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Comment: Re:We had a distributed social network (Score 2) 252

by IamTheRealMike (#48215593) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

If you ignore the ability to restrict personal data to particular people, news feed with intelligent ranking that tries to guess who your real friends are so you don't have to upset people who post a lot by defriending them, the ability to tag people in photos, the lack of any need for meaningless URLs and a seamless way of organising events ...... then sure. Facebook is just like the web.

Comment: Re: Exinction (Score 5, Insightful) 126

by jc42 (#48209851) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

My guess is that the fact that no organisms exist with a Neanderthal genome defines them as extinct. Where one draws the line is more art than science I guess ... I know that there are some genetics in us (like the HMG group of proteins) that are ancient, but work so well that we still retain them. That doesn't mean the first species to have evolved them isn't extinct, it just means we evolved from them.

Well, I don't think that quite matches the scientific concept of "species". By your definition, almost all species who were alive 50,000 years ago would be considered extinct, but hardly any biologists would agree with that. It's true that no humans alive today have 100% Neanderthal genes, but it's also nearly certain that there are no living humans with 100% Cro-Magnon genes, either. What happened would be considered a mixing of several human sub-species after migrations of one or more African groups into Eurasia. The Cro-Magnon sub-species disappeared, too, and modern human Caucasian and Asian sub-species are the results of that mixing. This sort of thing happens in species all the time, when conditions allow such genetic mixing, and the result is rarely considered a new species.

The fact is that modern humans are all one species. We can and do interbreed when groups mingle, and there are no groups of modern humans that are genetically incompatible. If sub-species "disappear" by genetic mixing, that is usually not called an extinction event. It's just the routine and normal mingling of subspecies.

An interesting contrast is that most North American duck species are known to hybridize occasionally, and the offspring are usually fertile. Does this mean they're really all one species? No, because they all mingle a lot, but interbreeding is rare. They have "behavioral" species-separation features, mostly based on female mate choice. The females are mostly all mottled brown (protective coloring), and the males often approach females of other species (because they can't tell them apart either ;-). But the females usually only accept males that have the "right" color markings; the others are ugly to them. This suffices to keep the species separate, though there is probably a very low level of genetic interchange between many of the species.

But humans aren't like this. Even if we do generally prefer mates in our own subspecies, most of us do find many members of other subspecies physically attractive, and we'll mate with them given the opportunity. This means that we really are all the same species. We now have good evidence that the Neandertals were merely another subspecies, because when they had the opportunity, they did interbreed with those slender, dark-skinned folks who migrated into their territory. They did so often enough to produce a new subspecies that's physically distinct from either of the earlier two (or three or more).

Comment: Re:Sigh! (Score 3, Insightful) 170

by Sloppy (#48208305) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

I shouldn't have to remind you of the things in the modern world that depends on real-time instructions from software.

You are not one of those things! You GIVE orders to computers, not take! The computer is supposed to be your bitch. Thirty years ago people worried about Terminators, and now I find out that all Skynet has to do, is nicely tell people to jump off cliffs. I can't wait until Google Surgeon, when everyone thinks they should just blindly do what they're told, preferably with impatience and in real time.

Google Surgeon [speaking slowly]: "Snip the art--"

Doctor: [snip] "Yeahyeah doesanyoneknowhow tospeedupthisthing'sspeech?"

Google Surgeon: "--ery, but first, clamp off the blood supply so the patient doesn't bleed to death."

Comment: But disabling GSM when possible is still smart (Score 2) 26

by IamTheRealMike (#48207581) Attached to: Deutsche Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption In US

GSM (2G) encryption did not authenticate the cell tower, whereas UMTS (3G) and above do. Cell tower authentication should break devices like the Stingray and other forms of fake base station, unless/until governments start forcing cell carriers to hand over the signing keys for tower identities. But as devices like Stingray exist more or less exclusively to get around the warrant requirement and no carrier would assist in that way without a court order, that places the police in the awkward position of asking a judge to write an order than can only be for avoiding the same judges authority....

Comment: Re:More changes I don't want ... (Score -1, Flamebait) 170

by Sloppy (#48206627) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

It is positively dangerous when you have to go round a roundabout twice for it to catch up! (In a 40 ton rig).

WTF? How can a mapping program possibly be dangerous or time-sensitive?

(Please don't tell me you are one of those MORONS who relies on software for real-time instructions, instead of having your own plan that was possibly originally aided by software. If you're a moron, then it's not the software that's dangerous; it's that some even bigger, stupider moron allowed you to drive a 40 ton vehicle (or even a 1 ton vehicle) on roads that might have other people within a quarter mile.)

All I can think of, is that the slowness is somehow keeping you from being able to review your route before you it's time for you to leave, so that you end up driving faster to catch up.

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 1) 764

by bmajik (#48205419) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Actually, what I want people to come away with is that they should stop assuming equality of outcomes.

When there is evidence of negative behaviors causing undesirable outcomes in specific instances, acting to rememdy that is of course a reasonable thing to do.

My point is just that we should be specific and honest about the goal posts. If your goal post is "women should be represented at 50% within profession blah", that is a claim that requires a lot of unpacking and justification. We should automatically reject claims like this until sufficient argument and evidence is presented.

We shouldn't automatically expect a 50/50 split -- if for no other reason than because men and women are biologically different.

So if the claim is that some women who wish to be programmers aren't doing so because of undesirable social factor X, how do you know when you've "succeeded" ?

Is it when no more women complain? Is it when the gender ratio in the industry is 50/50? 55/45? 45/55?

And, to open an entirely different can of worms -- why is helping women get the job they want supposed to be anyone else's problem?

Or, suppose that there was a _social cost_ or an economic cost to achieving an (X/100-X) gender ratio in a specific industry? How would you decide if that cost was worth paying? Why is it your decision?

Comment: Re:Guy saves you from becoming Illinois (Score 1) 22

by mcgrew (#48204139) Attached to: The Kevlar Kandidate Gets Some Help

And all the unions can do is stab him

Of course they are. What else can you do when someone is trying to murder you?

As far as Illinois' fiscal problems, they started under Thompson (R), who wanted to both cut taxes and increase spending (sound familiar?). Edgar (R) followed his footsteps, as did Ryan (R). The screaming didn't start until Blago (D) and it's still a terrible problem, but is slowly improving.

Ryan and Blago both went to prison for bribery. Thompson (R) unsuccessfully defended Blago in his bribery trial (note that even Johnny Cochran and F. Lee Baily together wouldn't have been able to keep him out of the slammer).

The current Republican candidate, who "earns" a thousand times the median income, wants to tax my pensions, my social security, haircuts, food, medicine, while slashing both his own taxes and school funding.

No way in hell could I vote for that guy.

The Internet

Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic 324

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-to-kill-your-youtube-habit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Hungarian government has announced a new tax on internet traffic: 150 HUF ($0.62 USD) per gigabyte. In Hungary, a monthly internet subscription costs around 4,000-10,000 HUF ($17-$41), so it could really put a constraint on different service providers, especially for streaming media. This kind of tax could set back the country's technological development by some 20 years — to the pre-internet age. As a side note, the Hungarian government's budget is running at a serious deficit. The internet tax is officially expected to bring in about 20 billion HUF in income, though a quick look at the BIX (Budapest Internet Exchange) and a bit of math suggests a better estimate of the income would probably be an order of magnitude higher.

+ - China performing SSL MITM attacks on iCloud

Submitted by IamTheRealMike
IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "Anti-censorship blog GreatFire has published a story claiming that SSL connections from inside China to Apple iCloud are being subject to a man in the middle attack, using a self signed certificate. Apple has published a knowledge base article stating that the attacks are indeed occurring, with example screenshots of the SSL cert error screens used by popular Mac browsers. Unfortunately, in China at least one natively produced browser called Qihoo markets itself as "secure", but does not show any certificate errors when presented with the self signed cert. Is this the next step towards China doing systematic SSL MITM attacks, thus forcing their population onto Chinese browsers that allow the surveillance and censorship to occur?"

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