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Submission + - ESA wants to take out the trash. The space trash.

The Bad Astronomer writes: The European Space Agency is considering a test mission that will use new technology to help clean up the ever-increasing problem of space debris. The spacecraft, called e.Deorbit, will identify, approach, grapple with, and then dispose of errant space junk by deorbiting it, letting it burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Testing could begin as soon as 2023.

Comment Re:Suicide by politician (Score 1) 1010

A key point here is it was wildly inappropriate for Comey to recommend no prosecution in this case on TV. It is totally not his decision. The prosecutors in the DOJ are the ones who get to decide if prosecution is warranted. The FBI's job was to investigate and generate a report to the DOJ. They do get to make a recommendation regarding prosecution but it is only a recommendation. Comey absolutely should not have announced the recommendation at a press conference before the DOJ has even started reviewing the final FBI report. It reeks of prejudicing the entire case since it places inappropriate pressure on the prosecutor in the DOJ to not prosecute when they may well be inclined to prosecute when they see all the evidence.

Comey s assertion that Clinton and her people had no intent to do harm by mishandling top secret compartmentalized information so they should not be prosecuted is also way over the line. The fact is they did mishandle top secret information, and it is unknowable if that mishandling resulted in the information being accessed by foreign powers or others who were not authorized to see it. You knowingly mishandle classified information in violation of the oath you signed there have to be consequences otherwise why should anyone bother to protect classified information. If Clinton is elected President how can she expect the millions of Federal employees working for her to protect classified information when she knowingly didn't and got away with it.

Thirdly mishandling email is only part of the case against the Clinton. A key reason Clinton may have been using this private server is there may have been email between her, foreign governments and affluent individuals who were donating large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State creating the appearance that she was soliciting bribes in return for favorable decisions from the State department on things like arms deals. Clinton is claiming these are personal emails so she withheld them from the FBI but they may be a trail pointing to public corruption.

It smacks of whitewash to suddenly short circuit these investigations so Clinton will have a clean path to the nomination at the convention which is just a few days away now.

Comment Re:You missed a couple of sections (Score 1) 309

In finding no Fourth
Amendment violation, the Western District of Washington noted that "in order for [] prospective
user[s] to use the Tor network they must disclose information, including their IP addresses, to
unknown individuals running Tor nodes, so that their communications can be directed toward
their destinations." Id. at *2. The Western District of Washington noted that under "such a
system, an individual would necessarily be disclosing his identifying information to complete
strangers."

Sounds like it makes sense to me

Thus, hacking resembles the broken blinds in Carter. 525 U.S. at 85. Just as Justice
Breyer wrote in concurrence that a police officer who peers through broken blinds does not
violate anyone's Fourth Amendment rights, jd. at 103 (Breyer, J., concurring), FBI agents who
exploit a vulnerability in an online network do not violate the Fourth Amendment. Just as the
area into which the officer in Carter peered - an apartment - usually is afforded Fourth
52
Case 4:16-cr-00016-HCM-RJK Document 90 Filed 06/23/16 Page 52 of 58 PageID# 1134
Amendment protection, a computer afforded Fourth Amendment protection in other
circumstances is not protected from Government actors who take advantage of an easily broken
system to peer into a user's computer. People who traverse the Internet ordinarily understand the
risk associated with doing so

Well yeah if you don't patch your system, you know you're going to get hacked right? So, boohoo, you got hacked by the gov should have been surfing kiddy porn

Comment Re:You missed a couple of sections (Score 1) 309

"Furthermore, the Court FINDS suppression unwarranted because the Government did not need a warrant in this case. Thus, any potential defects in the issuance of the warrant or in the warrant itself could not result in constitutional violations".

This language is particularly specific and narrows the ruling to this case and only this case. The fact that the FBI got a warrant to allow them to run remote exploit code on an individual's computers that had downloaded the exploit (which was only available on PlayPen) means that they didn't need a warrant.

The individual was exposing himself to this exploit of his own actions, and thus didn't require a warrant. Let me put it this way, the FBI takes over a drug dealer, and has him continue sale, but under the new watchful eye of cameras that collect identifying photos of individuals who purchase drugs. (Not only that, but the person has to go into a room that specifically says, “illegal drugs” on it in order to even end up on camera.)

Do law enforcement REALLY need a warrant when the person is incriminating themselves?

This is like arguing that law enforcement had no right to put a tracker in the cash bag of a bank that they took. It's BS. It required active agency in acquiring the exploit code, and a clear intent to obtain child pornography.

a) You do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when you're committing a crime, and b) if you walk into someone else's house and demonstrate direct intent to commit a crime without knowing that you're identifying yourself to police, well, TOO BAD

Comment Re:The message is clear: (Score 1) 309

The site was actually protected by the Tor network (and despite an error in configuration allowing it to be accessed outside of Tor for a bit) was only available through the Tor network.

They then attached the callback program to trigger upon downloading known child porn, and voila your computer happily reports to the FBI that you've just downloaded child porn.

This is actually pretty solid law, and entirely reasonable warrant and execution of that warrant

It looks like (so far, I'm only part way through the actual ruling) one of the chief objections is that the warrant identified the website with the wrong type of logo. The text on that logo, had however stayed the same. This is not a good argument for why a warrant shouldn't be valid

Comment Re:What Constitution? (Score 1) 309

Even though the warrant authorized the FBI to deploy the NIT as soon as a user logged
into Playpen, SA Alfin testified that the Government did not deploy the NIT against Mr. Matish
in this particular case until after someone with the username of "Broden" logged into Playpen,
arrived at the index site, went to the bestiality section - which advertised prepubescent children
engaged in sexual activities with animals - and clicked on the post titled "Girl 11YO, with dog."
In other words, the agents took the extra precaution of not deploying the NIT until the user first
logged into Playpen and second entered into a section of Playpen which actually displayed child
pornography. At this point, testified SA Alfin, the user apparently downloaded child
pornography as well as the NIT to his computer. Thus, the FBI deployed the NIT in a much
narrower fashion than what the warrant authorized.

I dunno, that's pretty compelling reasonable suspicion there for a warrant which is what they actually had

Comment Re:We need a penalty for retarded judges (Score 1) 309

The Court FINDS, for the reasons stated herein, that probable cause supported
the warrant's issuance, that the warrant was sufficiently specific, that the triggering event
occurred, that Defendant is not entitled to a Franks hearing, and that the magistrate judge did not
exceed her jurisdiction or authority in issuing the warrant

So you think supporting the validity of a warrant that was issued prior to the search to be subversive?

Comment Re:What Constitution? (Score 1) 309

To any sane person, if they need a warrant to come through your door to seize the data, they need a warrant to seize the data over the wire.

Let's examine that, let's see

The Court FINDS, for the reasons stated herein, that probable cause supported
the warrant's issuance, that the warrant was sufficiently specific, that the triggering event
occurred, that Defendant is not entitled to a Franks hearing, and that the magistrate judge did not
exceed her jurisdiction or authority in issuing the warrant

Oh, they did have a warrant.

Comment The question was settled in the 1970s. Just don't (Score 2) 103

Why must you record my phone calls?
Are you planning a bootleg LP?
Said you've been threatened by gangsters
Now it's you that's threatening me
Can't fight corruption with con tricks
They use the law to commit crime
And I dread, dread to think what the future will bring
When we're living in gangster time

Comment Re:Radiation (Score 1) 412

Pure water will not accumulate radioactivity. With one exception, there is no reaction with hydrogen or oxygen to make a long term radioactive nucleus. 16O+n->17O (stable). 17O+n->18O (stable). Very rare 18O+n-> 19O, half-life 26s. 16O+p->17F, half-life 65s. Etc.

The only exception is 2H+n -> 3H (tritium, half-life 12.3 years) but the cross section for this is very small, and H2 (deuterium) has very low concentration (0.01%) in ordinary water.

So leave your irradiated pure water for half an hour out of radiation, and it will be fine.

Contaminants in the water could accumulate long term radioactivity. If this is enough to be a problem (I'd bet it isn't), you'd need to purify the water before use.

Comment This is why... (Score 1) 621

...you want something akin to Mondo cards, only with all the knowledge that has been developed since on contactless payments and strong access security. Once you have cards that require no network, no central bank and no other external dependencies beyond the communications protocol, there is nothing that rogue officials can do to confiscate your money.

For those not aware of the history of cashless societies, Mondo had tamper-proof strongly encrypted cards that could act like cash. You could transfer money between cards. There was no risk of anyone setting the card to a prior state as any attempt to break into the device destroyed it. This did mean only one vendor made the cards, but we've come a ways since then. The Orange Book and EAL standards cover tamper-proofing and unauthorised writes to memory. Other standards cover application software design and protocol design. All you need is for card vendors to get certified against the general standards, financial transaction standards and the standards specific to some open specification. Vendors can then get encryption keys signed by such a standards verification body. So it would be a procedure similar to the old Level 3 SSL certificates but with all the extra verification layers you'd expect from the FAA or DoD.

You now have cashless, bankless, networkless anonymous financial activity on par with the Shadowrun fictional series, only a good deal more secure still and without having to physically transfer objects. Contactless transfers using unlicensed spectrum at very low power would require the sender to be in range of the intended receiver and to press some keys. That's it. Same sort of range as a key fob. Communication would be by encrypted link, using an authenticating + validating mode to prevent MitM attacks or other attempts at altering transactions.

What could the cops do? Well, they could confiscate any device they didn't recognise. That might not go down too well, though. They could confiscate the card, but as you can do wireless card-to-card transfers with this scheme, there's no guarantee they'd have confiscated any actual money by doing so. They can't determine if you did or didn't, except with the access code. It's not a computer, per se, as it doesn't need to be Turing Complete, and it's not an account, so there's no law on the books that requires that access be given.

Because the device complies with international banking laws and the PCI processing regulations, it would be legal to use such a card. It would be an authorized, licensed financial transaction processor between brick-and-mortar financial institutions, it's merely using the older networking method of store-and-forward with packet fragmentation and fragment reassembly. All perfectly legit operations. Because PCI governs logging, the device is compliant with all tax evasion and money laundering laws. There aren't any laws saying anyone has to actually access that information, the only laws that currently exist merely require that they can if authorized for a lawful need. Let the Feds figure out how to deal with that without making impossible demands of traveller's cheques and cashier's cheques, which can also be used as money equivalents.

Comment Re: Pointless and Useless Speculation (Score 1) 559

Ish.

The SKA interferometer will be able to directly see a planet's atmosphere at a range of 100 light-years. If two or more gasses are present where they react in each other's presence AND the ratio of those gasses is stable over time, you have concrete proof of life. This cannot be achieved by known (or unknown) natural processes, a dynamically maintained equilibrium that would cease to exist through any process other than direct action requires a biological process.

Actually, it requires at least two. Any organism that tries to make things favourable for itself must necessarily alter some second dynamic to be unfavourable to itself. You cannot do more work without producing more byproducts (conservation of matter) that are in a lower energy state (conservation of energy, since energy has been taken out) where some of these are toxic to the organism (if it wasn't, it would be processed for energy and matter until it was toxic).

So, one organism always produces an instability. Two is the minimum. The more you have, the more stable the dynamic becomes as there are increasingly better solutions to the set of equations. If an organism develops that tries to exploit the equilibrium (which is inevitable), the equilibrium is lost and the new organism is put at a deficit. A new equilibrium will emerge as a result.

This, by the way, falsifies Nash's argument against his equilibrium. The equilibrium is an emergent phenomenon, so if the dynamic changes, the equilibrium changes. Nash made an error by assuming a dynamic equilibrium has to itself be around a static point. No. The dynamic equilibrium has one Strange Attractor per class of actor in the system. That really should have been obvious and I'm honestly shocked Professor Nash did not see this in his original work or his later appraisal.

Now we get onto communication. Could, in principle, a SKA-class array or the half kilometre single dish in China, be used to communicate at a distance of 100 LY to a civilization of like ability?

Much more difficult. The so-called waterhole is the obvious line to use, as there is virtually nothing natural emitting there. Incredibly quiet. Long baseline interferometry can be used to cancel out much of the random noise from individual telescopes, terrestrial sources, etc, as can long timebase interferometry. So you're essentially taking a lot of radio-frequency photos that are, themselves, taken with a very long exposure time. Stuff in common accumulates, stuff that's different cancels out.

A sufficiently slow, pulse-modulated, message at that frequency will be extremely obvious above the noise, even if it's well below noise level any given instant. You're relying on the fact that noise is random, so that the average can be set to zero. The objective is to guarantee that the signal, after sensitivity, loss of strength and less-than-ideal capture time, strictly exceeds zero at the desired distance.

Once the law of big numbers kicks in, noise is not an issue. The average of any number of zeroes is zero. What matters is signal. If the pulse, transmitted for a second, would be 3,600 times too weak, transmitting for an hour would mean that someone capturing for an hour would detect the pulse.

Interferometry means you can also use constructive interference. Even Linux supports nanosecond accuracy and data from nanosecond-accurate PPS sources, and there are atomic clocks now that are millions of times more accurate than the official definition of the second. With that kind of gear, getting the phase such that the waves constructively interfere wherever we want is not going to be difficult. We know the phase difference already, because powerful natural radio sources must be visible from all telescopes and that same accuracy tells us how out of phase they are relative to said source.

Is that enough to go 100 LY, though? Even if both planets were ringed with telescopes, you're limited to less than the shortest year of the two per pulse and one pulse is not enough to say hello. To be unambiguous, you need a prime number of prime numbers signalled by pulses. Preferably pulses short enough that someone will notice there are some to notice.

Probably not 100. 50 would quadruple the chances of detection by any life but would butcher the chances of there being life to detect it. I don't think you can go below 25, just not enough candidate worlds, and the probability of detection only quadruples again.

A pulse of an hour duration is probably acceptable, short enough for someone to detect something strange but long enough to have enough power to stand a chance of, again, someone detecting something strange. After that, it's just a case of proper summation.

Signal power, itself, is the least important part as it falls off with the square of the distance. The challenge is to make it irrelevant, just as you make each emitter very low power in a gamma knife but very powerful at the point of interest.

Even so, you need enough bits for the sum to matter. SKA might not quite be up to the task.

Ok, it's probably not possible to transmit yet. Receive, yes, but it might take another 50 years for transmission to a reasonable number of stars to be possible.

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