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Comment Re:Appeals court fails basic facts (Score 1) 69

So if you use a copy of Microsoft Office that you didn't pay for but got from "a guy", you can't have civil action against you?

I think you'll find that's not how copyright works, has ever worked or will ever work.

Because at that point, it's not really *copy*right you have to worry about, it's licensing for the original work. To copy it would have been infringement, and you're using an unlicensed copy whether you were the one to copy it or not.

The problem is exactly that judges spent too long reading the law, because that's what's enforced and convicts you, not the dictionary definition unless there is absolutely no legal definition anywhere that's been previously established by a court of law or a legal statute.

Comment Re:But what is a lie? (Score 1) 182

We're not talking about every single answer.

We're talking about when people say, in a meeting, "Well, can you justify that?" or "Why do we have to do that?" where the simple answer isn't enough and you're explicitly asked for more. And then I provide simple and complex answers simultaneously, but often at a later date (because opposite me is a pseudo-expert I respect who disagrees and his boss who knows nothing and won't understand the full thing).

At that point of asking, "normal" (non-autistic-trait) people switch off and rarely care as they've formed their opinion already, it's in opposition to yours (or they wouldn't question your reasoning), and they're asking for justification enough to change their mind. And then they don't look at it, or they do the "Oh, well, that's beyond me, I didn't read it all"... and then go on to make the decision the same way anyway because - presumably - it would make them feel foolish to be seen as taking advice, and they'd rather actually be PROVEN wrong further down the line when it's too late to backtrack.

Agreed that, by default, I provide the reasoning and answer, because it's just that often that the answer isn't enough or leads to a demand for the reasoning anyway. By the time it's got to an email chain, Yes or No won't be good enough.

But people believe that the "minutes" from a meeting are all that matters, not why those decisions were made or who made them, which is why I get things explicitly minuted in some meetings so I can go back later and, effectively, do an "I told you so". Without that explicit demand, it gets claimed that all the reasoning behind the decision was unimportant even when that reasoning is shown correct (i.e. we shouldn't have done X because Y would happen, we do X and - shock - Y happens).

And it's not even as simple as just avoiding blame / liability, or covering up, or failing to admit a weakness.

As you point out - if you trust the expert opinion you're asking for, you don't need the full explanation. I certainly have done this to those below me - "You're sure? You know how to do that? And it will solve the problem? Cool, I'll leave it with you.".

And I will happily provide Yes/No but that *is* opinion, because when it differs from theirs I'm ALWAYS asked for an explanation. In fact, being asked for my reasoning is the prime hint that I'm about to be overruled anyway.

There are many times where my boss has needed to spend upwards of £100k on my opinion. A Yes/No has sufficed, because they don't understand but they can see that it's a no-brainer to myself, even if it's hard to justify to a layman. It does happen. But when opinions differ and reasoning is required, it's ignored or needs to be so dumbed down as to be unconvincing and useless.

The second you involve other departments, staff, layers of management, etc. everything turns from Yes/No into "justify that", and then the justification ignored for a pre-made decision, and even swept under the carpet so it can't come back to bite them later. Often, you don't even find out their reasoning for overruling, which is the EXACT thing they asked you for. Even "Oh, we can't afford that much!" - that's a valid reason. When you're not prepared to give that it makes me question motives.

I've worked in several places where THE MOST ILLOGICAL decisions are made almost every day. There's literally no rhyme or reason and all those carrying out those decisions cannot see the logic behind it, even if they assume bad-actors, monetary gain, power-grabbing or whatever else as the reasoning.

As the person I am, I combat association with those types of decision by providing - on request - my reasoning. To use your code-analogy, I am "open-source". Not only do I tell you what I'm doing, I tell you why, and what else has been tried, and why that failed or isn't suitable, and why we should do things exactly THIS way.

And then, effectively, someone else buys their brother-in-law's piece of junky proprietary software and we're stuck with it and then I get blame from all corners for how we allowed it which, without stating reasoning as to why it's a bad idea in the first place, would be untraceable to anything but me not providing that reasoning and "going along with it" (really, being overruled and told to do it)..

I've had it happen for everything from £50k print contracts, to core business software. After years of dealing with people trying to push blame, or kowtow to bad decisions, and not having the social tools to combat it at the heart (which seems to involve doing it, wasting money, and hoping that you'll become mates with higher people by doing so), I provide reasoning.

Comment Re:But what is a lie? (Score 2) 182

I have the same problem.

I took to highlighting emails for "Short version" and "Long version". The only people who bother with the long version are the people with an axe-to-grind with what the email is about, people who are similarly autistic-like (yeah, I'm definitely on there somewhere too), and those with an interest in the actual fine details of that particular area.

