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Comment Re:Somewhat reasonable (Score 1) 343

Doing this exactly once would destroy trust in the root, and it's a piece of piss for anyone else to set themselves up as an alternative. Once the existing root was proved to be corrupt, there's no reason not to accept an alternative.

Really. A piece of piss.

Not going to happen over "pirate" movies or gambling. Let me know if you come up with something drastic enough to throw this away over.

To do this, by the way (unless you're a conspiracy nut who thinks maybe it's all secretly controlled from the Whitehouse basement) the US government has to corrupt a bunch of Unix graybeards who couldn't give a shit about gambling, pornography, illegal copying or any of this stuff that gets US judges so excited as to order irrational and nonsensical actions.

Comment Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (Score 1) 413

"Since my approach was to conservatively estimate the dosage released and acquired cancers, I think the point still stands."

No, your approach was to make up scary nonsense. You "point" doesn't stand because you never made one. In fact you never did anything except hide your response full of lies in another thread so that the original author wouldn't be notified that you'd written it. And look how desperate you got - when someone shows you a published report documenting the 56 deaths, you respond with a grand conspiracy theory and an allegation about "slow agonising death" for which of course you have no evidence whatsoever.

Time is on the side of truth. When people like you started out you could scare everyone into believing there'd be millions of dead, lying in piles across Europe. But it's hard to sell that story now, as the curve flattens and Chernobyl fades into memory. The reality is that direct exposure killed less than a hundred, the long term effects on residents and workers were smaller even than expected, and then there's some unknown (in the sense that we're not even too sure it's negative) but small long term environment effect. And that's it. Only the nuclear mystique makes it worth talking about.

Nuclear Power just isn't as dangerous as the images of an A-bomb denotation would suggest. It's dangerous of course, and we should be careful, but all our power sources are dangerous, burning coal wasn't safer, even wind and wave power has its share of dangers.

Comment Re:Good FA (Score 1) 49

Yes, and this also exists today (assuming you have working DNSSEC) for OpenSSH.

That is, OpenSSH is already programmed to be able to confirm a remote host fingerprint by looking in DNS. This means "ssh" would reliably connect you to the machine that's owners call 'foo' subject only to interference from the COM registry operator and the DNS root. If someone spoofs DNS, DNSSEC will report it, if they try to spoof the machine itself or TCP/IP, the OpenSSH fingerprint won't match. If they try a Man-in-the-middle attack the protocol design leaves them just moving your encrypted data with no clue what it says.

A public key trust system needs a trust root, but DNS conveniently already has one. We may fix a remarkable number of technical problems via DNSSEC, once we get the root signed and the political problems solved.

Comment Re:You would think they could have gotten this rig (Score 2, Informative) 238

It _is_ a replica, but just not in the way you imagined.

The (British) _Science_ Museum has (or had) a workshop for building Difference Engine No. 2. This is the second one, built by replicating the first. They can't build one by following Babbage's plans, because his plans are wrong in subtle ways, and had to be corrected. One of the things the Science Museum gained by making the first one was a _correct_ set of plans for the machine. If you have a lot of money and want a Difference Engine, I have no doubt that the Science Museum would start up that workshop again and build another replica for you too.

Comment Re:DNSSEC and ubiquitous SSL. (Score 2, Interesting) 68

Also, while I'm here, it's a lot harder to MitM the link between a user and their ISP in most cases. Both addresses are inside the ISP's range, so it should and probably does have border rules that prevent such packets traversing the border. That means to attack user X at ISP A, you need to be able to mess with packets inside ISP A. Whereas today, by doing MitM on some poor .com site's DNS servers, you get every user visiting the site. So "does nothing to protect" isn't really true.

If you're going to say "What if the bad guys just reconfigure the victim's machine to use their DNS server" Well, yeah, but in that case they broke in and changed system level configuration, it's game over. They could just as easily add an OS patch that redirects all IP traffic via their servers so that DNS is irrelevant.

Comment Re:Landlines & disasters (Score 1) 435

Yes the digital exchange recognises pulse dialing. It might get phased out eventually because it sucks technically (unintentional "dialing" is common especially on above ground rural lines) and hasn't been needed on new phones for half a lifetime, but even then a $5 adapter could recognise pulse dialing on older phones and convert to tones if you're attached to the specific model of phone. All the smarts in the telephone network are in the exchanges, the telephone itself is nearly unchanged since it was invented.

If the cell network is functioning at all at your location, emergency calls have priority (a new 911 call will bump someone calling their mother if the load is too high to handle both). Whilst the same priority exists on your landline, most likely if there's a problem it'll fail altogether rather than being limited to emergency service.

Comment Re:Why can software get patented again? (Score 1) 221

It's true.. sort of. The smallest software company wins. So the big software company gets sued by a smaller one, and then the smaller one gets sued by a single lawyer working out of a shared office.

He's not infringing you see, all he does is file for patents and write lawsuits. So he wins every time in your system.

Patent supporters mistake "economic activity" (moving money around) for economic _productivity_ ie actually making something. They maximise the former at the cost of the latter and end up up to their necks in debt.

Comment Re:HF is the only communications safety net (Score 1) 343

That is of course part of the point. The hams have become like steam railway hobbyists. Some hobbyists will chew your ear off about the reliability of trains during the steam era. They'll give you stats which they like to pretend are comparable to today's passenger multiple units. So-and-so many miles between faults...

But they're telling you how often the steam /locomotive/ failed. The multiple unit is a whole train, its failure rate includes the idiot who tried to flush a nappy down the onboard toilet, that time the PA system didn't work in cars 3 and 4, and many other faults which didn't significantly inconvenience the passengers. If your steam loco fails, you're stuck until a replacement arrives.

This is the 21st century. You got an emergency and can't contact civilisation? 406MHz Distress beacon. Break seal, press button, help is on its way. Don't try to radio someone in Sweden and communicate the problem in Morse (yeah, yeah, I know, morse isn't required any more, bla la la).

Comment Convolution reverb (Score 1) 513

"reverbs using impulse responses"

The technical term you were looking for was "convolution reverb" and of course if you'd known that you could easily have found that one of the most popular plugin suites for LADSPA (the Linux plugin API) includes such a reverb and user-customisable impulse recordings.

I wonder how much, if anything, that you actually do is hard, let alone "impossible" with a Linux audio setup...

Comment Vapourware my arse (Score 4, Insightful) 135

The company I work for, Garlik has two products that are run off semantic web technology. DataPatrol (for pay) and QDOS (free, in beta).

We use RDF stores instead of databases in some places as they are very good at representing graph structures, which are a real pain to real with in SQL. You often hear the "what can RDF do that SQL can't" type arguments, which are all just nonsense. What can SQL do that a field database, or a bunch of flat files can't? It's all about what you can do easily enough that you will be bothered to do it.

A fully normalised SQL database has many of the attributes of an RDF store, but
a) when was the last time you saw one in production use?
b) how much of a pain was it to write big queries with outer joins?

RDF + SPARQL makes that kind of thing trivial, and has other fringe side benefits (better standardisation, data portability) that you don't get with SQL.

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to see the comments consisting of the usual round of more-or-less irrelevant jokes and snide commentary - this is Slashdot after all - but I can't help responding.

The Internet

Submission + - SPARQL query language published by W3C

CaptSolo writes: "SPARQL (pronounced "sparkle"), the query language for data integration on the Web and one of the foundations of the Semantic Web, has just been published as a W3C Recommendation.

Quoting Tim Berners-Lee: "Trying to use the Semantic Web without SPARQL is like trying to use a relational database without SQL".
There are at least 14 implementations of the standard, most of them free and open source software.

A significant amount of data is already available to run SPARQL queries on, such as the DBpedia (from the Linking Open Data project) with structured data extracted from the Wikipedia; SIOC exporter tools represent your blog data in RDF for query in SPARQL; data residing in RDBMS can also be exposed to SPARQL queries. Info for further exploration:

What makes SPARQL interesting is the ability to integrate data from a number of different sources in one query — so that we combine data from blogs, DBPedia and RDBMSs all together."
Social Networks

Submission + - QDOS (

theno23 writes: "QDOS is an online service that rates users according to their online presence, including standing in social networking sites, website popularity and so on.

It's currently in closed beta for registrations, but you can browse and see QDOSs for many celebrities and existing users. The site is built on a semantic web platform, and you can currently get live RDF data about all the people in the system.

Disclaimer: I work for Garlik, the company that built it, and designed and developed part of the system."

Comment Re:how odd... (Score 1) 266

Microsoft does distribute and will presumably continue to distribute GPL'd software. They provide their customers with the GNU toolchain among other things.

They've been very good Free Software citizens all things considered, of course they're not a Free Software company like Red Hat, but they use, and abide by the terms of the GNU GPL, they provide the source code for the covered software on an open FTP site for anyone to download and they've always been very open about it. Of course the Microsoft VPs talking to the press are always going to say "Free Software is cancer" and such nonsense, but that's the same as when an Pharamaceutical Executive is saying "We need these high prices to pay for R&D". They're not actually stupid enough to believe this spin, and you shouldn't be either.

The Big Pharmaceutical company aren't evil, despite telling some half-truths about the relationship between prices and R&D costs (hint: marketing is also expensive, but unlike R&D it isn't actually saving lives) and Microsoft isn't evil, despite maybe giving people the impression that Free Software is bad, or at least unnecessary, rather than being just as much a part of Microsoft's strategy as anyone else's.

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