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Comment Re:Google is becoming synonymous with idiotic (Score 4, Informative) 135

For those who don't know, Google Cloud Print connects Cloud Print-aware applications (across the Web, desktop, and mobile) to any printer

So if I want to print my document to a printer in Bulgaria, no problem! That's just flat out daft. Cloud storage, processing and applications provide ubiquitous accessibility. Cloud printing provides ubiquitous inaccessibility.

Actually, I find cloud print to be very convenient. I print to my home printer while I'm at work and printers at work (my office and remote offices) from home, I have printed to my mom's printer and my father-in-law's printer from another state (easier than sending them a document and helping them print it). It's also zero setup when I get a new computer... as soon as I'm logged into Chrome I can print and it just works. No fiddling with drivers because that was already done once.

Surely there's still somebody with common sense working for Google?!?

Bah. Common sense is usually neither common nor very sensible. But what do I know? I work for Google :P

Comment Re:Harold Shipman... (Score 1) 311

Harold Shipman? 250+ verified murders? [wikipedia.org] Non-censored words fail me... Yeah, in a country with a murder rate as low as the UK's that might actually shift it a point...

Yep, but even after removing those, there's still a spike.

By the way, have you heard of the leaded gasoline hypothesis [motherjones.com] for the violent crime rates?

Indeed, I have. It makes a lot of sense, too, though I doubt it's the only element at work. Reality is never simple.

Comment Re:Still illegal under NZ Constitution (Score 0, Informative) 216

As a Kiwi I once heard some talk that the indigenous Maori were all for a New Zealand Constitution as it would enshrine the Treaty of Waitangi. However, someone pointed out that this would also limit the extent of the Treaty of Waitangi, whereas now it is kinda amorphous as to what it covers (Maori apparently had ownership rights of radio waves for TV and radio, and required compensation for the use of use). Note, I'm part NZ-Maori. I'm just pointing out something interesting I heard about the maneuverings of interested parties for a NZ Constitution and why one sector of society supported it and then dropped support. Perhaps what I heard was wrong - but it seems plausible to me.

I also heard that the multi-culturalists seem to think that Sharia is 'harmless' and should be recognized in a New Zealand Constitution. This is such a bad idea I'm surprised it had not been slapped down violently straight away - but the 'left' (Labour and Greens, in NZ political terms) is full of people who are staggeringly fact-free, and only think in the most 'woolly' of terms (let's hold hands and sing kumbaya with jihadis, eh?). Sharia has been trying to make inroads into NZ:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4366743/Sharia-decision-lets-baby-boy-into-NZ
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6406555/Collins-dismisses-call-to-establish-Islamic-tourism
Sorry to wander slightly off-topic in my response to post about the NZ Constitution. I'm just trying to point out to fellow kiwis that 'Godzone' is as much under threat by the Cultural Jihad of stealth Sharia as anywhere else (US, Britain etc) except that we have even weaker Free Speech protections than elsewhere.

New Zealand Governments are generally benign. Putting in spying on citizens with very few legal protections and hoping that the Government will always be benign is stupid. Hopefully someone will have a bright idea on how to stop this (anyone?).

Comment Re:This news is about 3600 years late (Score 5, Informative) 384

Did you read the article?

There's no doubt that the structure of effective stories has been studied for millenia, but what's different about this is the degree of detail with which its laid out, including not only the key elements (15, not three or five), their exact sequence and even their timing to a fairly high degree of precision.

Aside: Something that has occurred to me of late (while watching discussion about the Zimmerman trial, actually), is that I think humans have a tendency to fit real-world events into neat, narrative structures that have the same three-act form as good stories. I'm wondering if any news story that achieves really broad penetration of a large population's collective psyche doesn't end up getting "adjusted" until it fits a smooth, memorable narrative arc. This became apparent to me in the case of the Zimmerman trial when I realized that those who argued for guilty and not-guilty verdicts were discussing two rather different versions of the narrative, each of which followed a traditional storytelling arc, and neither of which was overly concerned about including facts that didn't fit the arc. The whole sequence of events, especially when the focus is on the actual evidence, makes a rather lumpy, disjointed tale with false starts and inconvenient edges, but the pro- and anti-Zimmerman stories are both much smoother.

I'm going to start watching to see if that phenomenon arises frequently.

Comment Re:It will make no difference (Score 1) 311

That's right. Gun laws in Britain make no difference whatsoever, in fact the gun murder rate there is ten times higher than in the USA.

Oh. Wait. No it's not. Actually the USA is number 11 on that list and the UK is number 60. But hey, never let facts get in the way of your preconceptions.

Those numbers would be a lot more meaningful except that Britain's murder rate was much, much lower than the US's even before they passed restrictive gun laws. In fact, since the UK has clamped down and the US has been relaxing restrictions, the gap has actually closed considerably (note that I'm not claiming that the changes in gun laws caused the closure of the gap; there's evidence that they are correlated, but the evidence is somewhat equivocal). The murder rate in the UK has risen slightly* while that in the US has fallen dramatically, in fact in 2013 it's expected to reach the lowest rate in over a century -- though that will still be almost triple the UK's rate.

The fact is that murder isn't related to the availability of better tools to commit murder, because adequate tools are absolutely everywhere. It's culture that drives murder, and the US has a more violent culture than the UK.

* The UK murder rate rose consistently and gradually from 1960 through about 2000, when it spiked sharply, peaking in the early 2000s. Since then it's been declining fairly rapidly, and has dropped to early 80s levels. Note that a significant chunk of the 2002 peak was attributable to Dr. Harold Shipman, but even if you subtract the deaths he likely caused, there's still a fairly sharp spike in the murder rate following the 1997 handgun ban.

Comment 3 years of research? (Score 4, Insightful) 73

I clicked the link expecting to find something interesting and novel, perhaps something on par with Kocher's Differential Power Analysis attack, or better. But this guy spent three years to discover that there are a small number of ancient SIMs, not yet removed from service, which use 1DES for securing applet loading? Actually, I'm sure he did no such thing. Typical bad reporting, exacerbated by bad slashdot editing.

It looks to me like his talk is really about countermeasures to mitigate the risk for these ancient SIMs, on the assumption that they can't be replaced immediately. That's worthy of research and a talk, though it's hardly front-page material.

Comment Re:IRS Too? (Score 1) 835

Yes, that's the true tragedy of the Branch Davidian saga, and the one that motivates conspiracy theorists to believe that the government really wanted to kill them all, and manufactured circumstances to allow it. I tend to attribute such things to stupidity rather than malice, but the argument isn't completely without merit.

Comment Re:IRS Too? (Score 5, Insightful) 835

If that individual is also known to be stockpiling arms, as happens in the US from time to time, then I can see how an armed raid is justifiable.

Or they could, you know, just grab him when he leaves the house to go to work, or to the grocery store. Yeah, it'll cost a little overtime since he'll have to be watched for a couple of days, but that'll be a lot cheaper than the department invests in equipping and training the SWAT team -- and one hell of a lot safer.

It doesn't offer the police officers the same rush, though, which is why they'll argue they really need to gear up and break down his door.

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