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Comment Tragic Figure (Score 1) 382

Regardless of the impact of Manning's actions, and without getting into gender issues, I regard him/her as a tragic figure. There's no evidence the disclosures were made out of malice towards the country, but rather personal hurt. Punishment was probably in order, but the level of punishment just results in martyrdom.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 406

Country club prisons are a myth (at least in the United States). I have an family member in a minimum security "trustee camp" who committed a relatively innocuous white-collar crime. This was actually an upgrade from the minimum security prison where they were initially sent. It is not a happy place by any means. It has no heat or air conditioning (it's often 110F in the summer inside), few recreation opportunities, and constant harassment by the guards. Food is so bad, my relative lost 20% of their body weight within the first 6 months, and they were slender to begin with.

Comment Re: Sonic Boom (Score 1) 202

It depends which 172/182 you are talking about- they've been making them since the 1950s. They've made faster and slower variants (fixed gear/retrac, turbocharged non-turbocharged). My dad used to own a 1970s vintage 172 and now owns an 80s vintage 182 (both fixed gear). We took plenty of trips in it. With the 172, it was not at all unusual to bump around at sub 100mph ground speed with a 30-40mph headwind. A 30-40mph headwind is pretty common at altitude. The 182 is a bit faster, but I've never seen 170mph groundspeed except with a tail wind. Bottom line, Cessnas are slow.

Comment Re: Sonic Boom (Score 1) 202

A Cessna 182/172 is in no way comparable to private jet ownership. It's not really a good option for any flight longer than about 500 miles, and your cruise speed is often only around 100mph (ground speed)- meaning a flight that would be two hours in a jet is an all-day affair. On top of that, you are grounded or diverted by weather that a jet piloted by a professional wouldn't even flinch for. In reality, most of the people who own light Cessnas (or more commonly, fractional ownership) use them to putter around on Sunday afternoons or for short trips to nearby cities.

Comment Re:Rising prices and declining content (Score 2) 250

The brain drain from the main cable channels is kind of amazing. Discovery went from serious science documentaries to endless loops of shark attacks. TLC went from educational content to vapid reality TV. A&E went from broadcasting operas to vapid reality TV. History went from serious history documentaries to "When Aliens Attack Part VIII!" CNN Headline went from a short form summary of the top headlines to murder mysteries. The main 24/7 cable news channels have lost all semblance of journalistic integrity. No wonder all the commercials are targeted at the 65+ crowd. There's essentially nothing on broadcast TV left worth watching unless you are a sports fan.

Comment Re:Gotta love brutal honesty. (Score 1) 474

The big difference is that the early explorers were reaching a place that was roughly equivalent in terms of habitability to the place they left. Even if they didn't necessarily know what they would find, they proceeded under the assumption that they were exploring new land that would be as good or better than what they left. The trip would be more equivalent if Leif Erikson had advance knowledge that the entire American continent is an uninhabitable ice sheet but decided to sail to the new world anyways.

Comment Courtesy? (Score 3, Insightful) 644

Legal issues aside, if she was aware of the operator's location, it was a dick move to destroy the drone without simply talking to the operator first. Half the drones I see are being operated by kids with their parents standing by as a fun hobby. There's not always nearby or sufficient public land for the activity, and it's normal to want to try out new flying locations. If she had a problem with operating a drone in the area, she could have told them so. 99% of drone operators are going to comply in that sort of situation. If they were rude after being asked to leave, then I can see justification for shooting the drone down.

Comment Thank You! (Score 1) 211

In a perfect world where everyone has a photographic memory, we would change all of our passwords ever 30 days and be better for it. In the real world, people are often tasked with remembering the passwords for dozens of accounts with different password policies, different change policies, and differing security needs. This causes frequent forgotten passwords (leading to overuse of password recovery tools, easy to guess passwords, and password reuse.

In theory, you could simply use good mnemonic devices for passwords (see XKCD example), but in practice this is often thwarted by differing password policies. One requires special characters, the other prohibits. One has a maximum of 10 characters, the other 100. One requires caps, the other isn't case sensitive. As a result of these passwords, I've often ended up in "vicious cycles" for infrequently used accounts. I can't remember my password because I only log in every few months, so I have to reset the password. I can't remember the password the next time because I'm always having to reset it.

Bottom line: we need something better. The current state of passwords can be bewildering for a techie, and fatal to technology use for the non-technically inclined. With the proliferation of the cloud and other online services, It's gotten to the point that every single time I try to help my mom or other layperson with something on the computer, it's nothing but a battle of trying to remember to passwords.

Comment I don't (Score 1) 385

Simple answer: I don't, I probably can't and it probably doesn't matter. I suppose I'm a bit fatalistic about it at this point, but my credit/debit cards have been subject to fraud on pretty much an annual basis for the last decade. The card company indemnifies me, and all that I lose is half an hour of my time calling in the fraud.

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