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Lizard Squad Bomb Threat Diverts Sony Exec's Plane To Phoenix

Andy Dodd Re:What's the point of a hack like this? (131 comments)

It's a good question. I can see why PSN was originally targeted - some of Sony's behavior around then was atrocious.

But these guys are targeting everyone.

3 days ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Andy Dodd Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

Many of the delays in fusion research can be attributed directly to inconsistent funding.

If you keep on yanking money and then giving it back again, you're going to get FAR less productivity during the funded periods than if there were continuous funding.

3 days ago
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NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

Andy Dodd Not entirely surprising (116 comments)

The NSA has two directives that often conflict with each other:
1) Protect communications that are critical to our nation's security. This is mostly military/government comms, but they have a role in securing banking and other civilian networks. An example of what comes from this side of the NSA is SELinux - which is now heavily used by Android to provide additional security against malware.
2) Compromise and monitor the communications of our enemies. These guys overstepping their bounds are what has been routinely making the news lately.

While I can't see an obvious reason for the guys in category 1 to want to strengthen Tor, it's possible. (Potentially on behalf of another agency... Think in terms of Tor's use by Chinese dissidents.)

I'm fairly certain the people in categories 1 and 2 don't get along with each other. While in theory their goals should not conflict (one focuses on our enemies, one focuses on strengthening friendlies), the truth is that it's hard for the guys in category 1 to strengthen friends without also making those tools available to our enemies - and the guys in category 2 are routinely overstepping their bounds and attacking friendlies.

about a week ago
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Experimental Drug Stops Ebola-like Infection

Andy Dodd So? Old news. (52 comments)

Success in a test tube and/or monkeys doesn't mean much as far as hope for a drug viable for humans. After all, the trials for Tekmira's drug are on hold by the FDA due to safety concerns ( http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ho... ).

Also, Tekmira is NOT the company that manufactured the drug used to treat Dr. Brantly and his coworker - that was Mapp Pharmaceutical's ZMapp

about a week ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Andy Dodd Re:Nobody else seems to want it (724 comments)

Huh? Nobody else seems to want it? Then why are Linux-based laptops (ChromeOS is Linux) frequently in the top 10 best selling laptops on Amazon?

(Usually there are 2-3 Chromebooks up there, but right now there's only one. I'm not sure how often they recalculate the rankings.)

about a week ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

Andy Dodd Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (248 comments)

"Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation."

In short: While nuclear isn't perfect, it currently sucks less than any other alternative available.

(Renewables just aren't scalable enough yet.)

about two weeks ago
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The Billion-Dollar Website

Andy Dodd Re:Why dont we (194 comments)

That's pretty much how government contracts work.

It fails because:
1) The customer will change their requirements mid-stream, screwing everything up
2) Even if they don't, in some cases it's discovered once everything is complete that the system which meets all of the customer's requirements is utterly fucking useless in the real world. I believe this was a major role in healthcare.gov's failures - many of its issues were discovered post-launch

about two weeks ago
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Ryan Lackey, Marc Rogers Reveal Inexpensive Tor Router Project At Def Con

Andy Dodd Poor documentation (38 comments)

"It is highly recommended to use a router configuration we're not going to document or even provide you a link to".

The document implies that at least one modification is a flash and RAM upgrade - but they don't even provide links to details of this modification and/or whether any other techniques are needed (how do you populate the bootloader in the new flash? Or does the SoC itself have a built-in recovery mode?)

about two weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Andy Dodd Re:not big in UK (120 comments)

Part of the problem is that without government incentives/subsidies, companies will go for the highest-profit methods of power generation available.

Which means that the only plants built will be fossil fuel plants.

I don't believe that we currently have the technology to fully switch to renewable and won't for a few decades. Nuclear provides that bridge - Ideally after one more generation of nuclear reactors (modern designs are FAR safer than the existing ones) we'll have the storage technology to properly use renewables. In the worst case that renewables are STILL not ready, by then we will hopefully have some descendants of the IFR breeder reactor design coming online. Last time I saw a calculation, I believe the estimate was that IFR designs could have supplied the entire electrical needs of the USA for a century using only existing LWR waste stockpiles. (One of the big benefits of the IFR is that extracts a FAR higher percentage of the available energy from nuclear fuel, and the end waste products are only hot for 200 years or so.)

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

Andy Dodd Re: It's a still a nice PC. (337 comments)

For a while, tablets provided superior portability at a low cost to laptops. Laptops in the same cost range as tablets were either flimsy or bulky or just plain crap all around.

Google seems to be doing a good job of ensuring that their hardware partners do a good job with Chomebook build quality. As a result, they've created laptops that are cheap, highly portable, and reasonably durable. My 10" tablet has been relegated to "alarm clock".

about two weeks ago
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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency

Andy Dodd Re:keep calm everyone.... (183 comments)

That's a crude way of wording typical funeral rites over there, which apparently involve washing the deceased by hand.

about three weeks ago
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"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

Andy Dodd Re:Secret for how long? (390 comments)

Google TGN1412 and you'll get your answer.

about three weeks ago
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"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

Andy Dodd Re:Secret for how long? (390 comments)

It's not a secret. The Slashdot headline is bullshit.

As to why this is not being widely distributed, Google TGN1412, which was another monoclonal antibody treatment for another disease.

about three weeks ago
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"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

Andy Dodd Re:ROI for drug development (390 comments)

"and yes, at that point, any recipient of the vaccine is privileged."

Not necessarily. In many cases, drugs that seem to have no ill side effects in animal testing can have really nasty side effects in humans. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

The headline of the Slashdot article calls this a "secret serum" but the CNN article goes into quite a bit of detail as to the nature of ZMapp. Note that it also appears to be a monoclonal antibody similar to TGN1412...

Fortunately, in this case, the first two human trials of the drug seem to have been a success, unlike TGN1412.

about three weeks ago
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Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

Andy Dodd Re:No they cant. (151 comments)

Also not specified is whether the "hardcoded credentials" are even valid during a normal operating mode.

In many cases, avionics like this has a dedicated physically isolated service port and/or a dedicated "service mode" that can only be entered by powering on the device when a discrete is tied to ground by a special test equipment connector.

Almost surely, these vulnerabilities are either:
1) Firewalled from the passenger network (This is, however, unlikely, airgrapping/network isolation is far more likely, with the interconnection between critical and noncritical networks being, at most, a one-way feed of nav data to the noncritical network)
2) Can only affect the passenger network and are not used for flight operations
3) Require physical access to a test connector on the unit itself

about three weeks ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Andy Dodd Re:Try, try again? (409 comments)

Um, there are massive differences between Atlanta and Liberia.

Do you believe the following are regular occurrences in Atlanta?
1) Family of someone who died of a known infectious disease choose to hand-wash the corpse anyway, with full knowledge of the cause of death. (Note: Many Africans apparently don't believe the disease exists.)
2) Local residents protest the hospital because they believe that the "story" about the infections disease is a coverup for ritual cannibalism. http://www.reuters.com/article...
3) Local residents break in to the isolation ward to remove an infected family member from the hospital

about a month ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Andy Dodd Re:What a bunch of pansies (409 comments)

Note that those are cases in an area where part of the funeral rites include (I believe) washing the body of the deceased by hand.

about a month ago
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Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Andy Dodd Re:Awkward (121 comments)

The piss-poor multiplayer (not in terms of actual game design, but in how easy the engine/protocol design made cheating) was probably what killed Crysis' reputation as anything other than a tech demo.

Single player FPS games just don't sell well these days.

about a month ago
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Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Andy Dodd Re:Awkward (121 comments)

The single-player campaign in Crysis was great, I loved it.

The multiplayer utterly sucked. Crytek screwed up one of the fundamental tenets of multiplayer gaming - NEVER TRUST THE FUCKING CLIENT.

Crytek did stupid shit like offload physics calculations to clients (which is why some matches were "DX10-only"), and also have clients do damage calculations.

e.g. if the client said "I fired a pistol bullet and it did 99999999 damage before resists" - well, you'd have an instakill pistol. (This could be achieved by editing an XML). Similarly, armor resists were calculated ON THE CLIENT TAKING DAMAGE - so if you had a vehicle with 99% resistance to all damage types, you were effectively invincible.

My multiplayer experience in Crysis was something like:
1 week of playing legitimately - constantly getting my ass kicked by obvious cheaters
1 week of trying to see what level of cheating I could get away with without people accusing me of cheating - it was shocking how far I could go in this regard (50% damage boosts to everything, no assault rifle bullet spread, 1000 horsepower pickup trucks, AA cannons that could depress their turrets by 30 degrees) without getting noticed because of the attention blatant cheaters received. Even with this, it was only a matter of time in every single game before a blatant cheater would instapistol their way to an attack helicopter with 99% resistance to all damage types and amped-up missile damage.
After that I quit.

about a month ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

Andy Dodd Re:Another Malaysian Air 777 (752 comments)

This is something that happens routinely due to weather.

about a month and a half ago

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