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Comment: It has to be really cheap to succeed (Score 1) 24

by Animats (#47966675) Attached to: SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

This service has to be really cheap and fast to succeed. Iridium and GlobalStar already offer a satellite-based service. Iridium really does cover the entire planetary surface; GlobalStar has most of the planet, but not the polar areas. So it's all about being price-competitive.

Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 4, Insightful) 379

by flyingsquid (#47965385) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything
The article is kind of dumb. It's some guy who isn't a scientist and who doesn't really understand the scientific method arrogantly bitching about how everybody else doesn't really understand the scientific method. He argues that science is "the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation", but that's a really narrow, limited way of viewing science, because historical processes aren't open to controlled experiments. Evolution, the history of the planet, the origins of the universe... you can't really run experiments to determine what happened, so by this rather narrow definition, paleontology, geology, and cosmology aren't really science at all. So do we reject the findings of Darwin, reject plate tectonics, reject hypotheses on the origins of the universe as unscientific?

I mean, it's not like you can run an experiment to determine if the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid... I mean, what would that involve? Creating planets and populating them with dinosaurs, Jurassic-Park style, and then bombarding them with asteroids? Even if it were possible, it wouldn't really prove anything except whether the mechanism is feasible, it wouldn't determine whether that was actually what happened or not. So you can't really use an experiment.

What you CAN do is make predictions based on that hypothesis, and then make observations to see if the predictions are borne out. For one, you should see evidence of asteroid impact, things like iridium, shock-deformed quartz, microtektites, an impact crater, maybe even a tiny fragment of the asteroid itself... and in fact, after 30 years of looking, every single one of those things showed up, so we're pretty confident there was a giant asteroid impact. For another, you predict that the extinctions coincide with that impact if the impact caused them. And when you look at really abundant microfossils, stuff like fossil plankton and pollen, you can trace the Cretaceous stuff right up to the iridium layer that is the debris field, and then these species vanish forever. So the observations of geology, geochemistry, and paleontology are all consistent with predictions. The same process is used to test other hypotheses about historical processes, such as continental drift, or natural selection, or the formation of the solar system.

That's the *actual* scientific method. It's testing hypotheses against observation. Controlled experiment may or may not come into it at all.

Comment: Re:Just in time for another record cold winter (Score 1) 147

"Superstorm"* Sandy

* So named because it wasn't even strong enough to count as a real hurricane...

On the contrary, Sandy was a category 2 hurricane when it made landfall on Cuba. Moreover, it still had hurricane-force winds when it made landfall in New Jersey; the only reason it wasn't called a "hurricane" was that it was post-tropical. In other words, it was as severe as a hurricane, but a different kind of storm.

Comment: Re:"Stakeholders" (Score 2) 87

by mrchaotica (#47964533) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

It would be the government is now regulating the actual traffic on the internet

You are a liar, doing nothing but spreading FUD.

Regulating ISPs as Common Carriers would "regulate the actual traffic on the Internet" exactly as much as regulating phone companies as Common Carriers censors the content of telephone calls -- which is to say, not in the slightest.

Comment: "Stakeholders" (Score 5, Interesting) 87

by mrchaotica (#47964055) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

Who are the stakeholders? Well, let's see:

  • Telcos
  • "Big Data" Internet companies
  • the FCC
  • the Public

Only one of these "stakeholders" have opinions that actually matter, and that stakeholder sent "a groundswell of 3 million citizen comments, most of them, presumably, against the FCC's approach" [and in support of regulating ISPs as Common Carriers].

I think we're done here.

Comment: Re:Please describe exactly (Score 1) 374

In your foaming response, please describe _exactly_ what you find so objectionable about the Affordable Care Act.... If you have corporate health insurance, describe exactly how the ACA affected your coverage.

My problem with the ACA is that it failed to end employer-provided health insurance, which serves to do exactly nothing except make it harder to change jobs.

My health insurance is paid 100% by my employer. My wife's insurance is paid 50% by my employer. However, as I understand it, because my employer offers health insurance for my wife, she's not eligible for the subsidized rate she would otherwise get for an exchange-based plan. I'm reasonably certain that the 50% of the premiums we pay is more than a subsidized ACA plan would cost, but less than an unsubsidized one would cost, so we're forced to overpay for the "privilege" of having a "choice."

What the ACA should have done is let employers wishing to offer health benefits pay into a FSA or HSA-like account, which the employee could use to pay the premium of the insurance plan of his choosing.

Comment: Re:House Committee on Oversight and Government Ref (Score 1) 374

Someone who can blame Obamacare on Republicans is someone who can blame anything on them.

First of all, Obamacare is the Republicans' fault. You can tell because A) they liked it when it was called Romneycare, and B) it's a shit solution (compared to "single payor" where said payor is either the government (i.e., a socialist solution) or the individual patient (i.e., a libertarian solution)) that only serves to entrench and enrich the middlemen. The Democrats would have designed a much more socialist program had they not been trying to appease the Republicans.

Second, your claim is a fallacy. There is absolutely no reason why, just because Obamacare is legitimately the Republicans' fault, that any of the other stupid shit Obama and/or the Democrats have done could be also. For example, here's a partial list of things for which the Republicans can not be blamed:

  • Treasonous NSA totalitarianism after 2009 (just because Congress passed a bill that purports to authorize and fund it, doesn't mean Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, actually has to do it. He could have unilaterally ended it 5 seconds after being inaugurated but didn't, and that's entirely on him.)
  • Parallel construction after 2009 (a concept entirely made up by the executive branch, as far as I know)
  • Benghazi and most other foreign-policy screwups since 2009
  • IRS scandal
  • the Obamacare website (note: distinct from Obamacare itself)
  • etc.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 182

by mrchaotica (#47963371) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

On return home, she found a "letter held" notification and contacted the post office who could not advise who the sender was.

Did she try reading the letter to see what it was about? I find it hard to believe that a letter could constitute "legal notice" unless it included a sentence explaining what it was supposed to be giving notice of (e.g. "hey, your insurance is being cancelled!") and the contact info of the insurer....

Comment: Re: What? (Score 1) 182

by mrchaotica (#47963347) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

Sometimes, the police have a service whereby if you tell them you're out of town, they'll pay more attention to signs of burglary when patrolling past your house and/or check it more often. (You can also tell them what behavior to expect, e.g., lights on timers or cars in the driveway so they can more easily tell if anything is wrong.)

Comment: Not distributed (Score 4, Interesting) 69

by Animats (#47962527) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

I'm not qualified to judge whether it's secure, but it's not distributed. "Each user is provided by PKG with a set of private keys corresponding to his/her identity for each node on the path from his/her associated leaf to the root of the tree via a secure channel as in IBE scheme." So there's a tree of all users, maintained by somebody. I think; the paper suffered in translation.

+ - New revokable identity-based encryption scheme proposed->

Submitted by jd
jd (1658) writes "Identity-based public key encryption works on the idea of using something well-known (like an e-mail address) as the public key and having a private key generator do some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff to generate a secure private key out if it. A private key I can understand, secure is another matter.

In fact, the paper notes that security has been a big hastle in IBE-type encryption, as has revocation of keys. The authors claim, however, that they have accomplished both. Which implies the public key can't be an arbitrary string like an e-mail, since presumably you would still want messages going to said e-mail address, otherwise why bother revoking when you could just change address?

Anyways, this is not the only cool new crypto concept in town, but it is certainly one of the most intriguing as it would be a very simple platform for building mostly-transparent encryption into typical consumer apps. If it works as advertised.

I present it to Slashdot readers, to engender discussion on the method, RIBE in general and whether (in light of what's known) default strong encryption for everything is something users should just get whether they like it or not."

Link to Original Source

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.