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Comment: Re:Eh (Score 1) 123

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48185043) Attached to: The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut
At this point, I'd be tempted to make any would-be astronaut pass the 'n months in standby and hard vacuum before the signal from mission control wakes you up' test, because Our Robot Overlords have gotten considerably better; but it'd be no worse, and possibly better, than the John Glenn launch a few years back.

Comment: Re:That's absurd, aim your hate cannon elsewhere. (Score 2) 237

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48183517) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

People love to hate Apple. It's a thing. Also, is there any evidence this data is not anonymised by Apple?

'Anonymised' is mostly a weasel word. It isn't always impossible; but the more interesting the dataset is, the more likely it is that there's a clever re-identification attack with good odds of success. If you are serious about preventing those, you tend to have to nuke the data so hard that they aren't of much interest anymore.

Unless robustly demonstrated to the contrary, it's an essentially worthless claim.

Comment: Re:Overly broad? (Score 2) 317

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48182003) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres
I'd go with 'no' and 'no'. Yes, the end goal is to discover the cause, the mechanism, and the effect as precisely as possible; but the universe of possibilities is absurdly gigantic, easily larger than you could ever afford to study.

So what do you do? You start by trying to cut the search space into more manageable chunks with this sort of study, which doesn't provide the level of precision you ultimately want; but can (relatively) cheaply and easily provide some leads on what is worth looking at in greater detail and what isn't.

Comment: Re:FOSS (Score 1) 183

Next up, after negative user response, ChromeOS to publish full source code and become free user-respecting software.

ChromeOS tends to ship on Tivoized hardware, which isn't exactly Gnu-Freedom; but, in terms of the software on top of the bootloader, what are the deficiencies? I know it ships a proprietary Flash, and whatever bullshit makes Netflix work; but is there anything else?

Comment: Re:Designed in US, Built in EU, Filled in Iraq (Score 2) 376

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48154589) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq
If memory serves, the tricky bit was that any evidence we had based on receipts or equivalent, either ours or those of other Good Guys, would be both embarassing and largely obsolete; since the Iran/Iraq war was not exactly a moral triumph on our part, and it long enough past that any remaining munitions would be hazmat but close to useless for military purposes. Evidence of anything more recent, though, was hampered by being almost entirely bullshit.

Comment: Incidentally... (Score 1) 212

I can definitely appreciate the value of some skills that fall under 'coding', some logic, thinking about breaking down problems in a rigorous way, gaining the ability to make a computer do boring stuff programmatically rather than one-by-one by hand.

However, my understanding(both in personal experience and from what I've read on the subject) is that actually-good, especially actually-really-scary-good, programmers have to be born and then polished, and that just throwing more practice at the unsuited doesn't actually improve them as much as you'd hope.

Is the theory that current education, lacking in CS, is failing to identify promising candidates? That we should be ensuring more suitable people go into CS rather than other areas that require similar talents? That the world really needs more rote-learned java monkeys to keep wages safely low?

Comment: Re:Systems perpetuate themselves (Score 1) 227

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48138955) Attached to: Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

birth control is escapist fantasy.

Tell that to basically anywhere in the first world... Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, countries seem to go through a generation or two where modern sanitation and medicine have kicked in; but modern prophylaxis hasn't, which goes really badly; but once you get past that, results have been excellent the world over.

Comment: Re:I wonder how much we can trust it (Score 5, Informative) 68

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48138943) Attached to: Tiny Wireless Device Offers Tor Anonymity

Making Tor dead simple to use is great, but this is such a nice device for three-letter agencies to target inserting a backdoor into.

While that is a possibility(albeit one that could theoretically be ameliorated, barring hardware-level backdoors, by 'here's how to build Tor from mainline and replace our firmware' documentation), I'd be more worried about the fact that Tor isn't dead simple.

The project itself has a list of handy warnings concerning What Not To Do on Tor and expect the anonymity to keep working, even assuming there are no unknown attacks and vulnerabilities at play. Tor has no magical ability to scrub dangerously identifying information from the assorted dumb, lazy, or just plain user-hostile chatter generated by various programs on your computer. It also, as a necessary side effect of its design, exposes some traffic to the exit node, which requires that you be careful about SSL/TLS for anything that the exit node shouldn't see.

That's what makes me nervous about the projects(hardware or software, boxes like this or Android VPN plugins, or whatever) that make it dead easy to route all traffic through Tor. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, that probably isn't what you want. Your day-to-day OS is very likely to be far too dangerously chatty(which means that you really shouldn't use it at all, unless booted to a liveCD; with the Tor browser bundle, that passes only traffic from the Tor browser as a distant second best); but you definitely shouldn't just plug it into the magic Tor box. Some applications you just don't want going through Tor at all. If the traffic is intrinsically personally identifying the best case is that you'll gain nothing and the worst case is that you'll be less secure than you were.

Things that keep people from running the browser bundle on their poxed XP machines and expecting anonymity are good; but Tor simply isn't easy to use, even if it is made easy to set up, and that can bite you in the ass.

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken

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