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Comment: Re:Right, but does it correctly model... (Score 4, Insightful) 219

I think the best solution is to head to a harbor. I don't know how fast or how well a zombie can swim, but I'd bet it's slower than and not as well as a ship can sail. A decent sized ship with fishing gear could fish for food and send out "landing parties" (where absolutely no one wears red) to raid the coast for supplies as needed. If it's large enough (think yacht) those landing parties could even rescue survivors and keep them in quarantine (separate locked cabin, trailing the ship in a lifeboat, etc.) for a time to ensure they're not infected before letting them join the normal complement.

Comment: Re:Poorly written headline (Score 1) 93

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48998683) Attached to: LEGO Contraption Allows Scientists To Safely Handle Insects

You could build a box with some transparent bricks or windshields as sides. Use some Technic blocks (the ones with holes) and pins to allow additional air in (to supplement what can get in since the blocks aren't airtight when connected) without allowing larger insects to escape. That would allow you to capture live specimens. But yes, that is not the topic of the article.

Comment: Lock box analogy (Score 2) 431

Ms. Caldwell, I have here a lockbox with one key. Please place a $20 from your pocket in the box, lock it, and you hold onto the key. How secure do you think your money is in that box? Do you want the government to mandate that it must have a key to that box?

Now here I have a second key for that lockbox. I (representing the government) am the only one who has access to that key, so you should still feel relatively confident in the security of your money. \begin{JamesEarlJones}We are the United States Government. We don't DO that sort of thing. \end{JamesEarlJones} Do you still feel confident? Are you more or less confident in its security that you were in the first case?

Whoops, I lost the second key or someone stole it from me. Anyone may have access to the second key now. Now how confident are you in the security of your $20? More or less than the first two cases?

When we encrypt our data, we are basically putting it in a lockbox with one key, like the first case. You may think you're advocating for the second case, but a government-mandated "second key" will inevitably (and quickly) be compromised, resulting in the third case.

Comment: Re: Not their fault (Score 1) 397

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#48920105) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

A couple of inches of snow is one thing.

Almost two feet of snow in Boston itself, and very close to three feet of snow in other places in Massachusetts, is quite another. As it stands right now, only five storms in Boston history (going back to 1892) have higher snowfall totals (the data on that page predates the 2013 storm, which had a higher snowfall total, if I remember correctly.) The ticker at the bottom of the local TV programming listing school closings and activity cancellations for Wednesday (recovering from the storm) takes a couple minutes to finish its cycle.

Comment: Re:Wow .... (Score 3, Informative) 155

From what I gathered from the article, a particular cancer medication needs to be produced using expensive materials (hamster ovaries) because the proteins produced by the ovaries don't get tangled up for some reason. Producing those proteins in a less expensive material (E. coli, yeast) would lead to tangling of the proteins. If they can use the less expensive material and detangle the proteins for less than the cost of producing the proteins in the hamster ovaries, the price of the medication would (hopefully) go down and the supply would increase.

So the next step is to un-tangle proteins produced from yeast, I guess.

Comment: Re:If I were a kid in that school district... (Score 1) 323

How about using something like "IjaywalkedTuesdayJanuary20,2015" as your password and insist that you plead the 5th? Technically revealing the password would be confessing to a (very minor) crime and therefore would fall under self-incrimination.

Comment: Re:Uh... They're not required to go to that school (Score 1) 323

If there's "substantive claims made about bullying, harassment, threats, etc." then there should be plenty of evidence (that can be provided by the victim) to involve the authorities and the court system to get a warrant, yes? [If the victim is no longer able to provide the evidence, their testimony or the investigation into the reason why they are unable to provide the evidence may itself may provide that evidence, again through use of legal means.]

Comment: Re:As much as could be expected (Score 2) 189

MIT, the organization whose access was used to download the documents, declined to press civil charge and according to the report on MIT's involvement "MIT never requested that a criminal prosecution be brought against Aaron
Swartz." (page 13) and "MIT did inform the prosecution that it was not seeking punishment for Swartz, and it did inform the defense that it was not seeking any civil remedy from him." (page 14)

JSTOR, the organization whose documents were copied, declined to press civil charges. A quote in the MIT report attributed to JSTOR said "The criminal investigation and today’s indictment of Mr. Swartz has been directed by the United States Attorney’s Office. It was the government’s decision whether to prosecute, not JSTOR’s. As noted previously, our interest was in securing the content. Once this was achieved, we had no interest in this becoming an ongoing legal matter." (page 84)

When the two parties who were affected choose not to proceed with civil charges and don't press for criminal charges, is calling for criminal charges that carried a possible 50 years of imprisonment and a $1 million dollar fine, and which a former White House counsel called "overcharging" and "overzealous" really necessary? Consider that several Senators, including both Republicans and Democrats, questioned or criticized the prosecution using words or phrases like scapegoat, outrageous, and way out of line. How often does THAT happen anymore?

Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 1) 1051

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.)

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.