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Comment Re:You all laugh now (Score 1) 47

I always wondered why a slope with an incline that gradually increased to vertical wasn't ever employed in zombie fiction forts. They would shamble forward until their center of mass shifted and then fall back.

With the right slope contour, you could make it so they fell back pretty far.

Another option would be a kind of blind curve, where they shamble in and then just shamble away on the other side.

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 369

You have not described a "phenomenon", you made a false claim. Instead of admitting you are wrong, and caught in the act, you attempt to play word games. Cowardice at it's finest.

So you are saying that people only ever use language to establish stable beliefs in propositions, and that they never say anything purely to achieve emotional effect?

As for cowardice, well if it makes you feel less insecure I suppose there's nothing I can do about it. But it's bullshit -- in the epistemic sense of the word -- and it reflects on you more than me.

Comment Re:Doing more with less.. (Score 1) 93

Why aren't these tools built in, though?

IMHO, PKI on Windows is problematic less because PKI is complex but more because the in-built tools suck or are non-existent.

Most IT admins are oversubscribed enough that writing that Powershell script or putting together the third party tools for certificate expiration won't happen, especially when you consider for most organizations the number of certificates that matter is relatively small.

I will grant an exception for Homeland Security, though, as any organization using PKI to that extent ought to have an entire team responsible for managing it, which means they would have the time/tools/experience to deal with it.

Comment Endocrine hacking has a long history. (Score 2) 123

A long history of not working particularly well. And testosterone hacking is the grand-daddy of them all. You know all those steampunk-y horror stories about rich Victorian eccentrics who go mad because they implanted monkey testicles into themselves in a bid to achieve eternal youth? People actually did that.

There's a thin line... or rather let's say a fork in the road between pseudoscience and science. I think they both start in the same, non-scientific place. And that place is a kind of magical thinking. It's what happens after the initial inspiration that makes the difference between science and pseudoscience.

Testosterone is higher in men than women, an in particular higher in young men, and higher in men who achieve social dominance. It also rises after sexual intercourse. So by magical thinking testosterone must be the "manliness" hormone; it makes you young, vigorous, dominant and sexually potent.

There's nothing wrong with that as a starting point, but in the long history of testosterone hacking it hasn't worked out, except for gaining muscle mass in conjunction with resistance training. Sure if you treat men with a testosterone blocker they'll eventually lose interest in sex, men generally have less sex as they get older, and at the same time their testosterone levels decrease. So it's natural to jump to the conclusion of a chain of causality: worn out old glands put out less testosterone, and that causes a reduction in interest in sex. But if you actually test that hypothesis, it doesn't work out: individuals with least decline in testosterone levels actually have less sex than their normal counterparts. The normal decline isn't large enough to produce on its own any measurable effect in interest in sex. So if your interest in sex is dropping as you get older, look elsewhere for the cause.

This is the danger of calling testosterone "the male sex hormone", as if God had a punch list of features He wanted and implemented each feature with a single steroid compound that works in isolation from everything else. Yes, testosterone is involved in masculinization of adolescents, but it's not as simple as the more testosterone you are, the more male you are. The endocrine system is complex and dynamic, responding to internal and external changes -- including aging. Both men and women have and need testosterone and estrogen, in ways we don't fully understand yet.

If you want to get the most out of your life, eat a variety of real food in moderation, exercise, sleep, and in general alternate stress with rest. The ancient Greeks could have told you that, and in thousands of years we have not been able yet to improve on that as far as lifestyle advice is concerned. Go to your doctor if you're sick or injured, or even for a testosterone treatement if you have abnormally low testosterone for your age. But don't go to the doctor for a magic pill that will make you youthful, manly, sexy and dynamic. All that's up to you.

Comment Re:Doing more with less.. (Score 1) 93

I think you're basically right, PKI implementations are horribly complex in practice and doubly (or more!) so with Windows.

It seems to get worse as certificate-based security gets added into products as defaults installations. As an example, Exchange 2016 installs a self-signed certificate by default which gets assigned to SMTP and IIS. The normal (spanning back several releases) process of adding and assigning a public certificate to services doesn't change the self-signed certificate assignment and use for the IIS Exchange Back-End site or for transport connectors.

I ran into these are problems recently with a customer who deleted the self-signed certificate after installing and assigning his public certificate. Bam, dead Exchange GUI -- had to re-bind the back-end Exchange site in IIS with the public certificate.

Another customer had "verify certificates" enabled on their spam service and when they switched SMTP delivery to the new server, the self-signed cert was still being used by the front-end receive connector. It took some kludgy, un-documented Powershell to force the connector to use the public certificate -- ie, the attribute has to be built as a compound variable using sub-attributes of the public certificate combined with some text, and then that variable assigned as the TlsCertificateName on the connector.

So even if you're trying to use certificates, application behavior and certificate selection is pretty opaque in many cases and can actually ignore specific certificate assignment options.

I won't even get into the management trainwreck that is Windows certificate server, with its 2003-era dialog boxes and management tools. In my mind at least, all of this could be modernized and made much simpler to manage, but the toolchain remains completely user-hostile.

Comment Isn't this kind of obvious? (Score 1) 409

Sure catastrophe is great for establishing equality. It's also great for establishing dictatorship, or oligarchy.

Consider Japan. Japan is a major industrial power with no energy resources (other than renewables) of its own, so it got 30% of its energy from nuclear power, and it was on its way to making that 40%. Then there was the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe and now nuclear is essentially dead in Japan.

Is that good? Bad? Either way the indisputable thing is that Fukushima made a difference. Catastrophe is practically the only thing that makes people undertake drastic change; absent disaster people will simply tweak things until they seem to more or less work.

Comment Re:infrastructure (Score 1) 49

I'm sure it will make sense to plenty of non-google engineers.

Unless those non-Google engineers have already heard of ftp, scp, rsync, etc.

The only real problem with sharing on home connections involves NAT, ISP ToS, etc: being findable and connectable. Rent a VPS and install OpenVPN on it, have your home fileserver connect to it, and it's solved.

Comment Re:Can Uber really make money at this? (Score 1) 99

Does it really make sense economically for Uber to get 100% of the cost of a ride this way but having to spend money to buy main, maintain and insure cars?

If you hypothesize that robot drivers can really do the job sufficiently well, the conclusion is an extremely strong and obvious yes. Taxis, limo services, etc are already viable business models even when you have all those same expenses plus a driver to pay. Remove the driver expense and it only gets more viable.

Or is this another sign of a company that doesn't know what it is doing, perhaps most recently suggested by the recent charges of sexism and sexual harassment?

It's possible they don't know what they're doing, but this certainly isn't a sign. It all comes down to whether or not you think robots perform as well as humans, and this story merely works from the conclusion that they can; it doesn't show any strengths or weaknesses of the premise itself.

Comment Isn't this why many people voted for Trump? (Score 1) 409

Or at least semi-intelligent people?

They knew in their hearts he was kind of incompetent, but they also were so cynical about any establishment politician being able to effect meaningful change that the only way to achieve it was to empower an incompetent with the idea that it would break the system.

Of course, breaking the system has lots of unplanned side effects, too.

Comment Re:Yup (Score 1) 409

The position where slaves didn't count towards representation was just as good a default, which makes 3/5 looks like a compromise to me. Which wouldn't be surprising; the framers had a real knack for that.

Note also because of the limited, means-tested franchise in many states, the higher property ownership disparity in slave states (because of the plantation economy) concentrated enormously disproportionate power in the hands of planters.

Democracy in the early US wouldn't look very familiar. In 1824 just 4% of all Americans voted.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 3, Interesting) 409

Another thing you had was a huge body of men who'd been through a massive, life-changing experience together. One that took immense risk and sacrifice but ultimately ended in victory (at least for us Americans).

If you believe that people are capable at all of learning from experience, they must have brought something away from that.

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