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Comment: Re:Your Fault (Score 5, Insightful) 161

by Bob9113 (#49368645) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

I'm gonna pretend you're actually interested in the answer, but let's face it, we're really talking past each other, to our fellow Slashdotters. Thank you for smoking.

The reason for the mass move to encryption -- like Wikipedia and Google moving to default HTTPS, and people like me working on making encryption more approachable by the masses -- was the revelation that non-suspects were being monitored. That is why there is now a haystack within which to hide the needles, and that is why the encryption is now too strong for the intelligence agencies to break when we really want them to be able to.

Moreover, while I'm here, and since I want terrorists to get caught, let me add this: The solution is not increasing the level of distrust between citizens and government. The solution is restoring the reasonable, moderated, level of trust that we used to have in the executive branch. That starts with the ones who created the rift, and that is not the people who were sending all their traffic in the clear; it is the assholes who recorded it all and denied they were doing it.

Comment: Petulant Children (Score 1) 140

by Bob9113 (#49366995) Attached to: NSA: We Mulled Ending Phone Program Before Edward Snowden Leaks

Intelligence officials were, behind the scenes, questioning whether the benefits of gathering counter-terrorism information justified the colossal costs involved. Then Snowden went public and essentially forced the agency's hand.,

So they could have said, "OK, you know what, you're right. The benefits of this program are outweighed by its costs, the American people have a right to be involved in the decision about surveillance, and we are going to shut the program down." They would have been the bigger men, demonstrating that standing united is more important than ego.

But instead, they cried, "NO! If it's your idea, if you're trying to force us to stop, well then FUCK YOU! We'll do what we want, whether you like it or not! YOU CAN'T TELL US WHAT TO DO!" Like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum. Can't back down from a fight, that might make them look like they don't have a giant chip on their shoulders.

Comment: Re:Internet - lite (Score 1) 79

by Bob9113 (#49348529) Attached to: NY Times: "All the News That Mark Zuckerberg Sees Fit To Print"?

make your own web page...mass email your friends...signing up for a blogging site...signing into and out of websites...locking yourself into a relationship with a company...basic internet skills that every single American should be taught in High School.

Wow. That really is a huge concept. We're trying to teach everyone to write software, which is like teaching everyone to be an engineer, but we're not teaching them the skills to be independent on the Internet, which a much higher percentage could and should have.

Very well said, and insightful. Thank you!

Comment: Beat Your Plowshares Into Swords (Score 3, Informative) 123

by Bob9113 (#49254513) Attached to: Mass Surveillance: Can We Blame It All On the Government?

Ed Snowden has stated that mass surveillance is "about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." A sentiment which has been echoed by others. Who, then, stands to gain from mass surveillance?

Whoever has the best combination of intel and computer aided psychological operations tools. We The People can win, because we have the numbers on our side by an enormous margin. We just have to recognize that we're in a war and beat our plowshares into swords.

Learn big data. Learn information security. Learn hacking. Learn mesh networking and darknets. Learn cryptography and steganography. Build a client for your favorite communications platform and start spidering the new commons. Whatever tickles your fancy, or all of the above. Network with others with those skills. Get your friends to register and start aging off multiple social network personas, each with credible histories. Develop a following, or multiple followings with different personas, on new media.

Best case, none of the things that look like they are already happening actually come to pass, and you'll have a valuable career skill set. Worst case, you'll have the tools you need to defend the nation from a bloodless coup built on next generation propaganda.

Comment: Homeopathy That Works is Called "Medicine" (Score 1) 447

by Bob9113 (#49246711) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Of course, anyone with compelling evidence to the contrary (or better yet, proof to the contrary)

Homeopathy that has been proven to work is called "medicine." That's how a lot of medicine gets invented; people use some tree bark and goat liver concoction to cure prickly heat, and lo-and-behold, it works! So researches come along and break it down to find the active ingredients, put it through proper testing, synthesize it, and get a patent if they can. Even if they can't lock down the active ingredient, they tweak the formula a bit, slap a trademark on it, and run a media blitz combined with distribution channel pressure to take market share. They make a shit-ton of money doing it, and they're not just letting the good answers sit there unexploited.

Comment: Re:Typical government official, breaking the law (Score 1) 538

Do you know what will happen to her? Not. A. God. Damn. Thing.

Not quite. Here's what'll happen to her: Once again, like in 2008, the Democratic Party Machine - which loves her not despite her total corruption but because of it - will try to ram her down our throats. As in 2008, we will cry out, "AYFKM?!?"

Comment: Cutting Off Speech? (Score 1) 533

Is it good to cut off access to the modern equivalent of the public square just because we don't like what is being said? Our ideas are better; must we fear, and attempt to silence, the toxic ideas we do not agree with? Which toxic ideas should we silence next?

Is it a victory to beat them by cutting off their ability to speak? How is this different from cutting off Mega's cashflow via PayPal and the credit cards?

Comment: Re:Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 1) 305

by Bob9113 (#49112585) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

The problem with the argument is that it tries to distort the situation and ignores any useful discussion of the market value of the item in question.

The problem with market value, though, is that the market price of monopoly goods is not naturally regulated. Lots of people use the revenue of music to estimate its value, but monopoly goods are not naturally priced. Copyright is a government created artificial monopoly. It exists for a good reason -- to channel revenue into science and the useful arts -- but the sale price of monopoly goods does not, and cannot, accurately reflect the theoretical market price.

If there is a good way to estimate the value of music, that would be very useful. But it can't be revenue, so it would have to be something like: How much does "Me and Bobby McGee" (Janis Joplin version) make society better compared to "Steer" (Missy Higgins)? How do either of them compare to a table saw? I think those things are inherently difficult to measure, which is why I tend to focus on the resource streams going into production.

The resources going into music are highly mobile, with strong alternative demands, because they are mostly labor that starts at a young age when it can still be shifted into other fields with a low cost of transition. They are also very closely measured by the Department of Labor, so the data we have to work from is pretty solid.

Of course, my approach isn't the only good one -- and more measures are a good thing. Getting multiple estimates of the same market phenomena using different datasets is an excellent way to test for flaws in the measures.

Comment: Re:Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 1) 305

by Bob9113 (#49112437) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

How would you measure if we have "enough" people in music creation? Do numbers count at all? What about quality? How many pop idols would be needed to outweigh a Leonard Bernstein? How many for an Elvis Presley?

I think that framing it in terms of quality of the output is an inherently subjective measure. I'd rather put it in terms of the resources that are getting put into music, and whether they are being used efficiently. So, for example, look at the labor flowing into music: How many kids neglect their studies to pursue a career as a performing artist? How many adults earn above the median wage as a performing artist? If that ratio were 1:1, I would say it would represent a shortage. If that ratio were 10:1, I would say we were in "arguably valid" territory. If it were 100:1, I'd be thinking we're wasting potential from the labor pool (and creating a disenfranchised class of failed rock stars, which are a drag on the economy in other ways). My gut feel is that we're in the 100:1 ballpark or higher.

There's no easy or perfect measure, but if it is important, it can be measured. The trick is to think through the consequences of a distortion, then figure out how to measure for that distortion. How to Measure Anything is an excellent book on the topic.

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.