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Comment: A practical question (Score 1) 98

What if such cyber attacks are a form of misdirection or rather click-bait? Here's the scenario: launch a cyber attack on a bank but you're really not interested in any data you might get or rather the attack makes the target think that you're after data. The target then tells its customers to change their passwords. It's only then that the attacker gets what their after i.e. account holders' NEW passwords.

Comment: Re:Nobody has explained this to me sufficiently ye (Score 1) 525

IMHO, this isn't the same as residential electricity because you either have it or you don't. Okay, sure there are the few residential exceptions that might need three-phase or something like that. The watts used for one device will work just fine for another device. Most houses have a 200 amp service and that's all most people are ever going to need. That 200-amp service has been the same 200-amp service for 50 years. And if I use 10,000 watts all day, that doesn't mean my neighbors won't be able to run their fridge.

My point is that eventually, a few people will want to get full-blown 4k video through their connection to multiple TVs in their house and that's going to take major infrastructure upgrades. Most people aren't going to need all that so do you think they'd be willing to subsidize a few high-bandwidth users? Do you expect the ISPs to just eat the cost of keeping up with bandwidth demand? One thing is for sure, government regulation rarely precisely targets the entity in private sector it's intended to. Take a look at your utility bills and see how many regulatory fees are being passed on to you even when you don't use the service.


Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students 115

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the big-bad-data dept.
theodp (442580) writes Unless some things change, UC Davis Prof. Norman Matloff worries that the Statistician could be added to the endangered species list. "The American Statistical Association (ASA) leadership, and many in Statistics academia," writes Matloff, "have been undergoing a period of angst the last few years, They worry that the field of Statistics is headed for a future of reduced national influence and importance, with the feeling that: [1] The field is to a large extent being usurped by other disciplines, notably Computer Science (CS). [2] Efforts to make the field attractive to students have largely been unsuccessful."

Matloff, who has a foot in both the Statistics and CS camps, but says, "The problem is not that CS people are doing Statistics, but rather that they are doing it poorly. Generally the quality of CS work in Stat is weak. It is not a problem of quality of the researchers themselves; indeed, many of them are very highly talented. Instead, there are a number of systemic reasons for this, structural problems with the CS research 'business model'." So, can Statistics be made more attractive to students? "Here is something that actually can be fixed reasonably simply," suggests no-fan-of-TI-83-pocket-calculators-as-a-computational-vehicle Matloff. "If I had my druthers, I would simply ban AP Stat, and actually, I am one of those people who would do away with the entire AP program. Obviously, there are too many deeply entrenched interests for this to happen, but one thing that can be done for AP Stat is to switch its computational vehicle to R."

Comment: Nobody has explained this to me sufficiently yet (Score 1) 525

I understand the user community's desire to have all content be treated the same. But let's assume for a moment that tomorrow, net neutrality is passed and ISPs are no longer able to charge some customers (provider or consumer) more for priority routing/transmission. What incentive do they have to continue to invest in the infrastructure when they have a near-monopoly over the end-users? Consider television distribution. Pretty much everyone has a choice between one cable provider and two satellite providers whose feature set is virtually identical these days. Those companies have little incentive to do things that end-users want e.g. a la carte channel lineups. Maybe eventually it will happen but it might take years and the possible threat from internet content distribution to get them to do anything. So back to the ISPs. End users have a choice between their local cable company and their local phone company. Net neutrality takes away a potential revenue stream. Why then would they continue to either invest in upgrading their technology or continue to keep everyone's rates low or both? Why wouldn't they jack up the prices of the service level necessary to serve up Netflix or whatever for everyone regardless of whether or not the customer uses those types of services?


Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the bubbling-up dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers have discovered 570 plumes of methane percolating up from the sea floor off the eastern coast of the United States, a surprisingly high number of seeps in a relatively quiescent part of the ocean. The seeps suggest that methane's contribution to climate change has been underestimated in some models. And because most of the seeps lie at depths where small changes in temperature could be releasing the methane, it is possible that climate change itself could be playing a role in turning some of them on.

Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website 210

Posted by timothy
from the finest-consultants-in-the-land dept.
SpzToid (869795) writes The state of Oregon sued Oracle America Inc. and six of its top executives Friday, accusing the software giant of fraud for failing to deliver a working website for the Affordable Care Act program. The 126-page lawsuit claims Oracle has committed fraud, lies, and "a pattern of activity that has cost the State and Cover Oregon hundreds of millions of dollars". "Not only were Oracle's claims lies, Oracle's work was abysmal", the lawsuit said. Oregon paid Oracle about $240.3 million for a system that never worked, the suit said. "Today's lawsuit clearly explains how egregiously Oracle has disserved Oregonians and our state agencies", said Oregon Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum in a written statement. "Over the course of our investigation, it became abundantly clear that Oracle repeatedly lied and defrauded the state. Through this legal action, we intend to make our state whole and make sure taxpayers aren't left holding the bag."

Oregon's suit alleges that Oracle, the largest tech contractor working on the website, falsely convinced officials to buy "hundreds of millions of dollars of Oracle products and services that failed to perform as promised." It is seeking $200 million in damages. Oracle issued a statement saying the suit "is a desperate attempt to deflect blame from Cover Oregon and the governor for their failures to manage a complex IT project. The complaint is a fictional account of the Oregon Healthcare Project."

About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-cards dept.
Taco Cowboy writes with this story about new research that finds a strong genetic component to a child's ability in math and reading. "You may think you're better at reading than you are at math (or vice versa), but new research suggests you're probably equally good (or bad) at both. The reason: The genes that determine a person's ability to tackle one subject influence their aptitude at the other, accounting for about half of a person's overall ability. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, used nearly 1,500 pairs of 12-year-old twins to tease apart the effects of genetic inheritance and environmental variables on math and reading ability. The researchers administered a set of math and verbal tests to the children and then compared the performance of different sets of twins. They found that the twins' scores — no matter if they were high or low — were twice as similar among pairs of identical twins as among pairs of fraternal twins. The results indicated that approximately half of the children's math and reading ability stemmed from their genetic makeup.

A complementary analysis of unrelated kids corroborated this conclusion — strangers with equivalent academic abilities shared genetic similarities. What's more, the genes responsible for math and reading ability appear to be numerous and interconnected, not specifically targeted toward one set of skills. These so-called 'generalist genes' act in concert to determine a child's aptitude across multiple disciplines. The finding that one's propensities for math and reading go hand in hand may come as a surprise to many, but it shouldn't. People often feel that they possess skills in only one area simply because they perform slightly worse in the other."

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."