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Comment Nothing will change until people die (Score 1) 169

Air gapping critical infrastructure should be a federal law, because anything connected can eventually be hacked given enough time and resources.

At this point it should be obvious that more & more critical infrastructure will be hooked up to networks, including the internet. Even if experts consider that dumb.

Conclusion: good advice won't help, what's needed is casualties. When a cyberattack takes out large parts of the power grid, or causes a chemical plant to blow up, and people actually DIE as a result, THEN maybe air-gapping will be looked at in a different light. Until then, prepare for cyberattacks to have worse & worse real life effects.

Comment Re:less than 1mm versus 3mm per year (Score 0) 150

The problem with climate science, as always, is explaining the significance to the general voter

Voters will understand just fine when once-a-century flooding of their streets become yearly events. Or any such event worsened by our changing climate.

Of course by the time that happens, it'll be too late to avoid some of the worst effects. Meaning that "plan ahead for likely disasters" should be part of any sensible climate change strategy. Regardless of political developments or 'greening' efforts already underway.

Not that sustainability efforts don't matter. In fact, they should be stepped up. As for the politics & public education, we could use a 'Hans Rosling of climate research'. Any candidates out there?

Comment Re:More fortune-telling (Score 1) 267

I hear the future is going to be bad. Better setup a scheme to steal money from the people who earn it, just in case.

Who exactly do you mean with "the people who earn it"? The owner of a company that employs robots in their manufacturing? That company's shareholders? Its CEO's, CFO's etc that decide where to direct resources?

If so: what exactly did they do to produce useful output? Build those robots? No, some external manufacturer did that. Program & and repair them? No, some hired-in technicians do that. Put in the raw materials those robots work on? No, external supplier of said materials did that. Check end products as they ship? No, factory worker or also automated. And/or end user of said product does the checking... :-) Shipping itself then? No, external distributor does that.

The people that 'run the show' aren't doing the work themselves, only tell others how they want it done. If you look at most products from raw material to end user, few people even touch it anymore. But for the people who do, who profits the most from that? No, not farmer or producer of the raw materials. Or the truck driver. Nor the factory worker. It's middlemen at the top & their associates (who already have a lot of capital to begin with) that take the bulk of the proceeds.

This happens because our economic & political systems are set up to keep it that way. Which imho is the real problem that could use a fix. But I feel I'm not the only one there... As wealth inequality grows, that fix will come. If not in a peaceful manner, then in a violent manner. Or anything in between.

Bottom line: automation isn't a threat, it's a good thing. It makes that we can have the same things using less people-effort. But the fruits of that automation should somehow be more equally distributed across people.

And perhaps we should re-evaluate our methods to determine how useful / valuable people are to society as a whole. In my personal opinion: capitalism had a good run, but ain't quite it. There's no reason for a CEO to make 100x the salary of a factory worker. Given the current state of technology, there's ZERO reason for anyone on this planet to starve on the street.

Comment Re:Survival Of The Fittest (Score 1) 108

Heh, the reef is worth about US$4.5 Billion a year in tourist income to Australia, not to mention it's value as a restocking nursery for surrounding commercial fisheries.

Tough for the Aussies then. 'Cause you can be sure the parties ultimately responsible for the damage, will NOT be the ones picking up the bill (see: externalities).

Comment Re: If he gets busted... (Score 1, Insightful) 88

The problem is that manufacturers don't secure the IoT devices they produce, and that's who your ire should be directed at. However, this punishes the users who purchased those devices, usually out of ignorance.

As those users should be.

The reason that insecure (or otherwise unreliable) devices are the norm these days, is that a) hardware & software vendors get away with it. And b) most users don't care. Or at least not seem to care enough to change things.

If a device can be bricked simply by hooking it up to a network, but buyer is too lazy or ignorant to check before buying, then buyer deserves what he gets. If buyer does his/her homework (and finds device is vulnerable), but buys the product anyway, then buyer deserves what he gets.

That leaves the case where buyer did his homework, product "looks good", but gets bricked anyway. That should be a warranty issue, shifting the burden onto vendors. As it should be.

So if things like this BrickerBot help to invalidate the "vendor gets away with insecure crap" equation, then please: carry on with the good work!

Comment Cities in the desert (Score 2) 198

Makes perfect sense to me. It may just be a matter of economics:

In the past, cities tended to grow at strategic locations, or where it is relatively easy (read: cheap) to support a city. Like near a choke point between land masses. Or a river delta (easy transport up river). Or in the middle of an area with fertile agricultural land.

In a technological advanced society, it should be possible to recycle most raw materials (including water). Most food could be grown in 10-story greenhouses where crops don't even need soil. This only takes space, and energy. So 'cheap' may then gravitate to non-agricultural land where energy is abundant. A desert could be one of such places. Floating cities on the open ocean another option.

Of course this may depend on how much more the world's population grows. Maybe that will stabilize at a number where there isn't much need to build new cities from scratch.

Comment Re:Who cares (Score 5, Insightful) 296

Delivering a massive first strike would only give the NK regime an excuse to say to its people "see, we told you this would happen", and then retaliate in equal measure. Which would only leave losers on both sides.

NK should not be given that excuse. Shoot down their missiles if any of them come too close to population centres outside NK. Sink a sub if it comes too close to US (or other friendly nation) shoreline. Covert sabotage operations, fine. A good dose of cyberwar, why not. Stationing extra troops near border areas as a show of preparedness. But DO NOT be the one to push the start button for a full-on war. Especially if nukes might be involved.

Ultimately it's up to NK people to deal with their own regime. And that regime will come to an end - like everything else. It's only a matter of time.

Comment Re:Dumb (Score 1) 230

There's a point at which someone wins that race, and is rewarded with spectacular effects... /sarcasm

Beside the unlucky vapers who don't have a clue what they're doing but -indeed- chose the cheapest gear they could find (especially batteries).

Comment Infrared? (Score 1) 53

Without even reading the article, a quick back-of-the-envelop calculation says that ~300 GHz corresponds to ~1 mm. wavelength (for EM radiation in vacuum or near that in air).

That's in the far infrared range of the spectrum. Read: optical, line-of-sight surely. Well duh... optical signals can be modulated at high speed, we know that, used every day to pump data through glass fibers or change channels on your TV. Why is this news?

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 122

What's inside the plastic wrapping is going to kill you quicker than whatever the wrapping is made of.

Fair point. But when I first read about this topic, and looked up what these chemicals are & what they're used for, 1st thought was: "What the F#$K are these chemicals doing near our food in the first place? And even more, in food packaging?". I simply don't understand.

It seems compounds like this could be an ingredient in cleaning agents. Okay, as a producer you may have issues with washing the reminder of cleaning agents such that traces remain & get in the food processed. But if that's a known problem, why not use more 'food-friendly' cleaning agents where it isn't a big issue if traces remain?

Okay, it could be used in kitchen utensils. Or non-stick surfaces. But even then, in daily use these things don't break down fast enough to leave more than minute traces in what they come in contact with. That, or the cooking / baking process is screwed up so bad you'd tell from the end product in other ways.

But as a component in food packaging? For fast food? The kind of cups & trays that are typically discarded within hours from purchase anyway? That makes no sense. It should be soooo easy to find packaging materials where the element F doesn't even occur in any shape, form, or significant quantities. For this application, why risk using organofluorine compounds at all?

Comment Re:We need progressive nuclear programs. (Score 2, Insightful) 139

Give me free electricity and compensation for every screw up and I'd gladly live next to a reactor.

Second that. I've been a long time green party voter, and as much as I like seeing solar panels on an ever increasing # of homes, reality is that solar + wind can't cover 100% of our energy needs right now. Period. Not unless / until the storage problem is solved. The sun doesn't shine at night, the wind doesn't always blow (and sometimes too hard!), and no amount of solar panels will fix that. Hydro could be used as backup, but has its own drawbacks & only possible in a few places. Geothermal etc is interesting, but again: far from practical everywhere.

So for filling in the gaps we NEED something else, no way around it. Between 'cheap' coal, oil, natural gas, or covering land masses with biofuel crops, a modern design nuclear plant isn't a bad option. Yes environmentalists may have speeded up investment in solar projects etc (and I applaud anyone for that no matter the reasons), but in resisting (modern) nuclear they've kinda lost sight that thus we're currently on an energy mix where fossil is still king. That could have been very different if modern nuclear plants were common today.

And no, nuclear waste isn't the be-all-end-all-problem it's made out to be. Right now it's choosing between evils, and btw nuclear waste: it's all about what exact substances, how much, stored how & where. The waste from eg. a fast breeder reactor is very different stuff than what comes out of another type of nuclear plant. Stuffing it in rockets & shooting it at the sun, has different risks & costs than burying inside a mountain. Material with 300 year half-life needs a different approach than material with a 30,000 year half-life. And so on.

Comment Re:Slowing isn't enough - with a graph. (Score 2, Insightful) 201

CO2 in the atmosphere, and the world's CO2 output over a year, isn't the same thing. They're correlated, but with a long delay (in the order of decades or longer IIRC). The atmosphere itself, oceans, forests etc all act like buffers. So if the world (read: mankind's) CO2 output would drop to 0 instantly, CO2 in the atmosphere will stay high for a long time no matter what. Adding more CO2 just makes the problem worse. So a more accurate way is saying that the rate at which we're making the problem worse, has slowed down / flattened. We're still running, and still in the opposite direction of where we should be going, just our [running in the wrong direction] has slowed down.

Once atmospheric CO2 (and with that, average global temperatures) passes certain levels, all kinds of secondary effects may kick in: melting of permafrost areas, melting of oceanic methane ice (yeah I know not CO2 but still caused & contributing to same problem), forest fires due to extended droughts, etc, etc.

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