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Comment Re:Pentobarbital (Score 2) 1160

The amount of drugs used in lethal injections is trivial, not worth going through any efforts to make it possible, especially as - guess what - the executives and scientists at those companies are probably against having their drugs be used in executions as well! They got into pharma to save lives, not end them.

For instance, even the US firm Hospira apparently refuses to sell propofol to prisons and there's no ban against it in the US.

Comment Re:Sounds counter-productive... (Score 1) 1160

If you read some background articles, it appears that you're wrong - the only manufacturers of propofol at the moment are in the EU. It's very hard to make, and historically it was made by a company in the USA, a couple of companies in the EU and one in Israel. The Israeli company made it in a factory in the USA until their production runs started killing people due to bacterial infection. Both the US and Israeli company stopped. Now they're bringing it back, slowly, except not really - the Israeli firm outsourced to a company in Italy. Hospira (the US firm) meanwhile also has a policy of forbidding its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

The market for lethal injection is tiny, and the complexity of making the drug is extremely high. So there's no huge opportunity.

Comment Re:Why can't we make it here? (Score 5, Interesting) 1160

I found an informative article. Summary: It says that essentially the US firm Hospira is unable to proceed due to the FDA not authorizing changes in the manufacturing process. Teva, an Israeli company, exited the business after what sounds like a combination of manufacturing issues and a large number of spurious lawsuits over a hepatitis C outbreak. The drug itself is extremely hard to manufacture, and profits are nearly non-existent so there's little incentive for competitors to enter the market.

Possibly the issue would be resolved if the FDA were to change the regulations, but again, no information on what exactly the problem is were reported.

Comment Re:The process is the punishment (Score 4, Informative) 279

Is that meant to be a prediction, or a statement of fact? If you read the article it becomes clear that they had search warrants as part of a targeted investigation into organised crime, and apparently were surprised to discover the 3D printer at one of the searched areas. Given that they arrested someone because they think he was making gunpowder, and because you can't make gunpowder with a 3D printer, it seems that they believed (correctly) that someone was trying to manufacture ammo and got a judge to issue a warrant on that basis. When they discovered the printer, they made the obvious logical conclusion - someone who is illegally making guns, and has a 3D printer, might be experimenting with 3D printing plastic guns. What else would he use it for?

It may turn out in the course of events that the printer was used for something else, or making tools used to help make ammo rather than making gun parts, or something else. But ownership of the 3D printer is incidental. There isn't even any way they would know he had such a device, as far as I can tell.

Comment Re:Oh god (Score 1) 279

people were turning in unsharpened movie prop fantasy knives, kitchen utensils, and yard tools afraid they were going to get prosecuted for owning lethal weaponry

Yeah, those, and also real Klingon Bat'leths (I mean, with actual sharpened edges that could take someones head off). Along with machetes and lots of other things that typically aren't needed in suburban Britain.

I would expect panics about people 3D printing guns to be relatively commonplace in the UK and throughout Europe in future. Being an island, the UK has had a particularly effective form of gun control that has seen criminal gangs reduced to trying to make their own ammo and weapons, often shittily and resulting in much less lethal weapons than those professionally made. Random shootings are extremely rare. However plenty of Brits read the newspapers and see how the USA experiences lethal shootings seemingly every day at the moment, which is completely insane. Now I read that children as young as 12 are shooting their teachers.

Everyone in the UK knows that it tends to experience a lot of US "cultural imports", and basically nobody I know there would want to see US-style gun crime. So gun controls are likely to remain popular and if it takes licensing of 3D printing equipment to enforce that, it won't surprise me at all to see such a thing be implemented.

Submission + - No back door in TrueCrypt

IamTheRealMike writes: Previously on Slashdot, we learned that the popular TrueCrypt disk encryption tool had mysterious origins and security researchers were raising money to audit it, in particular, to verify that the Windows binaries matched the source. But a part of the job just became a lot easier, because Xavier de Carné de Carnavalet, a masters student at Concordia University in Canada has successfully reproduced the binaries produced by the TrueCrypt team from their public sources. He had to install exactly the same compiler toolchain used by the original developers, to the extent of matching the right set of security updates issued by Microsoft. Once he did that, compiling the binary and examining the handful of differences in a binary diffing tool revealed that the executables matched precisely beyond a handful of build timestamps. If there's a backdoor in TrueCrypt, it must therefore be in the source code itself — where hiding it would be a significantly harder proposition. It thus seems likely that TrueCrypt is sound.

Comment Re:Business as usual (Score 4, Informative) 180

It's non-binding because the EU Parliament is not a real Parliament. It's very weak and has limited influence, the real power at the EU level is in the European Commission which is sort of like an executive branch that is directed by national governments. The EU Commission may still decide to ignore the Parliament on this one, but I guess that wouldn't do a great deal for their legitimacy, which is at any rate already heavily weakened after years of sustained attacks on their decision making ...

Comment Re:Oh no! (Score 4, Insightful) 180

Well SWIFT is based in Belgium. Now their failover datacenter is not in America anymore the US theoretically doesn't have much political leverage left, and will have to rely on hacking. How good their IT security is anyones guess, but they've been around a while and more importantly will be on the alert. A lot of this hacking was invisible for so long because nobody was looking for it. You'll notice that once Snowden started leaking the GCHQ operation against Belgacom was busted, Merkel's phone being tapped got busted by German intelligence, etc. Belgian counter-intelligence will probably be a part of defending SWIFT. They know 5 Eyes are coming for them, and when you know an attack is coming it's much easier to fight it off.

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 5, Informative) 180

And more specifically, they're talking about a program that undermines SWIFT. As a reminder, in the wake of 9/11 the Bush administration concluded that it could find terrorists through financial transaction tracking. The problem - global wire transfers and other financial messaging is controlled by a Belgian company. The CIA apparently had to be almost restrained from just immediately hacking them outright. Instead the US Treasury got involved and SWIFT were forced to hand over data by virtue of them having a US based datacenter (as a backup for their EU datacenter).

SWIFT have said, several times and on the record, that they are not happy about being abused for political purposes and immediately began constructing a second backup datacenter also in the EU. The USA, seeing that their leverage over SWIFT was starting to disappear, decided to apply heavy pressure the EU in order to avoid losing access to this data source even after the US datacenter was decommissioned. The result was the EU data sharing agreement.

The EU parliament was never particularly happy about this arrangement and insisted on there being auditing, etc, which turned out to be a worthless rubber-stamping exercise in which the EU appointed inspectors tried to visit the US Treasury and get reliable documentation on what the data was being used for, but were told to go fuck themselves and that the information they needed was classified. So basically the EU folded under pressure and was then abused, to nobodies surprise at all.

Now that the TFTP data sharing agreement is suspended, and SWIFT no longer need their US datacenter, the only way back in is hacking. And I'm sure the people at SWIFT know that, and will do their best to stop it.

Anyway, this is a very good thing. Next up - airline passenger data!

Comment Re:Jimmy Doesn't See a Problem (Score 1) 372

That's the clearest sign yet that Wikipedia is fucked - the Foundation which somehow manages to chew through millions of dollars annually can't even ship a goddamn visual editing widget without the whole thing being reverted!

I used to donate to Wikipedia because it's a site I use a lot, but the fact that they can try and fail to do something as basic as make Wikipedia NOT a pain in the ass to edit makes me wish I could ask for my money back.

Comment Re:Unfriendly Elitists (Score 3, Informative) 372

187 people?! What the hell do they do all day?

Anyway, I agree with the sentiment in this thread. The last time I tried to actually make a change to Wikipedia it was the most unbelievably retarded experience I've had for a long time. The fact that that community would try to kill something as basic as a WYSIWYG editor doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Basic summary of experience: The Wikipedia article on Bitcoin has a statement like, "Bitcoin has been criticised for being a ponzi scheme". The citations for this "fact" are, (1) an article in The Register which simply repeats the statement that "Bitcoin has been criticised for having the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme" and links to some random guys blog post which doesn't even make that claim, and (2) an article in Reuters which again says at the top merely that it's been "variously dismissed as a Ponzi scheme or lauded as the greatest invention since the internet".

The problems here are numerous. Firstly, the citations don't actually back up the claim. Even though finding idiots on the internet who don't understand the definition of any given term is trivial, neither citation succeeds in actually doing so. Instead they merely assert that unspecific people believe that, which is circular. Secondly, one can actually check the dictionary definition of a Ponzi scheme and see that a free-floating asset class cannot meet that definition. So the claim fails basic logic.

There have been raging arguments about this on the Talk page for over a year now, heck maybe over two years. Here's a quote from the current incarnation:

While I agree with your analysis [that the statement is not supported by the citations], both sources are reliable; unless you can find a source that explicitly goes in-depth on how Bitcoin is not a Ponzi scheme, the cited passage is valid. We're unable to argue with reliable sources as that would be original research.

This is the kind of "what the fuck" statement that just kills interest in editing Wikipedia dead. This guy, who is apparently quite knowledgeable about Wikipedia's policies, agrees that the statement is bogus yet says it cannot be removed due to Wikipedia policy - in flat and total contradiction of common sense.

Previous rounds of this flamewar (that were since deleted) did in fact provide well reasoned arguments that the statement was false, some written specifically for Wikipedia. But it turned out that they were all invalidated by Wikipedia policy because variously, someones blog was not a valid source (whereas an article on the Register was), logic-based discussion on the Talk page was "original research", etc.

When you see pages which are camped by idiots who constantly cite policy as a justification for ignoring basic common sense you quickly realise the entire project is doomed. Something like Wikipedia can only work if there's some kind of strong personality or driving force that actively shapes the community in a positive direction. A rudderless community rapidly devolves into absurd bureaucratic in-fighting of the kind that makes the civil service look proactive and lean. In that regard TFA is completely correct.

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