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Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 4, Interesting) 285

by silanea (#46803819) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Could you define "not uncommon" please? Daily? Monthly? She saw this herself, or 'heard about it'? And the ambulance crews just waved them onboard, like wide-eyed innocents who could be duped that way? [...]

Some input from a medic from Munich, southern Germany. Depending on which part of town you get assigned to you the number of frequent flyers varies considerably. From experience - no statistics to back that up, sorry - our gold card members are most frequent

  1. in the poorest quarters where half the calls turn out to be drunks, junkies (who usually did not intend to see us) and socially isolated, but not necessarily homeless people looking for someone to talk to, and
  2. in the older, still not so fully urbanized incorporated villages where elderly people of modest wealth abound who cannot properly care for themselves anymore, whose children have moved too far away to provide constant care but who are too proud to move into a dedicated care facility.

What keeps amazing me is that in spite of my - and other medics' - prediction after the banking crisis and the ensuing wave of unemployment the number of FFs type a seems to be more or less constant but type b has been climbing steadily. So this is only partly an issue of poverty. It has more to do with social isolation, with the increasing difficulty of maintaining a robust social network (not Facebook, the family-and-friends variety) that can catch people when they face difficult phases in their life so that they do not hit rock bottom.

Medical care has long transitioned into social care that along the way can also give you a pill or sew up a cut.

And as to whether the medics are duped: Someone wants to see a doctor, you take them to a doctor. That is what the law says. That is what our job description says. We try to avoid it, believe me. We sweet-talk, we bribe, we threaten. But if the patient is adamant, there is no way we are going to assume the legal risk of refusing transportation. The ER staff is not naive, they know their devoted customers. They will make them go through hell, put them through every annoying and time-consuming test they can think of. But guess what: Because of this practice with increasing regularity they actually find a legitimate medical issue that had gone undiagnosed by doctors who just saw the addict or the annoying elderly or the lonesome hypochondriac and treated that instead of the complaints and symptoms.

In medicine there is no easy answer, no magical solution.

Comment: Issue? (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by silanea (#46786839) Attached to: Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

What exactly is the issue here? Maybe I misread TFS and the linked articles, but as I understand the chief complaint - apart from Google's delay in reporting to OpenSSL - is that some large commercial entities did not receive a notification before public disclosure. I did not dig all too deep into the whole issue, but as far as I can tell OpenSSL issued their advisory in lieu with a patched version. What more do they expect? And why should "Cisco[,] Juniper[,] Amazon Web Services, Twitter, Yahoo, Tumblr and GoDaddy" get a heads-up on the public disclosure? I did not get a heads-up either. Neither did the dozens or so websites not named above that I use. Neither did the governmental agency I serve with. Nor the bank whose online-banking portal I use. Are we all second-class citizens? Does our security matter less simply because we provide services to fewer people, or bring lower or no value to the exchange?

A bug was reported, a fix was issued, recommendations for threat mitigation were published. There will need to be consequences for the FLOSS development model to reduce the risk for future issues of the sort, but beyond that I do not quite understand the fuss. Can someone enlighten me please?

Comment: Re:Complete access and indefinite support for free (Score 1) 650

by silanea (#46682277) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

Supporting consumer grade software that is sold for ~$100 a time indefinitely, including providing full internal technical details to arbitrary additional parties, is a "pretty easy barrier"?

It is the other way around: Once a company deems a product uneconomical - subject to mandatory or voluntary warranty that is priced into the product anyways - to support they could simply release their internal documentation, source code, diagrams etc. to the public and be free of any further liability regarding bugs, future incompatibilities etc. That would be a fair compromise considering that IT is one of the very few industries that get away with delivering faulty, unstable and insecure products as the accepted norm. If houses or clothes or refrigerators were produced like software...

Comment: Regional Court (Score 4, Informative) 261

by silanea (#46208573) Attached to: German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games

This is a decision by a regional court. They universally suck at rulings regarding any technology invented after 1900. A state court recently held a domain registrar responsible for copyright infringement. And nevermind the treasure trove of truly grotesque copyright-related rulings coming out of the city-state of Hamburg - they are legendary here in Germany, similar to patent cases in Texas.

This is bound to be appealed, and our higher courts usually fare better when it comes to dealing with Das Internet.

Comment: Re:Sure, Netflix is safe, what about the rest? (Score 1) 213

by silanea (#46208445) Attached to: Reason To Hope Carriers Won't Win the War On Netflix

Considering that they are doing their best to kill fixed lines and go all IP I do not see that happening. They might very well be tempted to somehow degrade experience for any VoIP service but their own, but then we are back at the Netflix situation.

But I am sure you could fix all that, end world hunger and save the whales with a custom hosts file...


Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-my-state dept.
symbolset writes: "Consumerist, among others, is reporting on a Kansas bill to restrict municipal support of broadband expansion. Purportedly to ensure a 'level playing field' to encourage commercial expansion in this area, these bills are usually referred to as oligopoly protection acts. Everywhere they have been implemented expansion of new broadband technology stops. In this specific case no municipal entity in Kansas will be able to enter the same sort of agreements that enabled Google Fiber. From the bill:
Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:
(1) Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or
(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers."

German Court: Open Source Project Liable For 3rd Party DRM-Busting Coding 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the damned-by-association dept.
Diamonddavej writes "TorrentFreak reports a potentially troubling court decision in Germany. The company Appwork has been threatened with a 250,000 Euro fine for functionality committed to its open-source downloader (JDownloader2) repository by a volunteer coder without Appwork's knowledge. The infringing code enables downloading of RTMPE video streams (an encrypted streaming video format developed by Adobe). Since the code decrypted the video streams, the Hamburg Regional Court decided it represented circumvention of an 'effective technological measure' under Section 95a of Germany's Copyright Act and it threatened Appwork with a fine for 'production, distribution and possession' of an 'illegal' piece of software."

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters 732

Posted by samzenpus
from the slow-down dept.
schwit1 points out a new EU road safety measure to fit cars with devices that would stop them going over 70mph. "Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph. The new measures have been announced by the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year. A Government source told the Mail on Sunday Mr McLoughlin had instructed officials to block the move because they 'violated' motorists' freedom. They said: 'This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.'"

Comment: Re:U.S., cough, international pressure much? (Score 2) 166

The subtle point of the Initiative that seems to be lost on you is that there exists a whole spectrum of possible implementations of copyright law in between the quasi-Hitlerian approach taken by Hollywood and the rest of the high-volume industry and the free-for-all approach envisioned by fourteen year olds in the comment section on TPB. Making sure artists are compensated for their work is one thing. Very few people seriously argue against that. But allowing the monopolisation of culture for the lifetime of several generations? Bankrupting or imprisoning people for sharing a few songs or films? We treat arsonists, drunk drivers and drug dealers less harshly than the punishments some of the high-profile filesharing cases resulted in.


Container Ship Breaks In Two, Sinks 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-not-to-ocean dept.
Cliff Stoll writes "Along with 7000 containers, ship MOL Comfort broke in half in high seas in the Indian Ocean. The aft section floated for a week, then sank on June 27th. The forward section was towed most of the way to port, but burned and sank on July 10th. This post-panamax ship was 316 meters long and only 5 years old. With a typical value of $40,000 per container (PDF), this amounts to a quarter billion dollar loss. The cause is unknown, but may be structural or perhaps due to overfilled containers that are declared as underweight. Of course, the software used to calculate ship stability relies upon these incorrect physical parameters."

Comment: Re:Yeah, geez, ya figure? (Score 2) 185

by silanea (#44174475) Attached to: Breaking Up With MakerBot

The whole notion is dumb. It's hit the peak now, it's downhill from here. [...] Then you get people comparing home 3D printing to word processing, as if they still don't get that you can't compare information processing to handling matter. It's not the same, and never will be.

I kindly disagree. Today's machines indeed are only really useful for a limited audience, but once the complexity of use - both in software and hardware - decreases sufficiently their usefulness will expand to fields not even thought of today. I am looking forward to using the 3D equivalent of facsimiles of historical material in history classes. Just consider the possibilities: Instead of showing a picture of a Stone Age arrowhead or a Pope's seal - or, looking at other subjects, molecules, DNA, bacteria, organs... - I could pass around a life-size replica. Not just one taken from the limited collection my school has seen fit to purchase, but one chosen specifically to fit into my topic.

Similarly we are currently evaluating different 3D printing options for the volunteer emergency service I am a member of for producing scaled models of damaged buildings, vehicle wrecks etc. for strategic training. It would open up scenarios currently infeasable to simulate with our hand-built models.

It still is a long way off. But so were ubiquous cheap colour print-outs just 20 years ago.

The Military

Fear of Thinking War Machines May Push U.S. To Exascale 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the fear-begets-a-stronger-military dept.
dcblogs writes "Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program, and concerns about what that means to U.S. security are growing darker and more dire. If the U.S. falls behind in HPC, the consequences will be 'in a word, devastating,' Selmer Bringsford, chair of the Department. of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said at a U.S. House forum this week. 'If we were to lose our capacity to build preeminently smart machines, that would be a very dark situation, because machines can serve as weapons.' The House is about to get a bill requiring the Dept. of Energy to establish an exascale program. But the expected funding level, about $200 million annually, 'is better than nothing, but compared to China and Europe it's at least 10 times too low,' said Earl Joseph, an HPC analyst at IDC. David McQueeney, vice president of IBM research, told lawmakers that HPC systems now have the ability to not only deal with large data sets but 'to draw insights out of them.' The new generation of machines are being programmed to understand what the data sources are telling them, he said."

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?