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Comment: Re:Holy shit (Score 1) 359

by Kjella (#46773967) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Really? I think most people would accept "net worth" as the proper metric.

Well, he said "potentially liquid" not "liquid", like if you decided to become a Buddhist monk and give away everything you own selling your house, car and so on could you liquidate your 401(k)? From what it looks like you must pay a 10% early withdrawal fee and income tax, so it's a lot less worth to have $1 in a 401(k) than in a regular bank account. On the other hand should you include things like sales commission on the house? I don't know, but in an informal sense I'd say that you're only a millionaire if you could literally gather a million dollars in cash if you wanted to.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1226

by Kjella (#46770317) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

When you see how far they've stretched the "interstate commerce" clause, I think your proposal would only lead to a greater mess. Besides, people want laws that create simple rules like when can I carry this gun? Who, when, what, how, where are easy and categorical, why is often vaguely defined in someone's mind. For example if you say the "mission" is for self-defense then anyone caught with a gun can always claim that, even when it seems extremely unlikely.

I'd just start throwing lots of question at that definition until you got it narrowed down.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Who are "the people"? Is it the same "people" who have the right to a fair trial? Because I'm pretty sure that includes everyone, not just citizens or residents but that illegal immigrant crossing over from Mexico too. Does he have a right to "keep and bear arms"? Does anyone not connected to any milita? Even back then the militia was all "able bodied men", is a woman or a cripple protected? What about minors? The mentally ill? Felons? They all have the right to a fair trial, no ifs or buts about that. Can you condition this right on a license or registration or test? Can you deny anyone to buy a gun or place restrictions on those selling guns like mandatory waiting periods or is that denying them the right to have a gun like right now? Can you regulate how it's stored without violating the right to keep it, like keeping it dismantled, unloaded, ammo separate from gun, in a gun locker etc. because really you could demand it be encased in three feet of cement. What does it mean to bear arms, does it mean openly or concealed, can you have it in the glove box or under your seat? Can you carry it on private property, public property, in public buildings, on other people's private property that's open to the general public? What exactly does "arms" means, is it the right to have cannons and nukes or small arms? Poisoned darts, is that arms? What about knives or tazers or and any other non-gun "arms"?

Those are just off the top of my head, it wouldn't be that hard to make a law that actually answers all of these questions and it would lay most the issues at rest without ever going into the tricky question of why you might want to have a gun.

Comment: Re:Are you kidding (Score 1) 676

by Kjella (#46768937) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

While this is true, there are generally two large parties that garner 60-80% of the seats, and these tend to be centrist parties with the same sort of minor differences that we see in the USA between Republican and Democrat.

That's where you're wrong, because even if you're a 30% party close to the center you can't just keep your attention on the swing voters as if they're the only ones that matter. In US politics the only other group that matters are the fence sitters and you'd need to be pretty damn pissed at the Democrats to let Bush run the show or pretty damn pissed at the Republicans to let Obama run the show. But here if you don't actually cater to your side your 35% party can be a 25% party next election and one of the usurper parties that promise to be "real" Democrats or "real" Republicans start taking over. Or if there's a wave of say environmentalism then a red-green or blue-green party might get an upswing even if there's not enough support for a pure green party. You have to defend yourself on all fronts.

One drawback to the parliamentary system that I've seen is that fringe parties can have a disproportionate influence since neither centrist party has enough votes to form a majority on its own and needs to bribe them to join a coalition. At least, this is what I saw in Israel, and bribe is precisely the correct word. At one point it got so sickening that the two major parties formed a coalition instead.

Yes, there's a bad side to it that one 5% party with special interests might end up with the swing votes and gain a disproportional amount of power. In a coalition each party also tends to blame the compromises they make when they don't fulfill their election promises. But you as a voter have more choices and the politics of a coalition mostly reflects the relative strength of the parties involved, a 30% party doesn't let a 10% party decide half the politics. Basically your vote might be a "blue" vote in US politics but it matters if it's light blue, dark blue, blue-green and there are always several parties fighting for your vote not just taking it as given.

I also don't think that the occasional grand coalition is a bad thing, it is the way to curb fringe parties from asking too much. It proves that there is a true choice in coalition partners, that the small parties can't just make ultimatums because the big party needs them. I'm sure that is an extremely foreign idea to US politics, but if you have say the fringe 20% on each side off in their own parties then finding a common ground in the 30% moderate left and 30% moderate right is not so incredible. Again if the people find they become too much Republicrats they can vote for the fringe parties, if the actually like moderates in government without loony bins on each side they might keep supporting it. Or the big parties can go back to the small parties next election and say "Can you be reasonable this time?"

