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Comment: Re:"Cultural arrogance" (Score 1) 116

by hey! (#48647795) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

Where is the "only public enemy number one" rule written down?

Mockery is what we do to political leaders, our own included. Some of us even mock political leaders we support. And that's the test of whether you truly believe in someone or in a system. Everybody mocks people they disagree with, it takes real confidence to mock people you agree with. At least that's the way Americans view things. A leader who can't take a ribbing is weak, and the more elaborate the display of machismo or military trappings the weaker we think he is.

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 191

by hey! (#48646633) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

You can turn that question around. Given the manifest possibility of such a act, why haven't more organizations taken steps to prevent them?

We keep hearing from the companies attacked and the press that these attacks are "sophisticated", but this attack started with a simple spear phishing attack. People use "sophisticated" to mean "more trouble than we were prepared for."

Comparisons to Stuxnet seem overblown and (in some cases) self-serving. Stuxnet was designed to undermine systems the perpetrator had no access to; it would work even if the administrators of the target system successfully locked the attacker out. In this case the administrator failed to secure the network from the attacker.

Not every persistent threat is an advanced one.

Comment: Re:haha (Score 1) 111

Statement from Attorney General Jim Hood/a>

Mr. Hood's letter is so cynical I just can't get my head around it. He has been caught red handed accepting bribes from the MPAA and what does he conclude?

"The Sony emails themselves document that long before the hack many attorneys general were working to make our states safer for our children. It would be a discredit to the public interest not to question Google's actions and consider the consequences."

Think of the children. It's all about the children! That is what Mr. Hood would have us believe. That is just so disingenuous that he loses any shred of credibility.

In fact, his entire statement follows in this vein. He only makes a single reference to intellectual property in passing, and the entire blog is focused on blaming Google for promoting all the ills of our society for their own enrichment.

To paraphrase Mr. Hood, It would be a discredit to the public interest not to question MPAA's actions and consider the consequences.

In fact, the Sony emails document a collusion of the MPAA with the state attorneys to subvert the laws of the nation. All these areas are governed by federal law. The state attorneys should simply pass their concerns on to Congress, and get back to dealing with issues that fall squarely within their jurisdiction.

Mr. Hood dismisses the MPAA's corrupting the agenda of the state attorneys is just a "a salacious Hollywood tale"? No, this is very real, and a very serious issue. Don't those state attorneys have more important things to deal with than the MPAA's agenda? The CID the state attorney launched was according to a plan hatched by the MPAA, and not about the children at all. Just a shakedown in attempt to force Google to do the MPAA's bidding.

"some of its more excitable people have sued trying to stop the State of Mississippi for daring to ask some questions."

What in the heck is that supposed to mean - "some of its more excitable people"? There was nothing in that sentence to even match the pronoun (some of its) . Talk about excited people, Mr. Hood is so excited that he is spouting gibberish. The state attorneys collusion with the MPAA has been exposed and "excitable people" have sued? This is a very serious issue. Google is reacting to mafia-like shakedown in a very calm and rational way. If this happened to me I would go berserk. "daring to ask some questions" These weren't just some questions. They were a shocking overreach, open-ended questions that were unanswerable because they didn't even make any sense.

.

"I am calling a time out, so that cooler heads may prevail."

What an astonishing thing to say. What is Mr. Hood trying to imply with this statement? That Google's lawyers are hot-heads for filling for an injunction against this shakedown? Mr. Hood is calling a time out because he has been exposed. Well clearly he needs one. He needs time to consult with his MPAA friends to plan a strategy as to how to shape this in the press. He certainly isn't handling it very well so far.

"I will reach out to legal counsel Google's board of directors to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the issues affecting consumers that we attorneys general have pointed out in a series of eight letters to Google."

A peaceful resolution: Is he saying he is going to back off and apologize? I certainly hope so.

Comment: Re:Things happen - multiple things (Score 2) 60

by hey! (#48642965) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

Back in the early 90s I had the opportunity of participating on a paleontological expedition to the badlands of Montana. The soil was built up over hundreds of millions of years and flooding cut through the soft soil leaving a stratigraphy that is dramatic and easy to read. You can even see the Chicxulub ejecta, a chocolate brown horizontal line about the width of your hand.

Now whole dinosaur skeletons are a rare find. You can spend a whole season tramping through the badlands and never find two bones that go together. But individual bones are more common, and bone fragments are more common still, and experts can often identify the group of dinosaurs or even the species of dinosaur a bone fragment came from, often a surprisingly small fragment of bone.

What we were doing was assembling a database of species found by layer, which in turn maps to era. What the PI was finding was a shift towards species with anatomical adaptations to deal with heat. His opinion was that there was already a climate driven adaptive stress on the dinosaur population, which turned the aftermath of the Chicxulub impact into a knock-out blow.

So the idea that there was more going on than an asteroid impact is hardly new. People were thinking that way twenty years ago.

Comment: Re:False Falg? (Score 3, Insightful) 231

by hey! (#48642825) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

One thing every thoughtful fan of the mystery story knows is that in real life, motivation tells you very little about who done what. That's because *most* people, when faced with a problem, don't even consider murder. Murderers are not typical people.

The same goes for hackers. When companies first started putting Internet connections back in the 90s in I would explain that they need to start taking steps to secure their networks, and almost without exception the response was "Why? Why would anyone be interested in hacking *us*?" And I had to explain that the Internet was accessible to *everyone*, including people whose motivations and ways of thinking would make no sense to them.

Motivation may have limited use in perhaps identifying some possible suspects, but it's not probative of anything. You can't rule anyone out or in based on what you think their motivations are or should be. The only way to know that somebody has done something is by following the chain of evidence that leads to some concrete action they've taken.

Comment: Re:While great for the dog (Score 3, Insightful) 25

by hey! (#48641815) Attached to: How a 3D Printer Let a Dog Run For the First Time

Well, there's two reasons why 3D printing makes sense. One is prototyping. You might need to make a half dozen different prototypes that are pretty similar to each other before you find one that really works. The second is replacement. You may need to replace these things on a regular basis. Replacing them is just a matter of sending a file to a printer -- no craft skill needed at all.

Hand crafting something like this falls within the scope of my tinkering abilities. I've worked with fiberglass and epoxy and wood. But it's not for everyone and if someone had to *pay* me to make something like this it would probably cost a thousand dollars a pair.

Something like this would seem to fall into the sweet spot for 3D printing: something you need more than one of, but not *thousands* of identical copies.

Comment: Re:$32 million of greed. (Score 1) 167

by hey! (#48639471) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

I have a friend who was a medical entomologist and journal editor before he retired. I ran into him while I was browsing a book table at a conference, and mentioned that I'd like to buy one of the medical entomology textbooks but the $250 price tag was a bit steep.

"Just wait," he said. "I'm about to change that. I'm writing a new textbook that will be a lot cheaper. I want students and public health departments to be able to afford a solid medical entomology reference."

When his book came out the publisher set the priced at $500. It was twice as expensive any of its competitors. Now something like this is never going to sell like a basic calculus book, but it has a considerably larger market than you'd think. His idea was that it would find its way into the syllabus in medical, veterinary and public health schools; and that hospitals and public health agencies would buy copies for their libraries. But his strategy to make that happen by making the book affordable and sell in (relatively) high numbers; the publisher had other plans.

So don't blame authors for high textbook prices. It's publishers who set the price.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

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