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Comment: Still fewer cancers than fossil fuels (Score 2, Informative) 157

by Ckwop (#46306065) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks

Fukushima is a serious nuclear disaster. It's a very situation that we should all be concerned about. But this should not lead to any pause in our appetite for nuclear energy.

What people often fail to appreciate is that even coal fired powerstations release quite large amounts of radioactive material in to atmosphere. Coal fired powerstations burn about a million times as much material as a nuclear powerstation per joule of energy produced. Some of that material is radioactive. That stuff isn't been sealed in a container in burrried in a mountain, it's being blown up chimney stacks along with the rest of the rather unpleasant stuff.

Don't believe me? Reflect on this passage taken from this (PDF) document:

The EPA found slightly higher average coal concentrations than used by McBride et al. of 1.3 ppm and 3.2 ppm, respectively. Gabbard (A. Gabbard, “Coal combustion: nuclear resource or danger?,” ORNL Review 26, 34/text/colmain.html.) finds that American releases from each typical 1 GWe coal plant in 1982 were 4.7 tonnes of uranium and 11.6 tonnes of thorium, for a total national release of 727 tonnes of uranium and 1788 tonnes of thorium. The total release of radioactivity from coal-fired fossil fuel was 97.3 TBq (9.73 x 1013 Bq) that year. This compares to the total release of 0.63 TBq (6.3 x 1011 Bq) from the notorious TMI accident, 155 times smaller.

So far, there has not been a single confirmed death due to Fukushima accident. In comparison, there were 20 deaths in the US just mining for coal in 2013. This is not to mention all the deaths being caused by cancers and other health problems being caused by breathing polluted air.

If we're ever going to get on top of this climate change challenge, nuclear must be leading the charge. Nuclear is a safe, non-polluting technology. Modern designs are fail-safe in every sense of the word. The newer designs can even cope with a loss of external power (like Fukushima experienced) yet still stay safe.

This is the 21st century. The technology is mature, sensible and safe. Really, we should be looking to retire every coal fired plant as a matter of urgency, if only to reduce the amount of radioactive contamination of the atmosphere!!

Comment: A few problems... (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by Ckwop (#46279217) Attached to: Can Reactive Programming Handle Complexity?
A few problems:

- What about circular reactions?
- Is SQL really that right language for encoding business logic?
- Triggers are kind of an anti-pattern.
- What about atomicity? What if I need the whole reaction chain to work or none of it.

I'm afraid there more questions than answers with this proposed pattern.

Comment: Re:Uh, no... (Score 1) 366

by tjstork (#45875657) Attached to: The SEC Is About To Make Crowdfunding More Expensive

Liz Warren must have missed the big bank bailouts of the early 1990s when the FSLIC was folded into the FDIC, the epic stock market crash of 1986, the inflation of the 1970s. Pretty much, we've had crashed every decade, regulation or no. Better to let people make their own decision than the government make them for them.

Comment: Re:And they called me crazy (Score 3, Interesting) 221

by Ckwop (#45858677) Attached to: NSA Trying To Build Quantum Computer

256GB USB drives full of true randomly generated one-time pads

I know this is a piece of humour but since this is Slashdot why not?

What a lot of people don't understand is that is much harder than it first appears. For example, doing cat /dev/random to a file on disk will not give you bytes suitable for use in a OTP.

The issue is that the many TRNGs hash their entropy pool with a cryptographically secure hash. When you use such a hash there is no guarantee that the input space would be uniformly mapped to the output space.

To illustrate this, suppose we had an entropy pool 1024-bits deep. Suppose before producing the output the pool is hashed with SHA-1. This is an output that 160-bits wide. There is no proof whatsoever that if we cycled a counter from 0 to 2**1024 that the hash of these would distribute evenly of 2**160 possible has outputs. If this were the case, each output hash value would appear exactly 2**864 times. It is highly unlikely that this is the case.

What this means is the the output is distinguishable from a true random source, which completely breaks the security proof for the OTP. Granted, the attacker would likely to have to do an infeasible amount of work to use this distinguisher. However, the OTPs proof gives you security from computationally unbound adversaries. It's the whole point of using the OTP!

So in short, you can't use /dev/random, you can't use pretty much any commercial random number generator. You'd have to roll your own and show that your bias is small enough for no attack to be practical. Like I said, it's harder than it looks.

Comment: The Problem With You Liberals (Score 1) 1146

by tjstork (#45745985) Attached to: US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

Is, in a nutshell, that while you can rationalize banning smoking and mandate seatbelts and now health insurance, when you aren't doing it to just loot the country, and really are trying to be safe, is that, you don't recognize that we think it was your stupidity that made you need to get euthanized, aborted, or made you poor to begin with, and yet you call us dumb all the time, and we're the ones that have the money.

Once again, I'd say, sure, go ahead and do your euthanizations if you want to, but I don't need to buy health insurance when I'm young, or wear a seatbelt, and quick taxing smokes.

Liberals would never shut up enough about other people such that they would ever make that deal about government. Therefor, you have to stay alive and we don't want to pay your medical bills either.

Comment: Better still, just shut down the government (Score 1) 644

by tjstork (#45571045) Attached to: Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

No, we have a democracy and we can change the rules of society. We can completely shut down the federal government and if you want to have single payer in your state, go ahead and have it, just don't foist it off on everyone else's so you can feel good about for yourself for wrecking the lives of those people that are managing their health risks in ways that makes more sense to them.

Comment: Actually you are slaves (Score 1) 644

by tjstork (#45571021) Attached to: Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

In the sense that, if your country was so voluntarily willing to pitch in for health care, then you wouldn't need taxes to make it compulsory, would you? Just saying. As it is, there is at least a credible minority of people in Canada who are essentially slaves - they are working for something they don't want, and, you don't speak for them....

Comment: There's no direct benefits (Score 1) 644

by tjstork (#45570995) Attached to: Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

Let's cut to the chase and admit that the ACA is a moral argument. If there was a benefit to me, somehow, I'd have a check in the mailbox. There isn't one. The only reason that we put up with this federal slavery is to make a few people feel good about themselves, that, we're all pitching in for their causes because the people doing the most preaching don't really want to pay for their causes themselves.

The rest of us are just slaves to their dreams. No matter how good they are, they are still tyrants, and that must never be forgotten, and no man that preaches, should ever be trusted. Always remember that to make someone else's life better, government ruined yours.

Comment: There is no such thing as a social contract (Score 1) 634

by tjstork (#45188169) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

Let's just get that out on the table. There's no such thing as a social contract in the United States and nor should their be. I would rather have an aircraft carrier battle group and the F-35 than someone else, but the preferred answer is to have that money back in my pocket. I earned it. It's mine. Like, yeah, I do have some social obligation but its only to people who are likewise productive or were productive. The permanent underclass of Federal Pets, is, in fact, just Federal Pets, and they should have about as much rights as Fido the family dog has.

Comment: We need spies but big databases are no use. (Score 4, Interesting) 461

by Ckwop (#45115277) Attached to: Hillary Clinton: "We Need To Talk Sensibly About Spying"

The world is not a perfect place. The West does need spies and it does need an infrastructure to support them and gather intelligence.

However, we should remember who we actually need to be spying on. Nation states, failed states, and yes terrorist training camps and what not.

What we should not be engaging in is dragnet surveillance where everyone is entered in to some giant database. This is a really bad idea for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the databases are not really likely to be that useful. Prism didn't stop the Boston Marathon bombers. You might have every text, every phone call, every e-mail but if you can't spot the connections it doesn't help you.

Second, the massive database is a security risk in its own right. The NSA might think the Snowden leak is bad but it's child's play compared to what would happen if somebody leaks that database! You can bet your bottom dollar a shit-storm a 100% times the size would ensue. It might even threaten the agency's continued existence.

Third, the database could be hacked by a foreign governments. This in itself is a giant risk that dwarfs the one outlined in the second paragraph. China getting access to wiretaps on US businesses? Does no-one in the security community see what a giant hole they're making in the West's security?

This leads nicely to my fourth and final point. I do get the impression from the Snowden leaks that the competency of these organisations is being called in to question. It's clear they don't know what Snowden took; they don't know what he knows and what he doesn't. This is why he's catching them at so many lies. They make one statement, he leaks another document that shows them they're full of shit.

This final point is perhaps the most damning. They've built a giant system they can't audit! If they don't know what he took when he's just a fairly junior contractor, we have to assume other nation states have thoroughly penetrated the system and already stolen Western secrets!

They're clearly not competent enough to run such a system and it should be shut down on grounds of national security.

Comment: Re:Malice vs. Incompetence (Score 1) 479

by tjstork (#45114465) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

The downside of that approach is probably more damaging to innovation than not. Basically, the problem is thus. You want smart people to work at designs, but a smart person will figure out that all of that criticism is a pain in the rear and not even bother with it. With a world full of opportunity everywhere, there's no need to prop up for further old stuff when you have to go through mazes of judges to do so. It's just not worth it, and that's why Office and other things really haven't changed.

Comment: Service Economies are the future (Score 5, Interesting) 754

by Ckwop (#45071733) Attached to: Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner

On the Internet, people often moan about how Western countries "don't make anything any more." The idea being that our service economy is built on a house of cards and the only true economic generator is the making and selling of stuff.

My view is that manufacturing is a bad choice of focus for our economies. The direction of travel is clear: it is very clearly a race to an ever descending race to the bottom which will end with completely automated factories. This race started with the industrial revolution and it will accelerate during our life times. The jobs are slowly but surely being eliminated and it might even have happened sooner if China hadn't been able to provide so much cheap labour. Those jobs are simply not safe in the long term.

But even the Chinese are not safe. Eventually, they'll all be replaced by machines and when they are, it won't matter where those machines are located. The machines will re-locate closer to the consumers to shorten supply lines.

The message is stark: any job that is repetitive risks being replaced by a robot.

Perhaps the most interesting of these is automated driving. It promises to completely transform our world. It will transform logistics in much the same way as containerisation did to shipping. It will transform everything but just think of the number of jobs that will be eliminated!

Then there are threats like 3D printers which threaten to completely remake the world as we know it.

The only sensible way to weather the next 100 years is through developing products and service that can not be automated. These are things like law, software development, media etc. etc.

Producing stuff is quickly becoming unprofitable. Service economies are our only hope.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow