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Comment: Going my own way (Score 1) 101

by fyngyrz (#49156963) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

As far as I'm concerned, if it's orbiting a star, and it itself isn't another star, and it's got, or had, enough mass such that it pulled whatever it is made of into a spheroid, it's a planet. If it's orbiting another planet and the center of the orbit is within the other body, it's a moon, spheroid or not. If the center of the orbit is in space, they're both planets. If there isn't enough mass to pull the thing into a spheroid, and it's not orbiting a planet, then it is either an asteroid (primarily rocky) or a comet (primarily gassy/icy.) If it's pulled itself into a spheroid and is floating out away from any star, it's still a planet, but it is a rogue. We can have a moon orbiting another moon and so on, but that doesn't make the first one into a planet.

If an object is manufactured and not meant to navigate to arbitrary destinations under its own power, but only resides in orbit about something or sits in free space, if it can host humans, it is a space station. If it cannot host humans, and it's in orbit, it is a satellite. If it is in free space, it is a platform. If it can travel under its own power to arbitrary destinations, arbitrarily change orbits and so on, it is a spacecraft. Station keeping effectors do not count, and being able to carry humans doesn't make a difference.

If the object is, or ever was, host to a natural fusion reaction due to the usual culprits, it's a star. Live, dead or otherwise.

I could go on for quite a while, but most likely, no one cares anyway. :) The important thing is *I* know what to think when I learn about something "out there." And Pluto? Pluto is definitely a planet.

If someone convinces me that these ideas are inconsistent, I'll do my best to fix 'em so they aren't.

Comment: This is meaning of harassment online. (Score 1) 90

by westlake (#49156675) Attached to: Twitter Adds "Report Dox" Option

But perhaps you'd like to tell us what a "harasser" is, because at the moment this appears to be "anyone who doesn't agree with me, mocks me or quotes facts which contradict my beliefs"

Yours sincerely
The rest of the Internet

The geek --- whose rules of play are under fire these days --- can be rather too quick to claim that he speaks for the Internet as a whole.

Pew Research asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment. Those who witnessed harassment said they had seen at least one of the following occur to others online:

60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names
53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
25% had seen someone being physically threatened
24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time
19% said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed
18% said they had seen someone be stalked

Those who have personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:

27% of internet users have been called offensive names
22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
8% have been physically threatened
8% have been stalked
7% have been harassed for a sustained period
6% have been sexually harassed

In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking. Social media is the most common scene of both types of harassment, although men highlight online gaming and comments sections as other spaces they typically encounter harassment.

Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment.

While most online environments were viewed as equally welcoming to both genders, the starkest results were for online gaming. Some 44% of respondents felt the platform was more welcoming toward men.

Online Harassment [October 22, 2014]
The full report can be downloaded as a free PDF from this page.

Comment: Canary in the Coal Mine (Score 5, Interesting) 70

by IonOtter (#49156611) Attached to: Under US Pressure, PayPal Stops Working With Mega

It is ever so slightly possible, that Paypal is sounding the alarm, here. Here's the key phrase...

"...but PayPal has advised that MEGA's 'unique encryption model' presents an insurmountable difficulty,"

It looks like Paypal fought to keep MEGA as a customer. But "somebody" put the screws to them, and forced them to break contract with MEGA.

That's no small thing. Corporate contracts are a bit more "customer friendly", and simply dumping a corporate customer isn't quite as easy as it is to dump people like you and me. MEGA could take Paypal to court with a valid argument over breaking that contract.

What are they going to say? What would be their excuse? "We don't like encryption."??? No judge would buy that.

Based on what we're seeing, Paypal's previous history aside, it sounds rather like Paypal got served a National Security Letter telling them to dump MEGA.

+ - How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide such a thing to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security.

I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating that '...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." [their phrasing, not mine]. Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately."

Comment: Not the banks choosing, Operation Chokepoint (Score 4, Insightful) 70

by SuperKendall (#49156147) Attached to: Under US Pressure, PayPal Stops Working With Mega

why do banks get to pick and choose who to do business with?

Well first of all, they shouldn't be required to do business with someone who repeatedly commits fraud...

