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Comment: Something many forget (Score 1) 737

by Sycraft-fu (#47778199) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Is that when you buy US Treasuries, you don't actually get anything. They don't send you a magic stone with powers to call in a debt. What happens is there's an entry made in a computer database, a computer that is in the US.

What this means is that the US ultimately has control over the repayment. Now both legally and practically the US is obligated to repay their securities per the agreed upon terms. However, that goes out the window in the case of a war. US law allows the freezing/seizing of assets, and other countries would have no problem with the idea.

So a situation could arise where the US simply declares China's holdings to be invalid and null. So long as the other bond holders are ok with this, and the (US) courts see it as legal, then China suddenly loses over a trillion dollars in investments. They can't just run off and sell them or something, they have nothing to sell. This would tank the renminbi and really screw China over. It actually could have a positive impact on the US, particularly if the other bond holders saw this as a positive (because the US owes less) and trusted that it wouldn't happen to them.

A country selling treasury notes isn't like taking out a loan with a loan shark. It works really different. US securities are:

1) Denominated in US dollars, and thus only worth something if the dollar is.

2) Payable on defined schedules, with no ability to "call in" the loan early.

3) Nothing more than promises to pay from the US government, and thus only valid if the government decides they will pay.

Comment: Pretty much (Score 1) 473

by Sycraft-fu (#47770653) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

If you tell me that the Earth is going to change for the worse, and there's nothing we can do to stop it, then my response is we shouldn't try. We should instead work on how to survive the change. No reason to waste resources trying to stop something that can't be, spend them on dealing with it instead.

Likewise if you tell me Earth is doomed, and there's nothing we can do to stop it, then my response is that we should just not worry about the future at all, and enjoy what time we have left because there isn't anything else to do.

However if you tell me that we are creating a problem, but we can fix that problem by changing what we are doing, then I'm interested in hearing what you propose we do, what it would cost, how it would mitigate the problem, etc, etc.

If a problem is solvable then it makes sense to talk about what it would take to solve it. If a problem is just something we can't do anything about then we shouldn't worry about trying.

Comment: Depends on a lot of things (Score 2) 332

The main question is how many channels are allocated for DOCSIS. Each channel gets you about 38mbps of bandwidth, though more can be had on newer standards with 4096QAM (if the SNR is good enough to support it). So if there's 4 downstream channels then a max of about 152mbps total down (upstream is separate).

How many channels can they add? Not sure with current DOCSIS specs, but the wire limits are either 600mhz for old systems, or 1ghz for most new ones. So you cold probably get in the range of 166 total channels or 6gbps or so. Of course in reality, some of those channels have to go to TV and so on.

Now DOCSIS 3.1 is adding new methods for operation and supposedly will pull 10gbps down. Not sure how much of that is tested and how much of that is pipe dream but it is what the spec claims.

Comment: Re:"Fan favorites"? (Score 5, Informative) 359

by Sycraft-fu (#47734671) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

It should be understood that while her looks surely played a part in her getting cast on a permanent basis, that wasn't how she got in the door. They didn't post an ad looking for female models/actresses. She was an intern on the show, working there because she loved creating and wanted to work for M5. She got called on camera to help with a myth (by providing a mold of her butt) and that was what started it.

Skill got her the position with the show initially,

Also as you note, personality goes a long way, and she has a very good one for the screen. That is why Adam Savage is a part of the show. Mythbusters was originally pitched to Jamie Hyneman but he knew, correctly, that he wouldn't be able to carry a show like that alone because of his dry personality. So he suggested Savage, who he'd worked with in the past, in part because he's a goofball.

With a show like that it takes a combination of skill and presentation to make it a hit, and that was what the hosts had, Byron included.

Comment: No, he just never gets it in the first place (Score 1) 299

by Sycraft-fu (#47698101) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Diplomatic status is granted by the host country, it is not automatic. What happens is a country says "We want this person to be our ambassador to you." The host country, if they are ok with that person, says "Ok we grant this person status as an ambassador and the immunity that comes with that." However there's no immunity, and related things (like an amount of time to leave the country) until then.

Immunity is not a one-way street. A country can't say "This person is a diplomat, you have to give them immunity."

Comment: Re:Desperate to have a wank. (Score 2) 299

by Sycraft-fu (#47697227) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Yep, prior to that, he wasn't in any legal trouble in the UK. They were going to ship him off to Sweden, because they'd received an extradition request that their courts had determined legal, but he was in no trouble there.

However, as soon as he fled to the embassy, he broke UK law. So now he's in trouble in the UK, if nothing else. Regardless of the validity of the allegation in Sweden, he broke UK law by fleeing the extradition.

