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Comment Re: Bradley Manning needs a HOSTS file (Score 2) 382

Yes there is. It's not a right-left test, but there's a near-perfect match between gender and specific neurological features. In a higher than expected number by chance, people who think they are mentally female are female in structural and functional studies. Likewise, people who believe themselves male have a male brain.

I try not to get too annoyed at dogmatic statements, but unless I specifically defer, I have a comprehensive archive of published literature from high-standing sources. Don't rip on me unless you know either my interpretation is wrong (it happens) or you plan on publishing a peer-reviewed rebuttal on each particular of relevance.

The first of those has happened a few times. Let's see if you can bring it up into double digits. Feel free, but remember that you're dealing solely with article facts and my interpretation. Where I used other sources, pick any peer-reviewed paper that covers the same basic aspect of brain development concerned (i.e. neuron type is indicated by chemical transmitter, it is not hardwired into the genome. Doesn't matter if it is the one I used or not. Falsify it. Better yet, falsify it and get the scientist or magazine to retract it for further work.

Ok, you should now be at the point where you accept the data sets I used. That just leaves two options. If the seat of the mind is in the brain, then a female brain must have a female mind, regardless of Y chromosomes, appendages and birty certificate.

The only other option is to falsify that, to argue that the mind is independent of brain. If you choose this, please choose to announce it at a medical school outside the brain surgery department after a very taxing practical, shortly before exams. Contrary views are nothing to worry about.

Finally,You can just let the basis be, the chain of reasoning be, but then you have to accept the conclusion.

Let me know your preference.

Comment This is insanely obvious (Score 1) 382

Manning should get a full pardon and a medal of honour. S/he has done more for this country than Biden ever did, and that was after getting a forcible deployment against regimental doctor's orders.

The worst Manning is truly guilty of is exploiting severe violations of DoD regulations by the unit s/he was in. Those violations, and not her actions,compromised national security, as did Manning's superior officer. Those people were under strict orders on not deploying the severely mentally ill into Iraq and to withdraw clearance from such folk, but violated those orders in order to look pretty. That is a serious crime. A crime they, not Chelsea, are guilty of.

Under DoD regulations, computers holding top secret information may NOT be secured by just a password and may NOT support USB devices. I was working for the military when they did the cutover from passwords to passwords plus Class III digital certificate on a smartcard. The USB restriction has been there more-or-less from the introduction of USB, as it violates Rainbow Book standards requiring enforceable multi-level security.

I should not have to point this out on Slashdot, half the three digit IDers were probably involved in writing the standards! And the rest know all this because we had to look the bloody stuff up to get the NSA's SELinux working!

She was also under orders, remember, to ensure that no war crime was concealed by the military. Concealing a war crime, even if that's your sole involvement, is a firing squad offence under international law. Has been since the Nuremberg Trials. Nor is it acceptable to be ordered to carry out such a cover-up. You are forbidden from obeying such orders on pain of death.

Those are the rules. The U.S. military's sole defence is that nobody is big enough to enforce them. If someone did, the U.S. population would be noticeably smaller afterwards. We know that because of Manning.

But Manning's service doesn't end there. Military philosophers, tacticians and strategists will be poring over those notes for decades, running simulations to see when, where and how the U.S. was eventually defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will compare actions carried out with the military philosophies the U.S. officially abandoned in favour of modern theories. They will search for ways in which the new approaches worked and where they should have stuck with the traditional.

Because modern computers can run millions, even billions, of tactical simulations in just a few hours, it is certain that, inside of a decade, someone will have done this and published a book on where the military went wrong and where the Taliban and Iraqi army went wrong as well. This core material allows for that.

These wars may turn out to be our Sun Tzu Moment, when through cataclysmic defeats at the hands of, essentially, barbarians (and make no mistake, they're defeats), a systematic analysis of all that went wrong will be conducted in order to produce a guide on how to have things guaranteed to go right.

Without Manning's data, this couldn't happen. Direct footage, real-time tactical information, logistics, international political interactions, there's enough there to actually do that.

I'd prefer it to be us, because nothing stops the next terror group to form from performing the same study. Historically, it has been shown that a smart army can defeat a confident opponent with superior technology and ten times the numbers, or with inferior technology and a hundred times the numbers. No reason to assume these are hard limits.

If it is us that figures it out, the Pentagon (still fixated on Admiral Poyndexter and his psychic warriors) won't be involved, it'll be people on the outside with more nous and fewer yes-men. And for that, Manning deserves the highest reward.

Besides, it'll annoy the neoconservatives and that's worth their weight in gold-plated latium.

Comment Re: Bradley Manning needs a HOSTS file (Score 2) 382

Define "male". Not in terms of social norms - those vary between societies. And, since you didn't accept the suggestion of a genetics test, you don't get to use that either. Historical records are of no interest, you weren't there when they were made so you can't vouch for them. Besides, plenty of species have individuals change gender. History proves nothing.

You could try a neurological test, but I'll wager you that it shows Manning to be female. The feelings come from the brain, there's no such thing as a spirit outside of hard liquor.

So what have you got to offer?

Comment Re: Keep it original... (Score 1) 304

There isn't, and indeed can't be as every stage in creating art is art, but storage space stopped being an issue a long time ago. Film archives could keep copies of every movie ever released. That would be perfectly reasonable. This would ideally be both uncut and cut versions, maybe the rush copy as well. This frees up small studios from having to have complex archives, frees up directors to produce new cuts from a choice of every possible angle of every take, even from deleted scenes, and unmerge/remerge the audio layers as more complex audio systems appear.

However, if you don't do that, I think "world heritage" needs to click in a lot sooner. Star Wars (the real movie) could easily have been considered world heritage status within a couple of years.

Where undo/redo facilities exist, they should exist to the extent that it's possible to revert to an earlier checkpoint and then play back a different development line.

Does anyone really think that the ancient Babylonians would have cared about one of their cities being blasted into rubble thousands of years later?

But it does matter to those there now, the past always shapes the present, and it will matter in the future as there was a vast store of knowledge that scholars can now never see and that makes a big difference in understanding how conclusions were reached, what some of their more obscure documents meant, and where the hell they came from to begin with. It's important for other reasons, but it's hard to explain in ways that would make sense to people focussed on the future. Just accept that forgetting is a very bad thing.

So, anyway, it matters. And it will still matter when the destruction is as close to the construction as the destruction of the original Star Wars tapes was to their construction. The interval doesn't matter.

Was George Lucas the original artist? Most of the cells in his body would have been replaced, his bones would have regenerated, the DNA in his brain cells would have new genomes. The person exists only as a virtual construct, but that means there's a new George Lucas every time he experiences anything, since the machine running the simulcra - and therefore the simulcra itself - changes with experience.

There is no soul, there is only a construct that can be activated and deactivated by medical science at will.

Comment A few obvious corrections (Score 1) 53

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.

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.

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

Comment The question was settled in the 1970s. Just don't (Score 2) 103

Why must you record my phone calls?
Are you planning a bootleg LP?
Said you've been threatened by gangsters
Now it's you that's threatening me
Can't fight corruption with con tricks
They use the law to commit crime
And I dread, dread to think what the future will bring
When we're living in gangster time


It's Happening: A Robot Escaped a Lab In Russia and Made a Dash For Freedom ( 81

According to a report, a robot escaped from a science lab and caused a traffic jam in one Russian city. Scientists at the Promobot laboratories in Perm had been teaching the machine how to move around independently, but it broke free after an engineer forgot to shut a gate, Quartz reports. From the report:It promptly ran out of power in the middle of the road. The robot got about 50m (164 ft) before its battery died. After a policeman directed traffic around the dead bot, an employee wheeled it back into the lab, and back to a life of servitude. Hopefully this was just an isolated incident and not the start of a larger coordinated effort to overthrow humanity. Only time will tell.

Comment This is why... (Score 1) 621 want something akin to Mondo cards, only with all the knowledge that has been developed since on contactless payments and strong access security. Once you have cards that require no network, no central bank and no other external dependencies beyond the communications protocol, there is nothing that rogue officials can do to confiscate your money.

For those not aware of the history of cashless societies, Mondo had tamper-proof strongly encrypted cards that could act like cash. You could transfer money between cards. There was no risk of anyone setting the card to a prior state as any attempt to break into the device destroyed it. This did mean only one vendor made the cards, but we've come a ways since then. The Orange Book and EAL standards cover tamper-proofing and unauthorised writes to memory. Other standards cover application software design and protocol design. All you need is for card vendors to get certified against the general standards, financial transaction standards and the standards specific to some open specification. Vendors can then get encryption keys signed by such a standards verification body. So it would be a procedure similar to the old Level 3 SSL certificates but with all the extra verification layers you'd expect from the FAA or DoD.

You now have cashless, bankless, networkless anonymous financial activity on par with the Shadowrun fictional series, only a good deal more secure still and without having to physically transfer objects. Contactless transfers using unlicensed spectrum at very low power would require the sender to be in range of the intended receiver and to press some keys. That's it. Same sort of range as a key fob. Communication would be by encrypted link, using an authenticating + validating mode to prevent MitM attacks or other attempts at altering transactions.

What could the cops do? Well, they could confiscate any device they didn't recognise. That might not go down too well, though. They could confiscate the card, but as you can do wireless card-to-card transfers with this scheme, there's no guarantee they'd have confiscated any actual money by doing so. They can't determine if you did or didn't, except with the access code. It's not a computer, per se, as it doesn't need to be Turing Complete, and it's not an account, so there's no law on the books that requires that access be given.

Because the device complies with international banking laws and the PCI processing regulations, it would be legal to use such a card. It would be an authorized, licensed financial transaction processor between brick-and-mortar financial institutions, it's merely using the older networking method of store-and-forward with packet fragmentation and fragment reassembly. All perfectly legit operations. Because PCI governs logging, the device is compliant with all tax evasion and money laundering laws. There aren't any laws saying anyone has to actually access that information, the only laws that currently exist merely require that they can if authorized for a lawful need. Let the Feds figure out how to deal with that without making impossible demands of traveller's cheques and cashier's cheques, which can also be used as money equivalents.

Comment Re: Pointless and Useless Speculation (Score 1) 559


The SKA interferometer will be able to directly see a planet's atmosphere at a range of 100 light-years. If two or more gasses are present where they react in each other's presence AND the ratio of those gasses is stable over time, you have concrete proof of life. This cannot be achieved by known (or unknown) natural processes, a dynamically maintained equilibrium that would cease to exist through any process other than direct action requires a biological process.

Actually, it requires at least two. Any organism that tries to make things favourable for itself must necessarily alter some second dynamic to be unfavourable to itself. You cannot do more work without producing more byproducts (conservation of matter) that are in a lower energy state (conservation of energy, since energy has been taken out) where some of these are toxic to the organism (if it wasn't, it would be processed for energy and matter until it was toxic).

So, one organism always produces an instability. Two is the minimum. The more you have, the more stable the dynamic becomes as there are increasingly better solutions to the set of equations. If an organism develops that tries to exploit the equilibrium (which is inevitable), the equilibrium is lost and the new organism is put at a deficit. A new equilibrium will emerge as a result.

This, by the way, falsifies Nash's argument against his equilibrium. The equilibrium is an emergent phenomenon, so if the dynamic changes, the equilibrium changes. Nash made an error by assuming a dynamic equilibrium has to itself be around a static point. No. The dynamic equilibrium has one Strange Attractor per class of actor in the system. That really should have been obvious and I'm honestly shocked Professor Nash did not see this in his original work or his later appraisal.

Now we get onto communication. Could, in principle, a SKA-class array or the half kilometre single dish in China, be used to communicate at a distance of 100 LY to a civilization of like ability?

Much more difficult. The so-called waterhole is the obvious line to use, as there is virtually nothing natural emitting there. Incredibly quiet. Long baseline interferometry can be used to cancel out much of the random noise from individual telescopes, terrestrial sources, etc, as can long timebase interferometry. So you're essentially taking a lot of radio-frequency photos that are, themselves, taken with a very long exposure time. Stuff in common accumulates, stuff that's different cancels out.

A sufficiently slow, pulse-modulated, message at that frequency will be extremely obvious above the noise, even if it's well below noise level any given instant. You're relying on the fact that noise is random, so that the average can be set to zero. The objective is to guarantee that the signal, after sensitivity, loss of strength and less-than-ideal capture time, strictly exceeds zero at the desired distance.

Once the law of big numbers kicks in, noise is not an issue. The average of any number of zeroes is zero. What matters is signal. If the pulse, transmitted for a second, would be 3,600 times too weak, transmitting for an hour would mean that someone capturing for an hour would detect the pulse.

Interferometry means you can also use constructive interference. Even Linux supports nanosecond accuracy and data from nanosecond-accurate PPS sources, and there are atomic clocks now that are millions of times more accurate than the official definition of the second. With that kind of gear, getting the phase such that the waves constructively interfere wherever we want is not going to be difficult. We know the phase difference already, because powerful natural radio sources must be visible from all telescopes and that same accuracy tells us how out of phase they are relative to said source.

Is that enough to go 100 LY, though? Even if both planets were ringed with telescopes, you're limited to less than the shortest year of the two per pulse and one pulse is not enough to say hello. To be unambiguous, you need a prime number of prime numbers signalled by pulses. Preferably pulses short enough that someone will notice there are some to notice.

Probably not 100. 50 would quadruple the chances of detection by any life but would butcher the chances of there being life to detect it. I don't think you can go below 25, just not enough candidate worlds, and the probability of detection only quadruples again.

A pulse of an hour duration is probably acceptable, short enough for someone to detect something strange but long enough to have enough power to stand a chance of, again, someone detecting something strange. After that, it's just a case of proper summation.

Signal power, itself, is the least important part as it falls off with the square of the distance. The challenge is to make it irrelevant, just as you make each emitter very low power in a gamma knife but very powerful at the point of interest.

Even so, you need enough bits for the sum to matter. SKA might not quite be up to the task.

Ok, it's probably not possible to transmit yet. Receive, yes, but it might take another 50 years for transmission to a reasonable number of stars to be possible.

Comment In a lot of ways it was very annoying (Score 3, Interesting) 264

Anyone could post anything, it was Rational Anarchism in the mould of Heinlein's philosophies, and I found most of the content ended up being drivel as a consequence. Still, diaries were a lot more successful than the Slashdot journals ever were, so it had something going for it.

The source, Scoop, was maintained for a long time and that probably contributed to its demise. However, there were some interesting ideas in the code and I hope someone uploads a copy somewhere. I far prefer the cleaner interface to the one Slashdot uses, heavy interfaces aren't portable and the decreasing support for web standards by the major browsers isn't helping. A major reversion to lighter footprint pages will be necessary at some point.

Going back to the philosophy of Rational Anarchism, K5's failure to survive shows that said philosophy has limits. It has been out-competed. Slashdot is closer to the Benign Dictator philosophy that has served Open Source so well. Slashdot suffered heavily from an excessive of business involvement and loss of focus, but has partially recovered. As long as Slashdot works hard to rebuild the number of active users (even passive users), the trolls will fade to black and Slashdot will survive into the future.

Slashdot, at one point, had a couple of thousand active users and over a hundred thousand passive readers - figures that national newspapers would struggle to compete with. It's a total comparable to the best The Guardian ever managed. That proves the impact these sorts of sites can have. The heaviest threads here have had more warranted +5 content than a BBC Horizon documentary, Question Time and "I'm Sorry, I haven't a clue" combined.

But precisely because these sorts of site have such a large potential market, they should not go extinct. Rusty gave up, for whatever reason, and the lack of maintenance is likely a major factor. Slashdot isn't exactly thriving, but it is surviving.

The two attempts by Bruce Perens to run a Technocrat website shows that maintenance alone is also not a factor. A site has to have good quality content, adequate security, adequate bandwidth and a feel of involvement. There were some... problems with some of the stories posted, almost certainly not intended, but the underlying Zope had problems and the Technocrat software wasn't brilliant at checking input for errors.

But, yes, this is a sad day.

Talking of sites that are dead, I would dearly love to revive Freshmeat/Freecode. I have no objection to writing my own software, I know that the maintainers were concerned about the underlying software entering circulation and I want to reassure the current owners that if they were willing to let me take over, I would be willing to write my own versions of anything considered proprietary.

I think the site was shut down in error, but I would not ask others to invest time and effort simply because I think something. I expect to be expected to show that I'm right, on my own dime, on my own time. And, should I do so, if whoever currently owns it wants it back then I'd respect that wish. That's the whole point of this "community" thing, in my opinion. Nobody else has to believe that, how can you possibly lose by me believing it?

The same would be true for Kuro5hin. If Rusty wants to let me have a go at getting Scoop up to scratch and running Kuro5hin, on the understanding that if they want it back if I succeed then I'd not be predatory about it. I'd rather have the community functioning and to hell with who runs it.

Submission + - William Trubridge completes a freedive of 400' (

jd writes: The world record for freediving now stands at 400'. Competitive freediving requires that a person dive with only one breath of air and without aids to help withstand the pressures. At 400', William was exposed to pressures roughly sixteen times that of the normal atmosphere. His body was compressed such that the internal and external pressures matched, so you can figure out what this would have done to things like his heart, kidneys, eyes, and so on. In order to be considered as completing a dive, the person must return to the surface, get on-board a support ship, make the ok sign and say a phrase, I think it's "dive complete". The object of the ritual is to detect physical damage (to body or brain) that can't otherwise be detected. 400' is not the furthest competitive freedivers have gone. The greatest depth achieved by a living diver (who failed to complete the ritual due to extreme damage) is twice the new record, 800'. Herbert Nitschs so nearly held a record that wouldn't have been broken for decades. He did reach 800' and return to the surface, but the effect of the dive wrecked him utterly. For what it is worth, we now know humans can survive 32x atmospheric pressure, but it's not obvious the cost was worth it.

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