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Comment The first 5 digits of a SSN is not a SSN (Score 1) 103

"The researchers sent a follow-up survey to their student participants asking them whether the first five digits of the social security number their algorithm predicted was correct."

No word on how well they did, either.

From the Schneier Study: "Information about an individual's place and date of birth can be exploited to predict his or her Social Security number (SSN). Using only publicly available information, we observed a correlation between individuals' SSNs and their birth data and found that for younger cohorts the correlation allows statistical inference of private SSNs. The inferences are made possible by the public availability of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File and the widespread accessibility of personal information from multiple sources, such as data brokers or profiles on social networking sites."

What that means is that since SSN ranges are allocated regionally, and individual SSNs are generated sequentially, people born in the last 30 years around the same time in the same area will have similar SSNs. This isn't all that magical, and relies on consistent SSN allocation practices. It's just another form of social engineering. The SSA can completely stymie this with just a little bit of randomization.

Comment They'll be sorry (Score 2) 277

This is clearly an attack on Democrat sleazebags, who use the internet to carry out their peccadillos. Republican sleazebags are smugly confident this won't affect them, since they're still rocking it old-school in airport bathroom stalls. But the next generation of Republican sleazebags will be much more tech-savvy -- and they will rue this day.

Comment Why are we pussy-footing around this? (Score 3, Interesting) 536

Roy Spencer, the co-author of the "gaping hole" study, is on the board of advisors of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

These folk believe, among other things, that God will not allow the Earth to be harmed by Global Warming:

"The world is in the grip of an idea: that burning fossil fuels to provide affordable, abundant energy is causing global warming that will be so dangerous that we must stop it by reducing our use of fossil fuels, no matter the cost. Is that idea true? We believe not. We believe that idea – we'll call it "global warming alarmism" – fails the tests of theology, science, and economics."

This is not science.

Comment Re:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Score 1) 507

What other respected branch of science reaches out for a "consensus" in the government or the populace to prove their theories? Science is not the blatant politicizing of science to overpower the paradigm group you disagree with.

Yes, which is why CRU's work is hopelessly tainted, as is any peer review of their work. That entire branch of science should be mothballed, then secretly resurrected, this time keeping the well-meaning laymen the hell out.

But, just because the CRU screwed up, and a bunch of politicians got involved in all this, does not mean that all the science is unsound. The CRU are not the only ones working on this.

Even so, the IPCC suffers from the same mix of hard science, sensible conclusions, wild speculation, and political calls to action.

Comment Re:Pesky critics (Score 1) 507

My bets are on them moving the goalposts (again).

Or they'll just have someone mess with the numbers. It's amazing how results can be changed by jimmying the margin of error, or selectively weighting certain numbers based on subjective judgement. By focussing on the raw data, the larger picture is obscured.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Comment What's in a name? (Score 1) 315

This^ is not my meatspace name, but after decades of use, more people know me by this name than by my birth name. So now I have an on-line reputation to uphold, such as it is. Ivan has evolved from troll into Mr. Nice Guy. Occassionally, I log on using my real name and act like a complete ass. It's liberating.

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