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Comment IMHO the embargo was unconstitutional. (Score 1) 225

IMHO the Cuban Embargo was an unconstitutional usurpation of power by the Federal Government.

Think about it: Telling US citizens that they can't go to some place the government doesn't like because they're forbidden to spend US currency there (or spend other "hard" currency they bought with US currency), and going there requires spending money? Shades of the Iron Curtain and Catch-22. (If the US government wants to forbid such a thing and have even a chance of finding a Constitutional authorization, they need to DECLARE WAR against Cuba - and then actively fight it.)

If a law is unconstitutional, it doesn't exist, and hasn't from the moment of its passage. Why should The Donald obey a non-law?

But even if you don't believe the law is unconstitutional: The hypocrisy of anti-trump forces zinging him for dealing with Castro just floors me. These are the people who have made - and still make - heroes and heroines of Castro, Che Guevara, Bill Ayers, Angela Davis, and "Hanoi Jane'" Fonda, and a virtue of "Civil Disobedience" to laws they don't think are right, politically correct, or convenient. Do they REALLY think Trump's supporters would be swayed by this argument from THEM? B-)

Comment But then who audits the auditors? (Score 1) 185

The solution is pretty simple, but often skipped:
1) The reason for every search should be required and logged by the searcher. ...
2) The logs be randomly spot-checked by an auditor(s) who verifies the reasons given by interviewing the person(s) who searched.

But to check it the auditors need detailed access to the records. So who audits THEM?

This kind of question has been asked repeatedly since at least the Roman Empire.

(The U.S. answer to "Who guards the guardians?" , at least for direct abuse of person under color of law, is the Fourth and Fifth amendments and the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine: Fail to follow the law and you don't get a conviction, because misbehaving police are FAR more of a problem for the population than even a lot of violent private-enterprise crooks going back to work. But while it does reduce the incentive, it doesn't block the behavior.)

Comment The invisible hand strikes. (Score 4, Interesting) 124

Not one organization I have ever worked for has seriously cared about IT security.

When it comes to rolling out new products, ignoring security is the norm.

This is because the "window of opportunity" is only "open" for a short time - until the first, second, and maybe third movers go through it and grab most of the potential customers. Companies that spent the time to get the security right arrive at the window after it closes.

This happens anywhere the customers don't test for and reject non-secure versions of the "new shiny" - which means enterprises sometimes hold suppliers' feet to the fire (if the new thing doesn't give them an advantage commensurate with, or perceived as outweighing, the risk) but consumer stuff goes out wide open.

Then, if you're lucky and the supplier is clueful, they retrofit SOME security before the bad guys exploit enough holes to kill them.

I expect this will continue until several big-name tech companies get an effective corporate death penalty in response to the damages their customer base took from their security failings. Then the financial types will start including having a good, and improving with time, security story (no doubt called "best practices") among their check boxes for funding.

Comment Re:Why not coax? (Score 1) 156

And the reason you cannot do this with radio is that the noise from the transmitter is greater than the received signal.

Actually you CAN manage it with radio - very difficultly, with very careful antenna design.

But the combined antenna has to be far from anything that reflects, absorbs, or just phase-shifts any substantial amount of the transmitted signal energy. If not, the discontinuity destroys the careful balance that nulls out the transmitted signal at the receiver. That gets you back to the "transmitter shouts in the receiver's ear much louder than the distant communications partner" case. So it's not very practical in the real world.

Comment Re:Everything under the sun at Amazon (Score 1) 141

Since others mentioned Jameco and Digikey, I'll also offer Mouser as a source for electronics bits.

There are punishingly few components on Amazon worth the price and shipping time. If I ever buy electronics there, it's always part of a larger order and thrown in for shits and giggles rather than something I specifically need.
=Smidge=

Comment Re:Why not coax? (Score 1) 156

Coax is half-duplex too

No, it's not.

With proper impedance matching networks and reasonable termination at the ends of a run you can send separate signals at the same frequency/band of frequencies down a cable in each direction. (Impedance discontinuities DO reflect some of the signal going one way back the other way, causing some interference. But even that can be "tuned out" by suitable corrections if it's too severe to just ignore.)

You can do it on a balanced pair, too. Telephones have done this with audio for more than a century, and I recall encountering a simple hack to do it all the way down to DC back in the days of discrete-transistor logic. (And it has nothing to do with two wires being involved, either. With N (= any power of 2) conductors and "phantoming" you can have up to N-1 balanced and one unbalanced two-way transmission lines on N wires.

Time Domain Reflectometry does this to FIND and MEASURE discontinuities in a cable, essentially firing a pulse down the cable and listening to the reflections, radar-style.

Comment Re:So what next? (Score 4, Informative) 232

If you RTFA (yeah yeah...) you'd notice that this is not an indictment of transportation, but a sign that efforts to reduce emissions from power generation are succeeding. In other words, it's not that transportation emissions are unusually high, it's that other sources of emissions are on the decline.... so you can now unbunch your panties.

The article then laments that efforts to curb transportation emissions haven't gained much traction yet, and notes that higher fuel prices are the best chance to drive efficiency gains and adoption of alternatives. Boo hoo!
=Smidge=

Comment Re:It's not just a cost issue. (Score 1) 183

You bring up an interesting point. Recovery is the last line of defense. There may not BE a defense (at any price) to ward off the latest zero-day exploit. When security measures become difficult or expensive, it's important to remember that there is no such thing as 100% prevention. At some point, beefing up security reaches a point of diminishing returns. Although a business model MAY collapse due to security issues, it will SURELY collapse if overhead cost exceeds revenue.

Comment Re:Coming from Detroit (Score 1) 76

There is no security on the CAN communications of any modern vehicles that I know of. Any person connected to the bus can masquerade as anyone else.

That's why Tesla has several layers of bus, with firewalls between them, inside each car.

Get on one of the buses, you get to tweak the stuff on THAT bus. But you have to convince a firewall you're cool (i.e. doing something the firewall recognizes as legitimate) before it forwards your transaction to anything on even an adjacent bus.

Comment Not quite the end of the story. (Score 1) 327

In most countries the government is in charge of health care and they have a VERY easy way to regulate price gouging such as this. In any single payer system the national health service basically sets the price they are willing to pay and that's what it costs. End of story.

Well, not quite.

In any price control regime, the authority sets the price, and there are three options:
  1. They HAPPEN to hit the "market clearing" price on the nose.
  2. They set the price lower.
  3. They set the price higher.

1. is a small target, and very hard to get right even if you're trying. (Even market economies only get there by constant feedback in the form of purchase decisions.) Further, there are strong political pressures on regulators on where to set prices, so they aren't even trying. So 1 just doesn't happen.

2. means the consumer gets gouged. (But now he can't go to some competitive supplier to get the product or service at a better price. EVERYBODY who is selling is selling at that price. So the gouging is institutionalized. The only way to get a lower price is to apply pressure to the regulators (see 1.) or go to a black market (with lots of risks, including issues of quality, reliability, contract enforcement, and bad encounters with law enforcement and the rest of the legal system).

3. is where the regulators usually end up. But a price lower than market-clearing means suppliers chose to spend their resources supplying something else, so the supply dries up. You could buy it at a sale price IF you could buy it at all. But it isn't available, so you can't buy it at any price.

A free market has its own problems. For starters, with a single supplier (a monopoly) market forces encourage gouging. With two suppliers they encourage an approximately even division of the market (a duopoly) and, again, gouging, with only price signals, not collusion, to coordinate their behavior. The incentive to engage in competition that drives the prices down to market-clearing level doesn't appear until there are three players, and doesn't become strong until there are four or more.

(Unfortunately, US regulations generally have a built-in assumption that two suppliers are "competition". Thus you get things like the landline/cable internet duopoly, or the built-into-channel-allocations local duopoly (collapsing to local monopolies) of the early, analog, cellphone system.)

Comment Re:What's the long term cost? (Score 1) 327

So you'd have no problems citing a source for that, then? A photo of an epipen showing an expiry date of 2021 or something?

Epinephrine degrades steadily with time and expired doses are not as effective as fresh ones. I've not been able to find anything to suggest a 5-year shelf life for an epipen anywhere, so if you'd be so kind...
=Smidge=

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