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Comment Re:Deregulation (Score 1) 182

Right. Look at Bitcoin. Most of the standard financial scams have been replicated in the Bitcoin world. Ponzi schemes, fake stocks, fake stock markets, brokers who took the money and ran, crooked escrow services, "online wallet" services that stole customer funds - that's Bitcoin.

Actually, no. That is, as you said, "standard financial scams" which usually rely on convincing people to give up control of their money. The whole point of Bitcoin is you don't have to give your money to random untrustworthy third parties. The fact that P2P financial technology is in its infancy and some holders of that currency choose to do so anyway, says more about the importance of decentralising all aspects of finance than it does about Bitcoin itself.

For instance, online wallet services - again, the whole point of Bitcoin is you don't have to give your money to a bank. Some idiots do so anyway, because, well, they can't be bothered downloading a wallet app and using it themselves. Or maybe they're just so used to the idea of giving their money to someone else for safe keeping they can't quite let go. Who knows? Lots of people who use Bitcoin managed to avoid all such scams by the simple expedient of understanding the goal of the project and keeping their own money.

Crooked escrow providers? The protocol allows for dispute mediators that can't steal your money, all they can do is decide whether a payment should clear through to the merchant or be refunded. It doesn't get used today because P2P financial technology is hard, and the code needed to do this kind of low-trust dispute mediation isn't finished. Give it a few years and I'm sure it will be.

In the US banking crisis, depositors didn't lose their money.

Directly? No, as is also the case for most other banking crises. Indirectly, yes of course they lost money as did many other people. Banks cannot misallocate vast quantities of resources and there be no impact of that. The losses were merely socialised through other means.

Scamming is such a big part of the Bitcoin economy that almost nobody is using it for anything legitimate.

Says you. By the way, I like how you use the word legitimate and then immediately imply that people trying to escape capital controls is up there with ponzi schemes.

Comment Re:Not quite (Score 2) 242

No, their supposed to be spying on every other government and country. They are all spying on us as well. It's the dirty little secret of diplomacy, everyone is spying on everyone else.

I love how people try to sound wise when talking about this stuff, "of course" the USA spies on everyone, everyone knows "everyone spies on everyone else".

Except they don't. Do you really think Brazil or Mexico is running operations hacking President Obama's email account? Do you think Germany is? If "everyone" was doing this stuff the spies would constantly be tripping over each other as they all tried to get access to Obama's email simultaneously.

The brutal reality is that only a few countries seem to be doing this stuff, probably because most countries don't have governments that split the world into "domestic" and "foreign" but rather, have some notion of "allies" vs "enemies".

Comment Re:no thanks (Score 1) 182

In 2-3 generations the cost of providing welfare will have plummeted far below what it is today. That's rather the nature of progress.

However, for now, "importing labour" a.k.a. allowing immigration doesn't seem like a terrible way to raise the tax base, now does it? Especially as most northern European countries are getting immigration from eastern European countries where the dominant religions do not involve burqas.

Comment Re: no thanks (Score 2) 182

That's your debunking? That Somalia was (according to some guy who wrote a paper) a shithole before anarchy, and is marginally less of a shithole afterwards, therefore anarchy is good?

This is why the ultra-hard libertarian arguments always come across as so flaky. There aren't any examples of places that are both nice to live and stateless.

Comment Re:Deregulation (Score 1) 182

Not that I'm a fan of anarcho-capitalism (at all), but your points would have fairly ready responses from the crowd that is - obviously, their envisioned utopia doesn't have banks or PayPal equivalents, rather all money is in the form of Bitcoin which cannot be arbitrarily seized like that.

Also, re: power supplies, it often isn't necessary for governments to impose particular technical standards. For instance the internet has developed all kinds of protocols and standards without any government mandates.

I think if you want a fundamental, theoretical justification for the state, the right place to start is fighting of crime.

United States

NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President 242

rtoz writes "The National Security Agency (NSA ) of United States hacked into the Mexican president's public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico. This operation, dubbed 'Flatliquid,' is described in a document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Meanwhile U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is urging the Supreme Court not to take up the first case it has received on controversial National Security Agency cybersnooping."

Comment 800 drives tested (Score 1) 292

i'm just going over the batch of OCZs that we had to pull from locations all over the world. the cost of the recall was far in excess of the cost of the drives. over 200 of them. if you have an OCZ Vertex drive with firmware revision 1.11, it *will* fail spectacularly. all you need to do is set up 64 sets of parallel writes, run them for 10 minutes, and you *will* get data corruption. you can do this in a shell script (i used python) by spawning "cp -aux" of a directory hierarchy with 1500 subdirectories and 3,000 small files. 64 parallel sets of copying (and then deleting) i.e. if you do around 1.5 million file-directory creates and deletes you are *guaranteed* to have data corruption.

the strange thing: the very first Vertex OCZs released were absolutely fine. what i learned just yesterday was that *even* with a drive that has been consistently failing, if you downgrade its firmware to revision 1.7 *it becomes absolutely fine*.

the problem that we have is that upgrading units in-the-field when the firmware upgrade system provided by OCZ is an ISOLINUX cd image with FreeDOS and a firmware-flash program is going to be rather tricky when none of the systems have a screen let alone a keyboard.

by contrast, we have somewhere around 500 Intel 320s installed world-wide. there have only ever been 3 failures.

for the selection of the new drive (Intel 320s are end-of-life) i'm endeavouring to replicate that test system which was reported on slashdot to have destroyed 12 different SSDs within under an hour per drive. i have managed to destroy one already: Crucial M4. it took 2500 power-cycle interruptions (the program's still in development) so the M4 failed in under 24 hours. so don't get that one. still on the list: Innodisk 3-MP Sata Slim, Toshiba's new SSD, and Intel's new S3500.

the toshiba i can already tell you, if you interrupt its power you will find that, on power-up, some of the outstanding write requests will *not* have been actioned. this is partly good news: it means that the drive is detecting that it doesn't have power, so doesn't risk corrupting the drive. i'm looking forward to properly testing the 3-MP because they're cheap, small, and the datasheet has, unlike any other manufacturer, a heck of a lot of details about how they actually do power-loss protection. most other manufacturers don't even bother to mention power-loss protection, that's if you can find a proper datasheet at all.

Comment Re:The big question is still unanswered. (Score 1) 193

Who knows? Perhaps his DHCP lease expired and he got reassigned to an IP previously used by a curvy woman?

A lot of these ad systems are based on somewhat black box machine learning models or statistical correlation engines. Even the people who run them can't always explain why a certain choice was made, just that overall it seems to do the right thing.

Comment Re:The EU must like expensive toys (Score 0) 80

The solution would have been for Apple to be slapped, hard, when it started claiming that nobody could build tablets or phones anymore even though none of their patents were technically "essential". Then it would have never escalated to that point. However neither the US nor the EU managed to achieve even basic common sense with regards to Apples rampant abuse of the courts, and are focusing on the Korean company instead.

This coming after Obama stepped in personally to ensure Apple wouldn't have to pay up? It sends a bad message, a very bad message to the rest of the world indeed. Basically whichever company is "cooler" gets to win, no matter what the rules of the game were meant to be.

Comment Re:Resistant to anti-ship missles? (Score 2) 229

Well, according to that wikipedia page, that weapons system was in service since 1980. The missiles I'm talking about are these ones and are much more modern. I have read that Russia got significantly further ahead than the US in the area of anti-ship missiles and as such, the US defences against them have never been tested for real.

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.

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