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Scaffolding Coming Down from U.S. Capitol

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Last year I took a trip to Washington DC, and I was disappointed to see all the work being done on the Capitol. Now it looks like all that was for the good and it’s starting to wind down and finish finally.

Preservation in Mississippi

Last week, a friend who lives in Washington DC posted a picture of the U.S. Capitol and was excited to see the scaffolding that has obscured the beautiful dome for two years coming down.

For those who have been to DC in the last couple of years, it’s been disappointing to not be able to see the dome, and also to realize that the Rotunda is obscured too behind safety netting. But it’s been for a good cause, the preservation of the cast iron dome and the murals in the Rotunda, according to the Architect of the U.S. Capitol:

Why is the Capitol Dome under restoration?

Because the Capitol Dome is predominately made of cast iron, exposure to rain, snow, sleet and sun causes damage to its exterior. Water infiltrates through pin holes in the Statue of Freedom, and through cracks and open joints throughout the exterior shell…

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Written by carpetbomberz

August 22, 2016 at 9:54 am

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ACLU’s principal technologist reacts to NSA hack with the perfect tweet about Apple/FBI battle — 9to5Mac

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It’s just ten days since I pointed to a Microsoft security leak as proof of my point that any iPhone master key created by Apple would inevitably fall into the wrong hands in time – and even more powerful support for that position now exists. It was revealed last week that powerful hacking tools created by…

via ACLU’s principal technologist reacts to NSA hack with the perfect tweet about Apple/FBI battle — 9to5Mac

I’m  relieved there’s now anecdotal evidence that single keys to allow security services access to devices is bad. Apple was right to defy the FBI in court and knowing NSA cannot keep their tools under wraps further emphasizes how bad things could get. The war on the Internet is just beginning I fear.

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August 22, 2016 at 9:19 am

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New lithium metal tech holds out promise of double-life batteries by 2017 — 9to5Mac

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Yeah, we know, you’ve heard it all before. It sometimes feels like some revolutionary new battery technology gets promoted every other month, and the one thing they have in common is that they never seem to materialize in real-life products. But new battery tech from a MIT spinoff may actually prove to be the exception, with the…

via New lithium metal tech holds out promise of double-life batteries by 2017 — 9to5Mac

If this technology from MIT is every bit as “manufacturable” as other existing battery tech, then I’m all for it. But as is often the case, even with University offices setup to “commercialize” pure research, the promise far outstrips the practicality. I can point to the promise of using graphene (thin sheets of graphite in a crystalline lattice work) in all sorts of applications, even lithium ion battery anodes! But have you seen anyone deliver a product yet based on all the research and announcements of discoveries in using graphene? It’s darned few if any. And those few niches where it might see light of day, are very high end, aerospace or military applications that may never make it in the commercial sector. Still there’s some hope this one might break the pattern of typical obscurity these technologies fall into. And I for one would love to see an existing battery form factor (say from Apple MacBook Pro line for example) double in total capacity. Imagine a 13″ MacBook Pro lasting for 24 hours or even 22 hours on a single charge? That would be quite something indeed. We’re still not there yet. But hoping this comes true.

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August 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm

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62. Things to Come (1936) — Wonders in the Dark (love this blog!)

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by Stephen Mullen Things to Come, released in 1936, a collaboration between H. G. Wells, Alexander Korda, William Cameron Menzies, and a host of illustrious others, is a bit of an odd duck. Gorgeous looking, with stunning imagery (pre-apocalyptic, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and utopian), even more stunning montage sequences, fantastic music, and – well, a star-studded […]

via 62. Things to Come (1936) — Wonders in the Dark
I’m a big fan of Metropolis (1927) and any film made prior to 2001: A Space Odyssey that portends to portray the future is worthy of my notice. I still haven’t seen this film, but the name hovers in the back of my mind all the time. Someday I will see this film. But for now thanks to the wonder of personal blogs and devoted amateurs Wonders In The Dark does a great job of revisiting these films hanging in the back of my mind. I’m reminded I still haven’t seen them and become even slightly more motivated to seek them out and watch them.

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August 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm

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3D XPoint SSD Pictured, Performance And Endurance Revealed At FMS — News Tom’s Hardware

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We managed to grab a few pictures of Micron’s new 3D XPoint-powered QuantX SSD, and the company also provided performance results and endurance information.

via 3D XPoint SSD Pictured, Performance And Endurance Revealed At FMS — News Tom’s Hardware

3D XPoint is an invention of Intel to re-architect NAND based flash memory and make it much higher performance. The goal is to achieve an Non-volatile DIMM memory that could possibly be mixed with RAM modules and be a 2nd tier of memory between RAM and even now current SSDs. The speed increase touted is 1000X faster tha NAND. But from this article you can quickly glean that turning a memory technology into a marketable product comes with many, many compromises. And not least of which is turning 3D Xpoint into an SSD. Apparently this forces many interrupts on the buses read/write as an I/O occurs. Then all that gets stuck behind a SATA-NAND memory controller. Eventually all this needs to be hung off a SATA cable or bridge chip that talks to a CPU or PCIe bus. But hopes are still high for the NVDIMM version which hopefully can get closer to achieving the 1000X faster promises. So little in new announcements have come out regarding NVDIMMs in part due to lawsuits between intellectual property holders and licensees of that property. Some of those cases are ongoing and this announcement points to a possible less litigation filled future for NVDIMMs, I hope.

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August 10, 2016 at 3:50 pm

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Facebookistan the Movie

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Facebook — one of the world’s largest advertising companies — magnanimously acknowledges that in your life on the internet, you’ve probably encountered some bad ads. And you almost certainly have, because online advertising can be obtrusive, creepy, and irritating to say the least. But Facebook thinks that they are so far ahead of the pack…

via Facebook Thinks You Love Ads So Much, It’ll Helpfully Block Your Ad-Blocker For You — Consumerist

Every time I see a news story anywhere on the web re:Facebook, I’m reminded of this movie I watched prior to de-activating my own account.

The details of this include a lawsuit filed in Europe to get Facebook to provide documentation re:How they use/sell the data of the people enrolled. That to me was such a telling behavior to skirt the issue and fight it in court. They do not want anyone to know anything about what their business is. But this story today from Consumerist is the great big reminder that you, YOU dear reader are the product that is behind the shiny thumbs up symbol.

As for me, I’m still deactivated, and contemplating a full shutdown of my account. I know from watching the YouTube video: Facebookistan they keep ALL my old data no matter what. So a fat lot of good that will do me. But for now at least, I scrubbed out all my old data. That account is now a mere dried up husk of it’s former self. Best part yet is there’s more than one person on FB with my first/last name so good luck trying to find out which person is which. I know FB doesn’t care in the long run, but anyone that stops participating on FB is tops in my book. Not just from the paranoia aspect, which is not what I’m really touting, but from the less than stellar, less than open Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle like behavior of what is promoted as Web 2.0, the replacement for the Internet. It’s no replacement, believe me. I’ll take the good ol’ Internet any day over the entry way into Prison Camp that is the Facebook login screen.

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August 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm

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Seagate Introduces 10GB/s PCIe SSD And 60TB SAS SSD — AnandTech

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Seagate is looking to break records with two enterprise SSDs they’re showing off at Flash Memory Summit this week. The first drive is one that’s been seen before: the 10GB/s PCIe x16 SSD that Seagate demonstrated in March. It has now been named the Nytro XP7200 and is scheduled for mass production in Q4. Based…

via Seagate Introduces 10GB/s PCIe SSD And 60TB SAS SSD — AnandTech

*Nota Bene: The IOPs for read transactions for the card pictured in this article the Nytro XP7200 is 940,000 for read transactions. That’s dangerously close to what I consider the golden target of 1M IOPs achievable 10 years ago but only on hardware costing millions and millions of dollars. And then it was only achievable using benchmarking software on an experimental test rig setup by the vendor as a means of generating marketing materials. By that I mean they wanted to claim being able to hit 1M IOPs with their custom config of racks and racks of SAN disks connected via FibreChannel switches and custom accelerator boxes. All of it done in the name of marketing to Wall Street trading floors that need millisecond latencies and return times for transactions so they could do “high frequency” trading.

We’ve come a long way since then, mashing all that stuff down in to a 16-Lane PCIe 3.0 card. Truly we’re going to achieve 1M IOPs in a single PC chassis before you know it. And this is a step certainly in that direction, if only the write IOPs spec was symetrically as big. But that’s not the case here. Write IOPs is a good deal less than the 10GB/sec for the read operations. But who knows? A few more runs of new boards, redesigns, errata and bug fixes and there could be a small ramp for the write performance. I’m amazed Seagate’s got the nerve to engineer this, let’s hope they got the nerve to produce it in quantity.

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August 9, 2016 at 10:59 am

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