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Comment Re:I thought we all knew those things where BS... (Score 3, Interesting) 125

About the US Government requiring a polygraph to hold a Top Secret clearance and higher....

That's both true and false.

If the person is in the military, then a polygraph isn't taken. The reason is that duty assignments are considered "involuntary" and as such requiring a polygraph would be unjust. However, civilian employees are required to pass a polygraph. In fact, there have been a few cases where a military member left the service and immediately came back to the same organization as a civilian and was required to take a polygraph .... and failed ... so were denied employment at the very same organization that they just left.

I used to be active duty military and at the end of my career was working in WHCA (White House Communications Agency). That position required a TS/SCI Yankee White investigation (they tend to be a bit paranoid when you're in a position where you could physically touch the president without the Secret Service batting an eye). It was an interesting assignment, but eventually I left the service and took employment with a government contractor and was required to obtain another TS/SCI clearance. And yes, a polygraph was required.

The first polygraph that I took had "issues" and I was rescheduled to take a second polygraph. I too had issues with the polygraph since it felt to me that a game was being played where I wasn't informed as to the rules. So in my typical fashion, I researched polygraph technology and found out quite a few interesting things. One item I encountered was a reference to a classified study on polygraphy. I wasn't able to obtain the study itself, but assuming that the study reflected the publicly available information on the polygraph and if I were to be a classification authority, then I too would have classified the study.

Because simply, the publicly available information boils down to this.
Polygraphy as a means of detecting true or falsehood, it's totally worthless. But as a means of eliciting voluntary confessions from naive subjects, it is extremely effective.

Notice the phrase "naive subjects."

Let's just say that on my followup polygraph, I understood the rules of the game, informed the polygrapher and she was the one who had an unhappy time. The results were inconclusive and I did get my TS/SCI clearance.

Yes, as a civilian employee in the United States, you are required to take a polygraph to obtain a TS or higher clearance, but that it just one element of the clearance process and it doesn't require the subject to actually believe in the effectiveness of the polygraph.

Comment Re:The general consensus amongst many Americans (Score 1) 488

I would be rather interested in where you're getting the figures for that assertion. Looking at the graph at is that for the period from 1958 to 2015, CO2 levels have changed from 315 ppm to 405 ppm which most certainty doesn't look like "doubled".

Comment Re:The general consensus amongst many Americans (Score 1) 488

Well, let's just say that I'm less than impressed by the knowledge that mankind is causing approximately 0.2% to 0.3% of the greenhouse effect on earth. I'm also less than impressed by people who when asked "What greenhouse gas has the greatest influence on the greenhouse effect on earth?" and they answer ... no, let me correct that ... parrot "Carbon Dioxide".
Hint: Carbon dioxide is only about 5% of the total greenhouse effect on earth. The actual major contributor to the greenhouse effect is water vapor. But the problem with water vapor is that the government can't demonize it and use it as a basis for a power grab. But carbon dioxide is quite easy to demonize. Too bad that mankind only produces about 5% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.. And too bad that several studies seem to be conveniently ignored when discussing climate change.

The key issue is that scientists have found a good correlation between global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide by examining tree growth rings, gas bubbles in ice core samples, etc. And yep, they see that higher levels of CO2 are correlated with higher temperatures and visa-versa. But there's just one little catch..... The changes in CO2 levels LAG the changes in global temperatures by approximately 40 to 50 years. I don't know about you, but I'm a firm believer that if there's a cause and effect relationship between two variables, that the cause happens before the effect, not the opposite. So if CO2 level changes lag temperature changes by several decades that indicates that temperature changes are the cause, not the effect.

Now what might be the reason for CO2 levels to change after temperature changes? One of the first things that comes to mind is that the solubility of CO2 in water is inversely proportional to temperature. Higher temperatures mean less solubility and lower temperatures means greater solubility. So if the global temperatures change, the oceanic temperatures also change, but with a significant lag due to the thermal inertia of such a great mass of water.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 418

It's obvious that you're confused about the difference between a one time pad and a cipher. What you're saying is perfectly correct for a cipher. Only the key will give you a meaningful message and therefore you can verify that the key is correct. However, that is not the case for a OTP. For example, here is a simple description of a OTP.

1. Generate a 1 gigabyte file of random bytes using a true random number generator. An example of such a source would be what's generated by Hot Bits using timing intervals of a radioactive source. It's absolutely critical that they be truely random numbers and not something generated by a deterministic algorithm.
2. Copy that file and give the copy to the entity that you wish to communicate with in the future. NOTE: At this point there should be exactly TWO copies of the file. One copy is retained by you and you alone. The other copy is retained by the entity you wish to communicate with in the future.

Now in order to send a message securely to the entity having the copy of the OTP, you create the message. Let's assume that the message is one million bytes long. Just take the 1st one million bytes of the OTP and exclusive or each byte of the message with the corresponding byte of the OTP to create each byte of the message. After you've done that, delete the million bytes of the OTP you've just used so that you'll never use those bytes again.

The receiver of your encrypted message performs the exact same actions with their copy of the OTP. Exclusive or each byte of the encrypted message with the corresponding byte of the OTP to get the original plain text message, then delete those bytes of the OTP that were originally used.

Basically, a message encrypted with an OTP can be ANY message of equivalent length in any language.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 418

> Unfortunately, OTPs are of limited value in practice,
> since they key must be at least as long as the message.

So why are they of 'limited value' anyway?

Is it really so hard to exchange a 1TB USB stick with your Mom, whose mail program then uses the random pads from the stick to happily encrypt all the news about her new kitten?

Like seriously...

The reason OTPs are of limited use is because you need to transmit the OTP in a secure fashion. And if you can transmit the key securely, then it's most likely that you could have transmitted the message itself securely eliminating the need for the OTP in the first place.

But yes, OTPs are used when secure transmission is absolutely required. Effectively they "time shift" when the secure transfer is performed. And if the OTP is long enough, it can mean that only 1 secure transfer is needed in order to handle multiple secure message transmissions later.

Comment Re:Walking While Black (Score 1) 167

Whenever the police stop someone in the line of duty, they have to make a report. And that report needs the names of anyone they talked to. They weren't looking for her name in order to verify her story, they were looking for her name so that if anyone asked them about the incident, they could say "We talked with a Mrs Bland and informed her that she was obstructing traffic and if she does have to walk in the street, to walk facing traffic."

Comment Re:GOOD. He's doing his job (Score 5, Insightful) 576


Frankly, the purpose of the rant was to cause that piece of excrement to be replaced with something reasonable AND to give notice to other programmers that that kind of sloppy shit is not acceptable. As for those who complain that his rant was unnecessary and hurt someone's feelings, I have to ask you "Who submitted the sloppy code?" I don't see any names in the rant. Yes, I know that one could take a look at the commit logs to determine who it was, but in all honestly, I seriously doubt that anyone will. So the idiot who committed that piece of shit wasn't called out by name or publically humiliated.

Comment Re:Cost? Life? (Score 1) 184

You don't seem to notice that the price being quoted is per watt. Not per square foot or any other measure of area. So the new higher efficiency panels will cost more than the older panels. But the new panels will generate more power. As for the customer cost, like other posters have observed, the lions share is for the control electronics and inverters.

Comment It's all politics. (Score 2) 737

The thing I find most annoying about the global warming issue is that there's entirely too much politics and too little science. For instance, ask people the question "What greenhouse gas has the most influence on Earth's temperature?" and the vast majority will say "Carbon Dioxide."
Only problem with that answer is that it's wrong.
Water vapor accounts for about 95% of the total greenhouse effect on earth. Only about 5% is due to carbon dioxide. And the interesting thing is that most of that 5% is totally natural. Mankind only creates about 5% of that 5% giving about 0.27% of the total greenhouse effect that is contributed by mankind. Yes, just a smidge over one fourth of one percent.

Do I believe that global warming is real? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that global warming is due to mankind? No, I do not.

Some minor little details that the global warming crowd ignore that they really need to address.
1. Viking farms underneath the glaciers in Greenland. Archeologists have found these farms. Interesting thing. The existence of those farms indicate that Earth was warmer in the past than it currently is. Else those farms wouldn't be covered by glaciers. And given when those farms were made, mankind wasn't generating appreciable levels of carbon dioxide. That little detail right there makes their "global warming is due to mankind" argument more than a bit suspect.

2. Scientists have found a definite correlation between carbon dioxide levels and global temperature by analyzing ice core samples, tree growth rings, etc. It is a proven fact that higher global temperatures are associated with higher levels of carbon dioxide. Sounds like something good for the global warming crowd doesn't it? However, there is one slight problem. The correlation is skewed over time. It turns out that carbon dioxide level changes lag global temperature changes by approximately 40 to 50 years. That's right folks, when the temperature changes, the CO2 changes about 4 decades later. If you have a cause and effect relationship between two variables, I would expect the variable that changes first to be considered the cause, and the variable that changes later to be the effect. And the data doesn't look good for the "global warming is caused by mankind" crowd.

Why would CO2 levels change after a temperature change? One theory is that the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with increasing temperature and increases with decreasing temperature. And we have a very large body of water on this planet. The oceans can be acting as a huge CO2 repository and when they get warming, they release some of that CO2 and when they get colder, they absorb some of that CO2. That would definitely explain the lag.

Right now in my opinion, the global warming caused by mankind crowd are using CO2 as a means of demonizing the west. After all, it is a proven fact that burning fossil fuel does generate CO2. So those people can point to the west and say "See? They're harming the environment." They can't demonize plain old water vapor, even though water vapor is the biggest contributor to the green house effect. Are we having a significant effect on Earth's temperature? I wouldn't think so since we're only having about one fourth of one percent of the total effect.

Comment Reason for installing ad blocker. (Score 1) 528

I didn't use any ad blockers until I encountered a page with information I needed and the page had an ad on it... That after about a minute would start playing a video AND shift the browser focus to that video. I would have to then stop the video and then scroll down the page to where I was before I was so rudely interrupted. And since that process took close to a minute (it was a very large page with a lot of dense information), I would only get 10 to 20 seconds or reading before the damn ad once again restarted and shifted focus. So ad blocker was installed and since I'm a lazy son of a bitch, I don't bother to turn it off on other pages that act responsibly. So In a nutshell, one asshole advertiser resulted in the blocking of every advertiser on my computer.

Comment Good luck with that. (Score 3, Insightful) 124

The objective of "mathematically proven security properties" via program obfuscation is definitely not achievable. After all, it's a given security principle of "security through obfuscation" is unsupportable. If an adversary is capable of obtaining the executable of a program, they can also reverse engineer that same executable. It may take a lot of effort, but it is always achievable.

Comment Didn't anyone bother to actually read the article? (Score 2) 182

The summary here is about as deceptive as I could possibly imagine. What Uber is attempting to do isn't to initiate a lot of bogus trips and then cancel. They're attempting to recruit drivers from other companies and have them become drivers for Uber. The use of burner phones and credit cards are to prevent the easy detection of recruiters. Not to make fake trip requests.

Personally, I believe that such tactics are legal, but morally suspect (if the tactics were illegal, it would also be illegal for a company to attempt to recruit employees from other companies. See )

"Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it." -- Mark Twain