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Comment: Not entirely surprising (Score 4, Interesting) 116

by Andy Dodd (#47728877) Attached to: NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

The NSA has two directives that often conflict with each other:
1) Protect communications that are critical to our nation's security. This is mostly military/government comms, but they have a role in securing banking and other civilian networks. An example of what comes from this side of the NSA is SELinux - which is now heavily used by Android to provide additional security against malware.
2) Compromise and monitor the communications of our enemies. These guys overstepping their bounds are what has been routinely making the news lately.

While I can't see an obvious reason for the guys in category 1 to want to strengthen Tor, it's possible. (Potentially on behalf of another agency... Think in terms of Tor's use by Chinese dissidents.)

I'm fairly certain the people in categories 1 and 2 don't get along with each other. While in theory their goals should not conflict (one focuses on our enemies, one focuses on strengthening friendlies), the truth is that it's hard for the guys in category 1 to strengthen friends without also making those tools available to our enemies - and the guys in category 2 are routinely overstepping their bounds and attacking friendlies.

Comment: So? Old news. (Score 5, Interesting) 53

by Andy Dodd (#47721721) Attached to: Experimental Drug Stops Ebola-like Infection

Success in a test tube and/or monkeys doesn't mean much as far as hope for a drug viable for humans. After all, the trials for Tekmira's drug are on hold by the FDA due to safety concerns ( ).

Also, Tekmira is NOT the company that manufactured the drug used to treat Dr. Brantly and his coworker - that was Mapp Pharmaceutical's ZMapp

Comment: Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (Score 4, Insightful) 249

by Andy Dodd (#47697223) Attached to: The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

"Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation."

In short: While nuclear isn't perfect, it currently sucks less than any other alternative available.

(Renewables just aren't scalable enough yet.)

Comment: Re:Why dont we (Score 1) 194

by Andy Dodd (#47677067) Attached to: The Billion-Dollar Website

That's pretty much how government contracts work.

It fails because:
1) The customer will change their requirements mid-stream, screwing everything up
2) Even if they don't, in some cases it's discovered once everything is complete that the system which meets all of the customer's requirements is utterly fucking useless in the real world. I believe this was a major role in's failures - many of its issues were discovered post-launch

Comment: Poor documentation (Score 1) 38

"It is highly recommended to use a router configuration we're not going to document or even provide you a link to".

The document implies that at least one modification is a flash and RAM upgrade - but they don't even provide links to details of this modification and/or whether any other techniques are needed (how do you populate the bootloader in the new flash? Or does the SoC itself have a built-in recovery mode?)

Comment: Re:not big in UK (Score 2) 120

by Andy Dodd (#47654741) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Part of the problem is that without government incentives/subsidies, companies will go for the highest-profit methods of power generation available.

Which means that the only plants built will be fossil fuel plants.

I don't believe that we currently have the technology to fully switch to renewable and won't for a few decades. Nuclear provides that bridge - Ideally after one more generation of nuclear reactors (modern designs are FAR safer than the existing ones) we'll have the storage technology to properly use renewables. In the worst case that renewables are STILL not ready, by then we will hopefully have some descendants of the IFR breeder reactor design coming online. Last time I saw a calculation, I believe the estimate was that IFR designs could have supplied the entire electrical needs of the USA for a century using only existing LWR waste stockpiles. (One of the big benefits of the IFR is that extracts a FAR higher percentage of the available energy from nuclear fuel, and the end waste products are only hot for 200 years or so.)

Comment: Re: It's a still a nice PC. (Score 1) 337

by Andy Dodd (#47647199) Attached to: Microsoft Surface Drowning?

For a while, tablets provided superior portability at a low cost to laptops. Laptops in the same cost range as tablets were either flimsy or bulky or just plain crap all around.

Google seems to be doing a good job of ensuring that their hardware partners do a good job with Chomebook build quality. As a result, they've created laptops that are cheap, highly portable, and reasonably durable. My 10" tablet has been relegated to "alarm clock".

Comment: Re:ROI for drug development (Score 1) 390

by Andy Dodd (#47606621) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

"and yes, at that point, any recipient of the vaccine is privileged."

Not necessarily. In many cases, drugs that seem to have no ill side effects in animal testing can have really nasty side effects in humans. See

The headline of the Slashdot article calls this a "secret serum" but the CNN article goes into quite a bit of detail as to the nature of ZMapp. Note that it also appears to be a monoclonal antibody similar to TGN1412...

Fortunately, in this case, the first two human trials of the drug seem to have been a success, unlike TGN1412.

Comment: Re:No they cant. (Score 0) 151

by Andy Dodd (#47601887) Attached to: Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

Also not specified is whether the "hardcoded credentials" are even valid during a normal operating mode.

In many cases, avionics like this has a dedicated physically isolated service port and/or a dedicated "service mode" that can only be entered by powering on the device when a discrete is tied to ground by a special test equipment connector.

Almost surely, these vulnerabilities are either:
1) Firewalled from the passenger network (This is, however, unlikely, airgrapping/network isolation is far more likely, with the interconnection between critical and noncritical networks being, at most, a one-way feed of nav data to the noncritical network)
2) Can only affect the passenger network and are not used for flight operations
3) Require physical access to a test connector on the unit itself

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries