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Comment: Re: Subject bait (Score 2) 368

by sandertje (#47441931) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

You can compare shit to other shit, but in the end two wrongs doesn't make a right. Civilians are killed in Gaza, and that is always bad. Although, in the end, it's Hamas who is the ultimate culprit. They are launching and storing their rockets from urban areas, in or next to homes, hospitals, schools and mosques. They are using their own people as a human shield. It's their choice to do so. They could have also chosen to launch from a field, where civilian casualties would have been extremely unlikely.

As for Iron Dome, I'm glad it exists. It has knocked out all rockets launched at my family's town so far. Who knows how many Israeli casualties there would have been if it didn't exist; probably many.

Comment: Depends what you want (Score 1) 143

I work in bioinformatics, and use both R and python. The data models in R are stronger than in python, and packages like ggplot are easier to use than matplotlib. That makes it a relatively easy entry. It's also much more similar to SAS than python is. However, R has some big limitations. It is _very_ slow and is a memory clogging beast. It also has some very annoying quirks, like the horrible object model. I find python to be much more flexible, and absolutely required for larger data sets. With the right modules (Numpy, Scipy, matplotlib, pandas, scikit-learn etc) it is equally powerful.

So in the end, I use R primarily for quick and dirty analyses on small data sets, but for anything more elaborate I use python.

Comment: Re: One non-disturbing theory (Score 1) 304

by sandertje (#47363715) Attached to: Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing

You are forgetting a whole range of options. First on modus A: a lot of toxins are not reactive outside a cellular environment. Proteins in cells are highly efficient catalysts, and normally unreactive compounds can become highly reactive inside that environment. A good example of this is botulinum toxin. In itself it is not really very reactive, but it is extremely toxic (several ng are enough to kill a human).

Modus B can - and most likely will - be dangerous as well. There are many toxins that are in low doses subclinical, but do not exit the body. After repeated exposure, the dose inside the body will slowly rise to clinical levels. An example of this is mercury. Plastics, by virtue of being highly hydrophobic, will most likely consist of many of these toxins.

Comment: Re:a THOUSAND times faster than 4G? (Score 2) 78

by sandertje (#47248347) Attached to: EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

The problem you US folks have in one problem that's going to plague in many areas for decades to come: low population density. Even your cities are empty by Western European or Asian standards. The cost per capita to deliver services will thus be far higher than in other parts of the world.

Comment: Re: Some newer coins intend to stay ASIC resistant (Score 1) 281

by sandertje (#47243895) Attached to: Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

Again, this means having to trust some developers to actually do what they're promising. That's the complete opposite of crypto currencies' core tenet: that trusting any humans is not necessary since the technology means no one can feasibly gain any real control. That assumption has now been proven false. If so, then what is the remaining use of cryptcurrencies in favor of general fiat currencies?

Comment: Re: Fear mongering much? (Score 2) 281

by sandertje (#47243873) Attached to: Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

It does have severe ramifications for other crypto currencies. The other crypto currencies are modeled on Bitcoin, with just some parameters different. If Bitcoin can be compromised, this nearly immediately means the other currencies can be compromised as well. The end of Bitcoin would thus also signify the end of most, if not all, other crypto currencies.

Comment: Translation (Score 5, Informative) 83

by sandertje (#46234601) Attached to: Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

For those not able to understand Dutch, I'll translate the message by the public prosecution.

"In an investigation to criminal market places on the internet, the police arrest 5 men - among which a convicted criminal - on Tuesday. On anonymous, deeply hidden websites drugs and weapons were offered. With permission of the public prosecution undercover agents bought drugs and fire arms on multiple occasions during the past few months. They also received an advance payment for a contract murder.

The police arrested two men aged 30 and 31 in Enschede [city near the German border], who are suspect of drug and weapon trade on illegal online market places. It concerns Black Market Reloaded and Utopia, Tor websites which were most likely involved in the illicit market places.

Black Market Reloaded went offline at the end of last year, after a surge of visitors. This sudden surge arose when the FBI took down Silk Road - one of Black Market Reloaded's largest competitors - and arrested its owner in October.

The Dutch suspects maintained an own illicit market place under the name Utopia. The servers on which this website ran have been found in the German cities of Bochum and Düsseldorf, and were seized yesterday. After taking down the website, the police left a note that the hidden service had been seized by police.

Upon request of the Public Prosecution [NL], the Bundeskriminalamt [German] arrested a 21 year old man on Tuesday who is suspected of trade in drugs and weaponry. The man presumably offered not only hard drugs [Dutch law makes a distinction between semi-legal 'soft' drugs (marijuana and mushrooms) and entirely illegal 'hard' drugs], but also offered munition and stolen credit cards for sale.

A 46-year old fellow suspect was already arrested in October 2013 when he was en route to Germany with 1.5 kilograms of marijuana, over 40 grams of cocaine, three kilograms of amphetamine and 1.5 kilograms of XTC pills. The man has been arrested again in his cell today, now for involvement in the illicit online trade and evoking murder.

The police investigation under codename Commodore was started in early 2013 on account of signals about drug trade on internet via anonymous, deeply hidden websites. There would be large scale trade in drugs and other illegal goods and services. Drugs could be ordered through these websites, and were subsequently send and delivered world-wide by post.

The Tor network allows one to surf anonymously on the internet without leaving a trail. Illegal market places within the Tor environment make it possible to acquire illegal goods, services and information. Through the use of Tor it is furthermore difficult to determine the physical location of the web servers.

The illegal and accessible character of these websites with digital payments in bitcoin makes them societally unwanted and a severe disruption of the rule of law. The Commodore investigation gives a clear signal to those who wish to conduct crimes within digital anonymity. The investigation and prosecution of these crimes have high priority for the police and Public Prosection.

The police made contact with the suspects through undercover agents. The agents bought drugs and fire arms with ease. It concerns several thousands of XTC pills, raw blocks of MDMA and tens of grams of cocaine. The undercover agents were offered to buy several kilograms of cocaine.

To the dismay of the police and Public Prosecution, the undercover agents were also requested to "bring someone to the other world". The target would be extorted and subsequently killed. The contact led to a physical meeting, where an advance payment was made.

During the search of the residences of the suspects, computers, storage devices such as hard disks and usb drives, and 900 bitcoin worth approximately 400,000 to 600,000 euros, have been seized. The in the Netherlands arrested suspects are being brought to court on Friday. The Public Prosecution has requested the extradition of the German suspect."

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