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Comment: Re:Also possibly fictious (Score 1) 221

by steelfood (#49358825) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

Yes, dark matter and dark energy are convenient constructs to make our existing models fit.

When they find data that doesn't fit the constructs, then scientists have two choices:
1) Change the constructs
2) Change the model.

They're usually going to choose #1 because Occum's Razor prefers #1. They won't go with #2 until there's a sufficient body of evidence that the constructs are completely wrong. Until then, it's just going to be more tweaking and retweaking of the constructs.

Now, when I say "they", I don't mean scientists as a body. Usually, it's just one guy pushing a wild theory that gains traction over time with more evidence and more calculations.

But this is science. It's normally iterative, not revolutionary. Except when the data calls for it.

Comment: Re:I wouldn't mind the NSA so much if... (Score 1) 167

by steelfood (#49349831) Attached to: NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

Even if they're not proactively attacking these malicious internet actors, the least the NSA could do is offer to restore the data from the latest copy in their vaults. Part of computer security is backups, and if they're going to be snooping on your data anyway, they might as well bill it as an automatic backup service.

But they can't even do that much.

Comment: Re:another kind of selection bias (Score 1) 69

by steelfood (#49333099) Attached to: Jupiter Destroyed 'Super-Earths' In Our Early Solar System

There's life and then there's intelligent life.

I'm sure life is out there somewhere. Might even be in other parts of our solar system, completely undetected.

Intelligent life, on the other hand, may not be so easy to come by. For starters, intelligent life requires a certain level of sophistication in the life form. I.e., you can't have intelligent life without a certain level of complexity. Even something as "dumb" as a roundworm is incredibly complex.

Complexity requires stability. Imagine being bombarded by quasars and blasted by supernova. Life is very possible in that environment, but it would be equally difficult for any life form to organize into something more complex than bits of matter capable of replication.

However, on the flip side, life itself requires energy, and energy density. That is, the larger the life form, the greater the energy is necessary to sustain it. Not to mention, energy density is needed for the life form to do complex things. In the most extreme of such cases (humans post-industrial revolution), several billion years of stored energy is necessary to get one sentient creature into a position where it can send information into space. But even in the simple cases, a certain energy density is needed just to maintain the complexity that was built up. Note the number of extinctions before post-industrial revolution humans walked the Earth. Without the necessary energy density, complex life would never recover from each extinction event, instead become less complex over time.

So intelligent life requires a balance of energy (chaos) and stability (order). Which means, based on entropy, that the density of life in the universe over time probably resembles a bell curve. We humans are chronologically located at a spot where the curve has risen above the complexity threshold.

I personally believe (well, calculated based on some estimations) the universe itself is entering the rising portion of the bell curve (entering in the geological timescale sense), where life on Earth is more or less among the first waves of complex life. Which is why we're finding little to nothing out there. As two billion years worth of stored energy is needed to just get us to the moon, and not very many other planets would have had two billion years worth of time to do both store energy and develop complex life, life as complex as us is probably very, very rare at the moment. But, as we're just entering the golden age, in some billions of years, we'll probably see more and more intelligent creatures out there. That will last until the bell curve starts curving downwards, likely in several hundreds of billions of years where energy density has gotten too low for complex life to grow intelligent, which will last for multiple billion years until the universe simply doesn't have enough energy to sustain life itself. But that's probably on a multi-trillion-year timescale.

And on a similar, more depressing vein, whatever life comes after humans on Earth, it will likely be hundreds of millions of years, if not billions of years before there's enough energy for that organism to go through a similar industrial revolution and arrive in space. So for Earth (which probably will no longer be hospitable by that time), we're probably as advanced an organism as the planet will ever see.

Comment: Re:simple to thwart., more difficult with detectio (Score 1) 296

by steelfood (#49293589) Attached to: To Avoid NSA Interception, Cisco Will Ship To Decoy Addresses

Considering the manufacturing is already in SE Asia and Eastern Europe, they could ship directly from those locations to their global markets. There's no reason to bring the product back to the U.S. and then send it out to Europe and Asia again.

Granted, the NSA would still be able to tamper with anything coming out of their North American warehouses, but this at least will satisfy the concerns of their foreign customer. And they may still be able to plant moles in those foreign locations, but that's no different than any location in NA so it's not exactly increasing attack surface.

Comment: Re:What I want to know is? (Score 2) 69

by steelfood (#48995097) Attached to: Some Hackers Unknowingly Gathering Intel For the NSA

The American justice system is based upon law -- not opinion.

That is incorrect. The American justice system is based upon the opinions of judges on the laws written by the legislature with respect to their adherence to the Constitution, the Declaration, other founding documents, British common law, and the founding principles.

That having been said, a case like this would have to reach the justice system first before it could be subject to American justice. And in this situation, just as in say, Assange's situation, there's good reason to believe that these people would never be subject to the American justice system. Instead they would probably be first subject to the American vengance and punitive systems, namely the military and civilian law enforcement. They'd be lucky to face justice alive and mentally and physically whole.

More than likely, Snowden would end up like an American Alan Turing: one who did a great service to his country, only to be driven to an unjust end by its government.

Comment: Re:Cue the libertarian fucktards (Score 2) 379

by steelfood (#48982057) Attached to: Confirmed: FCC Will Try To Regulate Internet Under Title II

I don't think you're libertarian, even if you identify yourself as such.

Government regulation can be both bad and good. You know this. You've pointed this out in the very post I'm replying to. There are situations that deal with the public good and interest where government has to step in. There are situations where government should sit the fuck out. In this situation, even you recognize the government has to regulate. You've also recognized that the government shouldn't have regulated local communications monopolies into existence. The key is knowing when the government should regulate, and when it shouldn't.

The writers of the Article of Confederation found this out the hard way. That's why they rewrote it into what's now the Constitution. This country needs a strong central government. Just not too strong. Industries need government regulations. Just not too much.

That's not a libertarian ideal. But it is a sensical one.

Comment: Re:"Rogue"? (Score 1) 280

by steelfood (#48941975) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

In my experience, Google does not offer good support. They're primarily engineers, and engineers typically have no sense of the needs of anybody else but themselves. Remember, you're the product, not the customer. They are assuredly not a "decent" vendor by any means. They're a tolerated vendor, and not because they're necessarily such great products, but tolerated only because there's no one else.

Rather than any conscious decision to deny you support, the woes you experienced was probably a result of that prevailing corporate mentality. Don't ever count on Google for support. Some of their engineers may be helpful, but there's no corporate policy and in particular, no corporate culture of thinking of their users.

When some people discover the truth, they just can't understand why everybody isn't eager to hear it.