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Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 1) 1048

Let's let the parents who choose not to vaccinate their children send their kids to a public school ... just not the same public school as the vaccinated kids. [I'm guessing someone will bring up "separate but equal" -- but the division here is not along racial lines but along an axes that the parents can control and easily modify.] The teachers can be paid a bit more (and be vaccinated) to compensate them for their increased risk. If a student displays symptoms of an illness for which they and others are not vaccinated, they get to stay home in unofficial or official quarantine until a doctor and/or the school nurse clears them to return. Of course, given the waves of sickness that are probably going to sweep those schools, it may take the whole year (no summer vacation) or even multiple calendar years for a student to advance a grade. But when the 8th or 9th graders turn 18, they can make their own decision as to whether to stay in the non-vaccinated school or be vaccinated and take summer school to finish only a little behind their peers.

Comment: Low-tech solutions or limited access (Score 2) 207

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48576549) Attached to: In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

Offer drivers low-cost or free phone cases with space to hold their driver's license on the back. Driver pulls their phone out of their pocket (it's likely more accessible than their wallet) and shows/hands the back of the phone to the officer.

Offer drivers a holder that attaches via suction cups or similar mechanism to their dashboard. Find some way (driver's license doubles as an EZPass? Cops have a scanner that lets them bring up the driver's information more quickly when they stop a motorist, rather than having to take it back to their vehicle?) to encourage drivers to put their licenses in that holder while they're driving.

The privacy and security considerations are strong arguments against turning the driver's license into an app or something similar. But if they really want a high-tech solution, working with phone manufacturers to create a lock screen app (open source, to reduce the chances of a back door) that allows a police officer to enter a code (which gets logged on the phone manufacturer's servers and should be able to be associated with the individual officer) into the lock screen to display JUST the license info, not actually unlock the phone. This would also be useful if a phone is lost, stolen, or used as part of a crime; it would allow the police to identify the owner.

Comment: Re:It's just wrong (Score 2) 335

Theoretically yes, you may be able to determine if a particular program will halt by testing and inspecting.

Practically, you may not be able to determine if a program will halt. See the Collatz conjecture. Assume a program that accepts as input a positive integer n and returns the number of steps before the first time the Collatz iteration reaches 1. Does that program halt for all possible legal input values?

As another point, regardless of whether or not a program or robot can _choose_ to kill a human, Asimov's robot stories indicate that not even the First Law of Robotics excludes the possibility of robots killing humans. Does the robot _know_ that to take a particular action will kill a human? A robot chef could use shrimp in the preparation of a dish not knowing the diner who will eat it is deathly allergic. What is the definition of "human"? The debate about abortion shows human beings can't answer that one. And then there's the Zeroth Law of Robotics, a limited version of which these researchers seem to be trying to test. That one is particularly tricky as neither humans nor robots can predict the future (no one has developed psychohistory yet.)

Comment: Re:its terrible (Score 1) 257

If the original reviewer is still at the Post, inviting them to write the new review would make it an apples-to-apples comparison. If the original reviewer is not still at the Post, inviting the person who has responsibility for writing "culture" or "entertainment" reviews now would at least make the comparison apples-to-crabapples (same genus, different species.)

Comment: Re:its terrible (Score 4, Insightful) 257

Nothing is ever "clearly". The pianist could argue that he's greatly improved since then and thus the post is now wrong, outdated, and unduly hurts the pianist. Therefore it's in the public interest to remove that terrible post from the internet.

Then the artist should invite the Post reviewer to his next concert and ask the Post to amend the review by adding a link to a new article describing how the artist has improved.


Rhode Island Comic Con Oversold, Overcrowded 126

Posted by timothy
from the so-says-the-fire-marshall dept.
New submitter RobertJ1729 writes The Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC) is in the middle of a complete meltdown as hundreds are turned away at the door or denied reentry due to the event organizers selling far more tickets than the venue can accomodate. The Providence Journal reports that "According to Providence Fire Chief David Soscia, too many people were being let in at a time and the organizers were not correctly counting them. That led to over-congested areas in the building which has a maximum capacity of 17,000 people." Meanwhile the Rhode Island Comic Con Facebook page is being flooded with comments from angry attendees describing chaos both inside and out of the convention center. RICC initially posted, "Hello RICC fans! WE ARE NOT OVERSOLD!," and promised to honor tomorrow tickets sold for today. That post generated several hundred angry comments before eventually being deleted (though it survives in part on RICC's twitter feed). Commenters are alleging that RICC is deleting negative Facebook comments. Users are tweeting at #ricomicconfail2014 to vent their frustration.

Comment: Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (Score 1) 272

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48251591) Attached to: A Library For Survival Knowledge

There was an episode of the animated series "The Batman" (specifically "Artifacts" in season 4) where future archaeologists find the Batcave in an attempt to find information that will enable them to defeat Mr. Freeze. Turns out Batman had had his database of information on criminals etched into the titanium supports of the Cave for just such a possibility.

Comment: Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (Score 4, Insightful) 272

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48251151) Attached to: A Library For Survival Knowledge

If I were going to store these electronically, I'd include a solar charger for the electronic display device (tablet, laptop, etc.) as well as a manual one.

If you were going to print these documents out, I probably wouldn't use paper. When I worked at the university library in college, we had a large machine storing I don't know how many microfiche. You could fit a whole reference book on a sheet barely larger than an index card and store hundreds of those books in a shoebox. In addition, as long as you have the ability to create a magnifying lens and a light source, you could theoretically project the information on a wall or screen -- you wouldn't necessarily need a highly technical reader to view the text. As long as the books include only text and black-and-white drawings, this seems like a good archival medium -- and the Wikipedia page gives a reference claiming a lifetime of 500 years.

Comment: Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (Score 1) 572

Is that one offense total (distributing the driver) or one offense _per bricked chip_ (unauthorized modification of the code in the chip itself that renders it unusuable?)

With the UK proposing life sentences for people who cause economic damage that threatens national security, I suppose it's good (for them) that they pulled this now rather than when or if that proposal is approved and enacted. After all, can they be SURE that this didn't affect some computer used by a security agency?

Comment: Bang for buck (Score 1) 549

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48134493) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

If 500 people each use the "correct horse battery staple" approach to generating pass phrases, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts is going to have to break 5 passwords.

If 500 people each use the same password manager, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts needs to break just one security mechanism -- the password manager itself. In addition, that attacker may have help in doing so, from all the other attackers that want to compromise a different set of 5 accounts from that group of 500.

If the security for that password manager is sufficiently stronger than the security of those pass phrases (think Fort Knox versus your local bank branch) then attacking the individual accounts will be easier. But if the password manager's security has a vulnerability (a back door into Fort Knox, manned by a guard who's just two days away from retirement) then that leaves not just one person vulnerable, but all 500.

Comment: Re:Request the government to provide it (Score 1) 94

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48113927) Attached to: Accessing One's Own Metadata

"The number of law enforcement investigations in which I am one of the parties being investigated" seems like a piece of information about you that the government has a legitimate reason to refuse to provide you. If the government says that there are some such investigations (or delays answering until they have enough information to arrest you) then you're likely to try to reach a country with no extradition agreement with your government before they move. So they're always going to say that there are none or refuse to answer -- and to avoid lying in the case where they ARE investigating you, I'd prefer them to simply refuse to provide that information in all cases, at least until they get into the courtroom.

Comment: Re:Bull (Score 4, Informative) 94

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48111797) Attached to: Accessing One's Own Metadata

According to the article, he claims that the law requires them to provide him with the information.

So I asked Telstra to provide me with all of the metadata it had stored about my mobile phone account, informing them that they had a duty to do this under the Privacy Act's National Privacy Principles, which gives Australian citizens a right of access to their "personal information" from a company, and the right to have that information corrected if it is inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date.

After about a month of back and forth phone calls chasing up a response, Telstra refused me access, saying I needed a subpoena to access the data. A subpoena is a writ usually issued by a court with authority to compel production of evidence under a penalty for failure.

As I didn't have the cash to sue Telstra and get a court to issue a writ, I complained to the federal privacy commissioner, claiming Telstra was in breach of the Privacy Act.

Now it's up to the privacy commissioner to decide who's correct: Telstra or Mr. Grubb.

Comment: Re:The name (Score 1) 204

The summary gives some information about moofo:

"I also talked to various executives at the company and besides giving me apologies, nothing good is coming my way. It's been more than two years (on a three-year subscription that I can't terminate early)"

How many customers do you think have spoken to multiple executives at the security company? That may narrow down the number of people who could be moofo. [Assuming moofo is telling the truth about that; it could have been a misdirection.] The duration and terms of the contract may narrow that even further. If moofo used that same name in another place, linked in some way to his or her real identity, or if he or she provided more information about him or herself in another Slashdot comment it may not be too difficult to deanonymize him or her given a short list of subjects.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 2) 139

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48073877) Attached to: NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

I interpreted Firethorn's first point to be that the shuttle was designed to retrieve and bring back to Earth a large object, but none of the objects it actually did return to Earth were that large. In that case, if the shuttle's payload bay had been smaller in the original design the orbiter itself would have been smaller and lighter and so would not have required quite so complicated a booster system (or a booster system at all.)

I'm not sure why that capability was included in the original design; if it was included in case a bad but still reasonably possible scenario happened then retroactively removing it from the design seems like a bit of 20/20 hindsight. On the other hand, if it was included just in case the worst-case scenario happened, which was very unlikely, then _maybe_ it could have been smaller.

"It's ten o'clock... Do you know where your AI programs are?" -- Peter Oakley