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Comment: What does the NSA really want? (Score 1) 212

Much as we dislike the NSA I don't think anyone would argue that they are stupid. Morally bankrupt, ethically challenged, constitutionally wrong - yes, but stupid - no. Therefore the NSA clearly knows that this is a stupid idea and will never work and will never be implemented. I have to believe this is a negotiating ploy (ask for something totally outrageous so that you can be bargained down to something merely obnoxious - which is what you wanted all along).

That being the case then this must be their totally outrageous start. What do they really want that they will `settle` for?

Comment: Schizophrenic company (Score 4, Insightful) 556

Guys, calm down. This is the Wall Street Journal, the most schizophrenic company in the world. Read a couple of issues of the newspaper and you'll see what I mean.

Articles - 99% of the paper, well written, fact based pieces on current issues of the day. Not balanced since it's understandably tilted toward the business aspects of those issues but an extremely reliable source of information.

Editorials - 2 pages, far right diatribes with the basic premise that big business & capitalism == good, everything else bad.

I don't know how the feature reporters survive in that environment but I applaud them for living in a harsh environment and doing an excellent job.

Comment: Re:My two cents... (Score 1) 516

by n0ano (#48418585) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Personally, if I could afford solar panels, I'd be interested in what uses it could provide during power outages

Where I live, Colorado, solar provides nothing during a power outage (thank you very much Excel, the local supplier). My system is explicitly installed such that it does not provide power if the grid is off. I think the stated reason is safety, this way linemen don't have to worry about unexpected power when they are working on things. (I'm sure the cynical answer that this is just yet another impediment to solar is completely wrong :-)

Comment: Definition of idiot (Score 1) 215

by n0ano (#47333447) Attached to: Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix

Let me check my dictionary for the defintion of idiot:

1. n: A user, especially super user, who uses * as an agument without first checking to see what * expands into.
2. n: A user who leaves his directories world writeable so others can put random garbage in them.

The one line summary for this story is bad things happen to people who use a command without knowing what the command does.

Comment: Watch your language (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by n0ano (#46990769) Attached to: From FCC Head Wheeler, a Yellow Light For Internet Fast Lanes

including prioritization given by ISPs to their subsidiaries that make and stream content

Sigh. Comcast won't prioritize its subsidiary's traffic, it will de-prioritize its competitors traffic.

Please, just classify ISPs as a common carrier (like you should have done years ago) and be done with it.

Comment: You young whippersnappers get off my lawn! (Score 3, Interesting) 230

by n0ano (#46882313) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

I started in 1968 at Michigan State with punch cards on a CDC 6000 mainframe, a big one, all of 65K words of memory (60 bits per word but still, that was considered big back then). As a student I was guaranteed 1 run per day and yes, even after eyeballing my programs carefully I lost many days of work due to missplaced punctuation. It's amazing what you can get used to when you have no choice.

I remember my excitement when I was able to move to a research account from a student one. Research accounts could get as many runs as the system could turn around, typically around 4-5 per day - nirvanna! Of course, the research runs weren't guranteed so when the system got backed up (some physics professor tying up the machine for hours or down time due to HW failures) the student jobs got priority and your research job came back whenever they could get to it. I waited 2-3 days for a job more than once.

Back to punch cards, my favorite technique was something I saw one of the FORTRAN programmers do. The technique used the fact that you could put a line number on any card and it was possible to put multiple statements on the same card. This guy ended every single card with a goto statement to the next card in the deck. As he said, the operators could drop his deck, shuffle the cards and his program would still work properly. (We really didn't like or trust the operators back then.)

Comment: Not that bad (Score 4, Informative) 85

by n0ano (#44842315) Attached to: Boulder's Tech Workers Cope With Historic Flood

When did this story get written, the worst is pretty much past. At 11:30AM local time I'm looking at blue sky, the streams around Boulder crested last night, we're now in restoration mode (I'm lucky, my basement flooded out such that the hallway carpeting is soaked but there's no standing water, unlike my neighbors who share a wall with me and had about 2 inches of standing water throughout their basement).

Things are bad but, at least in Boulder, they're not catastrophic. Some of the surrounding communities, especially up toward the mountains, got it worse, there are some serious evacuations going on up there, but Boulder is fine.

Comment: What happened to probable cause? (Score 4, Interesting) 432

by n0ano (#44479919) Attached to: DEA Program "More Troubling" Than NSA

What I find most troubling from the article is this:

"You'd be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

(Bold emphasis mine.) The casual way that a law enforcement agent advocated violating laws relating to probable cause is astonishing. Subconciously I know that they do this but to actually come out in print and admit it is really sad.

Comment: Broken terminology (Score 1) 235

Obligatory Princess Bride quote - "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - I. Montoya.

The problem is we keep using the term health `insurance' when we are not buying insurance, we are buying health care coverage.

As you say, `insurance' is supposed to provide compensation when something unexpected happens - a rock breaking your windscreen is unexpected and auto insurance correctly pays for that event. Let's face it, if your `insurance' covers yearly health checkups and monthly prescriptions (e.g. insulin) then you are getting a benefit, not insurance.

Unfortunately, words have power and the terms we use to describe a thing winds up having a large impact on how we view that thing (abortion vs. choice anyone, why isn't that pro-abortion vs. anti-abortion)

Comment: Re:It's a legal problem, baby, got me on the run.. (Score 3, Informative) 178

In re: misrepresent the truth.

You need to take a legal ethics class (go figure, lawyers are required to take an ethics class). A lawyer is not allowed to lie to the court, either in what they say or the documents they file. It makes it very hard for lawyers when they `know` that a client is guilty. Yes lawyers have to represent their clients as best they can but, at the same time, they cannot lie to the court. I believe that this is why there is an unwritten law that a lawyer never asks a client if he is guilty, there are some things it's just better not to know.

PS: IANAL but my wife is and I still remember when she took her ethics class.


+ - Toddler shocked by USB cable->

Submitted by
n0ano writes: "To quote from a story in the local paper "A Longmont toddler remains sedated and with an uncertain future at Children's Hospital in Aurora after she apparently was shocked by an iPod USB cable connected to a laptop." I'm no hardware expert but, from my knowledge of the voltages and currents provided over a USB cable, this seems extremely unlikely. Anyone have any ideas on what really happened here?"
Link to Original Source

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the type-A-negative-personality dept.
trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

+ - Windows Live Toolbar collecting user paswords

Submitted by
n0ano writes: "Now that I have your attention the actual article Microsoft plays 'Detective' to determine phishing frequency claims that Microsoft is not collecting user names and passwords but I don't understand how they can check for password re-use without collecting that data. Plus, even if they are respecting your privacy the opportunities for abuse from this experiment are very troubling. Also, it would have been nice if Microsoft had warned people before they collected this data."

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson