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Comment: Re:how much it took (Score 1) 160

by vux984 (#49200429) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

Imagine a satellite ( or something like the ISS ) based weapon that will fire an invisible high-kilowatt ( or even megawatt ) beam on any target it can see from orbit. Maybe combine a few of these satellites onto the same target for even more power output.

If any nation had one and started using it in the ways you suggest, how long before opposed nations would knock it down.

After all, what is its defense against a ground based laser shooting back at it?

Comment: Re:What is systemd exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 367

by vux984 (#49197895) Attached to: Ubuntu To Officially Switch To systemd Next Monday

what exactly is systemd and why do we keep hearing so much about it?

Part of the problem is that its poorly defined. It's touted as a replacement for the init system. (The system that manages other services. So for a windows user it's core functions as the services host process -- its where you can start and stop services, determine which startup at system startup. Stop them. See which are running. Restart crashed services, etc. It does startup in parallel so it's faster than the traditional init system.

But doesn't just replace init, it relplaces cron (the task scheduling system -- "scheduled backups and such" not "cpu thread scheduling"; it replaces the event logging system, it replaces the login system...

The unix philospophy is for components to be small and do one thing well and to to let users build a system out of the different pieces they want. systemd is big and tightly integrated and more of an all-or-nothing and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

And the main valid criticisms of are (IMHO)

1) Binary logging -- the advantages of the systemd logging system are apparent, but there are disadvantages too; users should have

2) It potentially creates a layer between kernel and the rest of the system that becomes entrenched and irreplaceable. As applications going forward will develop dependencies on the rich services of systemd it will become impossible to replace systemd with anything else, except maybe a fork of systemd. (This rubs a lot of people the wrong way.)

3) the rich service layer and tight integration stifles innovation; for example assuming systemd has traction someone can't make a "better cron" now, because that functionality is part of systemd. They can't make a better init-only system because applications will be relying on all the other services of systemd.

4) it gets between the rest of the system and the kernel, and in many cases you have to work through systemd and can't just go to the kernel. This has its good points, but also its problems and further entrenches systemd.

Perhaps GNU/Linux systems with systemd should properly be called GNU/systemd/Linux systems to emphasize the point.

I don't personally hate systemd; I recognize a lot of thing it does are good for large parts of the linux user base. But I do agree with the 'haters'; that its not modular enough and that leads to several valid complaints.

I doesn't help that the egos involved on all sides are large and uncompromising.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 1) 245

by vux984 (#49192637) Attached to: Facebook Rant Lands US Man In UAE Jail

Bad example -- they agree not to spill it as a condition of employment, and are bound to it during, and after employment.

So if you violate an employement contract its a criminal offense? That you can be arrested for, and go to jail for? Noooope... its a civil contract dispute... employer can sue for damages, that's about it; even if the employer is the federal government.

Comment: Re:Here's a real situation. (Score 1) 330

There are ways of dealing with this scenario. The simplest being, don't keep the information on the laptop. After entering the country, use VPN or some other secure means of downloading the data.

Rule number ONE of information security is that if you don't want it leaked online... DONT PUT IT ONLINE.

So your solution is not good enough.

You ask that I trade the physical security of an encrypted, air-gapped unit, physically in my hands with a solution that entails all kinds of possible network threats. MITM, SSL vulnerability, zero-day attacks, certificate compromises... and suggest this will improve my security??


Not to mention that it assumes you're moving relatively small amounts of information between countries with good internet access... what if your destination just has shitty internet?

Plus if you legitimize their right to inspect all data at the border, then your just a hop and skip away from giving them the right to inspect your vpn traffic as it crosses the border; and they would be within their rights to demand the encryption keys from you or block your vpn connection. Some governments are already moving in this direction.

So your argument that "don't take it across the boder this way"... "take it across the border this other way" sort of falls completely on its face. Once you say "they can inspect and require you to decrypt data crossing the border" then your VPN is next.

but for most business related cases I would think this would be an acceptable workaround.

