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Comment: Re:What can you do? (Score 1) 308

by HiThere (#46796173) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I think you're wrong. Both sides go in for regulation, regardless of their rhetoric. (Cicero originally formalized rhetoric as a way of lying in a convincing manner, and taught it in a school for Roman politicians.)

They do tend to regulate different things, but neither side ever seems to undo the other sides regulations, no matter how adversely they may affect the citizenry. After all, they need something to vilify their opponents about.

Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 2) 308

by HiThere (#46796023) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I think you overstate the inefficiency of ethanol as a fuel...though perhaps you need to tune your engine differently to take advantage of it.

OTOH, it is a remarkably poor fuel when one considers the costs of originally producing it. Sugar cane is much more plausible, but doesn't grow in the same areas. The best argument for corn derived ethanol fuel that I can see is that any corn used as fuel won't be turned into fructose syrup. AFAIKT, this is basically a government subsidy to the large growers. A very inefficient one, too.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 330

by HiThere (#46792799) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

IIUC, his lawyers requested that certain materials not be produced, and in doing so quoted a section of the state law which exhempted a particular category of material from being required to be produced. If you don't like the phrasing, talk to the people who wrote the law. His lawyers were just doing their job, and making it easy for the judge.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 330

by HiThere (#46792773) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

I don't think they count as science...until the make predictions that match the later observed results. Then they do.

Unfortunately, as you pointed out actually recreating the simulation can be absurdly difficult. And if it's not reproducable, then it's not science.

That said, when I worked at a transportation study commission, we used models all the time. We never deceived ourselves that they were correct, but they were a lot better than just guessing. Policies were built based around their 20-year projections. Often we'd have several very different 20-year projections based on different assumptions about what would be done in between. (Would this transit project be successful? Would that bridge be built? What effect would building the other highway have on journey-to-work times?) The results were never accurate. They were subject to political manipulation...but so was what projects would be built. It was a lot better than just guessing, but it sure was a lot short of science.

I think of this frequently when I read about the models, and the problems that people have with accepting their projections. Usually the problems aren't based in plausibility, but rather in what beliefs make them comfortable. And in those cases I tend to believe the models. But I sure don't think of them as "sound science".

OTOH: Do you trust the "Four Color Theorum"? It's a mathematical proof that any map can be colored with four colors, with no two adjacent patches having the same color except at a single point. The proof is so complex that no human can follow it. Do you trust it? Would you trust it if a lot of money was riding on the result?

Even math is less than certain. Complex proofs are only as trustworthy as every step in them multiplied, and both people and computers make mistakes. There are lots of illusions that prove that people will frequently dependably make the same mistake. So you can't really trust math. But just try to find something more trustworthy. You need to learn to live with less than certainty, because certainty is always an illusion.

Comment: Re:Is it even legal for a judge to sign a warrant. (Score 1) 141

by HiThere (#46792705) Attached to: Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

Who's going to tell the judge no? Who's going to enforce it?

Sometimes a judge will be so egregiously corrupt that the higher courts will discipline them, but it's quite infrequent, and I've never heard of it happening when he was acting to support the local politicos. (And even then the "discipline" is generally trivial in comparison to the offense.)

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 5, Insightful) 90

by HiThere (#46792535) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

The Republicans who were responsible for emancipation (as an act of war against the rebellious South) is only vaguely related to the current Republican party. The Democrats have a closer link, and again, the civil rights movement was a political attack against the Dixiecrats, who pretended to be Democrats, but actually had an independent agenda.

P.S.: Given what the Federal Govt. has become, are you so sure states' rights was a bad idea? You can trace the current Federal Govt. back to the centralization imposed (by both sides!) during the Civil War.

P.P.S.: Under privitization, prisons have become defacto sources of slave labor. So don't claim that slavery has been eliminated. It's nature has been changed, but it isn't gone.

Comment: Re:PS: how do you think it gets on the distro mirr (Score 1) 171

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#46791395) Attached to: Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

I think there is a qualitative difference between notifying large end users like Facebook in advance, and notifying people in the distribution system for a general release. It's the former that inherently means the people who aren't large end users with privileged access get left exposed for longer than necessary, and that's what I'm objecting to.

Comment: Re:Wrong math. 2 years of vulnerability. (Score 1) 171

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#46791385) Attached to: Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

You're latching onto this specific case, perhaps because you have some connection to it, but I'm talking about the general principle here. In general, it is not unreasonable to assume that if a vulnerability has been found by two parties in rapid succession, there may be a common factor involved, which may mean that other parties will also find it in the same time frame, and that an extra day may therefore be very significant.

Obviously most serious security bugs don't sit there for years, then have two groups discover them at almost the same time, as seems to have happened in this case, and need half the known Internet to update their systems as a precaution because no-one really knows whether they've been damaged by the vulnerability at any time over the past couple of years.

ROTFL. Yep, large corporate bureaucracies, they ALWAYS do exactly the right thing, in a matter of hours.

If it's that funny to you, why are you defending giving them a day of advanced warning? Some of us did have a patch rolled out within a couple of hours of the public announcement, but presumably we could have had the patch rolled out a day earlier in the alternative situation. Once again, in this case, one day in two years obviously isn't that significant as we're all going to have to assume keys were compromised and set up new ones anyway. But if this was something that only got committed three days ago, it's a different story.

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory