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Comment Re:over the top but! (Score 1) 120

And the other side of that coin is finding it and reporting it. Then checking back x time later. Where they did nothing then say, why were you looking again?

How about:

1) To find out if the data was pulled down yet.
2) To be even nicer guys by waiting until the data WAS pulled down to run the story that would give tens of thousands of identity thieves a valuable present.

Comment Re:Try to do something right (Score 4, Insightful) 120

Or you know... people could start writing decent secure code to begin with... :)

Did you ever write a program? Did it work the first time, doing exactly what it was supposed/specified to do?

Took a lot of debugging and error correction, didn't it? Even if you are a programming expert.

Now write a program where "what it's supposed to do" includes "not get cracked and used by any malware, known or unknown, past or future".

Think you'll get THAT right the first time? Even if you are a security expert?

Comment Typos! ARRRRGH! (Score 1) 365

Correcting typos:

Spun out of Internal Revenue in 1886.
Shot and killed the son and sniped and killed the (nursing at the time) wife over a FIVE dollar tax matter, not a five hundred buck bill.

(ATF is also noted for throwing a pregnant woman against a wall - she later miscarried - and stomping a kitten to death just to drive home how powerless a raid target was to make them responsible for their actions. Shooting the family dogs at the start of a raid, for the raiders' convenience, is routine.)

Comment Why not jackboots? ATF is also under treasury. (Score 2) 365

When will the IRS start issuing jack boots to all agents?

Why not jackboots? ATF and Secret Service are also part of Treasury.

ATF has been the classic "jackbooted thugs" for most of their existence - ever since they got spun out of Internal Revenue in . They're "the revenuers" that enforced alcohol taxes with machine guns even before they and the FBI burned down a church camp in Waco over a $200 tax bill and shot a man's son and wife on Ruby Ridge over a $500 claim, inspiring the original NRA "Jackbooted Thugs" ad.

Secret Service has a history of incarcerating people and holding them incommunicado if they think they might be possibly be a threat to a high government official. (I knew one '60s radical who BECAME a '60s radical, a nice Jewish girl who, when still underage, was playing spy/counterspy with a friend in Grosse Point using their new toy CB walkie-talkies, totally unaware that JFK was passing through the Detroit area on his way to speak at a university graduation ceremony 50 miles away. Scooped off the street, thrown in a cell overnight, no mention of why, no phone call, no notice to parents, ...) They also harassed someone who, during the Vietnam protests, wrote "Piss on JFK" on a postcard. Reason given: "If enough people pissed on him it would kill him."

Why should the IRS be left without appropriate footwear?

Comment Re:The reason that supercapacitors are not already (Score 1) 295

In the vacuum tube era they'd get stacked up to tens of thousands of volts, and they went even higher for particle accelerators (which are a big fancy vacuum tube when you get right down to it).

There's no inherent limit to how many capacitors you can put in series.

Yes, the "balancing tricks" do cause a LOT of leakage. Series caps are more for storage times measured in seconds or fractions thereof than weeks.

Comment Fans? (Score 0) 327

The second experiment added some Linux laptops that ping-flooded to generate lots of network activity. The second experiment showed a clear increase in plant "damage" /lack of development.

Were the laptops located so that their fans wouldn't be blowing hot air past the seeds, heating them and sucking the moisture out of them?

Comment Watch it go insane... (Score 2) 393

... once you've built a plug-and-play brain, anything is possible. You could take it apart to figure out the causes of brain diseases. You could rig it to robotics and develop a whole new range of intelligent technologies.

You can watch it go immediately insane from sensory deprivation.

Modeling the brain is not enough. You have to model enough of its supporting systems and environment to keep it functioning.

Comment Erased when it's powered ON!? (Score 1) 94

... a laptop that isn't connected to the internet, which is erased every time it is powered on ...

I hope it's erased every time it's powered OFF, as well. (That way nobody can seize it while it's off and sniff the disk.)

Note the "as well". You still want to erase it on the way back up, just in case the power failed before the shutting-down erase is complete.

Comment Torrents need distinction: seeders vs. others. (Score 1) 225

The issue I have is the discrepancy in amounts. $7500 is targeted to make it just cheaper than dealing with a lawyer. The $150k is statutory damages designed to deal with commercial infringement.

To quote Wikipedia:

Lawmakers will provide for statutory damages for acts in which it is difficult to determine a precise value of the loss suffered by the victim. This could be because calculation of a value is impractical, such as in intellectual property cases where the volume of the infringement cannot be ascertained.

In the United States, statutory damages [for copyright infringement] are set at a minimum of $750 per work, to a maximum of $30,000.

It seems to me that suits on torrent-distributed "pirate copies" need to make a distinction between seeders and others in the network.

A torrent is a tree distribution. When it's working as intended:

  - The person who seeded the torrent committed a deliberate action that made the work available to everybody in the network who eventually made a copy.

  - The others in the network, on the average, only hosted the down load of one copy. For every person (including the seeder) who hosts the download of one copy, there is one person who didn't host any actual downloads at all, for every person who hosted two downloads there are two who didn't host any, and so on. Sure the early players host a few more downloads - but the late players download none and the average is still one per participant. (That's what makes torrents useful despite the slow upload speeds of most home internet connections.)

Granted it's hard to tell how many downloads any given network participant actually hosted. But if he had not chosen to join the network and download a copy for himself (with software that also made downloads available), the remaining participants would have still gotten their copies. The number of infringing copies made would be reduced by only one. (On the other hand, if a seeder had not seeded, there would be no infringing copies.)

So it seems to me that, by the internal logic of the "statutory damages" law, it could certainly be argued that the seeder enabled some unknown large number of copies, and thus appropriate to apply the high-end damages on the seede. But to apply that to the other participants in the tree - who averaged one copy (effectively: their own) apiece - would be coming to the well repeatedly. The right penalty for the other participants would be the statutory minimum - or even less, because you can show that, with an average enabling of one copy, they don't fit the "unknowable but large number" model that the "statutory damages" legislation contemplates.

Of course there's also the issue of the torrent NOT working as intended: It's possible to configure a client in a "leach" mode, where it only downloads, and this means non-leaching participants host an extra download for each "leach", who doesn't host his "average of one".

But the default configuration is non-leach. How many participants change that (or are otherwise unable to host)? If it's half, the average for the remainder is still only two hosted downloads. If it's 75% they're hosting four. With a statutory minimum penalty of $750 and a $10/copy work you'd have to have 87% leaches to cross break-even. (Aren't there studies of the leach ratio? This is a civil trial under a "preponderance" standard so IMHO such studies should be admissible.) Meanwhile, for every two non-leaches there'd be 13 who could truthfully claim "I didn't host ANY downloads. I shouldn't even be in court."

IANAL. But I'd love to see how a judge would handle a claim that seeders might be due the maximum penalty but every other participant either the minimum or perhaps three times the retail price.

Comment Especially since it DOESN'T model eruptions. (Score 5, Informative) 41

"The aim was to recreate, in true-to-life detail, what happens when a volcanic eruption punches through Earth's crust."
Hugh, it seems to me the aim an excuse to play with explosives.

Especially since it DOESN'T model eruptions - especially the explosive kind.

One of the major martyrs to science is the geologist who died in the most recent explosive eruption of Mount Saint Hellens. It was known that some mountains explode, and that this was the usual mode for this volcano. But it was a big mystery HOW they exploded.

He was too close to escape when the action started. But he had a (film) camera with him. So he took a series of photos as the mountain went off, then wrapped his camera in his backpack and jacket before the devastation got to him. His camera was recovered, the film developed, and running the series of stills as a movie made the mechanism utterly clear. It was an "Of COURSE!" moment.

In this case there is a LOT of gas pressure under the mountain. This pressure, not just the buoyancy of the lava, is much of what is pushing the mountain up. Meanwhile, the weight of the mountain is what is holding the gas down, at enormous pressure.

Eventually the mountain is pushed up enough that a rock avalanche starts on one side. This releases some of the pressure, which lets the gas push the mountain up further, making it shrug much more of the side off in an enormous rock slide. One side of the mountain slides away. This leaves the gas pressure held down only by the remaining rock, which is insufficient for the task. Before the rock slide is more than about a quarter of the way down the gas is blasting the remaining rock into fine dust and launching it into the stratosphere -(as well as sideways, so goodbye neighborhood). Essentially the whole mountain goes away, leaving a crater where rebuilding the mountain for the next cycle begins.

Let's see you model THAT with explosives! (Hint: If you're throwing rocks you didn't use enough explosives.)

Lesser eruptions have a number of models, depending on things like the composition of the lava (including how much gas is bubbling out of it, like soda fizz once the lava makes it to near atmospheric pressures). Explosives don't do those justice, either.

Comment Never. (Score 2, Insightful) 130

How long before we farm transfusions from a donor critter or lab grown spleen vat.


It's a protein. Just splice the appropriate sequence into a plasmid, inject it into an e-coli bacterium (of an "enfeebled" strain to keep it from going feral)), and grow its offspring by the vatload, producing purified product by the gallon.

This procedure is one of the earliest commercialized pieces of genetic engieering.

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