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Comment: Re:not the real question (Score 1) 200

The in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems receive navigation data from the flight deck computers so they can display the moving maps and other stuff on the entertainment displays, for those passengers who want to know "where am I", "are we there yet", "is it time to reset my watch because we've crossed a time zone and I'm trying to adjust my body clock".

I would be shocked to learn that Boeing allowed the IFE to put ANY kind of data into the flight deck computers. I'd actually expect Boeing to use a one-way interface, one that transmits but does not receive: think RS-232 with one of the pins removed. I'd be almost as shocked to learn that Airbus did something like that. However, Airbus's comment about "firewalls" does not exactly inspire me to confidence in their airplanes.

That is the concerning part.

Are the systems accessible in the cabin physically and electrically isolated from all other systems from the plane? I don't think so. I think they are connected. And I think they are more connected that the companies prefer to admit.

First, are the systems physically connected? My money is on 'yes', because of the very reasons you listed. The IFEs are able to get data from SOMEWHERE, the question is where that is coming from. In computer hardware it is extremely rare to make a unidirectional connection. If nothing else you want to acknowledge receipt. They get data about the flight, they have connections for the phones for those who pay for it, they have connections for the expensive wifi connections. Do the companies really provide two duplicate sets of radios, one for the passenger data, a second duplicate set for operations data? Seems the opposite of every business I've worked with that wants to save cost.

Assuming they are connected, how are they connected? Since companies want commodity and standard equipment, I would not be shocked to see Ethernet. And if it was Ethernet, the comment that the seat boxes use a "modified Ethernet cable" is not too surprising, since the RJ45-style jacks are easily damaged. There are many more standardized sockets and jacks available, including plain old pin and head units.

That is the question whose answer I don't trust: considering how IFE systems get data about the flight, and how they like share external communication systems, it seems almost certain the systems are attached, even if it is "behind firewalls". If data can flow somehow, there is a way to communicate.

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that! (Score 2) 333

Drug cartels make money because drugs are illegal

No, drugs are regulated.

After a whole bunch of deaths, addictions, permanent damage, and otherwise destroyed lives, laws regulating medicine were established to help protect people both from scammers and also from their own ignorance. Back in the late 1800's morphine was available to anyone and was widely abused, then in 1895 Bayer launched heroin as a less addictive substitute sold directly to the public, only to have it lead to even more drug abuse problems. Drug stores were not regulated and would frequently swap out relatively expensive drugs with other compounds. Many drugs were sold as tinctures, which the store could heavily dilute with alcohol.

Too many "snake oil salesmen", too many drug abuses, too many fake drugs, too many overdoses, and over time people demanded rules and regulations.

Today there are regulations in most nations.

Chemicals that had a significant reaction are regulated, not illegal. In the US that means five different classifications of drugs, from Schedule 1 (no accepted clinical use, limited research use only), through Schedule 5 over-the-counter (readily available preparations including OTC drugs). Potentially dangerous or addictive preparations require a physician's direction. Drug stores are required to meet strict standards to ensure the exact prescribed medicine is given out rather than diluted or fake products. That is a GOOD THING. That is how you know your heart medication or allergy pill is not a sugar pill, or insulin wasn't replaced with saline, or your child's antibiotic for pneumonia wasn't swapped out with bubblegum flavored liquor.

In this case of morphine-producing yeast, that would fall under a Schedule 2 product, same as morphine, and require the same oversight to help reduce abuse and misuse of the highly addictive compounds.

Comment: Re:Assuming you are not just trolling..... (Score 2) 150

It is very difficult to 'shoot something into the sun'. You first need to get it out of the Earth's gravity, and then you need to decelerate it by 20 km/sec. This is, frankly, impossible. You might be able to put a small payload to the sun if you used a very big rocket, and did a Venus fly-by. This way you could dispose of a few kilograms at a cost of a few hundred billion dollars.

ok i'll bite, not being physicist I am curious what decelerating something by 20km/sec has to do with shooting something to the sun.

Because we orbit the Sun.

It would actually take less fuel to launch it to a distant star than to hit the nearby Sun.

We are orbiting the Sun. Anything we launch out of our orbit is also going to continue in the same path, similarly orbiting the Sun, and because it is small, drift away from the Sun. That can be leveraged to hit another star with minimum fuel consumption, although the journey would be long. Think along the lines of the Voyager probes or various other launches to locations beyond the planet.

If you want to hit the Sun you need to change its velocity so it is no longer in orbit of our star (slowing it down relative to Sun), and also push it firmly toward the Sun strong enough that it goes in. The star is not like a drain hole sucking things in, stellar winds and constant ejections push things out. It is not enough to get it outside Earth's orbit with a rail gun or other accelerator. Aiming for the Sun requires an enormous amount of energy, more than any single accelerator has made in human history.

Comment: Dislike for SJW tag (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49703887) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

I have a dislike for many SJW causes... I feel it's a disservice to associate what he's doing, which I think is a good cause, with the SJW tag.

So wait ... because you personally dislike some other social causes, you want to rename the term when it applies to causes you do like?

A bit of cognitive dissonance there. That's what the term is, so it applies. People are fighting for a cause they believe makes society better. You may or may not support that specific cause, but that doesn't change what they are doing. You may think the term SJW is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is what it is: they are fighting for social justice.

That reminds me of people who use the ACLU fighting for something is a bad thing if they dislike the issue, but a good thing if it is an issue they support; when they start talking about the ACLU you never can be sure if that is a cause they support or a cause they reject.

Comment: Re: Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49695541) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

I'm pretty sure this is not about the money. The guy is 71 years old and has is own TV show and his own radio show, plus multiple books. I seriously doubt the money is the problem.

He has accomplished all the above while he was under the oppressive yoke of his Simpsons contract - how much more freedom did he want/need?

The production company said it offered Shearer the same contract as it offered all the other cast members, but Shearer turned it down.

Shearer says he simply wanted what he always had - the freedom to work on other projects.

How can you reconcile the above?

You seem to misread.

The OLD contracts allowed all cast members to work on other projects. This is what he is fighting to keep.

The NEW contracts with cast members are more modern corporate evil, presumably requiring that everything they do in life be given to the company to profit from.

Likely given his position in life and power at the company, his specific contract was rewritten to allow him to keep working on other projects, I'm assuming he was fighting for ALL the cast members to be given the freedom present in older contracts to work on other side projects without ownership going to the corporate overlords.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49694001) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

But he was only getting $300,000 per episode before he quit. Over $7M per year.

I'm pretty sure this is not about the money. The guy is 71 years old and has is own TV show and his own radio show, plus multiple books. I seriously doubt the money is the problem.

Look at what he talks about and writes about. Even read TFA about this. His comments are about the contract terms being able to do whatever other work they want on the side.

As has been commented elsewhere, basically he is in a position to become a Social Justice Warrior on the contracts. Corporate contracts likely demand that all cast members -- except a few people in special bargaining positions -- cannot work on any other projects, or that everything they do becomes owned by the company. That is increasingly common from our corporate taskmasters who demand the opportunity to profit from anything you do outside of work, no matter how unrelated it is to the workplace.

My guess is that he wasn't negotiating just for himself, but that all the cast members be freed to work on side projects as well.

Comment: Re:Sometimes folks dont realize how lucky .... (Score 3, Informative) 214

by Frobnicator (#49693949) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

I think maybe he has the right to do something different.

Given what has been said on the various sites, that's not it.

Reading his tweets, it looks like he is rejecting it because either just him or probably the rest of the cast is getting the typical "we own your soul" style of corporate contract. ("I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work.") Maybe he's just standing up for himself, or maybe he is trying to make a stand for everyone on the team. That isn't publicly discussed.

Sadly that demand is increasingly common from corporate overlords in most jobs. Anything you do outside of work becomes owned by the company. Even if that thing is unrelated to the company's actual work, they want to claim the right to profit from anything and everything that you do at any time.

Seeing as he is 71 years old and has many side ventures, I can completely understand how such a contract would be unacceptable, and since he's financially well-off, he can afford to be somewhat of an activist for the others on the show.

As written in TFA, Shearer has created and stared in another series, is doing stage work, and has his own NPR show. They're offering $14M, but several sources are claiming (and others contradicting but still mentioning) that comes with a handcuff about continuing all his other side projects, or that others in the team have those handcuffs but they were offering to release just him.

