Forgot your password?

Comment: You're actually disproving your own arguments (Score 1) 656

Keep in mind, that TSA has yet to have stopped a single bombing. The only reasons we've not had a plane go down is due to lack of effort, not any increase in security. The few attempts that have been made, made it through the TSA with ease and it was the efforts of passengers or the stupidity of the attacker that saved the plane.

The famous "few attempts that have been made" originated in foreign countries, not in the USA. You admit that there is a "lack of effort". Huh. You'd like us to believe that this is because "teh TSA am stoopid" or something that amounts to that, but in fact it very well could be that the bad guys have decided that the likelihood of getting a bomb on a plane is not "100%" or close to it like you seem to believe but quite a bit below that. I'd say maybe a 5-10% chance of getting through security successfully. Suicide bombers are a limited quantity and the chance of failure could be a disaster because if the would be bomber gets caught by the TSA, the US government now has access to the type of bomb being used and may be able to get the failed terrorist to talk. This is exactly what happened with Richard Reid.

People have car alarms not because they believe that it makes their car impossible to break into but because it raises the bar so that it may be more trouble than it's worth. Actually I think the TSA is working because if it was truly as bad as you and other complainers claim, there would have been a successful attempt already. I think the bad guys have decided that the risk is too high that they won't get away with it and the success would not be worth the risk of getting caught.

I wish I could find out when the last time is that you even flew to/from/within the USA. I had a friend a few years ago who would go into a full blown hissy fit and rant about the TSA, making pretty much the same arguments as you. He last flew around 1998 and he is very likely to never in his life get on a plane again. It has nothing at all to do with the TSA - he has no reason or desire to ever travel by plane. Yet from all his complaining you'd think that he was some kind of hard core road warrior who was at a different US airport every week. I have found that in general the people who complain the most about the TSA are the people who fly the least.

Comment: It's not illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba (Score 1) 189

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47349267) Attached to: Eric Schmidt and Entourage Pay a Call On Cuba
Let's get this clear - it's not illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba. Not at all.

Got that? Good. Now what is illegal, thanks to President Kennedy, is for Americans to spend money there without prior authorization from the US Department of Treasury. This is how the US government "gets" people who go to Cuba without permission. See, Kennedy signed the order during the Cold War and to prevent the Communists from arguing that the US was repressive and taking away the freedom of its citizens to go to Cuba, Kennedy simply made it illegal to spend money there unless you got special authorization to do so. Very rarely are US citizens truly forbidden from traveling anyway. I think in the past there may have been a few places where we actually legally couldn't travel to, but I'm not sure if any exist any more. I suppose it's worth mentioning that generally it's only when a Republican is president that the US government gets interested in prosecuting citizens for spending money in Cuba without prior authorization. This has not been a high priority of the Clinton or Obama presidencies.

Granted the bit about being able to travel to Cuba legally but not able to spend money there without prior authorization is a fine line and essentially the legal cases against such travelers have involved the US government arguing (probably without proof) that the traveler couldn't go there and not spend money. It's all a crock. It's not well known but my understanding (I have no personal experience here) is that the Obama administration has made it much easier for US citizens to go to Cuba legally via authorized cultural travel groups so there's not really a reason to just skirt the law and go without permission. The Bush administration had much tighter restrictions on travel to Cuba and a history of prosecuting citizens who got caught going there without prior authorization.

Comment: Re:The hypocrisy (Score 4, Interesting) 192

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47297433) Attached to: China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea
You raise some good points and you may be right, but I wondering if this is actually a sign that the CCP is losing control over the PLA (People's Liberation Army). For years to keep the military at their beck and call, the CCP has been working the propaganda machine into overdrive. My experience is that the average Chinese person, at least those in the big cities and not rural people, doesn't really trust the government or believe everything they say, but the propaganda works really well for those who join the PLA. I feel that China's military is pretty unprofessional and looking to start trouble and this is because they've been indoctrinated to believe that everybody is against good old China because of jealousy and if China doesn't fight tooth and nail for everything, they'll wind up with nothing. Throw in a few references to treaties they don't like that were signed in the 1800s (none of which are in force today, by the way) to bolster the claim that they've always been the victim and you have a military that acts like a rabid dog. Also, it doesn't help that the constitution of China pledges the PLA to defend the CCP, not China itself. So the CCP is at once both the state and more important than the state at the same time. It may be that all these years of indoctrination are bearing their inevitable ugly fruit now and they have to keep them busy building islands so they don't try to force an invasion of Taiwan, something that would possibly result in the US and Japan attacking China over.

Comment: Pissing war (Score 2, Insightful) 250

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47271941) Attached to: TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible
This is a pissing war. Both sides may be sincere and well intentioned, but it's still a pissing war. Here's a manager type summary. I'll use TC to represent the TC developer who responder and Forkers for the person representing the people who want to fork it.

Forkers: We'd like your permission to fork your code and get the rights to it. We could just fork it without your permission and others no doubt will if you refuse to comply. We want your trademarks and your OK to put the forked code into a different license then you used. We've started looking at your code and while we do agree that there are problems there that desperately need to be fixed, we feel strongly that fixing your broken code is a million times easier than writing this from scratch. So will you play ball with us?
TC: Our code is so broken that you need to start from scratch. That's why we abandoned it - didn't think it was possible to fix without doing a complete re-write. So no, we're not going to "play ball".

Comment: Re:Logical Consequences (Score 4, Interesting) 398

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47265391) Attached to: Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

China worried about the logical consequences of its own provocations against Japan as well as failing to heel those of North Korea (who essentially only China has open lines of communication).

Actually, I think you're wrong on both accounts. The military in China is a little bit crazy. Did you know that they are pledged by the constitution to support the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) rather than China itself? Think about that for a while. The civilian CCP government does control the PLA (People's Liberation Army), but for years now the PLA has been gaining in influence. I'm not sure even the CCP government really cares all that much about its provocations any more because they don't believe anybody will stand up to them, not even the USA.

China and North Korea are stuck with each other. Russia had the good sense to get out of that crazy game of financially supporting them early in Yeltsin's presidency, and that left China holding the bag. China doesn't have as much influence as you might think, nor do they use what little they have as well as they could. It's not well known by the public, but China has a lot of business deals with North Korea where basically they get rare earths and other minerals for below market rates. These deals are very important to China and are the main reason they prop up North Korea. China is really tired of North Korea behaving badly and causing trouble in its backyard, but they fear even more a united democratic Korea that might (who knows?) have US troops stationed in it near the Chinese border. So like it or not, they are committed firmly to the status quo because it represents a "least evil" option to them. When China says that they want a nuclear free Korean peninsula, they are quite sincere about that. They don't trust North Korea to maybe not use a nuke against them in anger or by mistake as their missile systems might simply go the wrong way and blow up in China by accident. But they aren't willing to do anything to get rid of the Kims and the Kims aren't getting rid of their nukes because they believe that their family survival depends on it. The only ways that North Korea is ever going to be nuclear free is that either the US is going to attack them and gamble that they can destroy their few nuclear missiles before they leave North Korean airspace or (much less likely) the regime will collapse quickly for some unforeseen reason and the new government will get rid of the nukes.

Comment: Re:Japan is already a nuclear power. (Score 1) 398

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47265269) Attached to: Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

It is quite likely they have a few that they don't talk about just as Israel has a few they don't talk about. And while we're at it, South Korea probably has a couple as well.

Actually, it's not likely at all that either Japan or South Korea "have a few they don't talk about". Do I believe that both countries could possibly produce a nuclear weapon? Yes. But untested nukes are useless because they may not work. Neither country has ever carried out a test. Believe me, if they did, you would know about it. South Korea seems a bit iffier here because they've had some satellite launch problems so I've got a hunch that they may not necessarily be ready right now to make a nuke. With time? Yes. Absolutely. If I had to bet on it right now, I'd bet that Japan could probably produce one that would work correctly on a first try. The only only other country in Asia that was ever rumored to have nuclear weapon capability was Taiwan because they were strongly suspected of helping Israel and South Africa do nuclear testing decades ago, but as a Taiwan watcher I can say that if they ever had the capability, they abandoned it and it would be very difficult to impossible for them to quickly get that going again. In fact, I feel pretty confident that they don't have even one nuclear weapon and there is a chance that they simply don't have as much knowledge as Israel and South Africa did at the time. South Africa willingly became a nuclear free state but if you look carefully you find things where SA government officials admit that they know how to make nuclear weapons, but they chose not to do so.

Comment: Sounds like the Keystone Cops (Score 1) 89

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47261855) Attached to: Nokia Extorted For Millions Over Stolen Encryption Keys
For those who don't understand the reference, the Keystone Cops were incompetent policemen in a series of American silent movies. I read the article linked to in the article and basically Nokia dropped the money off in a paper bag in a parking lot and the police watched the pickup and then completely lost the blackmailer. To this day they have no idea at all who got the money and it seems that Nokia has only the word of the blackmailer that they wouldn't use the keys for nefarious purposes.

Comment: Your wish is available now (Score 1) 82

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47222091) Attached to: Mozilla To Sell '$25' Firefox OS Smartphones In India

A mobile OS that isn't Apple's Garden of Pure Ideology, or linked directly to the mothership in Redmond if you actually want to do much of anything would also be nice to see.

Good morning, Mr. Rip Van Winkle. There are mobile phones that run an OS called Android that you seem not to have heard of but exactly meet your criteria. You might want to check that out. You can actually buy those in the USA right now.

Comment: Re:FIFA blew it (Score 2) 90

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47221851) Attached to: Cybercriminals Ramp Up Activity Ahead of 2014 World Cup

I would encourage you to look closer. Just because the mainstream media didn't cover the trouble doesn't mean it didn't happen. Other news sources would disagree with your assertion that horrible things didn't happen to the visitors in S.Africa. But it is certainly true that crime was reduced while the world cup was being held, so in "relative terms" it's true. But it was also extremely temporary. They almost literally declared martial law in the region where the cup was held, but surrounding areas? Not so much. Visitors who wandered outside of designated areas did so at their own peril and were informed of such.

The word "bubble" comes to mind.

I was there in South Africa for the World Cup. Were you? If not, you don't get to pass off rumors as facts. And if you're one of those racist Afrikaners, your opinion means nothing because a lot of you are still living in the past.

I don't know where this "They almost literally declared martial law" stuff comes from. I stayed in the home of some South African friends, who by the way would have been classified as "colored" in the old Apartheid system, and other than having a lot more tourists, it was pretty much life goes on as usual there. I didn't see any unusual numbers of police or military anywhere. I went to two different major cities and even went with a friend to Kruger National Park for a few days and at no time did I see any unusual number of police or military, nor did I hear on the local news about tourists being the victims of crime. Yes, I'm sure that somewhere some tourist there got victimized in some way, but this suggestion that there was plenty of crime that got covered up is just nonsense. Your reference to the "mainstream media" troubles me quite a bit because that could suggest that you get your information from sources that the majority of us feel are unreliable and too politically oriented.

Comment: In the US, the Red Cross's rules are nuts (Score 1) 172

I can't speak for other countries where things may be different, but the US rules on exclusion that the Red Cross uses get more and more exclusionary every year and are now a bit nuts in my opinion. I was a regular blood donor and they used to call me and tell me that they liked to get my blood because it was "unusually clean" and was very suitable for giving to infants. Early this year I tried to donate and they deferred me for a year. Want to know why? It's because I rode on a train for no more than 60 minutes through a "malaria area". I traveled last year to China and I took a train ride of not more than 60 minutes between two large towns. The towns themselves were fine, but the area between them is supposedly a "malaria risk area". Even though I have had zero symptoms they consider my blood to be "at risk for malaria" and I can't donate until 1 year after the trip. So I'm sorry infants, but no blood from me for a while. The Red Cross had a worker who called me a few days after my deferral to talk to me about it and I told her that I felt that the Red Cross was far too exclusionary and she said she agreed with me, but there was nothing she could do about it. OK, maybe some of you will say that while there is little chance I have malaria, it's not zero and they need to be careful. OK, maybe - maybe - you have a point. Maybe. But are you aware that since last year there have been new exclusionary rules on women and now in the USA the majority of women who have ever been pregnant, even if they lost the baby, now cannot ever donate blood? Pregnant women may contain some kind of anti-body that a small number of blood recipients react violently towards so they've decided to ban something like 75% of pregnant women from ever donating again because that's about how many have this anti-body. It's going to reach the point where the only people the Red Cross in the US will ever take blood from are men who have never traveled outside the US even once. I predict that will be the next restriction.

Comment: Re:Comics Code (Score 1) 165

I'm not sure how, but I'd never heard of this "Comics Code" you mentioned in your question. Wow! That's a hell of a story: Thank god that's dead.

It's even worse then you think. Here's the story that many believe on why it really got started.

EC Publications had a successful line of comics in the early 1950s that changed the industry. EC was very successful and they had some of the best artists ever to work in the comics such as Jack Davis, Graham Ingels, Wally Wood, etc. EC's most successful comics were 3 horror comics - Tales From The Crypt, The Haunt Of Fear, and The Vault Of Horror. Anybody remember the old HBO TV series "Tales From The Crypt"? Well, they licensed the title and the concept from EC and even had some episodes based on stories that ran in the comics. EC had other comics such as crime story, war story and sci-fi. All are considered classics.

In an effort to give editor/writer/artist Harvey Kurtzman a chance to earn more money by giving him another comic to edit, Mad was created - as a comic book, not a magazine. Mad became a gigantic success and spawned quite a few imitators, including EC's own official imitation of Mad comic (yes, they really advertised it as such), Panic. Mad the comic did a lot of comics parodies and one they parodied was Archie. The story was called Starchie and they turned him into a juvenile delinquent. Now it is true that at the time some psychologists were actually suggesting that the reason so many kids were "juvenile delinquents" were that comics were warping their poor little minds. Desperate parents latched onto this explanation and the US Senate actually held hearings on it.

The story goes that the guy who published Archie just completely lost his mind over the Mad parody. In his fury, he got some other creators of (mostly less successful than EC) comics to create the Comics Code to "save the kids". Think about the children! Won't somebody think about the children! Well, it just so happens that the Code specifically forbade the use of certain words in comic book titles that just happened to be ones used by EC and they specifically forbade the types of stories that EC published. Was it coincidence? Revenge? I lean towards the latter. Remember, the US was a much less litigious place in those days. People didn't sue over anything and if you tried that, it often didn't work. EC responded by dropping all of their titles except Mad and putting out a new series of comics that had high quality art and conformed to the Code, but as these were nothing like their previous comics, they failed and nobody bought them. EC made one last gasp attempt to avoid the code with a series of "picto-fiction" magazines that had a few drawings and were mostly text, but nobody wanted those either. Mad became a magazine to avoid the Code altogether and the comics line was killed off by EC. So basically the story is that the Comics Code came into being to specifically punish EC Publications for doing a parody of Archie with the cover story being that the Code was there to "protect the children". Mad's original creator Harvey Kurtzman got into trouble with Archie again in the early 1960s when he did another parody starring Goodman Beaver and called "Goodman Goes Playboy". This parody featured Archie and various other characters now living the Playboy lifestyle. Archie's publisher sued again and forced a settlement where the copyright got transferred to him. The story vanished for decades but the copyright failed to be renewed and it's actually in the public domain now, one of the rare things that passed into public domain before the dreaded Bono Act made copyright renewal automatic.

Comment: Your understanding of the event sequence is wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 346

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47194489) Attached to: Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

If Snowden hadn't been treated like a traitor by his country, he wouldn't've had to flee in the first place. Uncle Sam only have himself to blame if snowden is spilling the beans in Russia.

You don't understand the event sequence, so you are wrong. It went like this.
1) Snowden steals a bunch of documents in secret. He flies to Hong Kong. At this point, nobody knows anything about him or what he has done except Snowden himself.
2) While in Hong Kong, Snowden gives a bunch of documents to various members of the press and holds a press conference to announce what he has done and to point out that he "had" to do it because it was the only way to let the American people know the truth.
3) The US government wakes up and realizes it has a really big problem on its hands. It's only now that the "traitor" charges begin and the US leans on China to send him back, instead prompting China to turn a blind eye as Russia agrees to make this its problem and headache to deal with. This gets China off the hook, although the Chinese have surely previously copied Snowden's stuff and possibly reached a deal with the USSR, cough cough, I mean Russia to share with each other what they find out.

Comment: Re:So what's the problem here? (Score 2) 398

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47179255) Attached to: The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

Is it that he's being paid a market price for his team? How could it have been otherwise?

Well, technically you are correct, but the problem is that before this sale, only the Chicago Bulls ($1 billion) and the Los Angeles Lakers ($1.3 billion), were valued at even one billion US dollars among NBA teams. Basically what we have is a bunch of billionaires who for no good reason got into a bidding war on a team that has never even played for a championship, let alone won one, and the "winner" was the guy who was willing to badly overpay the most. Right now it's difficult to understand how this deal makes sense for Ballmer. And if he personally has the billions available to make this deal rather than just being a front man for an investment group, then he is maybe the most badly overpaid CEO in history. A few years ago an investment group shocked everybody by paying $2 billion US dollars for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, but the deal began to make sense when you took into account that the team got a TV contract that was something like maybe $6 billion dollars. Nobody expected the Dodgers to sell for even a billion dollars, but a bidding war ensued and basically the winners were a group that could pay $2 billion up front and make it back on the TV contract. There's no evidence yet that Ballmer can get this money back and right now it just looks like a stupid decision where a jobless rich boy paid more than he should for the bragging rights of owning an NBA team. Maybe things will change in a few years and with new TV money he'll look like a genius, but right now it just looks like a bad deal.

Comment: Re:Because this is better? Bublcam (Score 1) 61

Looks better, works simpler, uses a sane resolution....

They are well into stretch goals...

Worse technology (check the 1080p frame rate - yikes! That will not look natural at all.) Higher price. It does look better though. The main difference is what I see as a problem with a lot of Kickstarter campaigns. Bublcam is getting funded because they asked for less than half of what the other guys want. There's a really simple rule of Kickstarter - the less money you ask for, the more likely you are to get it. The other guys raised more money than Bublcam, but because their goal was so high, they failed to reach it. I've seen quite a few funding campaigns fail because while the product was worthwhile, the amount asked for to fund it was not realistic. I think it was yesterday we had an article about an Indiegogo campaign for a robot to help with a malaria vaccine and while the goal is quite worthwhile, the amount asked for was too high for a disease that doesn't effect the vast majority of Slashdotters and unless things change drastically, it won't be funded either.

Comment: Re:It's a 1A issue, not a 2A issue. (Score 1) 354

Look people, this is NOT a 2A issue, this is a 1A issue. When does censorship stop? Why can't gun plans be published?

This may be a first amendment issue, or perhaps it is a second amendment issue, but that will be up to a court to decide. What you fail to understand is that like many Americans (I am American too, so I"m allowed to say that), you think that all rights are absolute but they are not. Even Justice Scalia, who is as conservative as they come on the Supreme Court, pointed out in a gun ruling that the Supreme Court wasn't saying that there couldn't be any restrictions on guns just because the second amendment existed. The classic easy to understand example is that your right to free speech does not give you the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there isn't one and cause a panic leading to injuries and possibly death and then you just shrug it off and tell the police "You can't do anything to me. I exercised my free speech rights." Your right to free speech does not mean you can lie while under oath, for another example. If someone was to get your social security number, your bank account information, your address, credit card information and passwords to various accounts and publish that, would you happily ignore that as your life falls apart because the publisher was simply exercising his free speech rights?

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near