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Comment: Re:Is it too much to ask... (Score 1) 135

Is is too much to ask that we could have some comments from posters who are interested in, you know, math and science?

I'm sure many of us are interested, but seriously out of our depth on the topic -- I don't even know what stupid questions to ask first without sounding even more stupid. :-P

I have no idea of what this actually means in terms of anything practical.

Here I was getting ready to dredge up all that symmetry and topology that got drilled in to me in grad school.

By all means, bust it out .. because the whinging about "soccer v football" are kind of boring, and I'd love to know what this actually implies to chemists. But since the extent of my chemistry background is from Grade 11, and since that was a very long time ago, this is a little out of my grasp.

Comment: Re:And another question (Score 1) 135

Jesus fuck. That's your go-to amazing moment for soccer? Don't waste your time watching the video, kids. The dude kicks the ball from a moderate distance at moderate speed and it goes into the net.

On behalf of those of us who didn't do so well in gym class ... that would be somewhat amazing. Even if the net was empty. ;-)

Comment: And that means? (Score 1) 135

But here's question that has been puzzling chemists, topologists fans: is there a molecular analogue of the Brazuca?

OK ... so mathematicians proved you could have molecules with a symmetry similar to a new fangled soccer ball.

Is this good? Is it not good? Is it useful in any way? Or it this purely an intellectual exercise?

I'm afraid I don't grok chemistry with fullness, so I don't know if different symmetries give us different materials, or prettier chemicals.

I know shape usually defines the other kinds of bonds it can make, but I have no idea if this specific thing is of any benefit to anybody.

Can anybody give a lay summary for what the practical applications of this tidbit of knowledge actually are? Because I've got nothing solid here.

Comment: Re:So SSL is nothing more than an honor system? (Score 1) 100

by gstoddart (#47425413) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates

Uh, some of the earliest encryption algorithms ever created are immune to MITM.

Yes, and they were built for communications between two parties, who knew they'd be communicating, and could exchange keys in advance.

Now, tell me one which is applicable to the problem of a large number of potential users, all unknown up front, and coming from random devices.

The problem with modern public key encryption (and its strength as well) is that you don't need to pre-exchange keys. But this opens you up to MITM attacks.

Key exchange is hard. Managing all of those keys is really hard. You think a bank can maintain a list (and keep it secure) of the private keys of every individual customer?

The thing which holds the keys (and every vendor you deal with would have a separate copy) then becomes the next attack vector.

I think the generalized problem of establishing, trust, and a secure exchange of keys, is far harder and more complex in a world where you deal with lots of entities, who deal with lots of entities. This isn't things your average person are going to be willing to spend hours doing.

Comment: Is that really worth it? (Score 1) 69

by gstoddart (#47424953) Attached to: Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

With $10,000 on the line, it'll be interesting to see if anyone manages to crack the code.

OK, so they have a $10K prize.

Now, purely to play devil's advocate -- if someone manages to exploit the system and doesn't tell anybody, is there more to be gained by that?

Even if it's just maliciously 'bricking' these cars, it seems like this incentive isn't as much as some other activities could be.

Hell, you could probably ransom people's cars back to them for more than that.

Comment: Re:Turing test not passed. (Score 1) 265

by gstoddart (#47424927) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

That's because they keep shifting the goalposts.

This isn't "shifting" the goal posts. This is trying to actually come up with a meaningful metric for computer intelligence.

And the test which everyone was up in arms about was definitely not an indicator of computer intelligence, but narrowly defining the test in such a way as to make it look like they'd achieved it.

Their test was Can a computer program pretending to be a child speaking it's non-native language fool people, but it sure as hell wasn't a valid measure of how well we're doing with machine intelligence.

Comment: Re:All about trust (Score 1) 100

by gstoddart (#47424117) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates

Yes actually, I do expect there to be some sympathy. Because everyone bitches when the NSA does it.

I don't disagree with you, but the hypocrisy of "but that's the job of the NSA" that I hear when someone points this out is maddening.

This was clearly wrong, they targeted another country's corporation, and one that has a huge impact on the Internet, worldwide.

And one which was doing business in their country. Like it or not, Google in India is subject to India's laws.

How many corporations and people in foreign countries have been targeted by the NSA? How many people think that is wrong?

There are an alarming number of people who basically say it's OK when the NSA does it, because that's their mandate.

It's only fair that you either get to protest when every and any country pulls something like this, or not at all.

Oh, I agree, and I disagree with the practice in general. But, as I said, it's appalling just how many Americans keep saying "it's fine when we do it, it's wrong when you do it".

I'm just reminding people of the apparent double standard which gets applied here and in the news.

Me, I think for a country to decide that their laws/desires trumps the rights of people in other countries, you lose some credibility when someone does the exact same thing to you.

Comment: Re:So SSL is nothing more than an honor system? (Score 2) 100

by gstoddart (#47423613) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates

So SSL is nothing more than an honor system?

This is nothing new.

And, let's face it, I bet the NSA et al have demanded more private keys be handed over to them than you'll ever know about. Where's your outrage over that?

The five eyes all use each other to spy on their own (and others) citizens, and share the information among themselves. Where's your outrage over that?

I see this as a symptom of a greater problem, but no different from what a bunch of other countries are already doing.

Until someone creates a new encryption system which isn't susceptible to MITM attacks, this will always be the case. And governments will always unashamedly insist on spying on their people, and anybody else they can find.

Comment: Re:All about trust (Score 4, Insightful) 100

by gstoddart (#47423573) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates

So how much money or jail time for Fraud and Impersonation? Oh right, it's ok when a government does it. And you can't complain to Uncle Sam as that would disrupt your business in that country.

And, really, if the US is saying it's their right to tap into anything they want to ... how is it different when India does it?

India already forced BlackBerry to allow them to access BBM and the like.

Uncle Sam is causing as much disruption to US businesses abroad as anything, because people are realizing that American companies are effectively just extensions of the US spy apparatus -- because the PATRIOT act means they can demand whatever data they have, and you more or less have to assume they're doing it and being prevented from telling you.

Which means Indians are already being spied on by (at least) their own government AND the USA.

Do you expect there to be sympathy for an American company when a foreign government taps into them? Because I hear an awful lot of people saying they think it's perfectly OK when the US does it to foreigners.

Comment: Re:What about the bankers? (Score 1) 117

by gstoddart (#47423455) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Listening to an investment banker on the floor screaming "dont taze me bro" would pretty much make every single person on the planet smile at the same time. It would cause world peace and make cold fusion work.

Sounds like an awesome idea for a Kick Starter campaign.

Surely it would do almost as well as potato salad.

Doing the same to the people in charge of the NSA would also be awesome.

Comment: Re:Life on Mars? (Score 1) 260

When you talk about "we" have to leave the earth, I assume you are talking about a handful of lucky few. We're not going to save the billions of sick and dirt poor bastards, right ?

That is one of the many reasons I'm skeptical.

Because I can't imagine most people are going to lift a finger to help build the escape module for a bunch of rich assholes. :-P

I was merely listing the reasons why "we" might seriously be considering leaving Earth. I do not actually expect it to happen.

Comment: Re:Life on Mars? (Score 1) 260

by gstoddart (#47421389) Attached to: Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

I can't think of any good reason to do it other than the coolness factor.

I think the implicit assumption is one of: we're going to completely fsck up this planet and have to leave, something else is going to threaten to fsck up this planet (and we'll have to leave), or we're going to outgrow and want to be elsewhere.

Do I think it likely we could pull it off (or even have the resources)? That I'm skeptical of.

Comment: One simple rule ... (Score 1) 349

by gstoddart (#47418103) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

When I see something which says "In 15 years the world will be like this", I think "My, what drivel", and move on.

From what I've seen in my lifetime, futurists and prognosticators are usually dead wrong, clueless, and writing little more than fiction.

It offers a sobering conclusion: We might be able to pull it off. But it will take an overhaul of the way we use energy, and a huge investment in the development and deployment of new energy technologies. Significantly, it calls for an entirely different approach to international diplomacy on the issue of how to combat climate change.

In other words, it will require the impossible, need huge sums of money, depend on a level of consensus and cooperation unlikely to happen, and a near complete re-tooling of societies.

Blah blah blah.

This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.