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Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 384

You are right. But only because nobody is actually looking at the problem. Comcast, Time Warner and COX are not the problem, they are the symptom of the problem.

The problem is last mile infrastructure ownership. Municipally owned last mile solves that problem. By pushing the problem from the last mile, to a more centralized COLO facility can solve the problem, by allowing Verizon, Google, Time Warner, COX, Comcast .... and whoever else wants in, access to the same customers.

This gives choice (missing currently) to the customer, rather than lock-in to a Franchise agreement holder.

Comment: Re:Isis (Score 1) 336

Oh, certainly. My point is not that they are harmless, or that their aims are noble(they aren't, and if they could they'd continue expanding until they ran out of room and/or infidels); but that this ideological commitment to territorial expansion also has downsides for them.

Since their desire is to expand(and their continued legitimacy as a 'caliphate' depends on it), they can expect basically all their neighbors to be frosty at best. The ones that aren't Real True Muslims can expect to have their heads sawed off and used to make snuff films, so they aren't going to be too happy, and will have a strong incentive to fight like their lives depend on it, because they do, and even the Real True Muslims can, at best, land an Emirate or similar subservient status. If the alternative is losing power entirely, they'll probably go for it; but they certainly won't like the idea. Aside from ensuring that local politics remain ugly, the enthusiasm for territory also requires a comparatively large amount of manpower dedicated to fighting relatively conventional battles for borders as well as doing boring but necessary administration and governance stuff. And, in addition to there being nothing quite like really, really, boring bureaucratic work to cool some hormonal, maladjusted 18-20something's zeal for Jihad, people fighting comparatively conventionally to take or hold territory are the type of army that we have the best shot at picking off from the air. They probably won't oblige us by behaving exactly like 1970s commies, only lower budget; but they aren't going to take and hold a contiguous nation-state without at least periods of relatively conventional warfare, of the kind the air force just smiles really wide when it looks down upon.

They can still be nasty fuckers, and they are; but their ability to focus on the 'far enemy' (ie. us) is pretty small compared to their ability to focus on the 'near enemy'(every last person who ended up on the wrong side of a nasty little tribal feud in the middle east). Not necessarily zero; but very low per unit manpower and resources.

Contrast to classic Al Qaeda, or the assorted islamist militants that Pakistan's ISI cultivates for use as proxies against India: such groups have no particular territorial ambitions, they just need some basic office and living space, they are generally at least somewhat willing to be 'ecumenical' about various internecine disputes as long as there are Americans and Jews and so on to attend to. Much less dramatic, in terms of capturing locations with actual place names and generally acting like a state; but much more flexible in their ability, and willingness, to deploy resources against soft targets wherever the opportunity arises, and much trickier to root out, since they both look much more like civilians and have a much better chance of having good relationships with at least one host country.

I would definitely agree that IS showing signs of actually expanding out of their little shithole would be Bad; but unless they can do that, their expansionist desires actually make them somewhat less risky to our interests because they'll be focused on slugging it out with their neighbors, rather than blowing up targets of opportunity worldwide. (Very, very, cynically, an IS that fails to expand might even have some benefits: if you want to remain even a nominally liberal democracy, you can't really do anything about religious wackjobs who hate you and your civilization; but live there anyway for some reason, until they actually do something criminal. If, suddenly, their most-likely-to-be-violent and/or most zealous people voluntarily start emigrating to some hellhole to get themselves killed, well, sucks for the neighbors; but some of your problems are now solving themselves.)

Comment: Re:Isis (Score 2) 336

We're all in ISIS' gunsights. It's just a question of who's first

That isn't entirely false, in that they'd be more than happy continue their merry little campaign unto victory or death; but it's a fairly shoddy version of true.

ISIS are a bunch of sociopathically bad neighbors; but their ambition to 'caliphate'(which implies and requires acquisition and effective control and administration of territory) makes them rather more locally focused than an outfit like Al Quaeda. As does their (admittedly gruesome) enthusiasm for settling local grudge matches with Shia and various other groups they deem heterodox. It doesn't make them nice; but it does make them more likely to spend their time on local bloodletting rather than international plotting, and it makes them so uncompromising that they aren't particularly good allies, even of the most cynical convenience, for anyone. They've made it fairly clear that anyone who isn't the correct flavor of muslim is definitely off the table, and they don't call their little strip of sand "The Islamic State" as a gesture of cooperation with other nominally-islamic states in the region, who are unlikely to take being called illegitimate very well.

Comment: Pathetic much? (Score 4, Funny) 336

Should I take it as an unflattering reflection of the true strength of The Caliphate(tm) that it is being actively butthurt about having its twitter privileges revoked? That's the sort of thing that is pretty pathetic among individuals, much less would-be nation states allegedly arranged allong deity-ordained lines.

Comment: Re:Jerri (Score 4, Interesting) 336

...and Saddam existed because we put him there to fight a proxy cold war against Russian-backed Iran.

ISIS exists because we need another set of boogeymen to stir shit up with neighboring Syria and Iran on our behalf.

We read a lot about how ISIS somehow keeps getting access to US-funded weapons sent to the region to help Libyan rebels topple Qaddafi or the Iraqi army "keep the peace". They'll get their Twitter feeds back again when we need them to resume looking evil to the rest of the world so we can justify going back in there to "clean the place up". That time just isn't now.

+ - Statistical Mechanics Finds Best Places to Hide During Zombie Apocalypse 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Eric Mack reports at Cnet that a team of researchers at Cornell University, inspired by the book "World War Z" by Max Brooks, have used statistical-mechanics to model how an actual zombie outbreak might unfold and determined the best long-term strategy for surviving the walking dead: Head for the hills. Specifically, you should probably get familiar now with the general location of Glacier National Park so that when it all goes down, you can start heading in that direction. The project started with differential equations to model a fully connected population, then moved on to lattice-based models, and ended with a full US-scale simulation of an outbreak across the continental US. "At their heart, the simulations are akin to modeling chemical reactions taking place between different elements and, in this case, we have four states a person can be in--human," says Alex Alemi, "infected, zombie, or dead zombie--with approximately 300 million people."

Alemi believes cities would succumb to the zombie scourge quickly, but the infection rate would slow down significantly in more sparsely populated areas and could take months to reach places like the Northern Rockies and Glacier National Park. "Given the dynamics of the disease, once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down--there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate," Alemi says. Once you hit Montana and Idaho, you might as well keep heading farther north into the Canadian Rockies and all the way up to Alaska where data analysis shows you're most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse. The state with the lowest survival rate? — New Jersey. Unfortunately a full scale simulation of an outbreak in the United States shows that for `realistic' parameters, we are largely doomed."

+ - What China is Watching Right Now: Smog

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "TV celebrity Chai Jing quit her job when she learned her daughter was born with a lung tumor. The operation was a success, and she decided to investigate further the persistent smog condition affecting mainland China for at least a decade. Under the Dome: Investigating China’s Haze is a docu-lecture somewhat like a TED talk presenting her findings, and some of them are terrifying. At issue is airborne 'PM2.5' pollution of particles less than 2.5 microns, one sample in her own city yielded a level of Benzo(a)pyrene some 14 times greater than China's (elevated) target limit. Not even near a coking plant.

This may become the most viral video to date within modern Chinese society, with some 8.5 million views since 2/27 on Yoku. Minister of environmental protection Chen Jining has praised the work, indicating the government's acquiesce to its message and rising popularity. A project to complete English subtitles for the Youtube version is in progress and may be completed in hours or days.

These aerosol plumes are global. In California up to ~29% of PM2.5 pollution may originate in China."

Comment: Ice in a box (Score 1) 4

by rwa2 (#49161757) Attached to: A simple question on climate change: heat of fusion of ice

I think I see where you're going with this... you're recalling the lab where you're measuring the temperature of a substance undergoing a phase change, and as you add heat energy to the system, the temperature stops rising momentarily at the transition zone (solid to liquid, or liquid to gas), until finally all the solid changes to liquid or all of the liquid boils off and then the measured temperature starts going up again. And you're thinking that since the global average temperature seems to have leveled a bit during the past few years, we might sorta be in that transition point, so the average temperature will continue to stay steady for a bit, and them 'bam'! all the ice will melt and we'll start to see average temperatures start rising again?

Assuming that's what you mean, I see a few difficulties with that line of reasoning...

First, while maybe land temperatures have leveled off recently, it looks like average ocean temperatures have still been rising... http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/t... . I think people spend too much time studying land surface temperatures, which are pretty fickle.... heat rises, which causes low pressure areas which draws in air from high pressure areas -- which is usually from where it's cold. That probably happens somewhat with oceans too, but not to as large of an extent. Plus, we measure the temperature of oceans near the surface, we haven't really been measuring the temperature of the air up wherever all of the heat rises to. So the ocean temperatures are probably a much better measure of the Earth's climate, and they still seem to be rising fairly steadily.

Second, the arctic ice is melting and re-freezing every year, so we go already go through several of those phase change cycles annually. Yes, we've been "losing" sea ice and glacier coverage each year, but I don't think the heat energy absorbed by melting the ice is anywhere near as substantial as the extra heat energy absorbed from the sun once reflective ice melts away to expose dark landmass or open ocean. This accelerates the melting of any adjacent ice, and the fact that seasonal ice cover is melting earlier and earlier each spring should be cause for concern. But no one really lives up there anyway, so no one really cares if the arctic is missing its cold. But they do like to act surprised and smug when the arctic cold gets sucked way down south so they can complain that climate change can't be happening because it got colder instead of warmer. OTOH, much of the antarctic has been getting a slightly colder over the decades, my theory is because there isn't as much land area in the southern hemisphere to successfully pull the cold away.

Anyway, the Earth is pretty complex to boil down to a simple experiment you might do in a styrofoam cup. Ultimately, I believe the biosphere will do its best to adjust to the conditions to keep the temperature / humidity / air quality within an envelope suitable for life for most of the planet regardless of how much humans interfere or even how much or little energy it gets from the sun. That's how buffer systems work.

Speaking of buffer systems, that's probably a chemistry lab that's much more applicable (and scary). If you remember doing titration in chemistry, you might recall that adding drops of acid or base to pure water would have an immediate and linearly proportional impact to the pH of the water. However, add some buffer systems to that water (calcium carbonate or whatever), and the system response becomes nonlinear... You can add a bunch of hydrochloric acid to the solution and the pH will hold fairly steady, until the buffer is saturated and then BAM, the next drop of acid suddenly tips the pH of your system down almost to where you would have been if there was no buffer system in the first place. I kinda expect a similar thing to happen with respect to global sea levels, or to global temperatures, or more substantially to ocean acidification. It seems like we're so worried about carbon dioxide, which is an indicator for global warming, which is an indicator for global sea level rise, that we're probably going to fail to notice the collapse of the food supply due to ocean acidification and drought, which will likely be the main thing that ends up killing off the humans. But no one is riled enough to riot enough to change anything until food become scarce, so chances are we'll get the opportunity to see this all unfold (maybe not in your lifetime, but probably in my children's lifetime.

+ - ISIS threatens life of Twitter founder after thousands of account suspensions->

Submitted by Patrick O'Neill
Patrick O'Neill (3863175) writes "After a wave of account bannings that marks Twitter's most aggressive move ever against ISIS, new images circulated from militants shows founder Jack Dorsey in crosshairs with the caption "Twitter, you started this war." The famously tech-savy ISIS has met a number of defeats on American-built social media recently with sites like Twitter and YouTube banning the group's efforts in unprecedented numbers."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I should think so! (Score 1) 99

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49159499) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs
The whole point of my post was to suggest one method for causing trouble with URL requests, and I don't doubt that there are others.

However, that doesn't change the fact that, while basically every step of the process is potentially up for grabs, the URLs stamped into the disk are static. Short of replacing the disk nobody gets to change them.

If you control the JVM, you can rewrite them there, if you control the player's OS, you can rewrite them there, if you arrange for your host to be the one replying you can provide whatever response you wish, all true, all bad; but not the same as changing the URLs on the disk.

Comment: Re: I should think so! (Score 3, Insightful) 99

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49155807) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs
I think that the apps are supposed to be signed(at least to get useful elevated priviliges, like access to the network or to the player local storage); but if a signed, legitimate, app makes a network request to a server that is no longer friendly, then it becomes a question of input validation, even if the application signing scheme is 100% in order and nobody screwed any part of that up.

Call me a pessimist; but I'd bet nontrivial money that a lot of the 'interactive' cruft that is pumped out to bulk up 'special edition' releases is barely up to the challenge of presenting a helpful error message if it gets a 404 from the remote host, much less not falling over and wagging its tail against moderately clever malice. In that case, it'd be a fully signed and approved app doing the work, but taking action based on (ill-founded) trust in content it downloaded.

Comment: Re:Best defense is not to care (Score 1) 99

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49155565) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs
I'd not be terribly interested in the capabilities of the players themselves(routers make better zombies and are way more internet facing and unlikely to be turned off, and generally atrocious on security); but I would be very, very, nervous about anything that serves as a nice, subtle, persistent implant on a LAN.

Even enterprises have a nasty habit of pretending that they can get away with a little sloppiness 'inside the firewall', and consumer gear often can't be persuaded not be absurdly trusting of anything that happens to share a subnet with, in the interests of ease-of-use, 'autodiscovery', and similar. If you can get an implant on one device, especially one that nobody is going to suspect(and may have few options, short of replacing, if they do), you can reinfect other devices as they pop up more or less at your leisure.

I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work I will do it.