Comment: Some 'Things' more valuable than others (Score 4, Interesting) 131

by Frobnicator (#49677269) Attached to: Beware the Ticking Internet of Things Security Time Bomb

Periodically some "things" on the IoT get revealed as publicly accessible. Cameras and conference room equipment particularly have caused problems in the past.

In homes, it may be some lolz to mess with lights of a stranger. It may be costly to the homeowner when someone modifies the HVAC settings to crank the programmable thermostat during the day. A skript kiddie could cause a neighborhood to all lose their AC compressors, and then we're talking tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands in some areas.

Controlling your television may not seem very creepy, but could be used as presence detection to see how long it takes for someone to turn it off or turn down the loud volume. Cameras on TVs are a great combination if thieves can guess your neighborhood, then identify your house, then identify you are not home.

Similarly with garage doors. That industry has come a long way, in the 70s and 80s you could get a universal garage door remote that would work on many homes in a neighborhood, some thieves would clean out the garages and close the door when done. New IoT garage remote controllers lack the basic protections implemented decades ago.

And most obviously, security cameras in and around a home are increasingly common as an IoT item. Do you REALLY want those images out there?

Many ISPs make it rather easy to iterate through neighborhoods as they provide convenient DNS access like A quick scan of a town to find all the customers with open security cameras, a bit of time to identify the homes in that neighborhood that look interesting on camera and have a few open IoT devices... and you've got a loot schedule. Most of the scans could be easily automated, only requiring some human criminals to look at them once they've found a neighborhood with enough interesting devices exposed.

Comment: Re:April 1st comes again?!?!? (Score 4, Interesting) 27

I'm more amazed that Ed signed up.

But seriously between this, and the moves that the FCC will actually implement Title 2 protections to uphold Net Neutrality, my hopes for humanity (and the US Govt in general) have gone up a bit.

Since it is an opportunity to hopefully make some improvements, I cannot imagine him turning it down.

I'm not exactly sure what a Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer does, other than that he would be #4 or #5 down the pecking order (at least) in the CTO list, below Megan Smith and the others.

I'd be interested in knowing how much he worked to get the job. Some of these require quite a lot of politicking to get the position, other positions are recommended by external groups.

I also was slightly surprised by the announcement, but considering just how low my hopes are for the federal government, I don't imagine much change. I can imagine Ed Felton getting frustrated with just how little power the position actually has. Mr Obama has gone through three CTOs already, and most of them can list their biggest achievements as "making web sites for the government". Mr Chopra basically made web-accessible veterans health records, Mr Park built, and Ms Smith is mostly just trying to clean up messes on their web sites.

Comment: Comey:"justice may be denied" (Score 4, Interesting) 241

by Frobnicator (#49644625) Attached to: James Comey: the Man Who Wants To Outlaw Encryption

From TFA: Comey said in an Oct. 2014 speech "Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive." I can somewhat understand that from an investigator's perspective.

But my take is that lots of people are constantly attacking my devices, from the petty skript kiddies to corporations wanting secrets to the NSA who wants everything. Most of the attacks never see justice, they are never prosecuted. There is no justice in most cases, only criminals who break in.

If my devices are properly hardened in advance, I don't need to wait for the government to apply "justice".

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 1) 553

by Frobnicator (#49617753) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Here's a visualization of her layoffs at HP

To be fair, I wouldn't mind some massive government layoffs.

A few hundred thousand NSA contractors doing surveillance, about 50,000 TSA agents who make people not want to fly, and some serious tax reform could eliminate the need for a few hundred thousand IRS workers. (The Lee-Rubio tax reform plan is much less terrible than the current tax mess, removing most of the deductions, credits, exemptions, and exclusions abused by businesses and individuals, and includes dumping lots of IRS workers.)

Couple it up with some H1B reform dropping anywhere from a quarter to a half of the 140,000 of the H1B visa jobs.

Round it out by firing a bunch of high-level and mid-level people in the agencies suffering from regulatory capture, but those can be filled with new people with an emphasis on avoiding capture.

So a half million or so workers. The layoffs will sting for a few months, but they'll make the country better.

For those, I'd mirror her comments "I would have done them all faster."

Comment: Re: Secrets (Score 3) 94

It's called discovery! And it's required under the law. You can't hide evidence or its provenance from the defense!!!

In theory that is true.

