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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

Adam Beck 2 ... where a tiny relay triggered the Blackout of 1965. One of the finest hours of television, James Burke's Connections S01E01 covered it. He begins at the brand new World Trade Center. It brings me to tears now. Oh BTW, the airliner shown in this 1978 episode that diverted suddenly because the runway lights and ILS went out as Manhattan was plunged into darkness was Flight 911.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

I mean threads in the traditional sense of a single aspect of an algorithm doing useful work to 'prove' or 'disprove' something, then move on to something else. To keep track of what permutations have been tried, some form of memory and buss communication is necessary if a problem is to be solved in a way that can be chronicled and measured, with a 'begin' and an 'end'. State information.

Any functional memory and buss system would have to be implemented separately, with a component, connection and logic statement count far exceeding that for any simple processing component.

We may find a way to make simple algorithms that require minimal or even no 'state' information between threads or over time, to run incredibly fast (compared to existing clock based hardware). So fast that even trying totally random permutations can 'solve' a problem by happening to land on a solution and identifying it as a solution, then stopping to notify you it had found a solution... but just using parameters selected by chance. And if these single-thread mechanisms can be grown somehow (without the complexity of memory and buss connecting them) then you could have massive lakes of them working in parallel and your chances of finding a solution increase, but in linear fashion.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

Do I take George W Bush at his word that this man is one of the 'kingpins' of 9/11? Um, no, Bush sent an Al-Jazeera journalist to Gitmo for Chrissake. Maybe we should focus a little harder on the June 2001 memo changing the rules of engagement for hijacked airliners. And the drills. And that Really Suspicious Turn the hijacker made to swing around to hit the very section of the Pentagon that had just been renovated... to withstand... a plane?

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HocusLocus 3 points ago +3 / -0

The article and Schnorr's revised paper whose principal claim about lattice pruning to infer RSA2048 primes is still in dispute and has not been algorithmically tested. Many quantum computing theories fail to meet basic tests not from lack of overall computing power, but from the need for massively-parallel communication between threads to coordinate the 'attack'/attempted 'sieving'.

I do expect to see successful directed quantum attacks not on provable-primality itself, but rather on the common implementations of pseudoprime generation used in software such as OpenSSL. But it is likely to remain expensive in terms of energy.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

Breeding the next superpredator to prey on humans during the Dark Ages to follow. Let's do the woolly mammoth first, they were good eatin'.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

Their Ethiopian flag colors are upside down. Green should be on top. This is a typical error when White Rastas design tings.

by Moebius
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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

There's some science behind the laser idea though it was a fuck-expensive pulsed terawatt laser. The plasma envelope that forms around coherent light is conductive, so it's little different (and probably inferior) to a rocket sent up trailing a wire.

There has been research into the possibility of 'laser tasers' where an extremely high AC voltage is coupled to the plasma of a laser beam, to be used as a delivery device to apply that voltage to flying electronics to fry them. It's certainly the cleverest way to do it -- but as we learned during the great 'Star Wars' weapons platform hype of the Reagan Years Cold War -- targeting is another problem and the atmosphere always scatters everything and fucks it up. A concept probably only practical in space.

by Moebius
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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

A grounded ring around the top makes sense. Michael Crichton posed (in the novel State Of Fear, 2004) an 'ESE device' that was so small, effective and self-contained it could be a weapon to be planted in someone's belongings and guarantee them a beefy stroke of lightning, even from a clear sky. Imagine if you could do that with 3 AAA batteries.

On another front, in Switzerland, success with a green laser to guide lightning away from a telecom tower.

by Moebius
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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

Thank you, this ESE thing is fascinating reading. If you're trying to emit a fountain of ions from a tip charged to >2kV then the sharper the point(s) the better because at each tip the potential remains high enough to 'push/project' them into free air. But it comes at a price, spinier things have far more surface area than a blunt surface within the same volume... and that encourages surface corrosion, at least more corrosion product by weight of metal. So (like antennas) lightning rods would work best when polished.

I found Moore's paper on blunt tips and a good lecture that stops just short of declaring ESE radius claims as "snake oil". Not equipped to follow it all but he does appear to have a case --- as it involves designers using fewer conductor ground paths to save copper, then investing the price of the 'saved' copper into ESE systems. I was amazed to find that even radioactive tips (americium) have been used in products, then outlawed. I guess someone looked at radioactivity in a cloud chamber and made a shitload of assumptions.

Some experience in almost-lightning with negative ion generators, the no-spark kind that does not make lots of ozone, just a pointed tip at high potential. I have used them for 40 years to clean air inside rooms and I swear by them, they make mold and fine dust adhere to the walls where it can be wiped off instead of breathing it. I do this instead of relying on noisy forced air mechanisms and filters. Wire tips work well but corrode and become brittle fast. The best emitter sticks I've found that last are bundles of carbon fibers (not metal) each thinner than a human hair. When it is clean as the voltage is applied they spread out. You can get some idea of where the stream interfaces with surrounding charges with a tiny neon lamp with loose wires spread apart. It is not very far.

Empirically it seems like the concept of projected streams of ions into space is problematic. They don't form some long conduit in space, inertia is not in play here, it is more like they are being poured upside-down into the room like say, pouring water into a pond.

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

I was 20 but it was an old 20 since worrying about nuclear war stole some childhood. Another good period movie is Testament (1983 full movie) which convincingly portrays a family in a town of people who never knew how the war began and had no clue of the dangers so close to ground zero. They go through hell but It does end on a glimmer of hope finally they decide to leave.

by Moebius
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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

The man who launched the Project Mogul balloon. It would be funny if you could visit an operating theater recreation of his autopsy in Roswell.

Moore nominally retired from New Mexico Tech in 1985, but continued to be active in research. He developed the first real improvement to the lightning rod since Benjamin Franklin invented it in the 18th Century, by proving that blunt-tipped rods were more effective than pointed-tipped ones. As a result of his work, most of the lightning rods manufactured in the United States today are blunt-tipped.

Not just lightning rods, blunt noses have (non-intuitively) been shown to be superior to sharp ones in aerospace and submarine applications. And quieter too, the subs are harder to hear.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

Robin Cook's scenario in Coma with a radio controlled valve behind the wall of an operating room to shunt carbon monoxide into the oxygen line... was terrifying to read as a child. But it did pique my interest in radio control devices.

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

My father said that there was 'conspiracy talk' at the time that Powers was debriefed by the Russians and they told him they could find no evidence of a 70 second delay after the destruct switch was set.

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HocusLocus 1 point ago +1 / -0

There's not much pure military advantage to be had these days by 'knowing' where land based missile silos are. Those things are known already by all and certain behaviors that were the chief eyesores of ballistic rockets, like liquid fuel delivery, have been deprecated. Any nuclear exchange will be carried out principally by submarine launches of solid fueled rockets close to the targets.

One clear win of balloon surveillance would be to gather cell voice traffic on a massive scale for a sustained time frame. With backchannel connections to satellites a lot of whole-band data could be captured for later listening. Also possible is some Gorgon Stare operation that could track individual vehicles from source to destination. But if I had money to spend I would put it all towards cell traffic. The espionage across all industries would have great advantages.

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HocusLocus 5 points ago +5 / -0

The last time a "Montana balloon" was in the news was 2008, when a Miley Cyrus "Hanna Montana" balloon frightened some birds which shorted electric lines and caused an outage in Miami. I point this out when ever it seems necessary, and now is such a time.

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

Dr. Moore I presume? It is a privilege to meet you. What happened to Greenpeace? Why wasn't "the greening of the Earth" ever taken up as the modus operandi for the environmental movement above all else? It is my experience that when people swoon over Gaia, they are actually seeking to lock in the climactic condition as it exists today, not some imagined 'pristine' condition of the past. They why wouldn't human activity which (as it turns out, coincidentally) benefits plants (and therefore people) not be seen as a universal win?

We got the lead out of gasoline which was a disaster unfolding. We started scrubbing sulfur aerosols, mercury is coming under control. Countless other things that were real problems. Is it really simple as a global taxation attempt on modern life? I think I know but it seems so trite.

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

++underrated comment

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

But oligarchy is such a cute word! That's the real problem.

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HocusLocus 2 points ago +2 / -0

For those seeking the source, it was a 25 cent Little Golden book called Ben and Me (1954) based on a Disney short film. This is a high quality MEME from Ben and Me's cover with great robot art.

It's good to start with high quality images, but remember to make it 'retro' with some good filters or a bit of added noise and downsampling of the finished product.

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HocusLocus 4 points ago +4 / -0

I was never convinced of the harmfulness of talcum power. The "may contain asbestos fibers" was specious, and the issue of respiratory irritation and dry skin applies to any such agent. And corn starch turns babies into fungus farms.

As with many things blamed for the Age Of Cancer (Not the food! Look over here!) it received a bad rap.

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