Comment: No congress is usually more clever (Score 2) 115

What usually happens there is that you get a job with a lobbying firm or their clients when you leave. There is no direct tit for tat, it is just a generally understood thing. They lobby you, you do what they want. When you leave, they'll pay you very well to then go and continue lobbying the next guy. Extremely shady, but not outright illegal.

This sounds like a straight up bribe, which is illegal, money in exchange for a contract.

Comment: Ummm, not at all (Score 5, Insightful) 331

by Sycraft-fu (#47688139) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Anti-virus is still extremely useful. It is not an end in and of itself, it isn't a panacea that will keep you safe from everything, but it is a useful layer of security. The only true defense that has any chance is defense in depth, layers of security. So that when one layer fails, and they WILL fail there's no perfect security, other layers stop the problem.

AV is a useful layer. It screens for known threats and good AV gets that list updated multiple times per day. So it can flat out stop any known threat from getting on a system. It can scan things as they download, before they execute, and block known threats.

That is useful, particularly against the kind of threats normal users face. They don't usually face highly specialized and targeted threats, they face something that sneaks in through a bad ad in a compromised ad network or the like.

We make plenty of use of AV at work and it has done a great job cutting down on compromised systems, and cleaning up systems that do get compromised (which generally don't have AV). I certainly wouldn't rely on it as the be-all, end-all, but it is a good layer of security.

It's also a pretty cheap one. You can have MSE for free, which has about a 90% catch rate, or for $40ish per year you can get one with a much higher catch rate (NOD32 being my preference). That's not a bad price for a useful layer of security.

Comment: Ya (Score 1) 58

It seems like the press has run out of new interesting things to report with regards to spy agencies, so rather than do some informed discussion on the stories or something, they are digging for shit.

Yes, we know, spy agencies spy. That is their purpose, that is the reason they get funding. If this shocks you then you've had your head in the sand. Now if you think governments shouldn't have spy agencies, ok, but that is a different argument (and you might want to look in to why they do). But acting all surprised that they spy, and use known tricks to spy, is stupid.

It also takes away from the real issue, the story that needs to be discussed: That spy agencies were illegally spying on their own populace. THAT is the story that should be getting coverage. However it seems like the press did their thing on it, and now wants to move on to "something new" no matter how irrelevant it is.

If the GCHQ is spying on other countries, Brits shouldn't be concerned. That is why they have a GCHQ. If the GCHQ is spying on their own subjects, they should be concerned, since that is illegal.

Comment: Yes (Score 5, Insightful) 127

by Sycraft-fu (#47682211) Attached to: Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

A game engine is a very, VERY big enterprise to make, particularity if you are talking one with modern 3D graphics. It is a big undertaking even for a company who's done it before and has a decent team of people. You will spend a lot of time and effort on it, and it still might not end up being very good.

Game engines get a lot of that low level hard work out of the way. That's why they are so used. You see even large development studios with big budgets license an engine because the cost of doing so is far less than the cost of properly developing their own.

If you want to build a game engine, that's great, but make that your goal. Build an engine for its own sake then, if you have one that seems to work well, think about using it for a game. Don't set off to make a game form the ground up, it isn't likely to happen.

Comment: Re:Work smart not hard (Score 1) 418

by Sycraft-fu (#47681681) Attached to: Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

The whole Middle East is a wonderful argument against using exposure to war as a deterrent to war. There is generational hatred there, the wish to kill people for wrongs going back decades or centuries. Conflicts that breed more hatred and new conflicts. Violence being seen not just as a feasible solution, but the first line.

If exposure to war was such a good cure for future wars, the ME would be extremely peaceful right now. Instead, it is one of the most violent places in the world.

As you say, what it does is lets people see it as a viable option. It also desensitizes them to war. You kill a man, it messes with your head. You kill your 100th man, it is just something you do. If death, destruction, and suffering is the norm, then what's it matter if you cause some?

You can see this same kind of thing in terms of kids who come from the ghetto. You might think "Man, they will really hate that and work hard to stay away from drugs and crime, get an education, and get out." Instead it is the only life they know, and they most often get caught up in it. You get generations of problems because the children grow up knowing an environment of crime, poverty, etc and that is just how things are for them.

Comment: Maybe you should think of the children (Score 2) 418

by Sycraft-fu (#47681197) Attached to: Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Think of the fact that something like this might give them PTSD. Dealing with a war zone can be traumatic for adults with training, experience, and perspective. It can be far worse for children.

Also it does rather seem to be an unnecessary risk. While childhood has risks to be sure, part of your duty as a guardian is to minimize those risks as feasible. You weigh risks vs rewards, and try to find safe options when possible.

So maybe taking kids to a war zone is not the best idea. Maybe a better idea is to talk to them, watch some movies, read books, perhaps have a friend who's a war vet have a conversation.

Of course this strikes me as a journalist being a press whore. He's doing this because he can make it a story, not because he's being a good father.