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Comment: Re:Why is Israel not part of the NNPT? (Score 1) 52

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167501) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Because they didn't sign it.

Saying: "everyone who has them except Israel is allowed to keep them" is just plain wrong.

Which just might be why they didn't sign on - and part of why "Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program."

Some things to remember about the NNPT:
  - Not every country in the world is a signatory.
  - Even signatories didn't permanently give up their right to develop nuclear weapons: By the treaty's own terms (section X(1)), they can drop out on three month's notice:

Article X

1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

Comment: But it WILL dry some of them out... (Score 2) 181

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167191) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Bonus points: it wont flood any place in land that is not actually flooded twice a day,

But, by retarding the tidal current, it WILL dry out part of the area currently intermittently wetted, and WILL keep continuously wet another part of it that is currently intermittently dried.

Comment: Wonder how they'll rate Global Warming discussions (Score 1) 371

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49162031) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

... when there is more than one version of the truth (conflicts, spin vs fact)... plus not all information is facts... philosophical questions may have more than one answer etc... so I am definitely curious to see how this works out.

I'm curious as well.

In particular, I wonder how they'll handle Global Warming / Climate Change discussions.

Then there's electoral politics, economics, Illegal immigration / undocumented migrants, ...

Comparing to a knowlege base presupposes that the knowledge base is full of truth. Filtering search results to exclude (or down-rate) anything at odds with the current paradigm is a recipe for hamstriging research, debate, and intellectual progress

  Ideas need to be supported or rejected based on evidence and logic, not whether they're orthodox.

Comment: Re:Or the malware might cover its tracks. (Score 1) 310

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49161967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors. I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors.

Because hacking the JTAG to hide malicious hacking of the software is a massive endeavor and a massive PITA.

Besides, if they built it into the original software they wouldn't NEED to hack the JTAG to hide it. The code would match the released version. (You'd have to reverse-engineer it to discover their back doors.)

Comment: Or the malware might cover its tracks. (Score 1) 310

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49158963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

If you ask the drive to read out the whole flash.
The maybe the firmware would have to go to the platter to get the real image.

Or the malware could regenerate the un-attacked version.

For instance: If it's a patch that loads into an otherwise cleared-to-known-vallue region it can detect that region while reporting flash content and report the cleared value, instead. Add a couple other tiny regions where it saved (or alread knew) the previous contents where it "sank it's hooks" and you can't tell it's there from its replies to dump requests.

JTAG seems safer.

Yep. JTAG, in principle, could be corrupted. But it would require substantial hardware support that almost certainly isn't there (yet!)

Comment: Hashes can be useful. (Score 1) 310

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49158915) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Which is why I always laugh my ass off at all these people who use PGP to sign things and put a hash on the same website you download it from ... look you can verify this file you downloaded from the website hasn't changed because theres no way anyone would be smart enough to update the hash as well!

That's why you SIGN the hash. Then only the public key needs to be published by a different route.

And it doesn't HURT to publish it on the web site as well: Then someone tampering by substituting a different public key sets off alarm bells when that differs from the public key obtained from another site or by another path. Blocking that makes man-in-the-middle more complex: The attacker has to have essentially total control of the path to the victim and be able to recognize and substitute the public key whenever it shows up. One slip-up and somebody may raise the alarm.

Meanwhile: Even if publishing hashes on the same site may not provide additional security against MITM, it DOES let you check the download wasnt corrupted in transit (in ways other than malicious substitution). With modern protocols that's less of a problem these days than it used to be, but a check would be comforting.

Comment: &is "teal" blue with greenish tinge or vice-ve (Score 1) 410

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49155217) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

... blue and brown. Just now, I opened the Washington Post link on my 24" screen in a sunlit room, and it was clearly white and gold.

Though the sensations are vastly different, brown is really dark yellow. The underlying color of that part of this dress seems to be very near the perceptual boundary (probably just on the yellow side of it). This picture seems to have the dress in a non-obvious shadow, so when it is viewed by someone whose visual system doesn't adequately pick up the shadowing and compensate, it crosses the boundary and appears light brown rather than dark yellow.

Another perceptual oddity is that a very slight bluish tinge to white makes it appear "whiter than white", especially in sunlight or other strong lighting. (I suspect this works by mimicing the differential response of the various color sensors in the eye when exposed to very bright light, though blue may also "cancel out" a bit of the yellowing of aging cloth.) Laundry products up through the 1950s or so included "bluing", a mild blue dye for producing the effect. (It fell out of use when it was replaced by a fluorescent dye that reradated energy from ultraviolet as blue, making the cloth literally "brighter than white" {where "white" is defined as diffuse reflection of 100% of the incoming light}, and which, if mixed with detergent products, would stick to the cloth while the surficant was rinsed away.) I suspect some of the "blueish is brighter" effect is going on here.

