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Comment: Re:Repercussions? (Score 1) 99

by shaitand (#47427839) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates
Seriously? How hard is it to put the actual root certificate on an offline internal network? You have to actually have a human being move a thumb drive between two machines to generate a cert. OMG, the horror! It's india for god sake, don't tell me they can't afford all that manual labor.

Comment: Re:Yay big government! (Score 1) 181

" taxes are the only practical weapon the common voter has against government overreach, and the Constitution was written with this fundamental truth firmly in mind."

Hardly, the common man was given zero authority with regard to taxes in the constitution. The constitution gave that power to congress. The constitution wasn't written to empower the common man, the constitution derives it's power from the people. It's government that was empowered by the constitution.

The Constitution left almost all authority in the hands of the people. Ever since it was signed, the government it empowered has been working on changing that and it's been very very successful. The biggest example is the people's only explicitly stated and protected power in the form of a jury and jury nullification. The government could write laws all day long and if it couldn't convince 12 people in your community that what you did was actually wrong (regardless of any "law" it violated) that jury has the power to find you "not guilty."

How about we start focusing on taking away the governments ability to punish without a criminal convinction (no more government issued CIVIL punishments) and the courts decision that not only do they not need to tell a jury about their right to nullify unjust laws and their application on a case by case basis but that they can actually LIE to juries. Juries are the people's check on all three branches, including the judicial. It is not the place of the judicial to limit their authority!

Comment: Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (Score 1) 181

the Constitution is a blacklist of things government is not allowed to do, not a whitelist of things Citizens ARE allowed to do.

I get your sentiment, and support it, but I must quibble on a minor point: The main body of the Constitution is a whitelist of duties the government is charged with, and the means for doing so. The first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights, is a blacklist of things the government is forbidden from doing without a constitutional amendment. The 9th and 10th amendments specify that the Bill of Rights, being a blacklist, is not to be interpreted as a whitelist of citizen rights.

Comment: Re:To what end? (Score 1) 101

by Arker (#47427281) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart
"My impression, also from German newspapers etc., is that most germans including politicians are truely mad and are seriously considering to cool down relations with the USA."

As they should be, frankly the reaction seems inexplicably mild.

Can you imagine the reaction if the shoe was on the other foot? If this was a BD spy caught infiltrating the CIA?

A 'cool down' in relations would be a serious understatement.

Comment: Re:Yay big government! (Score 2) 181

The only defense is to give them just barely enough resources to do their job, ... It's all about taxes ... there are but a handful of congresscritters who actually are for less government spending,

Are you unhappy with taxes or with budget allocation? The first and third part above are about budget allocation, which, unfortunately, has very little to do with taxation. The middle part is about taxes, which, unfortunately, have very little to do with budget allocation.

I favor reducing spending and increasing taxes. That is because I am a fiscal conservative and we are currently running a wildly excessive deficit. I believe in running a balanced budget except during exceptional economic downturns, in which a short-term deficit is fiscally prudent for the long-term outcome, and in times of plenty, when a short term surplus prepares our larder for the next downturn.

Conflating reductions in spending with reductions in taxation is a premeditated psychological manipulation tactic. There are bad people out there who want to maximize their personal short-term outcome by cranking up the deficit and damn the consequences to the economy. Those people are not helpful to America. Do not fall victim to the false equivalence of taxation and spending.

Comment: Re: haven't we learned from the last 25 exploits? (Score 1) 68

by Arker (#47426261) Attached to: 'Rosetta Flash' Attack Leverages JSONP Callbacks To Steal Credentials
"Over the years, I've done a lot of work with games and simulations for training."

OK. That really doesnt have anything to do with the web, however. Sure, the web can be used to deliver the project - that doesnt mean it has to actually run inside the browser. There is a HUGE difference.

"We could not have produced this educational game with just HTML."

I get where you are coming from but I still think it's far off the mark. The web is not a game platform, that is not it's purpose, so 'we could not do games this way' is not a very telling criticism.

You can use better tools to make the games, and use the web merely to deliver the game. Where is the problem with that?

It would NOT be slower, clunkier, or more prone to error. It could be done using exactly the same technologies in virtually exactly the same way - the only difference would be very slightly less easy to get it started, and in return for that, your browser is no longer a malware vector.

Or, it could be done using technologies better suited for the purpose, in which case I would expect the results to be less clunky, faster, and more stable - but the development process would be more expensive as well.

I get why you would want to use RAD to lower costs, just not why you see the tiny convenience of running in the browser automatically as worth the cost of turning the web into a malware distribution network.

Comment: When Banks Were Able to Print Their Own Money (Score 1) 115

by westlake (#47424697) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

The Constitution does not say this. It states that the Federal Goverment can issue and regulate money but not that it has a moneopoly. In fact, for the majority of US history private money was very common. i.e. Bank notes issued by private banks.

with predictably disastrous results:

There were significant problems with this system, in which money often wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. In theory, a bank note derived its value from its ability to be redeemed for gold or silver at the issuing bank, but what banks could live up to that promise? Those that were poorly capitalized went to great lengths to ensure that their notes weren't redeemed. For example, the Union Bank of Tennessee issued notes only redeemable in New Orleans.

In this unpredictable environment, spending a dollar required some serious thinking. A wallet might have three, five or a dozen different bank notes -- a bull's head staring back at you from a Bull's Head Bank note, or a Marine Bank bill illustrated with ships -- not to mention foreign coins from around the world and personal checks, which also circulated as money. Most bank notes traded at a discount based on the reputation of the bank and how far the note was from where it originated.

A shop owner had even more variables to consider. When a consumer opened his wallet to pay, the proprietor turned to his local edition of ''Bicknellâ(TM)s Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note Reporter,'' or to ''Van Court's Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note List.''

Thumbing through a counterfeit detector, the store owner would try to assess the value of the bank notes at hand. He took a hard look at the person handing over the bills, judging value based on the person's race, class, dress, comportment and reputation.

Counterfeiters exploited this feature of the system, and passed themselves in addition to their notes, dressing and acting as proper ladies and gentlemen. And with so many bank notes from so many banks, counterfeiters flourished. Some simply invented whole banks. Others erased the name of a failed bank and replaced it with that of a reputable one.

Of course, as 19th-century observers frequently noted, a poorly capitalized bank that printed notes it couldn't redeem was, in the end, little different from a counterfeiting operation.

When Banks Were Able to Print Their Own Money, Literally

Comment: Re:Forget reading, GET AN IMPLANT! (Score 1) 83

by shaitand (#47424627) Attached to: A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory
"The only reason prosthetics cost a crapload (sometimes upwards of $100,000) is because each one has to be manufactured specifically to match its intended recipient."

That is a factor but not the biggest one. It's about demand. In the US we have a so called medical "free market" so the cost is as much as the market will allow. So, if you are missing a leg, how much is a prosthetic worth to you? You'll find that unlike with say, a stick of gum, the answer will vary dramatically with the key differentiators being how much the person has and whether they have loved ones they must care for who they value more than themselves. Now, abstract that cost from real people and put it on collectives with billions of dollars to spend (insurance companies) and why wouldn't you charge six figures for a prosthetic?

For $100,000 there are thousands of people who could engineer a prosthetic that can be customized with just a few hours labor. So the $100,000 cost is spread among all of them and the customization part amounts to a few bucks in plastic and under $1000 labor and that is at doctor labor prices and not lab tech prices.

But these products require FDA approval. So that is going to cost another $250k. Which is great for you if you have that money. It means that you get legal immunity at the end. It means little to no competition. It means you won't have to worry about actually improving your device anytime soon. It means you can charge ridiculous prices which are easy to justify, you can point to the need for FDA approval, you can point to the importance of making the device safe for medical use, etc. People will pay anything they can afford and since the bill goes to the insurance company, people will sign off on literally any figure. So it's really just a question of charging as much as the insurance company can afford.

The prosthetics end up costing the manufacturer maybe $2000 customized in the end with everything included and that figure goes down over time but they keep on charging $100,000 a pop because they can.

Comment: Article 1 Section 10 (Score 1) 115

by westlake (#47424457) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Now if you can tell me where in that line it says that ONLY congress is able to make money I will bow down to your constitutional knowledge.

Fair enough.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

You can. of course, use foreign currencies to make ordinary purchases in the US, but no one is obliged to accept them, and you will likely be surcharged over and above the exchange rate posted at a bank.

Comment: Re:A legend of OS design (Score 4, Interesting) 110

by MightyMartian (#47424441) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

Minix was really the first of its kind; a Unix-like OS that you could run on cheap (relatively speaking at the time) commodity hardware and that you could get the source code for. A lot of the computing we take for granted now comes from Tanenbaum's work.

My first Minix install was on a 386-SX with a whopping 4mb of RAM I borrowed from work back in the early 1990s. I quickly abandoned Minix for Linux once it came out, but for several years I had Minix running on an old 386 laptop just for fun.

Comment: Re:His epitaph in future years: (Score 4, Interesting) 110

by MightyMartian (#47424411) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

I really miss the good old days when technical debates were over the merits and faults of such simple things as different kinds of kernels, and not about whether or not every single thing you do online is being stacked into half a dozen nation's permanent data storage facilities.

The Linus vs. Tanenbaum dustup is from a simpler, more positive age.

Comment: Re:Turing test not passed. (Score 1) 262

by nine-times (#47424239) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

I think more to the point, at least as far as I understood it, the Turing test was not meant to be a real test for whether an AI was actually intelligent.

The point of the test was essentially this: If a machine becomes able to imitate intelligence well enough that we can't tell the difference, then we may as well treat it as actual intelligence. As much anything, Turing was making a philosophical point from a pragmatic point of view. It doesn't make sense to ask whether a machine is "actually intelligent", but only whether it's capable of behaving as though it has intelligence.

So it's not really about fooling a certain specific percentage of people, or having the test go on for a specific point of time. Those are just issues of how you might hypothetically conduct an actual test, but what you're testing for is whether the effects of the machine "intelligence" have reached a level of being indistinguishable from human intelligence.

So really, the point was to have something like a "blind taste test". You say you can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, but if I pour Coke and Pepsi into identically glasses, can you tell the difference? If not, then maybe you shouldn't express a preference. Similarly, if I can put a series of questions to a person and a computer, and no matter what questions I ask, I can't tell the human's responses from the computer's responses, then maybe we shouldn't think that the computer is less intelligent than the human.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 2) 115

by westlake (#47424013) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Of course, if you take cash from some people and then give it to other people, well then you must be a criminal.

If you know where you stand as middle man in a criminal transaction - such as a money laundering scheme - you most certainly are a criminal yourself.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin