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Comments

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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Capt.Albatross Re:Panglossian Nonsense ---What are you on? (580 comments)

Have you heard of an old cliche that goes "learn from your mistakes". By your logic, no errors can ever be made and learned from.

What we have here is a failure to learn from previous mistakes - this bug violates a number of basic principles in the development of secure software, and most of those principles were derived from hard experience.

I will agree that there is one thing to be learned here: The phrase "with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" is simplistic wishful thinking, and potentially dangerous if mistaken for a realistic verification policy.

3 days ago
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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Capt.Albatross Re:Not enough eyes (580 comments)

So, the "with many eyes all bugs are shallow" notion fails. There were not enough eyes on the OpenSSL library, which is why nobody discovered the bug.

Except that someone did discover the bug...

The 'many eyes' principle (aka Linus' Law) states "with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow". This claims a good deal more than simply that bugs are likely to be found eventually. Given the seriousness of this bug and the length of time taken to expose it, any claim that 'many eyes' worked in this case depends on a useless definition of 'worked'.

Maybe the similar errors would and are being missed in the Windows and Mac implementations.

That is quite likely, but irrelevant. This severity and duration of the OpenSSL bug are not mitigated by the hypothetical (or even real) failings of closed-source vendors.

The open source community should move beyond this self-serving aphorism and adopt a more engineering-like approach to the correctness of critical software. Fortunately, I think the people actually doing the development are well aware of this.

4 days ago
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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Capt.Albatross Panglossian Nonsense (580 comments)

...Chalk it up to valuable experience...

According to this sort of argument, nothing bad ever happens. The Air France 447 crash will improve pilot training, the Boston Marathon bombing will improve race security...

This point of view gives us no insight in to how to improve things. It belongs in the 'not even wrong' category.

4 days ago
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Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

Capt.Albatross Too Broad a Scope (286 comments)

The phrase "tech job" is often used without distinguishing between engineering-like jobs and technicians' jobs. This study goes further still, including "jobs supported by technology" - given how technological out society has become, that could be a very broad group.

about a week ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

Capt.Albatross Not Interchangeable Parts (469 comments)

Strands vary so much that it is meaningless to consider them as a class for music-quality tests.

They also vary considerably in how much of the original remains.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Capt.Albatross Wrong way of looking at it (641 comments)

Pointing out the age of XP merely emphasizes the lack of significant improvement since. When this happens to a technology, it is called maturity.

XP was the first Microsoft PC OS to be what all its predecessors aspired to be.

about two weeks ago
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UAV Operator Blames Hacking For Malfunction That Injured Triathlete

Capt.Albatross Re:Evolution (178 comments)

Agreed, and furthermore, even if he 'merely' spooked the runner to the point where she fell, then he was operating the drone irresponsibly.

This jerk needs to man-up and learn to take responsibility for his own actions. Until then, he shouldn't be operating a drone - or a car, for that matter.

about two weeks ago
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Sand in the Brain: A Fundamental Theory To Model the Mind

Capt.Albatross Re:oblig xkcd (105 comments)

That is what I thought of too, but in this case neuroscientists agree with him...

There's a huge difference between identifying a principe behind some low-level aspect of neural activity, and explaining how the brain works. This sort of article (and other pronouncements of Dr. Bak, apparently) gives reductionism a bad name. Only if he could show how consciousness arises directly from neural self-organized criticality would the absurd hyperbole of the first paragraph be justified.

about two weeks ago
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Security for the 'Internet of Things' (Video)

Capt.Albatross No Problem (106 comments)

We can just secure our things the same way that the things currently on the internet - power plants, dams, oil refineries - are secured.

about three weeks ago
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Stanford Researchers Spot Medical Conditions, Guns, and More In Phone Metadata

Capt.Albatross Re:Outed? (193 comments)

Which could easily be the same thing.

'Outing' has a connotation of a) the public identification of an individual, b) the disclosure of private information about that individual, and c) being against the (not necessarily explicitly stated) wishes of the individual. Neither a) nor b) occurred, which also means c) is moot.

about a month ago
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Stanford Researchers Spot Medical Conditions, Guns, and More In Phone Metadata

Capt.Albatross Re:Outed? (193 comments)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner?

Never trust a /. summary. They confirmed the participant's ownership of a firearm through public sources.

about a month ago
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Drone Pilot Wins Case Against FAA

Capt.Albatross Re:How did this go to trial? (236 comments)

Why do you say "whined"? It sounds like several people probably had valid cause for complain. I certainly don't want random assholes buzzing me with their drones or RC aircraft, or getting in the way of manned aircraft.

Exactly. If he was operating as alleged, he has made things more difficult for responsible operators, because this will expedite regulation.

about a month and a half ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

Capt.Albatross Re:If you don't like it.... (431 comments)

The issue here is evolution. Any version of creationism that denies evolution is incompatible with science.

It's not really incompatible... I imagine they have different beliefs about how the solar system formed, spanning from the YECs belief that a god placed the planets where they are today, th[r]ough the people that think a god just kicked off the Big Bang and nudged a few cosmological constants around...

My comment was two simple sentences, yet you managed to miss the point. It takes no position on people who accept the facts of evolution.

I suppose I have to point out that accepting the facts of evolution means all of those facts, not some bowdlerized version that denies the random aspects of evolution, or claims that evolution is responsible for small changes only, or excludes the descent of Man.

And I guess I also have to point out that my statement does not imply that a version of creationism that accepts the facts of evolution is necessarily compatible with science. It could be incompatible in other ways, which is highly likely when you introduce hypotheses lacking any evidence in support. As I wrote in the first third of my original response, the issue here is evolution, specifically.

With regard to your last paragraph, the route by which someone arrived at a belief is immaterial to the question of whether that belief is consistent with science.

           

about a month and a half ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

Capt.Albatross Re:If you don't like it.... (431 comments)

Ignorance indeed. Funny that people automatically assume that Creationism and Science cannot coexist.

The issue here is evolution. Any version of creationism that denies evolution is incompatible with science.

about a month and a half ago
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Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

Capt.Albatross Szabo? (390 comments)

I thought the evidence previously presented, that Nicholas Szabo was Satoshi, was plausible, albeit circumstantial. I suspect that this Satoshi Nakamato's involvement with Bitcoin was not as the primary innovator or leader, while the the person(s) who did play those roles prefer for Newsweek (and the rest of the world) to think otherwise.
     

about a month and a half ago
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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox

Capt.Albatross Re:That Other Checkbox (306 comments)

If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

about a month and a half ago
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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox

Capt.Albatross Debt (306 comments)

Michael's got to pay for getting his eponymous company back, and he won't be able to do that just by selling computers.

about a month and a half ago
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Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

Capt.Albatross Re:Teenagers will do stupid things? (387 comments)

NDA's can apply to an agreement whether the person knows about it or not. (At least here in the UK) People have been prosecuted or threatened with prosecution here for simply spreading gossip on Twitter that inadvertently crossed the line of some hidden NDA. The most pernicious kind of NDA puts knowledge of the agreement itself into the document so the parties are not even allowed to say that there is an NDA.

Are you referring to the so-called 'super injunctions'? They are not so much NDAs as they are gag orders - they are certainly not agreements when they are forced on you.

The first amendment is supposed to stop that sort of nonsense in the USA.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Modern Web Development Applied Science Associates Degree?

Capt.Albatross Re:Not a good idea (246 comments)

You don't have to teach web developers DELETE or DROP - many web sites will happily let anyone run either statement from the comfort of the login page.

Worse things can and do happen - like someone making off with confidential data.

My concern over these 'minimal knowledge' courses is that their graduates will be unprepared to deal with complex issues like security. On the other hand, given the dismal state of security, they might improve things, in which case I am in favor.

about a month and a half ago
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Teaching Calculus To 5-Year-Olds

Capt.Albatross Clickbait Title (231 comments)

This article does not contain any description of calculus-like activities that five-year-olds are participating in. There's a lot of 'this is cool' commentary without any description of what 'this' actually is.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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A Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 3 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Slate, Chris Kirk presents a map of schools in the USA that both receive public funding and teach creationism. It also shows public schools in those states where they are allowed to teach creationism (without necessarily implying that creationism is taught in all public schools of those states). There is a brief discussion of the regulations in those states where this occurs, but the amounts involved are not discussed.
 "
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A Diagnosis for Healthcare.gov

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 6 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Slate, David Auerbach reports on Thursday's hearing concerning the healthcare.gov debacle. It was "a spectacle of tech illiteracy and buck-passing", he says, which may not elicit much surprise around here. He is particularly scornful of the contractors' obsession with checking off milestones rather than with delivering something that works, their willingness to call something 'done' before having tested it, and their apparent obliviousness to how incompetent this shows them to be."
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Twitter Buzz as an Election Predictor

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about 8 months ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "A study presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting suggests that simply comparing the frequency with which the candidates' names are mentioned in tweets can predict the result of elections almost as well as conventional polls, even without considering the sentiment (for or against the named candidate) of the messages. Furthermore, the correlation seems strongest in close elections.

Additional commentary can be found at the Wall Street Journal and from Indiana University."
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Thorium Fuel has Proliferation Risk

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about a year ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Thorium has attracted interest as a potentially safer fuel for nuclear power generation. In part, this has been because of the absence of a route to nuclear weapons, but a group of British scientists have identified a path that leads to uranium-233 via protactinium-233 from irradiated thorium. The protactinium separation could possibly be done with standard lab equipment, which would allow it to be done covertly, and deliver the minimum of U233 required for a weapon in less than a year.

The full article is in Nature, paywalled."

Link to Original Source
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Promoting Arithmetic and Algebra by Example

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "A couple of months ago, the New York Times published political scientist Andrew Hacker's opinion that teaching algebra is harmful. Today, it has followed up with an article that is clearly intended to indicate the usefulness of basic mathematics by suggesting useful exercises in a variety of 'real-world' topics. While the starter questions in each topic involve formula evaluation rather than symbolic manipulation, the follow-up questions invite readers to delve more deeply.

The value of mathematics education has been a recurring issue in Slashdot."
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Is Algebra Necessary? -- New York Times

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "Andrew Hacker, a professor of Political Science at the City University of New York and author of 'Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — and What We Can Do About It', attempts to answer this question in the negative in today's New York Times Sunday Review [registration may be required].

His primary claim is that mathematics requirements are prematurely and unreasonably limiting the level of education available to otherwise capable students ."
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Righthaven Redux... With a Difference

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "At Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza reports that, in an act of delicious irony, Swiss ISP Ort Cloud [sic] has acquired Righthaven's domain name and has relaunched Righthaven.com as a web hosting service diametrically opposed to the practices of its original owner, a notorious but ultimately unsuccessful copyright troll. The new owners, in partnership with first amendment lawyer Marc Randazza (who was instrumental in the original Rigthhaven's demise), promise "infrajuridsictional infrastructure" — uptime that would require international cooperation to bring down. "Frivolous plaintiffs will find little comfort here" says Ort Cloud's Stefan Thalberg.

The domain name became available in a court-ordered auction of Righthaven LLC's assets, to pay its creditors."

Link to Original Source
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To Learn, Test Yourself

Capt.Albatross Capt.Albatross writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The New York Times summarizes a paper published online by Science:

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

"

Link to Original Source

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