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Comment: Re:H1B applicants are people too (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by jenningsthecat (#48268049) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

The article doesn't seem to point out the obvious explanation, ie that H1B applications contain personal data (of the type Slashdotters are usually passionate about protecting), and that it is good practice not to keep such information hanging around once it has served its primary purpose.

Given the recent reports of how H1B workers are treated as slaves in abuses reminicent of human trafficking, the timing of this seems more than a bit suspicious. And at least one source has the DOL saying "will no longer respond to inquiries to search for records in response to FOIA requests". Explicitly pre-empting the FOIA process without even the suggestion that the data might be anonymized to allay privacy concerns is, again, more than a little suspicious.

There are presumably solutions to the research concerns, such as aggregating the data before it is deleted or collecting the specific data necessary before the records are deleted.

Yes, there are solutions, but will they be implemented? And is the Dept. of Labor so tone-deaf, and so ignorant of the controversial nature of this decision, that they didn't think to put an anonymization program in place in advance of this announcement? Somehow I doubt it.

Comment: Re:Nonsense. Again. (Score 1) 403

by jenningsthecat (#48259865) Attached to: Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

If that were true. We wouldn't be able to put these genes in there in the first place. Just because it is too complex for you, or you are ignorant of what we can and do model. Doesn't mean other can't.

You are looking at FAR too narrow a scope. Can geneticists predict the immediate and close-in effects of what they do? Yes, most of the time they can. Can they accurately predict what will happen many generations down the line, in combination with cross-breeding, spontaneous mutations, and the environment? No, they cannot. And then there is always the "we don't know what we don't know" factor - and that's why people like Taleb urge caution. Hell, Monsanto put the whole Roundup-Ready juggernaut in motion while seeming to not even consider that weeds might develop resistance to glyphosate. Guess what? We now have glyphosate-resistant weeds. Monsanto dropped the ball on that relatively simple matter - do you really think their predictive capabilities are any better when they're doing something really hard like genetic modification?

You seem to have a pretty simplistic view of the vastly complex world we live in.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 86

by jenningsthecat (#48249723) Attached to: Firefox OS Coming To Raspberry Pi

Thanks for the tips. I haven't installed CyanogenMod because it doesn't support some of my phone's hardware features, but I'll choose my next phone more carefully. Paranoid seems to have an even narrower range of hardware that it supports. I could possibly do some tinkering with either of these to make them work on hardware not already supported. But as with my desktop computer, I'm past the stage where I want to put a lot of effort into that kind of thing - I'm more focused on what I can do WITH my devices than TO them. Also, as far as I've been able to tell, (please correct me if I'm wrong), using Cyanogen or Paranoid still won't address many of the app permissions problems, as many apps won't work when certain permissions are denied, even when those permissions are absolutely not needed for the app to do its job.

As for enabling mass storage and stripping out stuff myself, I've not done very much programming, and learning how to program just so I can have a secure and useful phone seems a bit much. Besides, AFAIK, (and again, please correct me if I'm wrong), most apps are not open source, so I couldn't readily modify them evem if I wanted to do so and had the skills.

My point about FFOS was that it has the potential to be a less toxic ecosystem than Android, with perhaps fewer privacy and security holes baked in.

Comment: Re:Nonsense. Again. (Score 2) 403

it's still just DNA. who cares where it came from, what's important it what it does!...

What's important is "what it does" in combination with other DNA and mutates in ways that almost certainly would not have occurred without invasive genetic modification. Not to mention "what it does" in combination with other organisms and with its environment.

The point here is that the interactions of the systems we're dicking with are so complex that we have no possible way of even predicting the outcomes, never mind controlling them. If you're not into reading what Taleb has to say, you might want to at least have a(nother?) look at the concept of Requisite Variety.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 3, Interesting) 86

by jenningsthecat (#48247973) Attached to: Firefox OS Coming To Raspberry Pi

...It's the same as with FFOS on smartphones, it doesn't really solve any problem, even at the low end of the market Android has dirt cheap phones pretty well covered with a proven and already well-established OS.

If FFOS turns out to be any good in any reasonable time frame, (and I too have my doubts about that), then it will solve a big problem for me. I have an Android phone, of whose capabilities I only use about 10%. Why? Because I don't use Google cloud services - I don't trust them as far as I can throw one of their server farms. Because Android apps are security-hole-ridden nightmares whose permissions I have little control over even on my rooted device. Because Google added that POS called MTP and took away the simplicity of USB mass storage.

If FFOS puts some power and control back into my hands, then I'll call it a win even if it's not as powerful or featureful as Android. I'm sick and tired of Google's plans for world domination.

Comment: Re:someohow I think (Score 4, Insightful) 211

by jenningsthecat (#48243017) Attached to: "Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

...The only reason for needing to know if the police are nearby is if one is a criminal and/or thinking of doing something criminal.

(Expecting downvotes from the "all police are pigs" idiots)

I have mod points right now, but rather than downmod you I'll jump into the discussion. While I wouldn't say that all police are pigs, anybody who maintains that the average law abiding citizen has nothing to fear from the police either has his head in the sand, or is trolling. If your qualifier had read "if one might be viewed as a criminal and/or thinking of doing something that the police claim is suspicious in order to further their own ends", I'd agree with you. But then, there wouldn't have been much of a reason for you to post, would there?

Of course, you may actually believe that Driving While Black, clenching your butt, wearing a backpack with graffiti on it, or carrying cash, are crimes simply because they seem suspicious to fucked-up and/or corrupt police. If that's the case, then shame on you.

Comment: An idea for repurposing prisons (Score 1) 407

by jenningsthecat (#48168407) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

The story before this one is about the best use of data centre space; the juxtaposition made me wonder if prisons might make good data centres. I know adding the wiring and cooling to a building not designed for it might be a challenge, but at least a lot of the security requirements are already present. Just a thought...

Comment: Re:Analog displays are better in some situations. (Score 3, Interesting) 155

by jenningsthecat (#48116291) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

Digital meters don't have the slow response that d'Arsonval meter movements have, unless extra circuitry is added. The inertia and magnetic delay of old-fashioned electro-mechanical meters naturally filter fast variations in the signal, and can result in a useful reading in cicumstances where the average digital meter produces a garbage reading. Of course, it's also good to know when a signal is noisy or jumpy...

I use digital meters exclusively these days - they're convenient, rugged, light, and have a higher input impedance and better resistance reading capabilities than all but the very best of the old analog FET-VOM's. But every once in a while I wish I had a well-damped analog meter to save me from dragging out the scope.

Comment: We really need a different word for this behaviour (Score 4, Insightful) 728

by jenningsthecat (#48111131) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

In the context of the Internet, the word "troll" used to mean, (according to Wikipedia):

"...a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

The campaign that Kathy Sierra was a victim of goes far, far beyond this. How does it make sense that one word is used to describe such a wide range of behaviour? It's like calling a violent rapist a 'cad'. Trolls, (in the original sense of the word), are assholes. Auernheimer and his associates exhibited obsessive, psychopathic, downright evil behaviour and attitudes. We should never equate mere assholes and psychopaths - doing so trivializes destructive psychopathic behaviour while making assholery seem much worse than it really is. And the latter is perhaps more dangerous; it gives authorities one more excuse for implementing draconian laws in response to minor social infractions.

+ - McKinsey: Consumers Want Smart Cars - But Fear Them Also->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "The Security Ledger reports on a survey from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. ( that has some sobering data for car makers: concerns about privacy and the possibility of car hacking are major concerns that could dampen enthusiasm for smart vehicles.

The report, “What’s Driving the Connected Car?” ( finds that connectivity features will be a major driver of car sales in the coming years. The survey of 2,000 new car buyers in Brazil, China, Germany and the U.S. found that a quarter of respondents considered connectivity a more important feature than engine power or even fuel efficiency.

Connected (or "smart") car features will become ubiquitous and expected, McKinsey predicts, but won't demand a premium from buyers as they do today.

However, car makers also face a considerable hurdle in convincing the buying public to accept connected car technologies. According to McKinsey, 37 percent of respondents to their survey said they “would not even consider a connected car.”At the root of resistance to connected vehicle technology were ubiquitous fears about vehicles being hacked – which were evident in each country that McKinsey surveyed.

In Germany and Brazil, 59 percent of those surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I am afraid that people can hack into my car and manipulate it (eg, the braking system) if the car is connected to the Internet.” 53 percent of respondents agreed with that statement in China and 43% in the U.S.

That leaves car makers in a tricky position: trying to satisfy customers who "demand connectivity, have security concerns regarding it, and are only marginally willing to pay for it." Hmm...where have we heard that before??"

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Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken