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Comment Cipher Lock (Score 1) 306

Back around 1980, I worked on a secret project at MacDonnell-Douglas. Access to our secret area was controlled by a 4-digit cipher lock, which was set to 1234. But there was an even better security problem one day. We came in Monday morning to find that the wall beside the cipher-lock protected door had been removed. We dutifully called security and reported a stolen wall.

Comment Who's a target? (Score 1) 415

The same tactics that are taught to intelligence workers for targeting political thought that threatens what are euphemistically called 'US interests' can be brought to bear on anyone spreading ideas that threaten the internal power structure as well. We've already seen the lengths that the security state will go to in order to protect itself, and that it even considers get-out-the-vote activists to be dangerous. What you espouse may seem innocuous, but any kind of change threatens someone's power, and now that unlimited funds can be spent to control what government does in the name of corporate personhood, you can easily be a target as well.

I dramatized this situation back in 2007 as part of a series of short stories about a group exploring ways to improve the workings of government. Here's a link:


Comment There's always money to be made (Score 0) 385

It doesn't matter what sort of disaster you're talking about, whether it's man-made, natural, or a combination, someone will always come up with a way to wring a profit from the effects of it. I doubt that the effects of the changes that Earth's climate is undergoing will be any different. With that in mind, the latest short story on my blog takes place near the end of this century, after the oceans have risen about 2 meters and became both more acidic and more polluted, neither of which are good environments for the Golden State Barrage, a sea wall next to the Golden Gate Bridge. An actual plan to build a Golden Gate Barrage was proposed but not approved in 2007. If something of that nature is not built, 2 more meters of the Pacific Ocean will move the coastline inland all the way to Sacramento. Check the on-line sea level rise site yourself. Insurance companies know about this as well. But so do real estate companies, and the corporations who profit from mass changes in where people live. If you want one perspective on what might happen, check out the story. It's called 'Bait.


Comment Framing Problem (Score 3, Insightful) 625

This entire discussion is based on a premise that is no longer true. Once upon a time, wealth was created solely by the performance of labor, the users of the means of production, by people, under the control of capital, the owners of the means of production. But now, wealth is mostly created by capital, either by manipulating the rules of society and of the economy, which is what banks and other financial institutions do, or by the performance of labor by automation. The relationship between the human laborer and the creation of wealth no longer matches the economic model in which people can pay for their living expenses solely through the wages paid to them for that labor.

The solutions that are being offered by governments in the thrall of capital are inappropriate to the reality in which people now live. Wealth derived without the participation of labor is being hoarded by capital. This is the core of the problem. Until and unless that wealth is used to enable people to purchase the products created without their participation, this situation cannot be resolved.

Capital has used the for-profit banking system to control governments and people to their own benefit. Debt money loaded to nations at compounded interest can never pay that debt, because the value of the interest demanded was never introduced into the economy. It's a broken system. Technical people who understand logic ought to be able to work through the math of this, and the network of interactions, to satisfy themselves that this is so. We should also be able to design a better system, rather than argue over how to kludge a fix that can only hide the real problem for a short time.

Comment Binary on a DIGIAC 3080 (Score 1) 623

It was 1969, and my high school had a desk-sized 'training computer' with bat switches for telling it to load the paper tape with the assembler on it, a card-reader/punch and 4K memory on a drum. After learning binary, the second language I learned was the beast's assembly language. The assembler program backed itself out of memory as it ran so it could load the assembled result. After that, it was FORTRAN, but our teacher had to bring the decks to the college to run them for us.

Comment Re:This is where I get confused about AGW. (Score 2) 77

The Little Ice Age was what happened the last time the Gulf Stream stopped. It was the reason why some artists had painted ordinary-looking scenes of people out on the ice of their lake -- something that had not happened before in those places. The North Atlantic gyre can be stopped by the addition of too much fresh water from melting ice, because it is the difference in salinity that drives the currents and the upwelling from the depths. We live on a planet with a lot of interconnected systems that rely on one another to keep the cycles going. A small change can have large effects.


Submission + - Could this 3D display be in your future? (blogspot.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: Very interesting 3D concept display here that`s rotatable and could be of great use to engineers and designers. It uses a prism and four images to create this 3D effect, now add gesture control and voila, one very cool almost holographic display.

Submission + - FTC dumps on scammers who blasted millions of text messages (networkworld.com) 1

coondoggie writes: "The Federal Trade Commission today said it has filed eight court cases to stop companies who have sent over 180 million illegal or deceptive text messages to all manner of mobile users in the past year. The messages — of which the FTC said it had received some 20,000 complaints in 2012 — promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target."

Submission + - Report: DoD Has Wasted Billions on IT Security (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: ""During exercises and testing, DoD red teams, using only small teams and a short amount of time, are able to significantly disrupt the 'blue team’s' ability to carry out military missions. Typically, the disruption is so great, that the exercise must be essentially reset without the cyber intrusion to allow enough operational capability to proceed. These stark demonstrations contribute to the Task Force’s assertion that the functioning of DoD’s systems is not assured in the presence of even a modestly aggressive cyber-attack."

Pentagon spent +$10 billion on IT security in FY 2011."

Comment Atlantic Currents (Score 5, Informative) 411

With that much fresh water being added to the North Atlantic, we ought to be talking about the health of the Atlantic Ocean currents that are energized by the temperature difference between equator and polar regions, and the deep water exchange, which is driven by the difference in salinization. Most important of these currents is the Gulf Stream. It stopped several hundred years ago, over the course of a single lifetime, and caused the Little Ice Age in Europe. I've already heard some reports about the speed of the current slowing. An awful lot depends on those currents, and we've heard nary a peep about the implications.

Comment Re:Why civil? (Score 3, Interesting) 606

Sure. Go ahead. Make corporations 100% people. Give them all of the rights they've been lusting after, and once they've grabbed that carrot, shut the door behind them and give them the responsibilities and the punishments as well. I fantasize about this sort of thing on my blog. This one launched a series: http://klurgsheld.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/short-story-logical-conclusion/

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