For most legitimate business related cases border security wouldn't really be a risk, even if you gave them the password, and let them fish around in your laptop. They wouldn't know what to do with it, or how to capitalize on it.

But its the principal of the thing; they really have no business being in there. And there is a chance they could learn or reveal something that is damaging.

Frankly, it seems to me the best solution right now; is to ship yourself the data by traceable courier. Small chance it is lost or confiscated at the border. But they don't get anything valuable if that happens, and you can't be arrested on the spot.

Comment: Re:Thing everyone is missing (Score 1) 330

I'd always heard that the name for people from Quebec was "Quebecois."

That's a valid term as well and the more common one to my ears at least.

"Quebecker" sounds like some kind of anti-French reactionary thing, kind of like how some feminists insist on non-standard spellings of gender-related words

Its not so extreme as to be anti-french.

Quebecois is a francophone term. Its pronounced roughly kay-bek-wah. Most anglophones don't pronounce Quebec ("kay-bek") they pronounce it roughly "kwuh-beck". And "Quebecois" doesn't really anglicize well... so Quebecker is pretty common and not meant to be offensive nor anti-french.

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 1) 485

by vux984 (#49185625) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

That isn't in the bill itself.

I realize that.

That's what one person said in response to Morganstein's stated opinion about the bill.

A person who backs the bill, who perhaps could and should have said something a LOT MORE INTELLIGENT about it.

I hardly think a reasonable person would conclude that study subjects could not be anonymous. That's an extreme interpretation, not a reasonable one.

So then what is the REAL dispute? That would lead a president to veto it? Or is this whole debate the syphility ramblings of a 24 hour media cycle that can't seem to find any real news to report on in a world of 6 billion people with nearly uncountable real issues to investigate? (And despite my sarcasm... I count that possibility as entirely plausible.)

Comment: Re: Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress lat (Score 1) 485

by vux984 (#49185589) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Sorry, you don't get to redefine science as "Something a scientist told me."

I never did. So ... there's that.

There is no shortage of people willing to make statements in the authoritative tone, and the stupid and undisciplined accept that as a way to avoid that uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. I'm not among them, are you?

Again... nobody is redefining science. What are you on about?

Comment: Re: Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress late (Score 1) 485

by vux984 (#49185417) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

If it's not transparent and reproducible, it's not a proposal based on science, but authority. It holds as much weight as a statement by the Flying Spagetti Monster.

One can (and should) post the methodology and results without revealing confidential patient health information, sufficient that another group could reproduce the study.

You do not need to know the names of the participants, and have access to their medical records to reproduce the study. Find your own patients and reproduce the published methodology to lend weight or cast doubt on the original study.

That's how medical research should be done.

If you want a faith based approach to law making...

Time for your meds.

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 1) 485

by vux984 (#49185391) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

If I propose we serve beef burgers, and a vegetarian selection at a picnic and someone says, hey that sounds like maybe your suggesting we serve vegetarian PEOPLE as food?!!!

Would I say... "Not to worry, vegetarians may choose to opt-out of eating or being eaten."

Or... would I say? Are you nuts? I obviously didn't mean it that way. Fine, whatever... "I propose we serve beef hot dogs and a green salad"? We good?.. Lets move on.

If its a reaching non-issue Why would the backers of the bill suggest study participants can sign waivers or opt out? Why aren't they just fixing the bill to exclude that interpretation?

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 5, Informative) 485

by vux984 (#49184959) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

What's weird about making the data from scientific studies publically available? Frankly, I think the data from all government funded research should be public domain.

From the full article, the law as written, would bar the EPA from using any studies involving confidential patient information unless they were made public.

The (Republican) backers response? Apparently they think participants/Patients should sign a waiver agreeing that the raw study data might be made public, or they can simply choose not to participate in the study.

Frankly, I'm disgusted.

The result is clear: very few, if any, studies would be available to the EPA to use as a basis to set policy.

The idea of transparent science is good. But this is clearly an attempt to strip the EPA of any ability to actually do science or regulate based on science.

Comment: Re: Try and try again. (Score 4, Interesting) 433

by vux984 (#49183649) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

The iPhone when it came out was far less useful than any of the windows phones, but it took off because it cost more, and did less, while being pretty.

Nope. Multitouch was simply worlds better than stylus + soft or slide out keyboard.

"Visual voicemail" or whatever it was called kicked the ass out of dial-in voicemail which was still the default on windows mobile devices.

And the whole UI being designed for touch instead of stylus made it a LOT easier to use.

Yes, you definitely gave up lots of functionality in terms of the iphone not having stylus, and only being able to interact with it with your fingers; editing a spreadsheet on an iphone 3G was terrible compared to Windows Mobile 5/6... but making a call or appointment or sending a text message was orders of magnitude better.

Comment: Re:I Read All of Heinlein's Stuff (Score 2) 326

by vux984 (#49182823) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

Not really.

Yes, its important to consider the context classical works were written from. The Flintstones for example or Huck Finn... etc. The various racial and gender issues in them can and should be attributed to values from 1880 or 1960 respectively.

We should of course, bear in mind that Heinlein is writing from the 40s through the 80s and need to keep that in focus, but they are not the background canvas that his works rest on he... he brings the social conventions to the forefront propses that we look at them his way, and in doing so demands that we consider them on their own merits. Whether its that we re-consider the family unit as a business-corporate entity; or to challenge us on incest and pedophilia; or his postulation that libertarian economic policy is ideal.

These are not the context; these are his theses. They demand critique.

Comment: Re:you care more for your own kind, its science! (Score 2) 248

by vux984 (#49182477) Attached to: Racial Discrimination Affects Virtual Reality Characters Too

Uh... they're *fun*?

Of course, but why are they *fun*? Do you really think it says nothing about you?

They certainly aren't universally viewed as fun; I know many people who would never choose to play one. And of those that do choose to play them their are a variety of motivations and reasons... I outlined some earlier; but there are lot more.

That you read anything else into a game says something about you, wouldn't you think?

That I even play games says something about me. Which games I choose, and how I choose to play them All reveal a great deal about me. Do I play them on easy or on hard? Do I care about "achievements" ? Do I care if others can see those achievements? Do I use cheats? Do I tend to play Iron man or do I save and reload often? Do I prefer strategy or tactics or reaction? How important are graphics? Do I prefer solo or competitive multiplayer or cooperative? Do I pirate games? Or buy them? Do I wait for sales or buy on realease day? Which games do I buy on release day? Do I choose avatars that are projections of me? (Mayor Sheldon Cooper of Sheldonopolis? Or are they whimsical? Or are they crude... Mayor Farts of Pooplandia? Do I only choose handsome male avatars? Or will I play a female or troll ... or troll female? Does it affect how I behave? Do you finish every quest you start? Do only do quests that give you measurable upgrades? Do you read the quest text? Do you care about the story at all? Do you bother with appearance items at all? Or are you look like a patchwork of mismatched armors? Do you want it to look impressive or fearsome or do you set out to make it look like a joke? Do you get into your character or is it just a puppet you steer around?

To suggest that how you play a game says nothing deep or penetrating about you is to be utterly naive. Sure playing a Rogue doesn't imply you are a criminal. But there's a wealth of information about you from how you play.

Comment: Re:I Read All of Heinlein's Stuff (Score 2) 326

by vux984 (#49182035) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

Yeah, I second the poster who suggests rereading them again now... except honestly most just weren't THAT good.

nobody is going to confuse Heinlein with Ayn Rand when it comes to message versus storytelling.

Actually I disagree, several of his works had lengthy tangents of just Heinlein channeling message that really didn't connect to the story. Friday for one, Farnham's Freehold for another, Number of the Beast, I will fear no evil, all stand out as examples for me. Probably others... to sail beyond the sunset...etc.

I think Stranger in a Strange Land ... well the commentary on society in that one was integral to the story.

A lot of his work was good, and even his weaker stuff is still worth a read -- some neat stuff explored; but your definitely looking through a window into Heinlein's political, economic, and sexual ideology and it becomes apparent to the point of being an annoying distraction.

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?