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Comment: Re:We Really Don't (Score 1) 141

by Black Parrot (#48910827) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Sorry... I was going for the joke and didn't pitch it very well. My actual views are more like yours.

As for the reality of the subject matter, I would borrow the concept of "probably approximately correct" from machine learning, and give it a 90-95% chance of being ~80% correct. (The 80% is lower to allow room for some more big discoveries like inflation.)

Unfortunately, people will be (hopefully) studying this for thousands of years on top of the <100 we have so far, and none of us will live to see how it turns out in the long term.

Comment: Re:I have an idea.. (Score 1) 223

It's like the old Texan saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again."

I always heard it as: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

And of course, the word of choice usually wasn't "fool".

(Is this really a regional saying?)

Comment: I wonder if they're still updated (Score 1) 239

by swb (#48908635) Attached to: Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

I wonder if any of these plans are still being updated, even if it's only by some guy in a basement office someplace.

Obviously China is still of interest, but most of them are extremely unlikely, although you wonder if there are times where it gets thought about. France after the attempt on De Gaulle or the possibility of a left-wing revolution in 1968, maybe even about Marine LePen. Mexico might warrant some kind of what-ifs around a failed state status. Germany and Japan are occupied by US forces now, but maybe there's some political theorizing about a populist/nativist Japanese party gaining power. Germany seems like the worst candidate, with the only situations I can imagine revolving around a collapse of the Euro and some kind of German administration of European economies, which seems unlikely.

Comment: Re:That's a lot of lifetimes (Score 1) 54

by swb (#48908195) Attached to: "Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Yes you can see shooting stars nearly every night but this flyby is maybe worth missing a little sleep if you have the gear and diligence to be able to see it.

Call me a cynic, but if you can't see it with the naked eye, is it really that interesting?

I'm sure it's maybe a big deal for people with telescopes and greater than average interest in astronomy, but for people not in that category it seems like it would just be one more flash of light through a telescope.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 324

by swb (#48897649) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Maybe if the rights weren't such a cluster fuck, we would have offline Netflix where the movie could be stored locally for offline viewing.

Unfortunately the rights holders and the wireless internet providers seem to be in some kind of Mexican standoff over who is the greediest asshole.

If LTE data was 10x cheaper (ie, my 10G plan was 100G), it would solve most of the stream only issues. There would still be some corner cases like long aircraft trips or weird rural areas.

Comment: Love collision avoidance in my Volvo (Score 3, Interesting) 300

by swb (#48892907) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

If I had bought my car new and was looking at features to add or avoid, I would have put the collision avoidance system on my "meh" list and would not have paid extra for it.

As it turns out, I really like it. I have the control setup for maximum distance, which means more false alerts. But although most alerts seem "false" they're only false because I'm really paying attention and have anticipated the traffic in front of me. About 25% of the time I think it's actually valuable and there was some risk of either a really quick stop or maybe even a fender bender.

The feature that goes along with it (they share the same radar system), distance sensing cruise control, I REALLY like. I wish it would beep or something when you get behind a vehicle driving 3+ MPH slower than your set point. On the Interstate its kind of easy to get in traffic going slower than I want to by small amounts and not noticing it because the car just matches pace with the vehicle in front.

Comment: Re:The noob is you (Score 1) 201

by swb (#48892121) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

I would think that traffic heuristics -- volume of packets, frequency of packets, persistence of TCP sessions, volume of data transferred, types of TCP connectivity would provide some hints of a VPN session versus other kinds of encrypted traffic -- would possibly provide a way to compare it to known types of encrypted traffic and see VPNs. It's not like the Chinese don't have terabytes or even petabytes of real-world wild sample traffic to compare against.

I wonder if there would be some way to beat it by combining steganography and encryption to make a VPN's traffic look like some kind of unencrypted web browsing session. Embed encrypted data into retrieved pages as GIFs and plaintext mixed in with nonsense plain text and pace the traffic patterns to more closely resemble the pace of actual page views, forcing new TCP sessions for each view.

About the only weakness would be consistently contacting the same server.

It might be less useful for the kinds of normal VPN uses (low data volume, long latency as traffic was fetched) but I would think you could beat the expectations of what VPN traffic is supposed to look like.

Comment: Re:Yawn ... (Score 1) 228

by swb (#48886361) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Your bigger problem isn't going to be lighting which could be rewired without tearing up the whole house but that any receptacles up there are probably on shared circuits with the rooms below, so when someone trips a breaker below the fucking AV setup goes dark too.

Your easiest solution is to just add a subpanel up there and power the room off the subpanel.

The other line moves faster.