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Comment Re:Off Topic Editorial Complaint (Score 1) 319 319

Personally, I think that we, the users of slashdot, should purchase it. I would gladly donate some money for it, and I think a lot of other users would do the same.

There is precedence. The WELL was bought by users, and is still operational.

What's Rob Malda doing these days? Any spare time?

Comment Re:Yeah, be a man! (Score 1) 319 319

Oh yes there would be a very public trial. Why do you need a closed trial when all the classified evidence has already been published by the accused and is in public domain?

You don't need to, but they'd want to. Else, a trial would mean losing even more face and credibility. There is no way in hell that The Man would allow that.

Comment Re:The argument is "leaky" at best too (Score 1) 187 187

I think you are confusing "fittest" in the "physical fitness" sense and not the specific meaning that has been ascribed to that term when discussing evolution.

No, i'm not. The problem isn't the word stem "fit", but the qualifier "-est". There is no evolutionary reward for being fittest; nature only tends to weed out those least fit. Which rewards both the fittest and those slightly less fit as long as they're fit enough. The fittest may not be the winners - everyone fit enough have a fair chance at the game, and sometimes the fittest lose to those just fit.

The tally of the score after the fact is what we call evolution; evolution itself causes no changes, of course.

Comment Re: A plea to fuck off. (Score 1) 354 354

SMS-based approaches are certainly better than passwords alone; but I have a few areas of dislike for them:

They require an active cell link and a live phone, so are bad news if you are trying to log in in the bowels of some structure, with a phone that has a dead battery, or while travelling outside your non-ridiculously-priced service area. It also tends not to be a problem in practice; but SMS is 'best-effort', so if the system is being flaky then that's just too bad. Essentially, it isn't a 'second factor' at all; but a secondary channel that is assumed not to be compromised.

Then there is the matter of the site needing your phone number. For some applications, that doesn't matter: your bank already knows way more than that about you, say. For others, I'm not so enthusiastic about providing a relatively persistent, and spammable, identifier(also fairly robustly tied to me by payment data, unless I get a burner specifically for dealing with auth issues) to any lousy little website that wants it.

Finally, I'm not terribly confident about the medium-term security of SMS if it becomes a common '2 factor' authentication method. Mobile OSes tend to be a bit more locked down than desktops; but hardly infallible, and the security of SMS gateway providers(who sites using SMS auth presumably employ to interface with the phone network) is an unknown and possibly not comforting factor.

RSA fobs are ultimately an inferior option because they cannot be safely shared across multiple systems, and carrying a fistful of the things is ridiculous(plus, the pricing is usurious); but smartcard/NFC cryptographic authentication has none of these weaknesses. The hardware is cheap, it doesn't require a secondary channel to be available, certificates are relatively tiny so you can carry an enormous number of them without issue; and you can implement certificate auth with varying levels of connection with user 'identity'. On the relatively anonymous side, the user can just generate a keypair and send the public key when they create an account. Trivially handled on the client end, no interaction with outside entities. At the other extreme, hierarchical PKI systems make it possible to robustly verify the user's affiliation with a given organization if the situation requires it. The trouble, of course, is the lack of card readers/NFC pads on a lot of contemporary computers and mobile devices. A great pity.

Comment Re:No Compromises (Score 2) 119 119

I use NFC for just one thing - powering on a bluetooth speaker. (For some reason, i can't use NFC to power it off.)

There really aren't any NFC capable stores anywhere, and the only one I know of requires you to show a physical ID, which defeats the purpose, as it's less hassle using a card.
For anything else, bluetooth proximity detection works fine.. No need to use the NFC tag in my car when the phone and car pair up automatically. No need to use it for the TV, as i have to use a remote anyhow.

My wish list for mobile phones include:

Dual-radio (both GSM family and CDMA family).
2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi.
Ability to turn off high-pass and low-pass filters.
Standard USB charging.
Transparent VoIP, i.e. not have to fiddle with other apps.
A distance from mic to speaker that matches the distance between mouth and ear.
Fits in a standard shirt pocket, without tearing it or falling out.
Transparent aluminum (also known as sapphire) screen.
True IPA that is readable at all angles and doesn't show patterning at close range.
Dual storage cards; one for backup.
As many hardware buttons as practical.
An option to have NO CAMERA, so I can use it in places where cameras are not allowed.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 187 187

Oh Adolf, welcome back, we thought you were dead.

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.
You are very ignorant. Nazism sought to control who got to live and who didn't. That's called eugenics, which I find despicable.

Taking away the ability to control who lives is not eugenics. If anything, it's the opposite.
Right now, parents in the rich world will vaccinate our child, without also ensuring that a poor child gets vaccinated.

There are an awful lot of mini-Hitlers around who will jump at a chance to give their sub-tribe an advantage. Whether it's by killing the children of others or by increasing the survival rate of your own more than of others, the result is the same.
I happen to abhor that.

Comment Re:The argument is "leaky" at best too (Score 1) 187 187

Exactly, this is something many people seem to get confused by. survival of the fittest really means just that, the organism with the right mix of traits will win.

No, that's a common misconception.
The driving force is that the less fit will lose more often. This may sound like it's a different way of phrasing the same thing, but it isn't.

Say you have three variants of a species: one that can run 4 mph, one that can run 6 mph, and one that can run 8 mph. And a predator that can run 5 mph.
Evolution doesn't reward the fittest - it increases the risk of the least fit. Given a few generations, the first variant will dwindle, while the two other variants will intermingle and be just as successful.

Even worse, a predator may arrive that can run 10 mph or throw atl-atls. In which case the fittest doesn't survive, and the species might go extinct. One day something else may move in to fill the niche, but that's not a certainty.

What doesn't disadvantage an individual to a statistically significant degree isn't evolved away, even if it isn't the "fittest". Which is why men still have nipples, and we all have tailbones.
And being the fittest doesn't imply survival. It's not very useful against a direct meteor hit. Being less fit and somewhere else may be more beneficial.

So the saying really shouldn't be "Survival of the fittest", but "Higher death risk for the most unfit" doesn't roll as nicely off the tongue.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 187 187

Maybe in war-torn countries in Africa, but in the United States, influenza kills thousands every year.

Why is this a problem? As long as the death toll isn't large enough to be a significant cause of a dwindling population, what's the long-term harm?

We all have survival instincts, but death isn't something to fear. Everyone will die. If a small percentage die sooner rather than later, there's no harm to humanity, which easily compensates due to the high human reproduction rate. A risk of dying before old age adds spice to life, and prompts the individual to put more meaning into it here and now.

Comment Re:And why do they still need to prove this? (Score 1) 74 74

Unfortunately, as our fine folks in the TAO group have apparently proven on multiple occasions, even people with fancy access control tend to have very little power until the package shows up at their loading dock. What happens earlier in the process is less encouraging.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 187 187

Do you mean to say that you get infected by consent???

That used to be the case. Kids were sent to measles parties to catch the disease. Most would survive.

The inherent problem with vaccines is that they really are safe and effective. They save lives.

This is great for the individuals who gets saved, but it's very short-term thinking and harms the herd long-term.

Without vaccinations, childhood diseases kill more weaker individuals than stronger ones. The healthier you are, the greater are your overall chance of reaching reproductive age and reproducing. It's an evolutionary advantage to not have mutations that give you an increased risk of dying should you contract diseases.
With vaccinations, everybody gets the same chance, including those who would have been culled.
The herd becomes less healthy in the following generation, because there is no culling.

There may very well be a correlation between autism and vaccines, but that isn't the link the anti-vaxxers see. The link is that the parent generation had less culling due to vaccinations, which increases the risk of the child generation inheriting genes making them susceptible to a wider range of problems, including autism, allergies and other conditions that have become more commonplace.

We have pretty much stopped evolution by making the chance of surviving and having a chance to reproduce close to 100%. Not only for ourselves, but other species as well. Evolution has become an enemy, and is well on the way to becoming history.

The only ethical solution I can see that causes neither unnecessary suffering for future children, nor an unfair advantage for the rich tribes, is to let culling take place. The reproductive rate of humans is high enough to compensate for a fair amount of childhood deaths. A smaller ratio of children dying now may be preferable to a larger ratio of children suffering from problems in the future. Let a statistically significant number of children die. As long as we don't engage in eugenics by deciding who gets a better chance than others, evolution will tally the score.

Comment Re:Old news is so exciting (Score 5, Insightful) 74 74

It isn't conceptually novel; but doing a practical TEMPEST attack with nothing but a dumbphone, with a fairly unobtrusive software modification, rather than a relatively classy SDR rig or some antenna-covered fed-van is a nice practical refinement.

Really, how many 'tech news' stories are actually conceptually novel, rather than "Thing you could lease from IBM for the GDP of a small country in the 60s and 70s, or buy from Sun or SGI for somewhere between the price of a new house and the price of a new car in the 80s and early 90s, is now available in a battery powered and pocket sized device that shows ads!" Conceptual novelty has a special place, of course; but one ought not to scorn engineering refinement.

The steady state of disks is full. -- Ken Thompson

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