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Comment: Re:Good (Score 4, Insightful) 315

Me too. It's a hell of a lot harder to bug every man, woman, and child in the west than it is to intercept and crawl their communications. Having them have to actually spend time, effort, and money and risk discovery to obtain information makes it far far less likely that they will collect it just because they are able to. It's a check on their power that's sorely needed.

I came here for this exact sentiment. Spying has always had a component of risk of exposure, and that is needed to keep spying at a small scale. Drift net sieving of all our communications is the abuse.

Comment: Re:To Protect and Serve Cancer (Score 1) 289

by plover (#48863013) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

That's even cooler than I thought. I knew high power radar was responsible for some bird deaths, but they were directly exposed to very high power radiation. I didn't know about the army tech statistics, so thanks! (And would you happen to have a citation to it I could use?)

Comment: Re:To Protect and Serve Cancer (Score 2) 289

by plover (#48858341) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

Highly concentrated beams of radio waves are known to cause cold pizza to become hot.


It takes a lot of RF exposure over a very, very long time to increase your chances of getting cancer by a statistically detectable amount. Despite decades of data, (and several very poor quality, highly-biased studies) there is still not a clear correlation between cell phone exposure and brain cancer*. During the course of a police action, the device will likely be on for a few seconds while they recon the inside of the building. For that to cause harm over that short amount of time, it would have to be emitting many kilowatts or even a megawatt of energy; and not only would the resulting burns be ridiculously painful, your heart would short circuit and your eyes would probably boil and explode. Cancer would be the least of your worries.

* If there was a link, cell phone usage is so prevalent across the globe that we should be able to trace a perfect curve that matches cell phone usage to brain cancer mortality statistics. But there isn't even a hint that brain cancer rates are changing due to phones. Toxins? Pollution? Asbestos? Smoking? Volatile Organic Compounds? All those have traceable curves that map exposure to human diseases. Cell phone exposure? Zero.

Comment: Re:Didn't we have this discussion... (Score 1) 289

by plover (#48858083) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

Agreed, it's clear the use of these without a warrant provides inadmissible evidence today.

So if an open source version becomes available, and people can just print one on their 3D printer so lots of people start using them, that somehow makes warrantless use of these legal for evidence gathering tomorrow? Go, Open Source, go!! ??

Comment: Re:Let's be blunt (Score 2) 359

by plover (#48842029) Attached to: Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

I'm not saying Linus doesn't have talent, or that he's not "nearly always correct", but I am saying that he goes beyond stripping away sugar-coating, and resorts to name calling (I believe the phrase I once read was "unevolved chimpanzee"), and public (not private) belittling of people who makes mistakes. That's not simply "correcting you", that's not straddling the line in any way. That's fully crossing the line to being an asshole, and it's completely unnecessary. And here he is, talking about it again. Being an asshole has embroiled him in side debates about the correctness of it, and all of this effort and stupid side chatter is now nothing but a waste of his time.

There's a very-not-gray area of being blunt: "This code is too abstract and isn't efficient, it wastes cycles with all this dereferencing, and is not acceptable in the kernel." It's not nice, but it's not mean. It's actually easy to stay in that area. It takes no more or less effort than calling someone an insulting name, and it provides a not-hostile work environment that might bring extra talent to the table.

Sorry to poke at the god-like bubble people try to wrap Linus in, but I never see talent as an excuse for a prima donna getting away with unwarranted hostility.

Comment: Re:Let's be blunt (Score 1) 359

by plover (#48839123) Attached to: Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

There is not a reason that talent and asshole must always be coupled in the same person. And very few people who aren't assholes like to work in an abusive environment. Therefore, this kind of environment excludes people who have talent but who are not assholes. Of course, a "nice" environment excludes assholes for very similar reasons.

So what we need is what we've got: two distinct environments. One is where assholes with talent build one set of components, and nice people build other components. Occasionally they spit at each other from across the divide, but overall, it works. Yes, people will complain if they find they ended up working for the wrong team, and they may be appalled at the working environment of the other side, but those seem to be individual preferences.

Is one side better or more talented than the other? Probably, but they would unquestionably be better than they are today if they could draw from the full talent pool, instead of restricting themselves to just like-minded assholes or nice guys.

Comment: Re:This could be fun.... (Score 3, Informative) 164

by plover (#48813583) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

My wife recently went in for an ultrasound, and the machine clearly booted up Windows XP. I'm sure they can't install updates it without it being a certified upgrade, so they do nothing.

Meanwhile, whatever hackers are finding their ways into the hospital's network probably aren't quite so fussy about the certification of their malware.

Comment: Re:Which is stupider, the book or the game? (Score 1) 393

by plover (#48808419) Attached to: Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug Or a Feature?

Only in America, greatest and most compassionate nation on the earth, can you find people greedy enough to take online Reddit posts discussing how to "eradicate homeless game characters, compile it into not one but two books, and sell the whole thing for 200+ dollars.

I think he may be trying to eradicate his own homelessness with those prices. Although with the prices for printing vanity books, he might not be making enough to pay the rent for two months.

Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 2, Insightful) 388

by plover (#48804173) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

This is no different. Back in the 1970s, our high school physics teacher had the computer terminal in his area, and so he taught the computer class. He wouldn't allow me to take it because, as he said, "you already know more than I do about this."

The important thing is it wasn't an admission of failure on his part. He knew the class was beneath me, and simply didn't want me to waste my time.

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. -- Franklin P. Jones