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Comment: Re: Have Both (Score 3, Insightful) 567

by SLi (#48573363) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

I would do this at work for writing code, but alas, I currently work on Windows, and its support for portrait monitors, let alone landscape+portrait, is broken enough that the path of least pain is just to use landscape alone.

Specifically, there seems to be no way to get proper antialiased fonts in portrait mode. While ClearType makes Windows fonts quite tolerable, it doesn't (and arguably can't) work in portrait mode. Traditional antialiasing could work, but for some inexplicable reason Windows disables it for a large range of font sizes (something like 7..13).

Even worse, you can either use ClearType on all of your monitors or none of them. On portrait monitors Windows, when using ClearType, still renders the fonts as if it was landscape; the result is an incredibly blurry, colored mess. So if you have one portrait monitor, you have to tolerate aliased fonts on all of your displays.

Comment: Re:PR works well? Where? (Score 1) 413

by SLi (#48482169) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

I live in Finland. Why do you think there is "instability" in "having to form a coalition government"? To the contrary, I find it ensures that every vote counts to the extent it should. I also would be somewhat horrified if some party in my country got enough votes that it could form a government alone. It would have way too much power.

Let's consider a simple example, say we have parties A (40% of votes), B (35 %), C (15 %) and D (10 %).

To be stable a coalition should have around 60 % of members of parliament behind it. Hence, generally the interesting stable coalitions would be A+B, A+C+D and B+C+D.

Now this allows for the parties to haggle and trade on those issues they consider most important. For example, say that party B strongly wants to have higher taxes for fuel, while party A is strongly opposed to it. Party A somewhat prefers to impose fascism, while the other parties don't want that.

Now, say that parties C and D would, everything else being equal, not want higher taxes for fuel, but they don't consider it a core issue.

Now, let's say party C wants to safeguard some minority to a larger extent compared to the other parties, and none of the other parties is strongly opposed to that (but would not do it on their own). Party D has similarly some core issue of its own.

Now, A+B may not be a good coalition because their agendas are so contradictory that it's hard to figure out a good deal. A+C+D would be a viable coalition: A, C and D get their wish on fuel taxes, but A has to give up on fascism (which it mildly prefers) and accept the core agendas of C and D.

Also, B+C+D would be possible; probably B would have to make some concessions that A is not willing to make.

As you can see, every party has an incentive to offer to give up to an extent on their minor agendas in order to reach a consensus that is preferable to each of them. And this, I believe, makes everybody get a better deal.

Also, a two-party system (which is a natural result of your voting system) seems to be incredibly polarizing. See, you have two kinds of people, democrats and republicans, and it seems to me that the ones you don't belong to are those crazy lunatic bastards. I find it hard to imagine that is healthy for a population.

Comment: Re:The measurements in question: (Score 1) 142

by SLi (#48377491) Attached to: Data Center Study Reveals Top 5 SMART Stats That Correlate To Drive Failures

Current_Pending_Sector > 0 means you most likely already have unrecoverable errors on your disk, because otherwise the sectors would already have been remapped (and thus not pending). So if your CPS = 3, expect there to be at least three sectors which will return an uncorrectable error when read. Writing to these sectors will allow them to be remapped, which will decrease your CPS.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 3, Interesting) 463

by daveschroeder (#48152325) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

No, it didn't. It was "some sort" of droplet transmission by monkeys in adjacent cages.

That is NOT -- repeat, NOT -- "airborne" transmission.

And no, it didn't go through the ventilation system; it was later learned that sick monkeys sneezing while they were being transported past well monkeys did indeed transmit the virus in this case.

It was also a completely different strain than the one we are talking about.

Airborne transmission occurs when an infectious agent is able to cling to particulates in the air and ride air currents for significant amounts of time, over significant distances, through ventilation systems, etc., long after the infected person who expelled the virus is no longer in the area.

Droplet transmission is NOT "airborne" transmission. It is projecting bodily fluids directly onto a well person in close quarters...usually less than 3 feet, but under optimal conditions, perhaps further. That is still not airborne transmission.

Furthermore, coughing/sneezing is probably one of the least effective ways to spread Ebola, even via droplets. Blood, feces, and vomit are the primary ways this will be spread. Yes, virus "could" be in saliva, mucous, semen, etc. But that's not the primary way Ebola spreads.

Airborne transmission would be very bad, but the Ebola virus is too large to spread this way. It would have to shed about 75% of its genome to be small enough for airborne transmission in sub-5um droplet nuclei that could ride on particulates. And if it did that, it wouldn't be "Ebola" anymore -- it would be something very different; perhaps still deadly, perhaps not, and so much different from what we are talking about right now that it is next to meaningless to discuss.

So, in closing: no, Ebola is not airborne.

Comment: What 20 years of research on pot has taught us (Score 1, Troll) 263

by daveschroeder (#48105723) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

Read the full study in the journal Addiction

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

In the past 20 years recreational cannabis use has grown tremendously, becoming almost as common as tobacco use among adolescents and young adults, and so has the research evidence. A major new review in the scientific journal Addiction sets out the latest information on the effects of cannabis use on mental and physical health.

The key conclusions are:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use
- Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
- Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
- Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use
- Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
- Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users are more likely to use other illicit drugs, but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular cannabis use that begins in adolescence and continues throughout young adulthood appears to produce intellectual impairment, but the mechanism and reversibility of the impairment is unclear.
- Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or reporting psychotic symptoms in adulthood.
- Regular cannabis smokers have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
- Cannabis smoking by middle aged adults probably increases the risk of myocardial infarction.

Professor Hallâ(TM)s report is published online today in the scientific journal Addition.

Comment: Re:Ebola is airborne (Score 5, Informative) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096515) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

Wrong. Different strain, VERY bad source, did not happen through ventilation system. It happened to monkeys in adjacent cages without direct contact, through "some sort" of aerosolized transmission in very close quarters. I.e., droplets.

Fearmongers or people who think "the government" is "lying to stem panic" always trot out this story. It does NOT mean "Ebola is airborne".

It took Africa, with some of the worst healthcare, sanitation, and infrastructure in the world, 10 MONTHS to get to the ~7400 cases there are now. If it were airborne, it would be much, much worse. Ebola is not airborne; stop spreading your bullshit.

Thank you.

Comment: Errata: slashdot mangled my reply... (Score 4, Informative) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096227) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

...when trying to use the carat symbol. Fix here:

Airborne transmission occurs when an droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (under 5 um) to travel on dust particles, and can invisibly hang in the air or travel on air currents in large spaces long after someone has sneezed or coughed, and travel great distances, and can infect when breathed in.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Ebola is, or has been, spread in this way. In fact, the evidence is that Ebola is almost exclusively spread via direct contact with bodily fluids.

Droplet transmission (over 10 um) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

Comment: He thought she had maliaria, not Ebola (Score 5, Insightful) 487

by daveschroeder (#48096127) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

Whether he lied or not, some accounts say that he believed the woman he aided had malaria, not Ebola. And the woman's family themselves may have lied to the people aiding them.

Ultimately, the biggest breakdown occured with the hospital, which was told twice that he had just traveled from Liberia on the first visit, and has since admitted this information was available to all providers. This has caused the tilt to the other extreme, with even the most innocuous cases of fever, adominal distress, and similar, with no travel or other history that would point to Ebola, being handled as such "out of an abundance of caution".

Keep in mind that viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are nothing new in the US. what happens in the United States with other fatal VHFs, that, like Ebola, are only spread via direct contact with bodily fluids and can be easily addressed in first world nations:




Hanta is especially on point, as the US typically has dozens of cases -- and dozens of deaths -- each year, all of which are rapidly contained. The cases of "imported" VHFs, like has occurred with Marburg and Lassa, result in identification, isolation, and either the recovery or death of that person -- and that's the end of it.

Also, Ebola is NOT airborne. Ebola researchers will AT MOST say things like:

Peters, whose CDC team studied cases from 27 households that emerged during a 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, said that while most could be attributed to contact with infected late-stage patients or their bodily fluids, "some" infections may have occurred via "aerosol transmission."

"Those monkeys were dying in a pattern that was certainly suggestive of coughing and sneezing â" some sort of aerosol movement."

"May". "Suggestive". "Some sort".

Even if we change all of these statements to absolute certainty, it still does not translate to, "Ebola is airborne," in the meaning of "airborne" in the context of disease transmission.

Airborne transmission occurs when a droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (10 μm) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

The quickest way to have a threat of possible airborne transmission of Ebola via mutation would be to not aid Africa in this fight, and let Africa fend for itself, creating an environment where the cases could skyrocket into the millions (due to Africa's infrastructure and inability to deal with the onslaught), thereby increasing the statistical likelihood of the feared airborne mutation -- which, if a foothold were to be gotten in the West as an airborne disease, would truly be a catastrophe worthy of fear and panic.

In reading much of the news coverage, online commentary, and this thread, this article struck me as very relevant:

Indeed, with the increasing numbers of Americans likely to believe that any major threat requiring government action is a result of at best government lies/failures, or at worse, an active plot to weaken America and/or strip rights from Americans, fighting any truly existential threat at home becomes almost impossible.

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 1) 191

by daveschroeder (#48084481) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Every official query. Agents are allowed to search through that data at their whim. This was detailed by Snowden.

False. That is categorically, 100% false. That was people interpreted Snowden's claim to be, and that's not how it works. If you look at the nuance of Snowden's claims, even he himself has made various statements to the effect of, "Even if it's not being abused today, it could be in the future." Wow, no shit, Captain Obvious: ANY government power "could" be abused. And? I mean, really? That's why in a democracy we sort of have this thing called the "rule of law". And yes, we're imperfect, in all manner of ways. Again: And?

In the case of the phone call metadata, it has been approved and reauthorized every 90 days by all three branches of government -- the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, two different presidential administrations (which you could only believe are "the same" if you're one of those crazy libertarian types), and a total of 17 different federal judges, who have variously sat on the court whose single purpose and reason for being is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of FOREIGN intelligence collection. (I know all the protests: no, FISC is not a "rubber stamp" court; it is simply not an adversarial court, and armies of lawyers IC agencies don't even waste their time bringing forward requests that are likely to be denied.)

Only 22 people, in total, even have query access to the database, and this data has only been queried around 300 times. Each of those queries requires its own FISA order (to demonstrate the target is not a US Person, or if it is a US Person, that an individualized warrant exists for a legitimate foreign intelligence purpose), and EVERY query of any kind of SIGINT collection, of any kind, has a layer of daily audits. Every query. Ironically, the only people who had theoretical access to data without oversight -- if they wanted to violate their oath, their trust, the law, and the Constitution -- was system administrators. And now, because of Snowden, sysadmins can only conduct sensitive duties (such as entering datacenters or having physical access to anything beyond normal workstations) with another sysadmin (two-person integrity).

Yes, the capability they want against the terrorists is a complete panopticon of all activity. And the simple response is that no, they are not allowed to have that capability when it comes to US citizens. As per the constitution.

There is no way to have technical (or any) capabilities to collect against "only" the foreign targets without having the capability to collect against any target that is using the same systems, networks, and tools. The only distinction now is the US Person-status. That is the fundamental issue in the digital world, and the source of the fundamental misunderstanding of the United States' foreign SIGINT capabilities.

You're vastly oversimplifying the situation, beyond the fact you don't understand anything about SIGINT law, governance, or policy. Where, in the Constitution, does it say the government cannot have a CAPABILITY that COULD be used against Americans? (Hint: ANY government power "could" be used against Americans.) What is the difference, from a Constitutional perspective, of a foreign counterterrorism target using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. (which they do), and an American using those same tools? Do you see the problem, here? It's the PERSON, not the TOOL.

Your "solutions" -- which you don't even need to enumerate for me to guess -- would basically mean that all a foreign target has to do to subject himself to the same Constitutional and warrant protections that are reserved only for US Persons is to ENSURE his communications enter, touch, or traverse a US system or network. Right now that happens incidentally, or because US adversaries still find them to be the easiest methods to communicate, even if their comms might be using a US service, or a US-designed or -owned technology, or may enter the US, even if incidentally.

Given that foreign intelligence collection against non-US Persons fundamentally does not require a warrant, never has, and never will, what tools do you think enemies of the US would choose to use if suddenly you could wave a magic wand and require a warrant for Every. Single. Communication. of a foreign target using a US system? How would that work in, say, a sex chat room that terrorists happen to have chosen to communicate (it happens). Or a private web forum, hosted in the US (it happens). Or any number of US-based cloud and network providers? If you have a solution for how to have realtime or near-realtime access -- and yes, the (near-)realtime here is key, else SIGINT becomes worthless for all but a narrow set of strategic activities -- to only the bad guys while magically protecting everyone else using the same system, I would love to hear it.

Comment: Calling Captain Obvious (Score 3, Informative) 208

...and so do kids, passengers, arguments, the radio, the A/C controls, and anything else that takes your visual or mental attention away from the road in front of you.

This is surprising, how, exactly? Siri and similar are a hell of a lot better than texting and otherwise using your smart device in the normal, "non voice controlled" way.

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 1) 191

by daveschroeder (#48074027) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Dude, do you know who Steven Aftergood is? You might want to look into his background. He's the Director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy and the last person who is going to inappropriately defend government for trying to keep something secret. And yes, Sen. Wyden was trying to get the DNI to reveal currently and properly classified information in open session.*

The fact of the matter is that for at least the last 35 years, phone call records, as a "business record" provided to a third party, do NOT have an expectation of privacy and are NOT covered by the Fourth Amendment. Unless and until the Supreme Court reverses Smith, that is the standing, factual law of the land.

Furthermore, the entire purpose of the BR FISA metadata collection isn't to "spy on Americans" -- it is to "collect the haystack", so to speak, that may LAWFULLY be collected, in order to have access to it when searching for bad foreign actors who may be physically operating within the US on US wireless carriers. And every query against that data requires a reasonable, articulable, and specific foreign intelligence nexus, with its own separate FISA order.

It's not NSA's job to second guess the law or its authorities. Its entire purpose is FOREIGN signals intelligence, and the fact that some people simply can't accept that won't be changed by any amount of commentary in forums like this. Foreign targets now exist in the same sea of global digital communications as you and everyone else â" there is no way to have the technical capability to target the one without having the same capability to target them all.

Which is why, again, in a democratic society based on the rule of law, it is what the LAW says that is paramount.

* For what it's worth, my own personal view is that Clapper wasn't even thinking of the phone metadata program when asked that question. He was thinking more broadly in terms of the foreign intelligence collection missions of 17 IC agencies, which can, do, and always will sometimes encounter the communications content of Americans during the execution of their duties. And the fact is, no matter how many little pissant isolated examples of someone intentionally abusing something, there is no systemic, policy, or enabling environment to illegally spy on Americans. If you want to believe there is, then there won't be any useful discussion between us. Is there room for improvement and transparency on some fronts? Sure. But intelligence requires secrecy in order to be effective, even in free and open societies.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe