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Comment: Re:Bad logic (Score 3, Insightful) 97

by cffrost (#46966083) Attached to: The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

The NSA's mass-surveillance techniques have not been proven effective for counter-terrorism, nor do those techniques represent a cost-effective method of lowering the overall US death rate, nor are they worth (in my opinion) the egregious violation of our Constitutional rights.

I believe that a cursory glance at global affairs — in particular, which entities commit terror attacks upon which nations; the attackers' motives; and attacked nations' foreign policies — suggest that the most effective counter-terrorism results come from not interfering in the sovereignty or affairs of foreign governments, and not violating the human/civil rights of foreign and domestic populaces.

Were a friend or family member killed in a terror attack, I'd be upset they died even though their Constitutional rights were being violated, and I'd be upset that they likely died as a result of blowback from unilateral US action abroad intended to increase or maintain the power and wealth of US oligarchs, likely in violation of international law. If mass-surveillance were ended and a friend or family member were killed in a terror attack, I would take solace in death(s) as free people.

Comment: Re:Is this why they fly into airplanes? (Score 1) 71

by cffrost (#46959681) Attached to: Electromagnetic Noise Found To Affect Bird Navigation

To their senses, the window looks like a nice pool of water to land in. As do parked cars.

Whoa could this explain why birds specifically poop on cars so much? Maybe they have some kind of instinct to aim their poop at water sources (oddly enough).

I don't know... Has cognitive bias been eliminated as a possible explanation? Speaking for myself, I tend not to pay much notice when birds shit someplace/on something I haven't paid to clean.

+ - SPAM: Fine Control Super Bright LED Pulser

Submitted by Eli Monroe
Eli Monroe (3645369) writes "Four timing controls – 12V supply, Suitable for Halloween or Christmas props
This circuit, designed on request for a Halloween prop, allows fine control of a pulsing Super Bright white LED. The four potentiometers or trimmers will set precisely: on, off, ramp up and ramp down time-delays respectively."

Link to Original Source

+ - Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joan Lowy writes for AP that the Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds. The emergency order follows a warning two weeks ago from outgoing National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman that the department risks a "higher body count" as the result of fiery oil train accidents if it waits for new safety regulations to become final. There have been nine oil train derailments in the U.S. and Canada since March of last year, many of them resulting in intense fires and sometimes the evacuation of nearby residents, according to the NTSB. The latest was last week, when a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., sending three tank cars into the James River and shooting flames and black smoke into the air. Concern about the safe transport of crude oil was heightened after a runaway oil train derailed and then exploded last July in the small town of Lac-Megantic in Canada, just across the border from Maine. More than 60 tank cars spilled more than 1.3 million gallons of oil. Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed in resulting inferno. Hersman says that over her 10 years on the board she has "seen a lot of difficulty when it comes to safely rules being implemented if we don't have a high enough body count. That is a tombstone mentality. We know the steps that will prevent or mitigate these accidents. What is missing is the will to require people to do so.""

+ - Medialink Sues Redditor Who Wrote Negative Review on Amazon

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The review written by the redditor in question happened to be ranked as the most helpful critical review on Amazon for the Medialink router it was written for. The current review is updated to reflect the libel suit, but in his original review, the redditor claimed that most if not all of the positive reviews are fake and that the product is actually a re-branded version of a much cheaper router also sold on Amazon. '[T]hink about it,' he wrote, 'They only sell these routers on Amazon, so the whole success of their company depends on Amazon reviews.' Medialink's lawyers have informed him that litigation will only be avoided if he deletes his Amazon review, stops posting negative reviews of any Medialink products, and no longer buys Medialink products at all."
China

China Using Troop of Trained Monkeys To Guard Air Base 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-waana-guard-like-you-hoo-hoo dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "No, they don't have guns and they don't ride on top of drones. Instead the small troop of macaques have been trained to guard air bases from birds who often get caught in aircraft engines. Government sources say the monkeys have proven more effective than netting, scarecrows, firecrackers and soldiers with live ammunition in dealing with birds. From the article: 'The macaques are trained to respond to precise whistle commands from their handlers, according to the Chinese military, leaping into action, clambering up trees to destroy nests and scare away birds, according to an account on China's Air Force News Web site on Sunday. The particular air force base employing the monkeys was left unidentified, described simply as being in the Beijing military zone. Base commanders in the account said the monkeys have destroyed more than 180 nests, at a pace of six to eight nests per monkey per day.'"

+ - The Death of Dark Matter's #1 Competitor

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Since as far back as the 1930s, observations of the largest structures in the Universe have shown us that there's a discrepancy between the amount of mass that can be inferred from the starlight we see and the amount of mass that we know must be there due to its gravitational effects. Either there's some new, unseen form of matter that isn't present in the Standard Model of particle physics — dark matter — or the laws of gravity are wrong and need to be modified. The leading candidate for the latter option is TeVeS, the first relativistic formulation of MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND). Well, the first observational test capable of distinguishing between TeVeS and General Relativity is complete. Spoiler: Einstein wins again."

+ - London Police to Wear Video Cameras in Pilot Project

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is reportedly engaging in a year-long pilot program to determine the benefits of its police force wearing video cameras during interactions with the public. 'The pilot will include a total of 500 cameras distributed across ten city boroughs.' London joins some major U.S. cities in this endeavor to improve the quality of policing through the use of wearable cameras. Privacy advocates argue, however, that police officers having these devices on their persons is not enough: 'the efficacy of police body-mounted cameras as a crime reduction and accountability tool hinges on enforcement of good policies and procedures—including something as basic as preventing officers from being able to deactivate the cameras at their own discretion.'"

+ - ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed by Committee-> 1

Submitted by sumakor
sumakor (3571543) writes "The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a weakened version of the USA Freedom Act (HR3361). The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

Despite these significant changes the amended bill has been endorsed by the ACLU and the EFF as a first step and the most promising path towards reigning in government surveillance. The two organizations called for further Congressional measures to tighten control of surveillance authorities including an explicit definition of the term "selector," a reduction in the number of hops from 2 to 1 under most circumstances and the closing the loophole that allows searches of Americans' data inadvertently collected thru Section 702.

The bill now proceeds to the House Intelligence Committee, who has advanced its competing bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (HR 4291). The committee will mark up both bills on the same day, begining at 10am Thursday, behind closed doors.

https://www.aclu.org/national-...

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/...

http://www.nationaljournal.com..."

Link to Original Source

+ - Absent-minded IT Specialist inadvertently drives onto White House grounds->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "IT Specialist Mathew Goldstein’ was driving his gray Honda Civic along 17th Street NW in Washington, DC when he made a wrong turn and inadvertently followed the motorcade carrying President Obama’s daughters into the secure perimeter for the presidential compound.

Goldstein’s mistaken left turn raised serious questions about how an unauthorized vehicle was able to travel within five feet of the Obama girls’ motorcade and get through two rows of metal security bollards at the checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue."

Link to Original Source

+ - China Using Troop of Trained Monkeys to Guard Air Base

Submitted by samzenpus
samzenpus (5) writes "No, they don't have guns and they're not trained to call down airstrikes. Instead the small troop of macaques have been trained to guard air bases from birds who often get caught in aircraft engines. Government sources say the monkeys have proven more effective than netting, scarecrows, firecrackers and soldiers with live ammunition in dealing with birds. From the article: 'The macaques are trained to respond to precise whistle commands from their handlers, according to the Chinese military, leaping into action, clambering up trees to destroy nests and scare away birds, according to an account on China’s Air Force News Web site on Sunday. The particular air force base employing the monkeys was left unidentified, described simply as being in the Beijing military zone. Base commanders in the account said the monkeys have destroyed more than 180 nests, at a pace of six to eight nests per monkey per day.'"

Comment: Re:not about sabotage but about theft (Score 1) 72

by cffrost (#46852771) Attached to: Security At Nuclear Facilities: Danger Likely Lurks From Within

Why sabotage a plant if you can steal nuclear material and make a dirty bomb[?]

Because sabotage may be difficult to detect beforehand, and even more difficult to definitively prove as sabotage, apart from human error or mechanical failure, depending on the nature of the sabotage. I believe that a competent saboteur is probably more likely to both succeed and avoid detection/prosecution than would a radiological-material thief.

Further, the trade-offs involved in adding a radiological component to a conventional bomb aren't favorable; the investigation into the theft the radiological material makes detection/intervention prior to detonation more likely, and the primary benefits of a "dirty bomb" over a conventional bomb are higher cleanup costs and increasing panic amongst the targeted populace. Adding a radiological component has little effect on a bomb's lethality. This has been the conclusion of numerous reports and studies; here's the first one I found, prepared by the UN WHO (World Health Organization): Radiological Dispersion Device (Dirty Bomb) - WHO/RAD Information sheet (February 2003).

It's been proven that stealing material is relatively easy.

I agree that this is problematic; Wikipedia states:

"The International Atomic Energy Agency says there is 'a persistent problem with the illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials, thefts, losses and other unauthorized activities.' The IAEA Illicit Nuclear Trafficking Database notes 1,266 incidents reported by 99 countries over the last 12 years, including 18 incidents involving HEU or plutonium trafficking."

However, there's no indication as to what's being done with the stolen materials. One thing they're apparently not being used for is the construction and use of "dirty bombs," since there have been no such detonations in the past 12 years. These thefts could be being orchestrated by nation-states for use in their own nuclear programs, or in order to deny these materials to the nations from which they were stolen.

Making a conventional bomb that will contaminate a large area with the nuclear material strapped to it is also known to be easy. The only reason nuclear is part of this is because it's so incredibly poisonous and relatively easy to transport and use in a dirty bomb. There are few, if any materials that will make a DIY explosive so effective as this.

As I've said, "dirty bombs" offer little in the way of improved efficacy over conventional bombs. There are many enhancements that could be added, all of which are generally more effective and most of which are more easily procured or manufactured: shrapnel; anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) for increasing mortality from otherwise-survivable wounds; poisons (e.g., ricin); chemical agents (sulfur/nitrogen mustard, chlorine, sarin); biological agents (anthrax); incendiaries (typically metallic or petroleum-based).

What is observed in the real world is that — aside from the use of shrapnel — hardly anyone that conducts bombings (beside regular military forces) bothers to incorporate any of these enhancements in the near-daily bombings that are occurring nowadays.

It is also worth considering that among military forces — certainly the most well-funded, prolific, experienced, and effective users of bombs — none incorporate radiological bombs in their arsenals. Both military and non-military bomb users seem to know something that "dirty bomb" scare-mongers do not.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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