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Comment Re:Can an entire agency... (Score 1) 166

Except that we know for sure that the NSA has made breakthroughs in the past, putting them years ahead of academia in cryptanalysis. They knew about differential cryptanalysis before it was officially discovered. Bruce Schneier points out that according to documents leaked by Snowden, the NSA's "research and development" budget for cryptanalysis is more than is being spent on cryptanalysis research by all of academia combined.

So what can they offer? A larger budget for your research than you would ever get in a university setting, plus no "publish or perish" pressures, no having to spend time teaching classes, and working with other people who are also on the cutting edge of cryptologic research. The NSA is also known to have their own chip fabrication facilities, so they can create custom hardware - which isn't something you're generally going to get to work with on a university budget.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 99

"in really big cities nobody drives because there's so much traffic".

Have you actually thought about that statement? If no one drives, what exactly is all that traffic? Or do you believe that there are millions of driverless cars wandering around on the streets out there?

Top recorded speed of a Nissan GTR: 195 mph (Nissan estimates 193 mph top speed). Top speed of a Lotus Elise: 148 mph. Also, note the phrase "The firm intends to enter the vehicle into next year's Le Mans 24 race" in the summary. It looks like a Le Mans car because that's what it's meant to be.

Comment Re:What now? (Score 1) 1073

This is not a right of the states, though. The Constitution states that "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." Thus, if you have been married in one state, every other state must recognize your marriage - that's the "full credit".

Further, it states that "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States." That is, no state can choose to take away the rights that the states in general have agreed that citizens have.

The states in ratifying the Constitution agreed to these terms. They gave up certain rights in order to join the Union. It's no different from a person entering a binding contract - the states have to play by the rules they agreed to.

DOMA attempts to say that the states don't have to obey these provisions of the Constitution when it comes to marriage. The people putting DOMA forward seem to have forgotten that the Constitution overrides any contradictory law, and the only way around that is to amend it.

Comment Re:packet radio? (Score 1) 371

I can't speak to the logic behind it, but yes, that's equally illegal. The FCC regulations say that anything designed to "obscure the meaning" of communication is prohibited on amateur radio.

It's been generally held, though, that secure authentication is okay - the meaning there is "prove you are who you say you are", "this is my proof", "okay, accepted" (or "sorry, rejected"). As long as it's possible to tell that that's the gist of the communication, obscuring what one would need to know to prove it is okay.

Comment Re:Legal statutes (Score 1) 371

That's about exporting encryption. It has nothing to do with amateur radio. For that, you need to check out FCC title 47 CFR, part 97. That says that anything that "obscures the meaning" of communication is not allowed unless specifically stated in part 97.

That doesn't mean everything has to be plaintext, though. It's been generally held that secure authentication methods are okay, for example. Thus, you can use challenge-response authentication, public key authentication, or other such things, even though those involve encryption. In such a case, the actual meaning of the communication is: "prove you are who you say you are", followed by "here's my proof".

It'll be interesting to see if the FCC will allow it. I do agree with you, though, that it's foolish to fight against allowing encryption; if the government doesn't want to allow it, they simply won't. It's well established in US law that being able to communicate via amateur radio is not a right - if it were, amateur radio operators wouldn't have to be licensed.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 304

You might want to re-read the article. He was arrested in Saipan, with is an island in the Pacific... and a US Territory. Thus, he was arrested by the US, for selling to US citizens while on US soil.

Basically, he got greedy and decided the potential gain was worth the risk that it was a set-up, and bet wrongly.

Submission + - Happy Birthday Frank Hornby!

ErkDemon writes: Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of inventor and toymaker Frank Hornby.
Hornby invented the Meccano metal construction toy (currently sold as Erector in the US) that inspired generations of children to become engineers, patenting the basis of his system in 1901. Originally sold as an educational system for teaching mechanics, “Mechanics Made Easy” became “Meccano” in 1907, and Hornby’s company, Meccano Ltd. went on to become one of Britain’s biggest toymakers, with Hornby creating a further string of product lines including Hornby Trains and Dinky Toys.
Hornby’s is a rare “British inventor” success story — his creation turned him from being a clerk in a meat importing company with no real qualifications or schooling into a millionaire industrialist and Member of Parliament.

Submission + - Electronics Made From Hemp (

MTorrice writes: A low-cost chemical process can turn hemp fiber into carbon nanomaterials. Researchers used the materials to make devices called supercapacitors that provide quick bursts of electrical energy. Supercapacitors made with the hemp nanosheets put out more power than commercial devices can.

Submission + - 41% Of San Francisco's Serious Crime Is Gadget Theft ( 1

jfruh writes: Between November 2012 and April 2013, 579 people in San Francisco had cell phones or tablets stolen from them — making up 41% of what San Francisco police consider "serious" crimes. A quarter of those robberies involved the display of a knife or a gun. On several days in that period, cell phone thefts were the only serious crimes that occured. San Francisco is a particularly gadget-happy place, of course, but similar numbers come from police departments in Washington D.C. and New York. Smartphones are in some ways the perfect thing to steal: they're small, they have a high resale value, and the people using them are often not paying attention to their surroundings.

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