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Comment: Re:Global Warming? (Score 1) 356

by Mariner28 (#49240987) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

It's like trying to PROVE which group is better, Christians or Catholics.

Which is better, Los Angelenos or Californians? Americans or North Americans? Asians or Earthlings?

Evangelicals or Christians? Sunnis or Muslims? Shia or Muslims?

You do understand set theory, don't you? Perhaps you missed the class on Venn diagrams ;-)

Comment: Re:i'th Post (Score 1) 366

Politicians/Marketing twist everything for their own use.

The problem with scientists and engineers is that they don't understand economics or sociology.

You obviously aren't an engineer by training. Engineering education harps very heavily on the economics aspect of every engineering project. If anything, engineers are constrained by their code of ethics, whereas politicians and marketers are not.

Comment: Dark matter only interacts gravitationally? (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by Mariner28 (#49082097) Attached to: Supermassive Diet: Black Holes Bulk-Up On Dark Matter
Dark matter only interacts gravitationally with baryonic matter, right? If so, then I'd think it's pretty obvious that dark matter would be a major constituent of a galaxy's supermassive black hole. But then, according to Sheldon Cooper, I have only a Masters' Degree - in engineering, at that - so what do I know?

Comment: Re:Excel file (Score 1) 809

by Mariner28 (#49049469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

I think the file type actually does matter. Since Excel and other programs natively provide security, why not use that? I get that if you want a security person you need to ask specific questions, but perhaps you need to be more specific when looking for applicants. A killer JQuery person or data translation expert probably won't know PKI very well.

No - it has nothing to do with what the original poster asked:

We are looking to fill a senior developer/architect position in our firm. I am disappointed with the applicants thus far, and quite frankly it has me worried about the quality of developers/engineers available to us. For instance, today I asked an engineer with 20+ years of experience to describe to me the basic process of public/private key encryption. This engineer had no clue.

This is for a senior developer / software architect role. If I were in Ramone's position, I'd feel the same way. I learned the basics of PKI while an EE undergrad back in the early '80s - concentrating in telecommunications. It was in a required course. And I didn't really use that knowledge as a professional until the late '90s and I continue to use it to this day, even though I'm not a security professional (though I do design secure networks). Now, that being said, a developer today, to be a software architect, should at least be able to explain the basics of PKI at a cocktail-conversation level. They don't have to know what goes into the various SHA and RSA algorithms (I certainly don't know off the top of my head), but they should be able to talk about encrypting with someone's public key and the only way to decrypt is with that person's corresponding private key. Security 101 is probably part of every single CS curriculum, if not every IT-related one.

I asked another applicant a similar question: "Suppose you wanted to send me a file with very sensitive information, how would you encrypt it in such a way that I would decrypt it?" The person started off by asking me if it was an excel file, a PDF, etc

Now this response from the candidate I can understand. Remember this isn't the first interviewee who couldn't explain PKI. In this case, they may have been thinking "Excel and the PDF standard both support encryption - so I'd just answer that you password protect the file. If it's a plain-text file, you could use the password protection feature of any .zip archive utility, or better yet use PGP/GPG encryption if you know the recipient's public key". It may well be that Ramone was expecting something different when the candidate asked this, and on seeing the surprise on Ramone's face, lost his train of thought and got confused.

After all, the interview was apparently for a high level position writing code for Ramone's pool cleaning business. ;-)

Comment: Re:Hmmm... (Score 3, Insightful) 212

by Mariner28 (#49001241) Attached to: The Search For Neutrons That Leak Into Our World From Other Universes

I think the idea is to have a huge source of neutrons in physical proximity to increase the chances of one leaking into the other universe first so it can leak back on the other side of the shielding.

I have a big problem with that.

From TFA: "...the number of neutrons that leak back into our universe from another brane will depend on the distance of the detector from the reactor, where they are created in the first place. This rate should fall with the square of the distance from the reactor. So any distance dependence will be good evidence of brane leakage."

What? Why should the creation rate fall with the square of the distance? I can understand the inverse square law from the standpoint of neutron emissions from our own universe, but wouldn't entanglement across branes be, by definition, independent of distance?

Comment: Re:OpenSSL, GnuPG, ... (Score 2) 51

by Mariner28 (#49000735) Attached to: GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding
Sorry, but the theoretical work has mostly been already done. The real work now is making OpenSSL/LibreSSL ( including client, not just server authentication ) and PGP/GPG ubiquitous. Every e-mail client(desktop and mobile) should have S/MIME and GnuPG integrated in - including Gmail, Yahoo and the various ISP web clients. What's taking Google so long for Gmail - pressure from various governments? Projects like Enigmail are great, but there really needs to be a push to get commercial companies to start adopting secure email.

Being a customer of a bank should mean I get an authenticated PGP/GPG key or an X.509 key when I open an account. Or my ISP should issue one to me. Maybe something akin to the FDIC would maintain the public key infrastructure. The bank has my identifying information. We just need the wherewithal to create the supporting infrastructure in the marketplace.

How to fund it? Hell, it would pay for itself by reducing identity theft and fraud losses incurred by the banks and retailers.

And it should be easy to generate a revocation key in case mine is compromised (phone or laptop gets stolen?). Right now in GPG4Win, there's no way to generate a revocation key from the Kleopatra GUI - I gotta do it from the command line. Adding that feature doesn't take a PhD in mathematics - that's something a reasonably experienced coder to add, since Kleopatra is just a front-end to generate the command line to pass to the gpg executable.

Comment: Re:Counterclockwise? (Score 1) 141

by Mariner28 (#48993259) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System
Same thing that keeps a gyroscope standing on end - conservation of angular momentum. Once an external force stops pushing one end of a gyroscope (or a colliding body hits Venus but is just about completely absorbed by it), the gyroscope stabilizes - albeit with a bit an precession (as mentioned in an earlier post about the precession of Earth's north pole).

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 481

by Mariner28 (#48988777) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

"Gas" tax is already about $1.50 a gallon in the US, so how about no.

Sure the actual Fed fuel tax is only $.18 a gallon, but you are forgetting State fuel tax along with the sales tax, corporate taxes at the local, state and federal level on the gas station, distributer, refiner, tankers, and the people that pull it out of the ground, along with royalties and other fees demanded by the Federal overlords.

They have plenty of money for infrastructure they are just pissing it away on other things.

Perhaps if you said Gas "tax" rather than "Gas" tax, you'd get some sympathy. With current retail prices at the pump recently below $2.00/gallon and even now back above that, your $1.50 is way out of line. Average US gasoline taxes (total of fed, state and local) are about $0.485 per gallon. You're referring to the incremental production cost of producing a retail gallon of gasoline accumulated throughout the supply chain. True of any industry or business, not just the oil industry

Of course, you're forgetting that the net corporate tax most of the large oil companies pay is effectively zero, nor are they saddled with the environmental costs of searching, drilling, producing and transporting petroleum - nor the medical cost associated with air pollution.

Fair's fair - if you want to include all production costs, you need to consider all the costs - both pre- and post-production - which are not borne by the producers. Loss of income due to environmental sickness, cancers and early deaths. Restoration of oxygen-generating forests destroyed by tar sands extraction, of marine ecosystems destroyed by oil spills. The producers do worse than pass those costs onto others - they directly ignore them, and lobby legislatures to grant them immunity from bearing those costs.

If local, state, and federal governments don't collect some kind of transaction tax to fund infrastructure projects to benefit the common good, we'd "all" be living in grass huts and caves. And I say "all" with specific intent: the world population would be nowhere near 7 billion if the concept of collecting a little bit from everyone to pay for projects benefiting all wasn't invented.

Sure - it's nowhere near 100% efficient. There's graft, corruption, theft of public funds. I'm not saying it's without problems. But why don't you propose some other method of funding infrastructure projects which benefit the majority of people. We already know the Gilded Age failed at that.

Comment: Re:Counterclockwise? (Score 2) 141

by Mariner28 (#48988211) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System
I was going to say that since all planets (and most moons) with the exception of Uranus have their rotational axis all lined approximately the same way as Earth, that the north pole could be defined as the same as earth: the pole from which the planet seems to be rotating counter-clockwise (or anti-clockwise for you Brits).

But there's a glaring exception to that rule: Venus rotates in the opposite direction - clockwise from its "northern" pole. The leading theory is, like Earth, Venus was struck by a large planetoid early in the solar system's history, but unlike Earth's moon, the planetoid was totally absorbed by Venus, i.e., a direct hit. The angular momentum imparted by the planetoid caused Venus to "flip". The same theory has been proposed for Uranus' sideways orientation as well.

Comment: Are you sure? (Score 1) 59

by Mariner28 (#48982655) Attached to: New Fiber Optic Signal Processing Technique Doubles Communication Distance
Was the source of this article employed by the estate of your late uncle MNBob, and he's reaching out to you because a fee is needed to release your uncle's estate trust, which he willed to the University College of London expressly so it could fund advanced undersea fiber modulation research? Your hesitancy to fund the estate transaction fees due to the Royal Bank of Lagos is the only thing standing in the way of broaching the divide between today's lackluster Nigerian business inefficiency and tomorrow's untold wealth extraction from the awful Boko Haram. Think of the children!