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Comment: Re:NSA can recruit Patriots! (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by HiThere (#49383637) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

If you actually ARE a Greek, then this sense.

If you believe in the values of the US Constitution, then Snowden is NOT a traitor (which is explicitly defined). And also his acts were in support of the Constitution, which is supposed to be the entire basis of the Federal government. That he revealed the current officeholders to be liars and oathbreakers is *not* a strike against him. I won't go into just how unconstitutional I believe the actions of the current and immediately prior government to be, but the only way they've been able to justify their actions are by requiring you to believe, essentially, that blue was yellow.

Comment: Re:So, should I just read reddit? (Score 1) 97

by HiThere (#49383565) Attached to: Thousand-Year-Old Eye Salve Kills MRSA

The thing is, that salve was intended for external use only. You *don't* put garlic, e.g., into your body, except for your digestive tract. And brass is a pretty good germicide all on its own, so perhaps some of the other parts of the mixture were to make the brass biologically available. The wine is probably to thin the mixture so that its penetrating (and alcohol is a pretty good germicide). Etc.

As an external salve this probably has some pretty reasonable uses...thick enough to be sticky, thin enough to be penetrating, and quite germicidal in multiple ways. It's also likely to give you heavy metal poisoning if you use too much of it too frequently, so dosage will be important. I don't know what the leeks do for the mixture, but they probably add texture while also being a yet different form of germicide.

It clearly isn't a mixture I would have thought of, but when pointed out it seems quite an external ointment for very occasional use. You could probably improve it by adding a bit of iodine or bromine...but that might cause the dissolved metallic salts I'm presuming to be present to percipitate, so maybe not.

As for this being the basis for a new class of drugs...I doubt that. It sounds rather like a mixuter of drugs already known to be effective, and one that's just a bit dangerous to use (though not as dangerous as MRSA).

Comment: Re:Just use Python. (Score 1) 179

IIUC, TIOBE measures amount of discussion rather than use, applications, or anything objectively useful. So, OK, I can agree that a lot of people are talking about .NET. I'm talking about it, and I have ZERO interest in using it until it's included in the Debian package repository (which will mean I'm willing to trust its license). OTOH, I actively develop in 3-4 languaes, not all of which are from the Debian repository, but all of which I have reasonable trust in. And I occasionally dip my fingers in 3-4 more languages, which means I am willing to install them. Because they have licenses that I have reason to trust. (I'm not saying a reasonable license is the only requirement, but it's one of the set of minimal features before I'll even look at it.)

FWIW, my top 3 languages are D, Python, and Java. Ruby is in 4th place. I also occasionally look at Fortran, Haxe, Eiffel, Racket Scheme, SBCL, Squeak, etc. So my not being willing to look at C# is a strong indictment of the license. This doesn't mean my assessment is correct, but if MS issues a license that has ANY uncertain questions about it, I won't trust the license. Twice bitten, thrice shy.

Comment: Re:Nothing new here (Score 1) 179

I don't know about the Java that you're using, but the one that I'm using uses the GPL license. I find that *much* closer to what I want. (The AGPL3 license is pretty near exactly what I want.)

OTOH, there are Java Libraries from Oracle that are more restricted. I don't use them.
Well, to be honest I've currently switched development from Java to D, but it's not because of licensing issues.

Comment: Re:The future is now. (Score 1) 149

by HiThere (#49381249) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race?

That's not at all clear. Mammals still get viruses and infections, and they've been fighting that battle for millions of years. In fact one arguement justifying the existence of sex is that it's to allow multicellular creatures to evolve fast enough to stave off most parasites. I'm not sure I believe it, but it's true that when asexual multicellular creatures evolve they generally go extinct fairly quickly. (Except for bdelloid rotifers...which are pretty small, and have rapid generations, and also engage in gene sharing in a manner analogous to that used by bacteria.)

But the evidence from analogy is that this war cannot be won. By either side. If one side took to using only ROM of OS code, and that of standard applications (and not allowing any others), somebody would figure out how to infect the factory that was buring the ROMs.

Comment: Re:Not sure, if this is "news for nerds" (Score 1) 119

Sorry, but Amazon took over the market by operating at a deficit for decades. I've heard that they are still operating at a deficit, which, if true, is frankly amazing. How *do* they stay in business.

When most companies use this policy (pricing below the cost of service) the governments put them out of business. Somehow Amazon is allowed to "prosper". (I'm not sure that proper is the right term if they're actually still operating at a deficit. I know they did for over a decade, as there used to be many financial people commenting about it.)

Comment: Re:Proof (Score 1) 134

While that's reasonable circumstantial evidence, I don't know that it couldn't have been done by someone else, and the balance of the opinion seems to be that it, indeed, could be done by someone else.

OTOH, it's not clear who else would have a motive. And, governments not being any more monolithic that corporations, it could quite well have been some department (or actor within a department) acting without any knowledge by the official spokesman, and either with, or without, approval by higher organizational figures. And you can't tell. And that's *assuming* (without proof) that China, in some meaning of the term, was behind the attack.

So were I to guess, I'd guess that it was probably China behind the attack, and the spokesman for China didn't know. But please note that this is a guess with a lot of unverifiable assumptions, and I wouldn't even want to guess how much probability to assign it.

Comment: Re:Plausible Deniability (Score 3, Insightful) 134

Well, it's actually quite plausible. That doesn't mean you should believe it. Lots of things are believable that aren't true.

The interesting thing is, I can't think of how they could either make it believable that they did it or that they didn't do it. In some things there are no good grounds for having a belief in either (any) direction.

The thing is, all the governments I've paid any attention to lie so often that you would do well to use a roulette wheel to decide HOW they are lying in any particular statement. And "They're telling the truth" would be the 00 slot of the wheel. But belief should occur only when there is reasonably grounded evidence...and then it shouldn't be committed belief, because governments are quite able to fabricate evidence when they find it worth the effort.

Comment: Re:Exiting (Score 2) 308

by HiThere (#49374313) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

It has certainly been reported as happening multiple times, and, given the known corruption of the police, is quite believable.

OTOH, these weren't police. This was a military base. I've never heard it claimed in that situation (though I'm rather sure it has happened). In most circumstances the guards are quite civil, even when you don't know the procedures. But they are armed and under orders to use such force as is necessary...including lethal force.

It's my expectation that, if the full story ever becomes known, it will turn out to be some sort of drug deal, and that the people leaving were high. It may well turn out that they had the right to be leaving, but that wouldn't give them the right to pass the guard without following procedures.

Comment: Re:Han shot first. (Score 1) 308

by HiThere (#49374253) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

Two distinct things here:
1) It was a violent assault on a military gatepost, and deserved an armed response. (I question the desireability of lethal, as it's much better if they can answer questions afterwards.)
2) It was not a shootout. Only one side gave evidence of having guns, and I have heard no claim by anyone knowledgeable that the assaulter had guns.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 1) 220

by HiThere (#49373935) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

If you're going to do it on a large scale, why use solar cells rather than mirrors and steam engines. You do loose some power in transmission, agreed, but I think steam engines are probably a better approach than solar cells when you start talking about a large system. The problem is reradiation, because space is an excellent insulator, so you're going to need either a huge radiator or a working fluid with a low temperature difference. (You clearly can't void the fluid the way terrestial steam engines do.) Some people talk about a Stirling engine, but because of the heat loss problem I don't think that would work. Water is good in many ways, but heavy. Perhaps ammonia would be better.

And there's also the question of who benefits? If the main goal is to be able to transmit power to other sattelites in orbit this can be a reasonable thing, and might even be reasonable with solar cells. If you're doing it for customers on earth, you need a geostationary orbit, which means huge transmission problems, or a fairly low orbit which means huge alignment problems, and the need for several power sattelites. (The transmission problems, though lower, are still large.)

Comment: Re:Tax (Score 1) 427

by HiThere (#49373797) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

10% is a HUGE number in this kind of situation. It would probably be safer to do it over a decade at 1%/year decrease, but that would probably get cancelled (if it ever happened in the first place) before it ever went to completion. Huge changes like that are economically dangerous, and should ideally be done slowly. The problem is if you try to do them slowly, those who don't like them have time to get them cancelled before they happen (which is easier than either reinsating them or maintaining control over the entire decade).

The whole system is designed for the benefit of those currently powerful. (Well, actually those who were powerful during the last several decades, but that changes slowly enough that mostly they are the same people.)

Comment: Re:Let's see (Score 1) 427

by HiThere (#49373731) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Sorry, my "his" referred to the "GGP", but your "his" referred to the "GGGP". The guy talking about sewers blackflowing was, as you read, talking about sea level rise. An answering post explained that it was due to land subsidence due to draining the aquifers. (And I may have the number of intervening posts incorrect in my GG..P nomenclature, but I *do* have the order correct.)

And so far the sea level rise is measured in inches, which is only significant in unusual events...such as when a hurricane passes by. Or a Tsunami. Or... well, other really unusual things, not things like tides.

Comment: Re:Game Over (Score 1) 427

by HiThere (#49368037) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

I think you underestimate the effects, though causal proof is going to be lacking. (Can't prove, e.g., that this prediction isn't caused by overfishins.) Fish are dying out. So are all sea animals that depend on a calcium skeleton. This is because increased carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water makes it more energetically expensive to extract calcium for the skeleton from the sea water. So I'm also talking about corals. Jellyfish will do well. So will some small animal (you need a magnifying glass, but not a microscope) that use silicon skeletons. Sharks and rays may do alright, but may need to adapt their diet.

On land many plants will not be able to be grown where they have traditionally been grown, but others will do ok. Many plants will become lower in protein and higher in starches as carbohydrates become energetically easier to build. diseases never before heard of will spread from the tropics. Etc.
(N.B.: Some of these predictions are sure things, because they are already happening.) Weather patterns will become more irregular, causing both more dorughts and more floods, longer heat waves and longer cold spells...and in these last two longer often translates into more extreme. Lots of other effects, mainly small, mainly difficult to causally tie to climate change (i.e., global warming). But whose probability of occurance can be reasonably be believed to be increased by global warming. (Do note that this included cold spells.)

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein