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Comment Re:OpenVPN port tcp/443 (Score 2) 63

To be fair, OpenVPN isn't really designed to obfuscate the nature of the traffic any more than IPSec does. Both are about creating secure tunnels, with OpenVPN being very easy to configure and maintain as opposed to the pain that is IPSec. I use OpenVPN a lot, both for our road warriors, and to create the secure tunnels between our locations. In that role it really is an incredibly nice piece of software. But if I were looking at making something whose intent was to disguise that I was encrypting traffic at all, it's not the tool to use. Now as I understand it OpenVPN is pretty modular, so I would imagine if someone were to come up with some other encryption mechanism meant more to get around deep pack inspection, that would probably work, but as I said, such methods will inevitably make for a slower tunnel, and as OpenVPN is more of an infrastructure VPN, I'm not sure it's quite the right tool for that job.

Comment Re:OpenVPN port tcp/443 (Score 1) 63

My understanding is that some deep packet inspection methods can determine if potentially encrypted data is being passed through a filter. Obviously it's going to be error prone, but what does that matter when the general plan is to sufficiently inconvenience people so they don't even try. I doubt the PRC cares that maybe the odd innocent bystander's data gets hit as a false positive.

As a counter to that, I have read of encryption schemes that will bypass this kind of filtering, but it's going to be a lot slower as a lot more junk data has to be thrown in to fool detection. Good for low-bandwidth needs like passing text-based emails and the like, but not much good for anything high bandwidth like voice communications.

Comment Re: Not so innocent after all (Score 1) 166

Pretty much my experience of having to go to church as a kid. There were a few fanatical true believers, and everyone else did it because of some variant of Pascal's Wager. I finally dropped out of the whole thing when I was sixteen, not for any noble reason but mainly because I wanted to smoke and have sex, but even at that age at least part of the reason for my rejection was that my family's church had absolutely absurd beliefs, in particular their view on evolution. I had secretly accepted evolution since I was nine years old and had read a book in the school library on the evolution of humans from Australopithecus onward, but nine year olds don't have the personal authority to tell their parents and their religious authorities that they're all full of shit, whereas a sixteen year old has the right combination of hormones and hubris to brazenly tell everyone "Your beliefs are beyond absurd, and border on the criminally idiotic."

It might have gone a bit differently if I were raised in a more mainstream church like Catholicism, Lutheranism or Anglicanism, where they do try to keep the idiocy to a minimum, but in the more wingnut Protestant churches, the maniacal stupidity just drove me away. At the end of it I became I guess what one would describe as a "weak atheist" bordering on agnostic. I know the existence of Yahweh can never be disproven, but I see absolutely no reason at all that such a being need be invoked, and whenever I see Yahweh invoked by Christians, Muslims and Jews, it's often to justify something noxious, or to prop up the weak-minded who need constant reminders that prostrating themselves to the deacon now means eternal salvation.

Comment Re:Tables are turning (Score 1) 479

What hysteria? The arctic was 30 degrees above seasonal norms this winter. The fact is that CO2 has the properties it has, and that means you increase PPM of CO2 you trap more energy in the lower atmosphere. The universe doesn't care about your desire to declare anyone who says anything that makes you feel uncomfortable a "hysteric". AGW is an inevitable consequence of physical laws, and not the state of Wyoming or Donald Trump can do even the tiniest thing to alter those physical laws. Don't want to totally fuck up the Earth's climate by 2100, then stop burning fossil fuels.

Comment Re:Tables are turning (Score 4, Insightful) 479

And what would you call this proposed bill in Wyoming? It's an unapologetic subsidy to the coal industyr, because clearly the Wyoming government believes that the Wyoming coal industry will not be able to compete with renewables. Now maybe the justification boils down to "we get more taxes from coal than wind", but whatever that justification is, the intention is clear, Wyoming coal is seen as being at a competitive disadvantage, and therefore it will be subsidized by making renewable energy sources more expensive.

Comment Re:Jumped the shark a long while ago (Score 1) 164

And maybe TOS was best because its three leads were archetypes; you had the brave and adventurous Horatio Hornblower figure in Kirk, you have the cold intellectual in the form of Spock, and you have the emotional and moralistic McCoy. Though the casting was never quite that intentional, it's pretty clear that by the first few first season scripts were being produced that Roddenberry and his writers understood the good fortune they had in the chemistry between Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley, and fleshed out those three characters to a point that by the mid-way point of the first season, we basically have the Holy Trinity in place. Thus, when you have the penultimate scene in The City On The Edge Of Forever, where McCoy is restrained from saving Edith Keeler, you have those three archetypal characters in one of the entire franchise's most dramatic moments.

And that really is the magic of TOS; some damned good stories matched up with actors with incredibly good chemistry (which is something you can't manufacture, but was just damned good luck on Roddenberry's part), and the rest just flows. Even awful episodes are redeemed by the fact that Kirk, Spock and McCoy are in it.

You can see through the other Star Trek series where the writers and producers tried desperately to reproduce that chemistry, but even when they came closest in the final seasons of TNG, it still felt somewhat stilted, as if the actors and writers were trying to show us what good friends they all were, without ever really convincing us emotionally that these people were more than just comrades. I suppose the friendship between Geordi and Data came closest, but even that felt one-dimensional as opposed to what seemed like genuine love and friendship between the three TOS leads.

And the brilliance of the TOS characters extends even past the three leads. The second tier characters; Scotty, Uruha, Sulu and Chekhov all were well enough written and portrayed (more the latter than the former considering how few lines these actors generally got) that you could feel some emotional attachment to them. Scotty, in particular, is one of my favorite characters out of the whole ST universe. A bit cranky, but brilliant and incredibly competent, he's sort of the archetypal engineer, to the point where I've read that a lot of people were inspired into technical fields because of Jimmy Doohan's portrayal.

Comment Re:Sounds like wrong approach... (Score 1) 164

Enterprise could have been incredible, and there were brief glimpses here and there, and particularly in the fourth season, when it became clear that it wasn't going to be renewed. If Enterprise had been about the founding of the Federation, if it had paid more attention to the cold war between the Andorians and the Vulcans, if it had spent some time on the human supremacist movement on Earth, instead of squandering so much screen time on that idiotic "Temporal Cold War" crap in the first three seasons, and in particular on the idiotic Xindi arc which made the third season into a pointless aside, then it would have been possibly the best Trek of them all.

I like to imagine an alternate Enterprise, where the first season is for the most part what was shown, minus any Temporal Cold War episodes. The second season could have been more about the Andorian and Vulcan conflict, plus run of the mill exploration episodes. Season 3 could have seen the founding of the Federation and then season 4 would have been the Romulan War, then I think you would have had a killer series. But I don't think Braga and Coto ever knew what to do with it, and just tried to turn it into another Voyager.

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