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Comment: Re:News at 11.. (Score 1) 555

by jfengel (#48637745) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Thanks for that. I find myself increasingly bugged by this kind of argument by misleading analogy. "X is like Y. You agree with me about Y. Therefore you must agree with me about X." It basically frames the entire argument around the differences between X and Y, rather than taking X on its own terms.

It's kind of galling, since it basically assumes that I'll agree that X is identical to Y. Therefore, either I'm stupid for not realizing that X and Y are identical, or you're stupid for not recognizing that there are meaningful differences. I'm betting it's the latter, but even without that assumption, it's hard to see how we proceed from the demonstration that at least one of the parties to the conversation is stupid.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 4, Insightful) 290

Every. Fucking. Hospital. Everywhere.

The only thing that keeps this from being a problem is that the gory details of most people's lives are really not interesting to anybody and they are hard to monetize. I would imagine that hospitals and clinics around Hollywood have been hit multiple times. If you are a 'high value target', ie, nobody here on Slashdot, I'd be worried.

Very worried.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 2) 290

From what I've read, the Target crack was funnelled through a 3rd party HVAC company that did not secure their systems sufficiently.

They may have done more AFTER the scripts gave them access. But it appears that the scripts gave them the initial access.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 4, Interesting) 290

And one of the aspects where I disagree with him:

Low-focus attacks are easier to defend against: If Home Depot's systems had been better protected, the hackers would have just moved on to an easier target.

He is phrasing it incorrectly. The attacks are scripted and BLIND. They don't attack X and skip Y if X is vulnerable. Or attack Y if X is not vulnerable. They attack A - Z regardless of the success or failure of any single attack.

And 100% agreement with your air gap recommendation.

With attackers who are highly skilled and highly focused, however, what matters is whether a targeted company's security is superior to the attacker's skills, not just to the security measures of other companies.

He's got it right there. Once you are online you can be attacked by anyone anywhere. The only advantage you have is that you control the wire in your organization. Wireless is more of a pain. But you can see every packet moving on the wire.

It is hard to put a dollar value on security that is strong enough to assure you that your embarrassing emails and personnel information won't end up posted online somewhere, but Sony clearly failed here.

In my experience, the problem is not money. The problem is EGO. Someone is always convinced that what they are doing is more important than following what the IT nerds say and they have the political clout within the company to force exceptions be made.

It is the exceptions that damage your security.

It is the exceptions that allow the easy-to-prevent attacks to get a foothold on your network. THEN the more advanced attacks are unleashed.

Comment: Re:Well, duh (Score 4, Interesting) 317

by khasim (#48636509) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Well if you look at what has been "common knowledge" in SF in years past ...

And she gets her terms wrong.

Knowing that we are not alone in the universe would be a profound realization, and contact with an alien civilization could produce amazing technological innovations and cultural insights.

The universe includes all the galaxies. Our sun will probably burn out before we get a message from another galaxy. Stick to your own galaxy. That is difficult enough.

Which brings up the next error:

Even if I am wrong -- even if the majority of alien civilizations turn out to be biological -- it may be that the most intelligent alien civilizations will be ones in which the inhabitants are SAI.

SAI is her term for "superintelligent artificial intelligence". So she has just written a tautology. Unless you want to get into super-superintelligent or ultra-superintelligent.

And the rest is more of the same.

Comment: Re:Summary needs to bring up the interesting parts (Score 3, Informative) 50

by ColdWetDog (#48634869) Attached to: Scientists Discover That Exercise Changes Your DNA

True, this isn't particularly earth shattering, but you are incorrect in stating that there is no change in DNA. Methylation covalently (stably) alters DNA. So it actually does create a different nucleotide, one that is recognized by the cell as different from the original. This COULD result in germ cell (ie, heritable) changes.

There is absolutely no data to suggest that this particular set of methylation events has anything to do with reproduction or reproductive fitness, but mechanistically, it's possible. We are still pretty much working out the importance and scope of DNA methylation. In this particular instance, it is not at all clear that it does anything except alter gene expression - and we know that exercise causes gene expression changes. Those new biceps didn't just magically pop into being (unless you are photoshopped).

Those who can, do; those who can't, write. Those who can't write work for the Bell Labs Record.