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Comment Re:"a net productivity gain"..YES (Score 1) 430

Either your company's coding standards didn't prohibit crap code, or previous employees didn't adhere to the standard.

While coding standards can require code to be syntactically well-structured, they cannot make it conceptually well-structured, and that is where the biggest problems in comprehension (and more than a few bugs) have their origin. This is why the first responder's reply, 'yes, but not by much' is correct.

I am in favor of reasonable coding standards, but I do not expect them to make much difference. They will certainly not 'prohibit bad code.'

Comment Re:How come... (Score 2, Insightful) 655

He doesn't have to, because of the magical use of the meaningless term "Scientific consensus" by virtually all of the scientists and journalists writing about the field. What we're told, over and over, is that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice.

It's a simple fact that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice, and as such, it has meaning. It is not direct evidence that global warming is occurring; it is good evidence that the direct evidence has been thoroughly examined.

The idea that science is somehow subject to a vote is even scarier than the idea that it should be subservient to religion.

Well, I have comforting news for you: it's not. You seem to have scared yourself with your own rhetoric.

Comment Re:Attempt to Limit Future Liability (Score 1) 66

Meanwhile, most of the non-electronic locks manufactured in the world can be "hacked" by a pair of paper clips.

Onity's locks should be judged not only by their physical counterparts, but also by what can reasonably be achieved electronically. This problem was entirely avoidable, at little or no extra original expense (and much less overall) if Onity had just employed one or two competent, security-aware developer/designers. I don't expect perfection, and is reasonable competence too much to ask?

I'm calling bullshit here. Looks to me like their locks were fit for purpose, where its purpose is to keep honest people honest.

The larger issue that concerns me here is that this cavalier attitude to electronic security seems to be unjustifiably common, and it seems that someone needs to get slapped around a bit before businesses see this as something they need to pay attention to. If Onity is that someone, we are making progress.

Comment Re:I dunno... (Score 2) 66

Just because Onity got targetted doesn't mean they are suddenly less secure than all the others.

Right... for example, they could have been less secure than all the others from the start.

Your argument, quoted above, is not false, but it is useful only in pointing out that we cannot assume the alternatives are secure. To anyone for whom the security of hotel locks matter, Onity has been shown to have been incompetent in its design, and it is the degree of its incompetence that matters. The vulnerability exploited here was not a subtle mistake.

Comment Attempt to Limit Future Liability (Score 4, Informative) 66

The leaked agreement contains this paragraph:

"Onity’s proposal for franchisees is conditioned on the franchisee’s acknowledgement that Onity does not guarantee a lock’s invulnerability to hacking."

While this is a reasonable statement on its own, the real issue here is competence. Onity's design was in such blatant and avoidable violation of basic security principles (e.g. a small keyspace and a lack of real cryptography) that it might be be called negligent.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 1) 686


-Advertising is obnoxious
-No, it isn't: my advertisements are not obnoxious
-Well, your advertisements are not the real class of advertisements we are talking here.

Isn't it the very definition of the "no true scotsman" falacy?

No. Superficially, it has the same form as true no-true-scotsman fallacies, but the definition of trueness is not ad-hoc - it is a meaningful distinction that matters beyond the 3-line argument you are calling a fallacy. Innocent_white_lamb's advertising is a combination of making available information for people to find if they want to, and sending notification to those who request it. In contrast, the advertising under discussion here is sent to people who did not specifically request it (by using a site they may have implicitly consented to receive advertising, but that is not the same as subscribing to a specific information feed from a specific source that they are interested in, which is what innocent_white_lamb provides.)

Submission + - Thorium Fuel has Proliferation Risk (

Capt.Albatross writes: Thorium has attracted interest as a potentially safer fuel for nuclear power generation. In part, this has been because of the absence of a route to nuclear weapons, but a group of British scientists have identified a path that leads to uranium-233 via protactinium-233 from irradiated thorium. The protactinium separation could possibly be done with standard lab equipment, which would allow it to be done covertly, and deliver the minimum of U233 required for a weapon in less than a year.

The full article is in Nature, paywalled.

Comment Jumping the Gun (Score 2) 604

Ethics are a matter of conscious decision-making. Until we have conscious machines, we will not have ethical machines. What Marcus is writing about is the application of ethics in the design of machinery, which is a growing topic in its own right, but not nearly as click-inducing (or alliterative) as is 'moral machines'.

Comment Re:And a normal locksmith will also charge (Score 2) 132

So.... where's the story? I don't see anything on slashdot about normal burglars breaking into house with zipguns and the like, why is THIS news?

Security, and in particular the continuing use of amateurs to develop software and systems that should be secure, is a topic that definitely belongs here (as would new developments in lock-picking, in my opinion).

This lock was very badly designed, and Onity acted irresponsibly in not taking security seriously (and for a lock, no less). It will send a valuable message to the marketplace if they go out of business as a result.

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