In practice, many people cannot afford an extensive legal fight and settle quickly. Those who do actually go through the courts --- only about 3% in the federal system --- often learn during discovery that the initial reports came by anonymous sources.

Anonymous sources are tricky. A single anonymous source is not considered reliable enough to issue a warrant, but is reliable enough to investigate. Two different anonymous sources can be enough to meet probable cause (People v. Coulombe (2001)).

So as has been documented several times, one government agency, such as the NSA, will observe some illegal behavior but they are not allowed to prosecute. If the information is traced back to them during discovery then the unlawful search or unusable information would be dropped, so they give an anonymous tip to local law enforcement, reporting all the details they are able. Local law enforcement gets the anonymous tip, investigates, finds exactly what the tip said was there, and arrests them all. When questioned about their sources, law enforcement can pull out the records of an anonymous tip, mention that the reporter refused to give their name and that is why they investigated.

It isn't always that the source itself is unlawful. There are many types of lawful recordings and intercepts but during the course of the investigation they hear about other items. Due to the scope of their work they may be legally forbidden from following those other leads.

The term is "parallel construction". Usually the local police either are unaware that the report came from another agency or unlawful search, or they suspect it did but keep their mouths shut. With a successful parallel construction there is no evidence to be uncovered during discovery. The person making the report is careful to leave no evidence connecting their report (which would taint the entire case) that the local officers could discover.

Several cases have been several cases recently where officers were caught attempting to use parallel construction (and failing at it) when data came from these devices.

Comment: Re:It wasn't the tweet (Score 2) 185

by Frobnicator (#49581195) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

This doesn't quite make sense to me. Assuming the bots are smart enough to parse the earnings reports (highly plausible) wouldn't they react the same as if it were a proper release?

There tend to be many additional news stories that temper the results. The markets close at 4:00 PM. That is exactly the moment when the reports leave embargo. Within an hour or so there are human-considered reports hitting the news, and by the time the markets open at 9:30 AM the next day there is plenty of context to place around it.

In this case the bots only get a single source of information and instantly react. Then they are in a hyper-sensitive feedback loop and notice what other bots are doing, selling millions of stock based on a single data point.

When the markets are closed overnight the bots see news articles with both positive and negative reactions, with good words and bad words, building up many different data points, and they tend to take more balanced reactions.

Comment: Re:It wasn't the tweet (Score 4, Interesting) 185

by Frobnicator (#49580499) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

The thing is wall street speculation is now highly automated. ... and cause a sell-off run much more efficiently than humans reading twitter ever could.

This is exactly what triggered it. The page was up for forty five seconds. 45 seconds is not enough for humans to read and understand it, but that is plenty of time for bots.

During that 45 seconds, assorted stock-trading bots picked up on it, scanned it, and sold over 3M units, or $153M, of their stock. That's over 30x their normal trading levels.

The huge uptick in stock sales triggered another bunch of automated trades, and over the next 18 minutes they had more trades than they had seen all quarter -- the last trade spike that big was after their last earnings report, when the price jumped from about $37/share to around $50/share.

Then, about 18 minutes after the brief posting, trading stopped because of the anomaly. It is normally an effective tactic when trading bots go crazy.

20 minutes later trading was resumed for the remaining half hour of the day. There were over two million trades per minute over that half hour, and the stock price continued dropping from $51.24 to $42.27, with a slow but steady drop today down to $38.49. Days like this make me laugh at stupid investors. No point in selling now, the value is already lost. It is unlikely another bombshell will be dropped. Selling just reinforces your losses.

Of course, if you're a long term investor you'll note that nothing about the company changed; no deals were cancelled and they are still growing in ways that matter. Their stock is low, making it a good value to pick up.

Comment: Re:IE 6 (Score 2) 218

by Frobnicator (#49564975) Attached to: JavaScript Devs: Is It Still Worth Learning jQuery?

In my experience, I haven't noticed any issues on mobile devices for websites using jQuery.

I can list of plenty of mobile websites with horrible experiences that use jQuery.

But I would not say jQuery itself is the reason for that.

jQuery itself is not inherently a problem. It can be leveraged to do many memory-hungry and processing-heavy actions that break mobile browsers, but that's not jQuery's fault. People can make memory-hungry and processing-heavy PC-centric websites using many different tools.

A good supervisor can step on your toes without messing up your shine.