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Comment Re:Ironic (Score 2) 184

OK then tell me which presidential candidate in the history of American politics, has ever admitted that some of his campaign promises might be for entertainment purposes only.

The president isn't the king. Anyone with basic civics knows that the president isn't really empowered to do all that much without the support of Congress; and is subject to the law and consitution, at least in theory :) and that even on something he can act on, may be challenged in court and tied up.

So an "election promise" by a presidential candidate amounts to little more than a policy statement.

That said, 45% kept, another 25% compromised isn't bad, and 7% more "in the works"...

And even the GOP leadership, fairs pretty well all things considered.

Really, if a politician really actually succeeded in doing everything they said they'd do, I'd be pretty worried that the entire democratic government system had collapsed. Putin maybe has the clout to do almost anything he says... not necessarily a good thing.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 2) 184

Yes, I know where and how you calculated based on paid deletes.

The paid delete functionality is the one good indication that an account was genuine,

a) First, no. I think "responded to at least one message" is FAR more telling. In theory they could have been faking reponses etc making that metric useless... but the fact that it is SO RIDICULOUSLY LOW tells us that they weren't, and it tells us that however many women joined only an insigifcant number deleted.

b) Also no. I think women may have been significantly more inclined to use the paid delete option then men for a variety of reasons. So your calculation is suspect. Further it evidently counts women who created an account only to lurk or see if their husband joined. Even if you want to count them as "members", the fact that they weren't responding to any messages at all is material evidence that even though they joined they simply weren't engaging in the site.

Look at "responded to at least one message" and "checked inbox".

Less than 10,000. You don't need to "correspond that with men" to come up with a number of women engaged in the site. It stands on its own. Less than 10000 accounts belonging to a female ever responded to a single message, fewer still ever checked there inbox. Half the men responded (to what exactly, I wonder?!!) and nearly all of them checked their inboxes.

You can't tell me there 2 million women on the site, when fewer than 10k ever responded to a single message or checked their inbox or enaged in chat. If they were "there" they may as well not have been as far as the men were concerned. And more likely than not, they weren't really there, or were signed up en-masse at A.M sponsored ladies night events. And they never used the site at all, beyond filling out a paper ballot with some info to get a free drink or something. (I admit I'm speculating here.) To count such accounts, where there is no evidence they logged in more than once, no evidence they logged in even once... is dishonest to say the least.

There is evidence 20,000,000+ men used the site. There is evidence fewer 10,000 women did. Whereas you call the paid deletes the "one good bit of data" I disagree... I suspect more women paid to remove there info from the site than actually used it, under a variety of scenarios.

I'm not talking about "at any one time".

I know. I brought that up after the fact to illustrate that not only was 10,000 the upper maximum of responsive women, but its extremely unlikely there were even that many women. 2 million simply lacks any credibility at all whatsoever.

Comment Re:He should be going to jail (Score 2) 184

I imagine they had those bases covered with ToS language.

A judge may not side with them just due to ToS. And A.M. misrepresented the facts pretty grossly here, and failed to live up to its obligations (paid delete).

Canada is pretty pragmatic about contracts; and its pretty common to side with the "little guy" if the contract is deemed to be deliberately constructed to weasel out of what a reasonable person should think they were signing up for.

There's also the fact that once a female made a response in that sort of environment, you'd probably have a date and be able to take it off the site,

Even so... only 9700 accounts by women ever sent a single message. And we don't know how many of those 9700 sent only one and then vanished, or how many of them had been online in the last 3 years... the number of active women on the site could well have been in the middle HUNDREDS.

As you pointed out, the numbers of women actually participating were overwhelmingly dwarfed by number of males, just as they are on most dating sites

1) Were not talking overwhemlingly dwarfed. I consider 10 or 20 to 1 to be overwhelmingly dwared. We're talking thousands to 1, maybe even 10s of thousands to 1. You could spend your whole month sending female profiles messages without getting a response... not because the women weren't interested in you, but because you never actually sent it to an account a woman actually even used.

Given that AM is charging you to send messages to these women (over and above "membership")... they are literally taking money so you can send a message to a fake account that no woman has ever used. Men may have to accept that not every message they send will be responded too, or even read, but to accept (without clear disclosure) that they have *vanishingly small odds* the messages they are paying to send will even be delivered to an account a real person even uses is beyond the pale. That's fraud.

just as they are on most dating sites. Most of the money in those sites is getting males to stay interested enough to keep shelling out money.

All that suggests is that fraud is probably pervasive in the industry and perhaps we should regulate these sites to disclose membership numbers, and for those numbers to be independently audited.

So that consumers can make an informed buying decision.

It's like ladies night at the bars.

I can see pretty clearly whether or not there are any ladies at the bar. And its not terribly hard to tell if they are all hookers and hostesses paid by the bar itself to be there.

Comment Re:I'm not sure this is the right response (Score 1) 184

Are you suggesting that the hackers are some sort of vigilante activist group out to stomp out infidelity or immorality in general?

Huh? I felt the hackers made a stand against the fraud perpetrated by the company, not infidelity in general. Where did you infer infidelity from my post?

From the first statements by the hackers it seemed pretty obvious that this was personal, an attack against that specific company (and the CEO personally) for fraud,

Agreed. (emphasis mine)

What was the point of that post?

Primarily to refute the claim made in the post I replied to that "because the hackers committed an illegal act that what they did was immoral, and it's immoral to 'celebrate' their hack."

I didn't raise the topic of infidelity or its morality at all in my post.

Comment Re:inside job (Score 1) 184

I mean things like using the same password for root on every server.

Gotcha; one can do that on windows too. Every server has a local admin account. So if that were reused you could jump from server to server even without a domain admin.

I've even seen places that had admin users' usernames all given UID 0, so they didn't have to bother with sudo or su.

Heh. That just seems dangerous. I'm not sure it really makes things more vulnerable though to penetration.

So no, Linux isn't invulnerable by any means, but you can certainly make it much worse.

Fair enough. But the reality is that even a competent active linux admin is going to have the equivalent ease of access to his server pools as a domain admins in windows.

I just felt that by contrasting windows and linux admins the way you did and your use of the word lazy, implied that somehow only an incompetent linux admin would have the equivalent vulnerability as a windows domain admin has by default. And that implication isn't really true.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 3, Informative) 184

Like I said, I doubt we'll ever know the exact number, but the truth is probably somewhere between 12,000 and 2.1 million.

The truth is probably somewhere below 15,000 'real' members, and probably much lower, like 1000. After all, someone joining and responding to a couple messages and then never coming back is being counted as an "active" member here. I'm willing to bet of the 10k women who had replied to "at least 1 message", a majority of even them were gone within a week or two. And that 15,000 includes people who were active in the past but might not have used the site in 2 years... how many active women were there in the last 3 months? I think one could credibly suggest it was in the hundreds.

Only 1,492 women had ever checked their inbox. (20 million men had)
Only 9,700 women had ever replied to a single message. (Note the article explains how this number can be higher than the above number.) (6 million men did)
Only 2,400 women had engaged in chat. (11 million men did)

The higher portion of paid deletes for women also lines up with the large number of female accounts that basically existed for one day and never came back; a good number of those may have opted for the paid delete. Especially if they were only checking to see if their husband had an account.

The proportions don't line up 100% (although it makes sense that more men checked their inboxes; they weren't getting all the messages on login that women did. So women would answer their messages directly from login, and rarely check their inbox, while men would futilely check their inbox looking for messages that would never come.)

Frankly, as I said, based on what I see there. I don't think the site even credibly had even 1000 active women on it at any one time.

Comment Re:inside job (Score 1) 184

Well, compromise a Domain Admin account, and you pretty much own all of the servers an all-Microsoft shop.

Pretty much.

Lazy Linux administration can lead to a similar fate

I'm not sure why you are calling it "Lazy" for a Linux admin?? even a competent and proactive linux admin would still be thoroughly vulnerable if his credentials were compromised.

This company really wouldn't need to be terribly big or complicated, so the IT team probably had keys to everything, like pretty much any small/medium business with a small IT team, or it could have been via outsourced IT or credentials used by outsourced IT...

Or the attack just needed to be against the backups. If the whole company was having its nightlies managed by a single tape sytem (and why not? Those are expensive. And it's not that big of a company, there's not THAT much data... so it would be reasonable to have it all managed by one backup regime, local tapes, near-line backups on spinning drives, plus offsite tape storage, maybe a cloud provider. Easily managed by one or two people. So if they're credentials are compromised...

Comment Re:I'm not sure this is the right response (Score 3, Insightful) 184

Make no mistake, I don't like what Ashley Madison did. . They've been exposed for running a scam web site designed to sucker men out of lots of money quickly. However, that doesn't justify the hack - which is almost certainly a criminal offense at this level.

Just because they used illegal techniques to attack a morally reprehensible company doesn't mean their techniques are magically vindicated. Celebrating the hack is immoral as well.

And Rosa Parks should have gone to jail for disobeying a bus driver right? If an activist didn't break the law, they probably aren't getting anything done.

