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Comment: Re:1982 is an interesting comparison in other ways (Score 1) 66

by niftymitch (#49819415) Attached to: Cybersecurity and the Tylenol Murders

Orwellian commercial and governmental surveillance, censorship by various nations,......

...the executive order [EO 12333] authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. Such persons cannot be individually targeted under 12333 without a court order. However, if the contents of a U.S. person’s communications are “incidentally” collected (an NSA term of art) in the course of a lawful overseas foreign intelligence investigation, then Section 2.3(c) of the executive order explicitly authorizes their retention. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained.

Now you say that that only pertains to data that is scooped up in foreign communications, but you have to realize that in modern telecommunication networks, data often transverses borders as packets are routed to phone switches that may be physically located in, say, Canada. So call from you in Nevada to your mom in Michigan may be recorded if your call is routed through a phone switch in Toronto, Canada.

It is interesting that the set of agencies commonly made reference to as the TLAs
at this point have near total control over most of the routing infrastructure and could
change routes such that the data passes through an international resource.

I find it amusing that my "location services" often get my location wrong by three time zones.
One time my location was N. Virginia another time some place in MD and I believe
I have been triangulated west and south of the Golden Trumpet just west of one
of the largest holes in the earth known to exist in N. America.

These routing anomalies mostly appeared to be the phone and ISP folk shaping traffic
in ways to give "data" truth to their position that internet transparency and net neutrality
now I wonder... wonder should I click PA or not...

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 1) 683

by niftymitch (#49812627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

Exodus from Earth. We need space ships to spread out in the galaxy!

Errr... No.
The math shows that as immortals migrate the growing demands inside the bubble
are never met. Starvation and worse....
Like a swarm of cannibalistic locusts we might invade the galaxy...
but the wreckage we leave behind... oh my.

Comment: Re:OMFG, what an idiotic post (Score 1) 86

by niftymitch (#49802705) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Patent Troll

i) Yes, unless it qualifies ........

Look moderately hard at:
Patent No. 6,266,674
  Filed... Mar 16, 1992
  Issued Jul. 24, 2001

Did they patent the original adventure game (created c. 1975-76)? ....
Dropping a gold coin or more is clearly a user
defined label for navigating a data structure.
Game after game would play a tune...
Recall the interface for Marble Madness Atari Games c.1984.

Comment: Re:That poor man (Score 1) 270


Except my tax rate went up 17% last year in San Mateo for special assessments.


Well San Mateo... that puts you in harms way of water department fines
and fee abuses.

If it does not rain up on the hills the SF bay area will have a handy dandy
excuse to reset the entire water delivery fee structure.
Almond growers are being vilified yet the domestic water delivery system
and the agriculture water systems are parted off way way upstream and
little is going to fix this issue and not kill a couple oddball fish in the delta.

Comment: Re:That poor man (Score 0) 270

Let's say he has a 1,500 square foot home that he purchased.........leaves him with about $600 a month, which may be needed for cars and everything else. So yeah, sad to say, he's almost poor in California.

Close with a footnote that his personal tax rate does not pay for the solar array.
Some other person or company must make more $$ to pay the tax to finance
the install of this array.

Note that he owns his home and in Calf there is the Prop 13 thing that effectively
freezes his property tax to levels as much as decades ago.

In all arrogant opinionated fairness I would rather give him a power subsidy and allow
others to install and properly maintain an array on their property. Because he is
"poor" the maintenance issue is very real and will haunt these efforts.
Two sons and a daughter tell me that the local education system needs
attention too. His tax footprint does not pass the "pay his way sniff test" for his
children through the education system.

Should he move the title to his home into a family trust the tax basis
could be frozen for his grand kids and beyond.

A good thing... sure. A smart thing I suspect not.

Comment: You must get it right (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#49786185) Attached to: Gene Testing Often Gets It Wrong

You must be abreast of the latest science or you just get cut off.

Less flippant... the modern links to cancer and disease to DNA is an emerging
science. WORSE this DNA science does not have a structure to annotate, deprecate or update
previous results.

There is another /. topic on the problem with "science" that attempts to make the point
that perhaps 50% of science is just wrong in whole or in part.

Old school science had a notion of accuracy and precision... in this case some of
the data may be accurate or precise but then that data is correlated to health issues
and we on /. all know by now that correlation is not causality except in the context
of $$.

Health care is quite happy with causality gaps as long as correlation lets them
manage the system to a profit. Healthcare does take advantage of the real
disconnect gap between money and health.

My favorite bad example is tobacco smoking and cancer.
The correlation is strong but the cause--> effect is still poorly understood.

Hope... some genetic methods are showing great promise on the
treatment side but I am not sure about the prevention side.
news at 11:00 kids.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 417

by niftymitch (#49785991) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

This is also a serious problem in Computer Science. Anything involving data or empirical results is susceptible to these sorts of issues. So, machine learning, computer vision, performance benchmarks, all these areas are rife with the sorts of issues discussed above.

This is not new -- I recall a final exam in a geology class where the answers
came out of the "geosynclinal book" and an hour later I sat in a lecture hall
and listened to a plate tectonic talk which disclosed that the big oil companies
had used plate tectonics to identify target regions on the globe to explore over
the previous ten years.

The omission in all of this is the effective application of "deprecation" and retirement.

Consider the bogus paper on "Autism and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination"
and the associated controversy. Technical journals of the future must have
on line free errata. Even if the original paper is behind a pay wall! Those doing
modern work need to know what can be known about the foundations of prior
art that they depend on. Another internet issue is a glorious lack of dates.
This allows content to look new when it is a reissue with a new cover.

I recall mapping a fault in a region of central Arizona that was obviously
a normal fault but consulting the old maps from the USGS it was marked
as a thrust fault (no map in those old days lacked a thrust fault as was the fashion).
In Nevada other old map thrust fault structures are now clearly wrong in light of awareness of the
modern understanding of volcanic activity.

Computer science has update processes and within some bounds a structure
that allows the replacement of some foundation library when a bug has been
discovered and fixed but that does not cover the case of the bad decision
of null terminated strings. Buffer overflow and OBTW the world has more alphabets
than just ASCII.

The patent offices of the world are in serious need of a pile of Rosetta Stones.
And they have need of international digitization of computer science literature
to apply those Rosetta Stone translations to. Other literature searches for
prior art stumble over new language and news standards... A 7 layer OSI stack
in contrast to a TCP/IP model or the five layers of the VINES protocol stack.

RAID vendors all have their own tools and names for features, functions and devices.
RAID technology has science behind it but vendors like to differentiate or add value
so the names get changed for good or selfish reasons and subtle improvements
to the science might make it into a public scientific journal within a decade.
That is to say that some science has value and publication is delayed.
Some inventiveness is hidden in patent applications (locked and confidential) then
revision after revision attempts to lock in the flow of knowledge as the initial work
is not "quite right" but the .... well that is another topic to rant on.

Comment: Re:it's not "slow and calculated torture" (Score 1) 742

by niftymitch (#49776255) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

It's that eventually, Germany is going to get tired ...................

A big component of the problem Greece was the collapse of tourist trade
because of the burst bubble and economic fool hardiness. Tourist trade
economies are very sensitive to the real economy. Greece, Italy, Spain
(the "PIGS"). As low as interest rates are servicing debt is as easy
as it gets short of not servicing it.

Currently the Whitehouse is telling us that the economy is booming
and going full steam ahead. I suspect that the problem in Greece
ando more is a reflection that the economic profile has not recovered.

Lots of folk working, but no spare cash to travel to Greece (PIGS) or no paid vacation
to take.

We can wave our hands and say that the longer this goes on the worse it
gets but there is more involved here than many are factoring into their
solution view.

The PIGS ( are the
brightly colored canaries in the system. But there are other less connected
nations and conflict areas quietly spilling into the Mediterranean trying to
find landfall and a future..

It is bigger than Greece and the uber rich 1/10 of 1% cannot bail this out
with a tax but they might invest. I might note that the needs of a tourist economy
are not the same as an industrial economy in terms of education and training.
Education and training has a plus 20 year lead time -- generational and changes
to the infrastructure are more complex and difficult than many grock.

One small bright light is Amazon paying local tax on local profit. But these
large apparently rich companies are not rich enough to be a magical tap to
turn and refill coffers of corrupt and ill managed countries.

#include "Goose, golden egg story" // here

Comment: Re:North Pole (Score 1) 496

by niftymitch (#49756357) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

Or a very large powered barge that is keeping your absolute position the same while you travel a relative position across its surface.......

but he's probably looking for the north pole answer.......which again, requires a rather large floating platform for at least some portion of the journey.

He did say "on the surface of the earth" not on the surface of a barge.

However since the earth is moving at an astounding speed through
the universe and polar ice is floating and vanishing there are many footnotes
to this...

Comment: What does this have to do with satellites. (Score 2, Informative) 36

by niftymitch (#49722421) Attached to: Using Satellites To Monitor Bridge Safety

Other than high precision GPS what does this have to do with satellites?

Sensor technology is improving so fast that tools better than this are possible
and inexpensive. It just takes doing it. Perhaps a gaggle of folk from
the Makers Fair will do it for $101.00 next weekend.

In all fairness bureaucratic constipation costs lives.
Positive train controls should have been installed years ago on all rolling stock in the US.

Baring that a software and map update to a common sub $200 GPS that could track and log train speed
as well as sound a Klaxton to alert the engineer. It need not be integrated to the train in a
way that requires system review. Management could apply a GPS-RF transparent optionally solar powered box to
the outside of engines and other common rolling stock to record travel data. DOT could do the same
and track to see if management pressure is pushing engineers to operate outside of guidelines.

A little harder is realtime track monitoring but a shipping container bed could be modified with sensors and
a container of instrument systems mounted on it. Again there is no need to touch critical controls in ways that
risk safety for many audits. Lasers could locate surfaces on tracks with precision. G-sensors, accelerometers
acoustic audits, time, temperature are all possible. To get back to the original topic the container would
"see" track as well as bridges. Offloaded to a truck bed the container would see highways and rubber wheel
only bridges and roads. Tesla seems to have helped with the battery packaging but older Fe based power
storage would be fine as the "pig" need not be weight limited like a car.

Some of this is already happening just not enough of it. More agility is needed.

Comment: The missing link is the link (Score 1) 1

With no knowledge I thing the industry is protesting too loudly and the FBI acting too rashly.

If this is at all possible a hacked/ infected laptop or tablet could prove an very interesting vector for this.

It is known to many that public WiFi services often insert themselves as a central authority for
web traffic and return man in the middle proxy services. A man in the middle attack is
quite risky to being attacked by another man in the middle on either side.

His public announcements put him in harms way of the FBI but I cannot tell what hat he is wearing
because the media outlets are so busy shading this from one extreme to another. He could be
a black hat, a grey hat, a gray hat or a white hat who knows.

My expectation is that all the system in an aircraft are interconnected a little or a lot and once
a hacker can insert his bits into anything the risk of exploit goes up a lot.

The good news is that physical access seems to be involved and these devices can be pulled
or locked down tighter. In this case "the Kragle that kills dreams" may prove to be the way to stop
this in short order.

Bring on the Kragle.

Comment: Re:All about tha Benjamins (Score 1) 143

Aha... but all it would take is ....
the soap in the bathroom of the police office to be contaminated

And all it takes to resolve that is using individually wrapped soap packets.

I don't disagree with the rest of your post vis a vis privacy, invasiveness, etc.

Individual packets establish a clear non random way to contaminate an individual's hands.
The key is who is in control of the soap and it is not the accused.

Adds an entire new perspective to "do not drop the soap".

New technology can be used for good or evil. Understanding it
only begins to lock it down. Voting machines --- too easy to hack
evidence that can be falsified or more troubling woven into an airtight
net that ensnares the innocent on demand.

TLAs that sit on flaws in common operating systems so they can
exploit them simply keep the door open wide for abuse. Since the
flaws are unreported bad guys, good guys and those of androgynous
morality can play with impunity as long as the list is not too long.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

by niftymitch (#49720793) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Yea, well you were not kept as slaves, killed for learning to read, beaten with inch and a quarter thick poles (often to death). Your families were not sold separately to different owners and broken up. You were not systematically........

Some forget that Asia has its own history of slavery, persecution and genocide.
Most Harvard and Yale graduates do not get to read or hear about. Mostly it
is not in English and mostly the written record had been edited by the victors.

On the US side of all this is some omission that the second generation of immigration
is a big portion of the group involved in this. The tiger-mom culture is well represented
in this group. In addition there are some bell curve selection at play here. Those
that immigrated chose to for many reasons. Reasons that involve situational awareness
and the drive to act on it.

I am not sure if there is a good solution but the ivy league is fraught with legacy issues
that are integral to their finance and endowment structure. There is a small admission
group that does not get filled by the astoundingly clever and qualified combined
with legacy admissions.

The result is a stinkpot that the admissions must cope with.

"Facts are stupid things." -- President Ronald Reagan (a blooper from his speeach at the '88 GOP convention)