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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

PraiseBob Re:To their defense (314 comments)

Nobody is stealing 500 euro bills, because normal people don't carry them. If you stole them from a bank, any attempt to spend those bills would get way too much attention. It also follows then that any attempt to pass off counterfeit bills that are huge values, will also get a lot of extra scrutiny, which is not productive. There are more $20 counterfeit bills in active circulation than $100 bills.

That leaves criminals with really only one reason to use the extra large bills, laundering & transferring money. Now, where does the money that needs to be laundered come from? This conversation is entirely about cracking down on drugs, gambling & prostitution.

about two weeks ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

PraiseBob Re:symbols, caps, numbers (549 comments)

IT companies like Microsoft? You've just described the exact password policy that the largest software company in the world uses to enforce a "strong password", under the guises of best practices. I don't know why you blame the end user, when the manufacturer is the one perpetuating this system through documentation, training certifications, and the operating system itself.

But all that aside, those passwords are plenty good enough. Any system that allows an attacker to brute force passwords, especially online, has a design problem. It would take an idiot to build a system that allows 1000 password guesses per second without a timeout. Guess wrong 5 times, and you get locked out for 10 minutes, and a warning email sent. Suddenly you've increased the brute force time to thousands of years, and the target is aware. This is basic stuff, and just about any dictionary word is safe.

Ever increasing complexity is an unnecessary solution. Password breaches are not being done through brute force, there's no real reason to make brute force harder.

about two weeks ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

PraiseBob Re: they will defeat themselves (981 comments)

It must be some magical coincidence that civilizations with better mineral resources, better weather patterns and better access to domesticated animals & crops for centuries of development time, are now in a better position globally. Or you could falsely attribute it to "cultural superiority", and assume that you are by extension, racially superior. However, please note that a lot of people will call you a racist. You are essentially saying there are no geographic differences between different places in the world, that thousands of years of history are meaningless, and that everything boils down to the type of music you listen to. I suspect you've been called racist many many times.

about a month and a half ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

PraiseBob Re:So what was the plan? (848 comments)

Exactly. Who would ever think that Russia is seizing a warm water port but is ok with having zero access to it? Surely no world leader is surprised.

about 2 months ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

PraiseBob Re:Send in the drones! (848 comments)

Would Russia invade if Ukraine still had their nukes? Will any other nuclear country disarm in the future given this scenario?
In the end, a treaty is just words on paper. Russia clearly isn't honoring the treaty so it goes to line 6:

"The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments."

about 2 months ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

PraiseBob Re:let me correct that for you. (619 comments)

[citation needed]

Here you go: http://media.wix.com/ugd/80ea2... - Academic journal with the title "Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior"

This shows some of the other social experiments conducted on the topic of wealth and entitlement: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb...

It appears to be using rigorous methodology along with peer review to reach what could be considered the scientific conclusion: in a capitalist society, the rich are more likely to cheat.

about 3 months ago
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Point-of-Sale System Bought On eBay Yields Treasure Trove of Private Data

PraiseBob Re:It's not really a treasure trove (68 comments)

Do you think waitstaff have great credit scores? Most don't even have bank accounts, much less any way to get credit cards. That's not exactly the most lucrative job to target for identity theft.

about 3 months ago
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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

PraiseBob Re:the joker in the formula (686 comments)

Another way of looking at it, is to use aggregate outcomes, rather than a raw species count. We have one planet with life, and have thus far evolved one lifeform capable of spaceflight. Our knowledge thus far is to say that 100% of planets with life on them have produced space travel. And of course you can't forget that humans are very aggressive. We've exterminated thousands of other species, why would you assume that we didn't eliminate intelligent competitors in pre-history? There is quite a bit of discussion over the idea of humans destroying neanderthals, a different intelligent species that even had a larger brain than humans, and perhaps could have evolved into space travel themselves.

Ultimately, life keeps evolving. We are fairly certain that dolphins & whales were originally born from the ocean... then they evolved to live on land... and then evolved back to living in the water. They evolved to filled a gap, a habitable environment in the ocean, while other species evolved to fill the gaps on the land, and use the available resources on land. Tool & fire use opens up more environments to live in. We have multiple examples of species that use tools to a lesser degree, such as chimpanzees. It seems inevitable, given the right environment, that eventually a species will branch off and master tools.

Life is life is life. It evolves. We won't get SETI signals from an ocean planet, almost certainly. But all the evidence shows that life will evolve into tool-makers given the right land-water ratio.

As for dolphin speech, pods use about 50 different whistles to communicate with each other identifying both their surroundings and themselves, and to coordinate pack hunting in some instances. There is definitely some level of content. Does that count as complex information, and intelligence? Thats why I said it's open to debate.

about 4 months ago
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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

PraiseBob Re: on behalf of america (625 comments)

He had weapons inspectors in his country from 1991 onwards, for the express purpose of finding and removing said WMD's. In 1995 he acknowledged hiding some manufacturing that happened before 1990. While he may have acted in various ways to obstruct the weapons inspectors mission, at no point after 1991 did he claim to still have those weapons.

According to this story, you have fallen victim to govt propaganda and are blindly believing the politicians:
http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/saddams-secret/

about 5 months ago
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FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

PraiseBob Re:This will hugely backfire... (422 comments)

However, the disenfranchising of African Americans by creating another protected political class is going to hurt the DNC in the long run.

Huh? How do immigrants take away black votes? A larger voting population reduces everyone elses voting power equally.

And how on earth do you figure that immigrants, legal or otherwise, are part of a "protected" class? Are you saying the group that is nearly always defined by referencing lower than minimum wages and rampant victimization from fear of calling the police will be treated like bankers and the very wealthy in the future? Or am I using a different definition of "protected political class"?

The new influx of workers that will compete for low paying jobs is really going to hurt the African American community pretty hard.

Did you forget something- those workers are already here, and sometimes get paid less than minimum wage. Giving immigrants the same wage protections means that citizens will be able to compete on equal footing without being undercut. This helps low wage workers. If you were talking about H1-B's, that would be a different story.

about 5 months ago
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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

PraiseBob Re:the joker in the formula (686 comments)

See, the fact that we are highly mutated primates does not imply that all primates would eventually get there, unless the mutation is *required* for survival. And clearly, it hasn't been. For any species. Even our own. We were just lucky.

That's not really an accurate portrayal of evolution. Homo sapiens are the "most fit to survive" in a huge variety of environments on the planet, entirely because of our intelligence and tools that we've created. Dolphins and elephants are very intelligent, demonstrating a number of traits that we once thought were exclusive to humans, such as speech, future planning, and mourning the dead. Living in the ocean is a big handicap for dolphins when it comes to tool use and fire, yet they have evolved intelligence and (arguably) speech as a way to enhance their survival rate.

Opposable thumbs gave us a gigantic head-start in tool creation, and environmental control. But its really just a head-start, nothing more than that.

about 5 months ago
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The Spy In Our Living Room

PraiseBob Parallel Construction (148 comments)

This is the entire point of parallel construction. They can't or won't reveal how they are monitoring you secretly. Instead they can claim that you were acting suspicious based on something else you've done which has nominally taken place in some kind of public space. Then they get a warrant based on that, and "find" the threats you are making, and charge you with that too.

about 8 months ago
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3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean

PraiseBob Re:Not everything observed... (266 comments)

If you read the article, you might see this paragraph: "Still, the maps show there are places where lead contamination is a continuing problem. Off the southern tip of Africa, surface waters with relatively high traces of lead are flowing into the South Atlantic from the Indian Ocean. That’s probably due to the continuing use of leaded gasoline in parts of Africa and Asia"

There appears to be a direct correlation... Guess it wasn't so difficult after all?

about 8 months ago
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Krugman: Say No To Comcast Acquisition of Time Warner

PraiseBob Re:Paul Krugman, 1998 (187 comments)

What can be known is that the company tried to stay in business and it died, but not before government prevented it from trying to change its business model.

Did you know that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings TRIED to sell Netflix to Blockbuster? Blockbuster turned him down.

Blockbuster instead wanted to buy more brick and mortar stores, and continue their existing dying business model rather than invest (very cheaply), in a new distribution model. How is Hollywood Video a new model?? Its the literal exact same model! Both companies went out of business! So you can blame the government all you want for killing Blockbuster, but that's complete nonsense. If neither one can survive as a small company, why on earth do you think they could survive as a giant company? Go ahead and say the magic words "economies of scale", as if Netflix and Redbox and On-Demand, and Hulu, and Amazon, and DVD's at Walmart for the same price as a rental and a million other efficient ways to get your movie don't exist...

Honest question: Are there ANY video rental chains still in existence?

about 8 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

PraiseBob Re:Misleading liability claim (731 comments)

Lol, fair enough. Always nice to get different perspectives. But... your compliance officer is wrong. They are side by side technologies, EMV is intended to complement rather than replace.

PCI is still required. You just won't have to pass that fun annual review to prove you are PCI compliant. You still MUST be compliant to avoid major fines in the event of a breach. This only applies to certain size merchants, AFAIK, but this article doesn't go into detail: http://www.pcidssguru.com/comp...

about 9 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

PraiseBob Re:Misleading liability claim (731 comments)

GP is actually correct. I have handled hundreds of chargebacks for a brick & mortar store...

Here is the exact process:
1) Consumer goes to B&M store, makes purchase, signs receipt.
2) Consumer issues chargeback.
3) Bank sends notice to merchant.
4) IF Merchant fails to respond in 30 days, judgement is automatic against Merchant and the charge is reversed
5) IF Merchant responds with signed reciept, video footage, testimony from the cashier, or other evidence that the consumer DID make that transaction, then there is a small chance that the bank will let the charge stand. Most of the time, the charges are reversed anyways. But, most of the time it is fraud, and most people are honest about chargebacks.

The burden is absolutely on the merchant to prove the identity of the customer. Checking an ID doesn't mean squat to the bank. Making a physical imprint doesn't mean anything. Physical imprints are considered Keyed rather than Swiped, so you get charged a higher fee per transaction (because of higher fraud costs). There are no sure-fire methods to protect the merchant.

My company processes millions of card transactions per year. We ignore most chargebacks, because it is a waste of time to fight the bank, and probably was a cashier that didn't check ID. 2% of the time, they will let the charge stand as is and charge the consumer. 98% of the time they take the money from the merchant and give it back to the consumer. The bank does not ever eat that cost. PCI has nothing to do with it. Despite all this, it isn't cost effective to upgrade equipment outside of our normal cycle. We could potentially save 100% of chargeback fees, but that would still take years to pay for the hardware, since we have an overall low fraud rate.

One more aside, EMV is not required to be PCI compliant, and isn't part of the future standard. PCI compliance WILL still be necessary in the future, because card information WILL still be stored locally by the merchant.

about 9 months ago
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Para Bellum Labs Will Attempt To Make the RNC a Political-Analytics Player

PraiseBob Re:Do they need it? (212 comments)

So now the Democrats get the credit if a Republican plan succeeds? If I vote for a Democrat, they are willing to implement the best ideas of either party. If I vote for a Republican, they won't even support Republican plans to do "important things" and accomplish goals.

about 9 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

PraiseBob Re:Misleading liability claim (731 comments)

Yes, there is no further liablity that can be shifted onto the merchant. The carrot is for the merchant, the stick is for the issuing banks. I'm not sure if the mere potential for fewer chargebacks will convince merchants to purchase new card readers. It's a major investment for a minor reward.

The plan is to split liablity:
Merchants will still be liable until they purchase new machines.
Banks will then be liable until they issue C&P cards.
Once both merchants and banks have upgraded, liablity shifts to the consumer.
(Unless they can prove to the bank that the charges aren't their fault)

about 9 months ago
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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

PraiseBob Re:Debate? (593 comments)

It turned into modern wheat, the varieties we call Spelt, Common, Durum, etc.
Here is a book detailing some of its history: http://www.amazon.com/Evolutio...
Here is some genetic research: http://genome.cshlp.org/conten...

While this may not matter to a lot of people, the human driven evolution of this plant is the root of all civilization, and it would not be possible without evolution.

Wild emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccoides[Triticum turgidum (L) Thell. ssp. dicoccoides(Koern) Thell.] with genome AABB, was discovered in Northern Israel by Aaron Aaronsohn in 1906 (Aaronsohn 1910). It is the tetraploid, predominantly self-pollinated, wild progenitor from which modern tetraploid and hexaploid cultivated wheats were derived (Zohary 1970).

about 9 months ago
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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

PraiseBob Re:Debate? (593 comments)

The primary problem for evolution is that it too cannot be proven though experiments in the lab nor has it been observed in place. For much of the time evolution attempts to explain, nobody was there to observe and record what actually happened, and there is no way to recreate processes that take millions of years so we can see what happens in a lab.

This is simply not true. You are absolutely incorrect. There have been hundreds if not thousands of rigorous scientific experiments proving evolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...
Humans have cultivated crops for centuries to EVOLVE the crops we have today. Teosinte and Corn are completely different, yet have a common ancestor. Do you think Emmer Wheat looked the same today as it did 20,000 years ago? We've cultivated it to specifically favor traits that provide more food.

Domestication is by definition, evolving a species to favor traits we like. "Domestication (from Latin domesticus) is the process whereby a population of living organisms is changed at the genetic level, through generations of selective breeding, to accentuate traits that ultimately benefit humans." Do you "believe" in domesticated animals? Because there is a lot of evidence that they exist.

Evolution isn't some kind of unknowable magic that takes place over millennia. It is directly observable.

about 9 months ago

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