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Comment: Re:Will the training really matter? No. (Score 1) 388

by garcia (#48805845) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

I'm preaching to the 4-digit choir here, I know. Let me issue the disclaimer that I am not a teacher but a bunch of my friends are, and my job does depend on staying up to date.

I am not sure what my ability to remember the login information for an account I created in 1997 has anything to do w/the discussion; however, EVERYONE's job depends on them staying up-to-date, it's just that most people choose not to and fall behind.

Comment: Will the training really matter? No. (Score 4, Insightful) 388

by garcia (#48804057) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Technology funding in school districts (in my area these are tax levies) is already insanely high; mostly because we're pushing for tablet devices in schools driven, behind the scenes, by extremely lucrative vendor deals.

Without adequate training, the related curricula are severely limited and thus the added benefits when compared to related cost are low, if at all positive.

Now, this research, as well as the districts, are rightly saying the teachers need more training in order to leverage the technology effectively; however, what really needs to be understood is just how much training is really necessary and whether the tech gap between teachers and their students can really be mitigated.

It is my unfounded opinion that it will never be mitigated enough as teachers are not usually well enough equipped at their own subject matter, let alone keeping up with the taxing knowledge demands of technology.

What we need to do is take a step back and ensure that these additional tax investments in technology are actually doing anything to further student development and because they aren't, think about what we can do to actually concentrate on doing that instead of buying the new and shiny and letting it, effectively, collect dust in the corner while levy after levy is passed to support it.

Comment: Re:Prediction: (Score 4, Insightful) 206

by daveschroeder (#48680051) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

First of all, you say, "North Korea didn't hack Sony," as if it is an indisputable, known fact. It is not -- by any stretch of the imagination.

The fact is, it cannot be proven either way in a public forum, or without having independent access to evidence which proves -- from a social, not technical, standpoint -- how the attack originated. Since neither of those are possible, the MOST that can be accurate stated is that no one, in a public context, can definitively demonstrate for certain who hacked Sony.

Blameless in your scenario is the only entity actually responsible, which is that entity that attacked Sony in the first place.

Whether that is the DPRK, someone directed by the DPRK, someone else entirely, or a combination of the above, your larger point appears to be that somehow the US is to blame for a US subsidiary of a Japanese corporation getting hacked -- or perhaps simply for existing.

As a bonus, you could blame Sony for saying its security controls weren't strong enough, while still reserving enough blame for the US as the only "jackass".


Comment: Prediction: (Score 5, Insightful) 206

by daveschroeder (#48679895) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Many of the same slashdotters who accept "experts" who claim NK didn't hack Sony will readily accept as truth that it was "obviously" the US that attacked NK, even though there is even less objective proof of that, and could just as easily be some Anonymous offshoot, or any number of other organizations, or even North Korea itself.

See the logical disconnect, here?

For those now jumping on the "North Korea didn't hack Sony" bandwagon that some security "experts" are leading for their own political or ideological reasons, including using rationales as puzzling and pedestrian as source IP addresses of the attacks being elsewhere, some comments:

Attribution in cyber is hard, and the general public is never going to know the classified intelligence that went into making an attribution determination, and experts -- actual and self-appointed -- will make claims about what they think occurred.

With cyber, you could have nation-states, terrorists organizations, or even activist hacking groups attacking other nation-states, companies, or organizations, for any number of motives, and making it appear, from a social and technical standpoint, that the attack originated from and/or was ordered by another entity entirely.

That's a HUGE problem, but there are ways to mitigate it. A Sony "insider" may indeed -- wittingly or unwittingly -- have been key in pulling off this hack. That doesn't mean that DPRK wasn't involved. I am not making a formal statement one way or the other; just saying that the public won't be privy to the specific attribution rationale.

Also, any offensive cyber action that isn't totally worthless is going to attempt to mask or completely divert attention from its true origins (unless part of the strategic intent is to make it clear who did it), or at a minimum maintain some semblance of deniability.

