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Comment: Re:If you believe this (Score 4, Interesting) 66

by steelfood (#47940655) Attached to: Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

I know everybody talks about encryption, but the word itself is just the tip of security. What's the key size? What's the algorithm? What data is encrpyted? Is it even relevant to talk about local encryption with respect to metadata (which is just as if not more useful to the NSA than the actual data). What about backups? Is it a snapshot of the encrypted contents each time? Or does the backup use a different encryption key, and the data transferred securely? There are so many layers to security (including the user), the "encryption" buzzword is meaningless without full context.

My guess is, Google's not encrypting anything they're really interested in. They're probably not nearly as interested in your pictures or your contact list as say, Facebook. That's data they may currently collect, but ultimately throw away. They're probably more interested in the websites you go to, the links you used followed to get there, the links you followed from that site, the people you actually contact (text, chat, etc.), the geographical location of that person as well as your location, the date and times of your conversations, the contents of your conversations, etc. Local encryption does not apply to any of that data.

In fact, local encryption doesn't even matter much with regards to securing your phone's data. Your phone is probably leaking the encrypted data through one if not more applications. Facebook, Candy Crush, Twitter, etc. largely negate the effects of local encryption. The only thing it will do is keep your private information out of the hands of someone who picked up your lost phone and decided to keep it (or sell it).

Comment: Re:Worse than it seems. (Score 1) 214

by steelfood (#47934141) Attached to: Obama Presses Leaders To Speed Ebola Response

short of it going airborne which ... is extremely unlikely. And if it were already airborne, we'd all already have it.

To start, let's ignore the first part of your statement and focus on the second part. If the disease is airborne, we're looking at an immediate 60-75% reduction in the world's population within 3-6 months. It'd be very, very bad. This is where all the fearmongering is coming from.

Now, let's look at the first part. As far as we know, the virus has not evolved significantly since its first discovery in the 70's. The virus has also been observed to mutate fairly slowly. This is good news. In addition, there are several major hurdles for the virus to overcome in order to become airborne. This is very good news. These two things put together means that the chances of the second part of your statement happening are very, very low.

But really, we need more data. There are too many unknowns right now. We can't tell if the incubation period is trending upwards, or if the mortality rate is trending downards. We don't know if the infection vectors right now have changed in any meaningful way. We suspect not, and there are very good reasons for this. But quite frankly, if they have, then we're a step closer to getting into trouble.

Quite frankly, sending troops to Africa would be useless. Sending doctors might would be of limited use as well, giving sanitary conditions and the way many people treat doctors trying to stem the outbreak. But researchers and scientists, those may be beneficial in more ways than one. Have them go into every village, town, or other isolated population (e.g. each building in a large city) and get bloodwork from everyone. And if anyone in that population is infected, have the local military quarrantine the whole population. And then send the positive blood work back for analysis.

It's a bit cruel (the researchers would be letting entire villages get infected), but given the state of mistrust between the common people and officials trying to manage this outbreak, that'd probably happen anyway. This way, at least clean villages and population centers would likely remain clean. And we'd get some much-needed information on the virus that could be used either to combat the fearmongering, or prepare for civilization meltdown.

Actually, there are several treatments in various trial stages that seem to be effective. So even if the outbreak spreads significantly to the point where much of the world outside of western Africa becomes afflicted, there's a good chance we'd be ready to fight it. Chances are, we'd be looking at a week or two of lost productivity world wide, rather than a genetic bottleneck event.

Comment: Re:Is that a serious question? (Score 1) 915

by steelfood (#47932429) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Uh, for now this is true. In 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? 100 years? There's a huge anti-scientific movement, anti-education, anti-knowledge movement out there. Is it growing? I'm not sure. But it's there, and it's taken over quite a few prominent education systems.

These things happen on generational timescales. individual people don't get (significantly) stupider if the rest of society around them becomes dumber. But their kids might. And their grandkids definitely.

If you want to prevent this eventual outcome, you need to act now. It kinda like global warming. Sure nothing might is happenig right now, but the science says otherwise for 50, 100 years down the line. Now, the science could be wrong, but are you really willing to take that risk and do nothing?

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 915

by steelfood (#47932373) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Pretty much it. We want the radicals in power because we want a subjugated people whom we can take advantage of in extracting their natural resources for as cheap as possible, and at the same time, have a leader who we can threaten to remove at any time with the public's full support.

If those Mid East countries had moderate leaders with strong populaces, they might start getting their own ideas. And if they get too smart, they'd end up in control of their own destines. And that's a bad thing for us.

Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 2) 95

by steelfood (#47932257) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

Oh, I completely forgot my other point besides experience. To even begin to get that kind of experience, you need something that only older (20+) people have: money.

Unless your parent's have the equipment already (or the money to buy it), you as a teenager probably won't even know a number called the F-stop exists. Hell, I wonder if most teenagers who're snapping away on their phones know what ISO sensitivity is.

Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 2) 95

by steelfood (#47932215) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

Heh, yeah, photographers can get more experience in digital format, but your average smartphone of your average person is still not going to cut it.

You don't need a DSLR anymore, but you do need some decent lenses (the more the better) and manual controls. And then, you can start accumulating experience. Until I can pop a 8mm fisheye or 300mm telephoto or 25mm F1.2 onto a phone, point and click it still isn't.

Comment: Re:You guys are always entertaining! (Score 1) 391

by steelfood (#47930263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

It's good to be able to have both perspectives, but that's with respect to being a person. With respect to finding a job, without a grasp of even the basics like math, you're going to have a lot of trouble finding (or keeping) employment. The critical thinking skills that go into solving math problems are very similar to the ones that go into solving real world problems.

A lot of people go into "liberal arts" as an out because they're weak in math. To think that they'll come out with a decent chance of getting a job is delusional at best. The real egregious degree is the undergraduate business degree (which falls under liberal arts in most places). It's a total scam. Even the (non-executive) MBA is something of a scam, but at least it can be worthwhile as a networking and resume padding tool. Soft sciences are next up, but its uselessness can be negated with sufficient technical experience (e.g. statistics) as a part of the coursework.

Now, as for very special jobs like social workers and that ilk, even though employers may prefer people with a degree, you don't really need any degree for those, just a heart. Until you want to start moving up the ladder that is, in which case you'll probably need a masters.

Comment: Re:Um (Score 1) 391

by steelfood (#47930103) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Sorry, some of us are not really interested in the menial job that nobody really likes to do and really isn't paid well to do anyway. Besides which, a good chunk of those jobs are going offshore, and the loudest people railing against "offshoring" are those same people.

Skilled labor, on the other hand, cannot be offshored quite so easily, and a lot of companies are very quickly coming to this realization. The ones who aren't are going to be dead soon.

So no, I'm still in disagreement here. If you have a liberal arts degree and no technical background or aptitude (at least math, please, be good at that much at least), then even if you do get a job, you're not going to be very happy at it, or very well paid. If you have a technical degree, or even a liberal arts degree but a strong technical background, you're far more likely to get a well-paid, decent job that you'll enjoy. And if that doesn't happen, you can always apply for the crappy menial job too, because you'll be a ton better at it than all the other candidates.

BTW, engineering is not the only technical discipline out there. There's also science and maintenance. Each one requires a different personality and perspective, despite being technical in nature.

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 0, Flamebait) 391

by steelfood (#47919037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I question the very premise itself.

Only a few liberal arts degrees require critical thinking skills and even then, it's up to the individual to cultivate that over the course of study. It's easy to BS through even a graduate liberal arts class. Hell, the whole point of liberal arts study is to make something up, and then defend it afterwards.

You can't BS through STEM (though medical researchers seem to do that quite a bit).


... tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees, because those graduates have superior BS skills.


If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein