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Comment: Re:Do people really take this risk seriously? (Score 1) 180

by Jane Q. Public (#49754881) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Just a lot of really bad arguments.

To me, the worst of the lot is the statistical "reasoning" which is all based on the presumption that these events are equally distributed. The thing is: we know that they are not uniformly distributed... and even worse, we don't know how they are distributed.

Sure, we do know of a few particular cycles of tendency, but those don't predict individual events.

So the very basis of TFA's statistical reasoning is nonsense. We don't have any way to actually calculate the probability of such an event. We don't have enough information.

Comment: Re:Any materialized predictions? (Re:Sudden?) (Score 1) 220

Correction: arctic ice is below 1 standard deviation from 1981-2010 average, but within 2 std. deviations.

Still, remember that 1981 is a (dare I say deliberately chosen?) high point from which to start measurements, so going by the 1981-2010 average is probably a bit misleading.

And the total global ocean ice is still well above normal, because of the record high Antarctic ice right now.

Comment: Re:Any materialized predictions? (Re:Sudden?) (Score 1) 220

I've not really followed Antarctica. However, back in the 80s I'm pretty sure it was "tens of millenia to melt all of Antarctica if it's possible at all". More recently I've seen comments along the lines of "It can't happen in less than 5-10 thousand years" with the assumption that it will happen eventually if we continue dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

Currently, global sea ice is well above normal. That is largely because antarctic sea ice is at or near a record high, while arctic sea ice is slightly lower than (but approximately within one standard deviation of) average.

Now, while I know that overall ocean temperature and surface ice may not be a direct correlation, it's a bit of a mystery to me how they can claim that ice is melting due to unusual ocean warming, when we know that ocean surface ice has been at record levels.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 3, Interesting) 324

by Jane Q. Public (#49747979) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

While I'm sure this message will be lost on the slashdot forums, I submit that liberals and libertarians actually agree on a whole range of issues. Paul was able to work with a Democrat from Oregon on this, after all.

And while that may be true, the reason so many Democrats are rabid Libertarian-haters is that no matter how many other issues they may agree about, Libertarians simply do not support the big-government model Democrats insist upon. It's a fundamental philosophical difference.

Democrats, by and large, are unwilling to look past this difference, and see the things they DO agree on. Which is too bad, because it leads to the typical Leftist Libertarian-bashing that we see so much: conflating them with anarchists, etc.

Comment: Re:Criminal liability ... (Score 1) 81

As long as corporations can say "oops" and just pretend that two years of credit tracking like this, nothing at all will change.

Until then, corporations will be as incompetent and lazy as the law allows ... which is pretty much as incompetent and lazy as they want to be.

When a few events like this happened last year to Home Depot and a few others, I saw a couple of those letters with offers of free credit monitoring, etc.

IANAL, but I am pretty sure these are just attempts to stave off lawsuits. There is nothing binding about the "offers", and they don't preclude you from suing them for liability if you are an actual victim of identity theft.

I think what this will actually take, are some people willing to step up and kick off some big suits. It is those kinds of damages that will make them finally pay attention.

Having said that, "punitive" damages by government are supposed to be big enough to get corporations to end the sloppiness and take their their liability seriously. So yes, I think you can lay a lot of blame on government's cavalier attitude toward this sort of thing.

Comment: Re:Threatens security (Score 1) 95

by Jane Q. Public (#49740667) Attached to: Do Russian Uranium Deals Threaten World Supply Security?

If Russia ties up a lot of the world supply and shuts down mines they own then the price will rise and mines like that one will come online, it's not like they're going to take over so much of the world supply that we'll be shutting down reactors due to lack of fuel.

I hardly think that's really the point. Being a "strategic material" -- and it very definitely is -- there is a real issue with selling shares of US uranium production on the open market to the Russians.

While we aren't exactly in a "cold war" anymore, our relations in many ways are less than friendly, and the Russian deal with others who are even less friendly to the U.S. So doing that is just plain stupid.

It's like selling ammunition to a third party who you just know is going to then turn around and sell it to your enemies.

Comment: Begging The Question (Score 1) 362

by Jane Q. Public (#49740483) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?
What OP doesn't say (and probably doesn't know) is how that IP address is assigned. As likely as not, it's assigned by the software he is using on his laptop, via DHCP by his host software; that would explain why they ALL have the same IP address. (Certainly that could be in the pump firmware, too, but we have zero evidence of that, so it could just as likely be the other.)

If the pumps actually get their address via DHCP, the software could be hacked to assign a different IP to each pump, and then using a simple ethernet hub or switch, run the firmware update in multiple threads, one thread per pump.

I don't know that's the case, but I have been given no reason to believe it is not.

OP should find out how the IP address is being assigned. He could probably do that simply by trying to telnet into the pump, or using one of the many bits of network analysis tools available.

Comment: Re:They've invested billions (Score 4, Informative) 142

by Jane Q. Public (#49687073) Attached to: House Votes To End Spy Agencies' Bulk Collection of Phone Data

The bill that made it to the house floor was so watered down it was meaningless. It got so many votes because it was a way for congressmen to clean their skirts, while doing nothing significant to curtail the activities of the NSA.


Hope it gets defeated in the Senate, and they just let Sec. 215 expire. Call or write your Congresscritters in the Senate and tell them to vote down this deceitful POS. Sunset 215!

Comment: Re:Typo: Digital Rights Management (Score 1) 371

by Jane Q. Public (#49678043) Attached to: Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix

What he's wrong about, and what you're right about, is that in Netflix's case DRM is perfectly acceptable since the key problem with DRM is it makes access to data temporary.

But that doesn't automatically make it okay.

The ruling SCOTUS made in the "Betamax decision" had solid reasoning behind it. It is precisely that "temporariness" that people have legitimate reasons for wanting to bypass.

Comment: Re:Bureaucrats (Score 1) 312

Your habit of misrepresenting comments taken out of context is very likely to get you nailed to a very rough wall one of these days, if you keep it up. It's not as though I haven't warned you. And I'm not even saying I would be the one to do it. If you do this to other people too, it would probably not be reasonable to expect them to be as tolerant as I have.

Comment: Re:Bureaucrats (Score 1) 312

As a general principle, I don't lie. I make jokes now and then, and that sort of thing, but I am probable far LESS of a liar than about 99 out of 100 people you'll meet.

I have no problem at all with conscience. But I strongly suggest you start examining yours. Because at some point you may have to defend it.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce