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Comment It's happened to me several times... (Score 1) 345

and with different banks, occasionally to the point where they forced me to get a new card (and change a zillion automated payments). I wouldn't mind so much if this actually worked, but none of these cases involved a specific fraudulent charge - it was just done because they thought there might be one later. The irony is that I keep seeing the occasional fraudulent charge that they miss. So as far as I can tell they're pretty close to 100% false positives, and probably not many legitimate blocks.

Comment More like inability to prioritize or be efficient (Score 3, Insightful) 203

Every time I've been exposed to the operational aspects of a government agency (and, unfortunately, most large non-profits and even some large corporations) I see things being done in a way that costs around five times as much as we would do it in small- to mid-scale private industry, and even at that expense level the quality of work is outright appalling. When you start working with the management of these organizations, they simply don't care about setting appropriate standards for what they can achieve on a certain budget and then squeezing things to make do with what they have. Quite the contrary, their incentives are structured around having as much budget as possible. So bloat is everywhere, and the response to any additional "needs" is to demand more money. This is an endless cycle - giving them more money will never achieve their goals, because that would harm management's careers.

Privatizing these functions is its own can of worms - it's often far cheaper (see: SpaceX vs. NASA), but still a long way away from excellent, and rife with corruption and politics (see: Military-Industrial Complex, Prison-Industrail Complex, etc).

If I really wanted to have the EPA catch these things the best method I can think of would be to offer bounties paid on caught cheaters. This creates incentives to check everything everywhere, and retains the incentives to maximize efficiency.

Comment Why is this even an issue? (Score 1) 57

There is a breathtaking amount of critical infrastructure that is very lightly protected on intranets if not outright exposed to the public Internet. There is simply no excuse for this. Even if things require, say, cellular monitoring it's very straightforward to use highly restricted VPNs or even MPLS over cellular (especially for an organization the size of most public utilities). The fact that this is even such a major issue is flat-out sad and stupid.

Submission + - Man Who Found Missing Dr Who Episodes Teases "More To Come" (bleedingcool.com)

BigBadBus writes: In late 2013, Philip Morris announced that he had found 9 missing episodes of 1960s Dr.Who, which completed the 1968 story "Enemy of the World" and most of "The Web of Fear." He has now gone on record to talk about the only episode of these stories that he didn't find — namely part 3 of "Web of Fear" and teases of more episode finds to come.

Misusing Ethernet To Kill Computer Infrastructure Dead 303

Some attacks on computers and networks are subtle; think Stuxnet. An anonymous reader writes with a report at Net Security of researcher Grigorios Fragkos's much more direct approach to compromising a network: zap the hardware from an unattended ethernet port with a jolt of electricity. Fragkos, noticing that many networks include links to scattered and unattended ethernet ports, started wondering whether those ports could be used to disrupt the active parts of the network. Turns out they can, and not just the ports they connect to directly: with some experimentation, he came up with a easily carried network zapping device powerful enough to send a spark to other attached devices, too, but not so powerful -- at least in his testing -- to set the building on fire. As he explains: I set up a network switch, and over a 5 meters Ethernet cable I connected an old working laptop. Over a 3 meters cable I connected a network HDD and over a 100 meters cable I connected my “deathray” device. I decided to switch on the device and apply current for exactly 2 seconds. The result was scary and interesting as well. The network switch was burned instantly with a little “tsaf” noise. There was also a buzzing noise coming from the devices plugged-in to the network switch, for a less than a second. There was a tiny flash from the network HDD and the laptop stopped working. It is not the cheapest thing in the world to test this, as it took all of my old hardware I had in my attic to run these experiments. I believe the threat from such a high-voltage attack against a computer infrastructure is real and should be dealt with.

France Tells Google To Remove "Right To Be Forgotten" Search Results Worldwide 381

An anonymous reader writes: France's data protection authority rejected Google's appeal to limit how a European privacy ruling may be applied worldwide. Since the European Court ruling last year Google has handled close to 320,000 requests, but only de-lists the links on European versions of its sites. "Contrary to what Google has stated, this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the C.N.I.L. to apply French law extraterritorially," the agency said in a statement.

Comment "Austerity." You keep using that word. (Score 3, Informative) 85

I do no think it means what you think it means. In governmental terms, it means "give us unlimited money so that we don't have to prioritize among the thousands of special interests begging and scraping for more cash."

In any other context it means that you are seriously lacking resources and have cut things to the bone. For you or me, it means we get rid of cable TV, the gym membership, take cheaper vacations, don't buy a new car, live in a smaller place, don't eat and drink out as often, etc.

Governments have a much, much different approach: they begin by exacting revenge on the unwashed masses that dare not give them every dime their hearts desire. They find popular things (especially parks and libraries) and immediately begin the slashing there. This is, of course, utterly petulant - these items aren't even rounding errors in the budgets and no real savings are made. In the US, we call it "Washington Monument Syndrome" - popular tourist destinations like the Washington Monument are shut down during budget battles for basically no reason other than a giant political temper tantrum. There still is, of course, plenty of money (billions! trillions!) for new fighter planes that don't work and imprisoning people for owning certain plants and giving people and corporations lifetime welfare benefits, etc.,etc., etc.

There is no "governmental austerity." Anybody who brings it up is playing Orwellian word games with you, and should have filthy socks shoved in their mouths (and possibly other body orifices) until they stop.

Submission + - U.K. researcher applies for permission to edit embryo genomes (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A researcher in London has applied to the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for a license to edit the genes of human embryos. Several techniques developed in recent years allow researchers to easily and accurately add, delete, or modify genes in cells. This has stirred debate about using genome editing in ways that would pass the changes on to future generations. The application filed with HFEA would involve only embryos in the lab, however, not any intended to lead to a birth. Many scientists say such lab experiments are crucial to understanding more about early human development, which could lead to new approaches to help infertile couples.

Comment Late-Breaking News: IT'S HAPPENING! (Score 5, Funny) 261

An emergency session of the Council, something not held in the better part of a yeernak, has just concluded.

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders, emerged from Council chambers, and addressed the planet thus:

"IT'S HAPPENING!" thundered the Speaker's voice across the frozen plains. "The first blueworlders came in their natural static form, sending stationary representatives to orbit our world and settle onto our plains. You said that if all they could do was remain in high orbit or dig a little trench that was so tiny that any freshly-hatched podling could cover it over in an afternoon, that the obese and sedentary blueworlers were mostly harmless."

"WE TRIED TO WARN YOU, BUT YOU DIDN'T LISTEN! Then came the mobile ones. Brave fighters for the Martian Defense Force have deflected a few of them into deep space, shot others down in fiery blazes of glory, but still the invaders came. Their mechanized terrors evolved rapidly in size and capability with every wave - the first a small short-lived rock-pushing prototype, the second two larger and armed with gelsac-shredding drills, which left a trail of destruction in their wake during yeernaks of struggle, and the latest one descended from a skyhook, powered by Pew-238, and armed with a fully operational photonic weapon system."

"And now - now, after our atmospheric scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of their hundred-yeernak small-scale test on their own world - we have their declaration of intent to use chain reactions of core annihilation to scour the snows and release so much carbdiox that they create a greenhouse effect here - in order to saturate our elegantly-dessicated sands with the toxic and corrosive dihidrox filth that now covers three quarters of their hot, blue, gellhole of a world. THIS IS THE FUTURE YOU CHOSE!"

"BUT YOU CAN STOP IT, PODMATES! All it takes, all it takes, podmates, is an investment in advancing the tribalism of the organic self-replicators that tend to the blueworlders. The Blueworlder Social and Physical Sciences Committee reports that the self-replicators are flawed, critically so, and tend to devolve into tribal groups prone to infighting, primitive displays of aggression, and intertribal warfare. The only flag their mechanized monsters shall raise will be our own red flags, and they will raise our flag over their own world, hoisted by their own proverbial petards. REJOICE, PODMATES! WE SHALL BURY THEM!"

When a junior analyst reminded K'Breel that maybe the real threat was the self-replicators, and that the creatures the Council had spent a full 30% of the planetary budget fighting, were not, in fact, the primary threat -- that their rapid evolution was actually the result of the controlled and directed guidance of thousands of organic minds working in concert -- and that his report, "Organic Blueworlders Determined to Strike in Homeland" had been summarily ignored, K'Breel had the reporter's gelsacs nailed to two small white rectangular posts and promptly incinerated in carbohydrox fires. Slithering back to the Council chambers as the posts smoldered in the background, the Speaker was heard to mutter "As if a small group of thoughtful, committed organics could change the fate of the world for the better or the worse; as if it ever has..."

Submission + - First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Stops After DHS Email (propublica.org)

An anonymous reader writes: First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort (Tor) Stops After DHS Email

"A library in a small New Hampshire town started to help Internet users around the world surf anonymously using Tor. Until the Department of Homeland Security raised a red flag."


Comment Congress is irrational!!! (Score 0) 62

Because they don't do what we want!!! Therefore.... Conspiracy!!!1!!!11!!!!1!!!!!eleven!!!!

Do these people pay attention to literally anything else? I have no idea whether they're right, wrong, or whatever, but if they are right then Occam's razor would suggest lobbyists and stupidity, in that order.

1: No code table for op: ++post