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Comment Re:i.e. I think I can ignore the law if I want to (Score 1) 168

Um, the French and Indian War was between 1756 and 1763. There was no "Canada", save as a bit of a colloquial expression for the New France, which became British after the defeat of French forces in 1759.

Nitpick: The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. That was when the colony formally became British.

Comment Re:In other words (Score 1) 126

I've had a kidney stone, and I'll tell you the LAST thing I wanted to do during all that pain was hop on a roller coaster.

Amen, brother. I had heroin suppositories[*] keeping mine down to a deafening roar before my medevac, and I still couldn't even sit upright before the pain got the better of me. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

[*] From the ridiculous to the sublime, as it were.

Submission + - New formula massively reduces prime number memory requirements.

grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's Weak Conjecture, which every odd number greater than 5 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the Sieve of Erasthones:

In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm.

But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm:

Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N.

So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks?

Comment Re:Hackaday Prize (Score 2) 537

Check out the Hackaday prize, over at Hackaday.io.

Actually, you don't even have to get too clever to save lives. In early 2015, the South Pacific country of Vanuatu was devastated by cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm that severely damaged almost half the country. (Full disclosure: the UNICEF photos are mine.). In spite of some islands being completely denuded of shelter, only 11 people died.

The people of Vanuatu deal with an average of 1.5 cyclones every year, but this was an unique event. There had never been a storm of this intensity measured in the country before, and certainly not one that passed directly on top of more than half the population. 3000 years of dealing with cyclones meant that people knew how to cope, but it was telecommunications that allowed us to warn people in time for them to seek shelter. Ironically, on Tanna (the worst-affected island) the majority of casualties occurred when the wall of a building designated an emergency shelter collapsed.

One national telco saw its entire national network knocked out. But within 10 days, they had better than 90% of it back in operation. I myself saw the CEO manhandling a microwave antenna into the back of a chopper during the height of the relief effort.

So yeah, it's not glorious; it's not clever. Sometimes tech just needs to be available to save lives.

P.S. The owners of a Very Large Internet Company saved a lot of lives in the immediate aftermath of the storm when they sent their superyacht to assist with relief activities. The vessel was small enough to get into the countless tiny passages, and large enough to support a helipad for medevacs. On top of that, the 40,000 litre desalination unit could keep entire villages supplied with water until barges could arrive. They don't want their names to come out because this is one of the few places in the world they can get away and just be people. But thanks guys. You rock.

Comment Re:Good, Bad And Ugly (Score 1) 194

The Good: if there are known threats that can be filtered, this is the most efficient level on which to do them.

The Bad: this will inevitably be extended to blocking torrent sites, Wikileaks and any web sites I administer.

The Ugly: it will create a false sense of security, "educating" users to be less educated about their machines.

The un-fucking-believably stupid: Ignoring the capacity for police state tactics in surveilling the domestic population, this is the same as tacking a bullseye onto the nation's internet and telling every terrorist, rogue nation and hacktivist:

DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON. THIS ONE. RIGHT HERE. IT WOULD BE VERY BAD. SO DON'T PRESS IT.

Submission + - Rosetta finds Organic Space Dust (esa.int)

phantomfive writes: Rosetta’s dust-analysing COSIMA (COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser) instrument has made the first unambiguous detection of solid organic matter in the dust particles ejected by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in the form of complex carbon-bearing molecules.

While organics had already been detected in situ on the comet’s surface by instruments on-board Philae and from orbit by Rosetta’s ROSINA , those were both in the form of gases resulting from the sublimation of ices. By contrast, COSIMA has made its detections in solid dust.

Their presence was only ever hinted at in previous comet missions.

Comment Re:Why do you speak on behalf of the rest of socie (Score 1) 272

It shouldn't matter who the DNC leaker was. Blaming "the Ruskies" is just a diversion.

The question here isn't 'who leaked?', so much as 'if it's the Russians, what are they holding back?'

I'm a fan of leakers, but would prefer leaks from people who don't have a horse in the race. The age-old question 'cui bono?' (who benefits?) is a key element to establishing the value and completeness of a leak. I say this, by the way, as a professional journalist who has relied on leaks and whistleblowers for some big stories.

Comment Re:UBI will reach 100% of tax (Score 1) 1145

So what if the UBI reaches 100% of the federal tax?

I think the way that $3 trillion figure is formulated is more than a little disingenuous. Surely you don't just give $10,000 to every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Anywhere this has been looked at, it's been implemented as an income subsidy. In other words, you top up everyone's income so that nobody earns less than a given amount. Based on that calculation, and factoring in savings on welfare, food stamps etc., the idea actually looks quite attractive.

Comment Re:OpenBTS or WiFi? (Score 1) 37

It's OpenBTS, not Facebook's new project, that developed incredibly cheap 2.5G GSM service on cheap, software defined radio hardware.

Exactly. This idea has been around for yonks. Probably the most visible in international development circles was the Grameen Foundation's Village Phone project. This included small-scale GSM transmitter/receivers along with phones that would be shared on a commercial pay-as-you-go basis.

I met a few people working on a variation of this in Timor Leste, and tried to get some formal backing and traction for this in some Pacific island countries. The bottom line is that it's a no-go scenario, because you have inordinately high regulatory barriers, and the opposition of local telcos, who don't want anyone else hanging off their infrastructure, no matter how good it is for the bottom line.

That made some sense at the time, but today, why wouldn't you build your wireless network on WiFi instead?

Because at the end of the day, you still need to interact with local telcos. You can shim it any way you want, but if a person can't call or text their cousin in the capital, they're not going to pay to use the service.

But that's not reason to give up hope. You should give up hope because the telcos will never let it happen anyway, and even if they do, they'll find some new way to screw you out of accessing an affordable and open internet. :-)

Comment Re:Ever heard of mutah? (Score 2) 161

There is however strict laws about the women involved in this... [...] For example, they cannot have vaginal sex with 2 different men within a week of each other... After all, they must grieve one husband before the next.

Actually the mandatory intermediary period is usually more than 1 week (usually at least a month), and the reason is very pragmatic: if a child is born, it needs to be clear who is the father.

As you've already discovered, among various Islamic schools of theology there is vigorous disagreement about whether mut'ah is permitted or not. The most prominent distinction is that among Shiites it's mostly permitted and among Sunnis mostly forbidden, but there are Sunni communities there are some who practice mut'ah as well. Like with most details of Islamic law, people will have strong normative opinions. Instead of looking at the wide variety of things that Muslims are actually practicing in the world, they will claim that their opinion represents the whole of Islam and that everybody else is wrong. Since every side can draw on 1400 years' of theological debate to show that they are right and you aren't, and at the base of it there are texts that can be interpreted in different wys, but are considered sacred and must not be questioned, this kind of debate tends to degenerate very quickly.

Comment Headline is wrong (Score 5, Informative) 92

Brewster Kahle said that sentence at a conference also attended by TBL. And the quote doesn't even appear in the article that the phrase is linked to.

The actual quote is in the New York Time article:

“Edward Snowden showed we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web,” said Mr. Kahle

Congratulations on failing journalism 101. But then, this being Slashdot and all: Congratulations! You're an editor!!

Comment Fixed, and apparently not a HTTPS issue (Score 5, Informative) 96

The security issue seems to be fixed as of KeePass 2.3.4 and it looks like the discussion about HTTPS and ads is missing the point. From the website (http://keepass.info/help/kb/sec_issues.html#updsig):

"There have been some articles about automatic KeePass updates being vulnerable. This section clarifies the situation and its resolution.

First of all, we would like to note that KeePass cannot update itself. KeePass does support checking for updates (optional; by downloading a version information file, comparing the available with the installed version number, and displaying a notification if necessary). However, it neither downloads nor installs any new version automatically. Users have to do this manually.

KeePass can be downloaded from many servers (SourceForge with its many mirror servers, FossHub, etc.). In order to make sure that the downloaded file is official, users should check whether the file is digitally signed (Authenticode; all KeePass binaries are signed, including the installer, KeePass.exe and all other EXE and DLL files). The digital signature can be checked using Windows Explorer by right-clicking the file -> 'Properties' -> tab 'Digital Signatures'. When running the installer, the UAC dialog displays the digital signature information, i.e. users who carefully read the UAC dialog do not have to inspect the file properties separately. This is recommended for all users, independent of where you download KeePass from.

The KeePass website links to SourceForge for downloading KeePass. However, even if SourceForge (or the KeePass website) is compromised and serves a malicious download, users who check the digital signature will notice the attack and will not run the malware. Note that HTTPS cannot prevent a compromise of the download server; checking the digital signature does.

The version information file is downloaded from the KeePass website over HTTP. Thus a man in the middle (someone who can intercept your connection to the KeePass website) could have returned an incorrect version information file, possibly making KeePass display a notification that a new KeePass version is available. However, the next steps (downloading and installing the new version) must be carried out by the user manually, and here users who check the digital signature will notice the attack.

Resolution. In order to prevent a man in the middle from making KeePass display incorrect version information (even though this does not imply a successful attack, see above), the version information file is now digitally signed (using RSA-2048 and SHA-512). KeePass 2.34 and higher only accept such a digitally signed version information file. This solution is more secure than just using HTTPS, because it guarantees version information safety even when the webserver is compromised (the private key for signing the version information is not stored on the webserver)."

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 515

But a large number of professional programmers didn't learn how to code in a formal school program, either because they're self-taught or because they learned on the job. Citation please.

In the early days, many people didn't have anyone to learn from. If you weren't enrolled in a University computer science programme, you probably had close to zero access to formal instruction.

For my part, a colleague of mine came by my desk, saw me struggling to handle a conditional with a macro, and showed me how to create a control structure in Visual Basic. Spent a few months playing and reading MS' Knowledge Base in text mode through a 9600 baud connection. Then I found Kernihan and Ritchie little book, and suddenly it all made sense.

Fast forward 6 years to the late '90s, and I was writing systems software for NOC services. The dot com boom happened, and Bob, as they say, was my uncle.

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