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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Of course they are (Score 1) 256

by joe_frisch (#49132517) Attached to: It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy

And this is why its so sad that the NSA did this. The US could have grabbed a lot of the market if we could have assured users that our equipment was trustworthy. It would have taken some time, but eventually we would have grabbed market share from China. Now that everyone assumes both countries are spying on their hardware, we no longer have that competitive advantage.

Comment: Re:Another rumor ... (Score 1) 112

by joe_frisch (#49098283) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

Once trust is lost, you can't get it back. There is no way to trust the people who are telling you to trust the audit. NSA *could* be anywhere. That doesn't mean that they ARE anywhere, but I can't see any way to trust any software or audit process. (unless you are one of the extremely rare people who can personally audit the code).

If you had a piece of code that *you* knew was completely secure, how could you convince me of that?

Comment: The public needs to want it to end (Score 1) 239

by joe_frisch (#49023621) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

I don't think that they do. Universal surveillance can be valuable for all sorts of things. Used correctly it can almost eliminate crime (except of course crimes committed by the entity that controls the surveillance).

So far it seems that the public is willing to accept almost unlimited surveillance. They may know that its a deal with the devil,but many people are willing to make those deals.

I think Slashdot is not a representative sample - the posters here tend to think more deeply about issues than does the general public, and I think we are more aware of just how badly a surveillance society could go.

Comment: Re:Nice but wish it was video from L2 (Score 1) 33

I wasn't suggesting a mission just to measure this (which of course can be simulated), but rather that it would be something that could easily be recorded form one of the many existing missions(or maybe tourist hotels) that would be distributed throughout the solar system.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 823

by joe_frisch (#48880965) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Absolutely agree if we are talking about fake noise piped into the cabin to make the car sound louder.

My BMW M235 does this and it really pisses me off that I can't disable it without hacking. Makes me wish I had bought a (very similar) Audi S3 which does have and enable / disable for engine sounds in the in-cabin settings. In the M235 the noise seems connected to the "sport" steering and shifting program (though their documentation doesn't admit it of course).

Great plan BMW - you've succeeded in making one of your customers feel like an idiot, a great way to boost future sales. There is this new thing called and "internet" were people share information - you should read up on it. It means that you can't keep things like this secret .

"Safety" noises on electric cards are an entirely different issue.

Comment: Re:Since when did unknown == paradox?? (Score 1) 231

by joe_frisch (#48875999) Attached to: The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

Agreed. Also, if you someone is worried about conservation of energy you have to worry about the big-bang - where everything suddenly appears.

We don't yet have a good theory that includes quantum mechanics and gravity - and that seems to be central to all of these unknowns. Likely we will figure one out eventually.

Most of the issues with quantum gravity occur at scales that are not accessible in the laboratory. Every experiment we can do is predicted by existing theories, and we can't reach the conditions where we expect those theories to fail.

Comment: Re:"Programming" Excel (Score 1) 242

by joe_frisch (#48749787) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay

Nothing wrong with Excel. For some types of problems it is a very efficient tool. It takes quite a bit of skill to write a complex spreadsheet that can be used effectively by other people.

Excel and other spread sheets are good tools where the user is entering a variety of data in different fields, and the looking at the results. You could of course write the functionality in another language, but Excel provides the user interface for free.

Comment: Re:Skip MATLAB, Learn R (Score 2) 242

by joe_frisch (#48749747) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay

Different languages are good for different things.
At SLAC we use Matlab extensively for accelerator modeling and control, It has a lot of very nice features (with add-ins) for signal processing, feedback design, linera algegra and general numerical analysis (numerical integration etc.). It has some nice parallel processing tool boxes and can be very high performance for vector applications. I also has excellent graphical and debugging capabilities.

I've used Matlab and Python (Pylab, numpy) and find Matlab to be a much better tool for this type of signal processing problem, and worse at other jobs. I haven't used R, but I believe it is optimized for statistical analysis which is a different sort of problem.

The wide variety of tool boxes are a big help for many types of problems.

Like most specialized languages it is very good at doing what it is designed to do, not so good for other applications.

The cost of matlab is not significant compared to the cost of the person who is using it. (A FTE here costs the lab ~$250K/year, so a few thousand for a Matlab license is lost in the noise).

Comment: Re:New ways to generate... gravity? (Score 1) 86

by joe_frisch (#48730357) Attached to: Experiments Create Particles Out of a Vacuum Using Neutrinos

This isn't really related to gravity. Neutrinos are (as far as we know) fundamental particles. They are creating pairs of quarks (as far as we know fundamental) bound together to for a pion.

Gravitons are a different fundamental particle and interact much more weekly than do neutrinos. In principal there is probably some cross section for neutrinos interacting to produce gravitons, but the probability is exceptionally tiny.

Gravitons are part of the quantum description of gravity, but they have not been directly detected as particles - the interaction is so weak that it is difficult to imagine an experiment that could do that .

Comment: Re:Dangerous if its the US (Score 1) 360

by joe_frisch (#48657501) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

Air gaps are harder than they sound.

Air traffic control now uses ADS-B data linked from aircraft. Anyone with a plane and a few thousand dollars for an ADSB-out unit (required on all aircraft in a few years) is sending data to the air traffic control computers. Is the data sufficiently checked for hacks from badly-formed packets etc? I'm sure its checked but people have managed to hack other systems that were thought to be secure.

Air traffic control may also need feeds from NOAA weather, which will need to get data from and provide data to many outside services.

Utilities may have internet connectivity to allow employees to quickly fix problems from home.

Even with air gaps, systems often need new firmware or software, so you need to control all of the computers where that development is done, or need a way to be sure the software doesn't have hidden time bombs.

I'm not saying that its impossible, but it can be quite difficult to completely secure a system from sophisticated hacks.

Comment: Dangerous if its the US (Score 1) 360

by joe_frisch (#48655735) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

We don't have widely accepted rules of war for cyber-warfare. It has the potential to escalate into acts that cause civilian deaths, and large scale property damage. Does a cyber attack on nuclear strategic forces result in a nuclear counter-attack - the way a conventional attack might?

IF the US is behind this, the initial response may seem reasonable, but it could lead to escalating counter attacks and real badness.

This is very spooky uncharted territory.

Comment: Marketing? (Score 4, Interesting) 239

by joe_frisch (#48647965) Attached to: Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

Sony makes a, by all reports, terrible movie. Suddenly the hack gives it a tremendous amount of press coverage and controversy. When they finally relent and release it, will the overall ticket sales be up or down?

Nah, Sony is much too honest and honorable of a company to consider such a thing......

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