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Comment "frankly unlikely"? (Score 4, Insightful) 152

ZDNet adds: ... And while the likelihood that the company is doing anything nefarious with users' information is frankly unlikely ...

This quote is a case of somebody writing something to just fit a grammatical template, rather than thinking about what they're writing. Substantiate that wild speculation, ZDNet, or turn in your beard-stroking license asap.

Comment This is insanely obvious (Score 1) 308

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 1) 308

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:Finally! (Score 1) 399

It's really a lot like having a low /. user number. It gains some respect and whatever but it doesn't really mean much.

Of course that's what someone in the 800k range would say. Down here in the 300k range, we're feeling no pain. Except for those stuck-up 100k range-ers, they really boil my potato.

Comment Re:Yabba Dabba Doo! (Score 1) 399

If they paid branding consultants millions to come up with "Altaba", somebody deserves to be beaten black and blue with a briefcase, including the consultants.

It's actually a remarkable word, in that it *feels* like it's a palindrome but isn't, and simultaneously is an anagram of "A tabla". Hats off to the marketing genii.

Comment Systemd, WTF? (Score 4, Interesting) 166

Systemd, WTF???

As I understand it, one of the stated goals was to speed up boot times. It's had exactly the opposite effect on my Ubuntu system -- that is, when the boot doesn't die altogether when I try to mount NFS shares. (Also, thanks to systemd, I can't even *reboot* or shut down the machine when there's a hung NFS process. I am forced to hard-reset it.)

For years, warning flags have been raised about systemd. It more or less seems that we're bringing all the disadvantages of the Windows architecture to Linux, without any of the advantages of running WIndows.

So, again: systemd, wtf???

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 Re:By any other name (Score 1) 431

[Cold Fusion and Star-in-a-jar] are as different as gay and straight sex.

Your answer makes me feel like I'm watching Star Trek and they just got to the part where they offer an overly-simple metaphor that "clarifies" something highly complicated or nuanced. As illustrated by this Futurama episode that spotlights StarTrek:

Fry: Usually on the show, they came up with a complicated plan, then explained it with a simple analogy.
Leela: Hmmm... If we can re-route engine power through the primary weapons and configure them to Melllvar's frequency, that should overload his electro-quantum structure.
Bender: Like putting too much air in a balloon!
Fry: Of course! It's all so simple!
...
Leela: It's not working! He's gaining strength from our weapons!
Fry: Like a balloon, when... something bad happens!

Comment How about this (Score 3, Insightful) 412

"What really bothers me is that the people of NSA, these folks who take paltry government salaries to protect this nation, are made to look like they are doing something wrong," the former NSA Director added. "They are doing exactly what our nation has asked them to do to protect us. They are the heroes."

Let's make a deal: I'll make it clear I don't want your flavor of so-called heroism, and you can quit what you're doing and stop feeling put-upon and self-righteous.

But you're so addicted to your "hero" narrative that you'll never step away from the spy cams. Pricks. Can you at least mute your press conference drivel?

Comment By any other name (Score 1) 431

If there's a difference between "Star in a jar" and "Cold Fusion", then I cannot for the life of me tell what it would be. The summary very strangely doesn't clarify at all, instead simply to contrast SIAJ to Fission. If they're hoping we won't notice that this sounds exactly like cold fusion, they're going to be disappointed. The whole approach makes me think this is marketing-heavy rather than science-heavy, which bodes very poorly for their actual progress.

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