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Comment: Re:I dropped Dropbox (Score 1) 76

by cffrost (#46735811) Attached to: Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?

[D]epending on your use of Dropbox there are far better services. If you are simply storing and sharing files with a select few then Google drive gives you 15 GB which is a huge amount of storage in comparison.

Plus with someone like Rice onboard, how long before Dropbox ends up in an incestuous relationship with the NSA?

You claim to be concerned about "incestuous relationship[s] with the NSA," yet you recommend another corporate partner in NSA's PRISM spy-ring in favor of another. Why not find/try a tool or service that hasn't already been implicated in NSA-produced documents in serving as a front-end for one or more of their "collect it all" programs? In my view, that one of these corporate partners allows you to hand over more data to the NSA than a competitor isn't a compelling argument for its use — especially when that corporation makes their billions in part by scrutinizing and monetizing anything you give them in the first place.

15GB may be "huge" in comparison to another service willing to oh-so-charitably take ownership of your data for you, but 15GB represents a mere ~1% of a typical modern HDD, or about a seventh of what I upload daily via BitTorrent. Add in end-to-end encryption and a good-availability residential Internet connection, and you can share data without utilizing surveillance-state honeypots. For tools and services that allow you to do this, the website PRISM Break is a great place to start looking for a solution that has had at least some effort put forth in protecting users' privacy.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

A modern instrument may sound better right away she says, but an old Italian may be able to produce more colors of sound that only become apparent after months of use, she says.

The phrase "confirmation bias" springs immediately to mind. People hear what they want to hear, and the knowledge that they're playing on a three-century-old, million-dollar violin gives them certain expectations.

Given the progression of science and technology — specifically in the fields of material science, metallurgy, computer modelling, rapid prototyping, audio spectral analysis, understanding of sound wave propagation, etc. — I'd bet on the superiority of a modern high-end musical instrument over an antique high-end musical instrument in objective measurements (e.g., frequency accuracy, precision parts manufacturing and assembly) and subjective measurements (e.g., those measured in the study we're discussing). (For clarity and completeness: I'd bet on the modern musical instruments against their antique counterparts at any initial/new sale price; not just high-end.)

If a musician has personally invested a fortune in an antique instrument, I have no doubt that confirmation bias plays a substantial part in that musician's high regard for his or her instrument, particularly considering one of the worse psychological alternatives: buyer's remorse.

Comment: Re:I don't think people care (Score 1) 470

by cffrost (#46672839) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

OTOH, I've had a bit of success with dowsing, (two out of two, when I was seriously trying...not statistically significant) and a bit of success with gambling (1 out of 1 when I was seriously trying against a slot machine...I wone $7 starting with a quarter). And I can't explain those, except that they aren't statistically significant. But I wonder. So I'm not unbiased.

Can you at least explain how one "seriously tr[ies] against a slot machine?" Pull the handle instead of pressing the button? Exert great force while pulling the handle (or pressing the button)? "Be the ball?"

Comment: Re:adware is malware (Score 1) 177

I'd define certain MS products as crapware, not malware. When they charge you $100 extra with the Ultimate editions of windows for a glitzy interface and a few features you could get for free from other vendors, that's crapware, but the underlying core of Windows (and the win32/RT API) certainly isn't.

I've never heard of "crapware" before, but charging money for something that has no monetary value (as it's offered for free by another entity) sounds to me like fraud.

I think it's certainly malicious when MS informs NSA about various security holes in their products prior to patching them — it's difficult for me to conceive a better way to undermine customers' trust.

Comment: Re:April Fools? (Score 5, Insightful) 274

by cffrost (#46637521) Attached to: NSA Confirms It Has Been Searching US Citizens' Data Without a Warrant

And plus, they were doing it to protect us from [spooky voice]TEEERRROOORRRIIISSSTTTSSS[/spooky voice]. Everything is ok so long as you are doing it to fight [spooky voice]TEEERRROOORRRIIISSSTTTSSS[/spooky voice], right?

My only fear with regard to "terrorism" — excluding the conversion of my country into a totalitarian police/surveillance state (as I consider this to be a realization rather than a fear) — manifests itself along the lines of: "I hope that steroid-fueled, combat-ready, bored cop over there doesn't think up an excuse to harass/question/search/detain/arrest/chem-spray/electrocute/beat/pop me, as he's all jacked-up to 'fight terror,' and there aren't any terrorists around to be fought (but I am), and I'm nine times more likely to be killed by a cop than killed by one of the elusive boogeymen the government seems to want me to fear."

Comment: Re:So Arrest Them (Score 4, Insightful) 207

by cffrost (#46637375) Attached to: Senate Report Says CIA Misled Government About Interrogation Methods

Can't get them for torture as they were enemy combatants. Can't get them for violating POW rights and policies as they were enemy combatants.

The US government's designation/use of this term "enemy combatant" to refer to POWs — POWs generally being captured "enemies" engaged in "combat" — for the purpose of skirting international law — is tantamount to my getting out of a speeding ticket by telling the judge I wasn't speeding, but engaging in "enhanced-velocity travel" or some such bullshit. If we (as a supposed "nation of laws") are to accept this ridiculous, ongoing wordplay, we may as well resign ourselves to fully embracing the concept of a US government-produced "American Newspeak" vocabulary, and the degradation of our ability to engage in meaningful dialog that such acceptance would entail.

I'd be interested to see a list of the "American Newspeak" euphemisms coined for various war crimes and Constitutional violations over the years, categorized by US presidents' administrations. I'm willing to bet that this American Newspeak's vocabulary size has been expanding at an increasing rate during the past few administrations, much like we've witnessed the accelerated expansion of other facets of a totalitarian police state: mass surveillance; militarized police forces; world-record incarcerations (and the rise of the private prison industry that lobbies for draconian laws and sentences (and increasing the slave-labor workforce beyond pre-Civil War numbers); persecution/prosecution of whistle-blowers; over-classification of government documents (often to hide unconstitutional activities and war crimes); government infiltration of peaceful/law-abiding groups; mass arrests at peaceful protests; mass deportations (without regard for the families shattered); undermining the critical function of the free press; and so on...

Comment: Re:Without James Sinegal, Costco is not well manag (Score 1) 440

by cffrost (#46626507) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Where's that pill Stan took last night?

My guess is somewhere between Stan's stomach and downstream of the body of water that receives effluent from Stan's municipal waste treatment facility.

I need it when browsing slashdot.

That pill has probably lost its efficacy, and it's likely unappealing in both appearance and odor. If I were you, I'd ask Stan where he got the pill, and try to score a new one from Stan or his supplier.

Comment: Re:Redefine hunting. (Score 1) 397

by cffrost (#46571947) Attached to: Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

Remember too we are also *the* species that will, with great frequency, go out of its way to help another species., both individually and in toto. Enough so, that other non-domestic species are known to come to humans for aid on occasion.

I'm aware of one example of this behavior — a dolphin entangled in fish net was filmed swimming to some human divers to receive assistance in being freed — which I learned of from a recent BBC documentary on animal intelligence. Can you share any other examples, either specific incidents or group behaviors you're aware of, or which other wild animals (besides dolphins) have approached humans in order to receive aid?

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis