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Comment Only Outlaws will Have Encryption (Score 5, Informative) 152

You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

For those of you who don't remember, the software got classified as a munition, people who sold it could be arrested as arms trafficers. Downloads instantly moved from US servers to those in Finland (and elsewhere) and the end result was a big spectacular nothing.

Calmer heads prevailed, in the long run.

The technology is out there, the knowledge of how to do encryption is impossible to stuff back into the bottle.

Comment Re: Ok. (Score 5, Interesting) 664

How is selling ads "abusing" them?

I serve up ads on my website and adblock has never been a problem. The images come from my domain and I write ads inline with the copy and make them relevant to the posted topics. Not only does adblock not stop them, they're far more effective being embedded and relevant to the content.

So, what I hear sites like Boomberg and Wired saying is we want to dish out obnoxious ads from third party advertising networks. They want to outsource advertising income and don't want to work at it themselves. They can't be bothered to make advertising deals for products and services relevant to what their readers want.

This discussion isn't about ads, it's about dictating the terms on which those ads are delivered.

Comment Re:details, details (Score 1) 91

I agree, Using the terms "exploded on landing" is PressSpeak, "If it Bleeds, It Leads".

Having said that, the landing legs sort of have to work.

What do you suppose the time frame is for "successful landing" ? If they stick then landing, and a typhoon dumps the booster in the drink, do you suppose the reporters will say "Booster Sank in Ocean while Trying to Land" ?

Comment Storage Well (Score 2, Interesting) 292

So this is a storage well for natural gas, right.

Is that anything like the proposed storage wells for captured carbon dioxide? Sequestering billions of tons of carbon dioxide in undrerground in deep wells so it doesn't get into the atmosphere and cause trouble?

Methane is lighter than air and disperses quickly -- in fact it goes to the upper atmosphere where it causes the problems that it causes. So this light gas which isn't particularly toxic hangs around long enough for it's impurities to force the evacuation of 1700 homes. Now what would happen if a CO2 storage facility would have a similar blowout, of a gas that is very heavy and creeps along the ground and kills people in houses (and livestock) instead of just stinking them out?

And unlike nuclear waste that is dangerous for thousands of years, carbon dioxide is deadly forever.

Is it really such a great idea to consider storage and capture?

Comment Ministry of Sabotage (Score 2) 118

Frank Herbert wrote a series of novels and short stories about a future in which the Government had become efficient, and because of that, sorely oppressive. In order to restore basic freedoms, a Ministry of Sabotage was instituted, whose job it was to throw wrenches into Government projects, especially ones that intruded into the basic freedoms of the populace.

Edward Snowden comes to mind...

Comment That's how Science Works (Score 5, Insightful) 294

It is unfortunate that in this day and age, it is necessary to explain how science works, and why it is different from other belief systems.

First science is a belief system. The fundamental axiom of science is that an objective reality exists, is independent of the observer, and that by investigation, truths about that reality can be discovered.

What makes it work is that progress in science depends critically on getting it wrong. A couple hundred years ago, people were looking at fire (Fire's Cool), and wondering how it works. Deep thinkers thought deeply about it, and came up with a hypothesis: There was this stuff, phlogiston, that escaped into the air and that was why fire burned, and why stuff that burned mostly disappeared. Good theory.

Then some pesky scientists - who were trying to put numbers to how much phlogiston was in different things - discovered that if you sealed up stuff, so air couldn't get in or out, and burned something, the weight was exactly the same. Hmm. The scientists first concluded that they had captured phlogiston. Great, let's figure ot what it is. Except that burning different things, led to different kinds of phlogiston. The science was a little wrong.

New experiments brought new results. Burning magnesium led to a weight gain, not a loss, so maybe it captured phlogiston. If that were true, then the ash (calx) should burn, right? More phlogiston! Except that it would not. More problems.

To shorten what could be a very long story, in 1774 or thereabouts, two scientists separately and independently came up with a more correct explanation, something to do with oxygen. In 200 years, their explanation has not yet been found to be fundamentally wrong.

Science moves forward by being wrong. A theory is presented, scientists test it's limits, and if there are things that are wrong, they are made better. The process repeats. Every time a mistake is found, every time science is wrong, it gets better. It's like a fine wine, it improves with age. Also, like a fine wine, it is not democratic. The fact that a whole lot of people seem to prefer that Thunder-stuff wine, does not make it a fine wine. The fact that a lot of people disagree with a scientific principle does not make it wrong, just unpopular.

Why is so much science wrong? Well, Homer, that's how it works.

Comment Re:John Oliver (Score 1) 954

You seem to be under the mistaken assumption that somebody desiring to kill others would somehow obey gun laws.

By that twisted logic we wouldn't have laws against anything. Criminals don't obey laws against murder, so there's no point trying to regulate that. Of all the stupid arguments against gun control, that ranks right up near the top.

Comment A Foolish Nostalgia (Score 4, Insightful) 69

The current in-vogue trend towards last (and older) generation technology represents a foolish nostalgia for "simpler, better" times that never existed.

Digital media came about because of limitations (and lifetime) of analog methods. A typewriter is great if you only want one (or two) copies, but if you need to publish something, then it is wholely inadequate. Of course, if you selectively ignore bias towards older methods, you can Xerox a manuscript. How is it that copy machines are OK, and word processors are not?

The same flavor of thing has been happening ever since technology became good enough to be a consumer item. Horses are popular today, not because they're convenient, good transportation, easy to take care of, don't drop dead at the most inconvenient times, but because they're a memory of an older, more romantic time. The important thing to understand is that that time _never existed_. Cities full of horses were knee-deep in horse excrement and smelled that way.

Renaissance Festival enthusiasts happly don chain mail and helmets and swords, and play at being Proud Knights. Somehow, they leave out things like fleas and lice, impetago, death by infected cut, plagues, and castles that smelled like latrines. Oh, What a Marvelous Age, Forsoothe.

What a load of crap.

Things have changed because they are -better- and conspiracy theories aside, it is tough to force something less good onto people for any length of time.

I live in South Texas, and I miss snow. Mostly, I miss it because I do not have to actually live in it. I remember those bad old days of trying to figure out which lump in a parking lot was -my- vehicle. I still miss snow, and I enjoy going places that have it, but only because I don't have to actually live there. People find it easy to eschew "modern" technology, but I'll bet that back home they have refrigeration.

I have no problem with someone wanting to use a typewriter -- I did, after all, for decades. I think that a lot of the resurgence in popularity comes a widely watched television show where the good guy uses an old underwood to write novels.

Personally, I think it's delusional behavior.

Comment Re:Moot Point Now (Score 1) 347

Back a few decades ago, the MP3 file format was created, documented, and some apps became available.

Enter the Music industry, on full tilt attack mode They're still at it. The salient point that they have missed is that it is not the pirates, the sellers, the site operators that made the difference. The fundamental change was the mere existance of a portable, easily exchanged format. What has transpired since then, and what is still transpiring is due to the simple fact that file copying and exchange was made possible.

The same thing has happened with encryption technology. Two factor encryption was created (Thank you Rivest-Shamir-Adleman cryptosystem) and published, and code to accomplish same made public (Thank you Phil Zimmermann). This is the basis - though not the end all - of encryption technology. And that genie is definitively out of the bottle.

The governments can prohibit encryption, penalize encryption, backdoor encryption, whatever they choose to do. Any encryption methods that are secure will be used, any methods that are not secure will fall away. It's become an evolutionary change, and like it or not, there is no going back. These days, any half-competent programmer can design and implement an encryption package that is for all intents and purposes uncrackable in time spans measured in weeks.

The horse is no longer in the barn, people. Live with it.

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