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Comment Fixing Number Spoofing is Hard (Score 1) 120

Sure, it's just a simple matter of programming to re-architect the signalling system that's driven the phone companies since the mid-80s. Unfortunately, number spoofing has been an important feature for legitimate businesses - it lets them do things like always give you the number of their main office as caller-id, even if the person is calling from a remote office, or let you give the direct number of the caller, even if the call is getting routed through the company's main office PBX VOIP gateway. It also provides the ability to do a lot more complicated things. And (this mattered more back then than now) it let them run phone switches on processors that were made in the 1960s and 1970s, and with mainframes that might have 10 MIPS of CPU power (compared with the wimpy 1 MIPS VAX I was using in 1980.) My wristwatch probably has less RAM than that, but probably a much faster CPU, and my wimpy Android phone has about as much RAM as my VAX had disk.

And yes, within the next decade we may well have re-architected the world's phone systems away from the designs we used back then (and much of the implementation has changed radically already), but interface standards stick around a lot longer than implementations, and are a lot harder to get rid of.

Comment Thank you! Lost, not "denied". "Foiled" is ok. (Score 1) 245

"Denied" would be the party not accepting him because he's not a member or didn't file the right paperwork or whatever. Dude lost, not only because he didn't have the credibility with most of the party that Gary Johnson has, but also because he's too crazy and embarrassing even for us.

"Foiled" would be ok :-)

Comment Bitcoin's designed for transactions not investment (Score 1) 106

Bitcoin isn't really designed for investment, in the buy-and-hold sense where you hope the value goes up.
What it's designed for is making transactions, so you can buy and sell regular goods over the internet with lower transaction costs than credit cards or PayPal, and so you can buy and sell (ahem) less regular goods over the internet with much less traceability than credit cards or PayPal, even though you don't get the advantage of being able to cancel the payment or limit it to $50 if the seller defaults.

Of course, what it's really not designed for is storing in a bank where somebody you don't 100% trust is holding it for you, because it's also an extremely convenient transaction methods for embezzlement, either by the bank's managers or employees or other insiders, and digital safecracking lets you become an insider without all the noise and dust of using dynamite or the risks of using guns.

Submission + - China To Launch Quantum Communications Satellite (

judgecorp writes: The Chinese are launching a quantum communications satellite in July, that could be the basis of an unbreakably encrypted global network. It's a collaboration between Professors Pan Jianwei of China and Anton Zieliger of Austria, who went with a Chinese satellete as the European Space Agency was too unresponsive. Quantum key distribution remains the most practical application for quantum physics in IT, although investment in quantum computing itself continues

Comment US Government Hackers worry me more (Score 1) 91

I'm really not worried about Chinese or Russian or Enemy-of-the-month-i-stani 1337 h4x0rs tracking what the US presidential campaigns are doing. I'm much more concerned about US government hackers monitoring who's involved with what political campaigns, and slightly concerned about campaigns and their totally-not-coordinated-with-the-campaign supporters' committees hacking each others' resources.

The biggest risk with foreign hackers isn't foreign governments tracking our political movements - it's foreign criminals compromising web pages, figuring that they'd be good targets, and if you're giving that $20 donation to some candidate who's not good at web security, they can redirect it to themselves.


EgyptAir Flight 804 Missing ( 410

dark.nebulae writes: An EgyptAir flight disappeared on it's way from Paris to Egypt resulting in loss of 56 passengers and 10 crew members. The plane was flying at 37,000 feet when it vanished shortly after entering Egyptian airspace. It was suppose to land in Cairo at 3:15 a.m. Thursday after leaving Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. local time. CNN's aviation correspondent Richard Quest said, "Planes just do not fall out of the sky for no reason, particularly at 37,000 feet." He said the plane vanished while cruising -- the safest part of the journey. We'll update the story as more details emerge.

UPDATE 5/20/16 3:57 AM (UTC)
: Egypt's civil aviation minister says it's more likely terrorism than a technical issue. Greek officials said the plane swerved sharply and plunged from 37,000 feet down to the Mediterranean as the plane left Greek airspace for Egyptian airspace. [Source]

Submission + - Microsoft To Expand Underwater Data Center Program (

judgecorp writes: Microsoft's experiment with running a data center at the bottom of the ocean was not a one-off science experiment. The scheme was driven by a need to offer more data center units at lower cost, and lights-out operation has made it possible to consider leaving servers 600 ft underwater for two years at a time. Larger test runs will follow.

Submission + - Japanese Data Center Is Cooled By Snow (

judgecorp writes: The White Datacenter project in Bibai City, Hokkaido, is cooled in summer by winter snow. The region gets up to 11m of snow in winter, and stores mounds of it under a layer of insulating material. The snow gradually melts in summer, and the cold water is used in data center chillers. During winter, the waste heat from the site is used in greenhouses.

Submission + - Google Joins Open Compute Project (

judgecorp writes: Google has elected to open up some of its data center designs, which it has till now kept to itself. Google has joined the Open Compute Project, which was set up by Facebook to share low-cost no-frills data center hardware specifications. Google will offer up its ideas for a rack which uses 48V DC power distribution, increasing energy efficiency by 30 percent thanks to a reduction in the number of times the power goes through transformers

Comment 30-100 feet is enough for smartphone wifi (Score 1) 99

Occasionally it might be nice to have longer range, but 30-foot through-wall and 100-foot free-space is usually enough for most wifi environments I'm in, and having a phone wifi that didn't burn battery so fast would be extremely useful, and would more than justify having to put a few extra wifi repeaters in my office space.

Comment Really-Low Power Medium-speed is cool too! (Score 1) 99

Sure, there are times that longer range is what you need, but there are a lot of applications for which Really Low Power is a real enabler, and 11 Mbps is plenty (while Bluetooth/BLE/Zigbee speeds may not be), plus being able to use one software stack instead of having to keep a Bluetooth one and a Wifi one or needing some badly designed hopelessly insecure IoT gateway box is a big win. 1kbps is enough to drive your lightbulbs, but if your refrigerator needs a software update or whatever, the higher speeds are useful.

I'm still using 3Mbps DSL at home (don't watch enough TV online to make 6Mbps useful), so 11 Mbps is fine, though I've upgraded from 802.11b to .11n for higher reliability (and I'd use 5GHz if my router could do both radio types at once.)

Comment Incompetent Evolutionary Teaching (Score 2) 385

40 years? You're trying to blame your parents, or your high school teachers, or what?
First of all, we've had a reasonable amount of wide evolutionary belief since the 1870s, Mendel's work was rediscovered around 1900, the Scopes Monkey Trial was in 1925 (because evolution was sufficiently widely known to be a threat to some people's social position), DNA in the 1950s.

The real problem has been how badly many people were taught about it. Not only was there the whole Social Darwinism thing and the Eugenics movement, using misunderstood and misrepresented "evolutionary" ideas to justify discriminating against and mistreating other people, there was the positively-intended fluffy belief that evolution was somehow about "progress", and evolving meant we were "improving" every day, or every generation, or certainly "scientifically" better than previous species.

How often do you hear people today talk about humans evolving into even more advanced species, or talking about how people they disapprove of needing to evolve? That's why people like Sarah Palin can ask "Why are there still monkeys?" That usual picture of the monkey evolving into the ape, then the Neanderthal, then the Cro-Magnon, then modern humans, each one standing taller and moving ever forward? It should be a picture of a whole bunch of monkeys and apes and hominids running around in various directions from each other.

Comment Certainty about dogs from wolves is very recent (Score 1) 385

Sure, we've known that dogs are related to other canines for a long time, but it's only fairly recent that we've had enough genetic data to be sure that they're descended from wolves, as opposed to other theories about jackals, foxes, coyotes, multiple species of wolves, etc., especially since there's a lot of potential for hybridization (e.g. the recent coywolves in the US, which descended from hybrids of coyote, wolf, and domestic dog) and domestication may have happened in multiple places at multiple times.

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