The "protesters" holding signs and singing songs in the designated free speech zone behind parking lot D and signing petititions... those guys are accomplishing jack and shit.

You want real change? You need need real activism, a few hundred thousand people blocking all the streets around the state capital, and refusing to disperse... protesting with out a permit?! gasp. But they're breaking the law... and we shouldn't celebrate them.

Whether its Rosa Parks breaking the law that said she had to move to the back when the bus driver said so. Or activist journalists violating the law in some state preventing them from videoing or photographing animal treatment in farm facilities. Breaking the law is sometimes the right thing to do; sometimes the necessary thing to do.

At the same time, yes, vigilantism, bypassing the legal system to mete out punishment directly is often a miscarriage of justice, and that is immoral.

The upshot is that morality of an illegal act hinges on a lot more than simple legality.

The law tries to reflect morality... not the other way around.

Celebrating the hack is immoral as well.

In this case maybe. Or maybe not. The fact that the hack was illegal does not automatically make it immoral. Given the extent of fraud perpetrated, maybe it was moral. Given the "innocent" victims... maybe it wasn't.

So far, I think the balance is that it was moral.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 5, Informative) 184

The guy who ran a website for cheaters was always open about that fact.

On the other hand he was less than honest about how many actual women were on the site. (Fewer than 15,000 vs millions of clearly fake profiles) and also less than honest about what a "paid delete" actually paid for.

So men paid money to join a site to cheat with women that didn't exist, were then charged extra to send messages to women's accounts that were fake, and then when they paid even more to delete their accounts, well that didn't happen either.

If that's your idea of honesty and transparency, I don't know what you think counts as "dishonest".

Comment Re:A simple test is in order (Score 1) 376

Well, this is a bit like parents who take their kids to get vaccinated and a few hours later that kid exhibits the first signs of autism. It's an immensely compelling coincidence. You'd have to (a) know that autism symptoms often have a rapid onset and (b) realize that when they do they can follow any commonplace childhood event. Even if you did it'd still be hard to shake the suspicion if it happened to your kid.

Somebody points a IR remote at your friend; he gets up and has a brief moment of orthostatic hypotension -- also known as a "dizzy spell" brought on by a sudden drop in blood pressure -- just at the moment the guy pushes the button. Orthostatic hypotension can happen to anyone, but if your friend isn't otherwise prone to it that can be a very compelling coincidence; and many of the symptoms of hypotension can be reproduced by psychological stress.

If something like that happens to you people will say, "oh, it's all in your head," but the thing is that all suffering is inside peoples' heads. One of the worst kinds of pain you can have is passing a kidney stone, but if you happen to be in a coma at the time you won't feel a thing. Distress produced within the brain is indistinguishable to the subject from distress produced outside the brain. Having an external explanation for that distress can make someone feel like they have some control over what is a disturbing experience, and shooting holes in that explanation isn't going to help unless you can offer them a better handle on it.

Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we just brought back shamans and witch doctors.

Comment Re:Mirrors (Score 2) 117

I don't think you could make the reflective surface perfect enough to make the drone positively laser-proof, but I think a reflective coating would certainly reduce the laser's effective range. Analogously you can't nuke-proof an aircraft, but in the Cold War they were often painted "anti-flash white" to help them survive a bit closer to a detonation.

Comment Re:Which is why (Score 1) 239

Well, as far as Atkins is concerned, diet research is really, really hard and expensive to do right. I know because when I was an MIT student one of my jobs was office boy in the Food and Nutrition group, and I saw how hard it was. In one of the studies, research subjects were given a duffle bag from which all the input to their digest systems came, and into which all the output from the same went, for six bloody months.

Of course not every study needs to be that rigorous, but diet is one of those areas where the public needs lots of informed opinion but the funding for research is grossly inadequate to meet that need.

By the way, the current state of research seems to be that carbohydrate restricted diets work well in the short term but have only modest success in the long term.

Comment Which is why (Score 2) 239

... you don't make any important decisions based on a single paper. That's true for hard sciences as well as social sciences.

Science by its very nature deals in contradictory evidence. I'd argue that openness to contradictory evidence is the distinguishing characteristic of science. A and not A cannot be true at the same time, but their can be, and normally is, evidence for both positions. So that means science often generates contradictory papers.

What you need to do is read the literature in a field widely so you can see the pattern of evidence, not just a single point. Or, if you aren't willing to invest the time for that you can find what's called a review paper in a high-impact factor journal. A review paper is supposed to be a fair summary of recent evidence on a question by someone working in the field. For bonus points read follow-up letters to that paper. Review papers are not infallible, but they're a heck of a lot more comprehensive than any other source of information.

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.