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Comment Re:The only logical response (Score 1) 243

Well, oh, well...

The USFG owes me a couple new desks. Sometimes they make me headdesk so hard it just... breaks my desk.

Two things that I can't get out of my mind right now:

  • If this is the *director* of the bureau, what will a regular special agent be like?
  • Has it ever occured to the director of the FBI to notify the congress that people may, for example, kill people? Or maybe he's better off warning them chemicals can be used as weapons. Or even warn them guns may be used to kill people!

Somehow I feel Jeane Dixon is in a better shape to be DFBI than this guy...

Comment Re:Water? (Score 1) 191

DNA sequences can be purpose built nowadays, and soon it will be cheap enough for everybody to buy.

So, soon not only the robbed people will be able to buy one of those markers - other people will be able to do it too.

This probably means, even if this now has some chance of being accepted in court, it will (I hope) be droped when they find anyone can be framed by the real burglar, if she gets the chance to build the same sequence with the same environmental markers.

A good question is, perhaps, whether it will be easy or hard to do so.

Comment Re:Trouble ahead ... (Score 2, Insightful) 117

And I wonder what if the system detects it correctly, issues an alarm, but the driver doesn't wake up with the alarm? Maybe the environment is already noisy (for sound alarms), has lots of lights (light alarms) or the car is shaking a lot (vibration alarms). Or maybe the person is so tired that the alarm doesn't work at all.

I think someone should just not drive when tired. If a person is aware that may fall into sleep at any moment, then maybe it's just stupid to drive anything.

Comment Re:A Delta T Of Epsilon (Score 1) 74

If it is killed at 37C, then any second effect could be avoided by warming the entire body.

But that will probably avoid the good desirable effect too — if it is killed, then it won't even create the defenses it is supposed to create. (Oh, and warming your body would also be bad for testicles, which defeats the main purpose of warming it.)

Comment A Delta T Of Epsilon (Score 1) 74

But that way your normally warmer parts would be actually at the same temperature as your outer parts. Wouldn't then the vaccine get spread along all of your body?

Anyway, a vaccine that might screw genitalia. That's a choice between the joy of being father (again, for some), or living longer. I wonder if the secondary effects will be that bad, maybe it's no worse than a soft kick.

Comment Re:ATM Skimmer (Score 1) 251

The card reader display shows what the card reader should look like?

And if someone is able to compromise both the card and that image of "what it should look like"?

In this kind of situation it is better to have banks telling people — through another medium — what the terminals should look like. (But in some countries this might not be possible, if every bank/network has its own design)

Comment Re:Wrong about US' DMCA (Score 1) 258

The idea should work, the problem, as you point, is that you're relying on courts (actually the same courts which sometimes rule stuff like patenting ideas). And there is plenty of room for "ambiguity".

A DRM-breaker will always be useful to break DRM used in public-domain works (even if we wait 70 years (or more, if it is a Fantasia DVD)). But it can be used to break copyright protected works too. In a country where people go bankrupt because of the AA, that's too much uncertainty and risk.

But the problem is that not only should people be able to break DRM on PD and share tools to do so, restricting access to public domain should never happen. This proposal points the root of this evil.

Comment Re:Brazil lately really seems to "get it" (Score 1) 258

Their president knows what free software is,

We had to choose: either we could go to the kitchen to prepare the dish that we wanted to eat with the flavors that we wanted to add and we could put a little Brazilian flavor into the food, or we could go eat what Microsoft wanted to sell us. Simply speaking, the idea of freedom won.

Lula, at FISL 10 (10th International Free Software Forum)

That might be a good pointer, but, IIRC, his term will end in some months.

Comment It's not magic (Score 2, Insightful) 2

Giving someone a computer doesn't make the user an expert in some area. On this specific case, the main question is whether a child knows how to study.

If she is already able to do lenghty searches for some information in a big encyclopedia, or to read different books in different ways until she understands a concept, then with a computer she might improve her study, by taking electronic notes, searching in electronic resources, using the web, ...

On the other extreme if we give a kid who hates studying a computer, she might just spend the whole day playing some game or refreshing her facebook/hi5/orkut/the-social-net-you-hate-here status.

It is important to give students better tools, but it is also important to teach students how to use those tools. Not doing so is like pretending a computing machine always gives the right result, even when given garbage.


Submission + - Do Home Computers Help or Hinder Education? 2

theodp writes: The NY Times reports on economists' efforts to measure a home computer's educational impact on schoolchildren in low-income households. Taking widely varying routes, they are arriving at similar conclusions: little or no educational benefit is found. Worse, computers seem to have further separated children in low-income households, whose test scores often decline after the machine arrives, from their more privileged counterparts. Abroad, researchers found that children in Romanian households who won a $300 voucher to help them buy computers received significantly lower school grades in math, English and Romanian. Stateside, students in a North Carolina study posted significantly lower math test scores after the first broadband provider showed up in their neighborhood, and significantly lower reading scores as well when the number of broadband providers increased. And a Texas study found that 'there was no evidence linking technology immersion with student self-directed learning or their general satisfaction with schoolwork.'

Submission + - Brazil forbids DRM on public domain (

nunojsilva writes: Cory Doctorow reports that the brazilian equivalent of DMCA explicitly forbids using DRM-like techniques on works which are in the public domain.

Brazil has just created the best-ever implementation of WCT. In Brazil's version of the law, you can break DRM without breaking the law, provided you're not also committing a copyright violation.

This means that, unlike the US, where it is illegal to break DRM, in Brazil it is illegal to break the public domain.

Submission + - Sit Colton Sit, Barefoot bandit arrested.

An anonymous reader writes: The famous "barefoot bandit", Colton Harris-Moore's run from the law has ended. The 19 year old teen has been running from American law enforcement since escaping from a Washington state halfway house in 2008, he gained fame and thousands of fans who admired his ability to evade arrest. He is suspected of stealing cars, boats and at least five planes — including the aircraft he allegedly stole in Indiana and flew to the islands off Florida's coast, despite a lack of formal flight training. A seinor police official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, said The Bahamian police captured the fugitive shortly before dawn on Northern Eleuthera Island in the bahamas. "Ferry boat captain Freddie Grant said he was returning from Harbour Island in northern Eleuthera on Wednesday evening when he saw a tall, white teenager bathing or swimming in an inlet near the ferry landing. Ferry service employee Stan Pennerman also said he saw Harris-Moore lurking in the woods the same day. Neither man thought much of it until they noticed the next morning that somebody had damaged the ignition system on three of their boats". Harris-Moore will first be flown to Nassau, the capital, where the Royal Bahamas Police Force said they will be holding a news conference sometime soon.

Submission + - Setting Up Linux Public Machines?

JJMacey writes: I've been in closed Linux Loop. I've run it forever, made a bunch of converts, and now want to throw a Linux Box into the business center of a hotel. It will be a stand alone Linux machine (running Ubuntu), no server, no MAC, no VMWare, and want to lock this box down to very limited menu, icon options. It will help in dealing with the difficulties of maintaining the Microsoft versions, AdWare, SpyWare, Up-Dates, Virii, etc.

We are dealing w/ the general public, much like a library, I have Googled for the simple, elegant solution, but to no avail.

Has anybody have any ideas?

Thanks in advance for productive replies.

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