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Comment UTC is just as backwards as DST (Score 1) 598

UTC? As long as we're dumping daylight savings, why not switch to TAI atomic time? UTC has leap seconds that sync the clock with the rotation of the earth, but only astronomers care about that. Windows, Unix, and Linux, and NTP don't even represent leap seconds. All that data you're collecting during the leap second gets the same time stamp as the following second. Switch over to PTP, the Precise Time Protocal based on TAI.

Comment Re:security best practice? (Score 2) 924

Evidently the systemd developers forgot about the concepts of "controlling terminal" . Remember the days when you forked a process twice to divorce it from its controlling terminal or pty? To keep such processes from running forever you actually used ulimit to limit the resources a process could consume. There is no need for more intervention from the likes of systemd.

How do we unravel systemd from our systems?

Comment This isn't news (Score 1) 95

The crust we see is less dense than the rock underneath it. A mountain is a bunch of less dense rock sitting on a thinner layer of denser rock. The mountain pushes some of the denser rock away. We've known this since we started using gravitometers on the ground. LAGEOS-1 in the 1970s confirmed it (

Try looking at the real news that GRACE is able to track sea ice, or that it's looking for general relativistic gravity drag.

Comment More security theater (Score 1) 17

Just great. We already share vulnerability reports through Mitre's CVE database. Mitre might as well be the DoD. The Pentagon already hosts several cyber warfare organizations. They seem to play well with NIST and its _National_ Vulnerabilities Database. We already have rules and regulations on submitting vulnerability data, and our customer will sue us if we reveal _any_ personal identifying information. We certainly aren't going to reveal any when publishing a vulnerability.

So now Congress wants to transfer control over to the DHS, who have no previous experience in cyber security, and even worse, have demonstrated their competence and lack thereof with our airport security. Funny how my right to avoid search and seizure without due process goes out the window when I want to board an airplane -- and strangely, I don't feel any safer. I take solace in that the terrorists seem less competent than DHS.

This going to turn out well. Not.

Comment We need open source science (Score 1) 547

Face it. You can't trust anything published on the internet or other media. Trying to dig to get the actual data is about hopeless. Most of the papers on global warming refer to other papers refer to other papers refer to papers by the same author based on a computer model. Scant attention is paid to validating the models against history. Actual data collected from the field gets locked behind for-pay firewalls. I've been tracking the CO2 issue since the 1970s when I was told we needed to solve the CO2 problem by 1980 or else its all over. I've witnessed reports on the internet reporting volcanic CO2 production revised to lower the production estimate by an order of magnitude without explanation and without acknowledgement it was altered. Much of the data you see on the Web is a lie on both sides of the issue.

We all have computers or else we wouldn't be reading /. Lobby your government representatives. If a scientist accepts money from the government they must digitally sign their data and make it publicly available. If they develop computer models, they must release it open source so they rest of us and review and run it.

Global warming is probably happening, but probably not for the reasons we suspect. One eruption in Africa released more CO2 than the entire annual industrial output of the United States. In the 1980s most CO2 came from "land use change" -- the burning of rain forests. The pollution of the ocean was still unevaluated so we have no idea how much CO2 is no longer absorbed into the ocean. We're stilling coming out of the last Ice Age so Earth is going to get warmer. Perhaps it is stupid to dump more CO2 when we're already getting warmer, but is that our only global warming problem? The science has become so politically obscured that I'm afraid we're missing other real dangers.

Comment Re:So the Dirty Bomb was more Media FUD (Score 1) 174

A 1 minute dose close to 3000 Ci of Co-60 is intense enough to be 50% lethal within 2 weeks with medical care. The article mentioned a 30 second dose being 50% fatal -- its biology so it is not exact science. A five minute exposure is 100% lethal within 2-days. During that 5 minute exposure the victim would start vomiting, suffer seizures and spasms, and start losing mental faculties. This isn't a cancer in 10 year type of terror. This is almost immediate and monstrous.

I would not characterize the loss of Co-60 as Media FUD. There is some stuff on the planet that truly is scary.

Comment Re:Sucks to be them. (Score 1) 1030

I love it when liberals say "Republicans think this or do that". Demonstrates a total lack of understanding of groups and susceptibility to propaganda. Republicans have their corporate welfare types, libertarian types, religious wackos, and atheists, and others. The subsets of the various groups makes for an intricate Venn diagram. When one of those yahoos speaks, they're not likely speaking for me.

How much a utility pays for co-generated power isn't a left versus right issue. You have a government regulated monopoly, the utility, which owns both generation and transmission facilities, arbitrarily setting the price for power from co-generators. Perhaps the transmission lines need to be a government regulated monopoly with every generator and co-generator paying for access to the transmission lines. This really doesn't appear to be a solar power issue but one about who controls the life blood of our society, electricity.

Comment Why have NASA at all? (Score 1) 205

Remember NASA was originally created through the cannibalization of military programs such as the X-15. Also recall that NASA actively discouraged the development of commercial space launchers to drum up business for its space shuttle. It purposely delayed permits for the commercial sales of Atlas and Titan rockets. I personally worked on reusable launchers and cheap satellites only to be told on multiple occasions to cease work or my company would never receive another NASA contract. If you're a space company, NASA was the only game in town. TRW created a million pound thrust engine for $40K (it had limited re-use -- they fired it 3 times on the San Juan Capistrano test stand). It went nowhere because of NASA.