But I work in schools so I can tell you now that, however hypocritical, the entirety of education is set up as "lies to children", in fact "lies of decreasing magnitude". At first atoms are the smallest thing. Then electrons. Then quarks. Then strings or whatever. We do it to ease them in, and allow them to understand at whatever macroscopic scale is necessary at that time.

I'm not sure it's an entirely bad method, but the phrase "You'll see later / when you get older that this isn't exactly true" doesn't HURT anyone to say and we rarely say it.

To be honest, when I'm asked to summarise, e.g. in meetings, I struggle immensely because I don't see that you can sum up anything that easily without just providing opinion rather than fact.

"So what's best, X or Y?"

I can give an impartial, fact-based, long answer.
But if you want one or the other it will be opinion unless the answer is blindingly obvious. And your opinion may differ.

The problem I get is that when opinion differs, the next question is always "Why" and despite lots of reasoning from an expert hired for exactly that purpose, there's often no convincing someone anyway.

But, as this post probably shows, I find that the REASONING for an answer is often more important than the answer itself. It tells you how much people have thought about it, how long they've been working with such things, how detailed their knowledge is, and that - ultimately - tells you whether you should be trusting their opinion against others.

I get told off for overly-long emails and posts all the time, and yet I often hold back much more than people know.

(Pity the poor guy who tried to argue Data Protection legislation with me and got a written-up explanation, with citations, all my own wording, from memory, in under an hour that took him a day to read).

Comment Re: "Tacit approval"? My nose! (Score 1) 205

Would you care to prove that HRC tried to avoid using her private email server for classified communications? Evidence suggests she didn't. Powell had and used an email account on the classified State Department network ("high side"); Clinton did not. The NYTimes reports that a search of Powell's emails was done, and only uncovered two emails, sent to Powell but someone else, that were upgraded to confidential or secret after the fact -- unlike emails that Clinton sent containing information that was classified (and even marked as such) at the time, and emails on her server that included top secret information.

Comment Re:What are we forgetting... (Score 1) 217

Big asteroids are a valid concern, and very long-term I do believe humans should work at establishing a human presence on other worlds (starting with the Moon), however asteroid bombardment should *not* be a factor in driving humans to inhabit other worlds.

It would be far, far easier for us to improve our capabilities for detecting large asteroids, and then deflecting them, than to figure out how to live on Mars. Dealing with asteroids is not that hard: first we have to actually invest some resources into looking for the damn things. We do a little of that right now, but not nearly enough, as the strike in Russia a couple years ago proved. This isn't hard; we just need more probes in orbit, or perhaps in Solar orbit closer to the Sun (to spot ones that we can't see from here because the Sun's light drowns them out). Second, we need to develop the capability of deflecting them. With good enough detection, this isn't hard: you just send a big craft up there with some engines (probably ion engines) and a lot of fuel and run them for a long time to push it into a slightly different and safer orbit. If you have enough forewarning, it's not that hard, because a little movement will make a big change in trajectory over a long time. The key here is having enough forewarning; if your detection efforts are so lame that you have very little warning, then you're not going to be able to avert disaster.

Simply put, it'd be a lot easier and cheaper for us to invest in some space-based telescopes optimized for detecting Earth-crossing asteroids than to develop all the technology and infrastructure needed for establishing a colony on Mars. And the end result is better too: instead of some small colony on Mars surviving while the bulk of humanity perishes, along with the most livable planet for humans, we can keep our planet and the entire human race intact.

But if we're too stupid and short-sighted to invest in some telescopes, then maybe we deserve to be wiped out like the dinosaurs.

Comment Re:People ARE what we are sending (Score 1) 217

Not really.

Hawaii is a really nice place for humans to live: the weather is perfect, it's lush and beautiful, there's all kinds of fun things to do like swimming, surfing, scuba diving, exploring rain forests, etc.

If you found yourself magically transported to Hawaii in prehistoric times, perhaps with a small group of intelligent people, you could pretty easily survive there by living off the land. There's wood for making huts and burning, there's extremely fertile land for farming, there's vegetation that can be eaten, there's fish in the ocean nearby that you can fish, you don't have to worry about freezing to death, the air is clean, etc. Or, in modern times, if you can afford it, it's a great place to live too, especially if you can afford a nice house on the beach.

Mars isn't like that at all. You can't go outside, you can't breathe the thin atmosphere, you'll get radiation sickness, you can't easily grow food, there's no liquid water (humans tend to like bodies of water), etc. Maybe if you really like living underground in an artificial habitat, it'll be a nice place for you to live, but if you like being outside, it'll really suck. I suppose if you could make the underground habitats big enough and Earthlike enough (with giant artificial forests and lakes), it wouldn't be so bad, but that'd be quite a project. It'd be a lot easier to just stop messing up this planet so much.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 217

Actually, no, it's "boarders" now. The English language is defined by popular usage, and roughly half the American population believes that "boarder" means "a dividing line" (what you think of as "border"). This is seen in every online message board where the topics of "enforcing the boarder", illegal immigration, etc. comes up. When a large enough fraction of the population makes the same mistake, it become the correct usage.

Maybe if we had some decent public education in this country, this wouldn't have happened.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 217

That's not that much lower. Here on Earth we have things called "clouds" that reduce our usable sunlight; Mars doesn't have those, nor much of an atmosphere to speak of. We also grow food just fine in cooler months (when there's less sunlight per day), especially when we use greenhouses. This isn't like trying to grow food on Pluto.

At the worst, we could build big greenhouses which have sunlight concentrators on the roof, like giant Fresnel lenses. They wouldn't need to concentrate the light that much, since there's only 50% less sunlight than on Earth, so the area of the roof would only need to be 25-50% larger than the area of the farmland (due to the mitigating factors I mentioned above: no clouds, less atmospheric attenuation, selection of grops that need less sunlight, etc.).

Comment Re:It gives me pleasure to introuce you to the fut (Score 2) 162

Well, what's your alternative? Send more human cops in so they can get shot dead by a terrorist who's heavily armed? Sending in a robot with a bomb was a bit extreme, but under those circumstances, it was warranted. If they had had a flying Taser drone, that would have been preferable (maybe, depending on your POV), as it's less-than-lethal and most likely would have incapacitated the shooter instead of killing him.

For extreme situations, I don't see what the problem is here, and a flying Taser makes perfect sense as something to have for such cases. Police have had special weapons for a long, long time: SWAT teams ("SW" is for "special weapons") have been around since the early 1980s, and they're normally only brought out in extreme cases. The fact that they've been overused in recent years in some localities is a failure of governance, but the answer isn't to take all the guns away from all police because then you'll have really serious criminality problems and no police at all; the answer is to get some better politicians, namely at the local levels where they have direct oversight over police departments.

Comment Re:Compact Florescents would like a word (Score 1) 169

Then it's nothing to do with the bulbs. If incandescents barely last a couple of months, you have bigger issues.

I'd honestly suggest you get a whole house filter because you're just in a really bad shape, electrically. That's not the fault of any kind of bulb, and you're probably destroying all kinds of hardware.

To be honest, a lighting circuit can generally be UPS'd quite easily and has more than one advantage (less bulbs blowing, and a backup lighting in the case of a blackout). If you replace with LEDs and UPS, you can probably run your lighting for a couple of days off even a cheap one.

What you need to find is what's killing them, though, because that's damaging all kinds of stuff down the line. I'd suggest over-voltages and surges.

Comment Re: Set up correct secondary DNS servers (Score 1) 344

Typed out a massive post. Got blocked by the lameness filter.

Removed all references to DNS, round-robin, DDoS and anything else that might be tripping it up (destroying the prose at the same time) and still got blocked.

Spent 20 minutes editing, still got blocked.

Gave up, closed Chrome window.

Basically, the target in this instance was Dyn. Secondary DNS would only help if only Dyn were targetted. The second the target is not Dyn but you (or Twitter or Microsoft), it doesn't matter how many secondaries or tertiaries you have, you still fall over.

Comment Re:DoS (Score 1) 344

That's effectively the same as applying encryption to the stream, albeit for a different purpose. Though you can rate-limit SSL requests, and require them to all be valid before you continue processing, you hit a problem either way - either you're throwing lots of time/effort at verifying the challenge yourself against a lot of bots faking it, or you're handling a lot of connections that are indistinguishable from genuine ones.

Every if you reset the counter for each unique IP (because of NAT etc. that's your only identifier), you'd have visitors from large organisations (e.g. universities) lumped together and subject to many more delays than necessary while the millions of home routers on the FOUR BILLION other IP addresses would just still be pinging you a request a minute that - by sheer weight of numbers - will still overwhelm your system.

And a Raspberry Pi, for example, operates at over 1GHz. Embedded hardware - especially video-processing like CCTV etc. - is not necessarily "not powerful" and often runs off general purpose ARM chips that can do a lot more than you think.

Plus, the attackers don't care that the devices they have taken control of, and don't own or need for any other purpose than to attack you, are delayed slightly, so long as they keep challenging your system to their utmost.

It's also just an arms race then, and I guarantee that a botnet of compromised devices has more CPU that you can ever handle at the other end to throw at such problems, even if they are doing the hard part (e.g. factorising primes) and you are doing the easy part (e.g. checking they are factors).

As speeds escalate, you'll lose the war even faster over time.

I can't see that it's a solution.

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He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.