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Comment The UK is also Regulating larger Blogs (Score 3, Informative) 284

The UK also introduced regulation of larger commercial blogs that publish "news type" material, part of the recommendations of the Leveson enquiry into press standards. Large blogs have to sign up to a press regulator, if not they get fined. It does not matter where the Blog's servers are located, if someone downloads content in the UK, it is published it in the UK and they can be held responsible ("Downloading here can count as publication in the law.").

"Press regulation deal sparks fears of high libel fines for bloggers - Websites could have to pay exemplary damages if they don't sign up to new regulator, claim opponents of Leveson deal "

BBC News: Will websites/blogs etc be covered?

Comment 5D III video is inherently soft (Score 4, Interesting) 201

The 5D Mk. III applies a strong low-pass filter after a rough line-skipping down sampling step when transforming an original 21 megapixel image into 1080p video (the Mk. II is worse). This results in soft looking video with a subjective resolution more like 720p than 1080p. It's an unfair comparison.

However, professional film makers that use the 5D Mk. II and 5D Mk. III cameras shoot in 2K and 4K Raw by using Magic Lantern (no in camera re-sampling or low pass filters, just pure sensor data). Magic Lantern is a end user project that has produced an alternative firmware for Canon DSLRs which has greatly extended camera capabilities and video quality.

The results are spectacular:

Submission + - New Dual_EC_DRBG flaw spotted in OpenSSL (

Diamonddavej writes: reports the discovery by researchers of the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute, that the OpenSSL implementation of NSA backdoored Dual_EC_DRBG cryptographic algorithm crashes OpenSSL if anyone tries to enable it. A self check meant to ensure that blocks random numbers generated by Dual_EC_DRBG are different is fatally flawed, perhaps deliberately so (suspicions of a backdoor were aired 2007). Intriguingly, code providing Dual_EC_DRBG support was added to OpenSSL with the financial help of an unnamed sponsor, despite suspicions, as part of a request to implement SP 800-90A (a NIST standard governing PRNGs). The observation that the flaw was not spotted earlier indicates that few, if any, users of OpenSSL tried to activate the optional cryptographic algorithm. The Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm will be removed in the next OpenSSL release.

Comment Re:Human soceity not ready for this (Score 1) 370

The UK and New Zealand recognise Great Apes as non-human individuals / persons; see 174 page in Kolber (2001). Medical experimentation on them is banned.

Kolber, A.J. 2001. Standing Upright: The Moral and Legal Standing of Humans and Other Apes. Stanford Law Review 54, 164–204.

Comment Re:so how will they earn a living (Score 1) 370

Great Britain and New Zealand already recognise Great Apes as persons e.g. New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act of 1999. Accordingly, experiments on Great Apes is banned in these countries.

"As indicated above, some countries, including Great Britain and New Zealand have already enacted strong protections for great apes that are geared
toward apes as individuals." Kober (2001)

Kolber, A.J. 2001. Standing Upright: The Moral and Legal Standing of Humans and Other Apes. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 54, p. 163 to 204.

Comment Standing Upright: The Moral and Legal Standing ... (Score 1) 370

The argument primatologists are putting forwards, Jane Goodall for example, is that Chimpanzees and other Great Apes should be accorded at least some rights of personhood, similar to the rights accorded to young children and the mentally disabled, which they cognitively exceed e.g. self awareness, empathy, complex planning, theory of mind etc.

Kolber, A.J. 2001. Standing Upright: The Moral and Legal Standing of Humans and Other Apes, Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 54, p. 163.

Submission + - Court: Open Source Project Liable For 3rd Party DRM-Busting Coding (

Diamonddavej writes: TorrentFreak reports a potentially troubling court decision in Germany. The company Appwork has been threatened with a 250,000 Euro fine fine for functionality committed to its open-source downloader (JDownloader2) repository by a volunteer coder without Appwork's knowledge. The infringing code enables downloading of RTMPE video streams (an encrypted streaming video format developed by Adobe). Since the code decrypted the video streams, the Hamburg Regional Court decided it represented circumvention of an “effective technological measure” under Section 95a of Germany’s Copyright Act and it threatened Appwork with a fine for "production, distribution and possession" of an 'illegal' piece of software.

Submission + - Britich Conservative Party purges old speeches from online archives (

Diamonddavej writes: The BBC reports that the British Conservative party deleted a decade of speeches and press releases from its public facing website and blocked material from search engines. The deletion on the Conservatives' website was spotted by Computer Weekly, who also noticed material went missing from the Internet Archive sometime after October 5th as well; an organisation that aims to make a permanent historical record of the web. Computer Weekly contacted the Internet Archive for an explanation regarding the missing material but they were unavailable for comment. Two weeks after the Internet Archive was first contacted, speeches and press releases began to reappear on the Archive's website. The Conservatives said the move was to revamp their website and keep it up-to-date, but others are sceptical and are critical of the Conservative Party's decision to delete the material.

Comment Re:Lead (Score 1) 752

"A small number of epidemiological studies that have found a dose-response relationship between lead exposure in childhood and self-reported and officially recorded criminal offences in young adulthood; and evidence for the biological plausibility of a causal relationship."

Hall, W., 2013. Did the elimination of lead from petrol reduce crime in the USA in the 1990s? F1000Research 2013, 2:156 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-156.v2)

Comment Re:Rosenham Experiment (Score 2) 124

Since the notorious Rosenhan experiment experiment, the diagnosis of mental illness and neurological conditions has vastly improved, your complaint pertains to the 1973 not today. That experiment was one of the reasons why the DSM was developed, that aims to rigorously categorises the symptoms of psychological and neurological conditions.

Admittedly, the DSM still relies on a symptom check list not objective tests but there are exciting recent developments where fMRI, EEG and genetics are beginning to aid diagnosis rather then subjective judgement alone.

Mental illnesses will be routinely diagnosed with the aid of medical scanning eventually.


Duffy, F.H. & Als, H., 2012. A stable pattern of EEG spectral coherence distinguishes children with autism from neuro-typical controls - a large case control study. BMC Medicine, 10, 64.

Funai, A., Bharadwaj, H. & Grissom, W., 2009. Final Report: Improved Discrimination of Asperger Patients using fMRI and Machine Learning.

Nieuwenhuis, M., van Haren, N.E.M., Hulshoff Pol, H.E., Cahn, W., Kahn, R.S. & Schnack, H.G., 2012. Classification of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls from structural MRI scans in two large independent samples. NeuroImage, 61, 606–612.

Schnack, H.G., Nieuwenhuis, M., van Haren, N.E.M., Abramovic, L., Scheewe, T.W., Brouwer, R.M., Hulshoff Pol, H.E. & Kahn, R.S., 2014. Can structural MRI aid in clinical classification? A machine learning study in two independent samples of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy subjects. NeuroImage, 84, 299

Comment Georg Lukas didn't blame Oracle (Score 4, Informative) 82

No, Georg Lukas didn't blame Oracle, in his own words...

"The change from the strong OpenSSL cipher list to a hardcoded one starting with weak ciphers is either a sign of horrible ignorance, security incompetence or a clever disguise for an NSA-influenced manipulation - you decide!

Java 1.4 uses RFC 2246, which came out in 1999 and uses weak older ciphers that were approved for export during a time when the US restricted the export of strong encryption. It is about the weakest standard that anyone at Oracle or Google could find.

Submission + - Why was Android SSL downgraded from AES256-SHA to RC4-MD5 in late 2010? ( 1

Diamonddavej writes: Given Edward Snowden's recent revelation that the National Security Agency is attempting to circumvent encryption via weakening encryption standards etc., the guys at just posted an facinating analysis examining why and by what means the Android SSL library was downgraded in late 2010 (Android 2.3) when the strong cypher preference AES256>3DES>AES128>RC4 was altered to the far weaker RC4>AES128>3DES combination. The cipher preference was apparently lifted from Java 1.4, it was released in 2002 when the US authorities still restricted the export of strong ciphers (it follows RFC 2246 from 1999 that includes the older ciphers DES, 3DES, RC4 and RC2). concludes that the "change from the strong OpenSSL cipher list to a hardcoded one starting with weak ciphers is either a sign of horrible ignorance, security incompetence or a clever disguise for an NSA-influenced manipulation ...".

Comment Re:Oblig (Score 2) 214

That's rubbish, if they were exposed to excess radiation from accidents that are covered up, nuclear workers in the US would have increased rates of cancer. They don't (Boice et al, 2011).

The overall health of nuclear workers is better than the national average. They have over all, a lower incidence of all cancers and non-cancer illnesses. Only after adjusting carefully for lifestyle factors and closely examining the health rerecords of 100s of thousands of international workers, some of whom worked in the 1950-70s and were exposed to higher levels of radiation in accidents (e.g. some UK Sellafield nuclear workers in the 50-60s were exposed to high level radiation in accidents) ... a weak relationship between radiation dose and cancer risk is noted.

Importantly, the average radiation exposure for nuclear workers has fallen considerably in the last two decades, safety standards are now so strict almost no worker gets more than 10 millisieverts per year (1/10th the dose where any effect is seen). Their average dose of nuclear workers is barely higher then the general public (who by virtue of greater ill health are exposed to more radiation from medical examinations and therapy).

As such, it was noted epidemiologist John D. Boice, that modern nuclear workers are now little use in examining the theoretical relationship between radiation dose and cancer risk, their radiation exposure is now far too small (Boice 2010).

I admit this may change with Fukushima. But my main point is, a nominally operating nuclear industry poses no risk to workers or the general public and there's no cover-up going on.

Boice Jr, J.D., Cohen, S.S., Mumma, M.T., Ellis, E.D., Eckerman, K.F., Leggett, R.W., Boecker, B.B., Brill, A.B. & Henderson, B.E., 2011. Updated Mortality Analysis of Radiation Workers at Rocketdyne (Atomics International), 1948-2008. Radiation Research,.

"All cancers taken together (SMR 0.93; 95% CI 0.84–1.02) and all leukemia excluding chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (SMR 1.21; 95% CI 0.69–1.97) were not significantly elevated." and "Radiation exposure has not caused a detectable increase in cancer deaths in this population, but results are limited by small numbers and relatively low career doses."

Boice, J.D., 2010. Uncertainties in studies of low statistical power. Journal of Radiological Protection: Official Journal of the Society for Radiological Protection, 30, 115–120.

Comment Why Length of Applause is Not Tied To Quality (Score 1) 138

They only looked at the length of applause involving groups of 13 to 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students. This is a special case.

During my time as a postgraduate student I gave many good presentations, but my 1th year presentations were abdominal, I was under prepared and inexperienced, as were many fellow students. People clapped at the end of my terrible talks as long as any other talk as they just wanted to encourage me. It's common for students to suffer a lack of confidence at the early stage of their studies. The audience knows this, especially one composed of fellow students. I can't imagine students singling out a student for a brief slow-hand clap for a poor presentation.

The situation is entirely different at large conferences where speakers and audience members are unrelated. For example, at big conference about meteorites some years ago, the length of applause appeared to be strongly correlated with the quality of a speaker's presentation, one speaker got no applause at all. And there was no kindness given to anxious postgraduate students. I well remember one student's presentation regarding the temperature of formation of Allan Hills 84001. As soon as his talk ended, there was some brief subdued applause, then a scientist immediately leapt up and climbed over 15 rows of seats to the overhead projector. He took the student's slide off the projector and put up his own, then wagged his finger a the student telling him he was wrong and why. The student was nearly in tears. This is completely different from the group of students who are likely to be kind to each other.

Here's a paper that explains why studying "Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies" (i.e. university students) is not good practice...

Henrich, J. Heine, S.J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? (free access). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X

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