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Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 348

by IamTheRealMike (#48039983) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Otherwise, it's just lip service. Your government is already ignoring your Constitution on a large scale, but apparently nobody gives a damn

I am not American, still, I do truly believe that hundreds of millions of Americans do give a damn.

The problem is not giving a damn. The problem is that guns are a stupid way to try and change governments, and everyone there must intuitively understand this. I keep reading comments by 2nd amendment fundamentalists saying they're packing guns so they can overthrow the government .... in case it becomes tyrannical. But this day will never arrive, no matter what the US Gov does.

The first problem is that if you go it alone, if you're a solo shooter, you can't achieve anything and will be killed immediately, then written off as mentally unstable. This does happen in the USA and in at least one case the shooter did claim they were rebelling against the government. Regardless, such events are zero impact.

The second problem is that if you try to team up with like minded people and form a group of armed citizens who are going to engage in a revolutionary coup, you will need to communicate in order to find such people, and at that point you are very likely to attract the attention of law enforcement who have totalitarian surveillance powers and the ability to move against "cults" or "terrorists". And almost by definition if you're trying to overthrow the government through force of arms instead of the ballot box you can be described as a domestic terrorist. You will end up sitting in jail for many years, and most people will likely never hear of you, or if they do read about your case in the papers they will just forget about you.

The third problem is that if you do somehow overcome the first two problems and succeed in forming some kind of revolutionary militia, taking over some territory and defending it against the US army in a new American civil war, you will need a system of government for that territory. How exactly you prevent that new government from eventually going the same way as the existing government would be an open question - attempting to encode the principles of the new state in a constitution apparently doesn't work very well, and I don't see many other ideas from the "guns give us freedom!!" crowd. This is the problem repeatedly encountered by countries in the Middle East where governments are overthrown (without guns, normally) and then tend to get immediately replaced with something worse.

So for these reasons the notion that Americans are free because of guns just doesn't seem to line up with common sense, to me. I cannot imagine any situation in which civil war in the USA would be allowed to happen - civil war is so universally catastrophic that an overwhelming majority of American's would strongly support forcible suppression of an armed uprising using all the tools of a professional army. Your Glock ain't gonna do anything against a Predator drone.

Comment: Re:CloudFlare is a nightmare for anonymity (Score 1) 66

by IamTheRealMike (#48027061) Attached to: CloudFlare Announces Free SSL Support For All Customers

Occams Razor says ...... networks like Tor which are incapable of handling abuse by design ...... get a lot of abuse! So not surprisingly networks that have advanced anti-abuse controls in place throttle it a lot. Otherwise you're just asking to get crawled by SQL injector searchers and so on. This is not CloudFlare's problem, it's inherent in how Tor works and what it's trying to achieve. Solving it means finding a way to trade off anonymity against accountability using user reputation systems or the like, but the Tor project has shown little interest in implementing such a thing, so all Tor users get treated as a whole.

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48021341) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
I dimly recall that method too but IIRC the array couldn't be saved to tape- you needed POKE statements underneath the DIM. There was also another method involving adjusting the SP register to lower the top of the stack and claiming a few kilobytes of RAM for whatever purpose- but that approach had the same problem with not getting saved to tape.

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48015327) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
I remember I had a yellow book that was for kids learning assembler, and it had a cartoon CPU with registers for hands and feet. I can't remember the title- I just pulled the ZX81 out of the closet to look for it, but it isn't in the box anymore. I still have the 16K pack and the awful little ZX Printer that sparked onto rolls of aluminum thermal paper.

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48011227) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
Yes, it was obviously a very shitty system, since they were selling them thirty years ago for about $99. It was like a 1980s version of a Raspberry Pi. But it did have a Z80 in there and that's how I learned assembly when I was a kid; I just dug to it through all the crap it was soldered to.

Comment: Car dealerships are a blight on society (Score 0) 334

by MillionthMonkey (#48011131) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives
Car dealerships have outlasted their usefulness- they're a 20th century solution for selling 20th century cars. If a Tesla can self-drive itself to my house, or if an Amazon quadcopter can drop it off here, car dealerships have no reason to be involved except for an old law that allows them to stifle competition and that will now be cemented into place.

Comment: Re:Fracking (Score 1) 52

The methane itself is relatively harmless- but usually indicates the 999 other chemicals in fracking fluid are there too, and when the methane catches fire it creates even more toxins. If the kit can detect 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol without igniting it, it's a better option.

Comment: BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 4, Interesting) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48010473) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Back in 1980 my parents got me a British ZX81 kit to assemble, with 1024 bytes of RAM. (I still have it buried in the closet along with my other antiques- AFAIK it still works.) It ran BASIC so slowly that you could actually read the code about as fast as it executed, so I was "forced" to learn assembly language. I was amazed by how fast it was- it ran a million operations in just a few seconds! (wow.) You had to start by writing a BASIC program:

20 PRINT USR(16514)

Then you had to POKE each assembly instruction into the comment, starting at 16514 for the first "A". The comment line would slowly turn into "10 REM x&$bL;,$_)[vU7z#AAAAAAAA". The next line was 20 PRINT USR(16514) (printing out the return value from the BC register).

Saving any ZX81 program onto a cassette tape was excruciating- they recorded as several minutes of loud high-pitched screeching. Usually you needed to save them twice because it failed half the time. Then to load the program you had to cue the tape you had to find exactly where the start of the screeching was, rewind several seconds, play the tape, and only then could you hit enter on LOAD. (Otherwise LOAD got confused by the *click* noise when you pushed the play button on the tape player.)

You young people don't realize what an easy life you have.

Comment: Give Bill Gates some credit (as if it matters) (Score 3, Informative) 363

by MillionthMonkey (#47996025) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

I'll leave aside the fact that most of these "charities" are tax-avoidance scams, and would probably do the world a favor by not existing.

Bill Gates gives about 40 times as much money to charities as do the Koch brothers, who together have about the same amount of money as Gates. The Koch brothers, in turn, are about 25X as generous as all the Walmart heirs combined- 85% of whose donations come from Christy and 15% from Alice. Jim and Rob also each have their $35 billion and together they donate approx. $30,000 to charity each year- i.e. 4 ppm of their total income. If I make six figures and I toss a dollar at a homeless person, I've just donated 10 ppm.

In comparison, the LDS church for example receives approx. ten billion dollars in "donations" (i.e. tithes) per year- ostensibly for charitable purposes- but spends only fifty million for charity, an overhead of approx. 99.5%. The Gates Foundation has an "overhead" of 90% (meaning 90% of his wealth is stuffed in his mattress). Charities would benefit 20X more if Mormons sent their tithe payments directly to scum-of-the-earth Bill Gates!!!!

Comment: Re:There is no political solution. (Score 5, Insightful) 212

by IamTheRealMike (#47991211) Attached to: Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

It would be nice if that were the case. Unfortunately it's hard to see how it can be. The technology industry has a poor track record of deploying truly strong end to end privacy protections, partly because the physics of how computers work mean that outsourcing things to big powerful third parties that can be easily subverted is very common. E.g. my mobile phone can search gigabytes of email from the last decade in a split second and rank it by importance, despite having nowhere near enough computing capacity to really do that itself, only because it's relying on the Gmail servers to help it out.

That same phone can receive calls only because the mobile network knows where it is. How do you build a mobile phone that is invulnerable to government monitoring of its location? It doesn't seem technically possible. The only solution is to ensure that anonymous SIM cards are easily obtained and used, but many countries have made those illegal as part of the war on drugs.

This trend towards outsourcing, specialisation and sharing of data to obtain useful features is ideal for governments who can then go ahead and silently obtain access to people's information without those people knowing about it. I do not see it reversing any time soon. The best we're going to achieve in the near term future is encryption of links between devices and datacenters, but this doesn't help when politicians are simply voting themselves the power to go reach in to those datacenters.

Ultimately the only long term solutions here can be political, and I fear we will need a far longer and larger history of abuses to become visible before the majority will really shift on this. The problem is a large age skew. Older people skew heavily authoritarian, if you believe the opinion polls, and are much more likely to support this kind of spying. Perhaps they associate it with the cold war. Perhaps the old adage "a libertarian is a republican who wasn't mugged yet" has some truth to it. Whatever the cause, the 1960's baby boom means that demographically, older people can outvote younger people as a block, and for this reason there aren't really any fiscally conservative, economically trusted AND individual rights-respecting parties in the main English speaking countries. People get to pick between borrow-and-spend socialists with an authoritarian bent, and fiscal conservatives with an authoritarian bent, so surprise surprise we end up with people in power who are authoritarians.

Comment: Re:Black holes are real, we observe them all the t (Score 1) 356

by Tyler Durden (#47987139) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

Just adding my own simple, non-calculus solution, to the mix.

When the radius of the earth is r we have...
Length of string around earth = 2*pi*r
Length of string around earth and poodle evenly = 2*pi(r + poodle)

Subtract former from the latter and it's 2*pi*r + 2*pi*poodle - 2*pi*r, so just 2*pi*poodle more.

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.