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Comment Re:But but but! (Score 1) 193

SpaceX is really working on the "space pickup truck" idea.

Is this going to be driven by space rednecks with astro-mullets carrying their space shotguns?

Sorry, but that's the image I get from the idea of a space "pickup". Realistically it's going to be more like a space van or lorry.

Space X et al. are really just trying to use current technology, I'm hoping something like Reaction Engine's Skylon gets off the ground. If we want to make space travel economical, we're going to need something better than chemical rockets.

Comment Re:Then why just 8 countries? (Score 1) 269

Keep thinking that Bannon et al are stupid. You may not like them - but that doesn't make them stupid.

Bannon et al. are idiots.

However the people that voted for them and continue to support their idiotic ideas are the ones who are really stupid.

The tide is turning against so-called "populist" politics precisely because people are seeing how much damage is caused when the stupid put idiots into power. Hanson lost in Western Australia, Wilders in the Netherlands lost, Le Pen in France is next.

The rest of the world should really thank you for being the shining example of what not to do.

However pretending to yourself that your political opposition is stupid; now that says something about you.

You need to look up the definition of irony.

Comment Re: Then why just 8 countries? (Score 1) 269

I believe the issue is the quality of the security screening in these countries.

Sorry, but you'd be wrong.

Several of those countries are engaged in active Civil wars, like Turkey so security is turned up to 11. Dubai (UAE) is at European levels because they hire Europeans to manage it.

But the real problem with that argument is that you could fly to a large number of places in Eastern Europe not in the ban and find incredibly lax security. This is why I use Sofia as my example. Bulgaria is the country directly to the north of Turkey and they aren't exactly known for their Protestant work ethic and incorruptibility. What is stopping Akmal the tablet bomber from flying from Ankara to London by way of Sofia? It's probably wont even cost any more than an ESB-LHR ticket. Hell, he probably wont have any trouble getting through somewhere like Frankfurt.

This why I cant buy it as a credible threat. Why are laptops from Germany or Bulgaria safe when they aren't from Turkey.

Also you don't even need to fly from Turkey, you can get a bus to Sofia if you really wanted.

Comment Re:But but but! (Score 1) 193

We probably need to establish a more permanent presence in space, either in orbit or on the Moon, before we are able to find a cheaper way to get up there. ISS provides very a valuable micro-gravity environment, but at the moment that is the only motivation for sending things up there, more or less. If we had a permanent base on the Moon, for example, which made valuable products and materials that we can't easily produce on Earth or get off the ground, then there would be a much stronger incentive to develop better launch mechanisms.

Comment Re:While its not my cup of tea (Score 1) 396

Disclaimer: I haven't studied the case or even read the article in much detail, so I'm running on empty, mostly. I don't in general have issues with what choices people make in their own lives, as long as it only involves consenting adults.

However, for what it is worth, there are some more general consideration, which in practice may be more important. For a team to be productive, it is necessary that the members of the team feel able to work together. It seems, in this case, that they are not able to do so, and that they have been unable to sort out their differences. If this is the case, then the only practical solution is to not work together - what else can anybody do, practically? "Ought to" only reaches so far. Should the rest of the team be more tolerant? Perhaps, but they aren't, and since this seems to be an open source project with unpaid, voluntary participants, I don't think it is covered by any sort of workers' rights legislation.

Comment Re:Revision to way searches are done (Score 1) 55

I think police should need a warrant to use facial recognition in many cases. I also feel that perhaps searches of electronic devices and online accounts need to strictly limit exactly what is searched for and disallow any evidence of any crimes not listed in the warrant from being used.

I don't think that is realistic or even remotely reasonable. You know, people recognise other people simply by eye-sight; police officers do the same. We can use binoculars to see further away and thus enhance our vision, or we can use an infra red camera to see thing at night - and record it, and so on. There is a continuum from using no technological aid at all to using automatic recognition technology, so where should the limit be set? I think we have to weigh up the benefits against the costs. There is always a risk that technology can be abused - but it is already being abused by criminals, and if the worry is about civil rights issues privacy etc, then that can be addressed with proper education of the police; it does actually work. Most police officers do want to do their job well and be proud of themselves.

As for requiring warrants for using this sort of low-level data gathering is just plain silly - it is simply unworkable.

The 4th amendment is supposed to make it hard to prosecute certain kinds of crime. In my opinion, the police really have no business going after crime that isn't reported to them anyway, except for a few exceptions like murder.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution):

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

So, the amendment talks about the right to privacy and the right to go about their daily business without being stopped at random by the police. The purpose of this is quite clearly not to "sort of allow certain kinds of crime to take place more easily", as if that was in itself desirable. It is the clear duty of police to investigate crime - all crime - and prevent it if possible, even to the extent that they have a near monopoly on doing so in most countries. Suggesting that they must only react to crime if it is reported to them is blatantly absurd.

Comment Re:Exactly that (Score 2) 224

Very valid points, of course; the whole idea of open plan is stupid in so many ways; just to take a thing like indoor climate: small offices for 1 or 2 people can have individual heating and aircon, so the ones that like it hot can have that without hearing complaints from those that prefer it cold. You might even have a windows that could open a little bit.

But just as important as the physical environment is the freedom to choose your tools. Developers are skilled workers - I hesitate to use the word 'engineer', I think it is overused and easily misconstrued; an engineer can be anything from the guy that used to shovel coal on a steam locomotive, to a highly academic civil engineer. We skilled workers know best which tools are suitable for our needs. Some people like to use highly complex IDEs with suspicious colour schemes (which remind me of my misspent youth in Soho's nightlife), others actually prefer vi and make scripts in xterm - both setups can be equally productive. Managers prove again and again that they have no clue about what is important for skilled workers; they seem to think we are sort of like sales people, but not as clever, and since sales people fall for glittery kitsch and think the word 'leader' means 'alpha male', that is what they try to serve up to us as well; hence Dilbert.

Rant's over - I have real work to do.

Comment Re:What does this indicate (Score 2) 59

Well, I have never heard of Center for a New American Security before, so it would be reasonable to be skeptical about how non-partisan they are. Judging from the article alone, however, it appears that 'overhead' is anything that isn't passed on to external contractors, so potentially this could include any research that is done by NASA scientists. If this is the case, I don't think it is non-partisan at all - the position that only work done by external contractors is 'real work' is a highly biased one to start from, IMO, as it seems to dismiss the crucial value of fundamental research.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 1) 249

If by succeeding, you mean completely failing to have any significant role in online commerce, and not being a significant source of information beyond currently trending events, then sure. Call me when there's something equivalent to Wikipedia that's built into Facebook without linking out into the Internet as a whole, or something equivalent to Amazon, or something equivalent to airline and hotel reservation websites, or....

So no, Facebook is not succeeding as a replacement for the Internetâ"only for the very narrow slice of the Internet that was previously dominated by MySpace.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 1) 249

If by succeeding, you mean completely failing to have any significant role in online commerce, and not being a significant source of information beyond currently trending events, then sure. Call me when there's something equivalent to Wikipedia that's built into Facebook without linking out into the Internet as a whole, or something equivalent to Amazon, or something equivalent to airline and hotel reservation websites, or....

So no, Facebook is not succeeding as a replacement for the Internet—only for the very narrow slice of the Internet that was previously dominated by MySpace.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 1) 249

If by succeeding, you mean completely failing to have any significant role in online commerce, and not being a significant source of information beyond currently trending events, then sure. Call me when there's something equivalent to Wikipedia that's built into Facebook without linking out into the Internet as a whole, or something equivalent to Amazon, or something equivalent to airline and hotel reservation websites, or....

So no, Facebook is not succeeding as a replacement for the Internet—only for the very narrow slice of the Internet that was previously dominated by MySpace.

Comment Re:Never saw that coming (Score 1) 249

It's not always a home ISP that's doing subtle MITM modification. It might be someone malicious in the same coffee shop as you.

Assuming DNSSec gets deployed as it should, someone in the same coffee shop will be able to passively snoop, but won't realistically be able to be in the middle of the communication unless the infrastructure is badly broken. After all, two hops over Wi-Fi should always realistically have higher latency than one hop plus a DHCP response. The biggest weakness is UDP-based DNS. For that matter, you could disable UDP-based DNS today, and you'd pretty much kill any hope of MiTM attacks by anybody other than your ISP. Arguably, you probably should.

Or it might be a government agency using the Fullscreen API to spoof the chrome of the entire desktop environment.

At that point, your endpoint is untrusted, so the communication is untrusted, period. There is no security mechanism that can have any real benefit if you cannot trust the browser itself or the operating system under it.

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