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Comment: Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (Score 5, Insightful) 234

Unfortunately, while not false (in the most obvious case, informants have a way of winding up dead if you are too obvious about their existence); your justification leaves two major issues unaddressed:

1. The government is not refusing to divulge the specific reasons and evidence that led to a particular person being added to the list(which quite plausibly might reveal specific informants, bugged computers, etc. and would likely merit an in camera review or something). They are refusing to divulge the general criteria and possible methods by which anyone could end up on the list. It's the difference between "Tell me exactly who ratted out Big Vinnie" and "What constitutes 'Racketeering' for the purposes of the US criminal code". One is a potential operational risk. The other is 'rule of law'.

2. The 'no fly list' is a bullshit twilight category without obvious protective value. Apparently there are people (and lots of them) so dangerous that they cannot be allowed on a passenger aircraft, even with some sort of enhanced screening; but so safe that apparently no other measures need be taken. It's a combination of state harassment(not being able to fly is a pretty big deal if you travel much) and absurd magical thinking. Too dangerous to fly; but safe enough to do basically anything else? Seriously? Why would that category even exist? Hijacking an airplane with a pointy object shouldn't work anymore(if we finished upgrading the doors), and anyone who can get bombs, firearms, or toxins doesn't need a plane to cause trouble.

The refusal to even outline how you fall into such a category, or why such a category exists, is a profound mockery of the notion of rule of law. No, not every specific detail of how every piece of evidence is gathered can be safely revealed; but that isn't the story here.

Comment: Interesting. (Score 4, Interesting) 125

One doesn't have to see the value in stuff that isn't immediately applicable R&D(and I'm not here to debate the point, do as you will); but if you are OK with the concept of such research this actually seems like a pretty good idea:

The question of how and why ideas, 'culture', religions, new scientific hypotheses, etc. are transmitted and compete with one another is really a very long standing one. A lot of the historical study emphasizes 'elite' culture and theory(mostly because everything else was oral record only, and that doesn't keep well; but written works sometimes survive) or religious(high frequency of literacy, and proselytizing is a technology of considerable interest to contemporary religions); but there is also study of popular culture, folk mythologies, what the middle and lower classes were reading and watching(once that became common), and so on.

Cultural transmission is a very solid social science topic, and internet memes have the dual virtues of both potentially being novel(they might actually follow some traditional propagation pattern, might be something new, either way would be interesting to know) and being amenable to large-scale analysis because the internet is just so conveniently searchable and heavily cached in various places. You don't have to like the entire field; but this research project seems like a perfectly reasonable exercise.
The Almighty Buck

Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the oh-long-johnson dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the NSF has just awarded a group of researchers a grant to study the life cycle of memes. "Indiana University is receiving nearly $1 million in federal grant money to investigate the genesis, spread, and demise of Internet memes. The grant from the National Science Foundation awards four Indiana researchers $919,917 to for a project called Truthy that will, as the grant's abstract explains, "explore why some ideas cause viral explosions while others are quickly forgotten." (And yes, in case you're wondering, the name was inspired by Stephen Colbert's neologism "truthiness.") The government-funded research is aimed at identifying which memes are organic and which ones are mere astroturf. "While the vast majority of memes arise in a perfectly organic manner, driven by the complex mechanisms of life on the Web, some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns," Truthy's About page explains."

Comment: Re:interesting case.... (Score 1) 75

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47772783) Attached to: Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany
You wouldn't even need to be having production issues. As with most vendors, Nvidia has a bunch of options for sale and the nicer ones cost more. Even if you have the capability to stuff boards with the nicer chips just as easily as the cheap ones, a bit of fraud will do wonders for your BoM costs.

Comment: Re:interesting case.... (Score 3, Informative) 75

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47772773) Attached to: Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany
It would be interesting for an intermediary to be involved since producing/obtaining correctly faked GPUs is a comparatively specialized task. Not rocket science, pick the cheapest Nvidia silicon that is close enough to not react horribly to drivers expecting the real thing, tamper with the identifying portions of the firmware, replace any packaging, stickers, or other labels; but it's hardly the old 'purchase thing from best buy, return brick in the box' scam.

This doesn't mean that it isn't one of the intermediaries; but if it is they are working with considerably more sophistication than the 'fell off the truck' level of supply chain skimming.

Comment: Re: multi-drive RV tolerance?? (Score 2) 314

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47764401) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive
This doesn't apply to four post gear or anything that gets too toasty; but the fact that a lot of music related hardware is rackmount and has to survive roadies and touring makes rack hardware surprisingly attractive for mobile use. If the job is too big for a laptop and small enough for half depth hardware, just check out the local music supply place and pick out a nice portable rack. Quite sturdy and shock resistant, usually at least offers a front door that clips on well enough that you can ship it, available in a variety of heights(and typically stackable unless you go for a wheeled one). A very convenient overlap.

Comment: Re:Switched double speed half capacity, realistic? (Score 2) 314

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47762237) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive
I doubt it would be trivial: you can sacrifice capacity for some speed by reducing the amount of platter area you use(and thus how far back and forth the read/write head assembly needs to move); but RPM is still a serious constraint, and bumping that tends to get rather costly. 15k RPM has been the effective ceiling for years, and while increases in data density improve best-case read and write speeds they have no effect on how long you have to wait for a given chunk of disk to finish its rotation and come back under the read head.

It also doesn't help that SSDs are aggressively moving into the high speed area. If you applied the engineering tricks used in ultracentrifuges you could probably build a damn fast HDD; but doing so for less than the price of a really nice SSD would be a great deal more challenging.

Blinding speed can compensate for a lot of deficiencies. -- David Nichols