercially important species (Tharwat, 2003; Al-Baz et al., 2007), growth overfishing can occur even when certain spatial restrictions (e.g. spatial closures) are put into place."

End journal

I like to think of the world and the criterion we live by as dynamic and when the exigencies of the present diverge from those of the past, we adapt. I always thought this was the greatest strength/trait in our species, perpetually developing the next tool to fit the circumstance. Though I would tend to agree that the new isn't always ideal and that we should proceed with great care, I must admit that I have a far greater fear of stagnation.

New wonder slab slurps Wi-Fi, converts it into juice for gadgets, boast boffins


Re: Let's look at this...

There are quite a few 8-bit AVRs (ATtiny series, etc) that are more than happy on a couple uWatts and I even heard that some ARM variants could too. Paired with a super capacitor or small coin cell an embedded sensors life could well out last your lifetime. However, I think it's important to note that this seems to be more of a demonstration for metamaterials in manufacturing than an actual attempt. As devices become more efficient and power harvesting techniques improve, wireless power could become viable in the consumer arena.

Google patent: THROAT TATTOO with lie-detecting mobe microphone built-in


It doesn't sound permanent

From the patent application:

"...can be applied to a region of the body via an adhesive"

This sounds similar to a temporary tattoo or could describe a sticker where the circuitry is either deposited directly on the skin or attached to a flexible substrate secured to the skin. It hardly sounds permanent.

What makes this useful? / Why would I want this?

Currently using voice controls requires pulling out your device and speaking your query aloud. This is bad because the query is audible to those around you (makes you look like a prat) and the source of the query is ambiguous (could really be anyone in the room/noise). A throat mic removes both of these problems, it can pickup a mumble (inaudible to others) and the device can be sure that you issued the command. For a device with similar capabilities as the moto x or nexus 5 with always on voice via "ok google" command, paired with a wireless headphone or bone conduction (bone conduction is best as it does not interfere with normal hearing) and the throat mic the benefits are obvious. Simply speak to yourself under your breath and the query is answered (reads google now cards with tts) without removing the device. It basically covers all the times you had to type in a query because speaking aloud wasn't appropriate/feasible or not worth the effort of pulling the device out. You could do the same with an off the shelf throat mic, but they are rather bulky, this device has the advantage of remaining relatively nondescript.

Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot


Re: Value?

"Only for limited tactical use, a robot is incapable of holding a position. You can't win a war if you don't put your people on the ground to hold territory."

-Try looking at this from a logistical standpoint, humans require much more supplies and are more expensive force to maintain than robots. I think that everyone can agree that automation of most activities generally drives the cost down. Just a couple hints: What does it take to support a human day to day? What is the total cost of casualties? (think the valuation of a human life during wrongful death legal actions as a loss to GDP over time), What are the expected medical and disability claims for veterans? By keeping costs low, a force can be maintained for somewhat longer than it would be otherwise. Drones could switch to a low power state or wake intermittently, a situation in which very little supplies are used. In a situation where work that can be done by robots vs having a human do the task means that costs are reduced and thus a more effective force maintained.

"Drones also have the really bad side effect of causing colossal amounts of collateral damage and really angering civilian populations. Even the most successful strategies are of little value if you've turned the general population into enemies as opposed to neutral civilians. Neutral civilians being the largest group in any conflict."

-Humans are just as capable of making mistakes as drones (see apache helicopter kills journo on youtube), one could argue that being in the "heat of the moment" rather than disconnected makes for more rash judgement. Drones can afford the luxury to shoot LAST preventing collateral damage, humans cannot. Remember that guided munitions are a simple form of expendable drone, I don't think that anyone would argue the efficacy of these weapons vs the carpet style bombing reminiscent of the vietnam era especially when it comes to collateral.

"Organized military forces never do well against plain clothes enemies no matter their superior numbers or firepower."

-That is true to a point, but drones allow an organized force to do better than without them. The largest problem with "plain clothes" combatants is identifying combatants from civilians, drones are well suited to this with enough ARGUS-IS type drones and additional ground intelligence the process of identifying combatants could be greatly simplified. It is hard to argue that having less information is better.

I don't think that anyone imagines drones responsible every facet of warfare, but I do think that you would be hard pressed to say that having fewer options is a better prospect than having more options. Ultimately drones are just another option that can do a particular job more cheaply and safely than their human counterparts and that seems to be the VALUE of drones/robots. If you would like a real world example to the efficacy of modern developments you may compare the two afghan wars (soviet era and US) both around the same length, region, modern forces, time (happened just over one decade apart), vastly different collateral and causalities.


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