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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

DerekLyons Re:Urban legend? (300 comments)

This reads like an urban legend... Every field office got a copy, (seemingly) lots of employees were notified, but it's only public 30 years later? Hmm...

It was a classified document, even if it was widely circulated, so why wouldn't you expect it to not become publicly known for years if not decades? My Google-fu is weak ATM, but there have been authoritative accounts of President Eisenhower pre-designating significant power to various individuals in the event of a nuclear war and break down of communications circulating for at least a decade. (Essentially these individuals were to become 'regional czars' with broad Executive authority.) Other hints and allusions to this plan have been circulating in the [academic] strategic weapons and warfare community for years.

2 days ago
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Anonymous Asks Activists To Fight Pedophiles In 'Operation Deatheaters'

DerekLyons Re: Charged /= Guilty (408 comments)

That was kinda my point... Anonymous and the OP have leapt off the deep end by assuming it should have gotten greater coverage and that since it didn't that meant there was some vast conspiracy protecting "those in power".

3 days ago
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Anonymous Asks Activists To Fight Pedophiles In 'Operation Deatheaters'

DerekLyons Re:Charged /= Guilty (408 comments)

isn't it interesting how the media has looked the other way in the case of Michael Centanni

Not really. He's a fund raising hack, not someone of particular note or in any position of power.

It sounds more like you read "Republican" and went off the deep end with your assumptions than any indictment of the media.

3 days ago
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Anonymous Asks Activists To Fight Pedophiles In 'Operation Deatheaters'

DerekLyons Re:Avoid outing suspects, and other tips (408 comments)

And I suspect any lawyer worth his salt is going to advise you to just Stay The Fuck Away from the stuff.

If that's what your lawyer says, either follow his advice or get a 2nd opinion (and if they agree, follow the advice).

If you want to do something of such high risk so badly that you'll lawyer shop until you get the advice you want - why bother to ask a lawyer at all?
 

They know the law as written and as enforced (i.e. whether the local, state, and national prosecutors will be "friendly" or "hostile" to you regardless of the actual statute) better than I do.

They know the law as written, and case law, but they have fuck all way of knowing which prosecutor you'll be brought to the attention of or how he'll react.

3 days ago
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Anonymous Asks Activists To Fight Pedophiles In 'Operation Deatheaters'

DerekLyons Re:Avoid outing suspects, and other tips (408 comments)

If the news outlets seem to be participating in a cover up, notify other news outlets, but be careful: What looks like a "news outlet conspiracy of silence" may be because the FBI is in the middle of a sting and the feds have asked the news outlets to keep quiet until the trap is sprung.

Or the news outlets don't judge something that "links to what you think is child porn" to be newsworthy. (Which it isn't actually.) Or they lump you in with the dozens (or more) other tips from "crazies" they get on a daily basis. Or... any one of a dozen more perfectly sound reasons.
 

If you routinely do things in your fight against child-porn that put you at a higher risk of running across it, as some of these Anonymous guys likely are, take technical steps to reduce your risk (use a text-only browser, for instance), and have a lawyer on retainer.

See also "looks like a crazy because he claims to have found text that sounds like it might be associated with images he thinks are child porn".
 

Ask your lawyer what steps you need to take so when the police do come knocking it's painfully obvious to the police, the jury, and to everyone else that you are not intending to actually download or possess the stuff but sometimes it gets through your technical barriers.

And I suspect any lawyer worth his salt is going to advise you to just Stay The Fuck Away from the stuff. The only way to actually know it's there is to actually look at it - and the only way to do that is to actually download and possess it.

3 days ago
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Winklevoss Twins Plan Regulated Bitcoin Exchange

DerekLyons Re:so many problems with this idea (79 comments)

allowing an organisation that is answerable to none but the United States Supreme Court to regulate a virtual currency that is in direct competition with its own pet, the Almighty Dollar.

As I've said many times before - so long as you follow a few very simple rules and you pay your taxes in dollars, the US Goverment doesn't care if you conduct your daily business in dollars, Bitcoins, or jars of pickled hamster poop. They whole idea of "competition" has been created out of whole cloth by the Bitcoin Tinfoil Hat Society. It's an ego trip thing, if you're being persecuted, you're obviously Important and Sticking It To The Man. That The Man has pretty consistently ignored them is nothing short of infuriating to these small minded ignoramuses. (Going after criminals who use Bitcoin is *not* the same thing as going after Bitcoin, no matter what said Tinfoil Society tries to tell you.)

