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Comment: My wife's had our son in the hospital (Score 2) 208

by swb (#48683957) Attached to: Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

...hooked up to an EEG machine.

The backstory is that I had gone to roust him out of bed because he's chronically late but found him in the bathroom, unconscious and not breathing. Somehow he had passed out, fell, and landed on a trash bin and the bin liner had blocked his airway.

He spent four days in the ICU, the first day in a propofol-induced coma with an EEG connected. It was a horrifying experience and my wife posted the image two days later basically as a way of letting people know what had happened and why we had gone silent to everyone for a few days.

She was annoyed by the image of him presented as "what a great year" but I don't think much more than annoyed.

I think the entire feature is lame and I've marked all of them (my own suggested one and every other I've been presented) as "I don't want to see this". Trying to block my own suggested one in the Facebook IOS app consistently crashed the app.

My takeaway on this is that Facebook's image analytics suck. As good as they seem to be at identifying faces for tagging you might think they would be able to train their system to identify smiling faces so that when they suggested images they would tend to show ones more likely to be positive and reject others.

Comment: How fast is just too fast? (Score 4, Insightful) 110

by swb (#48668907) Attached to: US Internet Offers 10Gbps Fiber In Minneapolis

Assuming you're not running major data service out of your house, what's the point of diminishing return for connectivity?

I'm making the assumptions that the link speed you're sold is actually the speed you get and that there are no resource constraints, artificial or real, that would stop you from utilizing the maximum bandwidth.

Do most web sites have per-connection caps on how fast any one connection can download files or data? Could you mount a file store on AWS or any other cloud storage provider and use it like a local NAS disk?

Comment: Re:That seems strange (Score 1) 185

by swb (#48660339) Attached to: Argentine Court Rules Orangutan Is a "Non-Human Person"

While a zoo may seem like a comfy environment some animals just don't do well in captivity.

I believe this is generally true, but at the same time I think there's also an undercurrent of anthropomorphization here about animal psychology that can get dangerous. Too often it seems like we talk about what animals "want" and "don't want" when in a lot of cases things that would bother humans just don't matter to animals because they lack the kinds of emotional processes unique to humans.

Comment: Re:That seems strange (Score 4, Insightful) 185

by swb (#48654267) Attached to: Argentine Court Rules Orangutan Is a "Non-Human Person"

I think there's probably a reasonable argument to be made that a move to a foreign location, even one nominally more "native" than a zoo, is a definite hardship on an animal who has become habituated to a specific environment.

Now, if the "zoo" in question is a 10x10 concrete room with bars, then maybe the quality of life in a larger and more natural (in the sense of less confinement and concrete) environment is worth a temporary disruption.

But what about zoos that give primates large, outdoor spaces with natural accommodations like ponds, trees, shelter and primate experts who ensure their physical health and mental stimulation? A "natural" environment may be at best an equal trade and in some instances worse if it comes with a change in the fellow-species population (change in social status, loss of familiar animals or mates, etc).

I'm not always sure that "natural" spaces really are as natural as their made out to be unless it means putting the animal back in its native environment -- sure, their animals but they can become as habituated to a captive lifestyle as any animal. My dog may love to run free outside, but he seems pretty well adapted to sleeping on the couch and probably wouldn't like being made to live outdoors 24x7 after living his life indoors.

Comment: Re:However... (Score 1) 83

by swb (#48653717) Attached to: How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market

My dad had zero engineering or technical ability, which I can attest to through the two lawn mowers "inspected" for problems that ended up being thrown away after too many parts were removed for inspection to reassemble, and all the shit that never got fixed around the house.

But that man could level a parked motorhome like he was Apollodorus of Damascus so we could run the refrigerator. I was always impressed with the newer motorhomes we saw on our trips that had hydraulic jacking systems built-in and could self-level, but dad always felt all you needed were a stack of 2x scraps and a fine accelerator touch. I'd swear he would occasionally use stacks of 2x4s and I'm not quite sure how he managed to get a 26' Winnebago on a stack of 2x4s.

Comment: Re:Disingenuous at best. (Score 1) 153

by swb (#48647515) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

I can only guess that this a veiled threat to help limit their capabilities or risk being collateral damage in any responses that may target assets in China linked to North Korea.

It's also a way of engaging the segments of the Chinese leadership sick of getting caught up in North Korea's antics. The NY Times had a piece this morning highlighting an anti-NK article written by a senior Chinese army officer.

Comment: Just like speed traps (Score 3, Insightful) 281

by swb (#48644441) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

They always seem to put speed traps where it's easy to catch speeders versus where speed control would improve safety, such as places with high levels of speed related accidents.

The latter are often difficult to place speed traps or don't offer good cover for squad cars and the former are often places where it's easy to go faster or where the speed limits are artificially low.

Comment: Re:Hardware Security (Score 2) 89

Even the phone company used to do it wrong.

Before I left for college in '85, we had a second phone line (which basically became my line). When I went away, my parents got it disconnected. When I came home the first summer I didn't know it was disconnected. I connected my phone back to the jack and sure enough, had a dialtone.

I made calls for several weeks until my friends kept complaining that my number didn't work, said it was disconnected. I called Ma Bell and found out it was disconnected!

The line from our house to the pole-mounted junction box was still there but the pair for "my" line got repurposed for an additional line in the neighborhood and nobody ever thought to remove the extra jumper.

Comment: Re:Hope they win this case. (Score 3, Informative) 482

by swb (#48632557) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

I kind of doubt it. States enjoy sovereign immunity thanks to the 11th Amendment and generally can't be sued by other states.

Without this, you would have all manner of lawsuits about neighboring states tax laws, liquor and cigarette control regimes, abortion, etc. Bigger states could dominate smaller states via sheer resources.

Comment: Arrest increase because they're looking for it? (Score 5, Interesting) 482

by swb (#48632505) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Chappell, NE is a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it town of 929 on I-80 between North Platte, NE and Cheyenne, Wyoming. A 400% increase in felony drug arrests sounds like a lot, but how many felony drug arrests could there ever have been in a town of 929? Did we go from 1 to 4?

I also wonder how many shitkicker rural sheriffs in neighboring states went on full batshit alert once Colorado legalized it and began pulling over every car they could with out of state license plates coming from Colorado, knowing that they would hit paydirt on at least some of them? You can pretty easily create your own crisis if you start looking for it.

To be fair to the sheriffs, I don't doubt there is some increased amount of pot leaving Colorado -- it's a tourist destination even without pot and it wouldn't surprise me at all if people who go there for other reasons (like skiing or other outdoor activities) decide to bring some home.

It also wouldn't surprise me if some people went there specifically to bring some home, although from what I've been told the retail pricing isn't all that competitive on a dollar basis with black market pot and the economics of driving cross-country to pick up a couple of ounces of weed don't seem to lend themselves to a lot of people deciding to make that trip.

I don't think you can factor in any kind of organized criminal enterprises into these complaints -- that was a "problem" *before* it was legalized. Bitching about it now because you're frothed up about pot legalization and seeing it everywhere you look just seems paranoid.

Comment: Re:Core business? (Score 3, Interesting) 222

by swb (#48630185) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

I thnk their core business WAS the web directory but that seemed to become irrelevent and less useful once Google came around. Their age and size has allowed them a certain amount of inertia with users who simply don't know or care for anything better.

I think there's some value in a high-quality curated web directory. Given what Wikipedia accomplishes with volunteers and no advertising, I would think that Yahoo could have come up with some way to basically pay people to browse the web and curate a directory given the money they have to spend.

Google search is better in some regards and use cases but in some ways, if it isn't on the first page of results it probably won't be useful, especially if you don't know what to search for or are looking for a class of information or type of web site.

But they seemed to have given up on that in favor of "web services" which they probably can't ever compete with. Their technology isn't competitive, they don't have any media clout and nothing unique to offer.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 1) 396

by swb (#48624577) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

I agree with this in principle, but I worry that there's a certain naivete to it -- making surveillance harder will not cause the security apparatus to give up mass surveillance.

In a world with only limited use of encryption, surveillance was generally a matter of just listening, and targets that used encryption were either immune because of the extra effort and/or low profile but if they were high enough profile, they were attacked through other more resource intensive vectors.

In a world of mass encryption, the security apparatus will instead attack the infrastructure of encryption -- root CAs, encryption technologies and software, neutralizing the value of encryption and eliminating the utility value of it while retaining all the costs to the implementer (CAs, extra CPU cycles, complexity, etc). I think it also destroys trust in some existential way, which may be one of the worst aspects of this.

I think the entire encryption system needs to become decentralized in some way that forces attacks on encryption to be more difficult. Locally generated keys without the need for centralized trust seems to be part of the solution, but the existing CA system provides the trust component making it more difficult to rely on random keys.

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