vektor's recent activity

  1. Comment on Covid-19 coronavirus: Superspreader - woman infects 71 people in 60 seconds in elevator: CDC study in ~health.coronavirus

    vektor
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    TL;DR because this article massively overhypes the actual findings, also clickbait: She is suspected to have infected one other person by elevator, via surface transmission. The other person then...

    TL;DR because this article massively overhypes the actual findings, also clickbait:

    She is suspected to have infected one other person by elevator, via surface transmission. The other person then went on to infect others, one of which ended up with a stroke but was not timely identified as Covid-positive, so infected a lot of others in the hospital and otherwise.

    The elevator woman was not a superspreader. She was patient zero in a cluster with a superspreader.

    What's the NZ herald like in general? The presentation looks serious enough, but some other headlines seem rather clickbaity too.

    25 votes
  2. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    vektor
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    Theoretically: Frankly, doesn't matter at that point. Given the dV calculation, any destination within the solar system is equally possible. And any interplanetary trip is cheap in comparison to...

    Theoretically: Frankly, doesn't matter at that point. Given the dV calculation, any destination within the solar system is equally possible. And any interplanetary trip is cheap in comparison to an interstellar one. Even more so if they're arriving from further away.

    Practically: ISS should be hard to detect from interstellar space. So the likelier outcome is that they detect life on earth and decide to stop by. On the way in, they detect the ISS. Since it's easier reached than earth (no reentry, no potentially toxic/corrosive atmosphere, no gravity), they decide to stop by there first.

  3. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    vektor
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    To be fair, we're dealing with an interstellar cruise here. The accelerate-for-half, decelerate-the-other-half approach only works if fuel is of no concern and your engines are comparatively weak....

    To be fair, we're dealing with an interstellar cruise here. The accelerate-for-half, decelerate-the-other-half approach only works if fuel is of no concern and your engines are comparatively weak. Orbital mechanics (and in general the expensiveness of matching orbits) does not apply to a craft that can travel light years. Say they've been on our doorstep all along, 20 LY away. Say 100 years is acceptable travel time. That's a velocity of 0.2c. So that's 60Mm/s (60,000km/s) dV on departure, and 60Mm/s dV on arrival. They don't care about the puny 12km/s or so orbital velocity of anything around earth.

    To get back to the accelerate-all-the-way approach: For interstellar travel that doesn't really work too well. Engines are unlikely to be that weak, if you ask me. Consider that a accelerate-all-the-way craft needs X time to cover distance S. A craft with double the acceleration and the same amount of fuel (for the same final speed) needs half the time to reach top speed or slow down, and at top speed can coast for another such time period to cover the same distance. It took you 75% of the time to get there, and you only needed double the engines, not even double the fuel. In the limit case where your acceleration happens in an instant (or getting it done in a day or two before coasting for years, that works too), you're done in 50% of the time the constant-acceleration approach needs. We can safely ignore Einstein here, because as long as what you're interested in is the passage of time in the ship's reference frame, Einstein doesn't care.

    Now, how much acceleration do you need? Let's use the numbers from earlier. 20LY, 100 years. That works out to 0.04m/s^2 of acceleration if you do constant-acceleration. That is very pedestrian. Current rockets have about a factor of 1000 more, if they need to cope with gravity. Your 100t-spacecraft coming for the ISS? 4kN of thrust needed. A merlin engine does 200 times that and weighs half a ton. I think it's very conceivable that even their longest-range engines would give a better acceleration than that, even if it means shutting them off part of the time.

    Unless of course whatever engine tech they use is incredibly heavy already and the raw engine already has a rotten TWR.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    vektor
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    Yeah, an ammonia coolant leak is real bad, and a breakdown of comms is going to make a repair almost impossible. I'm not sure how likely the latter scenario is and how easily a ammonia leak is to...

    Yeah, an ammonia coolant leak is real bad, and a breakdown of comms is going to make a repair almost impossible. I'm not sure how likely the latter scenario is and how easily a ammonia leak is to isolate, but those could be potential "abandon ship" scenarios.

    The info on the soyuz survival gun I could find seems to indicate it's a manual-operation gun, so you'd probably have a hard time firing lots of shots with it in a stressful situation. It's meant to be used against wildlife. Has maybe also been replaces with a pistol, which would make poking lots of holes easier too.

  5. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    vektor
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    I dunno. To a spacefaring civilization, the most spacefary thing out there is probably an object of interest. It's much bigger than satellites and notably manned. They don't need to mess with our...

    I dunno. To a spacefaring civilization, the most spacefary thing out there is probably an object of interest. It's much bigger than satellites and notably manned. They don't need to mess with our atmosphere or gravity or whatever, so it's closer to them than the surface would be. Seems as reasonable as going to the surface to establish contact, announce themselves via radio, or come in guns blazing.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    vektor
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    I wouldn't be toooo sure about that. Depends of course on what you hit, but a bullet-sized hole in the pressure vessel isn't too bad. They've had holes before, you know. The station won't blow up,...

    I wouldn't be toooo sure about that. Depends of course on what you hit, but a bullet-sized hole in the pressure vessel isn't too bad. They've had holes before, you know. The station won't blow up, it'll just leak air. I think they've got a fair bit of spare pressurized air, and a bit of duck tape is a fairly good patch job.

    That said, starting first contact with aliens with a shootout isn't a good idea, even if you can survive shooting your own gun. Any engine that brings sentient aliens in from interstellar space is strong enough to mess up your day, no purpose-built weapons needed. What is a rocket engine if not a plasma shotgun?

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Why do many games make you press a button before loading (after launch)? in ~games

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Corroborating that, as almost exclusively PC gamer, I hardly get the "press X to load" thing. Mostly at the end of loading screens, before real time stuff starts, where it actually makes sense....

    Corroborating that, as almost exclusively PC gamer, I hardly get the "press X to load" thing. Mostly at the end of loading screens, before real time stuff starts, where it actually makes sense. Beyond that, the before-main-menu prompts have a strooong whiff of potentially-mediocre console port.

    I can almost guarantee that it's a 3rd person game where walking backwards will result in my character turning around and walking towards the camera rather than walking backwards. (mildly /s)

  8. Comment on Researchers at Cornell University concluded that an online semester would result in more COVID-19 in ~health.coronavirus

    vektor
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    Yup, it's basically what @vord said: They made the assumptions to get the conclusion they want. "If we do online only and are being knuckleheads about the health of people who live on campus, it's...

    Yup, it's basically what @vord said: They made the assumptions to get the conclusion they want.

    "If we do online only and are being knuckleheads about the health of people who live on campus, it's going to be worse, than when we do some wishful thinking about what we could do for their health if all are here."

    Is it cynical to read that as a veiled threat of "we will make your healthcare shit if you return for an online semester"?

    Note also that the survey they base the number of on-campus students on does not seem to ask about coronavirus risks. Maybe students were implicitly assuming that the online-only classes in fall would be due to an overabundance of caution and corona would be more of a theoretical threat at that point. Hell, if I thought corona will be over at that point but the school were being ridiculous, I'd go there and spend time and study with friends. But if corona was still a threat, I'd peace out, because I know I could better trust my family to not be stupid about risky behaviors.

    5 votes
  9. Comment on Vienna judge delivers "non-judgment" in GDPR Facebook case in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    As if anyone would ever read any contract. No, that's not really the point. The user agreement or whatever is available. The point is to give that contract a lot more weight in the consumer's...

    As if anyone would ever read any contract. No, that's not really the point. The user agreement or whatever is available. The point is to give that contract a lot more weight in the consumer's mind.

    The whole point of consumer protection laws is to prevent an entity with nearly unlimited financial means from using that means to exploit their consumers through legal loopholes.

    That's (as said) not the direction I'm going for, but gets me to another idea: Contract transparency laws with teeth. Any contract must of course be reasonably legible and understandable by a pleb. You can sue if a reasonable person wouldn't get it. Also: Any terms in a contract must have relevance to the case at hand (or must be easily and conclusively identifiable as being irrelevant). The overall length of the contract must be reasonable given the business conducted via that contract. The goal of the latter parts is that you can't hide in the sections people usually skip because they're irrelevant. If I skip a section because I believe it is irrelevant, it is not part of the contract. If I'm unsure whether a part of the contract even pertains to me, guess what? It doesn't. Reading the contract shouldn't be a war of attrition.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Vienna judge delivers "non-judgment" in GDPR Facebook case in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    The written form is supposed to give this more weight. The moment people offer up their email, they get much more alert: "Oh, but what if they do shenanigans with that"... but you're already...

    The written form is supposed to give this more weight. The moment people offer up their email, they get much more alert: "Oh, but what if they do shenanigans with that"... but you're already giving them way more sensitive information. That's why I imagine this tiny change could help.

    It sure gives it a bunch more weight than a checkbox.

  11. Comment on Vienna judge delivers "non-judgment" in GDPR Facebook case in ~tech

    vektor
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    TBF, the judge has a point. There is a case floating around in germany, where an ISP is sporting a (imo) intentional misreading of a piece of consumer protection law. Two regional courts have said...

    TBF, the judge has a point. There is a case floating around in germany, where an ISP is sporting a (imo) intentional misreading of a piece of consumer protection law. Two regional courts have said their interpretation is correct, but not the highest court. I'm still adamant that the highest court would rule in favor of consumers if it came to that, but the case ended there - probably because the plaintiff didn't want to bother pursuing a few hundred dollar judgement at the cost of exorbitant lawyer's fees.

    So from that lense, it makes sense for the judge not to rule on matters of law that are, in all reality, above her paygrade. Either her opinion will be overruled in the superior court, or it will be upheld - but it will be argued in the superior court. A harsher judgement against facebook would almost certainly be appealed by facebook, so with what she did, she gave the plaintiff a good out. Had she ruled more aggressively, she could have forced the plaintiff into a prolonged legal battle (I think). If she ruled less aggressively, she would have set dangerous precedent. This way, the plaintiff had the option of pursuing a more privacy-friendly judgement or cut his losses. I'm not very familiar with austrian law, much less austrian codes of procedure, so I might be wrong here.

    Why this took 6 years beats me though. Probably a very overworked court system?

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Vienna judge delivers "non-judgment" in GDPR Facebook case in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Here's an idea: Any internet contract that is not very ad hod ("yes to all cookies, whetever") should require writing. As in, you enter your email address and receive a copy of the terms for later...

    Here's an idea: Any internet contract that is not very ad hod ("yes to all cookies, whetever") should require writing. As in, you enter your email address and receive a copy of the terms for later reference. Add in some requirement to make searching your inbox for contracts easier - a mandatory use of a certain keyword would suffice.

    I'm not saying it's a sufficient step, but it sure would help a lot if I could get an overview over all parties I have contracts with. That's how serious businesses like banks and e-retail do their contracts, and for good reason. Why is that not a requirement for the shadier types?

  13. Comment on [WARNING - transphobia] Gender critical has been banned - here are some links I’ve collected in ~test

    vektor
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    If I may, before Deimos inevitably nukes this thread: Why did you think coming to tildes, a community that prides itself for being very intolerant of intolerance, was a good idea, considering the...

    If I may, before Deimos inevitably nukes this thread: Why did you think coming to tildes, a community that prides itself for being very intolerant of intolerance, was a good idea, considering the previous community you used for this was banned from the "bastion of free speech" for being too hateful?

    7 votes
  14. Comment on US officials are ramping up criticism of the GDPR, which they say protects cybercriminals in ~tech

    vektor
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    Fix the DMCA and your damn anti-crypto agenda, and reign in your intelligence services, and I'll promise to appeal to my MEP. The USA shouldn't throw stones in this regard. Interesting though that...

    Fix the DMCA and your damn anti-crypto agenda, and reign in your intelligence services, and I'll promise to appeal to my MEP. The USA shouldn't throw stones in this regard.

    Interesting though that the GDPR has that effect. I wouldn't expect WHOIS to be useful against cyber criminals. They surely know how to keep that leak shut. Unless the cyber criminals referred to are the petty kind. Pirates (the download side) for example. Those who don't know they're doing much wrong, take no precautions. I'm reasonably certain you're not catching kiddie porn or hackers or piracy uploaders with this. The involvement of the chamber of commerce doesn't help dissuade me either. Seems like it's more about commercial interests vs privacy than fighting serious crime. And if you are fighting serious crime, you can just bypass this whole thing with a warrant.

    8 votes
  15. Comment on Why America's police look like soldiers in ~news

    vektor
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    You've actually gotten me curious, cause that seems very far fetched to german ears. Wehr and Wetter are so very different, I couldn't really imagine that noodweer could originate from Wetter....

    You've actually gotten me curious, cause that seems very far fetched to german ears. Wehr and Wetter are so very different, I couldn't really imagine that noodweer could originate from Wetter. Wiktionary lists a bunch of origins, i.e. different words morphing into the same pronunciation. Take your woolen blankets out of your collective mouths, and maybe you can tell your own words apart[1] ;) The article lists brandweer and weerloos as derived words of Etymology 6, "defense". Feuerwehr and Wehrlos[2] are the german analogons. I'd put noodweer on that shelf too. That doesn't mean noodweer can't mean "extreme weather" - who am I to tell you about your language. But with all that in mind, noodweer makes a lot more sense to me as a legal term.

    Google translate just doesn't know enough to do better.

    [1] I should note here that in some areas in germany, Wetter is spoken as Werrer, with a very... funny sound to the r. Almost sounds like We'er at that point. Not too far off Wehr. But that's just an aside.

    [2] - oh, and basically all the terms we use for our armed forces since 1920. Reichswehr, Wehrmacht, Bundeswehr - Imperial/Realm Defense, Defensive Force, Federal Defense. The name probably paid homage to Bürgerwehr - citizen militia originally. Naming the biggest invasion force the world has ever seen for its defensive purpose is quite cynical. And IMO the young federal republic could've done more to get away from the name.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on Why America's police look like soldiers in ~news

    vektor
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    Notwehr exists in a similar meaning in german. Since the languages are closely related, I expected no surprise in your dictionary translation. However: Notwehr in german means something along the...

    They call a situation where the most extreme form of violence is required "noodweer", which means "severe weather" or "storm".

    Notwehr exists in a similar meaning in german. Since the languages are closely related, I expected no surprise in your dictionary translation. However: Notwehr in german means something along the lines of "emergency defense" or maybe "distress defense". Is that how it's used in a legal sense too? And how did you guys arrive at "severe weather"? Is there not by chance a word for defense in noodweer, possibly weer?

    3 votes
  17. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of June 15 in ~health.coronavirus

    vektor
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    The main problem with that kind of attack is that you don't know ahead of time whether the signal you picked up will eventually be marked as infected. So you have to go fishing for a lot of IDs....

    The main problem with that kind of attack is that you don't know ahead of time whether the signal you picked up will eventually be marked as infected. So you have to go fishing for a lot of IDs. Currently, 1 in 200000 people get diagnosed per day. So if you want to cause one wrong case, you'd have to harvest a lot of IDs from random people (and make sure not to catch the same person a bunch of times) and find a way to broadcast them to a whole bunch of other people. The twitter thread has a back-of-the-envelope calculation on the feasibility of that, considering the inherent bottleneck of bluetooth, if I understand him right.

    So as long as the epidemic is as nicely behaved as it is right now, that's not all too viable I think. Add to that that kind of behaviour can't be done on the down-low because you're broadcasting a lot more activity in a certain place than there are people around. If someone writes an app that displays the amount of bluetooth handshakes done in the last X minutes, we know something is up.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on Germany open-sources their COVID-19 contact-tracing app in ~tech

    vektor
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    You don't need to wait imo. The only plausible leak of PII is if you do get infected and tell the app that. So if you end up infected very soon, I can see not wanting to tell the app that until...

    You don't need to wait imo. The only plausible leak of PII is if you do get infected and tell the app that. So if you end up infected very soon, I can see not wanting to tell the app that until audits are in. But I don't see the problem in broadcasting random numbers and snooping on the airwaves a bit. Unless you assume that SAP is grossly incompetent or even malicious, in which case the app might send out less-than-random stuff or phone home. But both of those would be identified quickly.

    1 vote
  19. Comment on Norway's data inspectorate has banned the use of public health app Smittestopp to control the spread of COVID-19 over data protection concerns in ~tech

  20. Comment on Norway's data inspectorate has banned the use of public health app Smittestopp to control the spread of COVID-19 over data protection concerns in ~tech

    vektor
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    Is it just my reading, or is the title a bit baity? Title made me think that they banned any app, but it's actually just a specific one. Big difference.

    Is it just my reading, or is the title a bit baity? Title made me think that they banned any app, but it's actually just a specific one. Big difference.

    1 vote