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Comment: Re:Is there a way to prevent this? (Score 1) 153

by Bob9113 (#48227043) Attached to: Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

When soldiering becomes less of a duty and more of a way to delay starting out your life of dismal poverty, you start making the wrong kind of army.

Wait, we can do worse; how about making enlistment an alternative to a prison sentence for newly convicted criminals? (actually, that sounds so awful, I'm surprised it isn't already in place)

Comment: Re:Free market? (Score 1) 153

by Bob9113 (#48227031) Attached to: Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

I suggest we find out why there is only one fast ISP per area,

Here's a hint: It's the same reason there is only one electricity provider in most areas. Generally, it is not cost efficient to run multiple sets of wires, but everyone wants electricity.

and fix that problem.

The solution is the same as with electricity. We've tried all the other solutions, many, many, many times over, and we keep coming back to the same small set of best answers; all over the world, in all kinds of cultures and every shade of Western economics.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 1) 383

by Bob9113 (#48202375) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

That's just endless buck-passing. The reality is that the kind of fuck ups that could happen, did happen, like a storyline from some cheap zombie/biothriller novel.

And only two people got infected. Yes, errors in protocol happen, and can be expected to happen, and did happen, and will happen again. And only two people got infected. That is because of exactly what the CDC has said from the outset. Ebola is hard to get. Even with the errors in protocol that we know can, do, and will happen, particularly at the beginning when some people have there guard down, Ebola does not magically leap tall buildings to infect everyone within a thousand yards.

More people in the US will get infected, and more will die. But if you want to reduce your risk of death, worrying about Ebola comes way further down the list than, for example, eating healthier, exercising, and keeping your blood pressure down by not worrying about insignificant threats like Ebola. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and if it's wet and it isn't yours, don't touch it; but those are always good ideas. Now go on about your business and tell people to stop being panic-addled nitwits.

Comment: Open Source is More Easily Auditable (Score 5, Interesting) 265

by Bob9113 (#48143195) Attached to: Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

As such, the trust is left to the open source community, and is that really so different than leaving it to a corporation with closed source?

Yes, it really is so different. Open Source provides an additional avenue for security auditing. With closed source software, any auditing body must be authorized to view the source code by the owner of the software. With Open Source, anyone can audit it. That does not mean that anyone has audited it, but being able to do so without having to contact the software distributor and get their permission is a substantial difference.

If you want highly secure software, you have to verify that one or more trusted third parties have audited the code. You can't skip that step with either kind of software, it's just easier to get it done with Open Source.

Comment: Re: That's not the reason you're being ignored. (Score 3, Interesting) 405

by Bob9113 (#48142755) Attached to: Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Remember the miracle on the Hudson? It was the flight attendants who made sure everyone was safe and made sure they evacuated in an orderly fashion. They were the last ones off the plane. THAT is why they are there and I for one am glad to see them.

Does the math work? How many lives per year would flight attendants have to save to justify the price?

There's just short of 10m flights per year in the US, and a US life is worth about $7m for prime-aged workers. If a flight costs an average of 10 flight attendant hours (I'm guessing that's low), that means we spend 100m flight attendant hours per year.

Starting pay for flight attendants is $16/hr. So that's 1.6 billion dollars per year, plus overhead, that we pay for flight attendants.

If safety is 50% of their job, and overhead is 50% of base pay, that means we're spending $1.2b per year on flight attendants for safety purposes.

At $7m per life, that means they have to provide safety benefits equal to saving 170 lives per year. In the US, we currently lose about 15.3 lives per year to air travel fatalities.

Just ballpark figures, but it feels like we're overpaying.

Comment: Re:The more things change the more the stay the sa (Score 1) 728

by Bob9113 (#48112743) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

In any unmoderated discussion the loudest and most insistent voices win. This has been true since democracy started - "politic" meaning roughly in the original Greek "To shout down"

Would be awesome if it were true: The modern word 'political' derives from the Greek politikos, 'of, or pertaining to, the polis'. (The Greek term polis will be translated here as 'city-state'. It is also translated as 'city' or 'polis', or simply anglicized as 'polis'. City-states like Athens and Sparta were relatively small and cohesive units, in which political, religious, and cultural concerns were intertwined. The extent of their similarity to modern nation-states is controversial.)

Comment: Re:WHY are men trying to scare women away from gam (Score 2) 728

by Bob9113 (#48111423) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

When I was a young awkward geek with very specific interests, I would have absolutely LOVED there to be women around with those same interests... Yet today we see guys trying to scare the women away. What the hell changed?

Nothing but the volume. I loved geeky women back then, and some geeky men were hostile. Now, I still like geeky women, and some geeky men are still hostile.

Nothing has changed, except the amplification of the extremists on both sides. The extremists on both sides want to drive a wedge to consolidate their base, just like the Republicans and Democrats. They use kernels of truth wrapped in emotionalist rhetoric to do it.

Black people aren't gangbangers. Muslims aren't terrorists. White men aren't aryan supremecists. Women aren't hyperemotional basket cases.

And male geeks aren't misogynists.

When you pick a bad characteristic of a subset of a group and label the whole group with it, that is prejudicial sterotyping. Doing so does not help feminism or technology.

Men aren't trying to scare women away from gaming, assholes are.

Comment: Adobe Digital Editions 4 (Score 4, Informative) 103

by Bob9113 (#48099973) Attached to: The Malware of the Future May Come Bearing Real Gifts

Research by Prof. Giovanni Vigna of the University of California leads him to believe that the malware of the future will come in a friendly form, be genuinely useful and may not reveal its intentions for a protracted period of time.

Some of it will even turn the American public library system into an infectious host. Adobe Digital Editions 4 scans your hard drive and sends some of the data it finds, in the clear, back to Adobe.

Comment: "Known to Contain" (Score 4, Insightful) 335

by Bob9113 (#48090653) Attached to: US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

a search of foreign property known to contain criminal evidence, for which a warrant was not necessary.

The reason we require you to get a warrant is to distinguish between the two meanings of "known to contain":

1. I can reasonably demonstrate the probability that this server contains.
2. I have a gut feeling that this server contains.

The problem is not that the actual Silk Road server got hacked, which is what the FBI is arguing. The problem is servers that do not contain criminal evidence getting hacked based gut feelings. That is why we require a warrant. We don't want our government hacking into servers on a whim and without a record, regardless of where those servers are physically located.

Comment: Not Beautiful In Economic Terms (Score 1) 249

by Bob9113 (#48083957) Attached to: Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

Personal data harvesting for contextual ads and content should be a beautiful thing. They do it privately and securely, and it's all automated so that no human being actually learns anything about you.

Leaving the "privately and securely" bit to other commenters who will roundly correct you, I'm sure.

I've done personalized targeting of ads, and it is not necessarily a beautiful thing. The problem is a mismatch in the objectives of the advertiser, the objectives of the consumer, and the GDP maximizing outcome.

The GDP maximizing outcome is the thing that maximizes the total satisfaction of wants for the entire society. In theory, that should match the objective of the consumer. In practice, it does not, because the consumer is rarely perfectly informed or perfectly rational. Flaws at this level result in reduced consumer satisfaction, which result in reduced economic activity, and lackluster GDP growth in the long run.

In advertising, these flaws can be either explicitly or implicitly induced. The explicit way is the world of Edward Bernays and the world of PR; a fascinating subject in its own right. The advertisement targeting mismatch is about how success is measured and iterated into the targeting algorithm.

The personalized advertiser's objective is generally either to maximize revenue or earnings during the run of the ad campaign. This results in short-run oriented behavior which can be significantly mismatched with maximal satisfaction -- not necessarily intentionally, but because the system has no regard for satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction doesn't go into the algorithm explicitly and since campaign success can be most easily measured in the relative short run (did this impression result in a sale during the 30 day window that the customer is considered "owned" by this ad campaign), long run satisfaction cannot even show up implicitly. Most notably, impulse purchasing is strongly favored by the most profitable ad personalization strategies.

Ad personalization is good for short term revenue or earnings (or whatever is being measured), but it is not very good for long run GDP. From a strict economic standpoint, algorithmic targeting optimizes for flashy, shoddy products.

I know, because I did it.

Comment: Re:Changes require systematic, reliable evidence.. (Score 1) 336

by Bob9113 (#48075385) Attached to: Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

The government hasn't shown that there is any actual harm caused by the model that folks like Comcast intend to use

Yes, we have. We have tested it with telegraph, and telephone, and physical carriage. Your insistence that we haven't only shows that you have not studied the history of common carrier.

Comment: Allocation of Scarce Resources, Oh My! (Score 4, Insightful) 652

by Bob9113 (#48075327) Attached to: Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Oh my god! Whatever will we do?!? We'll have to come up with some way to allocate scarce resouces based on competing wants! If only there were a science that studies economic activity to gain an understanding of the processes that govern the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in an economy. If we had that, then it would imply we already have an enormous, global system for handling this exact problem.

Not that it doesn't need tweeking, and we need to internalize the cost of carbon emissions, but this isn't just a solved problem; it is one of the most intensely studied and tested fields of sociopolitical theory that there is. And it doesn't mean we banned recreation. As it turns out, some recreation is actually good for the system, because it increases productivity.

And can we produce five times as much energy? Ummm, yeah. Real easy. There is a shitload of energy falling out of the clear blue sky at all times. If we have the resources, we can grab more of it. So that completes the whole "productivity" loop back to increasing production of energy.

Comment: Re:Changes require systematic, reliable evidence.. (Score 5, Insightful) 336

by Bob9113 (#48071191) Attached to: Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

it has an obligation to show that such control is the least burdensome method of achieving a compelling state interest. And - frankly - it's not.

Yes, it is. See common carrier. It has been tested empirically for more than a century including physical carriage networks. The empirical testing has shown that when carriers are prohibited from discriminatory behavior, the resulting increase in competition among merchants and manufacturers who use the carriage networks results in greater overall economic expansion. It is why FedEx is not permitted to negotiate preferred carrier status with one manufacturer to inhibit shipments made by a competing manufacturer.

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