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Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 356

by Kohath (#49160887) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

I'd like to hear a good explanation why this isn't just self-reinforcing groupthink. For every 10 genuine facts, you'll see some widely quoted falsehood like "1 in 5 women on college campuses is sexually assaulted" promoted by Google as a fact. These kinds of bogus statistics are very common.

Comment: Re:Climate change phobia (Score 1) 339

by Kohath (#49155161) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

Many things may be possible at some time in the future. But I was responding to a post that specifically mentioned "50 years from now".

Exaggerating climate change to alarm people isn't working. Stop doing it. If you want people to take the threat seriously, be honest.

If you just want to troll people, divide people, and score petty political points for your side until the next issue gives you a new opportunity, then keep it up.

Comment: Re:Climate change phobia (Score 2) 339

by Kohath (#49153153) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

It's not going to be too bad. Think about it. We all have handheld computers that are continuously connected to essentially all the world's information. We have the ability to shape our world as never before in history. People move across and between continents routinely. The advantages of modern life make otherwise catastrophic problems into mere inconveniences.

And that's now. This article wants you to worry about hundreds of years in the future. We can expect technological progress to continue to improve things for us unless some sort of government totalitarianism puts an end to it.

Comment: Re: Inquisition (Score 0) 386

by Kohath (#49139411) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

On the other hand:

- Dietary cholesterol is bad for you.
- Coffee is bad for you.
- Eggs are bad for you.
- Margarine is good for you.
- Eat 9-11 servings of carbs per day.
- Vaccines cause autism.
- GMOs are frankenfoods.
- Stomach ulcers are caused by stress.
- Dietary sodium is bad for you.
- Reefer madness
- Prohibition
- 55 Saves Lives
- Repressed memories
- Rule of thumb
- One in five women on college campuses are sexually assaulted

Comment: Re:If only... (Score 1) 386

by Kohath (#49139013) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

Stop trying to use Science as an excuse to have the government bully people. Leave people alone to live their lives the way they choose, regardless of Science and the latest elite "consensus" about The Right Way for everyone to live.

There are ultimately limits to this, of course. But the people who want to use the government to bully everyone don't seem to recognize any principled limits on their side. So the other side shouldn't preemptively concede any limits either.

Maybe someday we won't have to deal with so much destructive extremism from so many people.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

by danheskett (#49134623) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

True, you didn't built everything from source, but you were happy enough that everything traced back to "the" sources to make you feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor, who probably just sold you formulaic encryption without any extra work to make you feel secure. Your data would have been more secure, if not actually secure, but you'd have felt it less, because really you have no way of knowing. So without somebody taking the extra time to make you feel secure, you naturally wouldn't feel it very much, if at all.

The problem is that there is no conceivable way to do what you are saying. It involves compromising or proxying disparate traffic, expertly.

And then, after all that, it would involve rooting an otherwise secure installation that is barely network connected, and using that to inject what, defects into the right sources so that the resulting binaries are weak or exploitable?

I agree that the NSA, CIA, and FBI have extraordinary capabilities, but the attack vectors that have thus far been revealed are the same attack vectors that security researchers have known and published for a long time - firmware, obscure libraries that are often used but seldom examined, zero-day exploits of popular software, mathematical flaws in encryption implementations, and physical security and chain of custody.

All of which is to say, the basic landscape of the threat has not changed much in 20 years. It is sophisticated, but as always, a strong layered defense and strong procedures and policies will minimize the possible impacts, exploits, and severity of breaches (if they occur in the first place). There are few things more secure than a well maintained GNU/Linux or OpenBSD box running in the wild.

Comment: Re:..and we're done (Score 2) 319

by the gnat (#49129675) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

. . . says yet another person who appears to be totally ignorant about history. Do you really believe that if you went back in time to, say, 1950, you couldn't find politicians saying equally idiotic things, perhaps in even greater numbers? And do you think "technology" is limited to, say, space travel?

I am carrying, in my pocket, a computer significantly more powerful than anything I used as a child (and much cheaper in absolute dollars), with access to a global information network containing most of human knowledge, and the ability to instantaneously communicate with anyone in the world. The overall computing infrastructure is rapidly overtaking the technology depicted in a 20th-century show about 24th-century space exploration. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of people across the planet, whose parents lived in virtually pre-industrial economies and regularly suffered from pandemics and famine, now have relatively comfortable middle-class lives thanks to improved technology and the expansion of the global economy. These improvements have mostly happened within my lifetime (i.e. since 1980 or so). So I'm not exactly losing sleep over the fact that the developed world still has a handful of proudly ignorant fools in government.

It's also worth remembering for context that shortly after the close of World War II, the British government drove one of its greatest scientists to commit suicide at the age of 41 because it was run by superstitious, self-righteous prudes who disapproved of his homosexuality. Today, the UK has some random back-bencher spouting nonsense about homeopathy. I think that's an improvement.

Comment: Re:Actually, ADM Rogers doesn't "want" that at all (Score 5, Insightful) 406

by danheskett (#49121185) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

If, on the other hand, you live in a world where simply crying "Encryption!" is some kind of barrier that magically sanctifies the underlying data, and that it then cannot and should not ever be accessed by anyone other than the data owner...well, then I would ask what you think about the German and Japanese codes in WWII?

I think it's deeply sick that our government or anyone would equate our foreign, Congressionally declared, military enemies locked in nearly unrestrained warfare with the private effects and papers and their electronic equiavlents of it's peaceful citizens.

The law and Constitution (as interpreted and implemented by our system of government) are the constraints -- not specific technological capability.
Disagree. The Constitution recognizes an inherent right - that of a person to be secure in his person and papers from unreasonable search and seizure of his person and those effects. That natural right, along with the natural right to be held personally inviolate (i.e. not tortured) are the dual foundations for the presumption that encryption keys, like secrets ensconced in your memory, are immune for the government's attempts to ascertain them.

What he "wants", when US-based companies hold data that still can technically be accessed for legitimate foreign intelligence purposes supported by our system of law, is that a legal framework should allow for it. When it can't be, it's up to NSA to determine other mechanisms to access that data.

It is impossible to know hat the NSA, or any government agency, actually wants. There is no legal nor oversight mechanism that will force them to disclose that information to you, or me, or even to their Congressional overseers, or even to other members of the Executive branch. They have demonstrated lawlessness at the highest levels and vast dishonesty, using every legal, regulatory, judicial, and yes extra-legal mechanism possible to avoid operating transparently. Whatever the intention, whatever the reason, it is beyond question that civic minded citizens should believe any pronouncement, no matter how clearly worded it appears to be, from the Executive branch. When the Director of National Intelligence says point blank they are not collecting records of millions of Americans, it is not simply a matter of redefining away the words. It's lying. Without punishing those who deceive American citizens and especially Congressional oversight, we must only be left to assume that the NSA operates outside of the realm of the rule of law, and because of that, we must act accordingly.

Even if it means a massive terrorist attack on US soil, even if means the collapse of the government, or invasion, or a mushroom cloud over a major US city, we have to resist the presumption that any agent of the executive acts without oversight and accountability.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.