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Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 2) 331

Have you ever actually tried to do a serious engineering project from scratch based only on what's in the published literature in any field without consulting somebody who had actually done it? It's actually really hard. The devil is always in the details, ...... It's usually nice to have somebody around who can say, "Yeah, we tried that and it didn't work. ....

Maybe you haven't noticed, but the Middle East is full of countries that have had WMD programs involving chemical and/or biological weapons, and even some nuclear programs. The expertise is out there.

The idea that they're on the brink of a devastating weapon that nobody in the DoD thought to prepare for during the Cold War when we had the entire Soviet weapons program working on it seems like a stretch.

The Cold War is long over and the resources assembled to be prepared to fight if it ever went hot started going away long ago, not unlike the heavy lift space rockets (Saturn V) built to go to the moon. Even the people that knew how to build some those things are retiring and dying. They have already had to try to recreate lost knowledge for materials in nuclear weapons. Knowledge and infrastructure a perishable, and that's assuming you aren't actively dismantling them. There are things we could do in the 1950s and 1960s that we can't today without recreating large industrial programs that would take years to put in place.

Being prepared to fight the Soviets 25 years ago doesn't necessarily buy us anything today.

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 331

There's a difference between "being prepared" and "Oh, shit, let's panic!" When this stuff comes up, the public reaction is usually the latter.

Is the public reaction generally panic? I don't think so. Where do you see the public panicking? The actual reaction is largely indifference by most of the public while commentators like you claim the public is panicking and therefore we should do nothing.

These guys aspire to all sorts of stuff and if even half of it were realistic they would have taken over the world by now

But they have taken over countries before, and endangered many others. You're almost building a strawman there.

The reality is that their resources and competence don't match their aspirations and our policy responses should take that into consideration.

The reality is that they have caused enormous damage and killed many tens of thousands of people (at least) using meager resources. In the manner of the classic guerilla they often take what they need from the government.

Some nutbar in a cave announcing his intention to get hold of a hydrogen bomb and blow us all to hell should cause us to spot check the security of the known hydrogen bomb storage sites. It shouldn't cause us to start digging billion dollar fallout shelters under every major city or grounding airplanes whenever somebody uses the word "hydrogen."

You're not getting that right in several respects. We should continue to secure all sorts of nuclear related materials, as we have been, to prevent dirty bomb attacks, or the theft or illegal sale of fissionable material. Requiring emergency shelters in new construction of various type of buildings as some countries do wouldn't add much to the cost and could pay off in many different disaster or attack scenarios. The nutters in North Korea already have nukes and missiles, the Iranians aspire to them, and eventually others will get them. Some of the nutters likely to end up with nukes may find their destruction an acceptable trade-off if they get to badly damage the US. Just 9-11 resulted in $100,000,000,000 in damage to the US economy. What do you think it would have been had New York been attacked with a nuke which would destroy more than one building? Patting yourself on the back for not "over reacting" to the aspirations of "guys in a cave"* is going to be cold comfort if you need shelters to meet other emergencies and you don't have them.

*Who have already managed to kill thousands of Americans and probably well over 100,000 around the world.

Comment: Re:Not so sure (Score 1) 331

We want to attack ISIS, and *poof*, evidence suddenly shows up that ISIS has weapons of mass destruction.

You might recall that they have recently taken control of sizable territory in Iraq to add to the sizable territory in Syria that they control. You may also recall that there were chemical weapons used in Syria, and apparently not all of that use was by the Assad regime.

One of the problems with the news is that is sometimes gets the story more or less right and your cynicism is powerless to alter the facts.

Comment: Re:Hidden Files section? (Score 2, Insightful) 331

Please be sufficiently terrified and not notice it's a sham caused by western meddling in the 1st place.

Many problems in the world are either caused or exacerbated by ignorance of the sort that you have just demonstrated. Al Qaida's goals have nothing to do with what the West does or has done, other than repelling the Muslim invasions 500+ years ago. They want to rule the world, and that means taking over places they don't rule now. Pretending the problem is something other than what it actually is will be very likely to have unfortunate results. The Islamists are teaching their children that they will retake the lands they formerly ruled, and eventually control it all. Now there is a key point here: it doesn't matter if you believe them, believe that they actually believe that, or that they will succeeed. They do believe it, and will act on it, so Western societies and the rest of the world had better be ready for it.

Alarm in Spain over al-Qaeda call for its “reconquest”
HAMAS Targets Spain

The price of denial and PC thinking is starting to be felt in very ugly ways.

Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 331

So what are the policy implications? What do we do differently now that we know this? I mean, we've always been aware that they'd do something with bio weapons if they could.

You ask and answer your own question - the important steps to deal with this sort of threat should have been taken long ago. And if we're "lucky" the "insightful" people in government responsible for helping to prepare haven't dismantled the apparatus developed by the previous administration for handling it. It hard to say what the current state is, but if the constant denial we see on this and related topics on Slashdot is any indication .... well .... we're already screwed.

We also know that their capabilities are limited and that what we're really likely to see is a an attempt that may fizzle or may, if they're lucky, be moderately successful.

Well, that's assuming they didn't make off with any of the biological weapons developed by Saddam (and there were some) or by Syria where ISIS controls considerable territory and apparently has already used chemical weapons, or that the government scientists from those regimes or the former Soviet Union didn't either sell their expertise or volunteer it to "help the brothers."

Finally, we've always known that there's a short list of biological agents that amateurs with limited resources would likely deploy.

And the general public isn't really vaccinated against many of those agents, are they? Also note that amateurs may have a freer hand, especially if they don't aim for a high probability of killing. It is the professionals that are aiming for military grade effectiveness that have to push the envelope. And who says that they aren't buying help from various places, places with considerable experience in "experimental" "evidence based" programs such as North Korea?

Revealed: the gas chamber horror of North Korea's gulag

...things that we're already as well prepared for as we can reasonably be?

Are we? I can think of some things that probably haven't been done, or funded. Do you think the Obama administration is refilling the vaccine stocks as they expire? I'm not sure I would be confident. After all, they "ended" the war on terror, didn't they?

Or is this particular thing so much more likely than any of the million other attack vectors that we should spend outsized resources on it?

Is something potentially this dangerous something that we should just ignore? I'm pretty sure there must be some middle ground between denial and surrender to it being "too hard."

Comment: Re:5820K is an extremely nice part (Score 2) 155

I was just looking at that one a few hours ago (need to replace my desktop ... Mozilla apps are pigs with high core-affinity).

I decided against it because it has many fewer of the new instructions than the 4790K, slower clock, and almost double the TDP (and I prefer quiet/low power).

Obviously for highly parallel tasks that can fit nicely in the 5820K's bigger cache, it will win handily. I'd love to see an ffmpeg coding shoot-out, but I'm concerned that the 5820K's disabled PCIe lanes might hamper other system performance (vs. e.g. the 5830K).

If anybody here has an ASRock Z97 mobo that they love, I'd like to hear about it.

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 4, Interesting) 331

I'd be a little more inclined to believe that the person who wrote the document was a real expert if there had been a known case of these guys actually producing a biological weapon. This sounds a whole lot more like people who have never built a biological weapon teaching other people who have never built a biologial weapon how to build a biological weapon.

It's been known for quite some time that al Qaida and company have conducted lethal experiments with biological agents, even if at times inadvertently. You are also far too dismissive of them. Many terrorists and terrorist leaders have been well educated people: engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. You should also keep in mind that al Qaida has previously canceled attacks because they were uncertain that a particular attack would produce casualties of a large enough number to meet their approval and maintain their "brand" as highly dangerous.

Black Death 'kills al-Qaeda operatives in Algeria'

Comment: Risk Management (Score 3, Insightful) 80

Look, I'm all for getting as much Zmapp to patients as is possible. I think a lot of people are agreement on this.

But we also need to do something about the effed up process of the approval of drugs and vaccines for these deadly diseases.

I'm thinking specifically about the malaria vaccine that has been known to be effective since '96/'97, but which has been held up for extended testing trials by (IIRC) the British drug regulators, who again put a hold on it this spring because it might not be entirely effective in newborn infants.

Meanwhile two million children are dying every year from malaria. This is a really, really, really, screwed up situation, and we have an ethical obligation to do what we can to put an end to these processes.

Even if the latest delay is "only" three months, that's a half million kids or so. It's unconscionable how poor the risk management analysis is - the perfect can be the very, very deadly enemy of the good. And so can drug-agency bureaucrats.

Comment: Re:Employers don't want employees who LOOK lazy. (Score 2) 117

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785833) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

I personally got in it because I like the idea of solving problems, rather than taking care of them for a short while.

Just don't mistake any of the trades for not being problem-solving professions. Laying out a plumbing stack, electrical plan, etc. and making it work seamlessly (err... perfectly), or welding together a skyscraper are very valid and worthy problem solving engagements. Same with shoeing a horse from rods of iron. You just get to move more in these jobs.

I'd love to hear from somebody who feels that writing a finance report module is more worthy an endeavour than building a house for a family. I'm not even confident that it could be proven to be a better productivity enhancer on a macro level as your report module will be thrown away in a few years, but that house will be there for a century.

Comment: Re:Even Better idea... (Score 1) 242

End every punishment doled out by the government without a trial by jury.

Hey, but 93% of prosecutions end in plea bargains; we could not have nearly so many codified crimes and extensive prison systems if every person received a trial by a jury of his peers!

You monster - those prison guards have families to feed!

Comment: Re:This Just In! (Score 1) 105

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785587) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Because you can't have the government competing with them in an area that they might, someday, begin to consider serving.

Yeah, so ... don't let them hear this too loudly ... one way to get Comcast into a town (where that's the only neighboring monopoly) is to lay out plans on paper to have a market competitor build out a WISP to serve the town. It doesn't even have to be a great-coverage plan and you don't have to have affordable backhaul, but have some public hearings and make sure the papers cover it thoroughly - Comcast will be along shortly to talk to the town administrators about pulling cable, on their dime.

I've even seen this happen in sequence, from town to town.

Comment: Re:Jail them for contempt (Score 1) 242

It's long past time that federal judges start jailing these bureaucrats for contempt for not answering simple questions about the no-fly list.

Your mistake is assuming that the judges are interested in rule of law and justice, rather than perpetuation of the power of the State, and by extension their cushy jobs, pensions, and really nice cars and houses. When the first excuses the latter, you'll find synchronicity, but not by the converse. Otherwise a simple constitutional challenge would not be thrown out in deference to statute in 99.3% of cases.

You're probably thinking of Jedi, not Federal Judges. *Big* difference (and this is why we can't have nice things).

Comment: Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (Score 1) 242

Billions spent, law abiding people treated like criminals without due process

And where exactly do you think it's spelled out plainly that the government may not deprive you of liberty without due process of law?

Is there something relevant in 2014 that says this? And by relevant, I mean something that the People are willing to fight to protect?

Comment: Re:Crowding Out Effect (Score 1) 105

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785319) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

The truth is that infrastructure just isn't that conducive to competition.

Heh, just ten years ago I heard people saying that - shortly before Comcast offered phone service and before Verizon offered TV service. Both cable TV and telephone were "natural monopolies" before they weren't. To offer that Verizon had to replace their entire cable plant and Comcast had to replace much of it. What they didn't have to do was go through an extremely expensive political and regulatory process to get access to pole space (in the "public right of way").

Who'd want 3 different water/sewer systems connected to their house?

When the first two are charging $1000/mo for water and the third offers it for $50 a month, then the cost of laying the new piping can be amortized over a short enough time period that either customers or investors are willing to put up the money for the time-value return of the subscribers' rates.

It's exactly the same calculation for anything anybody calls a 'natural monopoly'. Absent an interfering government, the money flows to the best service provider.

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