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Comment Re:Big Data Need (Score 2, Informative) 78

Mainframes and large multiprocessor machines have been handling multi-billion row data sets on RDBMS systems for a very long time. Data warehouses are commonly into the billions of rows. What commodity clusters provide is not efficiency--they often make poorer use of available cycles and repeat work to achieve goals.

What large commodity clusters provide is a price per cycle low enough that the owner doesn't have to worry about efficiency. For example, Google's Dean and Ghemawat ("MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters") managed to successfully sort 10^10 100-byte records over 891 seconds, or about 6MB sorted per processor per second. Very fast overall, but hardly efficient use of modern hardware. There's an important place for the new big dataset system, but the argument is cost, not efficiency.

Comment Ever heard of Tempest? Covert timing channels? (Score 1) 222

Yeah, I have, and they don't change the fact that exposing information to people that don't need it is just stupid. You can avoid the risks of having your message decrypted or extracted by not exposing it to attack. You can avoid hostile signal analysis by not sending. Often, a recipient doesn't need to know the specific content of a message--just the simple fact that it was sent is useful, potentially damaging information. Ever heard of Tempest? Covert timing channels? Or a combination of both?

Comment Educational fair use (Score 1) 485

I'm pretty sure that reproducing a government seal as part of a description of the relevant part of the government is the textbook definition of fair use. This isn't counterfeiting, impersonation, or any attempt to fool or misrepresent anyone. It is *helping* people learn to recognize the real FBI. Jeez....

Comment Old science. What does this add? (Score 3, Interesting) 961

Seriously, this looks like a weak rehash of Festinger's (1957) Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, only without the data or depth of study. People change their opinions to suit their convictions, and shown by Festinger's study of the reactions of doomsday cults' reactions to the fact the the world didn't end on the expected date (c.f., "When Propheshy Fails"). Really, what am I missing here?

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