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Comment: Re:this leads to losing control over our computers (Score 1) 62

by Antique Geekmeister (#49518479) Attached to: How Security Companies Peddle Snake Oil

Close it, no. But have you carefully examined "Trusted Computing". The idea is to enforce key based hardware authentication and data access in the boot loader that loads the operating system, the kernel itself, the applications, the system files, and in attached media. It's presented as a security stack, but the implementation is aimed at DRM at every level of the software stack. And the private keys are held in escrow, mostly by Microsoft, with retains the root keys to sign new keys or to revoke old others, so the system can be used to allow "authorized" access for others or to revoke your own access to your own data.

The system is quite dangerous if you fear that the central escrow holding user's private keys will be handed over to abusive governments, or revoked to block access to personal data. I'm afraid I've seen no technical or political reason yet to assume that it will _not_ be abused.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked, I tell you! (Score 1) 173

The "real facts from the fictional story" is an intriguing phrase.

Different versions of Superman's origin have appeared in different comic book timelines, including some where Superman gestated in the "rocket ship" sip sent to Earth. I was thinking particularly of The Man of Steel" mini-series, which rebooted the Superman storyline after the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" restarted many DC storelines. I felt at the time that it was one of the better super hero reboots after the "Crisis" stories let DC discard decades of conflicting continuity.

Which of these is "canon" can tie lawyers, editors, and fans into intriguing debates, and you've a point that I left out the other versions. I must admit that I've enjoyed different authors with different stories of the same concept.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked, I tell you! (Score 1) 173

"Truth, Justice, and the American Way" made me think of Superman's decades long heroic ideal of justice, and overwhelming power deployed in the most postive and helpful ways possible. Interestingly, Superman renounced his US citizenship because it "wasn't enough anymore".


Comment: Re:Unless (Score 1) 297

To the best of my limited historical knowledge, the number of dead was raised considerably after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, which included roughly half of those 30 million estimated deaths, lied about their population and economy both during and after the war. This came out in historical records made available with less political and propaganda control after the fall of the Soviet Unioin.

Comment: Cheaper and safer to fund insurgents (Score 2) 192

Microsoft has done this before, when they provided covert support to SCO's fundamentally fraudulent lawsuits against Linux users. Rather than fund the SCO Group directly, they encouraged their business "partners" to buy from SCO Group, which kept the company afloat. It was a qu8ite "win-win" strategy for Microsoft. The lawsuits hurt business for many freeware and open source projects, especially Linux based projects. If SCO eventually failed, the nominal owners of a major UNIX distribution would go bankrupt, and their partners who wanted non-Microsoft tools would get them from a company that had collapsed. And the lawsuits from the SCO Group went on much, much longer and caused far more damage to Linux vendors than would have been possible without some outside funding. Doing the fiscal support through partners reduced any legal obligation or risk to Microsoft from their sponsorship.

These details all used to show on, whose thoughtful legal analyses and detailed reporting are missed by many.

Comment: Re:Like they'll really be fined enough to care. (Score 1) 245

by Antique Geekmeister (#49490595) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Except when they _are_ granted There are many mixed software/hardware patents, especially in the UK where the EU policy is applied inconsistently or even violated. Software patents also keep being considered in negotiations on international patent law with the USA.

Wikipedia has some good links and discussion of the issue, at

Comment: Re:Accepting bitcoins is NOT holding bitcoins (Score 1) 67

by Antique Geekmeister (#49483349) Attached to: MIT May Help Lead Bitcoin Standards Effort

Yes, perhaps you should read the "About" page at where they describe themselves as "a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the new digital currency bitcoin". So they've blurred the lines between a pure 'merchant service' and a bitcoin wallet, just as I described.

Being "professional" does not mean a company is legal or ethical, anymore than being rich does. Silk Road and MyCoin were "professoinal", and quite well known, and now are facing various well earned criminal prosecutions. Being bitcoin based did not make them criminal, but the bitcoin sub-economy doesn't have the historical regulations and protections real currency has, so the abuse is very real and not surprising at all.

Comment: Re:This sh*t again? (Score 1) 245

by Antique Geekmeister (#49482247) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Many cities have had problems with E. Coli contamination in their water supplies during flooding in the spring, and many farm districts have had water contamination as larger agribusinesses are careless with runoff water from larger fertilized croplands, and large grazing areas. It's a serious problem for low-rent districts near large, high yield farms that become careless when reducing costs and seeking higher profits. Areas that experience hurricans fairly frequently, such as Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and others have had problems after destructive hurricanes.

The general availability of high quality drinking water is not a given, especially if you're poor.

Comment: Re:Or it could be their breakfast. (Score 1) 89

by Antique Geekmeister (#49477439) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya

It's not that modern: "Maize" was raised in Mexico at least 2500 years ago.


In most of the world, "corn" can mean any cerial crop, including wheat It makes the old phrase "eating your seed corn" more meaningful, since the "seed corn" would include wheat, barley, rye, and oats, and any other bread or beer making crops.

Comment: Re:This sh*t again? (Score 1) 245

by Antique Geekmeister (#49477177) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

I'm actually in favor of lowering the US drinking age, at least to allow consumption with family at home. College drinking was much less of a _surprise_ when I went to college, and the binge drinking I see among college students unaware or rebelling against their parents is appalling. A "small beer" with dinner in places where the water was untrustworthy, or a sip of champagne to toast with on New Year's Eve with family, was part of growing up.

Comment: Re:photo too blurry (Score 3, Interesting) 78

by Antique Geekmeister (#49475969) Attached to: New Horizons Captures First Color Image of Pluto and Charon

That the photograph is color, able to distinguish the different shades of Pluto and Charon, is _wonderful_ and an exciting hint of more data to come. I'm delighted by the new theories that Pluto may have a subterranean ocean, much like Europa, in recent science essays I've read. The idea that a planet as remote and as poor in solar energy as Pluto could host life in such an ocean is even more amazing, and this new probe could reveal the pre-requisites for life as we know it to exist even on Pluto.

It's wonderful to live in times with such evolution of science and knowledge. I must applaud NASA for realizing that this mission was worth the time and effort and funding to launch it.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig