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Comment: Re:You don't say... (Score 5, Insightful) 606

by grcumb (#49220069) Attached to: YouTube Video of Racist Chant Results In Fraternity Closure

On the other hand, EVERY area on earth with a predominately black population is a poor violent ghetto.

In the Jamaican neighbourhoods in Toronto to Haitian enclaves in Montreal, the greatest danger you face is burning your tongue on some jerk chicken. In the Muslim banlieues in Paris, you're no more likely to face violence than anywhere else. In most of Africa—the vast majority of the 'black' world—you're safer than in any American city.

I live in a town that's 95% black. I don't even close the windows or lock the doors on my car at night. I can walk away from my bag containing $10K in photographic gear, and not even turn my head. The only thing I get tired of is people's friendliness and desire to chat all the time. True story: A young man stole a tourist's hand bag a while ago. The story made the front page of the newspaper. That's how rare crime is here.

In fact, you can pretty much trace violence in black American (North, Central and South) communities to the legacy of the slave trade, to racial inequality that has led to economic inequality and chronic injustice. There's a strong correlation there. In countries such as Brasil, where the economic inequality was not necessarily race-based, you find more equal-opportunity crime and predation. In Mexico and elsewhere, you find the problems exist primarily where indigenous people are clustered.

TL;DR: You don't have a clue what you're talking about, you ignorant fuckwit. Wilful ignorance such as yours only perpetuates the problem.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 517

by grcumb (#49186355) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Sez you.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to repeat this several times to different people: Elsewhere in this topic I've posted the actual language of the bill. Given what it really says, these scenarios are completely unrealistic stretches of the imagination.

Once again: Sez you.

Perhaps you could explain why you think that these scenarios are not likely to happen? I think that the language of the Bill is pretty much designed to stop the application of the Precautionary Principle as a method of environmental protection. By insisting on measurability and replicability of results as the only means of determining policy, you're pretty much throwing any preventive approaches away.

Given the time it's taken in the past to get measures such as, for example, the moratorium on the use of CFCs in consumer goods into place, why would you support anything that makes this task even more difficult and, as others have pointed out, creates an additional burden on the Agency while at the same time limiting its budget to a mere pittance for the actual implementation?

This is a subversive piece of legislation wrapped up in obsequious language. It's disingenuous in the extreme, designed to incapacitate a key agency. And I'm saddened that someone like you, who is otherwise very intelligent, can't see the problem.

Comment: Re:What I find unbelievable... (Score 1) 129

by grcumb (#49185749) Attached to: New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

Have you failed to see how often a preferred ally of the US, suddenly becomes a distant ally, than a country of concern and finally a supporter of terrorism, as they refuse to obey US government dictates.

No, I agree that this would be a concern to some nations. But as I said, based on what I've seen—and that includes anecdotes from some people directly involved in policy making—this particular fear just doesn't come into it. There is such care taken to please the US that Australia often offers more than is necessary to secure a deal.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 2) 517

by grcumb (#49185699) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Just as Morganstein says, simply stripping names is not always enough to de-personalize data. But other methods are easily available.

This is a non-issue.

Sez you.

Scenario: Scientific study of infant mortality and birth defect rates in a specific neighbourhood (e.g. Love Canal) is used to justify an EPA order shutting down a major manufacturing facility until such time as it ceases to pollute. The data correlates proximity to pollution sources with health data. Using the now-publicly-available data, the manufacturer identifies every family likely to be involved in a class action suit, applies divide-and-conquer techniques. Lobbyists for the industry hire a quack medical expert who claims the results can't be reliably reproduced. Insurance companies refuse to pay out because they think they can lay the blame on the manufacturer. The company, meanwhile, continues polluting, possibly forever.

Scenario: Scientific study of environmental effects of Chemical A are troubling, but inconclusive. The EPA issues a ruling applying the Precautionary Principle, stopping use of Chemical A until further studies have been completed. Industry lobbyists challenge the ruling, stating that the science is neither well-established nor reproducible. Chemical A is put into widespread use. Further study determines the fears were justified, but it's too late—hundreds or thousands of people are already suffering adverse effects.

Comment: Re:What I find unbelievable... (Score 2) 129

by grcumb (#49185243) Attached to: New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

You seriously think Australia politicians want to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership and abandon their constitution to US corporate dictates and as a consequence lose any chance of ever being elected again but if they are corrupt enough they will and the consequences for US Australia relations will be awful.

Having seen what I've seen of Australian politics, and based on the observations of some who have been in the room, so to speak, yes, I do believe that they lose all reason when it comes to pleasing the US.

Comment: Re:What I find unbelievable... (Score 4, Insightful) 129

by grcumb (#49183919) Attached to: New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

But the Snowden papers show that counter-terrorism is at most a minor part of the GCSB's operations. Most projects are assisting the US and allies to gather political and economic intelligence country-by-country around the world.

That's what is going to give this story legs. If it's proven that the information was used to affect domestic policy or international relations, or if there's strong evidence that it was used to exert economic leverage over Pacific island nations, then New Zealand's credibility in the neighbourhood drops drastically.

In years past, a lot of the voice and data traffic in the South Pacific was handled by a company named Pacific Teleports. They resold bandwidth on an Intelsat bird. The ham-fisted monitoring there was almost a joke. You could actually see an additional 80-100 ms lag introduced at the exact point where the traffic left their earth station in Australia and entered the terrestrial networks there. SSL sessions would break continually.

But people more or less expected this kind of behaviour from Australia. They've never really thought of the Pacific islands region as anything more than an undeclared territory, and ever since George W. Bush appointed Australia the 'sheriff' (his word) in the region, they've been even more ham-fisted in their approach.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has always portrayed itself as a Pacific island country, perhaps the first among equals, but a peer to its neighbours. Its aid programme was more engaged, and it welcomed Polynesians and Melanesians much more warmly than Australia. The difference is similar to the difference between the USA and Canada. Now, imagine Canada being revealed as the primary source of intelligence gathering in the Caribbean.

Australia has always been somewhat brazen in its attempts to influence events in the Pacific islands. New Zealand, in contrast, has (until now) appeared to be the more reasonable of the two. If that changes, then it has the potential to drive these strategically important nations closer to China. I'm not suggesting it would be 1941 all over again, but if it ever came to that, you'd think Australia and NZ would want friends on the islands here, rather than strangers.

Comment: Re:Hashes not useful (Score 1) 324

by grcumb (#49159859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Seagate is correct. Putting a hash on the website doesn't improve security at all because anyone who can change the download can also change the web page containing the hash.

Perhaps, but the change would be kind of visible. It would be trivially easy to require concurrent events to be associated with the key change, e.g. have an SVP send an email stating, 'I confirm the new hash key is $FOO' to half a dozen senior technical employees. The odds of all of them being compromised is vanishingly small.

A tool to verify the firmware is poetically impossible to write.

Writing phonetically for meter:

foreach dollar testkey in foo{
while input is not empty { do {
test result equals (hash lookup in sequel)
if (test result's good) return true;

Comment: Re:Payment Gateway Access is No Accident (Score 2) 57

by grcumb (#49107623) Attached to: Iran Allows VPNs To Make Millions In Profit

But merely purchasing a VPN is no proof of illegal behavior.

Yes, yes it is. The very first sentence of the summary says so. I think you win some sort of /. prize for ignoring even that.

Spoiler alert: The story is set in Iran. Turns out the bad guys are actually helping people get around their own laws because they get rich doing it.

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 2) 183

by grcumb (#49102547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

All laws should be in a central repository, unique and complete for each jurisdiction.

They are, pretty much everywhere else in the World. It's ironic that the Legal Information Institute, the first attempt to collect legal materials online, is based at Cornell, but it's severely limited in what it can publish, because most jurisdictions can't or won't agree with the idea that cases, legislation and regulation should be freely available to anyone, any time. Free access to law is considered by some to be a basic right. But not in the USA.

Elsewhere, we have thriving online legal resources, including CanLII, AustLII, SAFLII, WorldLII, CommonLII, AsianLII. And my own favourite, because I worked on it for a few years, the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute. Ironic, isn't it, that Fiji and Solomon Islands should have easier access to their own laws and judgments than that shining city atop the hill?

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 1) 183

by grcumb (#49102489) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

Federal judges are usually appointed for life.

No, that's a common misconception. According to the Constitution, Federal judges "... shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour..." There's absolutely nothing in there about the appointments being for life.

Practically speaking, 'during Good Behaviour' means, 'You can't fire this person for any reason but malfeasance.' In other words, there is no term of employment. In other words, it's an appointment for life.

Comment: Re:errr. huh? (Score 1) 532

by grcumb (#49097257) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

Non-aggression also implies a courage that even some of the people who practice it don't understand. In the end, you have to be willing to accept that you can't make an attack to proactively stop a terrible outcome that you know is going to happen.

This is where I think a lot of people have misinterpreted Hawking's point, and the nature of the problem itself. Not indulging in aggressive behaviour doesn't imply passivity. 'Turn the other cheek' doesn't mean what a lot of people think it means. It actually means that making the aggression obvious and one-sided (by making sure that everyone sees the second shot) ensures that the problem becomes obvious and usually gives rise to social opprobrium.

As I'm sure a smart man in a wheelchair would know, there are a ton of other options available to a resourceful person to keep someone else's aggressive behaviour in check. A lot of it has to do with making it clear that there's nothing to be gained (and sometimes, a lot to be lost) from indulging in chest-thumping etc. Historically, 90+% of politics has actually consisted of finding ways not to resort to blows while still getting one's way. (And yes, recent American politics is illustrative—in the negative—because it shows us what happens when people subvert the political process.)

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.