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Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 229

by vtolturbo (#28653343) Attached to: Researcher Discovers ATM Hack, Gets Silenced
It is not the responsibility of a researcher who has discovered a vulnerability in some commercially available system to delay disclosure of the vulnerability until the system's manufacturer has had sufficient time to remedy the situation. The nature of the vulnerability is irrelevant to the question of when, where, and how to disclose. If the details are withheld, there is no public influence on the manufacturer to repair the system. If the details are disclosed, the customers will exert pressure on the manufacturer to make repairs. In the unlikely scenario that someone should use the disclosed details to exploit the vulnerability, the banks' insurance policies will cover the loss, representing a zero loss result to the bank customers. In the less likely scenario that private insurance policies do not cover the loss, the FDIC will cover the loss, up to $100k for each account. No substantial harm will be done. Disclosure benefits the banks and their customers.

Comment: Re:pirate repellents (Score 1) 830

by vtolturbo (#27694427) Attached to: Mariners Develop High Tech Pirate Repellents
I would expect a non-lethal weapon would not violate the intent of "innocent passage." The trouble I find is that any allowance we afford the merchant ships we must also afford the pirate ships. This means the pirates would be able to use non-lethal weapons to commandeer a target vessel, just as the target vessel would be able to use them to defend against such an attack.

Still, I would expect something like this dazzling device would be highly effective, especially mounted on a tranquilizer gun.

Comment: i'm all for progress, but... (Score 1) 148

by vtolturbo (#26987903) Attached to: Flying Car Flies From London To Africa
as someone who was heavily involved in collegiate competition similar to this effort, i have to say that this achievement seems like something that could be done by any college team with suitable funding and motivation. the science for controlling a powered paraglider is decades old, so this doesn't strike me as a breakthrough. what would impress me is some sort of system for mechanically deploying the lifting surface, like the top of a convertible car. without such an innovation, this vehicle would never be able to go anywhere near an urban center, given the power lines and other obstacles it would certainly encounter. to me, this represents a small, but measurable step toward an affordable flight-capable commercial vehicle for the average consumer. still, there remain many unanswered questions.

Comment: Re:Half-life 2 (Score 1) 232

by vtolturbo (#26644169) Attached to: Video Game Conditioning Spills Over Into Real Life

I play WoW (no surprise there).

I mostly play a mage. I often find myself in real-world scenarios wishing I could turn people into sheep or teleport myself somewhere. I don't generally find myself wishing I could cast harmful spells on folks in the real world, but I do wish I could cast beneficial spells (buffs) on people, especially intelligence buffs. One of my favorite things I wish I could do is create an aura of clarity that might help people around me avoid stupid mistakes.

Comment: Re:Interesting concept... (Score 1) 204

by vtolturbo (#25321355) Attached to: XKCD Improving the Internet ... Yet Again
My mother lives in Omaha. She is not the sort to endorse this sort of thing, and I offer it as a bit of light humor, not meant to offend or insult you. She has heard many times from the locals that Nebraskans refer to Iowas as:

Idiots Out Walking Around

Of course, I'm from Baltimore, where folks are routinely referred to as Baltimorons, so take that for what it's worth.

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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