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Comment: Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (Score 4, Insightful) 80

by Cliff Stoll (#47298935) Attached to: Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

This is important work, which compliments terrestial geomagnetic measurements and space based observations.

The earth's magnetic field results from a planetary dynamo. Magnetic field lines get frozen into the electrically conductive fluid core. Then, differential motions in the fluid causes the magnetic field to get twisted up -- it's no longer is the simple dipole (like those bar magnets that you played with as a kid). Instead, the earth's magnetic field develops high order moments (sorta like bumps and dips). These shapes evolve as the conductive core moves. Eventually, the magnetic field gets so tangled up, that it unravels. At that time, the earth's field reverses. These magnetic field reversals show up in the geologic record ... every 10,000 to 100,000 years, there's a flipover.

Measurements like the ESA Swarm satellite give us a handle on the evoloution of the Earth's magnetic field, as well as showing how that field interacts with the magnetic and particle environment of the solar wind.

(disclaimer - most of what I just posted is from a terrific graduate class that I took at the Lunar & Planetary Labs way back in 1979, and when I worked with Charles Sonett, who studied the solar wind. Likely, much of this is way out of date!)

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

Comment: Re:Well, yes, I was there... (Score 1) 120

by Cliff Stoll (#47182183) Attached to: Whom Must You Trust?

And my thanks back to you, oh Anonymous Coward: The 15 cents in royalties from your purchase of m'book is now helping my kids attend college. Uh, it'll last about 1.3 minutes.

You say that you're managing firewalls - all sorts of possibilities! I had the honor of working with Van Jacobson at LBL when he first researched TCP/IP traffic jams and compression. I was amazed at how much could be done by looking at traffic and thinking about the interaction of traffic, buffers, routers, and network congestion. Wonderful stuff - what looks like a boring problem may be an opportunity for research.

With that in mind, here's my encouragement to you: Go and sharpen your tcpdump & wireshark tools. Figure out what's really happening to those packets. Who knows what you'll uncover?

Comment: Re:IF you are the REAL Cliff Stoll? (Score 1) 120

by Cliff Stoll (#47182047) Attached to: Whom Must You Trust?

(blush). Thanks!

Now it's your turn: Go forth and make our networked community friendlier, stronger, more trustworthy, and more useful.

Best wishes,
-Cliff

PS: Of course, you raise a fascinating, self-referential question. How can you tell if this posting is from the real Cliff Stoll? I know it's me - and it's easy to prove in person, but difficult online. For the best proof, well, stop by for coffee. Way more fun than posting online.

Comment: Well, yes, I was there... (Score 5, Interesting) 120

by Cliff Stoll (#47181593) Attached to: Whom Must You Trust?

It's been a quarter century since I chased down those hackers. Hard to think back that far: 2400 baud modems were rarities, BSD Unix was uncommon, and almost nobody had a pocket pager. As an astronomy postdoc (not a grad student), I ran a few Unix boxes at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. When the accounting system crashed, my reaction was curiosity: How come this isn't working? It's an attitude you get from physics -- when you don't understand something, it's a chance to do research. And oh, where it led...

Today, of course, everything's changed: Almost nobody has a pocket pager, 2400 baud modems are a rarity, and Berkeley Unix is, uh, uncommon. What started out as a weirdness hiding in our etc/passwd file has become a multi-billion dollar business. So many stories to tell ...

I've since tiptoed away from computer security; I now make Klein bottles and work alongside some amazing programmers at Newfield Wireless in Berkeley. Much fun debugging code and occasionally uncorking stories from when Unix was young.

Warm cheers to m'slashdot friends,
-Cliff

Comment: While driving a car (Score 1) 310

On a long drive from LA to Portland I was the driver and I was bored, so I wrote a simple moon lander game (modeled from one I'd seen written in BASIC) for my new HP-25 programmable calculator by dictating instructions to the guy riding in the shotgun seat. The display showed your altitude on one side of the decimal place, velocity on the other side (and with the +/- sign) and remaining fuel in the exponent. After each iteration you entered how much fuel to burn on the next step and pushed R/S (Run/Stop) to continue. If you got down to zero altitude (or below) with a velocity less than some maximum value then you had made a successful landing. Otherwise you crashed.

+ - Councilman/Open Source Developer submits Open Source bill->

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: "It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: A little late, but welcome (Score 1) 136

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47119749) Attached to: Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown
A cynic might argue that the key difference in this case was that, for a change, the ISP's, and not merely defendants, were challenging the subpoenas; but of course we all know that justice is 'blind'.

An ingrate might bemoan the Court's failure to address the key underlying fallacy in the "John Doe" cases, that because someone pays the bill for an internet account that automatically makes them a copyright infringer; but who's complaining over that slight omission?

A malcontent like myself might be a little unhappy that it took the courts ten (10) years to finally come to grips with the personal jurisdiction issue, which would have been obvious to 9 out of 10 second year law students from the get go, and I personally have been pointing it out and writing about it since 2005; but at least they finally did get there.

And a philosopher might wonder how much suffering might have been spared had the courts followed the law back in 2004 when the John Doe madness started; but of course I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher. :)

Bottom line, though: this is a good thing, a very good thing. Ten (10) years late in coming, but good nonetheless. - R.B. )

Comment: yes & glad i resisted temptation (Score 1) 692

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#46010041) Attached to: Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview
I once got asked a question which I found hurtful and offensive, and felt tempted to 'blow up' the interview at that point. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation. As it turns out, the question was his way of introducing the next thing, which was telling me that he was offering me the job.

Comment: Preliminary injunction (Score 1) 211

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#45924005) Attached to: Supreme Court To Hear Aereo Case
I guess it would take a litigator to notice this, but it's quite unusual that a preliminary injunction denial would be getting this kind of appellate attention.

In the first place, it was unusual for an interlocutory appeal to be granted from the denial of the preliminary injunction motion. In federal court usually you can only appeal from a final judgment.

Similarly, apart from the fact that it's always rare for a certiorari petition to be granted, it's especially tough where the appeal is not from a final judgment, but just from a preliminary injunction denial which does not dispose of the whole case.

May the bluebird of happiness twiddle your bits.

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