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Comment Unsurprising (Score 1) 38

Patents have become another "must-have" item in a scientists resume. It presumably shows you're able to create practical applications from otherwise abstract research results.

In practice, of course, you can patent pretty much anything you want if you put your mind to it, and the vast majority of granted patents are never implemented in an actual product and never make any money at all. So researchers just jump through another set of hoops to pad their CV with, usually, a completely worthless patent or two.

The researcher is happy since they got another item on their career-critical CV. The university is happy since granted patents counts toward university rankings. The granting agencies are happy since it shows their research grants are producing tangible results. Too bad the actual end result - the patent - is utterly worthless.

Comment Re: Easy fix (Score 4, Informative) 84

The thing is, as long as people pay for their own internet themselves, they're in complete control of what gets to connect to their wifi. So, even if all the water heaters on the market had IoT features, it's trivial to keep them offline and harmless. And should they ever come with their own connectivity solution that bypasses the users' router completely, well... it's always possible to encase it in a Faraday cage of some sort.

As for trusting manufacturer with IT security, that's not the only problem: even if they're serious about it and actually qualified to secure your device properly, personally I'm more concerned about what they do with my data - how they snoop on my habits, how they intend to misuse that data, or whom they intend to sell it to.

If there's a buck to be made, company won't even consider moral or ethical use of the data they collect. That's the only thing you can bet on with big data.

Comment Re:I don't care (Score 4, Insightful) 193

Even if you do like kids, bringing them to the world we have today isn't exactly a gift to them...

I know a great many youngster even today who deeply resent our generation's wasteful and selfish way of living, the consequences of which we left to them, and that they'll have to sort out when we're gone.

Comment As always (Score 2, Insightful) 193

At the age of 60, men who had children had almost two years more on their remaining life expectancy than those without, at 20.2 and 18.4 years respectively.

Correlation isn't causation.

Also, many of those who gain 2 years in life expectancy lose many more years of piece and quiet having to raise their brats.

Comment Re:False assumption (Score 3, Insightful) 202

The point is, getting around encryption is too costly to do it on a mass scale, so they can only really do it for the small portion of targets judged worth it.

It's like with door locks. Your door lock is good at stopping casual probing, but pretty much useless against a determined attacker. If a government agency (any government) decides that they really need to enter your home then they will enter. It may be with a warrant, with an armoured bulldozer or with a covert penetration team. But it's much too costly and much too risky to do so unless you have really good reason. They can't do it for every house in the city, on the off chance somebody might have something interesting stashed away somewhere.

Same thing with crypto: it may not stop them if they decide you are a high-value target. But it stops mass surveillance dragnets in their tracks.

Comment Data transfer cost (Score 1) 74

One limitation of "the cloud" (also called "other peoples' servers") for many HPC applications is the data transfer costs. Transfering data in is cheap or free, but getting your data out again is anything but. Even if the cpu-hours would be cheap enough, it's usually cost-prohibitive to transfer a few tens of gigabytes of results out of the server and back home for each job.

Comment To Be Fair, Licking Consoles Isn't New (Score 4, Informative) 117

In all fairness to the, uh, interesting people doing this, they're not completely off their rockers. Licking consoles was a thing before social media even existed.

A then-unknown Jessica Chobot (who these days hosts shows for Nerdist) basically started the whole thing by licking a PSP as a gag photo in 2005. Since then, someone, somewhere (usually Chobot, it feels like) licks a launch console.

The only novel change here is people licking the cartridge instead of the console, and that's due to the aforementioned use of a bittering agent. Maybe Nintendo got it wrong here and needs to go into licking controls instead of motion controls...

Comment Re:Uber Hit Squad (Score 2) 218

But people are also paying attention to Uber right now. If you're Google now is a good time to take a shot at Uber, when they're too distracted to fight back. And if you're a reporter your Uber story is going to get a lot more traction, so it's time to start digging.

You're not wrong; there's definitely a bit of blood in the water.

However Uber is unique in that they're managing to find new and exciting ways to fuck up, from the way they treat their drivers to how they interact with governments.

To use the GP's example, at least Oracle is consistently evil: you know what they're going to do from the start. But with Uber it's a new surprise each week!

Comment Re:Reasonable (Score 1) 180

It specifically says SatNav is allowed. But just like speed limits you still have a responsibility of your own. You can drive the speed limit and still be prosecuted if your speed is excessive for the current conditions. And if you use the navigation in a way or at a time when it is dangerous you're still responsible for that.

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