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Comment: Re:I grew a beard (Score 3, Informative) 94

by BitterOak (#46762155) Attached to: 52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

Let's see how they handle that, as I keep messing around with facial hair 8^{)>

Modern facial recognition seems to be immune to facial hair changes, as well as other simple attempts to fool it. It is based more on measurements of bone structure, and distances between certain facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth. Also, sophisticated AI software is used to make the system robust against changes to some of these features as well. Unless you wear a bag over your head, it's pretty hard to fool modern systems.

Comment: Re:Why do people listen to her? (Score 4, Insightful) 579

by BitterOak (#46749963) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

The problem is herd immunity.

I agree with you that the problem is "herd immunity", but not in the way you think.

The problem is in people's perception of the risk vs. benefit of vaccines, and the phrase "herd immunity" does a lot to distort that perception. It suggests that perhaps the risk to an individual getting a vaccine is greater than the benefit to that individual, and the primary reason for the pushing the vaccine on people is for the greater good of the population. First, that isn't true: for pretty much all the standard vaccines people get, the risk to the individual by not getting the vaccine is greater than the risk to the individual by getting it. "Herd immunity" is really a bonus, in that getting a vaccine reduces everyone else's risk of getting the disease as well. However, no reasonable parent is going to subject their child to a risk of harm if the sole benefit is to other people's children, and so placing too much emphasis on "herd immunity" really could be doing more harm than good as it could distort the public perception of the benefits of vaccines for the individuals getting them.

A second problem is the terminology itself. As anyone in advertising will tell you, word choice can have a profound psychological effect on people's perceptions. The word "herd" in all other usages of which I'm aware applies to livestock, such as cattle. When doctors talk to parents about "immunizing the herd", it suggests, even just subconsciously, that health care professionals see children as livestock, and not human beings. While this may not be true, if parents are already wary of vaccinating their kids, the phrase "herd immunity" certainly won't push them in the direction of wanting to.

Comment: Re:Stopping a billionaire's car (Score 1) 322

by BitterOak (#46731711) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

The problem is simple.

Unlike in Sweden or Norway, where your ticket depends on your income, the fine is a small amount to a billionaire.

How can the ticket depend on income? How do they know how much you're making? Do they look at your tax return? What if you're a tourist from America or somewhere? They don't file tax returns with the Swedish government, so how do they know how much to charge?

Comment: Re:Ethical is irrelevant. (Score 5, Interesting) 402

by BitterOak (#46644733) Attached to: NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

Whether sending a willing astronaut, who understands and chose to do this of his own free will, on a dangerous or even one-way mission is ethical is not a question for anyone except the astronaut.

Can the astronaut accomplish the mission all by him or herself? Or does he/she need a ground crew and a team of engineers to design and build the rocket? If so, then they would all be participants in the astronaut's death. If I decide I want to die and I hand you a gun and ask you to shoot me, is it ethical for you to do so?

It's like trying to decide if gay marriage is "ethical". Unless you're one of the ones involved, nonya business trying to define ethics

But therein lies the problem. There are other people involved.

Comment: Re:It Won't Work (Score 2) 353

by BitterOak (#46623735) Attached to: If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

That's a slippery slope right there. You could almost argue with it that you shouldn't be picking strangers as hitch-hikers because as soon as they pick *you* at some later time, an illegal business transaction is thereby concluded.

Actually, it is already illegal in many jurisdictions to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers and has been for quite some time.

Comment: Re:We need a redesign (Score 1) 151

by BitterOak (#46509447) Attached to: Aussie Attorney General's War On Encrypted Web Services

You mean, like, say, end to end encryption?

End to end encryption doesn't give anywhere near the security many people think. If adversaries (including the government) have access to the communication lines, they can intercept software updates, or take advantage of other vulnerabilities to install software (such as keyloggers, memory sniffers with key extractors, etc.) on the endpoint machines. In fact, they need only compromise one of the computers participating in the communication. So, end to end encryption, although a great idea in theory, really doesn't give much security in practice.

Comment: Story writer didn't read own story. (Score 4, Insightful) 154

by BitterOak (#46480379) Attached to: A Look at the NSA's Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool

But it also includes gadgets like a plug-in to inject into MySQL connections, allowing the NSA to quietly mess with the contents of a third-party's database. (This also surprisingly suggests that unencrypted MySQL on the internet is common enough to attract NSA attention.)

When the author wrote that part of the story, he or she seemed to be unaware of what he or she had just written:

allowing bogus certificates and similar routines to break SSL

By breaking SSL, the NSA has access to SQL queries whether or not they're encrypted.

Comment: How far do these laws go? (Score 5, Insightful) 104

by BitterOak (#46430895) Attached to: BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website
This wasn't a corporate site nor was it a medical services site. This was a non-profit charitable organization. Suppose I set up a website of my own, not for profit, in which I provide information on where to get an abortion. Suppose I don't secure my web server enough and a hacker gets a copy of my access.log files and is thus able to determine who visited my site and suppose they publish that information. Would I be subject to big fines as well? What if it was a website about some other subject like building model trains? I understand in this case the hackers probably got more than just IP addresses, but where exactly is the line drawn? Is anyone who has a website in danger of running afoul of these laws?

Comment: Re: victimless crime (Score 2) 205

by BitterOak (#46402369) Attached to: Child Porn Arrest For Cameron Aide Who Helped Plan UK Net Filters

Because actual kids are being filned/photographed performing such acts? Since minors can't legally give consent for sex, they are the victims in this crime.

I think you misread the parent's post. It said "I dare someone to prove the harm in possessing/viewing cold porn" [emphasis added]. By "this crime" you seem to mean the sex or the kids being forced into sex to be photographed. I agree that should definitely be a crime and the perpetrators should be punished. By your logic though, possessing photographs of someone being murdered should be a crime, since the victim clearly lost their life.

Comment: Re:Not a good idea (Score 1) 246

I still use a five year old book on CSS and a seven year old book on PHP, and they work just fine. Javascript has changed a bit since then, and newer tools like jquery evolve more rapidly, but the fundamentals change slowly enough that if someone gets a job in the field when they graduate, they should be able to keep up with changes throughout their career. This will be especially true if the professors teach it properly: encourage independent learning and discovery through projects and reading and not relying solely on lectures. In other words, teach the students how to learn web development, instead of just teaching web development.

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.