Comment: Re:Quite logical reaction (Score 5, Interesting) 700

Reminds me of a story how I read on how one girl "solved" her bullying problem, they'd raised the issue several times with the school to no effect. Dad finally has enough, teaches her to fight. She grabs the head of the lead bully and slams it on her knee, broken nose, blood everywhere. School threatens to expel her, her dad threatens to sue the shit out of them for everything she's been through. Like the good cowards they are, the school backs down and manages to convinces the bully's parents not to press charges either. She's now forever known as that crazy kid, but nobody's messing with her anymore. It's sad but school is mostly a lawless territory where violence is often the last and only means to defend yourself.

Comment: Re:Not enough eyes (Score 1) 526

by Kjella (#46762275) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

So, the "with many eyes all bugs are shallow" notion fails. There were not enough eyes on the OpenSSL library, which is why nobody discovered the bug.

I think that's a lie, the truth is everybody thought there were so many eyes on the code they all glazed over and nobody really looked. After all, if this was my company and the line was "Well everybody who works here has access to the source repository so I'm sure that someone would find it..." there'd be plenty alarm bells going off in my head. For sure, bumping into buggy code is often the way you find out about bugs but for security critical code it's review, more review, audits, all that really boring red tape that counts to stop it getting through in the first place. If the rumors are true, the NSA caught on pretty quick which is because they have lots of smart people getting paid well to look for exactly these kinds of issues. This is not magic. But it's the kind of boring shit you usually have to pay people to get done.

Except for corporate sponsored positions - which also typically have their own agendas - the work that gets done is the work people feel like doing. If what you need is 50% development, 50% review but 90% of what the people involved are interested in is the development of their own pet features well you don't have any authority to boss people around. You can ask the reviewers to be a bottleneck which will quickly turn sour, you can ask them to rubber stamp it faster or you can add people who really shouldn't be reviewers but you can't hire more qualified reviewers. Waiting a few years for someone to stumble into it just isn't a good process, no matter how much people pretend this proves how OSS "works".

Comment: Re:What about a re-implementation... (Score 1) 279

by Kjella (#46759857) Attached to: OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

For example, consider an server which acquires a passphrase from the client for authentication purposes. If your implementation language is C, you can receive that passphrase into a char array on the stack, use it, and zero it out immediately. Poof, gone in microseconds. But let's say you used some language which dynamically allocates memory for all strings and garbage-collects them when they go out of scope. (...)

That would be true if high level languages only offered the default implementation but usually they have a special implementation like SecureString in .NET, it'll let you do the exact same thing. For bonus points it'll also encrypt the data in memory in case you have to keep it around a little while, sure it's a bit of security through obscurity but it won't be trivial to find with a memory dump. The issue is more that people who aren't aware of the issues won't ever think to look for or use these classes, but they're available.

Comment: Re:Ukraine's borders were changed by use of force (Score 1) 268

by Kjella (#46757059) Attached to: Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

At the start of the war holding slaves was not unconstitutional, each state made their own laws and there was slavery on the Union side as well. The United States simply did not want 30% of their population and 70% of their exports seceding away, it would totally cripple their economy. The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 - long after the war started - was just directed at the slaves in states in rebellion, those under Union control still remained in slavery. In short, it was a wartime measure to cripple an armed rebellion and recruit soldiers to their own side. I'm sure the Lincoln movie is not the most accurate historic source but there was huge doubt if the proclamation had any force once the war was over or if they'd all be returned to slavery.

There was huge resistance to passing the 13th amendment even with the southern states broken away, it was rejected as late as 1864 and only passed with the smallest possible 2/3rds margin (119-56) through the House in 1865 before the South rejoined. And that was only after years of negros serving in the Union army and dying for the north, at the start of the war... no. The abolitionists might have been on the rise but in 1860 support for slavery was alive and well all over the United States. They might have climbed to the moral high ground during the war, but initially it was a simple case of the government fighting down a rebellion like any other.

Comment: Re:also (Score 3, Insightful) 171

by Kjella (#46752881) Attached to: First Phase of TrueCrypt Audit Turns Up No Backdoors

If you're on NSA's radar you've got bigger problems than TrueCrypt's trustworthiness or lack thereof.

