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Comment In favor (Score 2) 270

I'm in favor of TPP, and of trade agreements generally. Consider the case of NAFTA, as an example that is less broad in scope and yet similarly reviled. We can now look at it in a bit of an historical perspective.

The populist arguments against NAFTA have generally been that it "enriches corporations, at the expense of American jobs". While it eased Canadian-US trade somewhat, the most visible effect of NAFTA was that US-Mexican trade was eased to the point that hundreds of maquiladoras (manufacturing facilities) sprung up close to the US border. Among other changes, Mexico has now become a top-10 exporter of automobiles.

The maquiladoras have enhanced the lives of many millions of Mexicans. Meanwhile, it had a mixed effect on the USA, in particular pressuring hundreds of thousands of US autoworkers. Benefits to the US were much more diffuse than the lost autoworker jobs, leading many people to conclude those benefits were negligible. That's a common policy-maker's problem, where a special-interest group (here, US autoworkers) holds policy or public opinion hostage to its interests because the incremental advantage of good policy is, while larger in aggregate, thinly spread among a large constituency. It's quite recognizable in, for example, the activities of the sugar lobby on influencing congressional lawmakers.

Such lobbies, by the way, are a big reason trade agreements must be negotiated privately, keeping details hidden from the public. Otherwise, special interest groups end up completely destroying the process while negotiations are underway. Remember, sugar tariffs are very good for the sugar lobby.

While I appreciate patriotism, I personally feel that we should be trying to make life better for humanity in general, rather than greedily holding onto wealth in the USA. Taking at face value the Wharton study quoted above, the USA was able to enrich Mexicans at zero cost to itself. From that point of view, similar trade agreements are nearly a moral imperative!

Coming back to TPP, it has some leaked aspects that I think are truly terrible, such as the intellectual freedom troubles. Those criticisms I consider reasonable, and I can appreciate why that would cause an informed and intelligent person to oppose the TPP. On the other hand, a kind of knee-jerk hatred to trade agreements in general appears to drive much of the opposition, and I think of those anti-trade arguments as having no moral standing, just like the ones put forth by the sugar lobby.

On balance, then, I think the benefits to human happiness worldwide from even an agreement with flawed and overly-broad terms will outweigh the serious problems, but I can see how intellectual freedom considerations might make you feel otherwise.

Comment More interesting password set (Score 1) 146

Once the cracked passwords have been published (presumably by somebody other than Cynosure) they will be analyzed by many of the same people who looked at the LinkedIn passwords and other such databases.

It's going to be interesting to find out

  • What rules people are using for choosing passwords, 3 years after well-publicized hacks
  • Whether the Ashley Madison passwords are in general more secure
  • Which website had the more secure password, for users with accounts on both and differing passwords

Spoken Language Could Tap Into "Universal Code" 83

sciencehabit writes: While we know a lot about language but we know relatively little about how speech developed. Most linguists agree that a combination of movement and sound like grunts and pointing probably got us started, but how we decided which sounds to use for different words remains a mystery. Now, an experimental game has shown that speakers of English might use qualities like the pitch and volume of sounds to describe concepts like size and distance when they invent new words. If true, some of our modern words may have originated from so-called iconic, rather than arbitrary, expression—a finding that would overturn a key theory of language evolution.

Comment Re:Neutrino study wasn't necessarily bad science (Score 4, Informative) 444

Some of you may be visiting that Amazon link and wondering how the hell weilawei ended up spending $1,000 on a book ("Ignition!"). The book is too wonderful to be limited to the big spenders. Search for it online and you will find a PDF easily enough. It's an awesome read.

Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain 154

schwit1 writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the explosion of a star that does not fit into any theory for stellar evolution. "The exploding star, which was seen in the constellation Eridanus, faded over two weeks — much too rapidly to qualify as a supernova. The outburst was also about ten times fainter than most supernovae, explosions that destroy some or all of a star. But it was about 100 times brighter than an ordinary nova, which is a type of surface explosion that leaves a star intact. 'The combination of properties is puzzling,' says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. 'I thought about a number of possibilities, but each of them fails' to account for all characteristics of the outburst, he adds." We can put this discovery on the bottom of a very long list of similar discoveries by Hubble, which this week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its launch.

Why I Choose PostgreSQL Over MySQL/MariaDB 320

Nerval's Lobster writes For the past ten years, developers and tech pros have made a game of comparing MySQL and PostgreSQL, with the latter seen by many as technically superior. Those who support PostgreSQL argue that its standards support and ACID compliance outweighs MySQL's speed. But MySQL remains popular thanks to its inclusion in every Linux Web hosting package, meaning that a mind-boggling number of Web developers have used it. In a new article, developer David Bolton compares MySQL/MariaDB 5.7.6 (released March 9, 2015) with PostgreSQL 9.4.1 and thinks the latter remains superior on several fronts, including subqueries, JSON support, and better licensing and data integrity: "I think MySQL has done a great job of improving itself to keep relevant, but I have to confess to favoring PostgreSQL."

Comment Re: Does It Matter? (Score 3, Insightful) 288

Not many free options for devs on a mac or windows box. vmware isn't free

How is vmware not free? They have free products for both baremetal and desktop virtualization. vmware player has been able to create new VMs for six years now.

I think the only feature missing from Player that any significant number of people would care about is snapshots.

You are correct for Windows, but VMWare Player does not exist for OSX. They only publish Fusion.

GNU is Not Unix

Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc 211

An anonymous reader writes: A very serious security problem has been found and patched in the GNU C Library (Glibc). A heap-based buffer overflow was found in __nss_hostname_digits_dots() function, which is used by the gethostbyname() and gethostbyname2() function calls. A remote attacker able to make an application call to either of these functions could use this flaw to execute arbitrary code with the permissions of the user running the program. The vulnerability is easy to trigger as gethostbyname() can be called remotely for applications that do any kind of DNS resolving within the code. Qualys, who discovered the vulnerability (nicknamed "Ghost") during a code audit, wrote a mailing list entry with more details, including in-depth analysis and exploit vectors.

8 Catfish = 1 Octo-puss