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Comment Re:Trust? (Score 4, Interesting) 120

The problem is endemic far and beyond Microsoft. While the data on your PC is something people take personally, other companies performing tech support for products less often encountered by end-users are playing it fast and loose with their customer's data in the name of support.

In the networking space, if you call in any request to fix or enhance a product, the front line TAC these days has been told to have you collect a pretty thorough dump of the device configuration database. These databases are not necessarily in any sort of human readable form, but those who know what to look for can easily see that they often include private crypto keys, password hashes or sometimes even cleartext passwords, and more detail about the internal layout of the most sensitive parts of the customer's network than would be needed to solve a technical problem.

This is plausibly just because these companies have not had enough customers complain, and assigned development the task of omitting potentially sensitive data from these "tech dumps"; But it doesn't take horribly much tinfoil to imagine there could be compromised policy-setters at these companies who stand ready to step on any attempt to rectify this situation.

Finally, to top it off there is a trend to either transfer these files over email since huge attachments are no longer a problem on modern email systems, or to outsource file uploads to dropbox-ish cloud service providers.

So, it would not surprise me if there were quite a few spooks... foreign, domestic, and industrial... working at support departments in major corporations, though the more resourced agencies may not even need to do even that given the lack of hygiene exercised in transferring these files to and around the corporate TAC.

Comment Re: Tipping point (Score 1) 529

Considering nobody here will have money, due to being unemployed, why would they want to sell their products here?

In general, in order to be successful at trade, you have to maintain a fine balance between the extremes of protectionism and the derelictions of "free trade". Not to say our policies are perfect, but just slapping down tariffs won't end well.

(On this bill itself, I'm undecided... it sounds like a simple solution, but then... there is a saying about simple solutions. The bill probably is a bit more finessed than the description, though.)

Submission + - Study shows wearable sensors can predict illness

skids writes:

Wearable sensors that monitor heart rate, activity, skin temperature and other variables can reveal a lot about what is going on inside a person, including the onset of infection, inflammation and even insulin resistance, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. ... Participants wore between one and eight commercially available activity monitors and other monitors that collected more than 250,000 measurements a day. ... "We want to study people at an individual level," said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics. ... "We have more sensors on our cars than we have on human beings," said Snyder. In the future, he said, he expects the situation will be reversed and people will have more sensors than cars do.

IT security being in the state it is, will we face the same decision about our actual lives that we already face about our social lives/identities: either risk very real hazards of misuse of your personal data, or get left behind?

Comment Re: Asteroid Billiards is a new idea.. interesting (Score 1) 135

It's a heck of a lot less energy than liftoff from earth.

You'll note that Rosetta was able to get it's relative velocity to its target comet down to about 775m/s using gravity assist maneuvers This compares to 11,200m/s for Earth escape velocity.

The real question is whether propellant can be manufactured on the mined object (an excess quantity of which, in fact, may be the whole reason to mine) Also the large timescales for efficient transit will make the economics interestingly slow.

Comment Re:but maybe they should? (Score 2) 210

burdening the generation at its peak earning potential with caring for aging parents

Those aging parents are why you have as high an earning potential as you do now. They invented, built, and maintained the very society that did such things as preventing you from being murdered in your crib by roving bands of savages and giving you pernicious worldwide communications capabilities. Many still have wisdom to contribute even in senescence.

Comment Re:Propaganda? (Score 1) 210

Basically the Republicans were no help at all, because their leadership and lobbyist horde made them tremble in their boots and stay in line, and the margin was so slim in the Senate that some of the more conservative Democrats were able exert outsized influence.

It almost went completely belly up when Scott Brown won Kennedy's old seat. Had that not happened, or had even one Republican dared to cross the isle, the law would quite possibly have been better. Two.. maybe even better than that.

Comment Re:Asteroid Billiards is a new idea.. interesting (Score 1) 135

Minerals mined here on Earth are cheap on Earth (minus shared environmental costs, of course). Given the cost to launch them into orbit, they are not cheap in space. Minerals mined on an asteroid would quite likely be much cheaper in space than those lifted from Earth's gravity well. (Also, one might find an asteroid with some rarer elements or chemicals, and "mining" an Asteroid might also be known as "hollowing out an asteroid for use as a colony, base, or port.")

Granted, the up front investment required is quite daunting.

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