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Comment Re:Link to original story? (Score 1) 164

That is completely against the Russian approach, which is fairly direct in style. If the opposition figures running those sites reside in Russia, then the regular Russian police and FSB will be dealing with them - arrests, searches, the usual deal, like you can see with the recent treatment of opposition figures. Skipping an opportunity to go after the authors while using SVR to disturb the sites with propaganda doesn't really fit into the modus operandi of the Russian authorities.

Comment Re:No (Score 5, Insightful) 601

Yep, as an European, I don't get why I should pay such a tax. I pay for my own broadband connection, and while I agree that everyone should have access to the Internet, it's already available for free at libraries that are funded by my taxes anyway. So I don't get the point of a general "broadband tax".

Comment Re:Link to original story? (Score 5, Informative) 164

Link to story: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2009256

Interesting moments are as follows. There are three projects for which software has been requested. One is for "researching the methods of intelligence in Internet centers and regional segments of social networks", another is for "researching the unofficial methods of management on the Internet", and finally work on "methods for advancing special information in social networks". So essentially, it's figuring out how to make certain information popular on social networks, and figuring out the dynamics and largely emergent social structures within these networks. These are designed to work together, ultimately with the bots capable of "massive dissemination of information in specified social networks using existing user accounts, with the goal of forming the public opinion".

Given that the SVR is behind this, it's likely that the intent, at least originally, is to use this abroad, not within Russia. The article says so and quotes a source saying ex-USSR countries would be the first target. That bit certainly looks realistic given the geopolitical situation there, with Russia essentially being in a state of low-key information warfare versus some former Soviet states.

Submission + - Stanford researchers discover the 'anternet' (stanford.edu)

stoilis writes: "A collaboration between Deborah Gordon, a Stanford ant biologist, and Balaji Prabhakar, a computer scientist, has revealed that the behavior of harvester ants, as they forage for food, mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.

The work is published in the Aug. 23 issue of PLoS Computational Biology."

Science

Submission + - The Unbearable Lightness of Quantum Mechanics (wavewatching.net)

quax writes: For almost a century, ever since Einstein published his theory of General Relativity, a truly unified theory has been evading physicists . After decades of efforts, String theory and other mainstream approaches (so far) failed to deliver. This article takes a look at why it is so hard to reconcile Einstein's masterpiece with Quantum Mechanics and why there's hope that newly proposed experiments may eventually rectify the situation.

Comment Re:Sad News (Score 1) 480

Yep, on that note.

Being born in the USSR and growing up in ex-USSR, and being exposed to US-centric culture through the Internet, I've seen a fair amount of both. And it saddens me to see how Yuri Gagarin is mostly hailed as a Soviet/Russian hero and achievement, with Neil Armstrong being hailed as an American hero. Space travel is the single most spectacular thing achieved by mankind. Gagarin and Armstrong, as the first to fly in space and to walk on another celestial body, are heroes for all of humanity and should be remembered as such. What they did was - figuratively and literally - above countries and national borders. And the next person to join their league will be whoever first walks on Mars.

With Armstrong's death now, there's a sad feeling of manned space exploration being essentially over. I'm not alone among the geeky population to be fascinated and captivated by space travel, but I've recognized for a while now that the romantic visions are not going to come true anytime soon. 8 years from the first human in space to the first human on the Moon (with space programs that were competing, not cooperating), and nothing for the last 40 years. Just as the development of some areas, computers first and foremost, exceeded everyone's wildest dreams, space travel turned out to be far less impressive. The best we can expect for the next 2-3 decades at least is a Mars landing (largely by a country wanting to signal its might), and a small research outpost on the Moon.

So that's going on a rant, but Armstrong's death is sad in more ways than one.

Comment Re:Not just Gnome (Score 1) 432

Because what you say is fucking bullshit. The KDE team only had the balls around 4.3 to state that it's not for the general public. With 4.0, they used the "for developers" excuse in some blogs, like Aaron Siego's, mailing lists as a response to complaints, but never in the most visible places.

The 4.0 release announcement mentions nowhere that it's for developers. It reads just like the announcement of any major version. The main page of kde.org featured a prominent link to downloading the latest 4.0. It was handled in exactly the same way as major version releases are handled. 4.1. did better, explicitly mentioning early adopters in the announcement. 4.2. said it's okay for the "majority of end users"

It was a complete fuck-up. The quality of KDE 4.0 was in no way RC-like, it was like an early beta. The team did not admit this in the high-profile pages and announcements, and they tried to pull some stupid shit by messing with widely adopted conventions of version numbering.

And their idiotic "KDE 4.0 is not KDE4". Of course it didn't help that several distributions essentially bought into this being a complete product, and offered KDE 4 as a normal (or default) end-user option with 4.2 or even 4.1.

Comment Re:Try out one of each (Score 1) 415

I have a Sony reader and find that e-ink is far superior for books. A tablet has the same screen as the computer does. I've never liked reading large amount of text from the screen. A tablet display feels like a computer screen, an e-ink display feels like a book.

I would definitely recommend an e-reader for anything except technical literature. If you have PDFs with equations, flowcharts, illustrations and the like, they should be read on a tablet or proper computer. For fiction, e-ink is far superior.

Comment Re:check out the Equatorian statement: (Score 1) 1065

More recent official statement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London:

"We are deeply shocked by British governmentâ(TM)s threats against the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian Embassy and their suggestion that they may forcibly enter the embassy.

This is a clear breach of international law and the protocols set out in the Vienna Convention.

Throughout out the last 56 days Mr. Julian Assange has been in the Embassy, the Ecuadorian Government has acted honourably in all our attempts to seek a resolution to the situation. This stands in stark contrast to the escalation of the British Government today with their threats to breakdown the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Instead of threatening violence against the Ecuadorian Embassy the British Government should use its energy to find a peaceful resolution to this situation which we are aiming to achieve."

http://www.ecuadorembassyuk.org.uk/announcements/ecuador-shock-at-threats-from-british-government

Comment Re:He REALLY pissed off governments.... (Score 1) 1065

Wikileaks isn't popular in the USA, but summaries of opinion polls say that in Australia 59% support Wikileaks, and in the UK where this is happening, 42% supported the diplomatic cable release and 44% believe the sexual charges are intended to get him extradited to the USA eventually. Those numbers are significant on the PR-meter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reception_of_WikiLeaks#Public_opinion

Comment Re:Will be really surprised if they storm the plac (Score 1) 1065

No, they haven't announced that decision. Apparently they decided a day or so ago (as indeed reported by multiple sources), but there's been no official statement from the government, despite journalists finding out off the record. In a situation as delicate as this, the distinction is important.

Comment Re:Will be really surprised if they storm the plac (Score 5, Interesting) 1065

There are a few misconceptions that crop up repeatedly. Keep mind though that IANAL.

The diplomat's vehicle isn't sovereign land of the sending country. In fact, neither is the embassy. The Ecuadorian embassy in the UK is still sovereign land of the UK, however, it is inviolable (Article 22 of the Vienna convention). Same article specifies that the vehicles can not be searched. But it's precisely this status of embassies - as opposed to them being sovereign land of the sending state as it's often believed - is, in my reading, what the UK uses to give itself the right to revoke unilaterally that status, under the act cited in the summary.

If the embassy has diplomatic vehicles parked within the premises and not across the street or elsewhere, Assange can get into one of those vehicles, with a diplomat, and drive somewhere, with the police not having the right to detain him. Problem for him is he'd have to get out at the airport or somewhere.

Another comment I saw repeated several times elsewhere is that Ecuador could grant Assange citizenship and diplomat status, making him immune. This is not so - the receiving nation must explicitly agree to acknowledge each member of the mission. Obviously Assange would never be acknowledged as a diplomat by the UK. From my understanding of international law, even if Assange was to become the President of Ecuador, he would still not be enjoying immunity as that applies on official visits of the head of state.

Anyway, his is getting interesting and rapidly heading somewhere. Ecuador is set to announce its decision on asylum in about 12 hours, the UK might be determined to act before then. If they do not, there might be drama around Assange trying to leave the UK. Unless, of course, he just stays holed up there indefinitely.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 4, Interesting) 91

Most fitting username for a first post on this.

Truly sad, yet another of the sci-fi greats dying. I've had the pleasure of dining with Harry Harrison a few years ago, and in person he was every bit as funny as his works. Impressive how his very strong moral convictions come through in his books.

Comment Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score 1) 1130

Simak is great. Made it to the other side of the Iron Curtain, too.I started reading sci-fi from my father's collection which he built up in Soviet times, and several of Simak's works were there. I really like some of his short stories (Limiting Factor stands out even now), really liked All Flesh Is Grass but of course City is the best thing he ever wrote. An excellent novel that spans ten thousand years.

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