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Comment: Of course not ... (Score 1) 75

by gstoddart (#48938925) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

"We are showing that the privacy we are told that we have isn't real"

Of course it's not bloody real.

For us to believe this data has been 'anonymized', we have to assume that a) the company is qualified to do what is required to anonymize the data, b) that they actually give a shit, and c) that they bear any penalty if they do a terrible job.

Entrusting these companies with this data in the first place is the problem. Allowing them to share it all over the place for profit and with no restriction is a terrible idea.

This is precisely why sane countries have data protection and privacy laws -- because corporations are greedy, self serving entities, who won't give a crap if the collateral damage of their stuff is to damage the privacy of everybody they deal with.

And this is precisely why all of those analytics companies in web pages are just parasites and not to be trusted.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 141

by Rei (#48938615) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

My point was all about what happens when the mosquitos are not as infertile as planned.

If some offspring survive that means that they didn't get the gene to kill them for some reason. Aka, they're just like wild populations. So.....?

If chemical companies are going to dump something into my backyard, I will scream and shout just as loud

Your back yard is full of the intentional products of chemical companies. Here we're talking about the intentional products of genetic engineering. You're trying to change the situation by comparing waste products with intentional products.

You seem to claim that people should just trust experts. I claim that experts should attempt to inform the public better, thereby earning their trust...

Sorry, but Joe Blow GED is never going to become an expert on genetic engineering. Ever. Period. And the same goes for the vast majority of the public.

So, rabbits that got released in Australia are the top predator? The Pampas grass in California is the top predator? I can make a long list of invasive species that are not the top predator and still influenced their ecosystem a lot


Got any examples that aren't introduced species? We're talking about reducing or eliminating species within an ecosystem, not adding new ones from totally different ecosystem. And part of the reason rabbits were so uncontrolled in Australia anyway was because settlers had killed off almost all of the top predators. One could easily imagine that, for example, tasmanian tigers would have quite enjoyed a rabbit feast. Dingo numbers were also shaply culled in the areas with the highest rabbit populations.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by Rei (#48938019) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

That's because most physics and chemistry experiments don't breed and multiply.

Neither do infertile mosquitoes; your point?

They are talking about something that happens literally in their own backyard.

Really, you think there's no products of modern chemistry in your backyard?

They are right to do a risk assessment.

And there have been risk assessments done, by regulators, taking into account the scientific data. Risk assessments are not something for Joe Bloe and his GED who reads NaturalNews and thinks that "GMO mosquitoes" means that they're going to bite his children and spread a zombie plague.

Changing the balance in an ecosystem can have huge consequences.

Contrary to popular belief, changing the bottom of a food chain rarely has major consequences; it's the changing of the top of a food chain that tends to have the biggest consequences. The higher up the food chain you go, not only do you have more of a profound impact on the landscape (look at how radically, say, deer overpopulation transforms a whole ecosystem), but also the more species tend to be generalists rather than specialists. Generalists means the ability to switch more readily between food sources, meaning changes further down have little impact on them. But if you eliminate a top predator from an area, the consequences further down can be profound.

Comment: Re: why google keeps microsoft away (Score 1) 172

by swillden (#48937619) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen
The proximity sensor should make that impossible. Normally the proximity sensor detects when the phone is close you your head and turns off the touchscreen so you don't hang up or mute or whatever with your cheek. It should work equally well in a pocket... no need to muck about with locking. If your Android phone didn't do this, that's the fault of the hardware, not the OS.

Comment: Re:This is quite amusing.... (Score 2) 172

by swillden (#48937547) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Additionally, I personally would argue that from a OMG UNIX has conquered the world perspective that Android == Linux as little as Mac OS X == NetBSD since all the parts that people care about are derivative or proprietary.

That isn't true of Android. Sure, if you're writing in Java the *nix-ness is all abstracted away behind the JVM, but if you choose to write native code, you find yourself right back in Linux-land. There are some oddities, of course, like the assignment of UIDs to apps, rather than users. And starting with Lollipop, SELinux is used to block app native code access to many parts of the system (e.g. you can't go looking around in /proc to find out what else is running). But it's definitely still Linux.

It's not true of OS X, either. Again, there are lots of new APIs layered on top, but it's still very clearly Unix. Maybe you meant iOS, not OS X. In that case, I don't know if you're right or not because I've never worked in iOS.

Comment: Re:pot and kettle (Score 2) 172

by swillden (#48937525) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Microsoft has in the past complained that Google Inc., which manages Android, has blocked its programs from the operating system."

MS has a bunch of apps in the Play store.

AFAIK, the only MS app Google has blocked was Microsoft's YouTube app, which violated the YouTube terms of service.

Comment: Re:"Rogue"? (Score 4, Informative) 172

by swillden (#48937517) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

I think the idea is that Google, Samsung, Motorola, and HTC have all made themselves into a sort of cartel that don't allow the "open source project" to actually be a source of freedom for consumers. Cyanogen is "rogue" because it bucks that system and restores freedom to the project.

Not really. That may be the perception, but it's not true. Google is quite happy to see CM and similar third party ROMs flourish; this is part of why all Nexus devices are unlockable.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, and I work on Android, but I'm not a Google spokesperson and this is my opinion, not an official statement.)

Comment: Re:why google keeps microsoft away (Score 2) 172

by swillden (#48937509) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

the real-world problems of trying to use a phone's flash to do Linux-style virtual memory

No Android device I'm aware of uses flash for swap. There are a small handful that swap to compressed RAM, the fast majority have no swap at all; when physical memory is exhausted something has to die.

(I work for Google, on the Android OS.)

Comment: Re:Ooh! (Score 5, Funny) 140

Dibbs on opening the cage! I'll get to work practicing my mad scientist laugh! "Muahahahahaha! YES! GO FORTH AND FEED, MY CHILDREN!"

You should also practice your deflated-sounding "Oh", for when your assistant whispers in your ear that male mosquitoes feed on sap and nectar, not blood.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"