When I view the picture straight-on on my LCD display, the light cloth on the upper part of the dress appears about white and the image appears somewhat washed out. Meanwhile the lower half has a bluish tinge. So I suspect the cloth is actually nearly-white with a bit of blue. (Viewed off-axis it's very blue, but the other colors are over-saturated and/or otherwise visibly off-color. So off-axis viewing makes it look more blue and this probably adds to the controversy.)

Another color-perception issue is "teal", a color between blue and green. There are paint formulations of this color that give the sensation of "distinctly blue with a greenish tinge" to some people and "distinctly green with a bluish tinge" to others, even under the same lighting and viewed from the same angle. (I'm in the "slightly-bluish-green" camp.)

The first place I encountered this was on the guitar of the filksinger Clif Flint. (On which he played _Unreality Warp_: "... I'm being followed by maroon shadows ..." B-) ) Apparently his fans occasionally had arguments about whether his guitar was blue or green, so he sometimes headed this off (or started it off on a more friendly levl) by commenting on the effect.

Comment: Re:do no evil (Score 2) 185

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49154693) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Perhaps they should be asking for a ".google" gTLD, for that purpose, instead of trying to monopolize a generic identifier.

I was about to suggest the same, but with ".goog", to make it shorter. (Can't think of a less-than-three-letter symbol that points to them as strongly.)

(It's also their stock ticker symbol, so maybe it's not such a good idea - it could cause a land rush and litigation from all the other publicly traded companies.)

Comment: Mostly Republicans trying to legalize. (Score 1) 397

This is only news to those who have had their head in the ground, listening to fox news and government shills.

I've noticed that it seems to be mostly Republicans who are putting up the legalization legislation trial balloons.

(Can't speak about Fox. I don't follow 'em all that much since, during the (especially the last) presidential campaigns, they proved the right-hand side of their claimed "fair and balanced" coverage consisted of flogging the Neocon faction and ignoring or slamming the others - especially the "Liberty" faction and Ron Paul.)

But I haven't checked Thomas.gov to see whether this is accurate, or just an artifact of the media only covering it when a Republican does it, on the "man bites dog IS news" principle.

Comment: Re:The Summary Claims Effect is Cause (Score 1) 33

The Aurora Borealis are not "are an electromagnetic phenomena that can adversely affect ..."

(Putting on my grammar policeman cap, and explicitly not addressing Rob's point...)

I DO wish the author of TFA would correctly use the singular and plural
of "Phenomenon".
  - Phenomenon: One (class of ...)
  - Phenomena: More than one (class of ...)

The Aurora Borealis are a set of related phenomena, involving glows from ionization of various atmospheric elements at different altitudes, various of the Van Allen belts being pumped up with new particles and/or pushed down by magnetic field distortion from solar wind variations, upper-atmosphere currents, ground currents, and I don't know what all else. The author's apparently inconsistent use of the singular and plural makes it difficult to understand what he meant.

Comment: What's "darker" about privizing services? (Score 0) 65

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49091951) Attached to: Does Open Data Have a Dark Side?

Forbes article last month explored some of the potentially darker sides of open data â" from ... to making an argument in favor of privatizing certain government services.

What's "darker" about privatizing government services?

Government is FORCE. When it "provides a service" it uses that force to make everybody using that sort of service use THEIR service, which they do THEIR way, and prevent anyone from providing the equivalent service in a possibly better and/or less expensive way.

We're seeig this now with Obamacare. But this has been going on since there have been governments. One of the earliest examples with THIS government was the suppression of alternative mail services.

Now there MAY be a FEW services where privatizing them are an issue. But we can discuss those on a case-by-case basis. For the bulk of them, why should the government even be involved?

Comment: Which means if they powned a machine on your LAN.. (Score 1) 57

Usually the only network interface UBoot is configured to use is on the local network side, on a wired interface and the IP address used is non-routable.

Which means if they compromised a machine on your LAN you're hosed. They now have your router firmware firmly under their control.

Who needs an intercept in the ISP, lawful or otherwise, when they can have your router send them copies of whatever they want. (Not to mention using it to attack any other devices behind it and cooperate with malware on them.)

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