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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Cut the Russians Off (810 comments)

That's a rather one-sided view of what happened. Yes, the Soviet Union did invade Afghanistan as part of pushing its global ideology, much like the USA invaded Vietnam. But the stone age state of Afghanistan at the time of the US invasion in 2001 was a direct result of America supporting religious fanatics in a proxy war, the mujahideen, who after the war ended and the Soviet's were defeated went on to become the Taliban. That's why bin Laden is so famously a former ally of the US.

The USA is not only building an empire but doing so in plain sight of everyone. To quote Putin directly:

Our partners, especially in the United Sates, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence. Then, using the principle “You’re either with us or against us” they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get ‘beaten’ until they do.

This principle is most clearly visible in two acts. One is that the sanctions on Iran are built as a "you're with us or against us" model. Any country that is seen by America to be "undermining" the sanctions i.e. not joining in is itself sanctioned. And the second act is again sanctions based: every financial institution in the world is being taken over by Washington via a system of recursive ("viral" if you like) sanctions that require banks to obey the USA even if that would contradict local laws. The goal is to collect tax from American's abroad. It's called FATCA and it's resulted in many, many nations having to repeal their own privacy laws, in order to allow banks to become agents of the US Government. They were given no choice in the matter.

So the USA has found ways of forcing people in countries all over the world to: (a) engage in economic warfare against America's enemies and (b) pay taxes directly to America, all regardless of what the local government wants or how the local people vote.

Being able to conscript people to their fights and force payment of taxes is the very foundation of empire itself.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Alternate views (810 comments)

Check back in 6 months, compare what they reported on this conflict to what really happened. Because they were reporting the Ukrainian protests as being a bunch of Fascists who, if they had their way, would be building concentration camps for Russian speakers. Of course, the protesters won, got new elections, and turned out to be what they appeared to be; moderate youths who want increased relations with the EU.

Let's set aside the idea that RT is somehow horrendously biased and we can learn what really happened by, er, reading our totally neutral and trustworthy western newspapers.

Let's instead focus on an indisputable fact. This wonderful new parliament put in place by moderate youths who wanted only increased EU relations, on the very next day after the ex-President fled (the one who did actually win an election), voted overwhelmingly to repeal a law that made Russian an official language. Their first act wasn't to improve relations with the EU, or heal the giant rift between east and west Ukraine, their first order of business was to drive an even bigger wedge right between their own citizens.

Is it any wonder that this glorious democratic government our leaders love so much reacted to an independence movement in their country with massive military force, and has been shelling their own citizens ever since?

By the way, here's how RT reported it at the time. Seems pretty accurate to me.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Cut the Russians Off (810 comments)

That's sort of like saying the Soviet's didn't invade anywhere during the cold war. They just supported puppet governments and militias in their place, as did America (hence Osama bin Laden being a former employee of the CIA).

They all still have both political sovereignty, and also control of their legal borders.

You can't claim that America deciding unilaterally to engage in "regime change" to use the delightful term is respecting political sovereignty. What happens is the USA evaluates a government and if it's not one they like, sometimes they remove it by force and replace it with a new one they like better. Said country has "control of their borders" only if you ignore that the US military operates within those borders at will.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Inevitable (810 comments)

While people may have been all pissy about Bush, unilateral wars, and Team America World Police, the fact of the matter is that it was better than the alternative.

What alternative is that, exactly? That Iraq invades America? That the Afghans conquer Europe?

I'm trying to figure out how the world would look if Team America had not said "Fuck Yeah" so many times in the past decades. I think it'd probably look much the same as it does now, except quite possibly ISIS would not exist.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Alternate views (810 comments)

Your comment will be down-voted into oblivion after a few hours.

Try 20 minutes. It went up to +5 Interesting almost immediately. Now it's at zero. What's hilarious is the stream of comments on these stories claiming that Russia is manipulating online forums. All I see is that right now anyone questioning the western party line is immediately zerod out so nobody sees it. I don't think that's because of cunning governmental manipulation though. I think people are just desperate for the old days when they could feel like they were the good guys in a fight of "good vs evil". Whacking Muslims in the desert just doesn't feel as awesome as a good old fashioned America vs Russia showdown.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Alternate views (810 comments)

It seems all governments do that at the moment. The USA even does so publicly.

Regardless, if you believe anyone who merely questions the obvious propaganda being bandied about by both sides is a paid employee of The Other Side then you're delusional. I'm hardly anonymous on this forum and my account dates back I'd guess about 13-14 years. The Guardian comment made claims that made me curious and is, at minimum, merely repeating claims made in other news outlets, which is worthy of exploration by itself.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Alternate views (810 comments)

Not sure why you think it's the "other side of the story”. It has nothing to do with the story. Some elements of the Ukraine military may be defecting AND Russia may be invading. These are not mutually exclusive claims.

That's absolutely correct, but if it's true that the Ukrainian army is so shaky then Poroshenko has every incentive to claim that his country is being invaded because he would desperately want western intervention to tip the balance.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Mod parent down for lying (810 comments)

The BBC and many other outlets have published NATO confirmations

And NATO is a guaranteed source of truth, because? Western militaries never ever have faulty intelligence? This is a military organisation that has always been in opposition to Russia. I'm not sure that's a "confirmation" any more than something announced by the separatists is. I don't trust either of them and neither should you. Perhaps Russia is invading. If it's a real invasion then we'll see soon enough.

Anyway, my "ludicrous claim" is simply what western media are reporting, including the BBC. Here's their story. It leads with "Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of deploying its troops in the east of his country" ... which is exactly what I said the Slashdot story wasn't claiming but should.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Cut the Russians Off (810 comments)

Wat?

I assume from your absurd statement that you consider invading Afghanistan and Iraq, then replacing their governments, is not "conquering"? Because ..... ? Because they installed a new government and then left, sorta, except they still routinely fly drones and air-strike anyone in those countries they see fit, which no truly independent country would tolerate.

Even if you use such a stupid definition of "conquer", you're attacking a straw man. I said invade, not conquer. It's indisputable that America has routinely invaded countries far away from their own borders over and over again. Any regime that boils down to "those who use military force against others gets sanctioned" would result in America being entirely cut off from the world economy for years. That clearly won't happen so this is just another case of American (and to some extent European) hypocrisy at work. Either do it consistently or don't do it at all. Preferably not at all - sanctions are based on the idea that punishing huge swathes of ordinary citizens on both sides will somehow bring about political change. How many people really believe the people are in charge of their governments foreign policies in countries like the USA?

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Re:Cut the Russians Off (810 comments)

If they wish to engage to aggression against other country's sovereignty, they should do it without the rest of the world helping fund them.

Better be careful what you wish for. If the rest of the world applied that standard to the USA and UK they'd have nobody to buy their bonds at all. You don't want China deciding to flex their economic muscles by playing with the bond market next time America invades some random country, do you?

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

IamTheRealMike Alternate views (810 comments)

Given that all our leaders in both the west and Russia are pathological liars, I'm always interested to find the other side of the story. Not that our media makes it easy.

This slashdot story reports what's happening as fact. But as far as I can tell what we have is actually only quotes from Kiev, the same people who have been claiming that Russia was invading for weeks. The same people who claimed that a convoy of aid was actually full of soldiers and military equipment, even after it was repeatedly spot checked by journalists and found to contain exactly what Russia claimed it did (food and aid). This is coming just days after Poroshenko dissolved his Parliament, there were apparently rising protests against conscription into the Ukrainian army, and the separatists were able to make progress.

Just to make things even more complicated: simultaneous with the claim that Russian troops are crossing into Ukraine, RT is claiming that Ukrainian troops crossed into Russia, in order to defect, and the Ukranian government admits this.

This comment on the Guardian story (which incidentally is much less biased than this Slashdot article and presents this as an accusation by Kiev) is what got me to look for these stories and I think interesting enough to quote in full:

Nothing really to explain. Ukraine troops, left without leadership and provisions, have been deserting and losing ground all week. Now that people are demonstrating in Kiev calling for Poroshenko's resignation, he's calling invasion.

- Close to 2,000 Ukraine combatants have put down their guns and asked for asylum in Russia.
- In the last 4 or 5 days, the DPR army has encircled and captured more than 7,000 troops, and all the hardware they possessed.
- On the 24th we all saw thousands of these defeated troops marched through Donesk city centre.

Now they have close to 80 tanks, and various other armored vehicles, all acquired from defeated Ukraine troops, and are sweeping over eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko was given billions of dollars, and some how failed to pay pensions, salaries, or to send adequate supplies to the forces. He's losing this war, that's all.

2 days ago
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Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

IamTheRealMike Stability improvements? (112 comments)

I understand why 64 bit can improve performance on x86 platforms because the 64-bit transition also rolled in other improvements like more registers.

I understand why 64 bit can improve the performance of security mitigations by making guessed addresses more likely to result in a controlled crash rather than arbitrary memory scribbling.

I cannot think of any reason why switching to 64 bit builds should halve the crash rate, unless this is just a side effect of 64 bit hardware being newer and less crappy overall. Can anyone else explain this to me?

3 days ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

IamTheRealMike lol (809 comments)

I don't use Linux anymore and couldn't care less about systemd - if it helps drag desktop Linux further out of the UNIX stone age then I'm all for it - but this article is the most pathetic attempt to seem neutral I've encountered all day.

It indicates that no matter how reasonable a change may seem, if enough established and learned folks disagree with the change, then perhaps it bears further inspection before going to production. Clearly, that hasn't happened with systemd.

The "established, learned old guard" are the main reason Linux has gained a reputation for being hard to use. They're the reason that basic things like hardware drivers constantly break and the only reliable way to get the latest version of an app is to compile the source code. If the old guard are upset about systemd, that probably means it's a good thing.

5 days ago
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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

IamTheRealMike Re:Storm in a teacup (74 comments)

If you remember a little device from 2007 called iPhone - it introduced a "novel" idea: Let's find out where we are based on the nearby cell towers

Minor correction. This technique was not introduced by the iPhone. Google Maps was doing this on Nokia/SonyEricsson J2ME candybar phones for years beforehand. When Apple licensed Google Maps they got access to the same technology. As far as I know Google invented this, although it's one of those ideas that's obvious enough to anyone who explores the problem that I'm not sure "invent" is a useful word to deploy.

5 days ago
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For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

IamTheRealMike Re:Okay... and? (316 comments)

Actually citizens of other countries can vote without paying taxes there, if they moved abroad. And the USA will actually refuse to let you renounce citizenship if they suspect you're doing it for tax purposes.

Stop attempting to make this seem reasonable. The brutal truth is that the Land Of The Free enslaves its own people and demands tribute from them no matter where they run, no matter how they try to hide. Washington will steamroller anyone who gets in the way of it extracting money from people who in many cases have only vague or non-existent connections to America.

Not only is this morally wrong and in blatant violation of common sense (US taxpayers abroad get no benefits for that tax), but it endangers everyone else because in the eyes of America anyone who isn't an unpaid voluntary agent of the IRS is a "helping people evade tax". And worse it might give other countries bad ideas - they're all just as broke as the US.

about a week ago
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For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

IamTheRealMike Re:Okay... and? (316 comments)

Despite the URL, that page only talks about individuals, not companies. Can you show me I'm clearly wrong for companies? Additionally it says the states do their own thing as well and some simply ignore tax treaties.

That said, I might well be wrong! The US tax code is notorious for being amongst the worlds most complicated, in fact it probably is the most complicated tax code in the developed world at least. So if I'm wrong that would not be surprising, although even if your statement is correct for companies too it still amounts to paying tax on the same income twice. Even if it's at a lower rate than US income, this is nonetheless double taxation.

about a week ago
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For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

IamTheRealMike Re:Okay... and? (316 comments)

The USA is unique in considering all income earned anywhere to be taxable in the USA, even if that money never actually touches America. No other country has a tax system that works like this, perhaps because it's stupid. Instead they have double taxation treaties so if money is earned abroad and you pay taxes there, you can spend the money back home at your HQ without it being taxed a second time. America doesn't, so companies that earn a lot of money abroad simply don't spend it on their HQ. They find things to spend it on in other countries instead.

about a week ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

IamTheRealMike Re:Response Bias (441 comments)

Surely that's the very question they asked, and are not hiding it? I mean that's what the article flat out says, right? People want to both hire and work with the top people regardless of where they're from, and the general US attitude towards issuing foreign visas makes it hard to hire the top foreign guy and practically requires you to hire the mediocre guy just because of where they're from?

about a week ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

IamTheRealMike Re:OK, NOW I'm pissed. (441 comments)

So, what, I'm supposed to sit back and accept an attitude of 'fuck U.S. workers, they all suck, we'll hire from overseas because they're better'?

That's not what he said. He said the best workers are not ALL from the USA. Guess what? He's dead goddamn right and who the hell are you to get pissed off because someone who runs a business pointed out the obvious, bleeding truth - America does not have a monopoly on software engineering talent, far from it? That means it's totally expected and understandable that given a choice between some American workers and some foreign workers, that employer might legitimately prefer the foreign workers because they are better than you are?

If this makes you mad then you need to learn about anger management. If you think it's all about working cheaper (which US law makes illegal anyway) then you need to get your head out of your ass and realise that foreign workers are hassle, can be expensive, and can still be worth it if they are better than you.

about a week ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

IamTheRealMike Re:"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture (441 comments)

Tech skills are hard to objectively verify. Technical results are hard to objectively verify. We collectively proxy that by having lots of tests, competitions, selection, and other heuristics. But that's not a symptom of us respecting skill more than other jobs(maybe more than other specific office jobs, but not more than lawyers, doctors, manufacturing technicians, similar things), it's a symptom of it being really hard to tell.

How many technical interviews have you done, as an interviewer, in your life?

I have done about 220. Evaluating technical skills is dramatically easier than evaluating many other types of skill, in particular, it's a lot easier than evaluating skills in management, marketing, customer service .... anything with a large component of soft, people skills. You can ask a technical person to achieve a very specific, tightly scoped technical task during an interview and if you know the question well quickly get a feel for how good they really are. I wouldn't want a hiring decision to be made based on just one interview, but in the hands of a good interview it still yields valuable data. For someone without specific technical skills you end up having to rely on much vaguer and more gamaeble questions like "Tell me about a time you overcame a problem of type ", the answers to which are both hard to verify and easily manipulated by people who want to make themselves look good.

I'm afraid I must agree with the original statement. The difference between someone who is merely OK and is great, well, that's huge. Someone who is merely OK will come in to work each day and will (probably) resolve the bugs or implement the features you set them. They will probably not come up with a solution that puts you ahead of the pack. They may waste large amounts of time on trivial things or produce something that sucks because they are only familiar with technology X but that's a poor fit for problem Y. Their technical judgement may be flaky - in the worst case you will have to spend a lot of time double checking what they're doing, yet they will start demanding more responsibility because they've stuck around for a while. The very best will teach you algorithms and techniques you never knew about. They'll come up with the unique feature that makes you stand out from the competition. They'll be fun to work with and help you recruit other great people. The difference is not to be sneered at.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Fake PGP keys for crypto developers found

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  about 5 months ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "In recent months fake PGP keys have been found for at least two developers on well known crypto projects: Erinn Clark, a Tor developer and Gavin Andresen, the maintainer of Bitcoin. In both cases these PGP keys are used to sign the downloads for popular pieces of crypto software. PGP keys are supposed to be verified through the web of trust, but in practice it's very hard to find a trust path between two strangers on the internet: one reply to Erinn's mail stated that despite there being 30 signatures her key, he couldn't find any trust paths to her. It's also very unclear whether anyone would notice a key substitution attack like this. This leaves three questions: who is doing this, why, and what can be done about it? An obvious candidate would be intelligence agencies, who may be trying to serve certain people with backdoored binaries via their QUANTUMTHEORY man-in-the-middle system. As to what can be done about it, switching from PGP to X.509 code signing would be an obvious candidate. Both Mac and Windows support it, obtaining a forged certificate is much harder than simply uploading a fake PGP key, and whilst X.509 certs can be issued in secret until Google's Certificate Transparency system is fully deployed, finding one would be strong evidence that an issuing CA had been compromised: something that seems plausible but for which we currently lack any evidence. Additionally, bad certificates can be revoked when found whereas beyond making blog posts, not much can be done about the fake PGP keys."
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No back door in TrueCrypt

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  about 10 months ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "Previously on Slashdot, we learned that the popular TrueCrypt disk encryption tool had mysterious origins and security researchers were raising money to audit it, in particular, to verify that the Windows binaries matched the source. But a part of the job just became a lot easier, because Xavier de Carné de Carnavalet, a masters student at Concordia University in Canada has successfully reproduced the binaries produced by the TrueCrypt team from their public sources. He had to install exactly the same compiler toolchain used by the original developers, to the extent of matching the right set of security updates issued by Microsoft. Once he did that, compiling the binary and examining the handful of differences in a binary diffing tool revealed that the executables matched precisely beyond a handful of build timestamps. If there's a backdoor in TrueCrypt, it must therefore be in the source code itself — where hiding it would be a significantly harder proposition. It thus seems likely that TrueCrypt is sound."
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Are the NIST standard elliptic curves back-doored?

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  about a year ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "In the wake of Bruce Schneier's statements that he no longer trusts the constants selected for elliptic curve cryptography, people have started trying to reproduce the process that led to those constants being selected ... and found it cannot be done. As background, the most basic standard elliptic curves used for digital signatures and other cryptography are called the SEC random curves (SEC is "Standards for Efficient Cryptography"), a good example being secp256r1. The random numbers in these curve parameters were supposed to be selected via a "verifiably random" process (output of SHA1 on some seed), which is a reasonable way to obtain a nothing up my sleeve number if the input to the hash function is trustworthy, like a small counter or the digits of PI. Unfortunately it turns out the actual inputs used were opaque 256 bit numbers, chosen ad-hoc with no justifications provided. Worse, the curve parameters for SEC were generated by head of elliptic curve research at the NSA — opening the possibility that they were found via a brute force search for a publicly unknown class of weak curves. Although no attack against the selected values are currently known, it's common practice to never use unexplainable magic numbers in cryptography standards, especially when those numbers are being chosen by intelligence agencies. Now that the world received strong confirmation that the much more obscure and less widely used standard Dual_EC_DRBG was in fact an NSA undercover operation, NIST re-opened the confirmed-bad standards for public comment. Unless NIST/the NSA can explain why the random curve seed values are trustworthy, it might be time to re-evaluate all NIST based elliptic curve crypto in general."
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BitCoin reaches dollar parity

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 3 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "The BitCoin peer to peer currency briefly reached exchange parity with the US dollar today after a spike in demand for the coins pushed prices slightly above 1 USD:1 BTC. BitCoin was launched in early 2009, so in only two years this open source currency has gone from having no value at all to one with not only an open market of competing exchanges, but the ability to buy real goods and services like web hosting, gadgets, organic beauty products and even alpaca socks."
Link to Original Source
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Graduate students being warned away from leak

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 3 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "The US State Dept has started to warn potential recruits from universities not to read leaked cables, lest it jeopardise their chances of getting a job. They're also showing warnings to troops who access news websites and the Library of Congress and Department of Education have blocked WikiLeaks on their own networks. Quite what happens when these employees go home is an open question."
Link to Original Source
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Julian Assange rape arrest dropped

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  about 4 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "The BBC reports that "Swedish authorities have cancelled an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on accusations of rape and molestation. The Swedish Prosecution Authority website said the chief prosecutor had come to the decision that Mr Assange was not suspected of rape." — that was fast!"
Link to Original Source
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BD+ resealed once again

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 5 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "It's been a few months since we last checked in on how the BluRay group were doing in their fight against piracy, so it's time to see how it's going. At the time, a new generation of BD+ programs had stopped both SlySoft AnyDVD HD and the open source effort at Doom9. That was December 13th 2008. At the start of January, SlySoft released an update that could handle the new BD+ programs, meaning that BluRay discs were undecryptable for a period of about three months in total — the same length as SlySofts worst case scenario. The BD+ retaliation was swift but largely ineffective, consisting of a unique program for every BluRay master. Users had to upload log files for every new movie/region to SlySoft, who would then support that unique variant in their next update, usually released a few days later. Despite that, the open source effort never did manage to progress beyond the Winter 2008 programs and is currently stalled completely, thus SlySoft are the only group remaining. This situation remained for several months, but starting around the same time as Paramount joined Fox in licensing BD+ a new set of programs came out which have once again made BluRay discs unrippable. There are currently 19 movies that cannot be decrypted. It appears neither side is unable to decisively gain the upper hand, but one thing seems clear — only full time, for profit professionals are able to consistently beat BD+. Unless SlySoft or a licensed vendor release a BluRay player for Linux it appears the only way to watch BluRay movies on this platform will be to wait for them to become pirateable."
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BD+ successfully resealed

IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 5 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "A month on from the story that BD+ had been completely broken, it appears a new generation of BD+ programs has re-secured the system. A SlySoft developer now estimates February 2009 until support is available. There's a list of unrippable movies on the SlySoft forums, currently there are 16. Meanwhile, one of the open source VM developers seems to have given up on direct emulation attacks, and is now attempting to break the RSA algorithm itself. Back in March SlySoft confidently proclaimed BD+ was finished and said the worst case scenario was 3 months work: apparently they underestimated the BD+ developers."
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IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 7 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "Rose George has written a fascinating tour of the sewers of London — rarely seen yet essential to life. But the sewers are in decline, with the last of the flushermen who know their inner workings about to retire. Although some of the work is now done by robots and contractors, can anything replace the experience of the men who roam the tunnels by night destroying fat blockages, searching for leaks and repairing the underground labryrinths below our cities?"
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IamTheRealMike IamTheRealMike writes  |  more than 7 years ago

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "As one of the worlds most prolific producers of oil, Saudi Arabian production is of vital importance to maintaining our standard of living in the west. A new analysis from Stuart Staniford appears to show large, fast declines in production throughout 2006 that are uncorrelated with price, world events or OPECs own announced production cuts (in fact, no evidence for those cuts occurring is found at all). Given that the apparent steep decline (8%/year) matches the rates seen in other areas where horizontal drilling and water injection were used, and high prices give the Kingdom every incentive to produce, is this the beginning of the end for Saudi oil?"

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