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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man 341

Posted by timothy
from the that-trick's-not-so-weird dept.
Any gathering of 65,000 people in the desert is going to require some major infrastructure to maintain health and sanity. At Burning Man, some of that infrastructure is devoted to a supply chain for ice. Writes Bennett Haselton, The lines for ice bags at Burning Man could be cut from an hour long at peak times, to about five minutes, by making one small... Well, read the description below of how they do things now, and see if the same suggested change occurs to you. I'm curious whether it's the kind of idea that is more obvious to students of computer science who think algorithmically, or if it's something that could occur to anyone. Read on for the rest; Bennett's idea for better triage may bring to mind a lot of other queuing situations and ways that time spent waiting in line could be more efficiently employed.

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by nmb3000 (#48120249) Attached to: How Poor Punctuation Can Break Windows

While this article did kinda make me roll my eyes, it's not quite as simple as that.

The basic idea they're saying is that if a user can create a directory with an arbitrary name (which is normal for a file-server), and that later on an Admin runs a maintenance script which doesn't quote input correctly, arbitrary user commands can be executed with administrative permissions.

So user does:

D:\Users\b\bob123> md "Foo&evil_command"

Days, weeks, months later, an admin decides to run a cleanup/repoting batch file that was written in 1996:

D:\Users> C:\Scripts\cleanup.bat

If the script descends into the filesystem and somewhere in that script is the line: SET CurDir=%CD%, then the effective command SET CurDir=Foo&evil_command is executed.

The end result is that evil_command is invoked by the admin. If the admin is a domain admin and that command happened to be net localgroup "Domain Admins" domain\bob123 /domain, then bob has just been added to the Domain Admins group.

It's an absurdly tiny problem compared to the Bash shell exploit, but it is in fact a violation of security boundaries. Raymond's airtight hatchway stories are when no boundary has been crossed.

News

2014 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded To Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-guess-somebody-thought-of-the-children dept.
An anonymous reader writes: This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been given to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for fighting to protect the rights of children and further their education. Yousafzay, at the age of 17, is the youngest recipient of the Peace Prize. Born and raised in Pakistan, she actively campaigned for girls' rights to education. In 2012, the Taliban shot her in the head, but she survived and continued her struggle. Satyarthi, a 60-year-old from India, has led many peaceful protests to fight against child slavery and illiteracy. "Satyarthi estimates that 60 million children in India, or 6 percent of the population, are forced into work. This, he believes, has nothing to do with parental poverty, illiteracy or ignorance. Above all, children are enslaved because employers benefit by getting their labour for free or for a pittance." This year's Nobel Peace Prize awards are also notable for bringing together an Indian and a Pakistani while their respective governments sustain a military conflict along a stretch of border between their countries.

Comment: Re:As well they should. (Score 2) 243

by nmb3000 (#48085985) Attached to: 2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

Any particular reason you linked back to this very article

He just messed up and made the link relative.

Green Light Drives Leaf Photosynthesis More Efficiently than Red Light in Strong White Light: Revisiting the Enigmatic Question of Why Leaves are Green

IANAB, but I think the crux of this article is on the phrase "in strong white light".

Because green light can penetrate further into the leaf than red or blue light, in strong white light,
any additional green light absorbed by the lower chloroplasts would increase leaf photosynthesis to a
greater extent than would additional red or blue light.

So perhaps green light is more effective outdoors, but in an environment only lit by artificial light, green light is probably not the most effective (unless maybe you use both a powerful white light AND a green light?).

Comment: Re:CloudFlare is a f.ing nightmare for anonymity (Score 2) 67

by nmb3000 (#48028363) Attached to: CloudFlare Announces Free SSL Support For All Customers

CloudFlare is a f.ing nightmare for anonymity

Not only anonymity, but privacy as well.

Try browsing around with your browser's Referer header disabled (or spoofed to be empty/google/etc). You'll run into sites that either (1) won't load at all, only showing a "CloudFlare security page" that totally blocks access, or (2) have content that won't load due to CloudFlare's default referrer blocking settings. I assume (2) is to prevent "hotlinking" (aka - "using the Web"), but it prevents scripts, styles, etc from loading. However the first behavior (blocking anyone without a Referer header) is complete bullshit.

Using NoScript on a CloudFlare site can also be a nightmare. They have their own absolutely batshit absurd scripting thing call Rocket Loader. The only impression I've gotten from it so far is that it makes script whitelisting difficult and user-scripts even worse.

I can appreciate the primary selling points of CloudFlare (CDN, DDoS protection), but they do a lot more to interfere with site web traffic. The default settings for a site are also probably too aggressive.

Japan

Update: At Least 31 People Feared Dead After Japan Volcano Erupts 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the natural-disaster dept.
An anonymous reader writes "More than 30 people may be dead in a volcanic eruption in central Japan, the nation's second natural disaster in the past month. Nagano prefecture posted on its website that about 30 people had heart and lung failure, the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body until police doctors can examine it. At least four of the victims were being brought down from Mount Ontake on Sunday afternoon, one day after the volcano erupted."

Comment: Re:No, no. Let's not go there. Please. (Score 4, Insightful) 937

by nmb3000 (#47899595) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or god. Nothing else.

Ideally, yes, but we all know that that's not all there is to it these days.

Only because theists have done everything in their power to change the common meaning of the word "atheist". It's so much easier to persecute someone if you can twist their stance into being the exact opposite of your own because this allows you to set up "us versus them" and "attack on our way of life" straw men.

It doesn't help that for many people (in English anyway), the phrase "I do not believe X" has come to be equal to "I believe against X". Declaration of a lack of a thing does not, in any way, declare that you hold to its antithesis. It's this crucial point that theists miss -- some due to ignorance, but most due to an explicit intent to mislead.

Of course, this applies to topics other than (a)theism, and is pretty much the standard MO of most conservative pundits. Why have a rational discussion when you can fabricate a one-sided fight instead?

Science

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk 937

Posted by Soulskill
from the need-a-way-to-cheat-death dept.
New submitter anlashok writes: Atheism and science face a real challenge: To frame an account of science, or nature, that leaves room for meaning. According to this article, atheists have pinned their flag to Mr. Spock's mast. But they need Captain Kirk. Quoting: "I'm pro-science, but I'm against what I'll call "Spock-ism," after the character from the TV show Star Trek. I reject the idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior. Spock-ism gives us a false picture of science. It gives us a false picture of humankind's situation. We are not disinterested knowers. The natural world is not a puzzle. ... The big challenge for atheism is not God; it is that of providing an alternative to Spock-ism. We need an account of our place in the world that leaves room for value."

Comment: Re:Hexidecimal (Score 1) 169

by nmb3000 (#47829087) Attached to: Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

Did he also decide to produce the Hex output that is entirely useless and without merit? I understand that's for debugging purposes, but who decided that was a good idea to leave in for a consumer-level OS? Seriously.

Ah yes. Everyone should have to set up a second machine, connect it to the other via a serial cable (having remembered to enable serial port debugging on the host prior to the crash), and then fire up their kernel debugger just to get the bugcheck code.

Putting a numeric error code (which usually comes with the symbolic name as well) on a consumer-facing fatal error is absolutely the correct thing to do. Once you've reached the kernel panic failure point there's not much most consumers can do anyway, so providing some diagnostic information can't hurt anything. If you don't then you may as well just restart the machine and not bothering to show an error at all. That sure sounds friendly.

Comment: Honeypots (Score 1) 220

by nmb3000 (#47810115) Attached to: Interview: Ask Christopher "moot" Poole About 4chan and Social Media

A lot of interesting and infamous material ends up on 4chan, some of which might be illegal in certain jurisdictions for reasons ranging from copyright infringement to child pornography.

Have any of the 4chan staff/admins think they've found a real honeypot on the site created by a government or corporation with the intent to prosecute or harass 4chan users (or the site/owners itself)? If so, what actions did you take?

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