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Comment: Re:Why (Score 5, Insightful) 522

by tburkhol (#48206145) Attached to: Shooting At Canadian Parliament

" Do you know how many terrorists that wanted to kill me I have come face to face with? 0.
Remove the "I have come face to face with" and that answer will certainly not be zero.

No, that answer will almost certainly still be zero. The answer to "Do you know how many terrorists want to kill a generic Westerner?" would not be zero, but who fucking cares? There's a few white people who would be happy to see a generic black person dead (and vice versa); there's a few Irish who would be happy to see a generic Englishman dead.

The relevant question is not whether there exist some people willing to kill your countrymen, because that will never be an empty set. The relevant question is whether those people are likely to actually kill more of your countrymen than moose, sharks, or bed sheets. The answer is that you should be much more frightened of bed sheets than either terrorists or sharks.

Comment: Re:Kinda funny how taxes set back the internet (Score 1) 324

by tburkhol (#48203583) Attached to: Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

So taxes "set back the country's technological development by some 20 years", and when it's the internet the Slashdot crowd agrees.
But if it's anything else, taxes are so great. "Pay your share!"

Taxes are about degree: too much and you strangle the economy; too little and your country decays into anarchy. The "tax the rich" crowd see the government spending 50% more than it takes in, sees a bunch of people who save or invest 80% of their income (or loan it to the government), and thinks that's a bunch of money not circulating in the economy. Hoarding doesn't really create jobs, and discouraging hoarding isn't going to strangle anything.

Hungary is talking about imposing a $0.63/GB tax on internet traffic that currently costs something like $0.0002. That's like raising the (US) tax on gasoline to $9000/gallon. Not even the most aggressive sin-taxer would suggest that, because it would absolutely destroy the economy. Hungary is proposing to assess this tax on ISPs while denying them the power to raise their own prices. To sell bandwidth at $0.003/GB, or even $0.20/GB, and get taxed $0.60/GB, is not a viable business model.

To raise the tax rate on income over $500,000 to 50%, or even 90%, like it was in the 1960s, still lets people take home more dollars when they earn more dollars. To raise the tax rate on income over $500,000 to 5000% would be ridiculous, and no one has ever suggested it.

Comment: Re:A few things... (Score 4, Insightful) 324

by tburkhol (#48203291) Attached to: Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

My question is why a $0.62 USD tax on 1GB when a $1/month of 1mb/s can transfer 300GB? $186 of tax on $1 of service. That's a 18600% tax.

That's the most shocking thing, to me, about this proposal. It's a HUGE potential cost. It would make 'modern' web pages, with their kilobytes (or megabytes) of never-executed, embedded javascript, massive stylesheets, fancy images, and ads-ads-ads, extremely expensive. I would expect every Hungarian to immediately cancel any streaming service and to turn off "Auto load images" and "precache links." I would expect that Hungarian web sites would return to 1990's style terse HTML. That could be a good way to drastically reduce bandwith use in any country that implemented it and dramatically increase the pressure on ISPs to upgrade their networks.

Of course, applying it to the ISPs, rather than to the users, means that none of the bandwidth-conservation pressure will be applied to the people actually capable of affecting consumption, so it's likely to have no effect whatsoever. Except, maybe, to force all of the ISPs into bankruptcy

Comment: Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score 1) 274

by tburkhol (#48185507) Attached to: The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea
These are not really the largest ship ever built, just the largest container ships. The Knock Nevis was a full 200 feet longer and 30 feet wider, and many in-service ULCCs are larger. The triple-E has a capacity of 165k DWT, where the 'standard' size for VLCC supertankers is 280k DWT. The first Triple-E was launched in 2013, so I don't know why they're talking about this like it's a future event.

Comment: Re:Obama Admin! (Score 1) 284

by tburkhol (#48167333) Attached to: FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

Yes, I know Bush did a lot of spying, but that's different than encryption. Did any of Bush's honchos run around saying people shouldn't use encryption because the government needs to see it? Or pushing for laws banning the use of encryption, or trying to force everyone to have government-approved encryption chips with NSA backdoors built-in?

