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Comment Re:Using SHA-1 in this day and age is just lazy (Score 1) 197

Also, when a commit is signed it becomes bundled with it, which means its associated SHA-1 hash will change.

Yes, but the commit only includes the SHA-1 hash of the tree object, which in turn refers to other trees and files by their SHA-1 hashes. Given the possibility of SHA-1 collisions, the commit signature guarantees that you get the right commit, but not necessarily the right file contents. Of course, for this attack to work someone would have to get their obviously artificial collision-prone file included in the signed commit in the first place, so that they could later substitute the malicious version. This is not a practical means of attack for source code repositories where commits are subject to even cursory peer review. There might be some justification for extra precautions when it comes to opaque binary files, such as firmware, which could be as simple as including the SHA-2 of the binary file as part of the commit and verifying it during the build.

Comment Re:Using SHA-1 in this day and age is just lazy (Score 1) 197

If there is one thing the Wikipedia article makes perfectly clear, it is that there is considerable disagreement over the nature and limits of the "appeal to authority" logical fallacy. However, in the first and only "notable example" given in the article to illustrate "appeal to authority", the authority figure in question was an expert in the field, which leads me to seriously doubt your assertion that "[a]ppeal to authority is a logical fallacy when the person is NOT an expert in the field."

Quoting from the article, with emphasis added:

In the Western rationalistic tradition and in early modern philosophy, appealing to authority was generally considered a logical fallacy.

More recently, logic textbooks have shifted to a less blanket approach to these arguments, now often referring to the fallacy as the "Argument from Unqualified Authority" or the "Argument from Unreliable Authority".

However, these are still not the only recognized forms of appeal to authority. For example, a 2012 guidebook on philosophical logic describes appeals to authority not merely as arguments from unqualified or unreliable authority, but as arguments from authority in general. In addition to appeals lacking evidence of the authority's reliability, the book states that arguments from authority are fallacious if there is a lack of "good evidence" that the authorities appealed to possess "adequate justification for their views."

So on the whole, it would not be unreasonable to consider an argument of the form "X is true because Y said so, and Y is a recognized authority in the field of X" an example of the "appeal to authority" logical fallacy. That is not to say that X is thus untrue, or that Y's opinion should be disregarded—but there is a vast difference between the valued opinion of a qualified authority figure and a sound logical argument.

You would be perfectly correct to say that this is not an example of the "Argument from Unqualified Authority" fallacy described in the newer textbooks, but that fallacy is much more limited in scope than "appeal to authority".

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 257

you can't infringe on their right of ownership by copying the DVDs

There is no such thing as a "right of ownership" over the content of the DVDs. The poorly named legal fiction of "copyright" is not a right at all, but merely a privilege; and like all other instances of legal privilege, it can only exist by infringing on the actual ownership rights of others.

The difference is obvious even to a cursory inspection. If copyright were about ownership then it wouldn't expire after a limited duration, or be subject to exceptions for fair use or (in some cases) compulsory licensing. More importantly, if copyright were treated as a right of ownership, then the liability for infringement would be determined by the extent to which the infringement diminished the copyright holder's ability to make use of the copyrighted content—which is, of course, impossible, since the creation of a new copy does not in any way diminish the utility of any existing copy. Copyright is not a right, it's an example of misguided social engineering run amok, a legal parasite intent on strangling its host.

Comment Re:Not that expensive (Score 4, Insightful) 246

The thing is, unless you have seen everything you would possibly want to see in older movies available for $10, why would you pay $50 for the same home experience?

Yes, I have seen every decent older movie I care to see.

This may seem a bit obvious, but new movies turn into older movies at exactly the same rate that new movies are released. It's not as if "older movies" were a fixed set. If you make a policy of only watching movies that are at least X years old, you'll end up with the same amount of "new" (to you) content each year as if you watched every new blockbuster on opening night at several times the price.

Comment Science is hard (Score 1) 326

A lot of times stuff is not replicatable (suck it spellchecker, i just invented the word) because it's fucking difficult. I mean I have spent thousands of dollars and even worse wasted many hours in the lab on getting something I thought should be straightforward, obvious, and simple to work. Sometimes you want things to work so badly, you might even see things (usually fluorescence) where there is none. It's like how Percival Lowell saw canals on Mars. As a scientist you have to fight hard against your own bias, and not take it personally when someone attacks your work. Biological systems are unreliable (or not easily modeled), it's not like a computer program where everything follows a known deterministic path. In biology, the conditions in which something happens may not be known. It may work in one lab because they are using a reagent with a trace contaminant of salt whereas in another it won't work because the conditions are too pure.

So anyway, I reckon we have 3 reasons why studies are not reproducible (here they are in order of unethicalness/immorality):
1. The actual conditions are not what the researcher thinks it is. (The reagent constituents are not normal for example).
2. The researcher wants to believe a result so badly that they see an effect that doesn't exist. (Nowadays you have to photograph your results and/or use software, so this *should* get caught in peer review).
3. The research was published due to pressure to get grants combined with confidence that a particular hypothesis is real and should work -- in spite of lab failure (which the researcher ignores, telling themselves somebody in their lab made a "pipetting error").

Obviously, #3 is the most evil of the above. None of these are an excuse for publishing bad science. In terms of mitigating effects, #1 is the hardest to avoid. #3 should be very avoidable if you have scruples.

Comment Re:As soon as you're invited to visit, I agree (na (Score 1) 193

Perhaps the government has no right to search X, for any X, but they DO have the right to say "no you can't come in", or impose any conditions they feel are proper before granting entry.

False equivalency. You have the right to exclude others from your home because you own your home. Your rights of ownership are founded, ultimately, in the homesteading of previously unowned land though the labor of an original owner, plus an unbroken chain of voluntary contracts passing the rights to that land from its original owner to you. The government, by contrast, has no such legitimate claim to ownership of the entire country, and consequently does not have the right to exclude anyone from entering.

On the other hand, it would be wrong for me to block your entry into your *own* house... Unlike people who wish to visit, peope have a right to enter their own home.

Anyone with the right to enter their own home also has the right to invite others to enter. It would be wrong for you to block the entry of my invited guests into my house.

Once you're in the US (and while your outside the US), your rights as a human being should be fully respected.

Inside, outside, or in transition, your rights as a human being should always be respected.

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