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Comment: Re:Why it is hard to recruit... (Score 2) 24

by Rei (#49503837) Attached to: US Military To Recruit Civilian Cybersecurity Experts

The majority of major, targeted hacks (rather than just sweeping the net for vulnerabilities) - aka, the kind of stuff that the US military cares about - involves sending emails or making phone calls and introducing yourself as Bob from IT, and sorry to bother you but there's a problem that we need to discuss with you, but first a couple questions...

They don't need script kiddies, they need social engineers. Question number one in the job interview should be "Is your native language Russian, Chinese, Farsi, Korean or Arabic?" And even as far as the more traditional "hacking" goes, rather than script kiddies they're going to need people who are going to custom analyze a given system and assess it's individual vulnerabilities, people with real in-depth understanding. One would presume that in most cases that the sort of targets that the US military wants to hack are going to keep themselves pretty well patched to common vulnerabilities.

AIs doing hacking? What are you talking about? This is the real world, not Ghost In The Shell.

Comment: re: broadcasting both analog and digital (Score 2) 187

by King_TJ (#49502341) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

As I understand it, that's only one of the possible modes of operation for the "HD" FM stereo used in the USA right now.
Up here in the DC area, that seems to be exactly what stations like DC 101FM are doing. If the digital signal cuts out, the radio falls back to the analog broadcast until it can switch back to digital.

The problem with FM HD though is they often opt to broadcast 1 or 2 additional digital stations, and there are no analog equivalents for those. So they just abruptly cut out when the signal gets weak. (And it happens OFTEN when driving around a metropolitan area with tall buildings and the like which intermittently block part of the signal.) Makes the whole thing unusable, IMO.

Comment: Re:privacy? (Score 4, Insightful) 202

by Rei (#49501647) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

I just want the search engine to stop changing what I'm searching for. I don't want to have to quote every word like I have to do with Google to make sure that the word is actually in the page, and by "the word", I mean "the word I type, not a word that Google things may be similar to the one I typed". It's worst when you're searching for foreign words, product names, acronyms, or whatnot and Google tries to treat them as if they're English words and declines them or chooses synonyms.

"Did you mean X?" is fine. Even "Searching for X (see original results here)", if you're very confident that the person made a common spelling error or whatnot. But just going in and swapping out words as if this is expected behavior? Terrible. At least let me disable it if you want to do that...

Beyond all this: I do like how one can do simple commonn operations on Google - math, conversions, etc. The more of these the better IMHO, so long as they have a standardized format - be they tracking numbers, flight lookups, whatever. It's okay in my book to be a bit Wolfram-y.

Keep the interface plain, simple, the sort of thing that'll work on any browser, from a modern Chrome to a simple text-only browser. Only use javascript where it's not essential for the site to work. Here's an example of something that would be a good use of javascript: if you need to track clicks, like Google does, do it through javascript rather than by having a link redirect like Google does. I hate how I can't just right click and copy link on Google without getting some massive Google redirect link.

Just my thoughts. :)

Comment: re: Socialism? Not such a great answer ..... (Score 1) 82

by King_TJ (#49501121) Attached to: For the most recent tax year ...

Both of the major political parties in the U.S. are FULL of liars and opportunists. That's the nature of politics.

That doesn't mean you can't have the occasional sincere person who affiliates themselves with one of the 2 big party platforms, simply because it's practically a requirement to get elected. And then, it turns out they actually want to do things that help the average citizen -- not just further their own agenda.

IMO, if you want some real relief from excessive taxation, your best bet is looking towards the candidates who seem to best fit the mold of independents, yet are running as Republicans or Democrats anyway.

Socialism, IMO, solves nothing. Each country has its own unique problems and situation, so you can't just do a direct "America vs. Canada" comparison and conclude that it's a "better deal to live in Canada". People keep trying to do this with the neutral countries too (Denmark, etc.) -- yet they're ignoring major differences, like the amount of land belonging to the nations. Sure, they give you all kinds of government benefits like free healthcare and large amounts of paid time off from work if your wife has a kid. But they also tax people at a higher rate than the U.S. does, on the whole, to accomplish it. And there total population is much smaller. There are things you can do pretty easily when you don't have to scale it up too big. But then you're also stuck living in a nation that has fewer good job opportunities because there are simply far fewer square miles of space where people would open new businesses and create things.

The U.S. needs some serious political reform .... but not a change of basic principles of governance. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and overall concept of being a Democratic Republic are pretty solid.

If the U.S. only did ONE thing; putting a cap on military spending to no more than 2% of the annual GNP, it would cut the budget deficit in HALF -- and would be right in line with the budget most nations have for the military.

Comment: Meh. (Score 3, Interesting) 59

by Rei (#49500531) Attached to: Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine

About 10 years ago I worked on simulating a rocket with electric turbopumps for fun. The concept was the exact same as theirs - minimize the number of parts that have to operate in harsh environments to reduce cost, maintenance and risk of failure. You don't even need any penetrations of the propellant lines, the rotor of the electric motor is the compressor itself.

I have no clue whether the design will actually be practical. But it's certainly not new. I'm sure I'm not the first person that this concept occurred to.

Comment: re: woman in Oregon (Score 1) 264

by King_TJ (#49500249) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

The original story I read was the one shared by KPLR TV (channel 11) in St. Louis:

But this story has been edited since I first read it last week, as far as her punishment for the offense. (I even shared it on Facebook last week and it received comments from people who read the link and were outraged that she received such a light sentence for the crime.)

Perhaps it was in error, since they now give a date she's supposed to return to court and only speak of her being released on bail in the meantime.

Comment: Re:This should be amusing (Score 3, Interesting) 41

by Rei (#49499623) Attached to: Google Ready To Unleash Thousands of Balloons In Project Loon

They talk about how they need to regularly pick up and relaunch balloons when they come down. I don't see why they would need to design the balloons without any sort of reinflation system. The leak rate is tiny, right? So:

1. A little more solar panel area than they already need.
2. Hydrogen filled instead of helium filled.
3. Tiny container of sulfuric acid (hygroscopic - self-dilutes down to a given concentration with atmospheric moisture)
4. Electrolysis cell (sulfuric acid is used as the electrolyte in some types of electrolysis cells).

Problem solved. Sulfuric acid draws moisture from the air, and during the day the solar power electrolyzes it it to produce a minute trickle of hydrogen into the balloon, which replaces the minute trickle that leaks out. Your balloon's lifespan is now as long as your electronics and envelope last.

Comment: Re:A dollar in design... (Score 1) 143

by Rei (#49499137) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

Indeed, the figures Musk cited a couple years ago was that over 80% of the part count of a Falcon 9 is sourced in-house; it's a critical part of their approach to keeping costs down. He wanted to do that with Tesla as well but it proved impossible, only about 20% of their parts (at the time) were produced in-house. Unsurprisingly the biggest problems in their early days came from external suppliers, like the gearbox issue on the Roadster.

Comment: Re:Give the money to Elon Musk (Score 2) 143

by Rei (#49499119) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

ESAB is a Swedish company. What use is it to NASA to dote largess on a Swedish welding firm?

I'm actually rather disappointed with ESAB here. I have one of their MIG welders from the 1960s and it still works; they're a respectable name.

I feel bad for NASA mind you, in that I don't think many of their problems are their own. They get all sorts of legacy systems forced upon them due to political reasons ("You can't do decision X that would be more efficient because 1000 people in my district would lose their jobs"), they never get the funding to engineer new things from scratch based on lessons learned, etc. I do wonder, mind you, whether their heavy reliance on external contractors is something they could reform.

Comment: Re:Sexes ARE different, thankfully (Score 1) 587

1. That's not "a" study, it's from a metastudy. The simple fact of the matter is, while the news makes a big deal of any study that shows a statistically significant difference between genders, most of these statistically significant differences are barely above the level of noise.

2. Where are you getting that quote from the paper? A search for those words doesn't reveal that.

There absolutely are some very demonstrable differences in certain psychological regards - mainly sexual. The most obvious of these, for example, is the fact that women are more likely to be attracted to men and men to women. But that's far from the majority of studied sexual differences that get so much play in the press. " With very few exceptions, variability within each sex and overlap between the sexes is so extensive that the authors conclude it would be inaccurate to use personality types, attitudes, and psychological indicators as a vehicle for sorting men and women. "

3. Girls are far less likely to get involved in chess to begin with in all countries (again, the fact that children mimic sex distribution of behaviors of the previous generation, no matter what they are in the particular society one is in), so one shouldn't be surprised that this is reflectected in the highest levels. Chess, as a competitive sport, has always been predominantly a "men's sport", internationally. But as XKCD notes, this is changing. The Polgár sisters are a great example. Their upbringing was an experiment by their father; to see what would happen if children were raised with extensive training in a specialist intellectual topic from an early age. One ended up an International Master while the other two ended up as Grand Masters, with Judit ending up one of the world's most powerful players of any gender. Their father's choice removed gender self -selection from the picture.

4. Oh please, you're not seriously going to pretend that there weren't tremendous pressures in Victorian society for women to not be involved in STEM-style careers, or that they weren't usually expressly banned from such. Even women who took them up as hobbies (usually well-to-do women) were often strongly advised against it, that it was harmful to a woman's delicate composition to be mentally straining one's self (a risk of the catch-all Victorian women's distorder "hysteria"; the cure for "hysteria" was to refrain from all serious physical and mental activity). This is the culture that ours came from, and it's been a slow incremental process of moving away from it ever since. The fact that you'd call "citation needed" on that is absurd, that's like "A normal human hand has five digits [citation needed]."

5."I'll see your 50% and raise it to 100%" - how does this even make sense? Women are 50% of the population (roughly). Nobody is talking about disinteresting men from pursuing STEM careers. There's already interest there. The goal is to try to also get more interest from women, to work against the carryover cultural connotations of STEM as "men's work".

6. " Are there laws or even customs, that prevent girls from entering a STEM field and excelling in it" - it's like you didn't even read my post.

7. "But what if it is bilogicial — as seems perfectly probable?" - not according to the actual research. And if one person wastes their time trying to become a physicist when they'd have made a better fry cook? Well whoop-di-freaking-doo. The world is still a better place.

Comment: Re:Still don't get where the market is (Score 2) 124

I used to think this way, because if you want to know the time look at a clock or cell phone. Then I got a Pebble, and found that it's fantastically useful to have little bits of info pushed to your wrist to see at a glance, and to have your watch know your schedule and location rather than just the time, so it can tell you things like "you should leave for your next appointment now, given where you are and where you need to be and the traffic". Then you only need to pull out your phone occasionally, she you want to actually talk with someone or use a large screen. It's very convenient.

Comment: Re:I like it... (Score 4, Interesting) 113

by Rei (#49497293) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

I once coded for a game, Eternal Lands, where I discovered a major security bug. The game had a feature where if a person said a URL, it would turn into a clickable link. This was opened via a popen call. No input sanitization. Aka, vulnerable to injection. A person who simply speaks a malicious URL and makes it look like something interesting to click (hiding the insertion command in the path) could run it on anyone's computer who clicks to open the link.

Big problem. Simple fix. But try as I might, I couldn't get them to let me fix it. They were fine with me writing a whole new special effects graphics system for them, but one simple input sanitization, noooo, the popen works, let's not mess with it and possibly "introduce a bug"! Eventually it took me writing a sample command on the forum that would make a file in the user's home directory (which anyone who knows anything about unix commands could make far more malicious) by clicking on the URL. Suddenly they let me patch the system immediately (and deleted the forum thread... I don't blame them).

I didn't want to have to resort to that. But I didn't want a potentially dangerous exploit sitting in the system.

I never got approval to fix all of the other potential exploits in their system. Their networking protocol was terrible. I only ever saw the client code, but there was literally zero authentication that the server was who they said they were and that packets weren't malformed. Their entire security model was "let's initiate a TCP connection to a hard-coded IP and unconditionally trust everything that we receive". I can't imagine what their server code is like. But they wouldn't even let me add in trivial bounds checking to make sure that the packets weren't oversized - the most minimal of sanity checking.

The fear of changes breaking stuff often leads developers to neglect security. Changes to improve gameplay or graphics? Of course, our users will love it! Changes to the protocol? Nonono, the protocol is working, why risk breaking it?

The short of it? Don't have too much faith that that MMORPG you're playing isn't hackable in a way that could be nasty to your system.

Comment: Another load of Federal B.S. (Score 5, Insightful) 264

by King_TJ (#49496469) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

It was abundantly clear that this guy did this act as a political protest and informed people in the press a YEAR in advance that this was his plan. Secret service officials were informed about it and determined the guy wasn't a psycho or had a criminal background or anything else alarming, so they basically ignored it as a non-concern. Then, days before he did it, he let people know he was about to do it, too!

If you wanted to give him a slap on the wrist... say, a fine for violating the rules on airspace? Sure, I think he even fully expected as much. Perhaps confiscate his gyro-copter too. Whatever.... But banning him from setting foot in the District of Columbia and talking about YEARS of prison time? That's outrageous.

Just last week I read about a psycho woman in Oregon who bashed a guy's skull in with an aluminum baseball bat on their first date, when he went out there to finally visit her in person after a 2 year long online relationship. They only gave her a sentence of a few MONTHS in jail for the incident, despite her planning the whole thing and getting another woman to assist her with it - AND saying she got the idea from something she read or saw that said it only takes 7 pounds of pressure to snap someone's neck. Which person are you more concerned will do people physical harm in the future??

"I am, therefore I am." -- Akira