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Comment: Why, why, why. (Score 2) 45

What possible reason is there for the passport office to need to expose this information outside the agency?

How can it possibly be worth the risk, even if there is some minor function which they outsourced to the

The gummint ought to be forced to do an analysis of the risk and value before the outsource a function
which provides this kind of access to the data of citizens. Private companies might do well also to do it.

Comment: Re:Deja vu... (Score 5, Interesting) 180

by sotweed (#49222571) Attached to: Exploiting the DRAM Rowhammer Bug To Gain Kernel Privileges

I was describing something that happened in a machine that was built before the world settled
on 8-bit bytes. The machine had 36-bit words, and each word had an address. The 6-bit
nibbles were not addressable. It was 32,768 (2**15) words of 36 bits. Equivalent
to a little over 100K bytes!

Comment: Deja vu... (Score 5, Interesting) 180

by sotweed (#49222347) Attached to: Exploiting the DRAM Rowhammer Bug To Gain Kernel Privileges

This problem is remarkably similar to a problem I encountered in the memory of a 7094 (old
IBM computer) which had a core memory which stored 36-bit words. The memory was supposed
to work by operating on 6 bits at a time at 200 nanosecond intervals. The reason for this was to avoid
creating a magnetic field that was too strong. The problem occurred when the timing was off due
to failure of a component and two of the intervals overlapped. This meant that when one attempted
to store a word with 35 1s, the field created was strong enough to store 36 1s. We wrote a
diagnostic to demo the problem, and with that the engineers were able to isolate and fix the problem
in short order.

Comment: Why so many trucks? Why not railroads (Score 4, Insightful) 242

by sotweed (#46391899) Attached to: Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

I don't understand how trucks, which require much more fuel, and more driver time per load, have
so thoroughly replaced railroads for long hauls. Making trucks more efficient is a fine idea, but
it's only nibbling at the edges. Why not go back to trains for medium to long distances?

Comment: Re:Fixing ECPA is not enough.. (Score 1) 29

by sotweed (#45612589) Attached to: Ask TechFreedom's Berin Szoka About Govt. Policy and Privacy Online

One other question: Is it clear what "fixing" ECPA means? Do you have a specific proposal? Or is it
just that a warrant is needed to examine "mail", regardless of how long it's been stored, whether it's
in flight or stored.

Everyone talks about "immigration reform" but I think there's a very wide spectrum of what that

Comment: Phone call data is not metadata! (Score 1) 96

by sotweed (#45420089) Attached to: Stanford's MetaPhone Project: Crowdsourcing Metadata To Challenge the NSA

It's data. It happens not to be complete - there's more, namely the audio of the call.

Intelligence agencies have been doing traffic analysis on this sort of data -- just who is
communicating with whom - for at least 70 years. For NSA to refer to it as "only metadata"
is the height of hypocrisy.


+ - NY Times reports conclusive evidence of hacking against US by Chinese Army-> 1

Submitted by sotweed
sotweed writes: The NY Times in Tuesday's paper is that a group in Shanghai is hacking against American companies and government agencies, and appears to be supported by and part of the Chinese Liberation Army. American intelligence officials have confirmed their knowledge of this organization. The Times says, "An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the headquarters of a People’s Liberation Army unit." Attention of the hackers is now turning to America's infrastructure: power grids, gas lines, waterworks, presumably via unsecured or inadequately secured SCADA systems.
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In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton