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Comment depends (Score 1) 96

Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information?

Depends which country you want to protect yourself from.

If you are mostly afraid of US companies and the US government, put your server into Russia. They laugh in the face of US companies that make any demands.

For strong privacy laws, many european countries have laws in place much stronger than the US, but beware that they usually have a "if you agree to it, anything goes" clause (which is why these small "I agree to ..." checkboxes are so important there.

Comment Re:Guaranteed to put stress on any car? As if. (Score 1) 79

Yes, it's pretty much a national custom. Also, Germany has extensive driving school with compulsory minimum hours, and driving instructors teach you strongly to signal. You can actually fail the driving test if you don't signal.

However, I disagree on the velocity differences. That depends very much on where you are driving. Some parts of the Autobahn have a 120 km/h speed limit and there you basically have two speeds: 80 km/h for the right lane, mostly filled with trucks, and 120 km/h on the 2nd and 3rd lanes.
On other parts, however, you have no speed limit. Which means you are driving 180 on the middle lane, passing a truck doing 80 on the right lane, and someone going 280 passes you on the left lane. That's two 100 km/h speed differences right there.

Comment clueless author (Score 1) 79

one environment guaranteed to put stress on any car: the German Autobahn

Uh, no?

Have you ever actually driven on the German Autobahn? It is probably the most simple environment for an autonomous car, because absolutely everything is very clearly defined and built to standards. You have very reliable road quality, width, signaling. No traffic lights, roundabouts or intersections. Very few traffic rules (basically speed limit and whether or not trucks are allowed to overtake on this stretch). Construction sites are about the only tricky spots you will ever encounter. Even incoming and exiting traffic is very simple to handle, because there is one and only one way in which it will ever happen.

If I were to write autonomous driving software, I would start with the Autobahn, and then go to more complicated road systems later.

For trucks, even speed is trivial. The general high speed of trucks is 80 km/h, so if you are a truck you stay on the right lane and stick to that speed and that's it.

Left-lane driving on the Autobahn is more interesting, especially for foreigners (you think you're going crazy fast in your rental car at 190 km/h (about 120 mph), and there's this BMW behind you signaling to get your slow ass out of the way). But we're talking about trucks here.

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 521

Nope, I didn't.

There are many toxic gasses we can't smell, or only in very high concentrations, and many pungent smells that are not harmfull by themselves (but point to harmful sources, e.g. the smell of something rotting is just a pointer you might stay away and definitely not eat it).

But for a lot of substances, smell actually is a good indicator of whether or not you should take a deep breath.

Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 1) 369

It's the fact that rather than bombing Daesh, they're bombing groups opposed to Daesh, in order to prop up the failing government

On this I consider Putin to be an order of magnitude smarter than all the US presidents and western leaders put together.

At least he understands that if they bomb away only IS, the next jihad group down there will take up their flag and continue the same shit.

You can dislike Assad all you want, and I certainly don't know enough about the guy and his politics to have an informed opinion, but AFAIK he didn't burn people alive in cages and put it on YouTube. He certainly seems like the least of a dozen evils.

The chain of causality seems really simple from an outside. The US went to Iraq to fuck over Hussein, and in doing so they strengthened Al Qaida, which at that time was not a big force in that area. When they went back to bomb out Al Qaida, the IS rose out of the rubble. I frankly don't want to see what will come after IS if this trend continues.

When what you're doing isn't working, you should try something else. Putin bombing all the islamistic fuckers seems like a reasonable approach. I don't see how you can speak about "moderate" islamists when they all share the same religious policy of "kill all infidels" and they mostly disagree about whether or not to rape them beforehand or whether stoning or throwing off a building is the proper method of execution. Calling any of them "moderate" because they take your money to bend whichever way you want like a cheap prostitute is among the most cynical political opportunisms. Nobody in the White House or the Pentagon can be stupid enough to not understand they will turn against the US the next moment.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 3, Informative) 369

Now THAT was real carnage


Sorry, you guys are just too soft-hearted for actual war if you call the US part in WW2 a "real carnage".

The USSR lost around 10 million soldiers in WW.
Germany lost about 5 million.
China lost 3.5 million.

The USA lost 0.4 million.

The real carnage in WW2 was on the eastern front and in China. For the Germans, the battle of Stalingrad alone cost them as many casualties (at least half a million, possibly up to 800,000) than the entire western front. 80% of the German casualties are thanks to the Russians.

And yes, the USAF bombed some German cities to rubble. But even so, German civilians fled the Red Army towards the west, not the other way around. If you've ever read stories about the siege of Leningrad from the Russian perspective, you know why. I know them. My girlfriend is from St. Petersburg as it is known today. After I've heard her tell WW2 stories from russian perspective, I laugh about US war movies. Omaha Beach: 2000 casualties. The horror. That would have been a quiet day in Stalingrad, where four times as many people died every day for five months straight.

That is what real carnage looks like.
Stalingrad had a population of 400,000 before the war. After the German 6th Army was destroyed, an official census counted 1,500 residents. Pictures from Stalingrad look worse than pictures from Hiroshima. That is real carnage.

Comment Re:Brave polling, but in real life? (Score 1) 145

Now this isn't fair and we should have legal protection against officials for even asking the question,

Here in Germany, there are certain questions that by law are not permissible to be asked in certain contexts. However, of course it happens anyway. So by legal precedent after a few court cases, the current legal situation is that if you are asked such an inappropriate question, you have a legal right to lie.

The primary example is pregnancy. Employers are not allowed to ask a woman if she is currently pregnant or plans to become pregnant soon during job interviews. But if they do, she can lie. Usually, if you lie in a job interview and are found out, you can be terminated for it. But for this one, nope, can't, because you were excercising your right to lie in response to an illegal question.

Comment Re:"... only if we're married or similarly situate (Score 1) 145

My first thought when I saw the poll options was "if you share passwords with your spouse, put your nerd card into the box near the exit and leave".

I was married happily for a decade, but never shared passwords. There's one hundred ways to give your spouse access (normal or emergency) to your data for emergencies without handing out passwords. Encryption keys are about the only thing you might have to share, because we don't have many non-theoretical multi-key-encryption systems around. But passwords? What for if I can set up groups and permissions nicely?

Comment distress passwords (Score 2) 145

I so much wish that more software would support distress passwords at all.

It should be mandatory for all OS to include this feature, because this is the first password that thugs will encounter. Please, Apple, give me one password that will kill all processes, shut down the system with Filevault properly in place and reset all system passwords to, say, a very, very long complex master password that nobody can remember so when I got it at system install, I wrote it down and put it into a safe.

Yes, my local security service can still get that safe and beat the combination out of me (or get a warrant for the bank), but some random foreign border agent can't.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion