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Comment: Re:Oh just stop already (Score 5, Insightful) 170

by hey! (#49164973) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Music, like sex, is a young person's affair. Just drop it after 40, nobody wants to hear it, and no one wants to think about it.

Hey kids! Old guy here dropping in just to let you know that contrary to what AC claims, you'll still like sex and music even when you're over fifty. You just won't be staying up late to enjoy them.

Since I'm here I might as well give you a heads up on some of the things that will change. On the sex front, expect your standards for what is "hot enough to do" to fall straight through the floor. I know this sounds awful to you now, but trust me on this, you've got hold of the wrong end of that stick.

On the music front, at a certain age most people stop being interested in listening anything new. However that age isn't 40; it's more like 22. And notice I said "most". If you make it to, say 26 years old and are still listening to new music, you'll still be doing that at 50.

And same goes for being a miserable person. I know the stereotype is that older people are miserable, but trust me, most miserable older people were miserable young people. They just let it out more, because as you get older you have fewer inhibitions (see the point about sex above).

Anyhow, thought I'd let you know that getting older isn't bad at all, and it sure as hell beats the alternative.

Comment: It's a little unseemly. (Score 1) 198

by hey! (#49164501) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

The sad loss of a beloved actor shouldn't be a springboard for fanboy hate of J.J. Abrams.

For what it's worth, I think the writers and the actors in the Abrams' movies really get Star Trek. Maybe not so much the director, whose lack of affection for the franchise shows. But even though the aesthetics may not be very Trek, the fundamental Trek ethos that Leonard Nimoy was so essential to establishing was there in the scripts and performances. And that ethos is still something worth studying.

We have managed to turn "diversity" into an hollow slogan; a catchphrase that represents a kind of bean counting of superficial categories. I remember one startup environmental organization I worked for where we had just hired a young man from Mexico City. The founder, an unquestionably brilliant man, was literally rubbing his hands together in glee as he toted up his diversity: one latino male, one asian male (me), one black (African) female, four caucasian females and three caucasian males. And I was thinking, "Yeah, but except for me everyone comes from the same graduate program in environmental studies you founded." What's more except for him and me they all came from the same comfortable middle to upper-middle class background -- people who never had to worry about money. Groupthink was a huge problem, but nobody else saw that until the day they suddenly realized they weren't going to be able to make payroll. Maybe a business major or two on the payroll would have been a good idea...

Star Trek shows a cast of characters who may all have gone to the same school, but think radically different from each other. Nonetheless they manage to work together and are better, more capable people because of that. That's what diversity is really about: working with people who have different viewpoints and attitudes.. Kirk and Spock are the the toughest nuts to crack, because they both have a tendency toward arrogant, even smug confidence in their own judgment. Trust me, you wouldn't want to work for either of these two characters if they didn't have each other.

Aristotle posited three levels of friendship, that of convenience, of pleasure, and of virtue. In the virtuous friendship, your friend is "a second self" -- that is you pursue his welfare as an intrinsic rather than an instrumental good, just as you pursue your own welfare. He valued virtuous friendship even above justice, because it holds society together in ways that even justice cannot. But he missed another point which the Kirk/Spock friendship illustrates: a friend is a doorway into a better appreciation of objective reality. You cannot dismiss the viewpoint of "second self" as easily as you would someone else's opinions.

So again from what it's worth the writers of the Abrams reboot movies really understand this virtuous friendship dynamic, and especially do a nice job with the humorous touches. The overall stories were a bit mediocre, but the character based stuff was top-notch and true to the spirit of TOS.

To bring this back to Leonard Nimoy, others deserve some credit in creating Spock -- the writers, directors and of course Gene Roddenberry. But Nimoy's performance is what brought Spock to life. It's one of those instances of theatrical magic where an actor becomes the character, and banishes any awareness that you're watching someone playing a role. That's a big part of what makes Spock so relatable.

Comment: Re:Bad move (Score 4, Insightful) 348

by hey! (#49161319) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It is seldom the veracity of facts that the debate is over; it is their significance. But that happens to be where this falls idea falls short, because misinterpretation of facts is where the most potent misinformation comes from.

Case in point, "vaccine injury" -- which is a real thing, albeit very rare. Anti-vaccine activists point to the growing volume of awards made by the US "Vaccine Court" (more accurately called "The Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims") as proof that vaccine injuries are on the rise.

It is a verifiable fact that the volume of awards has grown since the early years of the program. That is absolutely and unquestionably true. However, that this is proof vaccine injuries is gross misinterpretation, because the "Vaccine Court" program is no fault. You don't actually have to show the defendant *caused* an "injury", you only have to (a) show the child got sick after being vaccinated and (b) find a doctor to sign off on a medical theory by which the child's illness *might* have been caused by the vaccination.

Since you don't have to actually prove injury in "Vaccine Court", the rise in cases and awards doesn't know vaccine injuries are on the rise. All that is necessary is that more people think that their child's illness was caused by vaccinations, and the low burden of proof will automatically ensure more awards.

And so there you have it. A perfectly factual claim can be cited in a way that leads people to preposterous conclusions.

Comment: Re:Thrilling (Score 1) 22

by hey! (#49160063) Attached to: Spacewalking Astronauts Finish Extensive, Tricky Cable Job

Yeah, cause Mars Exploration Rover, GRAIL, Dawn, New Frontiers, Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Spitzer and Kepler telescopes, all those things are boring science. Only nerds find things like discovering Earthlike exoplanets or determining the origin of the Moon thrilling. They should get their own news site so the rest of us don't have listen to stuff that only matters to them.

Comment: Re:Hashes not useful (Score 1) 297

by hey! (#49159733) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Again not necessarily. For example the web page and the download server might not be the same, in which case it is not true that being able to modify the download necessarily means you can also modify the webpage checksum.

Another example is when people download and stage a large file on their local network, which is very common practice. If the server on their local network, in a sense the file is modified "in transit", but the malware needn't be anything special or exotic. I'd go so far as to say if you stage anything on your own servers you ought to check its hash religiously before using it.

Yet another example of "not necessarily" is monitoring. It wouldn't be hard to automatically monitor the download page for unauthorized modifications. Of course you should monitor the downloads themselves for modifications, but that takes more time. You can monitor the hashes on the download page continuously from another computer, automatically shutting the page down if anything changes. That wouldn't prevent your download page from unauthorized modifications but it would contain the consequences and it's very easy to do.

This is what I mean by it's the stuff that goes *around* a security measure that makes it work. A hash doesn't do anything unless people check the hash. That includes people who are hosting the file. I often think of this as a kind of diminishing returns exercise; since people often have spent *no* effort on preparing to respond to being hacked, often the best marginal expenditure is in that direction.

Comment: Re:The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 2) 116

by hey! (#49159617) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

It's well established that a person may become an "involuntary public figure" -- someone who does not intentionally thrust himself into the public sphere, but whose actions (or inactions) a reasonable person would expect to draw public scrutiny.

So the question is whether becoming a "revenge-porn" impressario is something a reasonable person would expect to draw public scrutiny. You be the judge.

Comment: Re:The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 2) 116

by hey! (#49159313) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

Copyright is not necessarily the only law which applies here. It is possible, for example, to have copyright on works you have no right to distribute. If I write a libelous story about you, I *own* that story, but I can't publish it because it is libelous -- unless I alter the story so you aren't obviously recognizable.

IANAL, but I suspect that what matters here is the subject's "expectation of privacy". Even if you got her permission to take her photo with the understanding it's for your *personal* use, she probably has a reasonable expectation that you won't post it on a public website. In that case after a breakup you would retain copyright and the right to use the image for your personal use (although really how pathetic is that?), but you don't suddenly gain the right to share it with the world if that's not the terms under which she agreed to let you take her picture.

Comment: The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 2) 116

by hey! (#49158485) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

Nor should it.

So this guy has *exactly* the same privacy rights as any other public figure has, neither more nor less. These rights are fewer than those enjoyed by non-public figures, but they are not zero. He can't stop people from using his image and name, any more than Kim Kardashian can. While in a sense she owns her public persona, she doesn't own every image of her that is taken in public. In other words people can't use her image to sell things as if she endorsed them, but they can use and even sell the image itself.

If this guy owns the copyright to an image, he can reasonably file a DMCA takedown. If the image is taken in a situation in which a public figure would have a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g. inside his house), then he can take other legal steps, even though allowing that to happen would be poetic justice. The law doesn't deal in poetic justice, and judges aren't allowed to stop enforcing the law just because it would be cool.

Comment: Re:We need hardware write-protect for firmware (Score 2) 297

by hey! (#49158449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

That's a bit like saying that having a portcullis in the castle gate doesn't help you if the enemy is already inside the walls, which is unquestionably true, but misses the point that having the portcullis makes it harder (although not impossible) for the enemy to do that.

I agree that a more secure way to update firmware, but we have to be realistic in that this would also tend to create new targets for malware writers (e.g. stealing signing keys).

I suspect what we really need is stuff that will occur *outside the box*, such as better vendor of firmware downloads and some kind of police agency tasked with discovering and investigating dodgy firmware. But of course the objection remains -- such an agency itself would be a potential source of problems.

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton

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