At some point you have to apply Occam's razor and ask who benefits.

And for those riding the kooky "This is all a big marketing scam by Sony" train:

So, you're saying that Sony leaked thousands of extremely embarrassing and in some cases damaging internal documents and emails that will probably result in the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment being ousted, including private and statutorily-protected personal health information of employees, and issued terroristic messages threatening 9/11-style attacks at US movie theaters, committing dozens to hundreds of federal felonies, while derailing any hopes for a mass release and instead having it end up on YouTube for rental, all to promote one of hundreds of second-rate movies?

Comment: Re:And this is why there's traffic... (Score 1) 611

by garcia (#48604087) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Clearly you have never been to the UCLA campus because, if you had, you would have known this isn't true in the least. You can walk all over that place.

The problem in LA is the culture. People believe they are to be seen in their automobiles and they buy or lease expensive cars and drive them ridiculously short distances for that sole reason (if there is another reason, please do share but nothing really makes sense).

I worked for a company based out of LA for 2.5 years and we were there often. One guy lived a 10 minute walk from the office but chose to drive each and every day. He didn't buy an M3 to have it sit in his garage, after all. Nope, it sat in the company's garage instead.


Comment: The Click is Dead Anyway (Score 1) 285

by garcia (#48555271) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

I work in marketing analytics and, specifically, in measuring the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns at a customer level. Straight up click tracking is dead and this will do nothing which is purports as organizations begin moving away from siloed measurement of IMP -> CLK within single channels at an aggregate level and instead go down to the very granular cross-channel customer-level attribution.

If you really want to avoid detection and behavior tracking, I highly suggest you entirely disable cookies entirely (yes, I realize this is not worth it at all), otherwise you will not have accomplished what you had hoped.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 3, Interesting) 463

by daveschroeder (#48152325) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

No, it didn't. It was "some sort" of droplet transmission by monkeys in adjacent cages.

That is NOT -- repeat, NOT -- "airborne" transmission.

And no, it didn't go through the ventilation system; it was later learned that sick monkeys sneezing while they were being transported past well monkeys did indeed transmit the virus in this case.

It was also a completely different strain than the one we are talking about.

Airborne transmission occurs when an infectious agent is able to cling to particulates in the air and ride air currents for significant amounts of time, over significant distances, through ventilation systems, etc., long after the infected person who expelled the virus is no longer in the area.

Droplet transmission is NOT "airborne" transmission. It is projecting bodily fluids directly onto a well person in close quarters...usually less than 3 feet, but under optimal conditions, perhaps further. That is still not airborne transmission.

Furthermore, coughing/sneezing is probably one of the least effective ways to spread Ebola, even via droplets. Blood, feces, and vomit are the primary ways this will be spread. Yes, virus "could" be in saliva, mucous, semen, etc. But that's not the primary way Ebola spreads.

Airborne transmission would be very bad, but the Ebola virus is too large to spread this way. It would have to shed about 75% of its genome to be small enough for airborne transmission in sub-5um droplet nuclei that could ride on particulates. And if it did that, it wouldn't be "Ebola" anymore -- it would be something very different; perhaps still deadly, perhaps not, and so much different from what we are talking about right now that it is next to meaningless to discuss.

So, in closing: no, Ebola is not airborne.

Comment: What 20 years of research on pot has taught us (Score 1, Troll) 263

by daveschroeder (#48105723) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

Read the full study in the journal Addiction

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

In the past 20 years recreational cannabis use has grown tremendously, becoming almost as common as tobacco use among adolescents and young adults, and so has the research evidence. A major new review in the scientific journal Addiction sets out the latest information on the effects of cannabis use on mental and physical health.

The key conclusions are:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use
- Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
- Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
- Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use
- Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
- Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users are more likely to use other illicit drugs, but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular cannabis use that begins in adolescence and continues throughout young adulthood appears to produce intellectual impairment, but the mechanism and reversibility of the impairment is unclear.
- Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or reporting psychotic symptoms in adulthood.
- Regular cannabis smokers have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
- Cannabis smoking by middle aged adults probably increases the risk of myocardial infarction.

Professor Hallâ(TM)s report is published online today in the scientific journal Addition.

Comment: Re:Ebola is airborne (Score 5, Informative) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096515) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

Wrong. Different strain, VERY bad source, did not happen through ventilation system. It happened to monkeys in adjacent cages without direct contact, through "some sort" of aerosolized transmission in very close quarters. I.e., droplets.

Fearmongers or people who think "the government" is "lying to stem panic" always trot out this story. It does NOT mean "Ebola is airborne".

It took Africa, with some of the worst healthcare, sanitation, and infrastructure in the world, 10 MONTHS to get to the ~7400 cases there are now. If it were airborne, it would be much, much worse. Ebola is not airborne; stop spreading your bullshit.

Thank you.

Comment: Errata: slashdot mangled my reply... (Score 4, Informative) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096227) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

...when trying to use the carat symbol. Fix here:

Airborne transmission occurs when an droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (under 5 um) to travel on dust particles, and can invisibly hang in the air or travel on air currents in large spaces long after someone has sneezed or coughed, and travel great distances, and can infect when breathed in.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Ebola is, or has been, spread in this way. In fact, the evidence is that Ebola is almost exclusively spread via direct contact with bodily fluids.

Droplet transmission (over 10 um) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

Comment: He thought she had maliaria, not Ebola (Score 5, Insightful) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096127) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

Whether he lied or not, some accounts say that he believed the woman he aided had malaria, not Ebola. And the woman's family themselves may have lied to the people aiding them.

Ultimately, the biggest breakdown occured with the hospital, which was told twice that he had just traveled from Liberia on the first visit, and has since admitted this information was available to all providers. This has caused the tilt to the other extreme, with even the most innocuous cases of fever, adominal distress, and similar, with no travel or other history that would point to Ebola, being handled as such "out of an abundance of caution".

Keep in mind that viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are nothing new in the US. what happens in the United States with other fatal VHFs, that, like Ebola, are only spread via direct contact with bodily fluids and can be easily addressed in first world nations:




Hanta is especially on point, as the US typically has dozens of cases -- and dozens of deaths -- each year, all of which are rapidly contained. The cases of "imported" VHFs, like has occurred with Marburg and Lassa, result in identification, isolation, and either the recovery or death of that person -- and that's the end of it.

Also, Ebola is NOT airborne. Ebola researchers will AT MOST say things like:

Peters, whose CDC team studied cases from 27 households that emerged during a 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, said that while most could be attributed to contact with infected late-stage patients or their bodily fluids, "some" infections may have occurred via "aerosol transmission."

"Those monkeys were dying in a pattern that was certainly suggestive of coughing and sneezing â" some sort of aerosol movement."

"May". "Suggestive". "Some sort".

Even if we change all of these statements to absolute certainty, it still does not translate to, "Ebola is airborne," in the meaning of "airborne" in the context of disease transmission.

Airborne transmission occurs when a droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (10 μm) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

The quickest way to have a threat of possible airborne transmission of Ebola via mutation would be to not aid Africa in this fight, and let Africa fend for itself, creating an environment where the cases could skyrocket into the millions (due to Africa's infrastructure and inability to deal with the onslaught), thereby increasing the statistical likelihood of the feared airborne mutation -- which, if a foothold were to be gotten in the West as an airborne disease, would truly be a catastrophe worthy of fear and panic.

In reading much of the news coverage, online commentary, and this thread, this article struck me as very relevant:

Indeed, with the increasing numbers of Americans likely to believe that any major threat requiring government action is a result of at best government lies/failures, or at worse, an active plot to weaken America and/or strip rights from Americans, fighting any truly existential threat at home becomes almost impossible.

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 1) 191

by daveschroeder (#48084481) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Every official query. Agents are allowed to search through that data at their whim. This was detailed by Snowden.

False. That is categorically, 100% false. That was people interpreted Snowden's claim to be, and that's not how it works. If you look at the nuance of Snowden's claims, even he himself has made various statements to the effect of, "Even if it's not being abused today, it could be in the future." Wow, no shit, Captain Obvious: ANY government power "could" be abused. And? I mean, really? That's why in a democracy we sort of have this thing called the "rule of law". And yes, we're imperfect, in all manner of ways. Again: And?

In the case of the phone call metadata, it has been approved and reauthorized every 90 days by all three branches of government -- the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, two different presidential administrations (which you could only believe are "the same" if you're one of those crazy libertarian types), and a total of 17 different federal judges, who have variously sat on the court whose single purpose and reason for being is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of FOREIGN intelligence collection. (I know all the protests: no, FISC is not a "rubber stamp" court; it is simply not an adversarial court, and armies of lawyers IC agencies don't even waste their time bringing forward requests that are likely to be denied.)

Only 22 people, in total, even have query access to the database, and this data has only been queried around 300 times. Each of those queries requires its own FISA order (to demonstrate the target is not a US Person, or if it is a US Person, that an individualized warrant exists for a legitimate foreign intelligence purpose), and EVERY query of any kind of SIGINT collection, of any kind, has a layer of daily audits. Every query. Ironically, the only people who had theoretical access to data without oversight -- if they wanted to violate their oath, their trust, the law, and the Constitution -- was system administrators. And now, because of Snowden, sysadmins can only conduct sensitive duties (such as entering datacenters or having physical access to anything beyond normal workstations) with another sysadmin (two-person integrity).

Yes, the capability they want against the terrorists is a complete panopticon of all activity. And the simple response is that no, they are not allowed to have that capability when it comes to US citizens. As per the constitution.

There is no way to have technical (or any) capabilities to collect against "only" the foreign targets without having the capability to collect against any target that is using the same systems, networks, and tools. The only distinction now is the US Person-status. That is the fundamental issue in the digital world, and the source of the fundamental misunderstanding of the United States' foreign SIGINT capabilities.

You're vastly oversimplifying the situation, beyond the fact you don't understand anything about SIGINT law, governance, or policy. Where, in the Constitution, does it say the government cannot have a CAPABILITY that COULD be used against Americans? (Hint: ANY government power "could" be used against Americans.) What is the difference, from a Constitutional perspective, of a foreign counterterrorism target using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. (which they do), and an American using those same tools? Do you see the problem, here? It's the PERSON, not the TOOL.

Your "solutions" -- which you don't even need to enumerate for me to guess -- would basically mean that all a foreign target has to do to subject himself to the same Constitutional and warrant protections that are reserved only for US Persons is to ENSURE his communications enter, touch, or traverse a US system or network. Right now that happens incidentally, or because US adversaries still find them to be the easiest methods to communicate, even if their comms might be using a US service, or a US-designed or -owned technology, or may enter the US, even if incidentally.

Given that foreign intelligence collection against non-US Persons fundamentally does not require a warrant, never has, and never will, what tools do you think enemies of the US would choose to use if suddenly you could wave a magic wand and require a warrant for Every. Single. Communication. of a foreign target using a US system? How would that work in, say, a sex chat room that terrorists happen to have chosen to communicate (it happens). Or a private web forum, hosted in the US (it happens). Or any number of US-based cloud and network providers? If you have a solution for how to have realtime or near-realtime access -- and yes, the (near-)realtime here is key, else SIGINT becomes worthless for all but a narrow set of strategic activities -- to only the bad guys while magically protecting everyone else using the same system, I would love to hear it.

Quantum Mechanics is a lovely introduction to Hilbert Spaces! -- Overheard at last year's Archimedeans' Garden Party