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Comment Re:Stupid people are stupid (Score 1) 956

None of the articles I've read on this say that the school or the police officers involved called the bomb squad. Wouldn't the experts in identifying and defusing explosive devices be the FIRST people you call when you think you have an explosive device? But that would run the risk of the bomb squad looking at the device and saying "Guys, this is just a clock. There's no sign of any explosive material. Relax." That wouldn't let you show your authoritah a la Cartman.

Comment Mirrored drones = deadly disco balls? (Score 1) 125

If it takes this laser 2 seconds to drill through a tough drone body, how long would it take this laser to cause serious injuries to a human being if the drone were protected by mirrors (say mirrors camouflaged by a thin film that the laser can destroy instantly) that reflect the beam downward towards a crowd on the ground?

Comment Re:Freedom does not mean no laws (Score 1) 264

Then freedom is not possible to ever happen. Some peopel want to do things to others, and consider it a restriction of their freedoms to do those things to others.

Two heterosexual men, one an engineer and one a mathematician are standing at the end of a hallway. At the other end is a beautiful naked woman. The two men are told that they may walk halfway down the hallway, then halfway down the remaining hallway, then halfway down the remaining hallway, etc. If they reach the woman they can have sex with her. The mathematician immediately realizes this is Zeno's paradox and sits down. The engineer starts walking. When the mathematician asks "Why are you walking? You can never reach her!" the engineer replies "No, but I can get close enough!"

Let's aim to get close enough to freedom.

Comment Re:all voting should be paper and pencil (Score 1) 393

I don't have a problem with electronic voting, when it's done right. Use the computer to create a ballot that's uniform in appearance (no "hanging chads", no half-filled circles for a Scantron machine to puzzle over, etc.) and has the voting information stored in both human and machine readable form. Let the computer count its machine readable votes for the initial vote count. If there's a discrepancy, recount the human readable votes (and let that take precedence over the machine readable votes, if the two forms differ.)

Comment Re:Meet the new guy (Score 1) 393

So what's your solution, government issued photo IDs? Sounds good, but IMO the system for obtaining such a photo ID should be:
* fast -- no standing or sitting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles (or Registry of Motor Vehicles, here in Massachusetts) for an hour or two.
* inexpensive -- in Massachusetts, it's $25 for an ID. At the minimum wage of $7.25 that's nearly 3 and a half hours of work. I don't know what the cost of an ID is in other states. Does a plastic card really cost $25 to produce? Even with the effort to process the application, that seems like there's some padding on the price.
* convenient -- if the DMV or RMV office is only open 9-5 weekdays, someone who works one or two jobs may be working all 40 of those hours. Ideally, there should be some time outside "normal business hours" when the DMV/RMV office is open to accommodate those workers, or someplace else (town or city hall, the police office) that is open longer hours (or on weekends) where people can apply for their ID. Alternately, if the DMV/RMV offered the ability to obtain the ID right at the polling location, using the same staff members who would process the applications at the office, that would work too.

Comment Re:Settle (Score 1) 222

No, CNN and CBC are going to drag this out until the guy has to either drop the suit or move into a cardboard box and use the money from selling his house to continue the suit. In the latter case, when they continue dragging this out until he has to sell the box and move under a bridge, they'll drag it out even further. It's like the story of you, your friend, and the bear (you don't have to outrun the bear ....) The broadcasters don't need to last until a judgment is made; they just need to last until he is too broke to go any further.

Comment Re:It's the base assumption that its invalid (Score 1) 392

Parallel construction. It's a lot easier to find your way from point A to your destination when you know your destination is point B (due to cheating and taking a look at a map.) Can I prove that you cheated and looked at a map, and not that you were just lucky and/or good at navigating? If I never knew the map existed, probably not.

Comment Re:It's the base assumption that its invalid (Score 2) 392

So what happens when Alice Black-Hat exploits the government back door and copies compromising photos from hundreds or thousands of users' phones in order to blackmail those users? Okay, you say that users shouldn't have compromising photos on their phones? [Debatable, but for the sake of this argument I'll allow it.]

So let's consider a slightly different scenario. Alice uses the back door to intercept a text message from Bob's bank to Bob. That text message contains a security code and is intended to allow Bob to reset his password for access to his online banking accounts if he's forgotten it. This approach is a two factor system; Bob's social security number or security question answer is something he knows, and his phone is something he has. Alice quickly logs in, transfers money from Bob's account to one she can access from an ATM, grabs the money, and runs.

Who's responsible for replacing the funds Bob lost? Bob did nothing wrong. Neither did his bank; they received a valid request and sent the response to the owner of the account as agreed. The smart phone manufacturer? The government?

Comment Re:Not entirely wrong. (Score 1) 229

Indeed. Clearly specifying that they will accept bug reports for the bug bounty program only from their customers and will only pay out a bug bounty if an Oracle engineer confirms that the issue is a bug (with no appeals process) would be, I think, a reasonable policy and could be clearly explained along the lines of your explanation.

Backed up the system lately?