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Comment Re:Classified Data (Score 1) 218 218

We can be fairly sure that the NSA has some serial dedicated hardware for cracking common encryption systems like AES. They will still be reliant on things like dictionary attacks because brute-forcing the entire keyspace is impractical (unless they have quantum computers).

How should we react to that? Well, obviously we need a good password that can resist dictionary attacks. Beyond that, unless you are a big enough perceived threat to warrant time on an expensive computer you probably don't have to worry too much. They certainly won't be using it to help out the FBI, risking its existence coming to light.

Maybe. Based on the documentaries that have been made, it's pretty clear that the NSA used their phone-metadata-recording to help the FBI locate the Boston Bomber, despite the risk that it would become public. (Which is did shortly thereafter but for other reasons--i.e. Snowden).

The FBI does domestic counterterror. The NSA is the big bad in terms of not seeing the inherent bad and threat to democracy in snooping on everyone's communications, sure, but they're still trying to be good guys and so they'll share information sometimes when they see a good result from doing so.

Comment Classified Data (Score 4, Interesting) 218 218

What would the existence of an exascale supercomputer mean for today's popular encryption/hashing algorithms?


My first thought was the new addition will be tasked by the NSA/FiveEyes to break encryption for intercepted communications.

Why are you assuming they don't already have one doing that, and this is just a public version?

There is a lot of highly secured government data infrastructure out there that I hear about even though not inquiring. The cable in Virginia that gets cut by a backhoe accidentally and guys in a black van show up ten minutes later. The contract for a government data center inside a faraday cage. The government likely already has much more computing power available than we know about.

Comment Tiny, tiny hands. (Score 1) 683 683

It's convenient. You might be typing with one hand, for example. Please don't take the caps lock away from me because you want everything to be popular.

There are two shift keys. Unless you have tiny, tiny hands, you can reach one of them with one hand that also reaches the key you want to shift. It's not even terrible hard--much easier, for example, than a one-octave split on a piano.

Comment Cable System (Score 2) 142 142

Acceptable margin of error for the identified height detection methods, whereas you could use simpler height detection methods if you were closer to the ground.

As to complex ideas, I fully expect there are lots of legitimate challenges to my proposal that may make it unworkable or that may challenge existing assumptions. That's fine; that's why we propose ideas. So other smart people can tear them down and propose *better* ideas. Or can have their assumptions challenged, like asking questions about how we tell how high off the ground something is.

There is no way it makes sense to let private drones go over Manhattan and not be mostly bound to roads, for example. Medium-sized cities likewise might be able to accommodate a drone infrastructure bound to roads but should probably not be dealing with drones in free-flight. Of course, you might also be able to have drones hook into a cable system once they reach a certain area...

Comment 15-25 (Score 3, Interesting) 142 142

100 feet of buffer is inadequate. How the hell do you measure your AGL when you're flying? You either use a radar altimeter ($25K installed on an airplane worth $20K) or you use the baro altimeter, which has an acceptable calibration error, plus the local altimeter setting (atmospheric pressure) which has an error band, and there's error because you're not right over the reporting station. 1000' is the minimum instrument separation. Bezos just wants to steal a band of airspace. I say give him 0' to 10' AGL, just like a UPS truck.

No, but how bout you give him 20-30' so long as he stays over a road, and limit windspeed and weather conditions he can operate in? Sink a billion or so into detecting wires and other obstacles over roadways. Now you've got a second level road and he's flying higher than vehicles but lower than aerial vehicles. It's inefficient compared to full use of airspace but still faster than regular traffic.

Comment Not the best summary... (Score 3, Interesting) 195 195

The idea is that if you vaccinate people but they still get the disease and don't get it as badly, they might not die as quickly, or might not die.

So if they get sick but don't die, the disease has longer to spread.

So I suppose if you're an Anti-vaxxer it's a great argument for why only you should get vaccinated for highly virulent diseases, but you should just let everyone else die faster.

Comment Private Laws (Score 1) 292 292

Also, the Court will probably want the law to be accessible, so they'll likely find some logic to rule against the state.

Pretty much every state in the country has annotated laws that are owned by a private company under some kind of agreement with the state. The private company puts some money into indexing them, may have an el cheapo version available online, and charges very mysterious pricing for commercial use that varies by who your sales rep is and how big you are and the like. Physical copies may also be available.

In New York, for example, McKinney's costs about $10,500 for a physical copy: http://legalsolutions.thomsonr...

You can go to a library that has it, of course, but it's pretty ridiculous in today's day and age that you need to go to a library to get access to a law.

It's kind of like the building code--basically a group of experts is involved so the state lets them copyright the laws and sell them rather than having the state *pay* them for their work and make the result free.

Comment Customers Let Them (Score 1) 117 117

And yet any time someone suggestes stronger regulation the entire IT community comes out up in arms and shouts "free market".

The greatest strength of the IT industry is that it's essentially unregulated allowing it to be nimble and to take risks.

The greatest weakness of the IT industry is that it's essentially unregulated allowing companies to shit all over thier customers.

They are able to do that because customers let them. If you want to use app X, you give app X access to way more information than app X needs, because consumers fundamentally don't care enough that apps compete on the basis of privacy.

There's a little difference in the enterprise space, of course. But on the consumer side, people just don't care.

Comment Re:Why is the President a Target? (Score 1) 169 169

Look, I can understand a few scattered crazies who would like to assassinate the president. But when thousands of people, groups, regions, countries, religions all over the world want to take him out, some serious self-contemplation is in order.

They don't. There are not thousands of countries, nor (probably) religions. Thousands of people want to kill you--or at least would kill you, which isn't quite the same thing--if you give the order to bomb them. The US bombs groups, generally ones that do things that suck, and then those people encourage their friends to want to kill the US.

That doesn't mean US drone policy couldn't use a hard look--it could--but just because thousands of people want to kill you doesn't mean you are in need of serious contemplation. Thousands of people wanted to kill pretty much every head of state in history whose country was involved in a way.

Comment Uglier and Comparing Genocides (Score 2) 169 169

>> Ugliest Corners of the threats to the president and his family

How is this uglier than child prostitution, the rapid increase of murder in inner cities, or...?

I get that some level of executive security is probably a good thing, but does the Secret Service really need 1,500 people on staff?

It's not so much that it's *worse* than those things. It's certainly not worth than sex trafficking, for example, where you get these kids raped fifteen times a day. (Read "River of Innocents" to learn more, for example, or Kevin Bales' or Victor Malarek's books).

Fighting over what's "worst" or "ugliest" or so on is like fights over whose genocide is worse, or who has the most messed up family. At the end of the day it's pretty silly and it's usually a waste of time because you could be trying to deal with those problems rather than fighting about how to classify them. So let's accept "ugliest" as a rhetorical inaccuracy and move on.

Because a lot of it pretty goddamn ugly, and they should be able to say it. Reading a single white supremacist website and it's like eating this vile filth that makes you want the whole country to take a shower. It must suck to be the SS agent who *has* to read that shit for his job. I'm sure you professionally detach a bit while having to pretend to relate and are actually able to go after some of the fuckers, so it's not as terrible as it could be, but it's still pretty ugly.

Comment Re:Do we care? (Score 1) 245 245

So long as uber abides by all the laws regarding safety and insurance, the same laws as taxi companies have to, then it should be okay.

Two things to keep in mind - uber is owned by assholes. And it isn't ride SHARING if you are paying for it. Other than that, carry on.

We care because established players use regulatory capture to stop new and better business models, and a lot of those supposedly safety and insurance related laws are BS put there by the established players that vary from place to place.

Comment It depends on your theory of value (Score 2) 129 129

You should only pay out on pay-per-click, and even then, the payout should be largely affected by how long that user stayed after clicking an ad, whether they bought anything, etc.

Under a Lochean earned income theory of value (i.e. you should get paid for what you earn), paying an advertiser based on how successful you are at *retaining* customers sent your way seems wrong in most cases. The advertiser is then earning or not earning money based on how good of a job *you* are doing at retaining customers, rather than based on how good of a job *they* are doing at sending you customers.

There is one relevant component there still which is whether they are sending you the *right* customers, but usually we measure that by demographics and income rather than by the metric of how long they stay on your site, which is much more dependent on whether *you* are doing a good job retaining customers.

On the other hand, if you are determining what the advertiser should be paid based just on the free-market whatever-we-agree to idea, then you can pay them based on anything you both agree to, including the number of elephants who would fit in your living room. Most advertisers don't sell advertising based on how effective they are at getting customers to buy things, though--that's what salespeople do, and our society tends to make a significant distinction between sales and advertising.

Comment How dare they! (Score 2) 82 82

Until it can seamlessly change the words I'm saying, as I'm saying them, into the receivers language without so much as a configuration nor without talking over the top of me, it is not the Star Trek Universal Translator.

Yeah. How dare a tech company be aspirational.

"Don't catch any bugs!" --Klingon border sentry to Enterprise

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten