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Comment Re:Why not jackboots? ATF is also under treasury. (Score 1) 365

The IRS doesn't need to outsource to the DoJ or DHS for jackboots, as of last year they've started assembling their very own paramilitary task force, rumored to consist in large part of special operators returning from war. If that doesn't make you feel all warm inside, two to the chest and one to the head might.

Comment Re:This just in! (Score 2) 94

The fact that I can't easily run an arbitrary program without giving it the ability to screw up random data on my computer, let alone install a rootkit, is a gaping security hole. In fact, it's a gaping hole that programs are not restricted by default.

All of the popular general purpose operating systems have hideously weak security architectures that amount to gaping holes, and the phone operating systems are only a little better.

Comment Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (Score 5, Informative) 371

I just read through it, and T-Mobile's deal is basically a 0% APR loan with a down payment and fixed $20/month payment, on top of your monthly service charge, for however long it takes to pay off the principal (depends on the price of the phone).

Any competent lender is going to provide you with a contract which spells out what happens when the loan ends, what happens if one or both parties terminate early, etc, and in T-Mobile's case, the loan is contingent on maintaining carrier service, and the remedy is full payment of the balance. Otherwise, people will just quit and get a $600 phone for the price of a $99 down payment.

Similarly, most new auto loans may be contingent on maintaining a service of some sort, like full coverage insurance. I think Washington State's AG has his head firmly implanted betwixt his butt cheeks, since any non-retard should easily tell the difference between the pay up front no-contract, month to month deal, and the other one which includes all kinds of disclosures as to the fact they're agreeing to a loan... But whatever.

Comment Ooh! Got one! (Score 1) 203

Kind of a dark horse, but how about Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality?

The actual science is clearly delineated from the magic. The mindset it's trying to inculcate is a really useful one to be able to enter.

Just don't make 'em think it resembles Harry Potter, because I don't think it does.

No sex, but it's not likely to be endearing to people who don't believe in questioning authority. And it is unabashedly propaganda for a certain way of thinking.

Comment Re:The good stuff is all old (Score 1) 203

I agree with the parent on the Heinlein juveniles. There's actual science in there, particularly bits of Newtonian physics. Somebody mentioned "Have Space Suit, Will Travel", which would be a good choice.

I'd have no problem with my kid reading "Accelerando", but I'm not sure a middle school teacher could get away with assigning it. There's the whole BDSM rape scene and all.

I'd say Greg Egan, but he'd definitely be for advanced middle schoolers only. The problem with him is that he tends to either throw you into a world so weird that an inexperienced science fiction reader may be completely lost, or assume that you already know "real science" at a university level and build from there. Maybe Vernor Vinge?

Don't forget popular nonfiction. Some of it can be entertaining.

"Ender's Game" has zero science, and "Hitchhiker's Guide" has negative science.

Comment Apparently I've read it better than you have (Score 4, Interesting) 153

It says they CAN clean it if they WANT to... to whatever degree the sharing entity considers to be "appropriate". So if some "protected entity" or "self-protected entity" hands something over, it can restrict downstream sharing. It can require whatever anonymization it wants, including no anonymization if it decides that no anonymization at all is "appropriate".

Who's a "protected entity"? Hint: not you. "an entity, other than an individual, that contracts with a cybersecurity provider for goods or services to be used for cybersecurity purposes.".

Excuse me if I don't believe that every "protected entity" or "self-protected entity" has my best interests at heart.

Comment Re:Yeah Right (Score 1) 542

I'm not sure how to answer the first question. The best that I can say is except for whatever the eye-witnesses saw or the police know, the details are mostly speculation.

I can say this from personal experience, though: more often than not, people who don't have experience with stress-inducing situations are like dumb sheep when confronted with violence. If someone were to yell "Oh my god he's stabbing people!" 4.5 out of 5 people will turn around on the spot and stare like an idiot until the gravity of the situation finally sinks in, which is usually sometime after the melee is over. The remainder will have the wherewithal to retreat or retaliate.

Comment Re:Yeah Right (Score 1) 542

As Crocodile Dundee pointed out, there are knives, and then there are knives.

Regarding the recent spree stabbing in Texas involving 14 victims, it's said he used an x-acto type hobby knife, i.e. among pointy things it ranks pretty low on the danger scale. As much as I've researched, I've never been able to find what sort of blade the most recent spree-stabber in China used, for all we know it was something equivalent. Prior Chinese nutters used kitchen knives and cleavers, and many of their victims didn't fare so well.

Comment Re:Is this not your local net police? (Score 5, Insightful) 238

Yes, the practice's security affects the hospital's. Your security affects mine, too, and in fact the security of everybody on the Internet affects the security of everybody else.

Nonetheless, it is not legal, ethical, or appropriate to go around attacking somebody else's systems without their explicit permission. It doesn't matter if you provide them with network service. It doesn't matter if you have (perhaps unwisely) given them access that makes them a potential threat to you. It doesn't matter if you're the "big" network, or if you have more to lose than they do. It doesn't matter if you feel you're "responsible for the whole network". It doesn't matter if they're completely incompetent and overrun with malware.

If you don't have advance permission, and you attack somebody else's system. you're in CFAA violation territory. And if you didn't get that permission in writing, you're an incompetent idiot.

This isn't the wild, wild west. Your motives do not matter. The effect on your own security does not matter. End of story.

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Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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