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Comment: Re:We can't live without these things? (Score 2) 178

by bmo (#47531743) Attached to: How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

Really? This would be devastating? We can't live without electricity, electronics, water pumps?

Can you farm without electricity? Gasoline? Do you have all the pre-electricity farm equipment that would allow you to grow food without a tractor, power tools, etc? Does your well pump even work without electricity? I'll bet it doesn't. I'll bet you can't really live off the grid unless you're Amish or Mennonite. You simply don't have the pre-industrial technology to get along in such a world.

Many in cities and suburbs, after 3 or 4 weeks, would wind up going out into the country to forage if they could find gasoline to pump (and gas pumps work with electricity!), because the supermarkets would be empty and all the food in the refrigerators/freezers would have spoiled after only a few days.

To your "off the grid" house. Probably.

inb4 "I have an arsenal of arms to keep them away"

Your best defense and survival depends on your neighbors. Because one lone person with a stash of food and arms can be out-sieged by the outside world.

I would suggest watching "The Trigger Effect," Episode 1 of James Burke's "Connections" series. Anyone (sensible) who watches that and looks around at the technology that supports all of us will come away with the conclusion that if it seriously went away for a month, we'd be fucked. The shit would so seriously hit the fan that your incredulousness indicates you are either completely out of touch with society at large, deliberately myopic, or some teenager that hasn't lived life enough to have any kind of broad view. Good luck with that.


Comment: Yawn (Score 2, Informative) 115

by tlambert (#47518243) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air

Predicted the 1960's (Kerr-induced self-focusing: ), and it was a big part of SDI: and was again applied to space-to-ground weapons systems in 2009:

It was ale demonstrated at LLNL in 2009: and 2010:

What's new about this one is that they've renamed the tunnel as the desired artifact, rather than describing it in beams going down the tunnel.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 189

by bmo (#47512675) Attached to: Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

There's no shortage of people who are literally insane in politics.

Indeed. 1 out of 4 people has a diagnosable mental illness.

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older â" about one in four adults â" suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.


Consider what happens if the "Caliphate" gets their hands on some samples.

You mean the theocrats that are always talking about bringing the US back to its "christian" roots?



Comment: Re:TOR is actually sponsored by Uncle Sam (Score 2) 51

by bmo (#47512115) Attached to: Black Hat Presentation On Tor Cancelled, Developers Working on Bug Fix

It's dumb to trust any technology 100 percent.

This was discussed here earlier after a poll showing that people with low knowledge of the Internet don't trust it, implying by omission that those that have more trust the Internet more, which is far from the case. The people with the most knowledge know what the flaws are.

Blind trust in any kind of technology is dumb.

Blind distrust of anything is also just as dumb.

Distrust of TOR because it was a US Navy project is practicing a type of ad-hominem. I'd rather distrust it based on either reading the code or the opinions and arguments of people better able than me at reading its code.

I've said it before about other things - there are plenty of reasons to dislike something without having to invent them. I use this when discussing GMO, because the "frankenfood" argument is specious - the real problem is the IP angle, for example.


Comment: Re:FUD? (Score 4, Insightful) 132

by bmo (#47508889) Attached to: Exodus Intelligence Details Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Tails OS

Carnegie Mellon is suppressing de-anonymising TOR discussion at Black Hat.

Talk on cracking Internet anonymity service Tor withdrawn from conference

By Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO, July 21 Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:05pm EDT


(Reuters) - A heavily anticipated talk on how to identify users of the Tor Internet privacy service has been withdrawn from the upcoming Black Hat security conference.

A Black Hat spokeswoman told Reuters that the talk had been canceled at the request of lawyers for Carnegie-Mellon University, where the speakers work as researchers. A CMU spokesman had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Chris Reese)


My guess is that someone wants the hole (if there is one) kept open a while longer or the suspicion that TOR is somehow ineffective alive. Let your mind run wild with speculation.


Comment: Specifically... (Score 5, Informative) 275

Specifically, states like California are now trying to reclassify temporary employees as permanent in order to collect additional tax revenue. This happened with Apple before, and they also now have a 6 month rule. See also:

Microsoft is particularly sensitive to the issue, given that it was a lawsuit against them that triggered the whole idea:

So this has nothing to do with the laid off employees (unless they are laying off contractors first, which is pretty common, if they can).

Comment: "...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..." (Score 1) 171

by tlambert (#47502049) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

"...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..."

Great reason right there to not pick California.

How's that high speed rail construction project that was voted down by Californians 3 times with a large enough margin that it's a pretty clear shout of "Hell No!" each of the times it was vote on, that Jerry Brown is going ahead with anyway, working out?

Is it still taking place in a corridor where land is cheap because there's no place to get on or off the damn thing that has any significant population that would constitute the target ridership?

Is it still taking place in an era with no water to support future development potential, because all that water is being shipped down to Los Angeles, which is too lazy to build actual catchement, and just runs all their water off into the ocean, and is too lazy/cheap to build desalination plants powered by the waste heat from Diablo Canyon (which they'd prefer to have shut down, even though it's a zero carbon emission power plant)?

The man is a freaking public policy nightmare spendthrift, not to mention that Texas has no income tax; what moron would build a factory in California? Elon was just being nice when he didn't categorically rule it out when asked.

Comment: Folded, spindled, and mutilated. (Score 1) 210

"The population census has got him down as "dormanted". The Central Collective Storehouse computer has got him down as "deleted". [â¦] Information Retrieval has got him down as "inoperative". And thereâ(TM)s another one - security has got him down as "excised". Administration has got him down as "completed". ⦠Heâ(TM)s dead."

Brazil (1985)

Comment: Re:Jack Conte, Nataly Dawn, Kickstarter, Patreon (Score 1) 191

by bmo (#47494973) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

this sounds great on paper,

No, it's not "on paper" and you seem to not know that Jack Conte (half of the duo Pomplamoose) is the CEO of Patreon. Patreon is the child of the experiences that Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte had with Youtube, and my posting of the interview on the BIRN and Nataly's closing of the other video was meant to be informative.

If you bothered to watch them. Which you didn't.


Comment: Re:Work Shortage where is the Wage Increases?, (Score 1) 528

Basic economics says if you are having a skills shortage in a certain sector then you should see wages increasing as employers attempt to attract the required labor. If wages are not going up then you do not have a skills shortage. This is something economist Dean Baker points out all the time.

Basic economics should also tell you that certain jobs have a value ceiling, and above that ceiling, you either go without, or you find someone willing to work at or below the value ceiling.

We used to have kids employed part time by businesses to do things like police the trash in the parking lot, wash down sidewalks, and so on. But the value to the business is not worth what they'd have to pay in order to get the job done, and so now there is trash in parking lots, and crappy sidewalks, and you contract someone to come in once a week or so with a strew sweeper, because it's cheaper than hiring a junior high/middle school or high school teenager at an adult wage to do the work. Unless you have the "family business/employ your kid for whatever you want" loophole, a lot of that stuff just doesn't get done.

For technical stuff, you either get the equivalent of a migrant farm worker, or day laborer from home depot, and you either get an H1-B to make it legal, or you contract it out to a third party to make it legal, in the same way that a lot of farm workers, or the guys hanging out in the Home Depot aren't legal (and are paid under the table). But what you don't do is hire someone in at a wage higher than the value of the work to the company. You stay at or below the value ceiling at all times, or you might as well be flushing money down the toilet, since your business is not going to make it.

Comment: I agree; you are making a silly argument... (Score 1) 528

... the difference between an XBox application programmer and Nokia OS programmer is ...

...that Nokia engineers have historically built products no one wants to buy, while Xbox engineers make game consoles that people actually buy.

I suppose we could retask the former Nokia engineers with making game consoles no one wants to buy, instead of phones no one wants to buy.

But frankly, Microsoft has already announced that 12,500, or roughly 70% of the 18,000 people being laid off, are primarily factory workers assembling dumb phones and feature phones, which are both low margin, and selling poorly, and they are predominantly not employed in the U.S. anyway.

The remaining 5,500 people are redundancies of the kind you get when you smash a 127,000 employee company together with a 90,000 employee company to get a 217,000 employee company, and then decide that 2.5% of them are duplicate effort which is not necessary.

Comment: Re:The end of reading as culturally relevant... (Score 1) 191

by bmo (#47490609) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Bookstores aren't dying.

BIG bookstores are dying. The independent bookstores seem to be multiplying, after what seemed like iminent death at the hands of Borders, B&N and BAM.

Borders is gone. B&N is smaller, and BAM is simply disgusting and I won't go there ever again after going there once (it's a southern 'christian' company and it shows, especially in the whole two shelves of science books they had - I re-shelved Behe's "darwin's black box" in Fantasy). And when I was at BAM, I swear it was a whole lot of floor space for too few customers. Its days are numbered. Here in the Northeast, anyway.

But indie book shops where you get personal assistance and customer service? There's a renaissance.

Amazon isn't killing them. Amazon is killing the book-megastore.


The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann