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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Why is Israel not part of the NNPT? (Score 1) 40

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167501) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Because they didn't sign it.

Saying: "everyone who has them except Israel is allowed to keep them" is just plain wrong.

Which just might be why they didn't sign on - and part of why "Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program."

Some things to remember about the NNPT:
  - Not every country in the world is a signatory.
  - Even signatories didn't permanently give up their right to develop nuclear weapons: By the treaty's own terms (section X(1)), they can drop out on three month's notice:

Article X

1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

Comment: But it WILL dry some of them out... (Score 2) 113

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167191) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Bonus points: it wont flood any place in land that is not actually flooded twice a day,

But, by retarding the tidal current, it WILL dry out part of the area currently intermittently wetted, and WILL keep continuously wet another part of it that is currently intermittently dried.

Comment: Re:Viewing Launches (Score 1) 22

by Bruce Perens (#49166815) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

With luck, they'll start incorporating our radio transceivers. I hear that SpaceX flies with several USRPs now, so that's not completely unrealistic. That might be as close as I can get. Anyone who can get me a base invitation, though, would be greatly appreciated and I'd be happy to do some entertaining speeches while there. I need a base invite for Vandenberg, too. I got in to the official viewing site for the first try of the last launch (and that scrubbed too), but this next one is on Pad 6.

Comment: Viewing Launches (Score 3, Interesting) 22

by Bruce Perens (#49164783) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

I was in Florida to speak at Orlando Hamcation and went to see the DISCOVR launch at Kennedy Space Center. I paid $50 to be at LC-39 for the launch, an observation tower made from a disused gantry on the Nasa Causeway between the pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. A crawler was parked next door! A hot sandwich buffet, chips, and sodas were served. It was cold and windy! I watched for a few hours and unfortunately the launch scrubbed due to high stratospheric winds.

The next day, Delaware North Corporation, which operates tourism at KSC, decided not to open LC-39 or the Saturn 5 center for the launch. This was the third launch attempt and I guess they decided most people had left. I was annoyed.

The closest beach was going to be closed in the evening, it's a sensitive ecological area. I ended up seeing the launch from Jetty Park. This turned out not to be such a great location, the tower wasn't visible at all and the first 10 seconds of the rocket in flight were obscured before we saw it over a hill.

What's a better viewing location?

Comment: Wonder how they'll rate Global Warming discussions (Score 1) 355

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49162031) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

... when there is more than one version of the truth (conflicts, spin vs fact)... plus not all information is facts... philosophical questions may have more than one answer etc... so I am definitely curious to see how this works out.

I'm curious as well.

In particular, I wonder how they'll handle Global Warming / Climate Change discussions.

Then there's electoral politics, economics, Illegal immigration / undocumented migrants, ...

Comparing to a knowlege base presupposes that the knowledge base is full of truth. Filtering search results to exclude (or down-rate) anything at odds with the current paradigm is a recipe for hamstriging research, debate, and intellectual progress

  Ideas need to be supported or rejected based on evidence and logic, not whether they're orthodox.

Comment: Re:Or the malware might cover its tracks. (Score 1) 303

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49161967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors. I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors.

Because hacking the JTAG to hide malicious hacking of the software is a massive endeavor and a massive PITA.

Besides, if they built it into the original software they wouldn't NEED to hack the JTAG to hide it. The code would match the released version. (You'd have to reverse-engineer it to discover their back doors.)

Comment: Or the malware might cover its tracks. (Score 1) 303

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49158963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

If you ask the drive to read out the whole flash.
The maybe the firmware would have to go to the platter to get the real image.

Or the malware could regenerate the un-attacked version.

For instance: If it's a patch that loads into an otherwise cleared-to-known-vallue region it can detect that region while reporting flash content and report the cleared value, instead. Add a couple other tiny regions where it saved (or alread knew) the previous contents where it "sank it's hooks" and you can't tell it's there from its replies to dump requests.

JTAG seems safer.

Yep. JTAG, in principle, could be corrupted. But it would require substantial hardware support that almost certainly isn't there (yet!)

Comment: Hashes can be useful. (Score 1) 303

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49158915) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Which is why I always laugh my ass off at all these people who use PGP to sign things and put a hash on the same website you download it from ... look you can verify this file you downloaded from the website hasn't changed because theres no way anyone would be smart enough to update the hash as well!

That's why you SIGN the hash. Then only the public key needs to be published by a different route.

And it doesn't HURT to publish it on the web site as well: Then someone tampering by substituting a different public key sets off alarm bells when that differs from the public key obtained from another site or by another path. Blocking that makes man-in-the-middle more complex: The attacker has to have essentially total control of the path to the victim and be able to recognize and substitute the public key whenever it shows up. One slip-up and somebody may raise the alarm.

Meanwhile: Even if publishing hashes on the same site may not provide additional security against MITM, it DOES let you check the download wasnt corrupted in transit (in ways other than malicious substitution). With modern protocols that's less of a problem these days than it used to be, but a check would be comforting.

Comment: &is "teal" blue with greenish tinge or vice-ve (Score 1) 404

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49155217) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

... blue and brown. Just now, I opened the Washington Post link on my 24" screen in a sunlit room, and it was clearly white and gold.

Though the sensations are vastly different, brown is really dark yellow. The underlying color of that part of this dress seems to be very near the perceptual boundary (probably just on the yellow side of it). This picture seems to have the dress in a non-obvious shadow, so when it is viewed by someone whose visual system doesn't adequately pick up the shadowing and compensate, it crosses the boundary and appears light brown rather than dark yellow.

Another perceptual oddity is that a very slight bluish tinge to white makes it appear "whiter than white", especially in sunlight or other strong lighting. (I suspect this works by mimicing the differential response of the various color sensors in the eye when exposed to very bright light, though blue may also "cancel out" a bit of the yellowing of aging cloth.) Laundry products up through the 1950s or so included "bluing", a mild blue dye for producing the effect. (It fell out of use when it was replaced by a fluorescent dye that reradated energy from ultraviolet as blue, making the cloth literally "brighter than white" {where "white" is defined as diffuse reflection of 100% of the incoming light}, and which, if mixed with detergent products, would stick to the cloth while the surficant was rinsed away.) I suspect some of the "blueish is brighter" effect is going on here.

When I view the picture straight-on on my LCD display, the light cloth on the upper part of the dress appears about white and the image appears somewhat washed out. Meanwhile the lower half has a bluish tinge. So I suspect the cloth is actually nearly-white with a bit of blue. (Viewed off-axis it's very blue, but the other colors are over-saturated and/or otherwise visibly off-color. So off-axis viewing makes it look more blue and this probably adds to the controversy.)

Another color-perception issue is "teal", a color between blue and green. There are paint formulations of this color that give the sensation of "distinctly blue with a greenish tinge" to some people and "distinctly green with a bluish tinge" to others, even under the same lighting and viewed from the same angle. (I'm in the "slightly-bluish-green" camp.)

The first place I encountered this was on the guitar of the filksinger Clif Flint. (On which he played _Unreality Warp_: "... I'm being followed by maroon shadows ..." B-) ) Apparently his fans occasionally had arguments about whether his guitar was blue or green, so he sometimes headed this off (or started it off on a more friendly levl) by commenting on the effect.

Comment: Re:do no evil (Score 2) 184

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49154693) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Perhaps they should be asking for a ".google" gTLD, for that purpose, instead of trying to monopolize a generic identifier.

I was about to suggest the same, but with ".goog", to make it shorter. (Can't think of a less-than-three-letter symbol that points to them as strongly.)

(It's also their stock ticker symbol, so maybe it's not such a good idea - it could cause a land rush and litigation from all the other publicly traded companies.)

Comment: Re:fees (Score 0) 387

by Shakrai (#49151719) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

I've already had to turn down a couple of high-prestige projects for some remote stuff because of this.

If they're "high-prestige" why aren't you willing to move? It's not like you own that apartment you're renting. Move out when your lease comes up and make sure you tell management why you're doing it. Good tenants are hard to find, if you complain infrequently and pay your rent on time (less common than you'd think) they'll be sorry to see you go and will listen to your reasons for doing so.

Doesn't solve your problem in the short term but it's more effective for long term change than griping about the problem on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Stomp Feet (Score 0, Troll) 387

by Shakrai (#49151691) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

Because corporations bad, mmm'kay?

That's really the crux of it. Any argument against this ruling is immediately shouted down. I posited this question on another forum and received the equivalent of -1, Troll: Why is everybody cheering a ruling that attacks hypothetical problems (the oft discussed "fast lane" has yet to actually happen) while ignoring the actual problems that are impeding innovation? The "killer app" that started this whole argument is streaming video, so ask yourself which of these two things are a greater threat to that: The data caps that are currently being imposed or the fast lane that only exists on paper?

Comment: Re:Romulan Ale (Score 1) 407

by Shakrai (#49149197) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

Last Halloween I got suckered into running a 13k in costume; since the only costume I own is a TNG uniform and one of my friends wore a TOS redshirt it wasn't much of a leap to get smashed afterwards on Romulan Ale. Alas, I found out the hard way that my Playmates Type II Phaser doesn't work on the bouncer at our local pub. He's a big guy, so maybe I just needed to bump it up to maximum stun....

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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