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Comment: Re:Combine it with the other announcement. (Score 1) 216

by infolation (#47170471) Attached to: Life Sentences For Serious Cyberattacks Proposed In Britain
Since embedded computers are so pervasive in domestic appliances, it seems as though some lateral thinking by the security services could result in all sorts of breaches of the law.

EG:

People have fridges with embedded computers, that can re-stock themselves with food by ordering online. Disrupting that computerised fridge could be seen as attempting to starve them to death with a computer:

'cause deadly civil unrest through cutting off food distribution, telecommunications networks or energy supplies'

Comment: Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (Score 4, Informative) 216

by infolation (#47170431) Attached to: Life Sentences For Serious Cyberattacks Proposed In Britain
Until 1998, we had the death penalty as a punishment for high treason against the crown, so under that law it would have been possible to punish a computer offence with death if the defendant had disrupted a computer network with the intention of committing treason.

But not only was the death penalty for treason abolished; we're prohibited from restoring the death penalty (for any offence) as long as we're signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Comment: Re:Bamboo Bicycle (Score 2) 198

by infolation (#47091911) Attached to: Is Bamboo the Next Carbon Fibre?

Have you been to Hong Kong?

The accidents that occur on bamboo scaffold in HK are nothing to do with its inherent safety.

Almost all scaffold in HK is bamboo, even up to 40 storeys. And the HK scaffolders who put it up are, to put it mildly, quite reckless. In fact, recklessness (fearlessness) is almost seen as a positive attribute by HK scaffolders.

The steel scaffolds are usually put up by foreign building firms who use lanyards and other correct safety equipment and procedures.

PHP

Facebook Introduces Hack: Statically Typed PHP 230

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sml-and-php-fall-in-love dept.
alokmenghrajani (2602135) writes with news of Facebook's new Open Source language, Hack. Quoting: "Today we're releasing Hack, a programming language we developed for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP. Hack reconciles the fast development cycle of PHP with the discipline provided by static typing, while adding many features commonly found in other modern programming languages. ... Traditionally, dynamically typed languages allow for rapid development but sacrifice the ability to catch errors early and introspect code quickly, particularly on larger codebases. Conversely, statically typed languages provide more of a safety net, but often at the cost of quick iteration. We believed there had to be a sweet spot. ... Hack has deep roots in PHP. In fact, most PHP files are already valid Hack files. ... Our principal addition is static typing. We have developed a system to annotate function signatures and class members with type information; our type checking algorithm infers the rest. Type checking is incremental, such that even within a single file some code can be converted to Hack while the rest remains dynamically typed. ... If a function parameter or class member does not have an explicit type annotation, the type checker considers its type to be dynamic, and it does not check the type of that value." In addition to static typing, they've introduced proper closures that capture the lexical environment, generics, collections, and array shapes. The Hack website has more details. There's a fairly complete language manual, tools to infer types in PHP source and annotate the code, and source available under the PHP license.

Comment: Re:doesn't europe spy as well? (Score 1) 166

Europe is already covered by the European data protection directive, recently updated in 2012 and 2013.

The directive, essentially, makes the whole of Europe a data enclave, out of which data can only be passed if it's subject to the same laws as would apply within that enclave.

Third countries is the term used in legislation to designate countries outside the European Union. Personal data may only be transferred to third countries if that country provides an adequate level of protection. Some exceptions to this rule are provided, for instance when the controller himself can guarantee that the recipient will comply with the data protection rules.

We (UK personally) already have the data protection legislation in place. The law is very clear on what's allowed. But the laws just aren't being followed.

Comment: Re:company valuation (Score 4, Insightful) 126

by infolation (#44957717) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Threat Data Sharing With Private Sector

Keep your friends close and enemies closer.

Bring all the companies who've been complaining they can't reveal the NSA's information requests into your privileged enclave - to make them feel special.

And in the process, ensure those companies are even more firmly ensconced in the laws that prevent them from revealing anything.

Comment: Re:Does the UK get any say? (Score 1) 148

by infolation (#44738457) Attached to: Chinese Seek Greater Say In UK Nuclear Plants

The really simplified answer is that they're very expensive to build, very expensive to knock down and ONR, the UK nuclear regulator, requires the plant operator to set aside some of the money they make to cover the knocking down costs.

In addition, most nuclear plants don't operate for their full life expectancy, so their turnover often doesn't cover the cost of building and decommissioning.

Comment: Re:Does the UK get any say? (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by infolation (#44738171) Attached to: Chinese Seek Greater Say In UK Nuclear Plants

China does have a fair point here, and that's speaking as a UK citizen, and not trying to play the devil's advocate. The UK has had a history of terrible management in pseudo-private sector enterprises since the 1960s, from British Leyland to British Rail.

Nuclear power in the UK has, so far, been a loss-making enterprise, kept afloat only by government subsidies, and looks set to continue in this way. If I was any overseas investor looking to protect my money, China included, I'd want to make damn sure my investment wasn't just being used to reduce the UK's subsidy.

Comment: Re:This one gives an idea: (Score 4, Insightful) 277

by infolation (#44182081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Permanent Preservation of Human Knowledge?
There is one form of information that is very significant for future generations - the locations and contents of Nuclear burial sites. The film 'Into Eternity' about the Finnish sites documents this issue - how do we make sure humans, perhaps 100,000 years hence, understand the nature and toxicity of the contents, without making them curious about discovering what lies within. The Egyptians tried this 4,000 years ago - writing messages warding off potential interlopers to their sacred burial sites. That outcome is perhaps an indication of how a future civilization would perceive our messages.

The world is not octal despite DEC.

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