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Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the trying-to-bail-the-ocean dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: "I was an early advocate of companies offering cash prizes to researchers who found security holes in their products, so that the vulnerabilities can be fixed before the bad guys exploited them. I still believe that prize programs can make a product safer under certain conditions. But I had naively overlooked that under an alternate set of assumptions, you might find that not only do cash prizes not make the product any safer, but that nothing makes the product any safer — you might as well not bother fixing certain security holes at all, whether they were found through a prize program or not." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Comment: Re:Better leave now (Score 1) 212

by arth1 (#46787635) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

I stand corrected.
However, I assumed it won't be feasible to use a drive type where you bring all your fuel with you from get-go - several years of constant 1 g acceleration would mean a lot of fuel and a correspondingly damn huge engine for the initial part.

I was thinking a Bussard drive, where the energy of the particles you rely on for fuel drag you down more the faster you go, making it harder and harder to increase the speed, until you need a near infinite amount of energy to overcome the near infinite amount of mass/energy working against you.
(Unless you can pull a Poul Anderson, that is.)

Comment: Re:Better leave now (Score 3, Informative) 212

by arth1 (#46784589) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

Sorry, but time is not an absolute clock that ticks the same everywhere. Time is a local phenomenon, and only a local phenomenon. We all live in separate time frames.

If you accelerate to 99% of the speed of light, the Lorenz factor is a little over 7, which means that for an outside observer counting one year on the clock, you will only have experienced 51 days.
As your speed creeps closer and closer to c, the time dilation increases. If you could reach 99.999% of c, the Lorenz factor would be 223. For an outside observer watching you travel 100 light years from A to B, 100 years would pass. But for you, less than 5.5 months would have passed.

If you could maintain a 1g acceleration indefinitely, you could travel to another galaxy and back within a human lifetime. It's not feasible, though, as you require more and more energy to accelerate the faster you go, and as you approach c, you approach needing an infinite amount of energy for an infinitesimally small boost in speed.

Comment: Re:The vessel matters (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46766217) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

So the average lion prefers to eat people with weak immune systems? I'm not getting this.

You cannot see how a virus or bacteria can be considered a predator? Or if you really meant to ask about lions, of course they pick off the weak. It's less work. This leaves the herd's average health better after the predation.

Now, suppose we stopped inoculations, and people started dying of these preventable diseases in large numbers. Would this make the species healthier, or just resistant against threats we've already got handled?

Both. Healthier individuals would have a greater chance of survival, and thus a greater chance of passing on their genes. People born with congenital heart failure, asthma or a variety of other conditions would have a higher risk of dying, and less chance of passing on their genes.

There's a by-country correlation between longevity before and after the Spanish Flu. In countries that got hit, longevity increased. Weaker individuals got culled more than healthier ones, and the net result after a generation is a healthier population.
Now, we're seeing the opposite. The number of people with defects (like, but in no way limited to, asthma) is going up. We put great effort into keeping the weak alive and able to reproduce. With a very predictable result: the defects flourish when there's no evolutionary disadvantage to having them.

If you want me to go along with killing large numbers of children that we could save, you're going to have to have something more specific than "increasing the average health of the herd".

How about the overall human health being at a higher level, so when a new marburg/ebola type virus catch us out of the blue, we have a higher chance of survival?

How about when the temperature and humidity raises across the globe, and many of us are too weak to survive it?

Or any number of unforeseen things that may happen, in which a healthier population has less risk of extinction?

Compassion for the weak and exceptionally strong parental instincts might have been a good survival trait in the past, given our long reproductive cycle. But that's no longer a concern. We're not just a few packs on the African plains struggling to survive despite 9 month pregnancies and 12+ years before becoming reproductive. Every life counted back then.
We're now billions of people, and propping up the weak is now detrimental to us as a species. A few tens of thousand deaths a year is now a negligible price to pay for humanity as a whole, to reduce the creep towards the average human being less healthy.

Comment: Re:Survival of the Species (Score 1) 307

by arth1 (#46765889) Attached to: Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

How much interbreeding was there between humans in Europe and the southern parts of Africa for the ~1000 years after the Roman empire? How much interbreeding was there with the North American tribes before 1492? Nobody regards first nations or africans as not being part of the human race.

In fact, the US government, when it on its forms asks about "race", it does exactly that.

If you mean same species, sure we are. Just like a Great Dane is the same species as a Yorkshire Terrier.

As for how rapidly change can occur, that depends on the pressure. Flowers and animals have been cultivated with rather rapid divergence.
There's no reason why the sieve of "is this person fit to live in low-G" is any less effective than "is this dog fit to be my hunting companion".

It won't take long before we're at the stage of "I have nothing against spacemen, but I would not want my sister to marry one". And at that point, we have diverged enough that they're not "us" anymore.

Comment: Re:vote GOP and your student loans will come out o (Score 1) 629

by arth1 (#46759829) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

Who said anything about a conspiracy?

The two "parties" grow close in an effort to please their funders and voters (in that order), and their grandstanding and partisanship is because the need to differentiate themselves is stronger the closer they get.
No conspiracy, just idiocy.

Comment: Re:vote GOP and your student loans will come out o (Score 1) 629

by arth1 (#46753185) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

at best you could call this one of the last examples of the two parties working together...

What two parties?
Here in the US, we have one ultra-conservative party owned by corporations, with two wings who are badmouthing each other like two football teams. It's posturing and arguing over trifles - the closer they get, the more they posture and badmouth each other, to make the masses believe there is a real difference.
And the astonishing thing is that the American public buys it, wholesale, apart from some even scarier people on the extreme right wing.

Comment: Re:Why do people listen to her? (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46752511) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Ignorance may not be genetically inherited, but there can be selection for it.
The less educated someone is, the more likely they are to have many children; who will most likely also be ignorant.

But up until recently, those children would have a greatly reduced chance of reaching adulthood. But due to things like vaccination programs, safe playgrounds and school healthcare, we skew the statistics in favor of the less fit, who now survive at a much higher rate.
Personally, I don't think this risk reduction is a good thing. It may be for individuals, but not for society, long term. If there's no genetic disadvantage to being stupid, stupidity will flourish.

Comment: Re:Why we vaccinate (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46752095) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Actually it does lead to that. That is EXACTLY why we vaccinate. We vaccinate because it saves lives, reduces medical costs (more expensive to treat than prevent), reduces suffering and enables a greater realization of human potential.

You're begging the question at least twice here, using your belief that life should be saved and suffering avoided at all costs as justification for saving life and avoiding suffering through vaccination.

For costs, do you think I favor treatment when I don't favor vaccination? Let the weak die. It's the low cost solution. Spend that money on something that has long term value, like physics.

As for realization of human potential, sorry, you're wrong. As the weak die, they get replaced with other individuals who can realize their human potential. The higher the mortality, the higher the birth rate can (and will) be. It's a zero sum game.
If your kids die, change partners to try to make better ones, or adopt some poor but healthier 3rd world kids. No potential lost.

You really are cold blooded aren't you?

I care a lot - about humanity, and our far future, and far less about individuals who live today. Does that make me callous? Perhaps. I think that's needed, as a reaction to the kum-ba-yah society of today where everyone are indoctrinated to cuddle and care about their own culture, and not give a fuck about the future or those with different complexion.

The saying goes that one person dead is a tragedy, a hundred dead is news, and a million dead is statistics. I think it should be the other way around. Let hundreds die now to save millions in the future, and don't spend a second worrying about individuals dying. Individuals are a renewable resource, humanity is not.

Comment: Re:The vessel matters (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46751843) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

On average, we lose more of those who are less able.

If the ability you refer to is the ability to survive exposure to certain illnesses without vaccination, why is it worth developing? We've got that covered with the vaccines.

No, what I refer to is that predators and illnesses tend to reap the weakest, increasing the average health of the herd. Inoculation protects the weak as much as the strong, leading to a herd that's on average less healthy than herds subject to predation.

Comment: Re:The vessel matters (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46747817) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I note that you have pointedly NOT replied to the post going step-by-step from "[t]he flu can kill" to " therefore, we should vaccinate".

It was answered to a post by a non-AC.
In short, it's not an acceptable chain because it relies on the unsubstantiated belief that death is inherently bad. I cannot accept that on face value. Back it up with something that doesn't beg the question.

Comment: Re:The vessel matters (Score 1) 584

by arth1 (#46747713) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Suppose we decide that all human life isn't precious. (Not based on religious beliefs, but based on simple human decency.) Are some human lives more valuable than others? According to your logic, we should just let people get measles and if they die they die. What if they have a certain knowledge or talent that many people find useful? Perhaps they are a beloved author or a celebrated scientist who keeps making great discoveries. Maybe the person is a master at getting warring regions to sign even-handed peace treaties or helps the needy. Whatever they do, let's suppose their contributions to society are very important. Do we save them?

If not, we've lost some huge contributions to society. If so, we're headed down a path where people dictate which people are more important (and thus will be saved) and which people aren't (and thus will die). That's a scary path to go down.

But that's exactly the path we're on now, where we dictate that those with money or socialized medicine are more important and thus will be saved. If we ban vaccinations, we don't dictate who are more important. It's not our decision anymore then.

Yes, I say, let people die. We lose some geniuses, but we also lose some bible thumpers. On average, we lose more of those who are less able. That's how culling works.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai