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Comment: Re:"overwrites all files" How Many Times? (Score 1) 31

You can be pedantic, and replace with "electromagnetic history" if you like, but to be honest - apart from pedantry - it just makes the case more. And I do mention "solid-state" in the next paragraph.

You can't tell what a bit held on a memory storage device held historically with ANY degree of accuracy at all. Flash memory even less so than 40-year-old hard drives, in fact.

Comment: Re:"overwrites all files" How Many Times? (Score 1) 31

Doesn't really matter - nobody has ever successfully recovered information from magnetic history like that.

There was a $1m prize for nearly a decade and not one "recovery" company could claim it.

Once a bit on a magnetic / solid state device is overwritten, that's your lot. Now, whether you overwrite ALL bits or not (e.g. reserved areas, replacement sectors, etc.) is another question entirely.

Comment: Re:I've been calling for this for 20+ years... (Score 1) 139

by garyebickford (#47442447) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Actually cannabis is the second most common weed in Nebraska - or was a couple of decades ago, and there's no reason why that has changed. The midwest has 'volunteer' hemp growing everywhere. Attempts to eradicate it were stopped after a suit by the Audubon society, as the seeds are a major food source for birds - and hemp has very little THC. Some friends and I personally found a large (40 acres at least) field of hemp in northern Illinois back in the day, complete with beehives. I don't know if this was 'fallow' or being grown on purpose. We nabbed a 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm.

Comment: Re:Need fast-acting yeast (Score 1) 139

by garyebickford (#47442401) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Minor point - IIRC weed was targeted by William Randolph Hearst back in the 20s. Hearst owned the largest newspaper chain in the US, and had bought the global rights to the new method for making paper out of wood. His goal was to eliminate hemp as a fiber source for paper. He set up a huge tree plantation in Guyana (or thereabouts) and began a major attack on weed. He began a publicity campaign in his papers about the evils of weed, funded the making of "Reefer Madness", and lobbied and bribed congresscritters to include weed in the Volstead Act as a dangerous drug.

At that time hemp, which is a slightly different variety of cannabis, was a major source of quality fiber for rope as well as paper (and still better than any other vegetable fiber AFAIK). The hemp growing industry was destroyed. But even today, cannabis is a major 'weed' throughout the midwest, and is a primary source of seeds for birds.

Once when motorcycling around the wilds of Illinois we came upon a large tract - probably 40 acres - of hemp, complete with a set of beehives. I have no idea if this was just fallow land or being grown on purpose. We came back with a car and collected one 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm. The branches were two feet apart. Smoking was tried, it was pretty much smoking a rope.

Comment: And? (Score 1) 58

by ledow (#47442101) Attached to: Source Code Leaked For Tinba Banking Trojan

It's not difficult to write a malicious program that can steal data as the user it runs. In fact, it's trivially easy, and your homebrew program will almost certainly avoid every antivirus signature with the minimum of tweaking and testing.

Exploiting holes is harder, but there's always a PoC code somewhere if you dig enough, especially if you are subscribed to security lists. And there you might have to do a little tweaking/testing but with VM's and debugging toolkits, it's not hard for any proficient programmer.

Quite what the news is here, I don't know. Almost every virus in existence has "variants" that aren't made by the same author - people take and either hexedit or have access to enough source-code to outright clone a virus. It's all out there if you look hard enough.

But, honestly, if you want to write one, a teenager could do it. Whether it "goes viral" is more to do with how easily it spreads and how many people you can get to run it before it gets noticed. I work in schools, and "viruses" written by the bright kids can spread through the school in a matter of days.

Given that, the number of viruses used with actual malicious intent is extremely low.

Go ahead - write a program with viral attributes and compile it with a random compiler. Guarantee you you could infect your workplace, not show up on an anti-virus signature, and do much nastier things than steal some data that passes through memory in plaintext.

Which is why we should be running a permissions-based security, or at worst a signature whitelist and NOT a signature blacklist like AV operates on. The very existence of AV still makes me laugh at humanity.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 163

This has nothing to do with literacy, and everything to do with protecting businesses from external (i.e. foreign) competition.

In some countries, physical books enjoy a discount on VAT as they are basically encouraged to improve literacy. But ebooks, for some reason, don't.

It's the same thing - protecting an industry. You think anybody but Disney actually benefits from Disney being allowed to own copyrights on its work for ludicrous amounts of time?

It's lobbying, and politics, and being seen to protect some people (local businesses, friends, etc.) and nothing to do with actual literacy or the overall picture.

Comment: Re:Responsible party? (Score 1) 74

The outcome is fines paid by one part of government to another, but it does focus the leadership to get it right

Or discourage reporting any incidents. If losing a container of Anthrax means you get punished, then you have strong incentives to not tell anyone and hope you'll find it, rather than rise alarm and put the place in a lockdown.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.