4 days ago
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10 New Rosetta Images Reveal Comet 67P In All Its Glory

DerekLyons Re:Publicly funded.... (29 comments)

Seems a fair trade to me, given the scientists involved has spent anywhere from years to decades working on this project and aren't exactly getting rich in the process.
 
 

Maybe, but the approach is looking increasingly anachronistic. That's partly because of a new kind of real-time public engagement with science thanks to the Internet; but it's also to do with changes in the way raw scientific data is made available.

Um, no. The public avidly following the flavor-of-the-month in science isn't particularly new, with the internet and social media it's just become much more visible. (I can remember when three different popular magazines had Voyager's pictures of Jupiter on their cover in the same month.) Nor are there any notable changes in the way raw scientific data is becoming available - the Sentinel system is far and away the exception to the rule.

5 days ago
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Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

DerekLyons Re:Not surprising (158 comments)

Seriously? So does Apple, and pretty much every other hardware manufacturer out there.

about a week ago
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Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

DerekLyons Re:It worked on me (218 comments)

It isn't as easy to spot the "fakers" as you might imagine. Especially if you don't speak the same "language".

Thank you Captain Repeating Exactly What I Said.

about a week ago
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Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

DerekLyons Re:It worked on me (218 comments)

I don't think the OP has ever met a real 1%, or maybe even a real 10%... because you're spot on, if you're in the 60%, they stand out almost immediately (as do the fakers).

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

DerekLyons Re:Returning to their roots & getting with the (314 comments)

They could have "gone back to their roots" by dumping all the common electronics that you can get anywhere and addressing the do-it-yourselfers by hopping on the robotics/Arduino bandwagons.

All that would accomplish is to move the date of bankruptcy closer.

Seriously, Slashdot does not seem to get that there's a reason why Radio Shack started moving away from catering to the maker/robotics/hacker/tinker communities back in the 1950's, and gave up trying to support them at all back in the 1990's. There's a reason why even Fry's got away from it when they started to get big and spread away from their original location and customer base. The maker/robotics/hacker/tinker communities are small and very thinly spread - *and* they're all very comfortable shopping online. There's no money to be made in trying to run a bricks-and-mortar store catering to them.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DerekLyons Re:What about privacy? (112 comments)

Do you like to stick your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la!". Top result:

Is a completely irrelevant page about a security flaw - not about a hack into Facebook's data.
 

and why do you think they have this?

Because it's a damm good idea and best practice? I dunno about you (given your abundantly displayed ignorance), but being proactive and following best practices is a good thing from where I sit.
 

You have to be really nuts to be defending Facebook of all companies when it comes to user privacy.

Not at all - because unlike you, I'm not clueless and grasp the issues here.

about two weeks ago
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Ammonia Leak Alarm On the ISS Forces Evacuation of US Side: Crew Safe

DerekLyons From one who should know. (95 comments)

Does anyone know why ammonia was used instead?

I emailed a friend who worked on Station's ECLSS back in the 90's, and this was his reply:

"Ammonia has a great specific heat (ability to carry the thermal load), plus its boiling and freezing points work really well in space applications. It's also (aside from toxicity) a very well-known, simple, cheap and fairly easy material to work with. The way the TCS loops work on ISS, the ammonia loop is external; it never mixes with the internal (water) loops. There are external heat exchangers to pass the thermal loads from inside to outside; the water loops out of the pressure vessels through the end cones to the heat exchangers and back inside. The only way for ammonia to get into the water loop (it seems to me) would be a debris strike or something like that in a heat exchanger (and they're protected by MMOD shielding, as well as being rather out of the way)."

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DerekLyons Re:More stuff done (112 comments)

One wrong line of code and all my work-inappropriate stuff will suddenly be thrown in the face of co-workers while they are trying to do their jobs.

That's like blaming the gas tank you forgot to fill for being empty. If you don't want work inappropriate things to go to your work place, pay the fuck attention and don't do work unsafe things at work.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DerekLyons Re:What about privacy? (112 comments)

For me it wouldn't even be about "with another company", it would be more along the lines of "look how Facebook has repeatedly fucked over the general end user on privacy issues, are we really going to trust our internal communications to these guys?"

Looking at how Facebook has repeatedly failed to fuck over end users with privacy issues - I'd be tempted to trust them. You pretty much never hear of data being accidentally exposed (due a fault with Facebook rather than user cluelessness) and I've never heard of Facebook being hacked. (Hint: Openly selling data, as the user agreed to when they "signed" the terms of service, is *NOT* the same fucking someone over in a manner that would cause a private user with a different TOS concern.)

about two weeks ago
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Ammonia Leak Alarm On the ISS Forces Evacuation of US Side: Crew Safe

DerekLyons Re:Anyone who knows refrigeration? (95 comments)

Is it that a leak would be dangerous even if the refrigerant were 'the warm fragrance of a spring day'; because of the life-critical nature of the refrigeration system and the relatively tiny volume of breathable atmosphere aboard the station

I can't speak to the ISS, but one of the downsides of the fancy(ier) refrigerant we used (and still use AFAIK) onboard USN submarines was that it breaks down into carbon monoxide and (IIRC) phosgene gas under rather moderate heat. So, you had a tasteless, odorless gas that broke down into two different tasteless, odorless, substances which were very dangerous in low concentrations - inside a vehicle with a relatively small breathable volume. Or to put it another way, something that's relatively innocuous in your house can be very dangerous indeed in an enclosed environment.

That being said, no doubt NASA compared all the properties of the candidate refrigerants (not just the danger of leak, but how well if performs in the Station's environment) before choosing ammonia.

about two weeks ago
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Ammonia Leak Alarm On the ISS Forces Evacuation of US Side: Crew Safe

DerekLyons Re:This is why I like analog gauges... (95 comments)

This is why I like analog gauges with no electrical or electronic component to their basic functionality. I find I can confirm false-readings much more easily than relying on an electronic sensor

Do you also enjoy spending hours that could be used productively doing nothing but working your way through gauges scattered across a system? Because that's one of the hidden costs of analog gauges - either you keep the system simple and keep the gauges near the point of measurement, or make it more complex and heavier by introducing a method to transfer the measured quantity (fluid, gas, what have you) to a convenient location for the gauge? (And an awful lot of what people see as analog gauges are actually voltage or resistance meters - the measured quantity is measured locally and then transmitted to a distant gauge as an analog electrical signal.)
 
On top of that, you can only confirm false readings if it's not the gauge or measurement system itself supplying the false reading in the first place. Analog gauges do break and their calibration does drift. Piping used to transfer fluid or gas to a measurement point does get clogged up. (And people shut or forget to open gauge stops and isolation valves at the most inconvenient of times.) If it's a hybrid (analog mechanical and analog electrical) system, there's a whole additional level of potential for faults and drifting calibration (without any of the advantages that using the same wiring for digital provides).
 

it seems like at least with automobiles, the sensors themselves fail more often than the conditions that the sensors were designed to detect actually manifest.

The plural of anecdote is not data.
 
In my experience, the vast majority of people who pine for analog gauges have never dealt with an analog system other than their automobile dashboard (which after the late 80's is probably a hybrid (digital with analog displays) system anyhow) or something else equally simple and only having a handful of gauges (at most) in the first place. I have (USN Submarine Service, '81-'91), and I'll take a digital system over an analog system any day of the week. They're much easier to maintain, offer far more functionality, and are much easier to use.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

DerekLyons Re:Kids these days ... (388 comments)

I said "how computers work *and* how to fix them" because I realize those are two different skills.

However, it's the manner in which you said it, what else you said, and what the combination implied.
 

my students are pretty vague on the difference between a file, a program, and a web page.

And thereby further confusing the issue by introducing a third skill...

Keep digging.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

DerekLyons Re:Kids these days ... (388 comments)

I understand how computers work and how to fix them, but the next generation treats them as black boxes.

Reading this... I can't help but fall out of my chair laughing.

Knowing how a CPU works is pretty much useless for fixing computers - because you don't fix them at that level. You fix them at the "black box" level - you don't solder in a new NAND gate, you swap out the graphics card. The same goes for working on cars in your father and grandfather's day... Very few of them knew more than the bare basics of how a car worked, their knowledge was more on the lines of "if the car is doing 'x' then you check the carburetor".

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

DerekLyons Re:It's been going on for years (388 comments)

So, I was somehow supposed to guess what they wanted to see for a solution in that class based on what was taught to that point. Granted, I wasnt really following the "lectures" at all.

Then the problem wasn't the teacher - it was you. You weren't "somehow supposed to guess", were "supposed to know based on the materiel presented to date".

about two weeks ago

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