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Comment judicial power (Score 1) 353

“The fact is that, although the new software may enhance privacy for some users, it severely hampers law enforcement’s ability to aid victims. All of the evidence contained in smartphones and similar devices will be lost to law enforcement, so long as the criminals take the precaution of protecting their devices with passcodes. Of course they will do so. Simply stated, passcode-protected devices render lawful court orders meaningless and encourage criminals to act with impunity.”

Lawful requests are not automatically meaningful -- fetch me the moon, explain love, find the last digit of pi, relocate this unmovable rock... You can always ask, you can punish those who resist the order, but in the end you either need to learn to accept failure, or think twice before asking for the impossible.

The argument is that at some point, law enforcement or a court might want some piece of information, but face embarrassment when naively requesting that which is inaccessible? Cry me a river! Just because information "exists", or is believed to exist, it does not necessarily follow that it should be possible (nor easy) for a judge or detective to fetch it.

A judge may someday want to know where I was, yesterday at 3:14am. Does that mean it would make sense to require me to keep a sufficiently precise diary, or wear an ankle monitor, just to enable that possible future discovery request, so the poor slob doesn't have to face disappointment? Law enforcement has always been a cat-and-mouse game, where it's expected you won't be able to get information the easy way; bills requiring it to be easy won't change that.

Comment Re:FireBird... enough said (Score 4, Interesting) 244

I happen to use and love FB, it's been rock-solid for me for over a decade now, but I've never pushed it for *performance* reasons. It's always been about the features: MVCC that always works (unlike Oracle's, and on-by-default unlike SQLServer's), transactional triggers (came in really handy), triggers that do what you intend (unlike SQLServer's), better temporary-table mechanisms than SQLServer, better stored procedures (selectable like a table-valued-function, but can read & write like a stored procedure). There's no equivalent to PostGIS, though, and there's no built-in replication method beyond shadow databases. And other stuff that a Wikipedia page would be better at explaining.

If you're serious about speed, I'd love to see benchmarks to back you up. If you're trolling, I hope readers will consider Firebird anyway, it really is a good DBMS.

Comment Re:Since when was speed a problem for PostgreSQL? (Score 3, Informative) 244

I would expect the issue to be MVCC, not FKs. Both Postgres and Firebird do MVCC, which incurs overhead when writing data (never overwrite, always add delta records, then fix pointers so readers can follow the chain, and also cleanup deltas no longer needed by any active transactions) and when reading data (follow pointer chains, verify a given record should be visible to the current transaction despite it being listed in the slightly-larger index), etc.
The switch from myISAM to InnoDB brings MVCC with it (in addition to, as you point out, actual constraints) so the cause/effect may be unclear.

Comment Re:Liberals (Score 1) 585

http://www.abc.net.au/news/201... -- Cardiff rejected the student petition to uninvite Greer from giving a guest lecture. Dawkins supports letting her speak, and he's no conservative.

a) it didn't actually happen; Greer has pulled out because, at 76, she's "too old" to face protesters according to http://www.newstatesman.com/po...

b) she wouldn't have been "banned from campus", but her one guest lecture would have been canceled

c) it's not like all liberals, or leftists, agree -- sweeping generalizations are unfounded

d) this is not about squashing free speech, the way Freedom of Speech (at the federal level) is meant: nobody's preventing these people from having their opinions, but they are asking not to have tax dollars (publicly-funded schools) or tuition money spent on giving them a platform to spew what some people *see* not just as "wrong" but outright "hateful" speech (rightly or wrongly). the logic is that a school only invites so many guests, it has to be selective, there's value and judgment applied, so the school's reputation is attached to what the speaker actually says (and may be seen as reflecting something about the student body), it's not the same as letting them rant on any old street-corner.

Comment Re:SETI (Score 1) 10

Over interplanetary distances, isn't there an issue with adjusting the orientation of the laser to track the movements of the receiver? Measurement error being what it is, N-body problems complicating things, and with a lag determined by C, would it become necessary to setup a relay network, where each component is responsible for readjusting itself in a timely fashion? Each node would need a power source, emit waste heat, occasionally thrust to reposition itself... Beyond that, laser beams in a vacuum still diverge over long distances, bleeding some EM away from the intended target. Would such a relay network be detectable?

Comment Re:Earth not a globe, where are they going?? (Score 1) 120

See HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, episode 12, discussing how the TV camera on the rover was remotely-controlled from earth (operators trying to manually account for command delay, resulting in some missed liftoff footage on some missions.)
The rover had its own high-gain antenna for direct communication with Earth, including transmitting TV footage while the rover was stopped (audio only while moving, using low-gain antenna.)

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 510

My reading of the link you posted above is that they dropped the mail-fraud and contempt charges stemming from him continuing to file legal documents warning of "dispute" over the properties the government seized (to make the properties undesirable to potential buyers and thus screw the taxpayers) during his prosecution, wherein he and his wife *were* found guilty of (quite a few counts of) structuring, tax evasion, etc. As far as I can tell, the original charges have not been dropped.

Did the government prosecute them for appearing to purposefully avoid reporting on large withdrawals so they could further hide not paying taxes on the wages paid to their employees (argued to be independent contractors, but there are reasons you can't just claim that when the IRS comes knocking)? Or for being a creationist telling the truth, because the government's just a pawn of atheist, evolutionist, neo-Nazis? You decide.

Did the government prosecute him for filing Notice of Pending Suit from prison, after the case seizing his properties had concluded, as a form of harassment, trying to prevent the government from doing what the jury of peers agreed they could do, thus the contempt charge? Or were they charging him with mail fraud because filing Lis Pendens in court is a form of freedom of speech the government just cannot allow, because it might allow creationist truth to get out? You decide.

Comment Re:tag, but don't hide! (Score 1) 225

You'd be wrong to think I disagree with you. It cuts both ways, and that's okay!

Going further, I'd like to know what hoaxes other people are being exposed to, so I have some clue before they start spouting fecal matter at the watercooler. Rather than suppress the hoax, I'd rather publicize it (preferably alongside proof.)

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