In case you've been sleeping under a rock for the last year, the target of the NSA is everyone. Not that they put you on the same level as the Chinese military of course, but nobody's under their radar and if they can grab your data or metadata easily they will because you could be a terrorist or at least the friend of a friend of a friend of a terrorist. It's not that the average joe would stand a chance if they threw everything in their arsenal at us, but those "zero day exploits, side channel attacks, social engineering, and TEMPEST techniques" don't come free and using them highly increases the chances of exposing them. The question is more like "Does NSA grab all the TrueCrypt containers used as backup on Dropbox/GDrive/whatever and rifle through everyone's data?" than "If the NSA really wants the contents of my laptop, would this really stop them?"

Comment: Re:Getting started (Score 2) 155

by Kjella (#46751343) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

If we had anti-gravity cars like those in "The Jetsons" then I think it'd be fine, we'd need some kind of virtual lane system with upwards/downwards corridors as a heads up display and an emergency parachute (space capsule style?) to save your ass but it'd work and you could stay to sane consumer speeds with high speed high altitude "interstates". Anything that depends on wings for lift though has to stay at very high speeds and can't practically stop for anything, even if you have a VTOL system hovering for even an extremely brief time will burn through your fuel in no time. If you think it's bad now, wait until slamming the brakes is not an option.

Comment: Re:Ask an old person? (Score 2) 306

by Kjella (#46746971) Attached to: Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

Rhetorical question: I wonder how Euclid managed?

I know what rhetorical means but really, there's so many obvious ways. Take a piece of string, tie down one end and draw a circle in the sand with the other. Now use the same piece of string to measure out the circle. You'll get an approximation of pi more than good enough for any practical purpose, the only thing "special" about it is that numbers that aren't fractions like pi, e and the square root of 2 was fucking with their understanding of math. Even the ancient druids of Stonehenge could map out a circle, long before Euclid.

Comment: Re:Bookstores - are you trying to change hard enou (Score 1) 83

by Kjella (#46746321) Attached to: Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

Well, he's using the only sales argument he has from the customer's point of view. From the store's point of view though they won't sell it at the same price you get online because they need to pay for location, staff, deal with shoplifters and books that go stale and unsold that need to be taken off the shelves again. It's better for them not to take your business rather than open up Pandora's box and have people coming in expecting to be price matched, taking up sales rep time and getting angry if they're refused. And if word got around you could get it cheaper just by pointing to a webpage on a smartphone, other people buying it at normal markup could feel cheated and generate a lot of negative publicity about you. As sales pitches go it's a honest one, but it's not the real reason why they won't price match.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1) 428

by Kjella (#46743565) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Sadly(?) English doesn't keep the original pronunciation, though UK-English is closer than US-English. I mentioned the reason in another post, it's that damned Great Vowel Shift what makes English stand out among European languages.

Well that's maybe relevant for those coming from another European language or reading old English texts, but to users only interested in contemporary English that's more of a historical curiosity. Their challenge is that the rules aren't consistent, which is often traceable to its historic roots. For example let's take the word steak, it's a loanword from Old Norse steik which is why the "ea" in steak is different from that in peak, leak, beak, weak or freak. Of course every language has a few foreign words that don't follow the normal rules but English has it dialed up to 11.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 2) 428

by Kjella (#46742391) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

I do not believe English has had the same done to it. Otherwise you would not end up with something like:

English keeps the pronunciation of the language they took it from, which means it's a smattering of Britons (~Welsh, -450), Anglo-Saxons ("English", 450-1066), Normans (~French, 1066-), Gaelic (~Scottish, ~Irish) with some Norse from Scandinavia, and through the British Empire it's picked up words from most of the world's languages by now. While "English" has pronunciation rules, unless you're a professor of etymology (the history of words) it's easier to just learn each word than trying to find a pattern.

Comment: Re:There may be some at a loss for sympathy (Score 1) 676

by Kjella (#46740741) Attached to: The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

Or in banking terminology, GNOME is too big to fail. Sorry, ever since Qt went LGPL in 2009 I've wished they'd go away so you can actually build a modular desktop, but as long as there's two competing languages it's almost impossible to build common components without going to awkward workarounds like D-Bus. Not even the kernel would work well with kernel modules written in C++, Java and Python, not that there's anything wrong with them as languages but as modules to a C program. Otherwise I expect the in-fighting will continue until Google pulls an Android and leaves GNOME, KDE, XFCE etc. to be a Nokia N900 niche in the desktop market. Not because it's technically the best solution, but because Google has a certain Steve Jobs effect too - if they tell everyone desktop Android is the next big thing devices, developers/applications and users will follow.

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