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Comment Re:Umm (Score 5, Insightful) 402

Back when I was in school (when the Earth was still cooling) this was called, "Critical Thinking." It wasn't given its own dedicated program as it was intertwined with everything else being taught. It's not just citing sources and peer review, though. It requires one to analyze why someone is saying what they're saying. Put another way, it's critical to question the motivations of the communicator as much as it is to question the veracity of the message, itself. The best bullshitters are able to use cherry-picked, real, verifiable facts to back up their claims. Their messages only fall apart if one questions their motivation and looks for additional data to fill in a larger picture.

It seems as though this basic skill stopped being taught in primary and secondary schools and replaced with ignorant structures that teach only to standardized tests.

Basic comprehension and competency isn't really enough. A good education teaches you facts and provides knowledge. A GREAT education teaches you how to teach yourself. Having an open mind and being willing to admit being wrong in the face of new evidence is what separates the latter from the former.

Comment Re:missing option (Score 1) 127

Profesionally, I prefer something along the lines of Turing, myself. But then I (still) do IT support for a living. If the something/someone I'm conversing with is intelligent enough to follow the instructions I'm providing, that's all I really care about.

Personally, I don't much care about specific IQ testing so long as someone has the capability to not just ask, "why?" but also take the initiative to seek out the answers from reliable sources. I'll respect ANYONE that does that, even if the answers they wind up with are wrong or completely disagreeable. That is a person with which I can hold a meaningful conversation without it becoming a hate-fest of bitter (albeit simple) words.

Comment Re: That would be a Directed EMP (Score 1) 208

The U.S. military has been testing mortar rounds that can alter their trajectory mid-flight for quite a while now. I remember seeing some "documentaries" on one of the more pro-military channels a few years back showing just how a system works. They were even testing rounds with active seeker heads and fins so they could do target analysis mid-flight and adjust to the target's movement, acquire an alternate target, or even self-detonate in the air (assuming no targets are present) so no "duds" would be left behind to blow up when a farmer or kid (etc.) finds it years later.

Even if it wasn't a wildly successful program (as far as I can tell, it wasn't), it does prove that tracking a mortar round's trajectory back to the source isn't as straight-forward as basic ballistics, anymore.

Comment Re:That would be a Directed EMP (Score 1) 208

I had this thought pretty much immediately, as well. However, at the current sizes of commercially-available "drones", the military already has a such a system that could be easily adapted for anti-drone use - chaff.

Otherwise, if they can be detected using radar, IR, etc., a CWIS-style system (though probably a little lighter caliber round) would be just as effective.

Comment At least the infrastructure is in place (Score 4, Interesting) 237

It may be a drop in the bucket now (Facebook's 100kw solar array for a facility consuming 25Mw is just that), but the infrastructure is in place to put in better panels later as they're developed. Additionally, if using otherwise "wasted" space (such as a rooftop), why not put it in place? The long-term power cost savings for such a facility (that is planned for the long term, anyway) will eventually pay for for the system a few times over, even if the impact to overall energy usage is that proverbial drop in the bucket. In other words, it makes business (read: financial) sense to do it.

Comment Re:winter is coming (Score 3, Funny) 148

In the upper-midwest, we still get 4 seasons. However, they're unique to the geographical area.

Almost Winter - Lasts about 2 months in October/November. Leaves fall off the trees early "just in case." Sometimes they're right about oncoming snow, other times, they get it quite wrong and we don't see anything until nearly January. Either way, it's a yearly mess.
Winter - Lasts about 4 months from December through March. Prime hockey season - playing or watching. You don't drive so much as do your best to control the constant skid on your way to/from work/bar.
Still Winter - Lasts about a week in late March or early April where, if you begin thinking it's spring, the weather will dump one last "Hurrah!" snowfall to ruin the first grilling day you schedule because the weather was nice for about that week.
Road and Car Repair - Lasts about 6 months between April and October. Damage to roads and cars are repaired in preparation for the next stretch of cold, snow, salt, and sand.

Why I still live here, I have no idea. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Maybe I'm crazy...

Comment Re:"Accidentally" (Score 1) 455

There's a big difference going from squad-mounted cameras to officer-worn cameras. The cars can have systems mounted in them to maintain their own archive throughout the retention period (if necessary) and offload on demand, though offloading to a central repository makes sense, too. The officer-worn camera isn't going to built like that since, presumably, it has to be as light and unobtrusive as possible. As such, storage is going to last for a few shifts before needing to be overwritten. It certainly won't be enough to last the mandated retention period. It's likely going to be docked at the end of an officer's shift for the offload to occur.

Also, with regards to the license plate reader (LPR) systems, they usually only keep the video long enough to process the license plates and, maybe, keep a still-frame image of the plate being read. That's a LOT less storage space required than keeping the full video.

As far as training is concerned, the officers really only need to know the basics. How to wear it, how to plug it into the base station when done with their shift, etc.

Lastly, make no mistake - law enforcement agencies across the nation don't really like the idea of wearing cameras at all times. They're doing it not to monitor the public at-large but rather to cover their own behinds when a "he-said/she-said" argument is raised, particularly with citizen video evidence that may show events out of context. Tracking the public is really only something those at higher levels are particularly interested in - state and federal level agencies, primarily.

Comment Re:"Accidentally" (Score 1) 455

The way this sort of thing works from a non-video perspective is that records are stored for a set retention period as defined by that particular policy. In many instances, that means about a year but can vary from organization to organization. It doesn't matter what the retention period is so long as it's published and followed.

If an incident occurs, a car crash for example, those relevant records are manually flagged in the system and often copied out to be maintained separately in a case file. A very similar setup would likely be implemented for video recordings.

The problem, again, is adequate storage to keep ALL video recordings within the retention period so they can be accessed should a case be opened for them. The storage necessary for individual case files would need to be increased, as well, but not at the same scale.

Comment Re:"Accidentally" (Score 1) 455

I have some actual experience with this subject as an employee of a company that installs and supports various recording equipment for various public safety organizations - mostly the local, county, and state police and mostly the multi-line phone/radio recording equipment. The company I work for also installs and supports interview room video recording equipment, handheld and remote dictation equipment, and a bunch of other stuff that may or may not be geared towards the public safety sector.

We looked into installing and supporting officer-worn cameras but the market is actually pretty dry from a reseller point of view. There's really only two major players in that space with equipment that agencies actually want to buy (and one of the companies rhymes with "phaser"). All other manufacturers are basically joke products, mostly due to their inability to compete on bulk (or, specifically, lack thereof), price, or features. The two major players aren't talking to resellers right now - one is in-house only with their own nation-wide (and probably world-wide) sales staff, the other is just too busy trying to get resellers signed up across the nation.

Background out of the way, the major problem as I see it is logistics. The political issue of recording everything an officer does while on-duty is pretty much settled at this point - it's going to happen. But how does an agency handle all that raw data? Police forces are typically run on a shoestring budget and rely heavily on donations. The cost of implementing a storage mechanism for all that raw video, with backups and redundancies, for their mandated retention period, is not a trivial task.

And don't think the agencies can simply go out to Amazon, Google, or Dropbox for cloud storage. That video is considered "criminal justice data" and cannot simply be stored on a commercial-grade cloud. There are specific rules on data access such that it must be 100% controlled by the entity that generated it (read: police). Even non-police IT staff from the city, county, or state have to be certified for doing IT work for a police agency since they're exposed to criminal justice data in the course of doing their job. Granted, it's not terribly difficult to get that certification, but the rules about what you can and cannot do and the punishments for violating rules are quite lengthy. Every state in the U.S. has very similar rules since it's ultimately driven by, and approved by, the FBI - all the way up to the director. Long story short, agencies need their own storage system with their own, dedicated off-site backups that only certified people can access - physical, logical, or otherwise.

So the purchase of the camera system is the first major expense. Training on how to wear and use the cameras also incurs a substantial expense. Storage is going to be wicked expensive. Let's then move into how to actually USE the recorded video.

I don't think the body cameras are going to be streaming all the recorded video in real-time to the central repository. Right now, I'm betting all the video is stored on the device in a memory buffer. Once the shift is done, the camera is likely placed into a dock of some sort for offload. Even if a system is developed so the recordings are immediately offloaded or streamed to a car-mounted storage mechanism, it still needs to go back to the central storage repository. That makes real-time analysis of the video quite a bit more difficult. I would think the initial use of the video from the body camera is going to be quite similar to that of the phone/radio recording solution - analysis after-the-fact for training and/or used as evidence in a court case. Both situations are going to occur quite a bit after the video was recorded.

What they're (probably) NOT going to do is mine that video for use with LPR software. As it is, the LPR software is tied to the squad cars so officers in the field are more aware of their surroundings. Feeding a near-constant stream of video from dozens of officers per day just to keep track of a handful more cars and their potential locations at a given point in the day is not exactly a cost-effective (money nor time) way to use the cameras. The video is simply going to be available as another source of evidence when dealing with conflicting reports of what the police or subject(s) did or didn't do.

Comment Re:Munchkin! (Score 1) 274

We have a simple Munchkin rule in our group - no player can take more than, say, 30 seconds to play a card or they lose their turn. This rule is selectively enforced if the table thinks the game is taking too long and is announced before it takes effect.

Also, as regards to the "gang-up" play, we actually have players whose sole mission is to screw with the leader because they never plan to win. It's an expected part of the game. Eventually, however, as a second (and third) player nears the point of winning, the pool of cards available to those types of players to do much of anything effective starts to dwindle and gives other players a window to win.

Our group is usually 4-8 people and we rarely get over 45 minutes per game of Munchkin. Monopoly games often take longer than that for the same number of people.

Comment Re: So (Score 1) 310

The recording of police dispatch traffic falls under a different mandate but achieves similar results. Every PSAP has such a mandate but is specified on a case-by-case and agency-by-agency basis.

Also, I'm pretty sure the normal dispatch radio traffic doesn't overlap much with the FAA radio traffic (if ever) and I doubt that sort of traffic was recorded by the NYPD under their records-retention mandate. Obviously, they'll have their own radio dispatch traffic recorded (which probably has some aircraft-to-dispatch traffic) but will probably leave the FAA to record anything going on in the skies between the aircraft and the tower. What was released was the FAA recordings and was most likely not recorded by the NYPD. I don't think we've heard the NYPD dispatch traffic yet and, at this point, I doubt we will.

I speak with some experience on this sort of matter but only from the perspective of my locality - as in, not NYC.

Comment Re:So (Score 4, Insightful) 310

The flight controller didn't do any of the recording. The FAA (a *federal* agency, mind you) mandates ALL radio transmissions be recorded. The flight controller's only job is to control traffic. They have zero ability to trigger, delete, modify, etc., recordings. The pilot of every aircraft should know this so it wouldn't be something they'd be all that concerned about. Their supervisors/managers on the ground may not know this, however... And the FAA is quite good about responding to FOIA requests.

Also, firing a federal employee is actually really hard, even for cause. Usually, they're just given a crappy job with almost nothing to do so they'll feel motivated to quit on their own. Trust me, that's actually a LOT easier than getting firing someone at the federal level. Besides, even the NYPD can't get a federal employee fired since the NYPD is a state-level agency.

The most likely outcome, in my opinion, is that the NYPD will grudgingly admit their mistake, tell the pair to knock it off in some semi-friendly manner while the cameras are watching, then go back to business-as-usual until they're caught in their own lies again. Meanwhile, we'll all continue to bitch and moan about the "police state" and post ignorant comments in random places on the internet. Heck, I'm doing that right now!

Comment Re:Depends on the dish (Score 2) 285

I'll do you one better. My mother could never eat Heinz ketchup because, to her, it was too spicy. I think it might have been the garlic or onion flavors in it. We always had Hunts in the fridge.

Until I finally moved out on my own (a few decades ago), I hadn't realized food was supposed to have so much actual flavor! My mom's cooking was clearly centered around her sensitivities. I wouldn't say my brother, father, and I suffered, per se, but I can appreciate a much wider variety of foods now that I know what they're *supposed* to taste like. Food hasn't been boring ever since.

Comment Quite misleading (Score 1) 119

There are a number of assumptions being made about all of this.

First, it's assuming one is using BlueCoat to begin with.

Second, it's assuming that the users of BlueCoat products are using some of BlueCoat's subscription services to ease management of those devices.

Third, it's assuming that the users of BlueCoat products are not modifying the filters by hand.

I've had some hands-on experience with BlueCoat products in the past, particularly the web-filtering/proxy devices described here, and our organization was large enough to have some of our staff (including myself) manage it part-time as part of their full-time IT responsibilities. We set it up in full white-list mode so that everything not explicitly allowed was blocked by default. We could have set it up in black-list mode or even a hybrid black- and white-list mode. We did not, however, subscribe to the filtering list that BlueCoat offers. That's just one option a customer can choose.

It is unacceptable to me that such filter subscriptions should block well-meaning websites under the guise of preventing porn. But it's entirely possible to remove or even white-list those same sites, on an individual basis, by the customer even if they're included as part of the filter subscription configuration. It's lazy on the part of the staff at BlueCoat for maintaining an inaccurate list and it's lazy on the part of IT managers and staff for keeping those sites blocked if their policies didn't specifically prohibit users from accessing them. The blame can't be solely pinned on BlueCoat, but they certainly share a significant portion of it with IT staff.

Comment A backup is just another copy (Score 1) 983

I'm in a similar situation and I actually have planned for a worst-case scenario. However, my storage needs are slightly more modest at about 5TB (give or take).

My main, active archive exists on my primary desktop and is the location that will get the most changes. That, in turn, is backed up to a dedicated NAS server (currently an 8-bay Synology unit packed with 3TB disks) in my home. THAT, in turn, is backed up, off-site to a friend's NAS units of similar construction and capacity via CrashPlan. The free version offers "backup to a friend's computer" as an option, though the paid subscription offers to store data on CrashPlan's servers, instead. The cost is fairly reasonable for that option if none of your friends has enough storage for you.

One other last point - it might not make sense to back up EVERYTHING you have. Photos, critical documents, etc. (things you can't easily replace) should absolutely be backed up. Copies of game files, software installations, etc. (things that can be replaced relatively easily from the original media) should probably be left out of the backup set. That limits the amount of remote storage required as well as the time it takes to back up those items in the first place.

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