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Comment Re:Trump is already a uniter (Score 1) 519

That's a truly crazy point of view. "Your brain is terrible at figuring out the real world" -- really? You mean, your brain is terrible at evaluating empirical data? The problems of which empirical data to accept as true are easily as big as the problems of deciding which common sense principle to apply. No knowledge comes for free.

Comment This is a non-experiment (Score 1) 226

Why is it worth looking for experimental proof that when people feel emotions, their brain chemistry will be involved in the experience? This is already well understood. I don't understand the point of this study at all. You might as well conduct experiments to determine whether water is wet. Was there any question that a religious experience is also an emotional one? ANYTHING deeply felt will be physically manifested. Duh.

Man, I hope the taxpayers didn't pay for this.

Comment Re:what the hell? (Score 1) 176

but you couldn't send a message to someone's phone number that they receive as an SMS message

Yes you could. I've texted my wife's phone and others many times over the years using Skype on Linux. I've been using Skype on Windows for the last 18 months, but the last version of Skype I used on Linux (skype-4.3.0.37-suse121.i586 by the RPM name) sent text messages to phones just fine. You needed a account with a balance and you had to setup your Skype account with your phone's number (such that caller ID identifies the caller/sender,) but I know for a fact that it worked.

So yeah, this huge Break Through! technology isn't all that amazing to me.

Comment Re:Computer scientists don't understand sociology (Score 1) 1321

We don't "blindly" trust any computer systems used in voting today, what in the world makes you think that's the case? We've been running elections for 230 years straight, and we know a thing or two about how to lock down the process. We black-box test voting equipment, then we seal them and keep a tight chain of custody.

Comment Re:You can't (Score 1) 1321

No, a human-readable summary of a ballot would tell you NOTHING. What kind of hacker do you think would print out evidence that the machine was hacked and give it to you? Please think about that for a minute. Of course the printed report would show what you THOUGHT you had voted. The machines are validated by black-box testing, then sealed and delivered to the voting localities, where they are re-sealed. Good testing + good chain of custody = a secure process.

Comment Re:Genuine question (Score 1) 1321

States run elections. Every state is different. In Virginia, where I live, recounts are regulated by law. A recount is possible only if the margin is below 1%. All recounts are optional in Virginia; the _loser_ has to request them. If the loser still winds up losing, they pay for the recount. If the margin is below 0.5%, then the state will pay -- but the loser still has to request it. Not all do.

Comment Much more than barcodes (Score 4, Informative) 109

Sadly, the article is silent on some important details. If you dig into the IBM announcement, you find that they are putting the entire chain of custody records into a blockchain, from source to the consumer -- all the things that traditionally would have gone into production logs, shipping manifests, etc. right down to the final delivery to the home. So, much, much more than what can be contained in a tracking barcode.

Comment Modifies the public and protective counter? *FAIL* (Score 1) 209

Geez, it's like no one ever thought of protecting the counters by making a hand-written backup of those numbers after the machines have been certified, but before voting begins.

I am a volunteer poll worker in Virginia. Not only do we record in pen those numbers when we open the equipment, we do a running comparison of the public counter totals to the total number of people who were checked-in on the poll books, every hour. If those numbers are off by even 1, it is a major event, we have to make an immediate report by phone to the registrar, write up what happened on an audit log, and explain it again to the local Board of Elections that evening.

You go messing with those numbers, and you would be caught within the hour in Virginia. Nice try.

Comment Election season is Silly Season (Score 5, Insightful) 548

FTA: "Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence." Oh, you mean like the SSH setup I have for all my servers to only listen to known IPs for shell access? Uh, yeah, no kidding. Geez, politics can make people so stupid.

Comment Hard to believe, but cable used to be AD-FREE (Score 3, Insightful) 112

That was the whole point of paying for TV. No ads! And, boy, was it worth it. Now you've got the worst of both worlds, you pay out of pocket AND they crush you with commercials. Frankly, the reason TV is being taken over by Netflix et al. has everything to do with getting rid of ads.

Comment Forget "bad" guys. Your real risk is to your DATA. (Score 1) 38

I love this guy's take on "the one thing everybody should be doing a whole lot more of": Backup your stinkin' data. And then make a backup of your backup.

I couldn't agree more. This, for me, is why I will never, ever stop using Dropbox or its equivalent. Every user in my family circle gets backed up to Dropbox. I bought a couple of network storage boxes, and use them to backup Dropbox.

In all the years and years I've been using computers, data loss is the only thing that has ever truly hurt me. Bad guys? Meh. I use credit cards. My losses are limited to $50. And, that's only money.

My data is the one thing I can never replace.

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