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Comment: Re:WTF??? Was "Re:Need to Do More" (Score 4, Insightful) 321

by ifdef (#44509573) Attached to: NZ Professor Advocates Civil Disobedience Against Mass Surveillance

Bull feathers!

The cause of most wars and terrorism is us-versus-them. Different religions provide a dividing line between "us" and "them", but it can just as easily be ethnic origins, skin color, language, political views, gang affiliation, or any other marker.

Comment: Re:WTF??? Was "Re:Need to Do More" (Score 1) 321

by ifdef (#44509507) Attached to: NZ Professor Advocates Civil Disobedience Against Mass Surveillance

Fair enough. One should use resources efficiently, giving more attention to the ones that are more important. Or, at least, we should be putting our resources into efforts which save the most people per whatever unit you want to measure effort in.

For that matter, as you point out, there are probably more effective ways of fighting terrorism. Helping to ensure that everyone has a future, instead of being driven by desperation to suicidal acts, is probably a very important one.

And there are issues of the methods used -- some methods may cause worse problems than the problems they are trying to solve.

But I still completely disagree that it should be anybody's goal to ensure that "the authorities have no hope of finding the actual terrorists." That was my point.

Comment: Re: Watch for the next FALSE FLAG ATTACK after thi (Score 1) 321

by ifdef (#44508535) Attached to: NZ Professor Advocates Civil Disobedience Against Mass Surveillance

Not sure why you guys are calling each other names.

"[E]liminating the suffering caused by diarrhea would go a long way towards improving quality of life which has been proven to decrease or eliminate mass murder." Absolutely right!

But you also can't "consider the existence of diarrhea deaths ... to be a license for mass murder anywhere in the world"!!

And, unfortunately, it's also true that "the same sort of people that engage in terrorism are often the very ones that also block relief efforts and kill relief workers that would work to help reduce or end local problems with disease such as diarrhea deaths."

Two wrongs don't make a right. (Although, as is often pointed out, three lefts do make a right, at least in a city that's laid out in a grid and not with roads following rivers and cow paths, like the one I'm in seems to have been :-) )

Comment: WTF??? Was "Re:Need to Do More" (Score 5, Insightful) 321

by ifdef (#44508393) Attached to: NZ Professor Advocates Civil Disobedience Against Mass Surveillance

Okay, maybe this is just whooshing over my head, but ... "so the authorities have no hope of finding the actual terrorists"?

But, but, I WANT them to find the "actual terrorists".

I DON'T want them to accuse innocent people of being terrorists. I don't want them to break down doors with guns blazing because someone didn't answer the door fast enough. I don't want them to frighten young children (or adults that have the mental capacity of young children) at airports. I don't want the police to pay a visit to people just because someone Googled "pressure cookers" while his wife Googled "backpacks". I don't want them to arrest people for wearing suspicious T-shirts, or kick people off of airplanes because they are speaking Russian (or Arabic, or Spanish) to each other. I don't want them to shoot to kill because someone dark-skinned is running for the train. I do not want the police to act on false positives.

But I definitely DO want them to catch the "actual terrorists" before they can commit their acts of terrorism!

Comment: Re:Wireless has been 'the future' for 20 years (Score 1) 347

by ifdef (#43896165) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Old Copper Pair Technology?

I have no idea if the numbers you are quoting are accurate, but I'm confused by your mixture of different units.

Trying to compare similar units:

Wireless: 2 MB/s to 108 MB/s is an increase by a factor of 54.

LAN: 10 Mb/s (1.25 MB/s, disregarding whatever the framing overhead is) to 1000 Mb (presumably per second, 125 MB/s) is an increase by a factor of 100.

Telco: 1200 bps (120 B/s, assuming 1 start bit and one stop bit, or 0.000120 MB/s) to 24,000,000 bps (24 Mbps, or 2 MB/s) is an increase by a factor of 20,000.

So what conclusions are we supposed to draw?

1) Communications speeds on copper wire via telco have increased way more in the last 10 years than either LAN or wireless technology, and telco is now at the point where wireless was 10 years ago. LAN has gone from being 63% as fast as wireless to being 16% faster.

My reaction to this claim: Frankly, I have trouble believing those numbers, and I think I would want to double-check them.

2) If we assume that all 3 keep up their rates of increase, we should expect to see, in 10 more years:
Wireless: 108 MB/s x 54 = 5.8 GB/s
LAN: 125 MB/s x 100 = 12.5 GB/s
Telco: 2 MB/s x 20k = 40.0 GB/s

My reaction to this claim: I don't think the assumption is valid that all 3 technologies will continue at their present rates of increase. Specifically, I find the conclusion that, 10 years from now, telco will be more than 3 times faster than LAN, to be incredible.

Did you want to back up those numbers, maybe put everything in the same units to make it easier to do comparisons, and/or explain what conclusions you ARE trying to draw from these numbers?

Comment: Re:Why wouldn't the people support them? (Score 2) 174

by ifdef (#43876683) Attached to: Google Maps Used To Find Tax Cheats

I'm not sure that that accurately describes the situation in Lithuania.

Many of the people who are rich there are perceived, rightly or wrongly, of having made their money, not by working hard, but by having influence. When Lithuania privatized large sections of the economy, state assets were often bought at a bargain price by those who were friends of the officials handling the privatization. These may have been former communist officials, kingpins of organized crime, or both (assuming that there's a difference). Or so the perception is.

Some of this "if I can't have it then nobody can" mentality and suspicion of neighbors may have been there for centuries, but Soviet communism added its own twist. Under the communist system, it was almost impossible for someone to lose their job. They would get paid, no matter what they did. On the other hand, the work that they did was often useless, in the sense that if the farmer harvested his potatoes, they might end up rotting in a warehouse somewhere anyway, so why bother working hard to harvest the potatoes? Especially because you wouldn't be paid any less, since they were not YOUR potatoes anyway. The only way to get ahead, in those days, was by stealing from your employer (and boy, do I have a lot of stories, but that's for another time). But the ordinary person would only have a limited ability to steal without getting caught. The big shots, however, could get away with a whole lot, and they were resented by the ordinary people. Even people who may have made their wealth legitimately were suspected of doing so by theft and fraud, because that was just the way the system worked.

People who were not in positions of influence (i.e. the Party) didn't have much hope at all of EVER bettering their situation through any legitimate means.

Keep that in mind when you read about politics in any of the ex-Soviet states. It explains a lot.

So, in Lithuania (and also presumably Russia and any of the other countries that haven't fully recovered from sovietism yet), it seems perfectly understandable to me that "ordinary" people would be glad to see rich people get caught and punished for any kind of cheating. It's not the same dynamic as one might expect here.

Comment: Re:1 Sv = 100 Rem.... BFD? (Score 1) 283

by ifdef (#43872987) Attached to: Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem

I agree that there are much bigger risks in this mission than radiation, but, from what I remember from working in the nuclear industry:
- the annual limit of how much a nuclear plant is allowed to add to the exposure of a member of the general public is 100 mREM (1 mSv)
- the annual occupational dose limit for an Atomic Radiation Worker is 5 REM (50 mSv)
- acute effects start showing up at 50 REM (500 mSv) exposure "over a short period of time"
- the LD50/30 (the dose at which 50% of those exposed will die within 30 days, even with treatment) is 500 REM (5 Sv)

On that sort of scale, 100 REM *IS* a big deal.

Now, the fact that the exposure takes place over months may make all the difference, but it's still a large dose, isn't it?

Comment: Re:Radiation exposures not "huge" (Score 1) 283

by ifdef (#43872855) Attached to: Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem

Okay, could somebody check my math here?

From the NRC's web site, The LD50 is "The dose of radiation expected to cause death to 50 percent of an exposed population within 30 days (LD 50/30). Typically, the LD 50/30 is in the range from 400 to 450 rem (4 to 5 sieverts) received over a very short period." If I understand correctly, this shouldn't depend on TYPE of radiation, because the Sv or REM is a measure of BIOLOGICAL effect, i.e. it has built-in correction factors for how much biological effect a given amount of absorbed energy has.

So, somebody absorbing 662 millisieverts "over a very short period" would be worried about eventual cancer risk, but would also be dealing with acute radiation sickness, which would start to be a problem at any dose over about 500 millisieverts (50 REM).

So, my reaction was actually the opposite of cjameshuff's. Rather than dismissing this dose as not causing any effects, I was wondering why they are only concerned about long-term effects and not acute effects.

Or is it that spreading the dose over a period of months gives the body enough time to recover, so that there is no immediate radiation illness?

Comment: Re:If you volunteer, then you are not qualified... (Score 1) 453

by ifdef (#42195163) Attached to: Over 1000 Volunteers For 'Suicide' Mission To Mars

Citation needed.

Any ocean sailor knows that the world is round. If it were flat, a ship going off into the distance would just get smaller and smaller, rather than the hull disappearing first and the tops of the masts disappearing last.

It is a myth that people of Columbus's time thought he would fall off the edge of the earth. Rather, the opposition was due to people saying "the distance is much farther than you think, and your crew will starve to death before you reach the Far East". In fact, they were right, and Columbus was just lucky that there was an unexpected continent in the way.

Comment: Re:But then (Score 1) 199

by ifdef (#41011741) Attached to: Advance Warning System For Solar Flares Hinges On Surprising Hypothesis

I haven't read any explanation of why they think this is happening, but is it actually true that "the sun is the suspected source of this cause"? I would have thought that it was some change in the environment (the local properties of space) that would cause both the change in decay rate and the solar flares.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.