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Comment: objective of the research: The perfect shuffle. (Score 2) 63

It can be proved empirically that this is a correct theory - the longer you shuffle cards, the more random sequence you have.

Not true. There is a limit to entropy of a collection of objects, and once you reach this limit, any change to the system can only to be a reduction in the degree of entropy in the system. Also, it is entirely possible, (if unlikely) that you can shuffle a randomized deck of cards into sequential order.

Comment: Shall we play a game? (Score 4, Interesting) 91

by TiggertheMad (#49465003) Attached to: Killer Robots In Plato's Cave
It seems to me that these weapons are morally equivalent to a land mine. A land mine is an autonomous weapon, that has the following logic: 'Is trigger depressed? If so, detonate'.

Putting more complicated logic on a robot armed with machine guns is pretty much the same thing. If you have morale problems with land mines, you probably should have the same problems with kilbots. (Also, expect the exact same classes of problems to occur).

Most civilized countries are realizing that landmines are rather deplorable weapons, it seems interesting that they would be ok with robotic weaponry...

Comment: p=mv, do the math... (Score 1) 74

by TiggertheMad (#49449929) Attached to: Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones

Is the less than 100 mph limit really necessary?

It seems reasonable. There needs to be some kind of weight/height/speed limitations.

Reasonable? I'd say its required. Consider what happens when a drone traveling at only 100 mph with a total mass of 10 lbs fails from 400 feet. Do you want to be under it when it lands? I am pretty sure that is gong to be a strait up fatality if it hits someone.....

Comment: HEY YOU KIDS, KEEP OFF MY COMPILER! AND LAWN! (Score 4, Insightful) 315

by TiggertheMad (#49442535) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?
The perfect tool is whatever the kid is interested in. If you try to teach them how to write a game with Minecraft, and they want to write spread sheets, they are going to hate coding. Now, as parent post notes, Minecraft will probably hold most kids attention.

Figure out some fashion that code interacts with their favorite thing, and there is your in. Building basic web pages might be a start, or perhaps set up a command line application where they can play with string manipulation. There are many ways you can simplify complex tasks and projects with 'training wheels', ex: APIs and such to hide away complex stuff that isn't important to a beginner. Get them a really simple sandbox where they can change things and see the effects of their changes, and then get the hell out of the way. They will be better than you are in two weeks.

Comment: Rules are for jerks (Score 2) 489

by TiggertheMad (#49442025) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)
libertarians' fundamental thesis seems to be that anything that doesn't harm others freedom's and rights should be allowed. This is a fantastic belief, but in practice there are a lot of things you can do as an individual that can adversely affect society, and end up being regulated. If there is some stupid law on the books prohibiting practice 'X', it is quite likely that at one time someone was doing that very thing and that pissed off enough people that a law got passed.

On one hand, government trying to predict what sort of behaviors will need to be regulated seems like a bad idea, because you are asking some of the dumbest people on the planet (politicians) to try to predict the future. I generally like the idea of a reactive government, that only trys to fix things that actually become problems, so I would lean toward the libertarian model.

But, given the nature of corporations, I can saw with 100% confidence that if we do not pass laws forcing a level playing field, we will have all sorts of problems. The Internet to these people is nothing more than a brand new resource to be exploited in the most efficient way possible. Mind you, this isn't because the companies involved are corrupt, evil entities. This is simply because that is what capitalism encourages. Barring additional regulation, the most profitable company is the one most ruthlessly efficient at creating and selling a product. Nothing about capatialisim is geared toward what is good for the whole of society, just what makes money.

An intellectually honest libertarian will be willing to recognize that libertarianism is a utopian ideal (like most 'isims'), and that reality requires quite a lot of rules to keep the 1% of the world who are total assholes from screwing things up for the other 99%. This article seems to be written by idealists who don't live in the real world.

Comment: Not Securing America (Score 1) 212

"He is a good German..."

I believe the guy, at least partially. Probably a lot of NSA drones are honest, decent people that knew very little about all the dirty shit that the agency is pulling. In an organization that size you can't keep secrets very long unless you can compartmentalize information. There are probably a lot of low level people who work for the NSA because they believe in protecting America.

Of course that makes the small group(s) of filthy fuckers that are in the know and driving this stuff all that more guilty, for doing illegal shit in the first place, and then conspiring to cover it up. If I ran the DOJ, I would fire off a massive witch hunt to convict everyone in charge at the NSA with treason. Hang the lot of them, they have done more to damage US internal and external interests than Snowden could ever manage.

Comment: Nothing, but the LAW (Score 4, Informative) 306

by TiggertheMad (#49402125) Attached to: Al Franken Urges FBI To Prosecute "Revenge Porn"
What then would prevent my ex-wife from posting the sex tape via a public computer terminal and reporting it to the FBI's "revenge porn" task force? Nothing....and it would be my word against hers and her ass on every computer screen in the country so there goes 5-10 years of my freedom.

Nothing except perhaps, the fact its against the law. IANAL, but I think that is covered by:


...And if she were caught falsely reporting a federal crime, she would be the one doing 5-10 years. (Lying to the feds is a really bad idea, unless you like orange jumpsuits.)

Comment: TROLL SMASH PUNY EDITORS! (Score 1) 123

I am finding these stories very entertaining...

Oh, the stories aren't that great, chuckleworth at best, but certainly not actually funny. The entertainment factor is all the people who are absolutely losing their shit over these stories. You would think that someone just deleted the last known copy of 'Star Wars' for all the nerd rage that is going on.

Slashdot Editors, please tell me that the real April fool's joke is poking the /. trolls with a stick. Because if was your goal, you just won at the Internet....

Comment: There is a huge flaw to this.... (Score 1) 267

by TiggertheMad (#49350321) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess
This is an interesting approach, but I see one flaw: If this sort of technique be comes common, wouldn't an attacker just need to know what word list you 'rolled' your password on and then can just brute force all the password combinations from that list?

Example, pretend that you had to pick a password for a new website that only allows all uppercase English characters, with no numbers or symbols allowed (just to keep the math simple). A normal ten character password gives an attacker 26^10 possibilities to try.

Your lets say that your diceware generated password picks 6 words from a list of 1000 words, and each word is 4 characters in length. If you skip white space, conventional wisdom would say that your password is 26^24 possibilities to guess via brute force.

But because this has become a common trend in password generation, or because the attacker is the NSA and have been watching what you read, they know you used this list. They don't bother to try all the combinations, just all the combinations of the words on this list. This gives them only 1000^4 possibilities to try. As it happens (yeah, my example is rigged), this is exactly 1 trillion possibilities, which if they were guessing at the rate suggested in TFA, would take them exactly one second to break via brute force.

Essentially, you are replacing individual characters with words to make a long password easier to recall. There is no reason why an attacker cannot do the same thing, mapping one 'alphabet' of symbols onto another.

Now, some people might point out that there are some things you can do to mix things up a bit and force an attacker to have to dig deeper, but my point is that this might actually make it much simpler for a smart/informed attacker to brute force a password.

To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.