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Comment All bullies are always the enemy (Score 2) 618

Up at the top of the page it says "News for nerds".

OK, fellow nerds, let's remember our school days.

Remember how quick the thugs were to yell "He started it!"? Remember the adults who were supposed to keep things safe dismissing assaults in the restroom and saying we just needed to learn how to handle teasing? Remember how the bullies traveled with entourages who thought they were cool?

People like that are running around in adult bodies now. We all have the background to see them for what they are. We must oppose them immediately and unconditionally, or we are on their side.

Hint: the instant you start making any excuse for any threat of violence from any side of an argument, you are in the wrong.

Comment Re:Politics of homeopathy (Score 1) 414

I like that. Continue the thought.

If a government is friendly to homeopathy, maybe they could practice homeopathic government in general. Pursue the War On Drugs with zero police officers, for example. Spy on citizens with a single pair of binoculars. Put protesters in jail for only a few seconds, to increase the sentence.

Comment Re:The big advantage of XOR (Score 5, Funny) 277

And what data structure do you have lying around at encryption time that's as long as the plaintext?

That's right, the plaintext. Use that as your one time pad. It saves you the headache of generating high-quality randomness if you just XOR the plaintext with itself.

The resulting ciphertext is not only theoretically unbreakable without the key, it is also highly compressible for economical transmission.

Comment "Empire of the Rising Scum" (Score 5, Insightful) 167

From a 1990 essay comes the insight
"The ability to get ahead in an organization is simply another talent, like the ability to play chess, paint pictures, do coronary bypass operations or pick pockets. There are some people who are extraordinarily good at manipulating- organizations to serve their own ends. The Russians, who have suffered under such people for centuries, have a name for them-- apparatchiks. It was an observer of apparatchiks who coined the maxim, 'The scum rises to the top.' "

It is as insightful in its own way as "The Mythical Man-Month".

Comment Would there be a detectable EM pulse? (Score 1) 203

Poul Anderson pointed out in a 1967 story that a supernova could have devastating electromagnetic pulse effects.

Since then, we've found that supernova explosions are asymmetrical. There is plasma moving at very high speeds near a new neutron star's magnetic field and not in a neat way where the effects cancel out.

How far away would you have to be in order not to have all your electronics fried?

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid