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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Identity Invisibility or Camouflage? (

An anonymous reader writes: Tor may have been compromised. Even savvy companies like Adobe suffer losses of client lists from time to time. The "incognito windows" and "anonymizers" just seem to attract attention, or offer fake comfort. What I have always wondered is why we pursue invisibility when Nature always opts for camouflage. If my browser runs fake and randomized web searches while I'm away, doesn't that provide security? If enough fake USB drives full of bogus and random phone-book info are dropped around the city, won't my USB drive be safer? Is my Pentium 1 30g hard drive safer tagged for erasure, or hidden in a pile of scrap metal with 10,000 other PCs?

Whatever happened to Anti-Phorm? Seems like it was on the right track. Cookie camouflage, digital haystacks.

Comment Re: You would trust insurance companies on this? (Score 1) 385

FEMA has been simulating hypothetical storms to evaluate risk since the 1970s. And you argue that insurance companies, who are at least as clever, are going to rely on sparse records of extreme events? As a person who does this sort of modeling, trust me, no one who is in the black puts much confidence in historical data.

Submission + - Cisco Can't Shield Customers From Patent Suits, Court Rules (

netbuzz writes: A federal appeals court in California has upheld a lower court ruling that Cisco lacks the necessary standing to seek dismissal of patent infringement lawsuits against some of its biggest customers – wireless network providers and enterprises – being brought by TR Labs, a Canadian research consortium. The appeals court agreed with TR Labs’ that its patent infringement claims are rightfully against the users of telecommunications equipment – be it made by Cisco, Juniper, Ciena or others – and not the manufacturers. “In fact, all of the claims and all of the patents are directed at a communications network, not the particular switching nodes that are manufactured by Cisco and the other companies that are subject of our claims,” an attorney for TR Labs told the court. The court made no judgment relative to the patents themselves or the infringement claims.

Comment Not very robust (Score 1) 459

Looking at the methodology of this study, it's not very robust. I generally believe that the state of poverty is a complex mix of one's surroundings and own choices. But this really isn't very convincing. The poor people in the study could easily have more trouble with the question because if your car is worth less (probable for poorer people), then deciding whether to scrap the car in an expensive repair is harder to figure out. Plus, the authors suggest that the poor are constantly under this cognitive strain, yet the study itself showed that they do ok so long as they aren't (at that moment) dealing with a difficult financial decision. Very weak proof if you ask me. Here are the study's details: researchers performed two sets of experiments. In the first, about 400 randomly chosen people in a New Jersey mall were asked how they would respond to a scenario where their car required either $150 or $1,500 in repairs. Would they pay for the work in full, take out of a loan, or put off the repair? How would they make that decision? The subjects varied in annual income from $20,000 to $70,000.Before responding, the subjects were given a series of common tests (identifying sequences of shapes and numbers, for example) measuring cognitive function and fluid intelligence. In the easier scenario, where the hypothetical repair cost only $150, subjects classified as âoepoorâ and âoerichâ performed equally well on these tests. But the âoepoorâ subjects performed noticeably worse in the $1,500 scenario. Simply asking these people to think about financial problems taxed their mental bandwidth.

Comment But where do we stop? (Score 1) 996

Certainly, like most things, there is a limit to the value of the regulation. We know that hands free cell phone usage is still dangerous while driving but we don't outlaw it because using a cell phone while driving is too valuable. What about drinking and driving? Yes, 0.01% can still affect driving, but regulating to that level just isn't worth the burden it puts on people. So where is the cutoff? Is 0.05% already too low, just right, or not low enough?

Comment in other news (Score 1) 114

New Zealand police outfits changing to black turtlenecks and jeans in cost saving measure. Chief quoted saying traditional black with warm/cold weather turtlenecks and rugged jeans are an ideal pair. New Zealand police now driving Porsches as cost saving measure. Chief quoted saying they can cover twice the distance in half the time. New Zealand police adding all-aluminum ships to coastal fleet. Chief quoted saying this is actually a terrible idea... New Zealand police now recognize Opposite Day as official holiday.

Comment causation = correlation? (Score 1) 183

So because since their inception, computers have continuously refined their interfaces to be simpler, we ate to assume that current trends are driven by mobile devices? Does the op remember the original google page (long before mobile was a big deal)? 5 year old children draw more complex illustrations. And are we to assume this is a good thing? The tech savvy would say no, give me buttons and drop down menus filled with features. Mobile displays ate simplistic because screen space is a luxury, not because it's a good thing.

Comment On moratoria (Score 1) 205

What if a moratorium was added, by default, to all but the most important laws the first time they were passed? This could make it mandatory to review the worth of a law after it has been in effect for a while. If deemed worthwhile, being passed a second time could make it permanent. Certainly this would have huge downsides, but many benefits. It might decrease the amount of stale legislation and could allow the benefits of hindsight to be incorporated into the second version of laws deemworthy of re-passing. But, it would significantly increase Congress' workload, likely causing them to be unable to get as much done, and there's no guarantee that "bad" laws wouldn't be passed a second time while "good" laws would. Anyway, just a thought.

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