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Comment: Re:More common, and possibly unconstitutional... (Score 1) 89

by steelfood (#47969199) Attached to: Before Using StingRays, Police Must Sign NDA With FBI

It's not just the calls. Text messages, e-mails, location data, IMEI number, heck even the make, model, and OS version of your phone gets captured by these things (probably--most likely).

In reality, it's not so different from what would be captured via a wiretap. All this does is circumvents the need for a warrant.

Comment: Apprentice Program Pays $550-A-Month (Score 1) 241

by steelfood (#47968873) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Just FYI, these types of things are more for the poly-sci majors out there, not for tech graduates. Unless you want to get into politics, which I doubt most tech people would or even could, this type of thing isn't for you.

Judge that however you will.

Comment: Re:Mark Zuckerberg is a liar. (Score 1) 241

by steelfood (#47968817) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

It cuts both ways. Most people in the industry jump after 2 years for better pay, or to a startup. How many people stay on for 5, 10 years? Why would you spend 50-100K training someone just so they can leave and work for your competitor or anyone else just because the pay's better? There's a reason besides cost savings that companies stopped training their employees and choose to incur the extra cost of getting more experienced individuals.

I mostly agree with GP (the AC, not GGP) in that, if you're good, you're always in demand, and can make a good living. Especially in this current market, there's no reason anyone who's good can't find a job other than that person isn't looking hard enough. If you're not that good, sorry, can't help you there. You should try to aim lower. Or shoot for something a little different. Now, you might not necessarily do as well as GP, but then again, you don't know what GP's qualifications actually are.

As a US citizen working a tech job, I don't see H1B's as competition. I do see offshoring as competition, but with respect to the tech sector, only for the menial and uninteresting jobs that I probably wouldn't do, or would quickly graduate from anyway. There'll always be cool stuff here, if you're good enough for it. I do blame the general state of the education system for producing poorly educated people with no understanding of fundamentals and little ability to think for themselves, but that's a completely separate and much bigger issue and IMHO, a conspiracy orchestrated by the people in power to kill the middle class. And if you agree with that last statement, then the solution is not to whine or rail against foreign talent, but to better yourself and if not possible, then sorry, that's life; suck it up and better your children instead.

Comment: Re:Stop using Facebook (Score 1) 241

by steelfood (#47968599) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Ok, so the whole stupid thing could've been an act, a ploy to get voter sympathy. But it's a well known fact that Cheney and Rove are both incredibly brilliant people, and there is plenty of evidence and testimony to point out that Cheney and Rove were behind a lot of the things Bush backed and the Bush administration as a whole did.

If Bush did not explicitly sign off on many of these things, at the very least, he was complacent and, not being in control of his own people, weak.

And I think considering all things, the latter is more likely than the former. And to be fair, you can say the same about Obama. Filling your ranks with 'yes men' who leech off your popularity on good days and point fingers on bad days is much the same as filling your ranks with people who ignore your presence and act of their own volition. Nothing good can come of it.

Comment: Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (Score 1) 503

by complete loony (#47942579) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police
I was basing that on some other stuff I've read before, I might have been wrong.;

To record a single bit by changing the state of a system requires an amount of energy no less than kT, where T is the absolute temperature of the system and k is the Boltzman constant. Given that k = 1.38 × 10^16 erg/K, and that the ambient temperature of the universe is 3.2 Kelvin, an ideal computer running at 3.2 K would consume 4.4 × 10^16 ergs every time it set or cleared a bit. To run a computer any colder than the cosmic background radiation would require extra energy to run a heat pump.

So 4.4 × 10^-23 Joules minimum per bit flip * minimum of 2^128 bit flips = 1.4 * 10^16 J. Though of course our current computers are far from ideal and it would take many bit flips to test each key. Unless someone has a better source for the energy cost of computation?

The mass of the oceans is about 1.4x10^21 kg. It takes about 4,000 J to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celcius, and thus about 400,000 J to heat 1 kg of water from freezing to boiling. The latent heat of vaporization adds another 2 million J/kg. Thus the energy required to boil the oceans is about 2.4x10^6 J/kg * 1.4x10^21 kg = 3.4x10^27 J

So an ideal computer might be able to count to 2^128 without boiling the oceans (doh). It would take a 10^11 increase in energy usage per bit before boiling the oceans was impossible to avoid.

Comment: Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (Score 1) 503

by complete loony (#47941371) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

That's the problem with exponential functions, the human brain is too easily tricked. Doubling the bit length of a key doesn't just make it twice as hard to break.

Over the past 40-ish years, we've transitioned from 8-bit computing to 16-bit, 32 and now 64 bit is common. We might need pointers bigger than 64-bits eventually, but we will never need a pointer bigger than 256-bits in length.

The same is true of encryption, for the same reasons. We measure the strength of a crypto system based on the number of keys we would need to attempt in a brute force search. Sometimes we find mathematical short-cuts that weaken a crypto system, reducing the number of keys we need to try. But if we can't do that, we need to test every value.

Counting through all possible values of a 128-bit number would use enough energy to raise the oceans to 100 decrees Celsius and then convert all of the water to steam. This is an amount of energy that we might be able to do harness one day, if we could be bothered. Counting through all values in a 256-bit number would require capturing all of the energy released by every star we can see.

Comment: Re:If you believe this (Score 4, Interesting) 126

by steelfood (#47940655) Attached to: Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

I know everybody talks about encryption, but the word itself is just the tip of security. What's the key size? What's the algorithm? What data is encrpyted? Is it even relevant to talk about local encryption with respect to metadata (which is just as if not more useful to the NSA than the actual data). What about backups? Is it a snapshot of the encrypted contents each time? Or does the backup use a different encryption key, and the data transferred securely? There are so many layers to security (including the user), the "encryption" buzzword is meaningless without full context.

My guess is, Google's not encrypting anything they're really interested in. They're probably not nearly as interested in your pictures or your contact list as say, Facebook. That's data they may currently collect, but ultimately throw away. They're probably more interested in the websites you go to, the links you used followed to get there, the links you followed from that site, the people you actually contact (text, chat, etc.), the geographical location of that person as well as your location, the date and times of your conversations, the contents of your conversations, etc. Local encryption does not apply to any of that data.

In fact, local encryption doesn't even matter much with regards to securing your phone's data. Your phone is probably leaking the encrypted data through one if not more applications. Facebook, Candy Crush, Twitter, etc. largely negate the effects of local encryption. The only thing it will do is keep your private information out of the hands of someone who picked up your lost phone and decided to keep it (or sell it).

Comment: Re:Worse than it seems. (Score 1) 221

by steelfood (#47934141) Attached to: Obama Presses Leaders To Speed Ebola Response

short of it going airborne which ... is extremely unlikely. And if it were already airborne, we'd all already have it.

To start, let's ignore the first part of your statement and focus on the second part. If the disease is airborne, we're looking at an immediate 60-75% reduction in the world's population within 3-6 months. It'd be very, very bad. This is where all the fearmongering is coming from.

Now, let's look at the first part. As far as we know, the virus has not evolved significantly since its first discovery in the 70's. The virus has also been observed to mutate fairly slowly. This is good news. In addition, there are several major hurdles for the virus to overcome in order to become airborne. This is very good news. These two things put together means that the chances of the second part of your statement happening are very, very low.

But really, we need more data. There are too many unknowns right now. We can't tell if the incubation period is trending upwards, or if the mortality rate is trending downards. We don't know if the infection vectors right now have changed in any meaningful way. We suspect not, and there are very good reasons for this. But quite frankly, if they have, then we're a step closer to getting into trouble.

Quite frankly, sending troops to Africa would be useless. Sending doctors might would be of limited use as well, giving sanitary conditions and the way many people treat doctors trying to stem the outbreak. But researchers and scientists, those may be beneficial in more ways than one. Have them go into every village, town, or other isolated population (e.g. each building in a large city) and get bloodwork from everyone. And if anyone in that population is infected, have the local military quarrantine the whole population. And then send the positive blood work back for analysis.

It's a bit cruel (the researchers would be letting entire villages get infected), but given the state of mistrust between the common people and officials trying to manage this outbreak, that'd probably happen anyway. This way, at least clean villages and population centers would likely remain clean. And we'd get some much-needed information on the virus that could be used either to combat the fearmongering, or prepare for civilization meltdown.

Actually, there are several treatments in various trial stages that seem to be effective. So even if the outbreak spreads significantly to the point where much of the world outside of western Africa becomes afflicted, there's a good chance we'd be ready to fight it. Chances are, we'd be looking at a week or two of lost productivity world wide, rather than a genetic bottleneck event.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter