Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Things happen - multiple things (Score 1) 47

by hey! (#48642965) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

Back in the early 90s I had the opportunity of participating on a paleontological expedition to the badlands of Montana. The soil was built up over hundreds of millions of years and flooding cut through the soft soil leaving a stratigraphy that is dramatic and easy to read. You can even see the Chicxulub ejecta, a chocolate brown horizontal line about the width of your hand.

Now whole dinosaur skeletons are a rare find. You can spend a whole season tramping through the badlands and never find two bones that go together. But individual bones are more common, and bone fragments are more common still, and experts can often identify the group of dinosaurs or even the species of dinosaur a bone fragment came from, often a surprisingly small fragment of bone.

What we were doing was assembling a database of species found by layer, which in turn maps to era. What the PI was finding was a shift towards species with anatomical adaptations to deal with heat. His opinion was that there was already a climate driven adaptive stress on the dinosaur population, which turned the aftermath of the Chicxulub impact into a knock-out blow.

So the idea that there was more going on than an asteroid impact is hardly new. People were thinking that way twenty years ago.

Comment: Re:False Falg? (Score 2) 124

by hey! (#48642825) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

One thing every thoughtful fan of the mystery story knows is that in real life, motivation tells you very little about who done what. That's because *most* people, when faced with a problem, don't even consider murder. Murderers are not typical people.

The same goes for hackers. When companies first started putting Internet connections back in the 90s in I would explain that they need to start taking steps to secure their networks, and almost without exception the response was "Why? Why would anyone be interested in hacking *us*?" And I had to explain that the Internet was accessible to *everyone*, including people whose motivations and ways of thinking would make no sense to them.

Motivation may have limited use in perhaps identifying some possible suspects, but it's not probative of anything. You can't rule anyone out or in based on what you think their motivations are or should be. The only way to know that somebody has done something is by following the chain of evidence that leads to some concrete action they've taken.

Comment: Re:Why not blame the phone company? (Score 1) 174

You are subscribing, thus get a bill. They do not subscribe to your carrier. They call in from a peer, often VOIP such as Magic Jack with invalid location data.

VOIP service other than consumer packaged plans permit users to set their own CID info. For example, I can enter my 800 number for call backs.

Commercial lines are different from home lines where the in and out line is one and the same.

I have a DID Direct Inward Dial number. It can't call out.

I also have several trunk lines. They can call out, but can't take a call in as they have no number. On those lines, I can place my own CID info per call, or by extension as needed or for abuse.

Ever dial 9 to get an outside line? Several hundred phones may be using 3 or 4 outgoing trunk lines. CID can be set for the hotel 800 number or each extension can provide their own CID so return calls go to your shop 800 number or cell phone.

This feature makes fake CID child's play.

Comment: Re:While great for the dog (Score 2) 21

by hey! (#48641815) Attached to: How a 3D Printer Let a Dog Run For the First Time

Well, there's two reasons why 3D printing makes sense. One is prototyping. You might need to make a half dozen different prototypes that are pretty similar to each other before you find one that really works. The second is replacement. You may need to replace these things on a regular basis. Replacing them is just a matter of sending a file to a printer -- no craft skill needed at all.

Hand crafting something like this falls within the scope of my tinkering abilities. I've worked with fiberglass and epoxy and wood. But it's not for everyone and if someone had to *pay* me to make something like this it would probably cost a thousand dollars a pair.

Something like this would seem to fall into the sweet spot for 3D printing: something you need more than one of, but not *thousands* of identical copies.

Comment: Re:Can we stop the embellishment? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

by Dahamma (#48640191) Attached to: Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

Really? Apparently they quickly took control of almost every one one of Sony's servers and workstations. Literally took entire control, stole all of the useful data, wiped out all of their servers, and then owned all of the workstations so that they were useless but able to broadcast any message they wanted to them.

That's a *bit* more coordinated than "your average trojan worm". Unless you really think based on extremely limited information you know more than all of the security researchers and government investigators looking into it... (hint: sorry, you don't).

Comment: Re:correct if wrong (Score 1) 151

by Dahamma (#48640185) Attached to: Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

Not samba, SMB. Samba is just the name of the open source Windows SMB server implementation. Most likely they were targeting Windows machines (though I admit I haven't seen anything on that either way).

Also, it's highly unlikely (but also possible I guess) they had SMB open to the Internet. But they just needed to compromise one internal machine (almost trivial these days) to attack SMB...

Comment: Re:Supreme Leader (Score 2) 151

by Dahamma (#48640175) Attached to: Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

Except for a privileged few, North Koreans are completely blocked off from the outside world

Umm, I think you answered that question already. You don't think North Korea's cyberterrorism military unit just might be part of those "privileged few"?

Why would North Korea reveal its capabilities and tactics in such dramatic fashion to achieve nothing of any value

Maybe because their Supreme Leader is a total loon? This is the same guy who has among hundreds of other insane actions decreed that anyone with his name needed to change it immediately. He lives for drama and vanity and wants his citizens to think of him as a demigod. He's a fucking international drama queen of the highest level...

Comment: Re:$32 million of greed. (Score 1) 165

by hey! (#48639471) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

I have a friend who was a medical entomologist and journal editor before he retired. I ran into him while I was browsing a book table at a conference, and mentioned that I'd like to buy one of the medical entomology textbooks but the $250 price tag was a bit steep.

"Just wait," he said. "I'm about to change that. I'm writing a new textbook that will be a lot cheaper. I want students and public health departments to be able to afford a solid medical entomology reference."

When his book came out the publisher set the priced at $500. It was twice as expensive any of its competitors. Now something like this is never going to sell like a basic calculus book, but it has a considerably larger market than you'd think. His idea was that it would find its way into the syllabus in medical, veterinary and public health schools; and that hospitals and public health agencies would buy copies for their libraries. But his strategy to make that happen by making the book affordable and sell in (relatively) high numbers; the publisher had other plans.

So don't blame authors for high textbook prices. It's publishers who set the price.

Comment: Perspective (Score 2) 72

by radtea (#48638823) Attached to: NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

For those like me, who just watched the video and didn't understand the point of view 'til quite late on, the camera is pointing back along the direction of flight.

Also, for some reason the video has strange out-of-focus side-pieces that are distracting and annoying. The view itself is gorgeous and amazing.

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."