The Bush administration was running on the hope that the secrecy of their widespread wiretapping and the technical hurdles to encryption would result in few people using encryption. Which, of course, is exactly how it worked. Once the public became aware that the government was monitoring literally every phone call, text, and email, the public backlash has greatly expanded encryption. Don't imagine that a republican administration would be any more willing to let you keep your communication private. They might use different tactics, but secretly putting back doors in software is not really any better than a public campaign to install government backdoors in software.

Personally, I think one of two things is going on here. 1) The administration actually is trying to gauge or influence people to accept the Glasshouse in exchange for "security." 2) Encryption is a red herring, and an actual counter based on a different technology/strategy has already implemented.

Comment: Re:IP is licensed separately. (Score 1) 224

by tburkhol (#48157735) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

To add to this - probably best not to mention any patents you are holding, unless you believe this is specifically what the prospective employer is looking for. From the hiring perspective, I don't want to hire somebody who might reasonably be expected to tell me "I'm leaving to pursue my own independent business prospects now", and I sure don't want to hear "I'm leaving to become your competitor now".

If I hire someone, the last thing I want to hear is "I can write this program for you, but only if you license my existing patent." People leave jobs for greener pastures all the time. People have outside interests. If the job I'm offering can't hold your interest, then I'll find someone else. If you use your employment to try to extort IP fees from me, you better damn well expect to lose that employment. And probably expect a lawsuit to recoup any wages or signing bonus already paid.

Comment: Re:Oh great (Score 1) 549

by tburkhol (#48139417) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

If I tell you that my password contains 7 words (contained in my /usr/share/dict/words which is 99171 lines long), with a comma after the 3rd and a full stop at the end, you will still have to search through 94,339,343,028,749,422,154,850,189,341,666,091 (9.4E34) combinations - best get cracking.

If you also tell me that your password is a semantically valid English language phrase, then the vast majority of those 9e34 combinations can be excluded. So, "Love is beautiful, like birds that sing." is less random than "reconform uncharitable caldera poorly" The phrase is easier to remember; has more characters, but is drawn from a smaller space.

I would love to see a password validator that just runs some of the common dictionary attacks on the password, and tells the user how long it took to break. If it breaks within 10 seconds, or 30 seconds, reject the password. People are terrible at estimating randomness, but giving them direct feedback will help them understand what really makes a hard to guess password.

Comment: Re:symbols, caps, numbers (Score 2) 549

by tburkhol (#48139255) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

It's insane. It's not possible for my coworkers to remember them all, so they get written down, which certainly doesn't increase security. Many times people keep their passwords in their phones. Some write them down on paper and keep them in their wallet. Some folks leave them on notes in their cubicle.

The question whether this increases or reduces security depends on what kind of attack you expect. If you expect to be specifically targeted, by a human being that can gain access to your personal space in such a way as to read the notes on your keyboard or cubicle walls, then writing down passwords is Bad. Making a conspicuous display of user/pass combinations could certainly make you a specific 'target of opportunity.' But if your primary security concerns are compromise of some bank/website's database or scripted attacks on internet services, then it hardly matters if a physical representation of your password exists, and it really helps to have different codes.

I imagine that any decent system, once it finds a valid user/pass combination, promptly runs off and tries that everywhere: every bank, every ISP, every email service, every social networking site, every game server. Site-specific passwords will hugely reduce the damage due to a successful hack. Storing your user/pass combinations on a hackable device might not be the best solution, but for most of us semi-anonymous internet denizens, a system that a human would rapidly recognize may still defeat a script.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 986

He has the device. He doesn't need investors. All he needs to do is hook up to the net and start selling energy.

He has, at best, a device that generates excess heat. That's a long way from generating excess electricity. Or energy in any saleable form. Now, one might argue that extracting the heat from such a device to run a steam turbine (or some such) is simply an engineering problem, but it's an engineering problem that has well-defined losses associated. If his excess heat isn't greater than the conversion losses, then his device is still pretty useless.

Comment: Re:In a just world Weev would have a 9mm headache (Score 1) 728

by tburkhol (#48112701) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Hunting a troll down and gutting them, while not smart personally, might send a message to the rest of them. You're not as anonymous on the internet as you think you are.

Curiously, the troll believed to be targetting Medeleine McCann's family was found dead in a hotel earlier this week

Comment: Re:Does that mean they'll get to vote? (Score 1) 385

by tburkhol (#48101349) Attached to: Chimpanzee "Personhood" Is Back In Court

What you have just described is the sole and singular reason corporations were formed in the first place. That is to limit the risk to an investor to the amount of money they have put into it. ie the value of the stocks they hold.

No, limited liability is a rather newer invention than incorporation. Only by about a millennium and a half.

Are you sure you're reading that wiki right, dude? It sure looks like they're claiming that Rome defined corporate entities as separate legal structures with their own liability in the mid 6th century. The unlimited liability the wiki refers to seems to be specific to UK law, and especially to companies created by royal charter, as the establishment of modern stock-based corporations was followed rapidly by the Limited Liability Act.

Comment: Re:nothing was 'such an issue decades ago' Huh? (Score 5, Insightful) 283

by tburkhol (#48090253) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

To paint a slightly caricatural picture, when research budgets expanded, the people in charge used most of the money to expand their own labs rather than to create more tenured jobs.

That's because you can't create permanent jobs from temporary funding. No individual researcher has the power to create a tenure-track position, because those positions are created by the university. In the case of state universities, tenure track positions come directly from the state budget. Over the last 40 years, states have uniformly decided that providing a college education is not the state's job. State allocations have not kept up with inflation or student body growth. Since 1980, universities have had to meet a 95% increase in student body growth in parallel with a 40% decline in state funding. They've done this by raising tuition and hiring non-tenure-track lecturers.

Research is amplifies that trend. Research grants are nominally to the university, but they will generally move with the principal investigator. Research grants actually take away from faculty's ability to teach classes, and the shortfall is made up by hiring temporary, non-tenure-track lecturers. So, now you have the state commitment to long-term faculty being bought out with short-term contracts.

If you want to increase full-time, tenure-track faculty growth, you need to get state taxpayers to commit to the socialistic principle of state-funded education, raise taxes, and hire faculty. Research contracts won't teach your children.

Comment: Re:Changes require systematic, reliable evidence.. (Score 1) 336

by tburkhol (#48073367) Attached to: Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

You don't need net neutrality for that. All you need is for the PUC/PSCs (for telcos) and the local Franchise Authorities (for cable) to mandate competitive wholesale access to last-mile facilities.

Your minimal-government-intervention solution is for the government to force the incumbent ISPs to lease their privately-owned infrastructure to their competitors, and at government-regulated prices? I am interested to see how you justify that as a lower regulatory burden than forbidding the prioritization of packets based on origin.

Comment: Re:Changes require systematic, reliable evidence.. (Score 1) 336

by tburkhol (#48073287) Attached to: Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

As far as I know anyone who occupies the public right of way, has to pay a fee for that usage: http://www.texaspolicy.com/cen...

Most cable companies pass those user fees on to customers explicitly, "Regulatory Recovery Fee." Obviously, all expenses of the cable company are eventually paid by subscribers, but they choose to account for those right-of-way fees in the same way as they account for the Universal Connectivity Fee and State Sales/911 Tax, as though it's not a part of their doing business.

Comment: Re:Much of the failure was in explaining... (Score 3, Informative) 336

by tburkhol (#48072193) Attached to: Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality

You buy a connection that is supposed to be 10meg and if they purposely slow it down for any reason they are intentionally defraudint the consumer by not delivering the services they charged for. And the up to language does not save them because you can never get up to 10megs if they are purposely limiting it to 2 megs.

They can deliver you 10 MB/s even while they throttle the connection between you and Netflix to 2 MB/s or less. This is, in fact, what was done during the "negotiations." Bandwidth is throttled upstream of the client link, so the client, if he tried, could run a "speedtest" in parallel with his crappy, stuttering video, that would show healthy, full-bandwidth connection to other upstream sites. He could, if he tried, see a perfectly fluid Hulu video in one window, next to a crappy, stuttering Netflix video in another. The client has no way of knowing whether that's because Netflix's servers are overloaded, Netflix's ISP is overloaded, or if Verizon is throttling Netflix: they all look the same to the end viewer. This also makes it essentially impossible to determine fraud (aside from the fact that your contract with your ISP does not - can not - guarantee you a bandwidth to any particular service.

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