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Comment: If... (Score 1) 103

by jd (#48546713) Attached to: Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

You are vulnerable to Social Engineering (and almost everyone is), no security of any kind will ever work. Become a Scottish crofter, it's your only hope of a life.

You are a private individual, see all XKCD coverage. Same remedy.

You are Sony, abandon hope now. You wouldn't even make it as a crofter.

You are anyone else, encryption is not enough. You want segmentation, active NIDS, proxies and firewalls at the gateways, HIDS on the machines, role-based access controls, host-to-host IPSec, security labels on packets, total removal of all vulnerable protocols, disk encryption, strong authentication and Neuromancer's Black Ice. A platoon of extreme freediving Ninja with enhanced magnetic sensors in their eyeballs would help, too.

Comment: Re: Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (Score 1) 367

by jd (#48545413) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Science fiction isn't fiction that has elements that aren't science but might appeal to geeks who like science.

Science fiction isn't science fantasy.

Science fiction isn't pure fantasy with stuff science geeks like.

Science fiction isn't biologically improbable females fulfilling spotty teen fantasies.

Science fiction is science that is fictional. Very different animal and naturally restrictive.

That's life. Or will be.

Comment: Re: you're doing it wrong (Score 0) 367

by jd (#48545395) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Absolutely wrong on all accounts.

People are the least important part of a story, they exist solely to represent something. What they represent is almost never another person. In fact, it is never another person.

Science fiction is about the universe, about meaning, about the nature of reality. There are perfectly good science fiction stories that don't include people, or indeed any living thing. And that is fine.

Stories that are people-centric are no more science fiction than vampire stories are history, or Microsoft manuals are about learning.

This isn't up for discussion, it is the way the ontology is. Don't like it? Fine, don't call your crap science fiction. It's very simple.

Comment: Re:TIE-Fighters flying in Atmosphere?!?!?!?! (Score 1) 390

by jd (#48483535) Attached to: First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

I think it was the second of the unofficial Han Solo novels during the time of the Original Trilogy that first had TIE Fighters in the atmosphere. So you're absolutely right that they're impossible, but it's "legitimate" extended canon. (Which is why I don't consider anything after the first movie "canon" at all.)

Comment: Re:CGI (Score 2) 390

by jd (#48483529) Attached to: First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

Plausible. Also, since it's an amateur rig, the force field may well extend well beyond the blade and not just envelop it. If that's the case, the cross guard's projectors cannot be sliced off as the force field would be protecting them as well.

Since they filmed some of the movie in Puzzle Wood and since I'm damn sure I recognize the trail, I'm going to say that's the likely location for this scene. If so, expect some seriously gnarled and twisted trees in the background. Those won't be CGI, that's really what the place looks like.

Comment: Re:Lightsaber crossguard wtf (Score 1) 390

by jd (#48483515) Attached to: First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

A projectile containing a Bose-Einstein Condensate.

The bullet vaporizes on the force field surrounding the plasma interior. However, this isn't instantaneous. During that time, there is a cavity in the force field. The BEC gets through this cavity and impacts the plasma. This causes the BEC to instantaneously heat up to temperatures that permit fusion. Since the nuclei are already overlapping, fusion into a mega atom takes place. The mega atom instantly disintegrates as it's violently unstable, drenching the Jedi in hard radiation.

Comment: Re:I just don't get that. (Score 2) 117

by jd (#48477863) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Says Legal Fight Has Left Him Broke

I agree the justice system has gone haywire.

I agree the justice system has no business going haywire.

I agree the justice system has no business treating one person differently from another.

I agree that what was done was completely wrong, not just in this case but in many others.

I've said as much, repeatedly, on The Guardian's website on relevant topics. This isn't a new opinion for me.

There is a difference between having no sympathy for the guy (IMHO he deserved it) and agreeing with the justice system. I agree, and always have, with Tolkien's phrasing of it: "Deserved death? I daresay he did. I daresay there are many who live who deserve to die. I daresay there are many who've died who deserve life. Can you give them that also?" Whilst I admit that I'm "quick to judge" on occasion, I heed Tolkien's words and do not believe that "deserving" is sufficient to warrant inflicting what is "deserved". I do not believe retribution is a functional way to go about things. Trashing a hard drive with a sledgehammer might stop bugs in software affecting you, but it doesn't actually fix anything. To do that, you have to not inflict retribution but therapy, fixing the defects.

The same is true of people. Fixing the defects of character is harder, but certainly achievable in most cases. That pays attention to Tolkien/Gandalf's advice, leaves the world a richer place, and is generally a Good Thing. It's also cheaper than inflicting punishment. A lot cheaper, if the world is a lot richer for it.

He has smarts, he has savvy, with a little examination of why he chose the path he was on and some tests, it would not be hard to figure out how he could either offer the same service in essentially the same way in a protected manner, or (if he preferred) to do something different but that makes use of his skills and knowledge.

Bankrupting him has left the world poorer, because there's no way on Earth anyone will convince him to be more charitable and considerate now, and that's the only way the world would ever benefit from his skills and know-how.

To me, this is simple economics. At vast expense, the US has turned a person who was merely dysfunctional but a potential asset nonetheless to society if he could be persuaded into a dysfunctional wreck with a chip on his shoulder the size of the Empire State Building who is never going to let the world see the positive in his abilities. In short, by clocking up a huge liability, the US has achieved the dubious distinction of turning an asset into an additional liability.

I hold that there is always a solution that is both economically sound and ethically sound over the long term, over society as a whole, and that on closer examination, such solutions will always be superior to those that appear ethically sound but are economically unsound. Most of what is truly ethical is also a boost to some key aspect - to a person, society or planet - in the long term that is in excess of the cost, and thus will automatically be also economically sensible. Everything that is truly unethical may produce some short term benefit of some kind to some person, but is invariably expensive to everyone and everything in the long run. In consequence, even the ethical things with no obvious benefits will be cheaper than the great burdens created by the unethical.

I would not do well in a Star Trek universe.

Comment: I've a really hard time sympathizing. (Score 2) 117

by jd (#48477573) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Says Legal Fight Has Left Him Broke

A parasite (he didn't get a fleet of flashy cars by donating disk space to anyone) gets sucked dry by a bigger, nastier parasite.

Sorry, but if you live by a dog-eat-dog creed, don't expect tears when your pet poodle is a predator's desert.

I'm sympathetic with ISOhunt, who got crippled by the UK government, as I'm willing to bet that people after illegal ISOs searched elsewhere. They're a major source of information on ISOs for F/L/OS software, though, which is entirely legal. They got a raw deal on that, because of the bad name the *AA have given torrents. Blocking the others won't do the UK any good, but that's not the point. Nor is it the point that these services index, not host. The point is that it doesn't matter whether the links point to legitimate or illegitimate content, they're tarnished not by what they index but by the mode of transport used.

Kim DotCom is another matter. He raked in an awful lot of money by doing very very little. He'd make a great bank CEO or politician, such is his level of verminicity. Had he done essentially the same, with far less profit (it's ok for him to live, just not ok for him to own half the cars in New Zealand), far less arrogance (like I said, a bank CEO or politician), and far less swagger (maybe, just maybe a touch of humility), I might pity him more. The humble earn at least some respect for being humble. It's rare enough.

If he'd presented his service as "common carrier", then that too would be worth respect. That's legal, that's all about NOT looking at what's there and NOT being shot in the process. DotCom's approach was to be a braggart. Sorry, but that kills any respect.

As judges are renown for disliking the arrogant, swaggering braggart type, that might well have cost him every court case contested. Even on the rare occasion that justice is blind, it still has a sense of smell and arrogant, swaggering braggarts stink.

Comment: Re:AI researcher here (Score 1) 455

by jd (#48465071) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

As I've said, that's the field known as Genetic Algorithms. It's a fun area and highly promising in some fields of work, but the contexts are too simple and the algorithms are too naive. A good example of a naive Genetic Algorithm is the one used by stock brokers to game the system. It "works", but only if the system is well-behaved. But, by working en-masse, it causes the system to not be well-behaved. Because it's naive, it's incapable of evolving to deal with this.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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