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Comment: Better Than The Alternative (Score 2) 279

by anorlunda (#46498201) Attached to: The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

I'm sure that this news may make a lot of slashdotters uncomfortable. But I ask you to think of the alternative. They could spend their billions influencing elections. How many attack ads can you buy for $75 billion?

Here's a challenge. How should billionaires spend their money?

I'm not asking for how you would spend the billions if it was yours, nor am I interested in your concept of social justice or what is beneficial for mankind. I'm challenging you to try to imagine the world from, the billionaire's view.

Comment: The Greatist Race (Score 1) 401

by anorlunda (#46497585) Attached to: NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

15 years from now is 2029. In 2043, we are supposed to encounter Ray Kurzweil's Singularity. Those dates are awfully close from a historical perspective. If we reach The Singularity, presumably we will become smart enough to surmount problems.

Boy, what a great theme for a SF novel. A great race. Will we reach collapse or singularity first? Photo finish.

Comment: Re:BS, as usual. (Score 2) 401

by anorlunda (#46497561) Attached to: NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

You are mostly right Peter, but continue the analysis another step. Because we are very good at finding alternatives, then we approach a point where nearly all resources reach depletion (nearly) simultaneously. The result is not just collapse, but a really devastating collapse. Worse, post collapse recovery will be greatly hindered by a resource starved world.

In terms of mitigatation, it would be better if we were no so adaptive and good at finding alternatives. Instead of a collapse, we might have a series of crises instead that would throttle down growth.

Comment: Re:model plane != plane (Score 2) 236

by anorlunda (#46427195) Attached to: Drone Pilot Wins Case Against FAA

A manufacturer of toy planes who test flies one before sale, is doing it commercially.

A retailer of rubber band powered balsa gliders who flies a demo inside his store is flying it doing it commercially.

A kid's video of his Xmas present balsa glider flying past the Xmas tree, and posted on YouTube with ads is commercial flying.

Strict interpretation of the FAA's words lead to horrible absurdities.

Horribles are what lawyers use to get laws stricken down by courts.

People who write regulations need to temper zeal with reason.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Does your employer perform HTTPS MITM attacks on employees? 1

Submitted by Matt.Battey
Matt.Battey (1741550) writes "I was recently on-site with a client and in the execution of my duties there, I needed to access web sites like Google Maps and my company's VPN. The VPN connection was rejected (which tends to be common, even though it's an HTTPS based VPN service). However, when I went to Google Maps I received a certificate error. It turns out that the client is intercepting all HTTPS traffic on the way out the door and re-issuing an internally generated certificate for the site. My client's employees don't notice because their computers all have the internal CA pushed out via Windows Group Policy & log-on scripts.

In essence, my client performs a Man-In-The-Middle attack on all of their employees, interrupting HTTPS communications via a network coordinated reverse-proxy with false certificate generation. My assumption is that the client logs all HTTPS traffic this way, capturing banking records, passwords, and similar data on their employees.

My question: How common is it for employers to perform MITM attacks on their own employees?"

Comment: Re:NSA Walks a Fine Line (Score 2) 324

by anorlunda (#46305537) Attached to: Schneier: Break Up the NSA

I work in critical infrastructure protection CIP (the power grid). My nightmare is the back doors that NSA may have inserted in our systems.

Why would NSA do that? Because terrorists might get jobs at CIP companies and use their systems to communicate with other terrorists. Also because NSA can't selectively insert back doors only in the systems of bad guys. They do it by compromising any and all systems globally.

What is the problem for me? If a back door exists, then I must assume that it is only a matter of time before bad guys discover it and exploit it. The back doors become the biggest threat vector we face.

Why can't I just find and close those back doors? Because utilities have a long tradition of sharing information. If I learn how to make our stuff secure against NSA back doors, that information my get transferred overseas to institutions that NSA's cyberwar branch may wish to target. Private possession of knowledge of anti-NSA protection becomes a threat to national security in NSA's view.

The same government that demands to be my partner in making the grid secure, is also invested in making sure that it can never be secure. The government's conflict of interest is horrible.

Comment: 0.99999 Availability (Score 1) 218

by anorlunda (#46136053) Attached to: FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital

Some states, such as Conneticut, require that "lifeline" POTS must have better than 0.99999 availability. Think of the need to call 911 during a blackout. They key to achieving that has always been the electric power supply. POTS networks did that by supplying an average of 2 watts per subscriber via the copper wires, independent of the power grid.

In a VOIP network, you could still have copper wires for the last mile, and I guess still use less than 2 watts per user. But the digital circuit design to pass the power through coulda be tricky. 2 watts per user, 2 KW per 1000 users, 2 MW per million users. It isn't impossible, just damn difficult.

I don't believe that the FCC has the authority to override these state requirements.

Does anyone know what their plans are for availability?

Comment: What about the engineering? (Score 1) 232

by anorlunda (#45137121) Attached to: ITER Fusion Reactor On Track To Generating Power By 2028

It takes more than science to make a power plant. It takes engineering too.

I heard that one must deal with temperature gradients as high as 1 million degrees C per meter to extract the power from a tokamak.

500 MW electric means 1000-1500 MW thermal. That's a lot of power. If it is radiated in a small volume, the power density is sky high.

  Is anyone at ITER even working on that problem? There is no guarantee that it is solvable.

Comment: Re:the last line rings true... (Score 1) 555

Corporate personhood is *not* a good thing, no matter what you corporate sycophants think. Elevating a corporation to the same level in the law as an individual is a recipe for abuse, and it's rife in the USA.

Corporations should have a set of *limited* and *enumerated* rights that are secondary to individuals, not personhood.

And, yes, there is a reason corporate personhood exists... it's because robber barons in the 1800s wanted that way. Corporate rights aren't sent to us by God.

I read somewhere that if corporations were not persons, then they could not be sued. IANAL but I think I see the logic. Can the defendant or plaintiff in a lawsuit be anything other than "a person?" Albeit an abstract person.

Be careful before you retort with "sure, why not?" We could end up sinking the courts with infinite suits pitting machines against machines. My PC wants to sue your iPad.

No doubt some Slashdotter will contradict me, but I'll say that all laws apply only to "people." Only "people" can own anything. How could it ever be different?

The first version always gets thrown away.