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Comment Ethics?!? (Score 2) 33

I get the feel this article was written by someone who's never actually BEEN in Vegas during these conferences. It's not at all uncommon to encounter skimming hardware on ATMs and fake cell sites that try to exploit and brick your phone. The likelihood of seeing either of those any other week anywhere in Vegas is near-zero.

Ethics my ass. The general opinion of the locals is that if the Paris casino burned down during Defcon with all the exit doors mysteriously barred, nothing of value would be lost.

Comment There Is No Demand For "smart guns" (Score 1) 584

Autoloading pistols are very finicky systems as anyone who's done any gunsmithing can tell you. Adding more mechanical complexity, not to mention electrical complexity, is a very bad idea. The resulting guns almost certainly won't work reliably. Far and away the most important safety feature of a gun is that it goes bang when you pull the trigger and successfully cycles so you can do it again - thereby dealing with whatever you were shooting and making you safer. Any "improvements" to guns that don't facilitate that aren't actually improvements.

Comment There's definitely a shortage of competence (Score 1) 392

I have no opinion about STEM as a whole, but there's a huge shortage of competent engineers in the US. Depending on how hard nosed we are about it, between 50-80% of candidates with nominal programming backgrounds fail FizzBuzz or equivalent even with their choice of language. Similar rates of EEs fail a basic question about series and parallel resistance, V=IR and P=IV.

The solution however is not H1B visas. They fail at much higher rates than those not seeking visa sponsorship. In fact I feel sorry for them - they've gone to a foreign country for college, paid 5 or 6 figures for an education, and have a piece of paper they might as well wipe with because somehow they managed not to learn a thing. Someone sold them a bill of goods.

Comment Re:Here we go again. (Score 1) 48

It shows you that what's yours, aka what your wealth is, truly is only what you can lay your hands on right now if there's nothing to support your claims to wealth. At this exact moment in time that's a laptop computer and an open, half-consumed can of Mountain Dew, and a physical wallet with a few dollars in it.

It's regulation that says that I own cars, a home, the contents of that home, and the contents of my bank accounts. If someone tries to take any of those things then I either get them back or I get compensation for their value, because there's regulation that supports me.

I think that the bitcoin crowd is slowly coming to realize that this massively libertarian construct doesn't work due to a lack of true oversight.

While there's something to what you state, I think you're being unfair to libertarians (and I'm not one - I just think they deserve to be defended on this point). Broadly speaking libertarians believe that one of the legitimate functions of the state is providing the (threat of) violence needed to allow the ownership of property without having to personally protect it.

A person who didn't believe that was a legitimate function of the state would either be an anarchist (if they opposed the idea of a state entirely) or an extreme form of socialist (if they believed there should be a state but that individuals should either not have or not be secure in their property).

Comment Deflation = BAD (Score 1) 221

As long as they're deflationary, cryptocurrencies will never be used as conventional currency. Deflationary currency rewards hoarding, which takes it out of circulation, which causes something else to be used as currency.

For a historical example, look at gold-backed currency in the US after the civil war and the Fourth Coinage Act. A nice, hard, deflationary money and largely ignored in favor of marginal reserve bank notes that frequently turned out to be worth no more than the printing. And yet by and large the later drove out the former for the purposes of actually doing business. That deflationary money was in fact so disfavored that William Jennings Bryan got within a stone's throw of the Whitehouse basically running a single issue campaign against it.

It's hard to imagine anyone who has experienced long term deflationary money wants to ever see it again. It's just that most of the people who've had that experience in the US are dead or so close as not to matter.

Comment Just buy disks and a JBOD (Score 1) 983

The cheapest solution where you retain a decent amount of control is basically to replicated what Amazon or whoever would do - create an array of the cheapest high-cap disks you can buy and put the data on it. Your net cost will be about $1000 plus ongoing electricity cost.

Anyone who's charging you less than that (with the $1000 amortized over 3-5 years) is running at a loss and likely won't be around when you want your data back.

Comment Re:AR15 != battle rifle (Score 2) 117

In modern parlance the AR15 is definitely a "battle rifle". Does it have the terminal ballistics and barrier penetration of 762 NATO or .30-06? Nope. But it's more than sufficient to put someone down, and the light ammo load makes it ideal for a wide range of applications. The 69+ gr. loads even have good external ballistics so you can hit out past 500Y.

There's only really two reason you'd want to get into a 7.62 rifle - either you need sub-2MOA accuracy (which the 5.56 ecosystem isn't really set up for) or you need to stay supersonic out a few hundred more yards. Other than that you're just lugging more weight around.

Comment Tip of the hat... (Score 1) 695

This will have to go down as the best example of a self contained "long con" in the history of separating fools from their money. Certainly the best example that didn't use governmental power to do the separating. And of course, as with essentially all cons, it works by preying on the inherent greed and biases of the mark - in this case, a libertarian fascination with deflationary money.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 101

The definitions of "cyborg" and "cybernetic" are in an academic context VERY broad. Really only science fiction has narrowed the concept to a William Gibsonesque "person with machine bits grafted on".

In Norbert Wiener's sense a person holding a phone definitely qualifies. Many scholars would have no problem at all with the "machine" part being something even more disconnected or abstract - perhaps business/social/economic in nature.


Comment Re:Probably won't have much affect (Score 5, Interesting) 138

While this opinion is in no way binding, it may still be valuable. The courts have not weighed in on the various NSA activities with any finality. One district judge has indicated it's probably constitutional. One has indicated it's not. Public disapproval can still help sway the outcome when this dispute makes its inevitable way to the supreme court.

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