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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

NReitzel Re:Whatever way we want it to be (255 comments)

My apologies. I searched myself for the quotation and did not find it. The person in question was Charles Schumer (US Senator), and his remarks were in response to a rather over-the-top NRA assertion that the government was trying to take guns away from "Law Abiding Citizens" subsequent to some multiple shooting event. The event made at least one video outlet -- which is how I saw it -- but apparently was not recorded. This I actually understand, and find nothing nefarious about it -- after all, there was a hugely more serious event to report on.

Since I was unable to provide an actual citation, I did not "name names" -- and the comment was more to illustrate an attitude by lawmakers (not necessarily Mr Schumer personally) that government should have the power to go after someone that "they think" is a Bad Guy, and screw the legal process.

In the US, there have been countless cases of cops trying to charge someone recording their actions on video, because having their actions stand up to careful scrutiny seems (to them) to be an undue burden. The current trend towards categorizing all "illegal immigrants" as drug mules is another example. "They are here illegally, right? So we know they've broken a law." Yes, but _drug mules_ ? That's a stretch.

As a person who witnessed the 1968 events in Chicago, I know that there are some police forces who have the attitude of "We know who the bad guys are and we need to be able to go after them" and the phrase "burden of proof" seems to be missing from their repertoire. Thankfully, in the US, the majority of police forces are not there, at least not yet.

about a month ago
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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

NReitzel Whatever way we want it to be (255 comments)

In the post-911 world, police departments all over the world are moving into Orwellian territory. They spot someone that they "know" is doing a crime, and they go searching for a law to hammer them.

With laws that don't sunset, and legislative organizations (worldwide) passing more rules and regulations and laws as fast as they can write them down, the state is moving to consolidate it's power. Once, a congressman from the United States said of his constituents, "There are no law-abiding citizens, there are only citizens who haven't yet broken a law."

Wait for it. The police are choosing to persecute (sic) whomever they want to, and due process seems to be fading into the sunset.

about a month ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

NReitzel Not to mention poisons... (380 comments)

Well, bureaucratic idiocy ignored, there is another small wart on this process.

Catalysts are very sensitive to "poisons" - chemicals that stop their catalytic activity. Sodium amide used as a catalyst has a vulnerability to a potent catalytic poison - that being water. A little moisture in the fuel tank, a little moisture in the fuel lines, and presto. No catalyst.

I'm not saying it's not possible, I just don't know how one would keep that pestilential dihydrogen monoxide carefully excluded from the process. It's cumulative, every tiny scrap of moisture kills off some of the catalyst.

about a month ago
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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

NReitzel Don't mess with "c" (347 comments)

There's an alternative explanation. Space-Time could have non-zero viscosity, and slow down photons.

There are a lot of reasons to consider that space might have a viscosity. For one thing, it would neatly explain the expansion of the universe, without the necessity of invoking dark matter and dark energy.

We live in interesting times!

-- Norm Reitzel

about a month ago
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Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

NReitzel Re:More NSA sponsored anti-Truecrypt FUD (75 comments)

Nice comment, until the end when you found it mandatory to take a shot at Slashdot's reporting as anti-Truecrypt advocacy.

Giveth us all a break.

about a month and a half ago
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The Latest Wave of Cyberattacks On the West Is Coming From the Middle East

NReitzel Let's see, who created stuxnet? (56 comments)

Gosh, the West went and hacked industrial infrastructure, where? The Middle East? Omigawsh.

Turnabout is fair play, guys. You started the fight, now don't weep that it's come home.

about 2 months ago
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The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

NReitzel Re:This "nightmare" rigns a bell (240 comments)

Unpatchable systems are a problem, but if you view them as a black box, they are no different than non-logical systems that break.

I'm rather fervently against systems that cannot be upgraded on the fly, but I understand why manufacturers might not like this.

Consider, if you buy a traffic light controller that can be improved and modified, then where is the motivation for a second round of purchases when "upgrade" becomes necssary. After all, I certainly want the person who sold me a refrigerator to be able to brick it when they want, or on a certain date. I can't understand those Commie Sympathizers who think that a sale means that you actually -own- the product, and can use it as long as you see fit.

about 2 months ago
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TrueCrypt Cryptanalysis To Include Crowdsourcing Aspect

NReitzel Re:Crowdsourcing (131 comments)

Well,

Since Truecrypt has decided to drop their project, and the project has been opensourced from day one, I'm going to suggest this is a good time for a fork.

It would (will) be educational to see who goes to court to stop it.

about 2 months ago
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B-52 Gets First Full IT Upgrade Since 1961

NReitzel Let me guess... (190 comments)

Let me guess. The New B-52 IT upgrades feature a raft of combat-certified computers, all running Windows XP.

That thought makes me smile. Can you plan Hack-a-Bomber ?

I'm not serious, but the Pentagon and USAF have done dumber things.

about 2 months ago
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Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

NReitzel Re:Comment from a Chemist (432 comments)

Of course it uses carbon (and nitrogen, and a raft of other things) from the soil. However, unless you're planting that corn on a tar pit, the carbon in the soil isn't fossil carbon that's been in the soil for a million years. You might make the case that plants use marine carbonates dissolved in water, but that amount is very small compared to the mail building block of plants, and for photosynthetic plants, that's carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

I may not be a botanist, but I can work the numbers.

about 2 months ago
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Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

NReitzel Comment from a Chemist (432 comments)

The thing is, ethanol has a lower energy density per litre (or gallon, if you are metrically challanged) than does gasoline, just as gasoline has a lower energy density than diesel fuel.

You get better mileage out of diesel than gasoline, and better mileage out of gasoline than ethanol, all things being equal. Laws of thermodynamics aren't to be bypassed. No amount of "clever" can change the basic fact that gasoline holds more energy than ethanol.

However, and this may count for something for you, as it does for me, ethanol releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that was taken out of the atmosphere to grow the crop that led to the ethanol. There is no net increase of CO2, as there is with fossil fuels. Of course, a cynic might point out (and I might be one) that the carbon in the fossil fuel was also in the atmosphere at one time, to the tune of no less than 1500 ppm in the Carboniferous period.

Using ethanol isn't for getting better mileage, it's for reducing carbon footprint, the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere when you go down to the corner store to buy a six-pack of beer. The beer, btw, doesn't add carbon to the atmosphere, because like the ethanol that's in it, that carbon came -out- of the atmosphere when the crops to make it were grown.

about 2 months ago
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NASA, France Skeptical of SpaceX Reusable Rocket Project

NReitzel Origami Space Station (333 comments)

Does anyone remember the history of the space station?

NASA spent billions (with a B) of dollars, and for a decade we had not one bolt flying in orbit. I used to call the project the Origami space station, made out of paper. It wasn't until the Russians went ahead and launched the first module that NASA got around to giving up on Powerpoint and Viewgraphs and meetings, and actually -did- something.

I just love it when people proudly proclaim that something isn't possible.

History shows that such pronouncements have a very poor track record.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

NReitzel Who Cares? (285 comments)

Good print media?

Really. Local newspaper provides enough to wrap up stuff to ship, and a few sheets to use to light charcoal.

Other than that, who cares?

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NReitzel Back to One Man, One Vote (818 comments)

Perhaps it's time for a constitutional amendment.

In times of past, when it took weeks and months to communicate between far away places (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) it made sense to structure the political organization of this country as a railroad organization. Today, it does not.

What we need to do is simple: We need to define, in simple print, that corporate fictions are not in fact citizens, and as such, do not have political freedoms or civil rights as such.

The concept if a corporate fiction as a person is a bit ridiculous anyway. A corporation can engage in activities that kill people (against the law) but they cannot be imprisoned. Finding General Motors (say) criminally liable for something that they have done corporately is a joke. They are already immune from such prosecution and bringing criminal charges that stick against board members or management is a very difficult thing.

If corporate entities cannot participate in the democratic process; there is no proxy for voting in a general election. We should formalize this and extend it so that corporate fictions simply cannot make political contributions of any size whatsoever. If management has strong political feelings, let the members make a personal contribution in their own name and not from corporate funds. If a CEO wants to contribute millions to a political candidate, well, they're paid enough to write the check. If a corporation feels strongly about a political issue, they can encourage (but not require) that their employees write their own checks to whatever political cause is extant. A vote, and a political contribution, should only be permitted to come from someone who can be demonstrated to be a living, breathing person and not some vacuous entity dreamed up by invisible attorneys.

This moves us back to the "one man, one vote" ideal our forefathers envisioned. Right now, we're moving ever closer to merchantilism and "One Dollar, One Vote" -- which, in my humble opinion, is not a good thing at all.

about 4 months ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

NReitzel Re:Perjury? Sony? Say it Ain't So. (306 comments)

I personally think the situation is -much- simpler.

Google just needs to not return anything with "Sony" in it, as a search result.

about 4 months ago
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$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

NReitzel Re:Did Fluke request this? (653 comments)

Are you kidding? They ordered meters from a Chinese company. Let's see, what kind of plastic did the Chinese company have laying around in their regrind bin, maybe from injection molding a lot of those "F" meters...

I think the Chainsaw option mentioned above is the best option. Don't buy Fluke. Ever.

about 4 months ago
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Why Did New Zealand's Moas Go Extinct?

NReitzel Re:Did past people hunt in a sustainable manner? (180 comments)

Are you kidding? The reason that "native americans" lived "in harmony" with nature is because they had no horses. They were hunter-gatherers, and would move into an area and kill and eat every single thing that they could reach by walking a few days. Then, when the game was gone, they picked up stakes and moved to their next place.

Now, lest one think I'm attacking an ethnic group, let me point out that non-humans do the same thing. A species will move into an area, and eat everything they can catch or reach. It has - for eons - been a war between those that eat, and those that get eaten, and I'll include plants in this war, also.

A few seasons of excellent rains and growth in a deciduous forest holding ungulates will result in extensive damage to underbrush, to the point where the next generation of animals is put under population control by that oldest of birth control methods: starvation. One of the reasons that the US states have licensed hunting seasons is to manage such populations of not-humans that can and do destroy their environment. In point of fact, humans are the very first animal who have the option to make a choice to not damage their environment.

So for those who feel all puffy and bad about evil humans, you've missed the boat. You are sporting a ludicrous level of ignorance. Animals survive in the presence of humans only to the extent that they evolve to become stealthy enough, dangerous enough, or manage to breed even more wantonly than the humans who hunt them. The most common form of death, from time immemorial, is assassination with intent to ingest.

about 4 months ago
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Navy Won't Investigate Nuclear Pollution At San Francisco's Treasure Island

NReitzel Is it going to be paved? (121 comments)

If the area is going to end up paved, without wells or agriculture, then low level cesium contamination is beside the point.

When Los Alamos (of Plutonium era) was refurbished for civilian use, the walls were painted over with bright red paint, followed by white paint. The paint was adequate to block plutonium alphas and daughter betas. The rule for the buildings was "if you see red, call maintenance."

about 5 months ago
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Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

NReitzel Nissan Leaf, Suspension, Suspension, Suspension (335 comments)

Nissan might have more luck selling their expensive electric if the darn thing weren't sprung like an overstuffed haywagon. The suspension is so soft there is not a trace of road feel, and the power steering is so squishy it's like driving a virtual reality vehicle in a bang-em-up game.

Not everybody who wants an electric wants it to feel like a Ford Explorer.

about 5 months ago
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Iran's Hacking of US Navy 'Extensive,' Repairs Took $10M and 4 Months

NReitzel One must ask, "Who started the Cycle?" (147 comments)

So, we unleashed stuxnet. Among other things, it came back and bit us on the ass, and now those against whom we sinned, have returned the favor.

"What a Shock!"

At mait lefitgam dekharev, at khai lefitgam dekharev.

about 5 months ago

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