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Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1182

The irony is making my head spin: a discussion about the possible unintended consequences of using a firearm on Slashdot. Never seen that before, ever.

Usually it's the John Wayne/Rambo/Chuck Norris 2nd Amendment rights chest thumping about the right to bear arms and the idea that a bullet has to stop somewhere never comes up. In the Slashdot pro-gun world no uninvolved person is ever hit by gunfire.

Of course were are talking about a drone here, not a mere human. So it's really important to consider every possible facet of gun use, with an emphasis on caliber and shot vs. bullet.

I have a radical thought: let's make this part of the discussion whenever someone starts advocating guns. Of course that would require consistency and logic, and it's foolish to expect that on Slashdot. Future discussions on Slashdot will be like every past discussion involving fire arms; the idea that anyone can end up in the line of fire will never be mentioned.

Comment What the NTSB actually said (Score 1) 83


In determining the probable cause of the accident, board members were focused on how well officials prepared for the worst. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said Scaled Composites "put all their eggs in the basket of the pilots doing it correctly."

"My point is that a single-point human failure has to be anticipated," Sumwalt said. "The system has to be designed to compensate for the error."

Accusing the test pilot of being untrained and/or incompetent or whining about the risks of interlocks is both irrelevant and stupid. Single point operator failures should be designed out of any system that can cost a human life. That's why there are airbags, seat belts, and crumple zones in cars: because people fuck stuff up. If a new car that costs $15,000 can have these safety features then leaving equivalent features out of a spacecraft is engineering malpractice and possibly criminal negligence.

But no one will be held personally accountable. And whatever safety culture does result won't last. By the time there is a 20% staff turn over it will be completely gone. Why? Because: we're makin money here, if you don't get that then get the fuck out.

Just like in the Challenger disaster, when a technical person objects a manager will say "Take off your engineering hat and put on your management hat." And people will die and nothing will change.

Submission + - NTSB finds SpaceShip 2 crash resulted from ignoring potential pilot error ->

Required Snark writes: The NTSB has issued it's finding on the SpaceShip 2 crash, and said that both Scaled Composites and the FCC failed. The direct cause was preventable pilot error:

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said Scaled Composites "put all their eggs in the basket of the pilots doing it correctly. My point is that a single-point human failure has to be anticipated," Sumwalt said. "The system has to be designed to compensate for the error."

As for the FAA: "The recommendations included assigning FAA staff to individual operators instead of individual flights. That way, they have more time to become familiar with the training and operational controls that they're charged with inspecting."
Link to Original Source

Comment Could Google start a RICO case on this? (Score 3, Interesting) 256

From my understanding RICO has a really broad reach. If there is a conspiracy to break then law, then RICO applies.

There is collusion between the Mississippi AG and the MPAA. They are trying to interfere with Google's business. Google is involved in interstate commerce (duh). So there's a RICO case right there.

Anybody can initiate a RICO prosecution. The DOJ can always join the case if it wants to. Or not. In this situation there is a lot of disincentive for the DOJ to join: a large number of DOJ attorneys are planning on going to work for entities like the MPAA (lobbyists) and the recording/film industries when finish their relatively low paying stints with the government. Having the DOJ go after their future employers does not fit in with their personal plans.

Still, it would be highly amusing to watch Google go after the MPAA for conspiracy. That would make headlines outside of Slashdot. Ultimately I doubt it will happen. Even though they are more then willing to fight dirty, there is a higher level pact between big companies: don't do things that will reveal to the general population just how corrupt the system is. If people ever realize just how badly they are routinely screwed by the government/business complex, they might stop being sheep and start paying attention. That could be a disaster for big business. So it is really not likely to happen.

Comment Re:Remember the IRS "non-scandal"? (Score 1) 256

Because government grows on trees, like computers, flat screen TVs, hamburgers, cars, roads, safe drinking water, etc.

You hate the gubbment? They go someplace where there is no central authority. I suggest Somalia.

Otherwise, STFU. You are not just a freeloader, you are a damned parasite. You want all the perks, and none of the responsibility. If there was some way I could get you kicked out of the country I would. You don't deserve to be here.

Comment Re:Chicago written large. (Score 0) 256

And you probably think that the Bush administration was squeaky clean.

The only thing you have on your mind is you hate seeing a black guy, or as you are really thinking, a n-----r in the White House.

So I'm going to ask you my rhetorical question: Do you keep your KKK robes in the closet where they won't get wrinkled but someone might see them, or do you fold them up and put them in a drawer where they will get wrinkled but it's less likely that people will see them.

Comment Crown and Mail Lands Major Ad Campaign (Score 4, Interesting) 174

In a first for a major Canadian urban newspaper, Monsanto plans to spend over $400,000 (US) over the next year in an image building campaign at the Globe and Mail. Monsanto usually applies it's promotional spending in more specialized media outlets, and when it does outreach outside the agricultural sector it sponsors programming at non-profits like PBS.

Monsanto has a low profile among the general public, because very little of it's business is visible at the mass market consumer level. Although other B2B vendors, such as BASF, have tried to extend their brand awareness using national broadcast media, it is very unusual to see this level of activity in print advertising.

In off the record remarks by a person not authorized to talk to the press, the possibility was raised that this would not be the last media purchase of this kind. In part, it was stated that "If Monsanto can find the right kind of media partnerships, they would very much like to extend their brand awareness in a major US market, like New York, Los Angeles, or Texas." The key, according to the source, was not just selecting a major market, but "building long term relationships with print media organizations that can help Monsanto bring it's message to a wider audience."

Submission + - California Legislation May Allow FIrst Responders to Shoot Down Drones

Required Snark writes: During the recent North Fire that burned vehicles on I-15 in California, firefighters had to suspend aerial operations because of the presence of drone aircraft according to CNN

Five such "unmanned aircraft systems" prevented California firefighters from dispatching helicopters with water buckets for up to 20 minutes over a wildfire that roared Friday onto a Los Angeles area freeway that leads to Las Vegas.

Helicopters couldn't drop water because five drones hovered over the blaze, creating hazards in smoky winds for a deadly midair disaster, officials said.

In response, legislation has been introduced that would allow first responders to disable drones in emergency situations. A second bill would allow jail time and fines for drone users that interfere with firefighting efforts.

Senate Bill 168, introduced by Gatto and Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, would grant “immunity to any emergency responder who damages an unmanned aircraft in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations.”

Los Angeles County fire Inspector David Dantic declined to comment on the specific legislation, but said his agency’s aircraft cannot operate safely if a drone is in the same airspace.

Gatto and Gaines also teamed up on companion legislation: SB 167, which would increase fines and introduce the possibility of jail time for drone use that interferes with firefighting efforts.

Comment Made of Unabtanium (Score 2) 120

I watched their promo video and it shows the airframe structure performing two tasks that seem to be mutually exclusive.

The airframe is a lifting body with a large flat undercarriage. This is the side that absorbs microwave energy, which is somehow transferred to the hydrogen fuel to provides thrust. After achieving orbit and delivering it's payload, the spacecraft deorbits and then the same lifting body surface that absorbed microwave radiation becomes the heat shield for reentry.

So how do you combine the ability to receive a large amount of microwave energy and then turn around and protect the airframe from reentry heat in the same structure? And in addition has the structural integrity to withstand launch and reentry stresses.

Microwaves are not invisible magic. They interact with the matter they encounter. Whatever heat shield material they use, it is going to absorb some of the microwaves that hit the vehicle. Can they keep this amount low enough and also fulfill the other requirements?

At this point there is so little technical detail, and so much marketing hype, that this has to go under the heading of geek fantasy daydreaming. I'm going to ignore this one until they show some real results or publish specific enough information that someone not on their payroll can say that it's feasible.

Comment The problem is systemic (Score 1) 36

Drawing a distinction between cybersecurity in the Federal government and cybersecurity in other large organizations is meaningless. The only thing that does is make it easier for any large organization to avoid accountability for their failures.

The US business community has been completely successful in avoiding any regulations on cybersecurity. The US Chamber of Commerce has defeated all attempts to define laws or national standards for computer business security. Instead we have some Presidential decrees that have minimal real world impact.

Since there are no standards, it is impossible to assign any responsibility when data breaches occur. The response consists of cover ups, minimizing the impact of the event, denial of responsibility (the word "unprecedented" is common), rhetoric on helping the victims and not letting it happen in the future. After the public outcry dies down nothing is ever heard about it again. It might as well not have happened. No one is ever fired. No follow ups are made available to anyone outside the organization.

Additionally, those effected by the data leaks are given no support and have no recourse. Being offered free credit monitoring for a year, or even two, is like offering someone with potential HIV exposure a band-aid. The level off effort involved is grossly inadequate. The potential repercussions can happen years later. If the corporation responsible doesn't know how much effect the breach had, how can they decide to come up policies that balance cost and benefits? The reason they do no follow up is because it provides them with iron clad cover from having to pick up the real cost of their failure. It also makes it a certainty it will happen again.

What I just described is exactly happened with the Sony leak. But it could just as easily be the leak that occurred at UCLA in the last couple of weeks, or any leak that made the national headlines in the last 20 years. In fact UCLA was hacked in 2012, so nothing has really changed.

The non-government situation is identical to government cases. The failure modes and responses are identical. This is unsurprising because the organizational issues, technical requirements and talent involved are the same. It is nonsensical to expect that one side of an arbitrary line will have one kind of behavior and the other side will be different. It's just not going to happen.

The other elephant is the room is that a huge percent of the work is not done by the government, but is done by private contractors. That is what happened with the OPM breach. This was reported when the story first came to light, but is now erased from the narrative. That is a part of the cover up. In fact there were two contractor breaches, one at KeyPoint Government Solutions and the other at USIS.

So what is necessary to address the problem? Legislation and regulation that specifically defines standards for data security for both the government and private sector. This has to include severe criminal and financial penalties if data breaches occur. Individuals should be held personally accountable, specifically those at the highest level of the organization. The penalties for failure affecting national security should at the level of treason; life sentences and even the death penalty.

What will actually happen?Nothing. All you need to do is look at Wall Street to see what will happen. The same companies, and even the same people (Jamie Dimon) who were personally responsible for the 2008 crash are doing better then ever, and continue with out and out criminal behavior. So far no one has been charged, much less put on trial. If you assume that your will not be allowed to withhold your personal information from the "business-government complex", it will be leaked, and you will be left completely vulnerable then you understand what is going on.

Comment Re:Antineutrino? (Score 1) 79

Well little buddy, the reason that we need an anti-neutrino detector is because Iran is full of bad guys, and like the bad guys in the old westerns they wear bad guy colors, like wearing a black hat. If they were good guys like us they would be wearing a good guy color, like a white hat.

But neutrinos don't have colors since they are leptons. Colors are photonic, and photons are bosons and have different statistics then leptons. Since neutrinos can't have color, the equivalent for bad guy leptons is that they are anti-neutrinos. Good guys have neutrinos, and bad guys have anti-neutrinos. It makes perfect sense once you understand the quantum mechanics involved.

People on Slashdot are always nice and are happy to answer any question you ask. Any time you are confused just ask and people here will be glad to help out. Now fuck off.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly