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Comment: Re:hunting? (Score 4, Interesting) 733

by timothyf (#42032941) Attached to: Activists' Drone Shot Out of the Sky For Fourth Time

They're not eating them. From TFA:

The Philadelphia Enquirer reported that SHARK lobbied the Pennsylvania statehouse in January, seeking legislation that would end pigeon shooting in the state. These hunting events involve capturing or breeding pigeons in cages, and releasing a large number of birds from cages to immediately be shot or wounded by hunters.

Pigeon shooting opponents contend that these events violate animal cruelty laws, and SHARK has used aerial footage obtained from drones to strengthen that argument.

“the predictable outrage generated by gruesome videos showing captive pigeons getting released from wooden crates, attempting to fly away, only to get blasted within seconds by a shooter who’s apparently only a few yards away, reinforces both the ethical stance and the financial status of animal activists who want to ban not just canned hunting but much of animal agriculture,” read an editorial in the Drovers CattleNetwork, a beef industry news periodical.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the practice on practical grounds (what if the pigeon gets away? you're adding to the pest pigeon population, since these are bred, not captured), but I'd say that if it's private property, drones like this deserve to be shot down.

Comment: Re:vBulletin (Score 1) 259

by timothyf (#41952495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Add Forums To a Website?

*shudder* They may have patched holes and stuff, but god help you if you want to add modules to it. The "module" system is basically a fancy name for applying patches to a default install. There were no supported extensibility points, and my memory of the code was one of looking in horror at a poorly modularized mess.

Granted, my experience is with PHPBB2. Things may have improved with PHPBB3, but I doubt they've done more than polish the turd.

Comment: Re:The Reality (Score 2) 115

by timothyf (#41756611) Attached to: How a Google Headhunter's E-Mail Revealed Massive Misuse of DKIM

In a nutshell:
In DKIM
-Email provider sets up DNS records with a public DKIM key.
-Email provider's MTA signs valid outgoing email with the private key.
-Recipient MTAs can verify the signature of incoming mail from the email provider with the public key and use this when classifying the message.
-The MTA has to receive the message contents to verify the signature.

In SPF
-Email provider sets up DNS TXT records that specify which hosts are allowed to send mail for a domain.
-Email recipient verifies that the mail is received from one of those hosts and the pass/fail decision is used when classifying the message.
-The MTA can reject the message if the check fails during the SMTP HELO phase without receiving the entire message, if desired.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DKIM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework

Comment: Re:Old Idea (Score 3, Insightful) 167

by timothyf (#41059145) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Using a Sandbox To Deal With Spambots?

Feels like apples to oranges a bit. You weren't a spammer, they just disagreed with you and provided a hostile environment for expressing your views, which would discourage any normal person from participating. A spammer probably wouldn't care about the shadow ban if they discovered it and would just create a new account if they felt that the target was valuable enough.

Comment: Re:Fail (Score 1) 146

by timothyf (#40989855) Attached to: Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum

Why, exactly is this the case? Why can't you teach algorithms or architecture or clean design in Javascript? Interfaces are tricky, sure; at best you have to resort to something like duck typing in asserts if you want to be sure that something implements an interface, but the rest seems completely doable in JS.

Comment: Re:Mighty broad definition of "language" there (Score 3, Insightful) 146

by timothyf (#40989675) Attached to: Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum

Name a language that is easier to get started in. You already have a browser that runs Javascript, regardless if you're on MacOS, *nix, or Windows (or whatever system you use most likely), now all you need is a text editor, which is built in on most systems. I don't know of any other language that doesn't require you to download and install some sort of compiler, interpreter, SDK, or whatever, all of which are barriers to entry. Plus, you have the advantage of using one of the most widely used languages on a platform that can distribute your code very easily and very portably.

You may not like Javascript--and granted, as a language, it's got plenty of warts. (Note that you can fix a great deal of these warts on modern browsers by simply including a "use strict" declaration at the top of your code). But it's a great language to start out in, if for no other reason than that the start-up cost is very close to negligible, and it's a useful language that enjoys a level of ubiquity that most other languages only dream of.

Comment: Re:semantics of the term "Trojan" (Score 1) 161

Did the user perform an innocuous action that lead to the trojan being run? It sounds like you have to visit a website hosting the trojan with a vulnerable computer (a user-initiated action, btw) and you're infected. That seems to meet the definition of a trojan to me. If you just connect a vulnerable Mac to the network and let it sit, it won't be compromised this way.

So yes, Trojan is accurate. A user is tricked into downloading and running something malicious. A user could theoretically avoid an infection if they knew that the site was hosting the trojan, just like they could avoid running a "porn screensaver" a friend emailed them if they knew it contained a trojan. We've only developed a rule-of-thumb defense against the latter case because it's abused so frequently and exploits are relatively scarce when compared to ignorant humans.

Comment: Re:Autism (Score 1) 1007

by timothyf (#39662165) Attached to: Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

The problem with whooping cough in particular is that the vaccine can't be administered to the very people who are most at risk if they were to contract it: newborns and infants. So, if an infant contracts it, you have a comparatively high likelihood of that child coughing and suffocating to death. The only sane way to combat this is via herd immunity through vaccination; otherwise the alternative is to severely limit exposure. Since the initial stages of the disease looks a lot like a common cold, this is harder said than done, since a carrier of the disease may not know they have it. I'm not sure that even the (as you mentioned, non-existent) chance of autism from vaccines is worth sacrificing herd immunity like that.

Comment: Re:Already illegal (Score 1) 504

by timothyf (#39454479) Attached to: Facebook: Legal Action Against Employers Asking For Your Password

Asking "Are you a legal adult?" is different from asking "What is your age?". The first question leaves a much wider range and is only to keep employers from falling afoul of child labor laws. Even then, I imagine the HR-approved way to phrase the question is to ask "Do you meet the legal requirements for accepting this position?"

Comment: Re:Already decided by courts - No, he can't. (Score 2) 192

by timothyf (#39308703) Attached to: Topher Grace Screens <em>Star Wars</em> Prequel Re-edit

Standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, etc.

CleanFlicks edited the movies and sold the edited copies, which was illegal. ClearPlay does something closer to what we're describing (use special DVD player that you can upload a description of an edited movie to, and have the player apply the edits to an unmodified movie), and it's survived the lawsuits brought against it. Even then, posting a description of the edits is not illegal if it contains no copyrighted material from the original movie, which should be possible.

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