Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:He's being polite. (Score 1) 104

by DutchUncle (#49139845) Attached to: Schneier: Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them
Users aren't supposed to need to be technically literate, any more than automobile drivers should need to be mechanics or engineers or machinists or metallurgists. A lot of us get paid *specifically* to make this stuff simple enough for a child to use. The problem is that we've been so successful that the common user is not just passively clueless, but actively self-harming - just like the automobile industry making the *average* car equal to an old sports car without anyone suggesting that drivers should get a little more practice.

Comment: Reductio ad absurdum. Colbert would have agreed! (Score 4, Interesting) 149

Maybe this is saying that you can't sue for something that hasn't happened yet - and, indirectly, that the law requiring protection of confidentiality (and penalizing failure) has no teeth, and that the limits against abusive overreach of law are allowing an end-run around the general intent.

Let's say you had a workman at your house, and they left the garage door unlocked when they were finished. If you come home and everything is fine, then there is no cause for legal action. If you come home and your house has been robbed, then first it's the robber's criminal act, and then maybe there's a civil action by your insurance company to get money from the workman's insurance company.

The hospital is seen as the *victim* of a theft, just as if a doctor's or psychiatrist's office were broken into for drugs and some records were stolen, rather than a *culprit* for "failing to maintain HIPAA confidentiality". YOU have to go after each person who does something illicit with the information; each marketer, each fraud instance, each problem, is individual. And since each of them is small individually, it's YOUR burden to chase them as a civil matter rather than a criminal matter that would get you some help from society (through the police agencies).

Comment: Re:I'll take the wine instead (Score 1) 480

by DutchUncle (#49038525) Attached to: The Mathematical Case For Buying a Powerball Ticket
Maths is fun. So is game theory. Which do you choose, increasing the odds of getting more of the prize - without increasing the odds of getting the prize in the first place? or increasing the odds of getting the prize, without increasing the odds against having to share it? Two distinct issues.

Comment: Re:There cannot possibly be only one right answer (Score 1) 180

by DutchUncle (#49034915) Attached to: US Gov't To Withdraw Food Warnings About Dietary Cholesterol
I agree. Maybe this is just part of the overall requirement to be able to live well in a given area, which is part of the drive to adapt humans to have differences in different areas. Some regional cultures live on milk and cheese, others use no dairy products and have a higher incidence of intolerance. In former times there were more typical regional appearances, beyond the obvious wide differences in color and build and facial structure, down to national "looks" (and in addition to local natural selection, there was less travel and thus less genetic mixing). If the local diet is oversupplied or deficient in some mineral or vitamin, then certain body types and chemistries will be more prevalent.

Comment: Re:Remember the down side (Score 1) 190

by DutchUncle (#49031865) Attached to: Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches
"Oh, it must have happened automatically somehow, we had nothing to do with it . . ." Of course, a real criminal would *also* love to have a way to remotely wipe a phone that had fallen into police hands. Oddly enough, the police and the criminals want the same thing here; fancy that . . .

Comment: Re:His interviews will be missed (Score 1) 277

by DutchUncle (#49031539) Attached to: Jon Stewart Leaving 'The Daily Show'
The interviews show the true range of Stewart's abilities. He can talk to silly stars or serious people, and everyone in between, each at their own level, and give each an opportunity to shine. And clearly he's read up on each guest's work and background, even when he self-deprecatingly pleads ignorance.

Comment: Re:The only thing I dislike about Stewart (Score 1) 277

by DutchUncle (#49031439) Attached to: Jon Stewart Leaving 'The Daily Show'
Stewart is *not* delivering news; he is delivering commentary on the news, and commentary on other people's reporting of the news (particularly when people contradict themselves). To provide background for that commentary, he must mention the original news or original reporting. The fact that people don't even bother listening to the original news because they're content with whatever Stewart and his staff have edited from the day's firehose of information does not make Stewart a news source, and his insistence on that is what makes his editorial slant acceptable.

Comment: There cannot possibly be only one right answer (Score 1) 180

by DutchUncle (#49031233) Attached to: US Gov't To Withdraw Food Warnings About Dietary Cholesterol
We have ice cream shops whose major marketing point is their choice of 31 flavors; we have an entire flavors & fragrances industry trying to make food taste as varied as possible. Humans don't all want the same flavor, because humans' chemistry isn't all the same. The simplest thing wrong with any single plan, be it the Food Pyramid or the Food Plate or any named diet, is that one single plan cannot possibly be right for everyone, all the time. Even the same individual's needs change depending on activity level and health and age and environment. One could define a best *process* for testing and analyzing what works best for each individual, but not a best diet.

Comment: Re:Swatting is much more serious than a "prank" (Score 1) 327

by DutchUncle (#49014473) Attached to: Swatting 19-Year-Old Arrested in Las Vegas
Repeat: I agree with you about the militarized police. I was a kid in the 1960s when the "special weapons and tactics" concept became common enough to get an acronym, and it was already scary then - even though it was happening because of some violent criminal activity. (I don't think it's corrupt; for corruption I point to the massive abuse of civil forfeiture. But it is excessive.) OTOH i think your suggestion of SWATting Congresspeople would be perpetrating a dual evil of misusing the militarized police we both object to, and recklessly endangering people just like the original character in this story. While I appreciate the goal of poetic justice, I would not lower myself to a level I despise in order to do it, because then I'd become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. (PS - I don't think your reply was a troll. A bit more extreme than my original call for execution, but at worst a devil's advocate position.)

Comment: Re:Its starts with terror and kidding porn (Score 2) 176

Why is everything a slippery slope for you people? Is it not possible that we find a middle way?

I wish, with all my heart, that we could always rely on reasonable people to take reasonable positions and make reasonable use of power. All it takes is for an unreasonable person to attain a position of power, or even for a reasonable person to be misled by unreasonable people controlling the flow of information, for power to be abused. Put this power in the hands of a reasonable person, and his successor (or two or three) could be a religious zealot or some other kind of fanatic. I categorically find the idea of "kiddie porn" vile and disgusting; and at the same time I'm willing to bet that many families have photos of naked babies, or children in the bathtub, or teens changing in a towel on the beach, that are purely childish mementos - except that by some technical literal criteria, the nudity and age could be counted as kiddie porn. Not to mention differing cultural standards: in the US a national magazine cover can show a girl in a teeny bikini but the slightest glimpse of nipple is forbidden, while in some countries a girl needn't bother with a top at all.

"A child is a person who can't understand why someone would give away a perfectly good kitten." -- Doug Larson