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Comment Re:Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

I mean, if you don't read the news and can't Google, I don't know why you want to come here and hold forth on these topics.

Any fool knows that things happen in Israel all the time that make those two kids, with their civilian guns and their couple of pressure cooker bombs look like an episode of sesame street:

I see you didn't answer my main point at all - which is that any two kids can cause the city of Boston to shut down, and cost the economy potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. So how long until it happens again? The US has a glass jaw to the world's thugs with this attitude of "run to your houses and hide under your beds" at the first sign of terrorism. We cower and ask how quickly we can roll back the bill of rights, when our grandparents would have stood vigilant to guard them. And all for what - something less dangerous to us than slipping and falling. Terrorists are forced to use the media and fear because they are so ineffective at actually causing harm. Why on earth hand them the win?

Comment Re:Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

One guy? Really? An entire city cowers in fear from one guy?

Go to Israel, man. Look into their eyes as they confront fear and show you what bravery is.

They have a lot more than one guy after them on any given day, and they refuse to hide unless a missile is actually going to land near them.

Americans once had some backbone, too. Now that we've announced it's open season on our economy, we're going to see how many other terrorists and hostile foreign powers want to arrange the shutdown of a major city via one or two armed kids.

Comment Re:Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

You think it's a one-time deal?

Oh no sir. You raised the coward flag. You just rolled out the red-carpet to every terrorist and hostile foreign power. They now know for a certainty that all it takes to shut down a city the size of Boston is two kids with a couple of shitty guns and some home-made bombs that, while actually functional, would flunk you out of IED class back in Afghanistan or Iraq.

It's going to get so much worse. Because of this degree of weakness, of overreaction and immaturity, I can guarantee we will have just enticed more who wish to be as famous and momentarily powerful as we chose to make these two assholes.

Whatever happened to the America of our grandparents? Hitler said every day, "I want all your cities closed," and we said, every day, "Not for an hour, not for a minute."

Comment Re: Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

All kidding aside, do you not watch the news? Which is full of surveillance video of people robbing, raping, and murdering on a scale any terrorist organization can never dream of? Pick just one case: grainy footage of a group of several guys who killed someone just like you, raped someone just like your wife, and then disappeared into the night, most certainly to be seen again soon?

I await your command to shut down every city where this occurred this week.

Comment Re: Slippery slope. (Score 2) 604

200 whole rounds of ammo? I cringe in wide-eyed fear. The NYPD once spent 41 rounds of ammo shooting at a single unarmed civilian (reference).

Cops are way more likely to kill you by accident than terrorists are on purpose (reference).

If the cops really thought it was dangerous outside, instead of just putting on security theater, they'd have let the donut shops close too (reference).

The war on terror is like real war, except that we have millions of people in our "army" and they have dozens in theirs. Peanut allergies kill more Americans than terrorists.

Comment Re: Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

This cowardly attitude is an open invitation for any terrorist or hostile foreign government to shut down any American city any time they choose by sending one or two armed men to our shores. Or, apparently even recruiting one or two people from our labor pool. If our grandparents thought this way while fighting the Nazis, Hitler could have won the war against the allies with a hundred "terrorists."

And... we shut the whole city down - except for the Dunkin Donuts shops?

We cower in fear from these two kids, so that we don't even read them their rights when we arrest them?

Somewhere your grandparents are rolling in their graves from shame, that this is the once mighty country they fought wars to defend.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 4, Interesting) 604

Wow - you felt like this was the right time to beat the "tort reform" horse?

Dead civilians, dead cops, and you pulled that hoary old saw out of your trove of political hobbyhorses?

By the way - you can let it go.

Visit China or Mexico or India. The courts have no power over the rich in those places, and safety measures are considered a foreign luxury. If while at work on the assembly line, you lose your hand en la Máquina then there's no system at work to tell anyone it should have had a simple safety feature to keep your hand out - you were the careless one, after all - so you just go on the street to beg with your other hand, with the crowd of other one-handed people. Your life is worth less than the little money and effort a bit of safety engineering would cost, in those places.

Oh, for the millions of people it benefits, a small percentage of people abuse it - just like health insurance, taking fake sick days at work, the welfare system, the military procurement system, and every other human system ever invented, except at least in the case of torts, you have to fool both a judge and a jury to do it. It's actually one of the least abusable systems we have. If only everything else worked that way.

And yet, propagandists will try to convince you to be riled up over someone who got a jury award in a courtroom because they want to distract you from a banker who got a bonus on a bailed out bank, or bribery in congress, or a drug company who thinks quality control is a big government intrusion onto their profits.

Even that lady who got millions for spilling McDonalds coffee on herself... didn't get millions for spilling coffee on herself. She got $640k, in the end, because McDonalds decided to serve coffee 40 degrees hotter than everyone else, and when it spilled on her lap, she suffered horrific agony, massive burns on her vagina, needed skin grafts, and her medical treatments continued for two years. McDonalds already knew they were injuring hundreds of people like her, and even paid out up to half a million in the past in settlements, but they couldn't be bothered to tell people to turn down the knob in the coffee makers to where everyone else sets it. And the manager of that particular location was a douche, and decided "no one should get money for spilling coffee." Well, if you make it hot enough, you do injure people, to the point where it shocks the conscience. (reference) Amazingly after this case the knobs got turned down and the coffee went to normal temperature and everyone stopped getting hurt.

This is why I say you can let it go. Get outraged about legal bribery (Citizens United, etc), bank bailouts and billions of military budget dollars wasted and lost that was supposed to go support our troops. If you really hold on to tort reform so much that it seems relevant in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, go live in one of the many earthly paradises that has no tort, and see for yourself what it's like.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 1) 604

Hmm. You call it voluntary. But whatever the police said caused most businesses, schools, and government agencies to close. Except the donut shops, of course. Those, the police kept open.

You say they are not likely to do it again except in equally extreme situations. I say we rolled out the red carpet to the world's terrorists and foreign governments, showing what a panicky bunch of children we are. I say anyone with a violent agenda in the entire world is likely to do this again whenever they wish to send one or two armed men to our shores (or even recruit from the innumerable, mediocre candidates available domestically), and that will be at times of their choosing.

Comment Re:Fundamentals (Score 1) 583

Namecoin (a distributed name system based on Bitcoin) had a problem a few years ago that demonstrated an example to this. Majority mining power just disappeared from the network, and it took miners months to produce 2016 blocks after that, ultimately rendering the network useless (until they found a way to mine both currencies in parallel with 100% efficiency on both, which is very interesting in itself).

I think I start to see what you mean. You're saying that I'd need to win against the rest of the internet's difficulty in order to make a valid block. And that no block is valid unless it follows the difficulty function, which is historically validated down the chain.

Interesting. I'd read about the difficulty heuristic but hadn't thoroughly understood it or realized the implications. In fact you have come up with an entirely new and fairly huge problem for bitcoin that I hadn't considered. Since the difficulty function is not real-time, bitcoin could suffer the same problem that namecoin suffered. It could, in fact, kill the entire thing far more acutely. All you need is a sufficient fluctuation in CPU volume. Right?

So you should be quite afraid of DoS attacks - but far more of changing market conditions. If something causes people to start to leave the network a little too quickly, and it slows down, causing a further exodus, then you have a runaway condition, and the entire thing is doomed for a "temporary" period long enough to kill it, effectively. No?

Bitcoin's fault tolerance is remotely similar to Freenet.

I think you can see my point about the ease of segmentation - and that it is irrelevant to the attack that the block chain can be reconstructed from a single leak, since there would be no leaks in a likely attack. And, agreed - quite academic in light of the issue you raise about faking blocks.

I don't think this conflicts with what I said. You need to break the chain of transactions in order to render the history useless.

Transactions are a chain. In the case of bitcoin, you have perfect and transparent recordkeeping of this chain as a precondition to the system working. Once a link is made, for any reason, you can never break it. You can have many wallets, but at scale you can't keep them separate. At any scale, you still need to have your various accounts exchanging funds sooner or later (and so will any laundry). You can try to create huge volumes of noise, break transactions and amounts up, and make many intermediate fake accounts, but none of those games are particularly resistant to analysis. Hence the example I linked to earlier.

We haven't even started to talk about the guts of P2P routing yet. From Freenet to Gnutella, the ideals of distributed computation never once met the realities. What happens when nodes in Bitcoin's mesh misbehave in different ways? Make too many connections? Route data in valid but esoteric ways? Spam bad data at neighbors, and blame it on other neighbors? And so forth...? The P2P substrate is actually a terribly difficult design problem that is usually inseparable from the higher-level goals of the network, and I've heard relatively little about how the protocol itself works.

Comment Re:Fundamentals (Score 1) 583

I had a longer response that was just eaten by the browser. Now unfortunately I have to be brief:

You can't roll back transactions or double spend without producing blocks, and producing valid blocks don't get easier by isolating the victim from the network. If you agree that brute force attacks on proof of work isn't impractical, this isn't very viable either (i.e. people will realize there's something wrong when confirmation takes hours to days instead of minutes).

It has to be easier if you isolate someone from the network. Imagine if all the computers but yours disappeared tomorrow. Are you saying your computer could not now win a race of 1? Or that there is any difference between a communications cutoff and lack of existence?

I don't get what you mean here. Even if a little information is leaked between the segments, the network will be whole again. Of course you have to have a reasonable leak. For instance, you could send the data on a flash drive and I wouldn't consider it a valid leak because of the latency.

If I am intercepting your communications, it is less complex to intercept everything rather than some things. Confirmations will be quite speedy, since they will come from me as well.

For the rest, I would suggest reviewing the Anonymity page bitcoin themselves puts up.

The Weaknesses page puts it succinctly: "Tracing a coin's history can be used to connect identities to addresses."

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