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Comment: Just like speed traps (Score 3, Insightful) 109

by swb (#48644441) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

They always seem to put speed traps where it's easy to catch speeders versus where speed control would improve safety, such as places with high levels of speed related accidents.

The latter are often difficult to place speed traps or don't offer good cover for squad cars and the former are often places where it's easy to go faster or where the speed limits are artificially low.

Comment: Re:Media blackout (Score 1) 536

by Pseudonym (#48639349) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

A major games journalist was having an affair with a game developer, and this was confirmed.

First off, thank you for conceding that is the entire extent of the initial story: two people working in the same industry had sex.

What didn't happen, and this was also confirmed (both by timelines and testimony) was trading of "sexual favors for goods or services rendered", as the other AC claimed.

"Zoe Quinn is a bad girlfriend" is not a story that Slashdot would take any interest in.

Have people suddenly forgotten about Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris?

No, nobody has forgotten that Saville and Harris sexually abused children in their care. What are you accusing games journalists of now?

Comment: Re:Hardware Security (Score 2) 83

Even the phone company used to do it wrong.

Before I left for college in '85, we had a second phone line (which basically became my line). When I went away, my parents got it disconnected. When I came home the first summer I didn't know it was disconnected. I connected my phone back to the jack and sure enough, had a dialtone.

I made calls for several weeks until my friends kept complaining that my number didn't work, said it was disconnected. I called Ma Bell and found out it was disconnected!

The line from our house to the pole-mounted junction box was still there but the pair for "my" line got repurposed for an additional line in the neighborhood and nobody ever thought to remove the extra jumper.

Comment: Re:Hope they win this case. (Score 3, Informative) 463

by swb (#48632557) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

I kind of doubt it. States enjoy sovereign immunity thanks to the 11th Amendment and generally can't be sued by other states.

Without this, you would have all manner of lawsuits about neighboring states tax laws, liquor and cigarette control regimes, abortion, etc. Bigger states could dominate smaller states via sheer resources.

Comment: Arrest increase because they're looking for it? (Score 5, Interesting) 463

by swb (#48632505) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Chappell, NE is a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it town of 929 on I-80 between North Platte, NE and Cheyenne, Wyoming. A 400% increase in felony drug arrests sounds like a lot, but how many felony drug arrests could there ever have been in a town of 929? Did we go from 1 to 4?

I also wonder how many shitkicker rural sheriffs in neighboring states went on full batshit alert once Colorado legalized it and began pulling over every car they could with out of state license plates coming from Colorado, knowing that they would hit paydirt on at least some of them? You can pretty easily create your own crisis if you start looking for it.

To be fair to the sheriffs, I don't doubt there is some increased amount of pot leaving Colorado -- it's a tourist destination even without pot and it wouldn't surprise me at all if people who go there for other reasons (like skiing or other outdoor activities) decide to bring some home.

It also wouldn't surprise me if some people went there specifically to bring some home, although from what I've been told the retail pricing isn't all that competitive on a dollar basis with black market pot and the economics of driving cross-country to pick up a couple of ounces of weed don't seem to lend themselves to a lot of people deciding to make that trip.

I don't think you can factor in any kind of organized criminal enterprises into these complaints -- that was a "problem" *before* it was legalized. Bitching about it now because you're frothed up about pot legalization and seeing it everywhere you look just seems paranoid.

Comment: Re:Core business? (Score 3, Interesting) 219

by swb (#48630185) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

I thnk their core business WAS the web directory but that seemed to become irrelevent and less useful once Google came around. Their age and size has allowed them a certain amount of inertia with users who simply don't know or care for anything better.

I think there's some value in a high-quality curated web directory. Given what Wikipedia accomplishes with volunteers and no advertising, I would think that Yahoo could have come up with some way to basically pay people to browse the web and curate a directory given the money they have to spend.

Google search is better in some regards and use cases but in some ways, if it isn't on the first page of results it probably won't be useful, especially if you don't know what to search for or are looking for a class of information or type of web site.

But they seemed to have given up on that in favor of "web services" which they probably can't ever compete with. Their technology isn't competitive, they don't have any media clout and nothing unique to offer.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 1) 391

by swb (#48624577) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

I agree with this in principle, but I worry that there's a certain naivete to it -- making surveillance harder will not cause the security apparatus to give up mass surveillance.

In a world with only limited use of encryption, surveillance was generally a matter of just listening, and targets that used encryption were either immune because of the extra effort and/or low profile but if they were high enough profile, they were attacked through other more resource intensive vectors.

In a world of mass encryption, the security apparatus will instead attack the infrastructure of encryption -- root CAs, encryption technologies and software, neutralizing the value of encryption and eliminating the utility value of it while retaining all the costs to the implementer (CAs, extra CPU cycles, complexity, etc). I think it also destroys trust in some existential way, which may be one of the worst aspects of this.

I think the entire encryption system needs to become decentralized in some way that forces attacks on encryption to be more difficult. Locally generated keys without the need for centralized trust seems to be part of the solution, but the existing CA system provides the trust component making it more difficult to rely on random keys.

Comment: Re:Why not ask the authors of the GPL Ver.2? (Score 1) 173

by Pseudonym (#48623689) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

It would lock up much software as then each person who contributed is basically a copyright holder and can sue under that.

That's true of the Linux kernel. It's not true of most GPL'd code, which is almost all available under GPL version X (for some X) "or (at your option) any later version".

Comment: Re:Muslims? (Score 1) 875

by Pseudonym (#48622957) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

But one Breivik is newsworthy only because it's such a rare occurrence.


I'm glad someone said it. Breivik was a rare occurrence. 9/11 was a rare occurrence. Fort Hood was a rare occurrence. The random nutter with a gun in Sydney is a rare occurrence. All crimes of this nature are rare occurrences. That is why they are remarkable, and that is why we take note of them.

When drones take out a whole street in Pakistan, nobody pays attention, because this is not a rare occurrence.

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.