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Comment Re:Faraday cage (Score 1) 924

I do believe I described this. Even when not officially "on call", I'm often the target of technological emergency calls due to specialized knowledge. The same thing happens to specialists or truly skilled medical personnel all the time, because having a backup is never the same thing as having the primary and more actively maintained system available. The time spent enabling a backup can be critical.

I'm not suggesting it would be a common occurrence for tragedy to occur, but what theater would take such a risk.

Comment Re:Faraday cage (Score 2) 924

Such materials are commercially available as wallpaper for years. (See http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/05/25/wallpaper-that-blocks-wi-fi/)

But I'm afraid the FCC will become upset because it can _block_ signals outside the movie theater. The shadow of the cage itself is a noticeable dead zone. And I'm afraid that it will only take one litigious parent whose baby sitter is trying to reach them, or one doctor who can't be paged, to create a dangerous lawsuit for for any theater that tries this.

I have seen it done for certain conference rooms, that were clearly marked this this way, and even then people became quite upset at not having their cell phones work.

Comment Re:I go to a fair amount of movies (Score 1) 924

I'm often on call. Even when I'm not on call, I'm always a "call me if you need help" resource for various projects. So I'm afraid that I do have to leave my phone on, but I get up and step outside the theater precisely to avoid bothering others with the sound, or lights.

It's actually a much worse problem with modern cell phones than it used to be with small pagers, because of the larger screen.

Comment Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (Score 1) 417

It's even more complex. It's normally illegal for the NSA to spy on US internal communications., but it's not illegal for them to _trade_ information on North Korea communications with the Australians to obtain that same USA internal communications. So worldwide monitoring facilities have a fascinating tradition history of monitoring everything, except their own nations, and trading content with the other facilities to get their own local content.

Comment Re:No subject (Score 1) 417

Besides the Geneva Convention on handling prisoners of war? Even if you accept that the prisoners there are not from nations with whom the US was at war, the Convention Against Torture certainly applies to US handling of prisoners in Afghanistatn (with the Abu Ghraib fiasco) and at Guantanamo (where compelling testimony from former prisoners reveals the presence of a building especially for tortuer, in which at least 3 prisoners have died).

The USA ratified their signature in 1994.

Comment Re:For the sake of saving time, (Score 1) 417

Please review the NSA charter. Quoting Harry Truman's specific words in the original charter:

> The COMINT mission of the National Security Agency (NSA) shall be to provide an effective, unified organization and control of the communications intelligence activities of the United States conducted against foreign governments, to provide for integrated operational policies and procedures pertaining thereto.

They have no legal justification for the widespread monitoring of domestic communications in which they are involved, as documented by Mr. Snowden's leaks. Such domestic monitoring would be the task of the FBI, or for economic matters the Secret Service. Moreovier, the NSA is frequently in vioolation of international treaty with the nature and scope of its monitoring. Being a "spy agency" does not, and should not, provide judicial immunity.

Comment What about spin? (Score 5, Interesting) 15

I've seen numerous studies and theories about the ballistic impact of asteroid strikes and satellite collisions. I've seen nothing on the _spin_, the angular momentum, imparted by such impacts. Even if the shield survives, if the angular momentum imparted by an off-center impact is large enough, the impacted satellite or space craft could well be spinning faster than its available rocket resources can compensate for, or even beyond the ability of its communications and guidance systems to plan a recovery. This possibility could actually be made _worse_ by installing effective shielding. An impact that would have previously left a small hole through the spacecraft would instead be stopped or deflected and instead deposit far more angular momentum.

Has anyone here seen or participated in such analyses?

Comment Check the regulations already in place (Score 1) 168

There are already laws and regulations in many states about what data can be stored where. Bringing up those rules, and pointing out how the work can be done more safely and follow those rules, can be far more useful than merely saying "we're at risk". The risks are very real, and your concerns well founded.

However, compare it to the security of most academic environments. The passwords are too often kept in the front office desks for easy access. The backup and recovery systems are often a sad joke, and the person responsible for the emaill is far too often someone who says "we trust the people we work with" and the dedicated bad people can't be stopped" and goes on to send passwords in plain text over email, in direct violation of the very policy they signed and published for the school. I've seen all of that happen, personally, at 3 different academic environments in the last decade.

For those people, getting their data into the Google based could is an enormous step _up_ in reliability and security.

Comment It's for the domain squatters (Score 1) 155

The proposal is aimed at charging the domain squatters for the thousands or millions of daily hits they make, which do burden the whois system profoundly. I'm aware of entire companies that were founded to do this during the "dotcom" bubble, most of which thankfully died out during the "dotbomb" burst. But the business remains intact, and is even more populated by fraudsters than it was then. And this proposal is clearly aimed at limiting the large scale data mining to a much more select clientele.

It might help the system. The fraudulent registrations and registrars unresponsive to abuse complaints are a constant drain on network administrator resources. But there's no reason to think that this centralized data will be used to actually monitor for or prevent abuse. Like when Verisign declared "*.com" to point to automatically point to their web pages and email systems, it's likely to cause a lot of chaos and serve only a small group in a place to profit from it.

Comment Doubt at the core of humanities? (Score 1) 564

Which humanities? Music? Languages? History? Writing? Theology? Politics? Economics? Business? Given the amount of material that is being taught by rote and memorization in many humanities courses, it's not clear that "doubt" is a fundamental aspect of humanities. But doubt, and _testing_ are certainly core to good science courses. So is measurement and checking your work for engineering. And part of the very core of modern physics is the Heisenberg Indeterminacy principle: the fact that doing the measurement _itself_ changes the state of what you're measure. How much more doubt could you desire?

There are many reasons to study many fields in college: Too small a focus means you're vulnerable to tremendous errors from lack of knowledge of the other fields:, or even awareness of when consultation is needed. For example, learning to write well helps tremendously with _publishing_ your science or engineering work, and it's visibly lacking for many less skilled engineers I know.

Comment Re:For software developers (Score 1) 358

> It's simple. Having your own website allows you maximum control. And it's not complicated.

It is complicated if you want backup, high availability, security audits, account management, protection from Distributed Denial of Service attacks, a stable deployment environment, etc. "Shared hosting" is not what I would refer to as "setting up your own website". I'd refer to "setting up your own website" as doing so from scratch, as so many of my developer acquaintances insist is so trivial to do.

The post you responded to directly said, and I'm quoting:

> For the last round of hiring my company did, it was strongly suggested that any applicants open a Github account so they can use it to save the code they wrote for our evaluation. Having a Github account can give software-oriented people a chance to publish any projects they've written, akin to a portfolio for graphics design artists.

What seems to have confused you is that it is not a visual portfolio: it's for source code. If your raw source code does not look good on review, and you hide this with a pretty and cleverly designed web site, then you should apply for jobs as a web designer, not a systems person or a software developer.

Comment Re:For software developers (Score 1) 358

Some of us can can our own vegetables, brew our own beer, and weave our own cloth. Some of us can even build our own computers from chips, or write in various assembler languages. That doesn't mean we should spend our professional or social time doing so and shouldn't use well-built shortcuts.

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