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Comment Re:Ban drug ad's like most developed nations do! (Score -1) 297

'Most nations' do all sorts of crazy shit (and so does the USA) however drug ads to me are not different from shoe or car or food ads, drugs are a business, the only problem is government involvement, be it fda or medicare or medicaid or any form of government taxation and spending on anything related to healthcare or any form of business regulation beyond fraud. Ads are fine.

Comment A few obvious corrections (Score 1) 45

First, DES is 56 bit (near enough 60). Triple DES as per first mode (the authorised standard) is 168 bits. The article fails to distinguish, implying the authors are just a little bit naff. 3DES seems to be quite safe, as long as not used in DES emulation mode. And who the hell emulates a mode that was broken in the 80s?

Second, Blowfish was replaced by TwoFish, ThreeFish and Speck. Skein, an entrant to the DES3 challenge, makes use of ThreeFish.

Third, the Wikipedia page states it has been known for a long time that weak keys are bad. This particular attack, though, is a birthday attack. You can find all the ciphers vulnerable or free that you should be using. Anything not on the list is something you are solely responsible for.

http://csrc.nist.gov/archive/a...

In other words, this information is about as useful as telling up that Model T Fords weren't good at cornering at highway speeds. Below are some links, I can't be buggered to HTML-ify them.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...
http://www.skein-hash.info/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...

I do not trust most encryption software these days, but that's because programmers these days are sloppy and arrogant.

Comment Re:For the percentage impaired... (Score 1) 85

This is more a matter of how the phrase should be read, as jargon, and not how the phrase will be (mis-)understood by the general public in casual conversation.

As a writer, if you can't count on a technically-minded audience, you're (unfortunately) best served by avoiding relative multiples entirely, as well as relative percentages at or above 100%. Unlike "two times faster" or "330% faster", there is no confusion, generally speaking, about how to read "three times as fast" or "430% as fast".

As a reader, in the absence of evidence of the author's intent to the contrary, if you encounter the phrase "X times faster" or "X% faster" I believe you should treat it as equivalent to "(X+1) times as fast" or "(X+100%) as fast".

I understand that linguistic relativism is in vogue at the moment, and even agree with it to an extent. The point of having language is to communicate, after all, which implies that the meanings and customary use of phrases are not fixed in stone; they change depending on the speaker, audience, and context. However, by the same token, I think prescriptionism is warranted in cases like this one for the sake of preserving our ability to communicate clearly and concisely. Ambiguity serves no one, and we don't need another inconsistent way to say "X times as fast", whereas maintaining the regular structure of the language ("X00% = X times" and "X faster = original speed plus X", regardless of context) helps to reduce the reader's cognitive load, leaving more energy for the real content. While there is no inherently right or wrong way to design a tool, some tool designs are more fit for purpose than others, and the same is true for the tools of communication, i.e. languages.

Comment Re:I'm getting old. (Score 1) 139

I understand your concerns, but these adapters are basically just wiring and physical supports. There are hardly any electronics involved (perhaps a discrete voltage regulator, judging from the images). If you would be willing to trust a non-OEM SATA cable and mounting bracket then I wouldn't see any reason not to trust a non-OEM M.2 to SATA adapter.

There are some higher-end models which provide a full 2.5" enclosure for your M.2 drive for $20-30, if you want the extra peace of mind.

Comment Re:I'm getting old. (Score 1) 139

I get the M.2 format's advantages, but I don't understand why they wouldn't offer the same drives in SATA packaging.

If you need the SATA packaging to fit existing hardware you can get M.2 to SATA adapters for $8-10:
Oley Laptop SSD NGFF M.2 to 2.5" SATA 3 PC Converter Adapter Card
AD905A SATA III 3 to M.2 (NGFF) SSD 7+5 pin Connector Converter Adapter Card

Here's a higher-end dual-M.2 to SATA adapter with integrated hardware RAID for $40:
Ableconn ISAT-M2SR 2.5" 7mm SATA III to Dual M.2 SATA SSD Adapter with Hardward RAID

Has anyone heard of NAS or SAN devices that now feature rows of M.2 slots instead of SATA sleds?

They don't appear to be commonplace yet, but here's one example:
Qnap 4-Bay M.2 SSD NASbook with Built-In 4 Port LAN Switch

Comment Re:Laissez Faire Capitalist Here... (Score 1) 203

Direct government control isn't required. The good capitalist solution is not that different to the socialist solution: make homeowners own the last mile (fibre from your house to the cabinet is yours, though you may jointly own some shared trunking with your neighbours). The connections from the cabinets should be owned by public interest companies, with the shares owned by the homeowners. Providing Internet connectivity to the network would be something that you'd open to tender by any companies (for-profit or non-profit) that wanted to provide it.

The situation in most of the USA is that it's been done using the worst possible mixture of laissez-fair capitalism and central planning. Vast amounts of taxpayer money have been poured into the infrastructure, yet that infrastructure is owned by a few companies and they have geographical monopolies and are now owned by their customers, so have no incentive to improve it. Oh, and regulator capture means that it's actually illegal to fix the problem in a lot of places. You can provide an incentive in several ways:

  • Tax penalties or fines for companies that don't improve their infrastructure. Big government hammer, and very difficult to enforce usefully.
  • Try to align the ownership of the companies with their customers. Companies have to do what their shareholders want and if their shareholders want them to upgrade the network because they're getting crap service then they will.
  • Ensure that there's real competition. This is difficult because it's hard to provide any useful differentiation between providers of a big dumb pipe and the cost for new entrants into the market is very high.

Comment Re:BS (Score 1) 166

Android and iOS have very different philosophies. Android devices aim to be general-purpose computer, iOS devices aim to be extensions to a general-purpose computer. I have an Android tablet and an iPad, and I find I get a lot more use from the iPad because it doesn't try to replace my computer. There's a bunch of stuff that I can do on the Android tablet that I can't do on the iPad, but all of it is stuff that I'd be better off doing on my laptop anyway (with the one exception of an IRC client that doesn't disconnect when I switch to a different window). I still use Android for my phone, because OSMAnd~ (offline maps, offline routing, open source, and good map data) is the killer app for a smartphone for me and the iOS port is far less good.

Comment Re: The anti-science sure is odd. (Score 1) 679

Alas, it's a shame that it doesn't mean anything. The point here is that the Earth has undergone many shifts in its climate, sometimes in a startlingly short period of time

Except that the difference in temperature between the peak of the Medieval Warm Period and the bottom of the Little Ice Age were significantly smaller than the difference between the current temperature and the bottom of the Little Ice Age. The last time we saw an increase in temperature equivalent to the last 200 years it was over a period of tens of thousands of years.

Go and read a news story about an area of science that you know about and compare it to what the original research actually claimed. Now realise that press reports about climate change are no more accurate than that and go and read some of the papers. The models have been consistently refined for the last century, but the predictions are refinements (typically about specific local conditions and timescales), not complete reversals. Each year, there are more measurements that provide more evidence to support the core parts of the models.

Oh, and I don't think the words objectivist or dualistic mean what you think they mean. You can't discard evidence simply by throwing random words into a discussion.

Comment Re:For the percentage impaired... (Score 1) 85

Can you link to something authoritative so I can cure my ignorance?

Sorry, I didn't find anything definitive either. However, it follows from the normal use for ratios less than unity. The only difference is the magnitude. Taking "two times" to be equivalent to "200%", and "1/2 times" (or simply "1/2") to be equivalent to "50%":

50% as fast (as the original) = 1/2 (times) as fast = 0.5 * original speed
100% as fast = one times as fast = 1 * original speed
200% as fast = two times as fast = 2 * original speed

50% faster (than the original) = 1/2 (times) faster = (0.5 * original speed) + original speed
100% faster = one times faster = (1 * original speed) + original speed = 2 * original speed
200% faster = two times faster = (2 * original speed) + original speed = 3 * original speed

The expression has two parts. The first can be either "X%" or "X times", both relative to the original amount. If the second part is "as fast" or "as much" (etc.) then this is the final result. If the second part is a relative term like "faster" or "more" then this implies addition, and the first amount, after multiplication, is the difference between the result and the original amount.

Few would disagree with the statement that "50% faster" is equivalent to "150% as fast", and not "50% as fast", but for some reason many become confused by "200% faster" when the formula is exactly the same.

Comment Re:Light years (Score 1) 218

This raises a question: Why do astronomers use irregular units like "light years" and "parsecs" instead of the SI units and prefixes used in every other scientific discipline? Is it just a matter of custom, like the use of English(-ish) units in the U.S.? The SI units would not be any more awkward to work with, and would avoid the need for complex conversions:

distance from Earth to the Sun (1.00 AU) = 150 Gm (gigameters, G=10^9)
distance to Proxima Centauri (1.3 parsecs) = 40. Pm (petameters, P=10^15)
estimated size of the universe (46 billon light years) = 44 Ym (yottameters, Y=10^24)

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