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Comment This is a change for the better (Score 3, Insightful) 403

I think what we are seeing here is progress, albeit slow and with a long road ahead. Their stated purpose of having a dialogue is, in itself, an important and positive step forward. Comey's remark on skepticism being fair, but cynicism being problematic, is reasoned and nuanced. I think this is a good sign that the intelligence community is starting to grapple with the need for open discussion, and is making a case towards that end.

Comment Re:"Get as many credit cards as you can..." (Score 1) 1032

This illustrates the moral depravity of the author's viewpoint entirely.

We aren't fighting the system if we say "The bankers steal from us, so let's steal as they do." On the contrary, it is a clarion call to become evil like them. It is an injustice and tragedy that those who that participated in the financial crisis have not been held to account, but the tragedy becomes catastrophe if we follow in their footsteps.

Comment Security challenge (Score 1) 384

As others indicate, it is certainly possible to overcome this challenge. Practically, I wonder about cost to scale. The cost efficiency argument is cost to build out and maintain the solution versus the labor cost of manual changes.

Security hasn't been mentioned, and is rather important. Principally, I would want to know about (a) the regulatory requirements and (b) the risk of whatever security controls you would put in place (e.g. the loss potential) versus the value gained.

All of that said, if I owned a company doing what you described, I would certainly investigate options six ways from Sunday to find a better method, and I would suspect a better one than what you described is possible.

Comment Long term decision, short term concerns? (Score 1) 734

The US tax code for expats is presently highly problematic. There is good cause to have little faith in near term remedy. The decision on citizenship is considerably long term. My dad gave me advice as a teenager that has been the most valuable guiding light in my life: in whatever decisions you make, tend towards solutions that open more doors of future opportunity than they close. Us citizenship doesn't really limit opportunities, but it certainly has present day liabilities. Renouncing citizenship is a relatively inexpensive option. Gaining citizenship is considerably more expensive.

Comment Security requires availability! (Score 4, Interesting) 244

The core components of information security are often misunderstood. The triad of confidentiality, integrity and availability are important to consider. There is a symbiosis between these three components. For example, if confidentiality and availability is highly restrictive, can we really be confident in the integrity of the data with so few people who have such limited access?

The old adage, being so tragically expressed here in real world terms, that the only "secure" computer is locked in a vault at the bottom of an ocean belies the very nature of security. For data to be useful and meaningful, it must be accessible to the people who need it when they need it. Failure to properly deliver accessibility will consequently build pressure on confidentiality (e.g. it will be shared inappropriately) and/or data integrity (e.g. the data will grow stale/irrelevant/etc).

A typewriter is a medieval instrument for data security. Because they have rockets, they might as well start building castle walls. They are, in essence and by design, surrendering. Sun Tzu would be proud of such an adversary that could create this result. Masterful.

Comment That that is (Score 1) 66

Perhaps one of the more important works in the geek lexicon of art. The book and the film were very inspirational for me. For the first time as a child, I understood and could relate to that thing we have called pattern recognition. The moment in the film at the chalkboard was etched into my mind -- that that is is that that that is not is not is that it it is. Understanding the differences between people, and understanding them in their depths without glorification, is such a positive thing.

We are lucky to have art such as this and for all you old folks (over 30, naturally), ask the geek kids you work with or know to read the book or see the film. They may never have heard of it!

Comment Re:FTL or Wormhole Travel (Score 1) 358

Great post overall, just one comment:

It doesn't matter, it's just math(s), the end result is that we will never see that laser and we will never be able to reach that galaxy either.

Infinity and void are incredibly powerful concepts, but I don't think "never" is particularly useful, especially when describing a universe for which our body of knowledge is so incredibly limited.

Comment Re:Not so quick (Score 4, Interesting) 358

From every description I've heard of "dark energy" it sounds like a kind of place-filler variable for something--as in, "This equation only works if we put in X, but we have no idea what X is."

Physicists brought us the dark energy hypothesis, not mathematicians. This is an important distinction: dark energy is not used to solve an equation, rather it is a phenomenon that we can indirectly observe.

Black holes, Dark energy, Zero point energy -- there are so many nascent concepts that hint at great disruption to our theories but that have not had the time to sort themselves out. Humanity rigorously worked on the concept of gravity for several hundred years before we had our Einstein.

Comment Re:... or just don't take notes in class (Score 2) 191

Well said. The finding of the article is interesting: student's that use laptops tend to attempt to take verbatim notes. The laptop isn't the issue, this is a problem of how to properly take notes. Class time is best used for comprehension rather than rote learning. To that end, an effective use of a laptop during class would be to look things up as the professor talks about them. As stated above, notes are best saved for after class to be taken during study time.

Comment Re:"Three years ago today" (Score 1) 142

I think you have made a good, reasoned argument.

I just have one important point of caution for you on this statement: "The two atomic bombings killed a quarter million people. On its own, that's horrifying. In the context of the Second World War, that's a rounding error."

While relativity is important in a great many things, it is problematic to use from an ethical point of view. Many atrocities were committed by all sides in WW2. In fact, all sides committed mass atrocities of some kind or another: the fire bombings being particularly awful. This was the reality of WW2 and has given terrible clarity to the reality of what "total war" means.

My point here is simply this: the atomic bombings of Japan were absolutely horrific tragedies. It is an event that stands alone in human history when so many civilians have been killed in an instant. It stands in rare company by the magnitude of civilians that slowly died a truly barbaric death in the hours following. I don't think it is possible to ethically justify total war, and by consequence, no substantive part of it. Thus, while total war was necessary for all sides to wage, all sides had to take unethical actions. I think we would agree on this point: that being ethical in total war would be self-defeating in fact: it would completely ignore the reality of what total war is. This is, simply, where I think people get mixed up about the bombings. They happened because it was total war. But they were not a rounding error on any scale: they were an awful event in our human history that we can only hope is never emulated.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe