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Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 310

[...] you also have to create low-cost reusable rockets designed for repeat operation on the moon with little to no maintenance, fueled by materials from the lunar surface. Which is a vastly harder, more expensive task. After all, it makes no financial sense to mine a tonne of water from the surface of the moon and then deliver it into lunar orbit or beyond with 10 tonnes of hardware/propellant sent from Earth, which in turn took 100 tonnes to get off the surface of the Earth. Everything has to be long-term operable entirely in the lunar environment with lunar resources.
There's not any realistic budgeting scenario where it's even remotely cheaper, all capital costs included, to get your water from the moon in the remotely near future than to just launch it from the earth on existing rockets.

Electromagnetic mass drivers might make more sense than rockets for launching raw materials from the moon. At least that was what Gerard K. O'Neill and company concluded decades ago... Of course, you still have to build the mass driver on-site or deliver it there and run a mining operation.

I have to think that for sufficiently large scale offworld operations, you're going to want to mine materials from somewhere - either the moon or asteroids. As interesting as the topic is, I don't think we'll be building semi-permanent moon bases, Babylon 5, or mars colonies within ten years though.

Comment Re:Isn't this what --preserve-root is for? (Score 1) 698

[ ... ] It's completely normal for a *nix based system to expose something like UEFI variables through the filesystem. It's a concept called Everything is a File and is the same reason why root can read and poke places in /proc and /dev to get information about the system or make changes to it.

Sure. But is the mapping provided here sane? It makes sense to provide a view of the variables as files. Reading the file should return that variables value. Writing the file should change that variables value. OK, so far.

If deleting the file is to have any effect on the actual UEFI variables, it should mean deleting the variable, not zeroing it. Does deleting UEFI variables from the BIOS even make sense? Note that for /dev, the files represent read/write/ioctl access to a device but that deleting a /dev file is like deleting a pointer to an object - it removes your pointer but has no effect on the object itself (and any other similar pointers are still usable). I strongly suspect that the filesystem for these variables should work the same way. Even if creating entirely new variables and deleting them from UEFI is a valid thing to do, it probably needs to be done by a mechanism other than filesystem semantics.

Comment Re:No, C and C++ are the most important. (Score 1) 190

C and C++ are only the foundation because the happened to become popular due to a bunch of misc. factors, not because they are inherently great inventions in themselves. [ ... ]

No, C *was* a great invention. That there are other choices today doesn't change that. It was perhaps the first HLL (high level language) that was small, efficient, and yet also usable for low-level tasks. It was "small" in the sense that that it provided a minimal number of constructs and didn't provide any hard to parse features (unlike, for example, Ada). The fact that it was small was probably a big factor in C having one of the very first machine independent compilers, the Portable C Compiler.

From the Wikipeda C entry:

C is a general-purpose, imperative computer programming language, supporting structured programming, lexical variable scope and recursion, while a static type system prevents many unintended operations. By design, C provides constructs that map efficiently to typical machine instructions, and therefore it has found lasting use in applications that had formerly been coded in assembly language, including operating systems, as well as various application software for computers ranging from supercomputers to embedded systems.

Comment Re:Security in various protocols (Score 1) 162

[ Vendors ] are designing security into newer protocols...

That's nice... *today*. Well, assuming every protocol someone designs and that someone implements will be free of security flaws... But, "nice today" is not very useful long term.

Imagine, for example, that something is running using Windows XP or a decades old Linux distro. They could have had the best available security when they were built, but they would suck now. A decades old SSH would now be vulnerable.

It seems that historically, sites always end up with some sort of old cruft in existence. As long as you have to account for equipment not being patched or upgraded, the quality of that equipment's security is insufficient. You need layers. Sane physical controls. An architecture of least privilege. You probably want some sort of VPN that has a guarantee of ongoing security maintenance even when everything else doesn't. Even then, the network access should have some of the attributes you'd use in physical controls - you don't let Joe Whoever into just any control room, so *try* to not allow network connection from just anywhere.

Of the above layers, the architecture may be the most important. For example, if it's OK to be air-gapped, that takes a lot of attack vectors off the table.

Comment Re:HTTPS Privacy Rules (Score 2) 29

HTTPS is the only real answer. Rules like what are being proposed are hard to enforce. But properly implemented authentication and encryption will make such rules unnecessary.


HTTPS is necessary, but woefully insufficient for protecting your privacy. Even with everything encrypted, your ISP still knows what sites you connect to - they do route the packets, after all.
Would it be OK if which ads are displayed on your TV to be affected by which sites you visit? And "you", of course, includes anyone in your household and your WiFi guests. Which snail mail adverts are sent to your billing address or service address? Or, in general, whether or not your name appears on various targeted advertising lists? Or lists that aren't at all about advertising...

A VPN will prevent your ISP from doing this, but then gives your VPN host the same capabilities.

On a similar note, we've had a bunch of articles here about how it's almost impossible to prevent web browser fingerprinting from allowing you to tracked from one web site to another. But, your ISP is in a special position to know all that you visit and who/where "you" are.

Submission + - Hawking Says Scientific Progress is Major Source of New Threats to Humanity writes: BBC reports that according to Stephen Hawking most of the threats humans now face come from advances in science and technology, including nuclear war, global warming and genetically-engineered viruses. "Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years," said Hawking in answer to a question during the BBC Reith Lectures. "By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race. However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period."

During his lecture Hawking also answered a question on whether his synthesized electronic voice had shaped his personality, perhaps allowing the introvert to become an extrovert. Replying that he had never been called an introvert before, Hawking added: “Just because I spend a lot of time thinking doesn’t mean I don’t like parties and getting into trouble.”

Submission + - SPAM: Thwarting abnormal neural development with a new mutation

IvanBRuffin writes: (RIKEN) Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered how to reverse the abnormal axonal development characteristic of CFEOM3, a congenital disease that affects the muscles that control eye movements. Published in Nature Communications, the work shows how creating a specific mutation rescued abnormal axonal growth in the developing mouse brain.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Tracking Protection in Wi-Fi Networks Coming Soon to Linux

prisoninmate writes: Fedora contributor and NetworkManager developer Lubomir Rintel explains how your devices are being identified on a network by a unique number that most of us know by the name of MAC address. Same goes for mobile networking, as your laptop's or mobile phone's MAC address is, in most cases, broadcasted everywhere you go before you even attempt a connection to a wireless network. And that's a problem for your privacy. The solution? Randomization of the MAC address while scanning for Wi-Fi networks. Apple is already using this method on its award-winning iOS 8 and later mobile operating system, and so is Microsoft in Windows 10, so Linux users will get it in the upcoming NetworkManager 1.2 release.

Submission + - Hacking the patent system: Open source and patents .. (

tetraverse writes: It is far too easy to get software-related patents that have broad and vague claims. This rewards people who game the patent system and hurts people who actually develop software.

The current system also encourages companies to stockpile patents for defensive purposes. As long as the patent office keeps issuing software patents, many companies will feel they have little choice but to keep applying for them.

Submission + - Pakistan lifts 3-year ban on YouTube, allows local version (

An anonymous reader writes: Pakistan has allowed access to a localized version of the video sharing website YouTube on company assurances that country-specific filters would be added to remove objectionable content. ABC reports: " Pakistan banned YouTube under a court order in September 2012 for carrying a controversial made-in-America movie trailer that sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world. The movie 'Innocence of Muslims' was considered blasphemous and derogatory to Islam for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad. Some of the most intense protests erupted in Pakistan, where the role of Islam in society is sacrosanct and anti-American sentiment runs high. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority spokesman Khurram Mehran says all the instructions were given and the website was accessible across the country on Monday."

Submission + - Liberia: Next Victim of Counterfeiting (

thepetersongroupmed writes:

Africa always seems to be the target of counterfeiting. Is it because of the lack of awareness among African people? Or perhaps the stereotype tagged in the general outlook of the continent as being poor and illiterate?

Whatever the impression is on Africa’s lifestyle and education, the issue of drug counterfeiting continues to escalate.

When it was once an anti-malarial medicine in Kenya that exposed African conflict against fraudulent counterfeiting which remains unsolvable until today, another part of Africa emerges in mainstream news as the production, exportation, importation and distribution of fake drugs worsen. It is even more agitated by the fact that higher powers are behind the illegal and criminal act.

The widespread of anti-malarial drug scams were reviewed to be led by drug cartels and large mafia of ex-convicts and people with criminal records. This time, the government, the same voice of the people who are supposed to be the ones leading the battle against counterfeiting are the ones who tolerates and even gets involved in the illegal trade.

In an interview conducted by the Peterson Group, one of the first non-profit organizations to inform the public of the latest news on campaigns against counterfeiting, with Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA), the government sector has disclosed that the Government of Liberia sometimes imports into the country fake medicines to be distributed among public hospitals.

“The proliferation of these medicines is posing serious threats to the health of Liberians”, LMHRA Managing Director, Pharmacist David Sumo warned.

Almost all Liberians trust the Public Health Sector when it comes to medicine as they are the only ones who can provide trusted and high-quality medicines to the people.

Sumo added, “Once this news spreads, pandemonium is expected to occur among the public”.

The medicines were confiscated after it was found out that they all have the same series and batch numbers but different manufacturing dates. LMHRA was given the amount of US$60,000 to monitor medicines in five counties including Montserrado, Bomi, and Margibi, among others.

LMHRA is now implementing strict regulations on the import of medicines within Liberia and they are also starting to inform the public of this current threat. The government, on the other hand denies the accusations as they reason that they do not have the resources to procure the medicines.

The drugs were traced back to be manufactured in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Submission + - Biofuels will power Navy's next deployment (

mdsolar writes: This Wednesday, there surely will be tears, hugs and excitement as sailors begin another deployment to the world’s hotspots. On the surface, it will be a replay of a common occurrence in any Navy town when sailors go to sea, but in the ships’ gas tanks will be fuel made from renewable resources that has officials back at the Pentagon exuberant.

“Underway on beef-fat power” might not have the same ring as “Underway on nuclear power,” the historic message the Nautilus submarine beamed when it left the pier 61 years ago today. Nonetheless, the Navy is trumpeting the use of renewable biofuels as a game-changer.

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