However what is happening here is not the choice of the business. It's the government saying "we can make life very unpleasant for you in terms of audits etc. unless you cease doing business with this list of people". The government has been going after many adult businesses in the same way for a while now, google Operation Chokepoint

Comment: Great News (Score 3, Interesting) 73

by SuperKendall (#49156123) Attached to: As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies

I'm still dubious about the end effect of net neutrality regulations being passed (remember that none of us have seen the actual regulations to take effect, and none will until they are finalized).

That said, the real road to true Net Neutrality is and always will be in allowing real competition for your ISP provider, and that's the kind of thing that this allows for. If a community cannot be well served by a "real" networking company it makes no sense to block them from taking matters into their own hands.

So I applaud this action, I just wish they would be open in other regards rather than limiting.

Comment: Argh (Score 1) 98

by fyngyrz (#49155701) Attached to: Google Reverses Stance, Allows Porn On Blogger After Backlash

Here is what is so frustrating about all this.

Consensual sex is good. Consensual sex is fine. Consensual sex is entertaining.

The "bad' things about consensual sex, mostly including distributing media recording it -- disease, "moral" backlash, reputation damage, difference from how the external objector thinks it should be performed, perceived "offense", blatant rationalizations about agency magically not being present for the most ridiculous, transparent and obviously invalid reasons -- all of this stuff comes from outside sex. They are not sex. All of these things are things a sane person needs to defend against in both the prophylactic and immediate senses. These factors are all pernicious to immediate attacks on normality and goodness -- on sex itself -- and as such, they can be dangerous as hell.

The *one* inherent, sex-centric risk that affects just a few of the many forms of sex is that of unwanted pregnancy. Because yes, that's actually part of those (again, few) aspects of sex. And, just like the external threats, it can be defended against, so it's not a good reason to not have sex even of that kind, and of course it never was a good reason to avoid the myriad types and expressions of sex that cannot result in pregnancy.

Into this environment come the bewildered. Google's corporate overlords, like most who have gained power, seek to impose their view of what's "ok" on everyone else. In the context of this step back from the brink, Google is still way, way above the depths in terms of the violence, coercion and repression the government, religions, various corporations and the general public have established, but we have been witness to the urge growing within the Google power structure. Of course it is wonderful to see it set back somewhat, but we would be extremely gullible if we thought this was certain to be the end of it. This is a very well-trodden path.

Into this environment come the masses (but I repeat myself.) Just a few days ago, an episode of The Walking Dead aired that had the Intertubes quite upset due to content.

Now, this particular work of fiction, you have to understand, has showcased, in graphic detail, human cannibalism; murder of many stripes; suicide; extreme torture; extreme bondage; non-consensual amputation; and of course "zombies" in glorious anatomical and decaying detail. Exploding heads, severed body parts, the thrusting of limbs inside the dead, painting one's self in zombie gore, the most generous splashing of body parts and fluids in every direction and every variety you could possibly imagine (unless you think they actually missed something, and in which case, if you let the producers know, I'd bet money it shows up within a few episodes.) In play have been tanks, explosives, booby traps, fire, bacterial assault, knives, guns, imprisonment, baseball bats, swords, fingernails, martial arts... None of this so much as raises an eyebrow with the viewing public, who think it's all delightful entertainment.

So good grief, what could the content possibly be that actually got the viewers weirded out enough to speak up and get feisty? Only this: Two gay fellows sharing a kiss. Not even a particularly passionate kiss, but more of a "wow, so glad you made it through that alive" kiss.

We -- the few truly sane, the only way to honestly characterize it -- watch this kind of governmental, corporate, religious and individual pathology from outside, and I have to tell all of you, any hope that human society will ever come to its senses is extinguished in a manner I can only liken to a tidal wave rolling over a single guttering candle.

There's nothing for it. Society is sick, sick, sick. And dangerous. You all be careful out there.

Comment: "Hack?" (Score 1) 58

by Sloppy (#49155605) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs

Isn't the very point of this player's system, that the player serves the interests of the disc's publisher over the interests of the users, where the users' needs should always yield whenever there is a conflict? That's not a mere technicality; it's the very essence. From the spec's pov, this is desirable operation. Nothing has been subverted.

Comment: Re:Yet another reason to abandon physical media. (Score 1) 58

by jedidiah (#49155579) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs

> If you watch your movies via streaming, this is not an issue. 2015 people, 2015.

Yes. In 2015 there's still plenty of stuff that's not available via streaming or is only available at a price that most people aren't interested in paying.

Some us actually use this stuff and don't merely talk about it.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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