Now also note that NASA's management and culture is incompatible with space exploration. We lost two space shuttles through wishful thinking and shortcuts. In this case it is hard to distinguish treason from incompetence.

Given NASA's history of actually impeding the development of space, their demonstrated incompetence, and our national debt, we're past due selling NASA off. We need to beef up other means of funding space research. Think of the Ansari X prize. NASA exists to perpetuate itself without regard to benefits to the nation.

Comment Re:Abandoning the cloud ? (Score 1) 332

Stallman is being silly again. The cloud is like a giant parking lot for data. If you leave your data unlocked, of course someone will steal it. Encrypt everything, including the unimportant, so you don't need to remember what's encrypted and what's not. Route your data through anonymizing servers, even your Amazon transactions.

Everyone needs to use encryption, not just the political activists and child pornographers. You have bank statements and health records to protect. No one needs to know what you buy but you. If the world knows what you buy and need, like your collection of garden gnomes, the price of garden gnomes will go up.

Just because you encrypt everything does't mean you can't share. Encryption keys can be split and shared. Some people are working on anonymous group keys so you can subscribe to the online New York Times without getting spam from 3rd parties. I know one fellow who encrypts his Facebook postings with his private key. When I want to read what he has to say I decrypt with his public key. He can use a shared key if he wants to communicate with a particular group of friends.

As for the threat of quantum computers -- its true that quantum computers can factor billions of times faster than conventional computers, but all that means that the average time to break my key has gone from billions of times the age of the universe to merely the age of the universe. I'm not worried yet. I note the U.S. military recommends 1024 bit keys for secret data and 2048 bits for top secret.

Stallman got one part right. You can't trust commercial operating systems. You need to be able to see what you're running to trust it. We don't have a secure cloud because commercial interests aren't concerned with your privacy. They want to track you so they can sell to you. They have not realized that if they are tracking us, they are being tracked. We don't have a secure internet because big companies don't want it. You need to do it yourself.

Encryption is the infrastructure for this century. Use it and insist that others use it.


Submission + - EU acts to toughen the Do Not Track standard (

another random user writes: European commissioner Neelie Kroes has accused members of the online industry of watering down a standard designed to protect consumers' privacy on the web.

Websites are under pressure to allow consumers much greater control over how they are tracked online. But work undertaken by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a Do Not Track (DNT) standard was "not going to plan", said Ms Kroes.

She praised browser manufacturers who had incorporated DNT technology but said that it was not enough.

It should be built on the principle of informed consent, giving people control over their information. And, indeed, it must be designed to let people choose not to be tracked. The clue is in the name — do not track

She is angry about delays and a proposal to exempt marketing. She is concerned by suggestions that DNT might not be set as a default.

Much of the anger is reserved for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which has asked the W3C that marketing be added to the list of those activities exempt from the standard.


Submission + - Scientists discover nearby 'diamond planet' ( 1

MrSeb writes: "Scientists at Yale University have discovered a nearby super-Earth that is a “diamond planet” — a planet that has a mantle made of graphite and diamond. The planet, called 55 Cancri e, is just 40 light years from Earth and orbits the binary star 55 Cancri, which is located in the constellation of Cancer. When the planet was first observed last year, it was originally thought to be a water planet, similar to Earth, but new information has allowed the scientists to infer that the planet is much more likely to be a diamond planet. The Yale scientists estimate that as much as one third of 55 Cancri e’s mass is made up of diamond — the same as three Earth masses, or roughly 18×1024kg. This is a few trillion times more diamond than has ever been mined on Earth. The identification of just a single diamond-rich planet is massive news. In recent years we have identified hundreds of rocky, Earth-like planets — and until now, we had assumed they had similar make-ups. It is now fairly safe to assume that there are millions of diamond planets in the universe."

Submission + - Court finds in favor of libraries in Google Books affair

cpt kangarooski writes: While it's not a final victory in the long-running Google Books matter, the related case by the Authors' Guild against the universities working with Google in the digitization project has produced a ruling that their book scanning is a fair use. You can read the opinion here. This bodes well for Google's case, although note that this wasn't directly about them.

Submission + - 19,000 emails against and 0 in favour of Draft Communications Bill (

Qedward writes: Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period.

He notes: "Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favour of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely."...

Unfortunately the link to the consultation document itself is also now broken.


Submission + - New Zealand turning Hobbits into cash, literally (

Curseyoukhan writes: "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on "The Hobbit" by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country "100 percent Middle Earth.""

Submission + - Prince of Sealand dies (

jdavidb writes: 46 years ago, occupying an abandoned WWII platform off the coast of Britain, Paddy Roy Bates declared independence, naming himself Prince of the Principality of Sealand. Today, Bates has passed away at 91.

Long time Slashdot readers will remember Sealand as the site of HavenCo, an unsuccessful data warehousing company that tried to operate from Sealand outside the reach of larger nations' legal structures. They may also remember plans that the Pirate Bay had at one time to buy Sealand.

Bates had moved to a care home a few years ago, naming his son Michael Regent of Sealand.

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