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Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 247 247

You know it's possible to be against both, right?

For example: the thread here is all about how big bad megacorps have been using sophistry to hide dangerous things on their labels.

And why did this come up? Because someone wanted a giant warning that a product may contain GMOs on every product this applies to.

That's a wacko position. Why is it wacko? Well, because it does nothing to help the problem they subsequently claim to want addressed, that labels are often misleading. It actually makes the label more misleading, by highlighting a non-essential fact, giving weight to it, and pretending it's something the buyer should be concerned about, while leaving the the manufacturers to continue to do whatever they want with the ingredient list.

GMOs that do not make significant changes to a product that would leave unusual chemicals in them are not dangerous. Their presence in a food product shouldn't be highlighted as something for a consumer to be concerned about. Doing so does not give the consumer more options, it confuses them and draws attention away from real health issues like sugars and potentially harmful fats.

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 1) 195 195

Probably none at all. If you want to break today's encryption/hashing algorithms you would probably be using ASICs if not those then FPGAs with GPU compute being your last choice.

ASICs, FPGAs and GPUs are all utterly, utterly inadequate to attack today's encryption and hashing algorithms. Unless you have not only tens of billions of dollars but also don't mind waiting millions of years.

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 1) 195 195

For that, you would be using custom ASIC hardware, and lots of it.

No, for that you just laugh at the guy asking you to do it, and look for ways to steal the key, rather than brute forcing it. Even if an ASIC solution gets to way beyond exascale, say to yottascale (10^6 times faster than exascale), you're still looking at on the order of a million years to recover a single 128-bit AES key, on average.

Brute force is not how you attack modern cryptosystems. More detail:

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 2) 195 195

What would the existence of an exascale supercomputer mean for today's popular encryption/hashing algorithms?

Nothing, nothing at all.

Suppose, for example that your exascale computer could do exa-AES-ops... 10^18 AES encryptions per second. It would take that computer 1.7E20 seconds to brute force half of the AES-128 key space. That's 5.4E12 years, to achieve a 50% chance of recovering a single key.

And if that weren't the case, you could always step up to 192 or 256-bit keys. In "Applied Cryptography", in the chapter on key length, Bruce Schneier analyzed thermodynamic limitations on brute force key search. He calculated the amount of energy required for a perfectly efficient computer to merely increment a counter through all of its values. That's not to actually do anything useful like perform an AES operation and a comparison to test a particular key, but merely to count through all possible keys. Such a computer, running at the ambient temperature of the universe, would consume 4.4E-6 ergs to set or clear a single bit. Consuming the entire output of our star for a year, and cycling through the states in an order chosen to minimize bit flips rather than just counting sequentially, would provide enough energy for this computer to count through 2^187. The entire output of the sun for 32 years gets us up to 2^192. To run a perfectly-efficient computer through 2^256 states, you'd need to capture all of the energy from approximately 137 billion supernovae[*]. To brute force a 256-bit key you'd need to not only change your counter to each value, you'd then need to perform an AES operation.

Raw computing power is not and never will be the way to break modern crypto systems[**]. To break them you need to either exploit unknown weaknesses in the algorithms (which means you have to be smarter than the world's academic cryptographers), or exploit defects in the implementation (e.g. side channel attacks) or find other ways to get the keys -- attack the key management. The last option is always the best, though implementation defects are also quite productive. Neither of them benefit significantly from having massive computational resources available.

[*] Schneier didn't take into account reversible computing in his calculation. A cleverly-constructed perfectly-efficient computer could make use of reversible circuits everywhere they can work, and a carefully-constructed algorithm could make use of as much reversibility as possible. With that, it might be feasible to lower the energy requirements significantly, maybe even several orders of magnitude (though that would be tough). We're still talking energy requirements involving the total energy output of many supernovae.

[**] Another possibility is to change the question entirely by creating computers that don't operate sequentially, but instead test all possible answers at once. Quantum computers. Their practical application to the complex messiness of block ciphers is questionable, though the mathematical simplicity of public key encryption is easy to implement on QCs. Assuming we ever manage to build them on the necessary scale. If we do, we can expect an intense new focus on protocols built around symmetric cryptography, I expect.

Comment Re:DC power (Score 1) 156 156

Well, I think we are getting better at converting DC voltages, which is why HVDC is being used for transmission lines for example.

I suspect the reason is in part portable electronics. We're trying to eke out as much power as possible for multivoltage devices (one voltage for the processor, another for the screen, another for the HDD (portable electronics includes laptops too...) another for the USB bus, etc) from a single (DC it goes without saying) battery. The amount of R&D into the voltage conversion field over the last thirty years must have been extraordinary, yet not sexy enough to warrant much media coverage.

Comment Software Priesthood (Score 1) 343 343

The whole thrust of ESR's Cathedral and the Bazaar essay...

You're about 30 years late WRT your reference. When I said "back in the day"...

I first saw the term "software priesthood" in print in Byte magazine -- it was 1976, I think. It was already in play among those of us who had already been programming for a while, and even more so among certain sectors of management.

Comment MUtation rate are known (Score 2) 247 247

Please tells us how many million of years statistically you would need to go from a barley growth factor, to a rice growth factor, and would even the intermediate protein be viable (active) or even if the surrounding gene would still be active.

Yes stuff mutate. That is how we got from bacteria to human over billion of year. The key here is that function of protein evolved too, and sometime mutation are deleterious, and sometime function changes. But if both are sufficiently different, the probability to go from one to the other over statistically human relevant time (e.g. hundreds of year) is trending toward zero. In some case like when researcher inserted fish gene into tomatoe, that probability becomes even low over geological time.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with your assessment that the probability we make something catastrophic is relatively low, but stating that the result could be gotten by random mutation in the wild, or even breeding is overstating it , downright to a lie in many case.

Comment There is a slight difference (Score 0) 247 247

Look I am for GMO because I think the science is sound, and it is maybe as good a progress for the 21th century as the haber process was for the 20th century for food production, but repeating the often trotted "breeding/wild mutation is the same as GMO" is stupid. Even idiot religiously fearing GMO are not that idiot to swallow that you can breed in nature fish protein into tobaccoe plant by cross breeding or wild reproduction, or plant with philia so far away from each other with barley growth factor if the growth factor are so much different. So you should not tell a totally complete lie. Such naturally mutation can only slightly change protein and not suddenly put new protein from a completely different specie or even philia suddenly in the plant. You would need million maybe 10s of million of years to get such accumulated mutation (if ever in the fish protein case), and anybody can see that such very long term adaptation has a different impact on an ecosystem than immediate gene change. I am not saying this is a bad thing, just that comparing the two is stupid. There is a difference of time scale, and adaptation in both case, and as well as what you can reach as far as changes go.

Please just don't. Refrain in future. You are just making it more difficult for us to convince the GMO fearing when you spread such obvious bad comparison.

Comment Re:Industrial network (Score 2) 65 65

IF the people in charge are asking for it, find and suggest a solution that can do it safely.

I'm with you so far.

If they are not willing to pay for your solution, find another, albeit less safe solution and present it with a list of assumed risks. Rinse and repeat until you have a solution they are willing to pay for with risks they are accepting, then do that.

In my experience, any "solution" that you present will be understood to do everything that they wanted.

Even if you say that they cannot have X at $Y. They will give you $Y and then demand X.

When you cannot do so, a contractor will be brought in to set up a flawed implementation that will reduce your security BUT will provide X at a price point that you said could not be done.

Which is why we see this story pop up over and over and over again.

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 247 247

> That's cute. You think that actual benefits of GMOs mean anything to the people listening to all the FUD that gets spread about them.

My main objection to GMOs is that they transfer rights from individuals to large corporations.

The "science" aspect is entirely a side show to distract from that.

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 247 247

Well, the pink slime scandal was all about chemicals used in processing that weren't disclosed despite the fact that they remained in the end product in sufficient quantities to make them smell rank.

There are other additives that are in American foods and are unlabeled while being banned in other countries. Some of these are also relevant to some portion of the population that are sensitive to them.

Some people can even smell the farm chemicals on produce if you concentrate them through juicing.

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 247 247

Again, you are using the hubris of science to try and treat it like a religion and to smear any skeptic.

GMO is not a "science". It's technology, and like any tech "it's how you use it". Professors I tend to trust. Chemical companies not so much.

Extreme transgenics also ups the ante a bit and puts us in uncharted territory because these things are NOT the same. If they really were, then Monsanto wouldn't have such a hard on for them. They wouldn't because it would give them no added legal benefits.

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. - Oscar Wilde