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Comments

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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

Proteus Re: nature and consumers (358 comments)

you would run the risk of basically losing the original, viable variants.

I don't follow that reasoning. How does a synthetically sterile strain put the existence of viable strains at risk? It's not like it can reproduce and overwhelm the viable strains...

about a year ago
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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

Proteus Re: nature and consumers (358 comments)

Nice catch -- tired fingers and a long discussion about DNSSEC...

about a year ago
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Google Chromecast Reviewed; Google Nixes Netflix Discount

Proteus Re:Cute, But ... (128 comments)

If they don't like an app, it doesn't get in the store, and, unless you've broken your device (which is of questionable legality), you're limited to Apple approved apps.

You're limited to Apple-approved native apps. You can "install" HTML5-based apps (including ones with local storage that work offline) without any approval process from Apple. You won't have full access to all the device capabilities, but there you go.

Besides, GP was using examples of media content, not application content. Apple doesn't restrict what content you can view or load, and the formats they support are open standards. Hardly a restrictive regime, App Store aside.

Amazon can delete books you've bought, or even edit the content of books without your consent.

Again, when we're talking about device capabilities, that's a tiny slice. The Kindle supports a great many things that don't have Amazon DRM, and Amazon does not have the capabilities you describe with media that's not DRM-controlled. Again, you can read whatever you want on a Kindle provided it's in one of a handful of formats.

The GP is arguing that Google restricts what you can stream -- that is, content -- to the Chromecast, and likens it to Apple and Amazon. Firstly, it isn't true - you can stream pretty much any content you want to a Chromecast, as long as it'll load in a Chrome tab without 3rd-party plugins (and that means common open standards as well as Flash content). Secondly, even if it were true that Google makes content or content-provider restrictions, that would make them exceptional in the industry. Neither Apple nor Amazon prevent you from viewing content or accessing information you choose, so long as it's in one of the ubiquitous and standard formats.

about a year ago
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MIT's "Hot Or Not" Site For Neighborhoods Could Help Shape Cities

Proteus Re:Slashdotted already (103 comments)

That would be a tremendous waste of time. So no.

about a year ago
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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

Proteus Re: nature and consumers (358 comments)

Spinach doesn't copy its DNA into a host.

No, but viruses often incorporate DNS from hosts, so a virus could grab DNA from spinach and inject it into an orange. That's what dgatwood is talking about -- viruses do this all the time, copying DNA between hosts. Humans are just doing what viruses do already, but with more precision and less randomness.

about a year ago
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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

Proteus Re:nature and consumers (358 comments)

Show many ANY time in nature where plants have modified themselves with ANIMALS and FISH

That's the Naturalistic Fallacy. Just because something doesn't occur in nature (I'll concede the term "in nature" as meaning "not done by humans") doesn't mean its bad, and just because something does occur in nature doesn't mean it's good.

Your exact argument could be applied to anything artificial: show me ANY time in nature where animals have harnessed electricity to build general-purpose information-processing devices and network them together, for example. Yet I don't see you crying for dismantling the Internet.

Show me ANY time in nature where animals synthesize chemicals that narrowly target diseases, and thus vastly improve their ability to survive. But you're not crying for the end of synthetic medicines.

Show me ANY time in nature where water is systematically treated to destroy infectious agents before it's consumed. But you're not crying for the end of water-treatment facilities.

Show me ANY time in nature where animals engineer vehicles to make transport faster and easier. But you're not campaigning for an end to bicycles.

about a year ago
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Google Engineer Wins NSA Award, Then Says NSA Should Be Abolished

Proteus Re:Shortsighted techie ... (297 comments)

cripple the NSA, and you give free and secure communication to all sorts of undesirables. Allow the NSA unchecked, and make people transparent to the Government, (and worse expose them to typically stupid Government dragnet trawling).

That's a false dilemma. We have many more options than an unchecked NSA or a "crippled" NSA (though, note that taking away their ability to spy on US Citizens is only "crippling" in the sense that it would require them to return to their chartered mission as a foreign intelligence service...).

For example, most people aren't arguing that the NSA shouldn't be allowed to collect any of the sort of data they've been caught collecting. Just that it should have limited scope, and that they should have real accountability if they abuse their power. That neither cripples them (despite their claims) nor allows them unchecked, and that's just a simple example.

all electronic communications must be "tappable" unless you want to provide absolutely everyone with a safe channel for communication about their criminal, terrorist, or otherwise hostile business.

It's not quite that simple, even if it seems so on its face. When you make all communication tappable, you don't just allow the government access to communications of suspected bad actors. You also create something that can be abused by people in power (remember that the government is made up of people, and people do stupid things on a regular bases) -- from little things like a government worker using the capability to spy on a spouse to big things like government cracking down on dissent. And you create a system that can be attacked; if the US government can read your email, so can an attacker or a foreign government.

Keep in mind that the government is who defines what "criminal" is. If they have unlimited surveillance power -- even if it's only limited to "criminals" -- then it's a simple matter to change what "criminal" means until they can effectively listen in to any conversation they want. And quash dissent. Remember that almost every important campaign for rights involved "criminal" things -- from the fight for Women's Suffrage to the protests and campaigns for civil rights in the 1960's. These movements did "criminal" things in part to point out that they shouldn't be criminal things. To give the government absolute ability to stop criminal activity would be a very bad thing.

about a year ago
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US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden

Proteus Re:good (616 comments)

people weigh two things. One, how likely it is. Two, how scary it is.

There's a key point that you missed: the scarier something is, the more likely we think it is (up to a point: if it's scary enough, we refuse to believe it could happen to us).

about a year ago
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US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden

Proteus Re:good (616 comments)

Money only buys votes with an uneducated electorate.

While that's almost certainly true, it doesn't follow that:

If voters really wanted to do something about this, they could.

Because most of the country relies on those in power for access to education. There may have been a time in recent memory where the populace was educated enough about how politics and power worked to make these changes, but those in power have been very effective at cutting those cords by controlling the media and education (through cutting funding, setting standards, outright buying media outlets and the like).

In order for it to change, people with money and power would need to put some effort into effectively educating voters. Which means doing the very thing they ultimately are trying to change -- pouring money into the political process.

about a year ago
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US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden

Proteus Re:That depends on your definition of torture (616 comments)

No, the average American doesn't even understand these topics. The core problem with America is that the vast majority of the public are completely uninformed (often by choice) and apathetic about anything that doesn't affect them or someone they know directly.

The result is that we as a country have ceded control to people who want power, and the handful of "hardcore" voting blocs that reliably show up at the polls. We're a Republic of the Minority now.

about a year ago
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Feds Allegedly Demanding User Passwords From Services

Proteus Re:SSH keys (339 comments)

Unless you're accessing all your services via SSH, you probably have passwords somewhere; SSH keys are only going to be a defense against access to the boxes you only SSH to. If you use any web application or service you don't self-host and authenticate only through SSH, revealed passwords are going to be an issue.

Yet another argument to move toward 2-factor auth....

about a year ago
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Judge Denies Administration Request To Delay ACLU Metadata Lawsuit

Proteus Re:Obligatory sarcasm (107 comments)

Publicly posting all available personal data of judges and their families that serve on the FISA court might also serve to reverse this STASI-like system of secret courts and secret laws.

If only that would work. Unfortunately, when you show people in power that they're vulnerable too, they don't see the light and act for change -- they double-down. They decide that such acts are evidence that they need even more power.

about a year ago
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Google Chromecast Reviewed; Google Nixes Netflix Discount

Proteus Re:Cute, But ... (128 comments)

Your comment is either astonishingly ignorant or really bad trolling:

  • Apple iOS devices play whatever video and audio content you want, provided you supply it in a supported format (H.264 M4V, for example); the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are ubiquitous, and many are free. Or you can just install VLC for iOS and use pretty much any format (though it does decoding in software for formats that i-Devices don't have hardware decoders for, which means battery life goes down the shitter).
  • Win8 devices likewise will play whatever content you transfer to them, providing it's in one of the supported formats. Likewise, many of the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are readily available. MS puts very few restrictions on what you can install, so adding more media support is trivial.
  • Amazon's Kindle readers only support the AZW format for DRM-protected content, but will read unprotected MOBI, PRC, and TPZ eBook formats out of the box; they also allow you to read plain-text files and have some basic PDF support. The Kindle tablet supports MP4 video using open-standard codecs, just like iOS and Win8 do. All Kindle devices that can play audio support MP3 and Audible.

If it were true that the Chromecast only allowed "Google approved content" as grandparent claims, that would be far more constraining than any of the devices you gave examples of.

Unfortunately for GP, they misunderstand Chromecast's limitations; direct, native streaming is only available for a few Google-approved sources, but anything the Chrome browser plays out of the box (including any HTML5 video, Flash objects, etc.) can be cast to the dongle; it's hardly as limited as "Google-approved sources", more like "stuff using technologies and formats that Google supports in Chrome".

about a year ago
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After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

Proteus Re:Huh. (457 comments)

The only non-standard part of Apple's charging scheme is the shape of the connector. The AC->DC adapter part is a standard switching power supply, the request on the USB end of the charging cable is compatible with USB Power standards, and so on.

The really proprietary parts of Apple's cable are the bits associated with the data interface (digital audio, control systems, accessory systems, etc.); which is frustrating, but not really surprising at this point considering the 30-pin connector they replaced has been around for a decade.

about a year ago
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After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

Proteus Re:Smart move (457 comments)

The *cable* carries 5VDC at 1A (or almost 2A for an iPad). The electrocution hazard for 5V devices is entirely in the switching power-supply... the part that takes your wall voltage and drops it to 5VDC. Poorly designing that part can lead to too much power on the cable, etc.

But if you use a decently-designed power supply, even the world's crappiest cable isn't going to be problematic.

about a year ago
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MIT's "Hot Or Not" Site For Neighborhoods Could Help Shape Cities

Proteus Re:Slashdotted already (103 comments)

UID trolling makes me giggle.

about a year ago
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DOJ: We Don't Need a Warrant To Track You

Proteus Re:Turnabout is Fair Play, Right? (259 comments)

No, according to them, that information isn't private enough to require a warrant. It still requires a court order to obtain, and it's not considered public information.

If you're going to respond to a bad situation, you have to actually understand the real situation, or you're just going to get dismissed as ignorant.

1 year,5 days
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DOJ: We Don't Need a Warrant To Track You

Proteus Re:Then maybe it's time for some new laws... (259 comments)

The 4th Amendment requires due process of law to conduct a search, and Congress has the power to define what that due process looks like. In the case of "stored data", they've decided that "due process" only requires a court order.

Any 4th Amendment argument that a court order isn't sufficient due process is inherently one of interpretation regarding the intent of the 4th Amendment. This is one of the many reasons why the EFF is making a 1st Amendment challenge to the NSA's accessing of such metadata. The NSA followed established due process (they went to a FISC court and got a warrant), so there's no 4th Amendment claim really (unless you want to argue that the 4th's provisions were not intended to be satisfied by a secret court -- but again, that's interpretation).

The living breathing document doctrine is not saying that the text of the Constitution is mutable, but that rather as society changes, our interpretation of what it means changes too. This has caused some problems, but it's also the root of a lot of good things, like the decision that the guarantee of "Freedom of speech" extends to all forms of expression.

1 year,5 days
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Pre-Dawn Wireless Emergency Alert Wakes Up NYC

Proteus Re:Nothing wrong with alerts (382 comments)

If there is a real civil emergency, you need the system to notify people whether they want the notification or not. The problem is that the city used this emergency notification system to tell people about a risk to one single individual.

1 year,6 days
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Pre-Dawn Wireless Emergency Alert Wakes Up NYC

Proteus Re:Phone Alerts (382 comments)

First, yes dammit, I must be reachable as much as possible. If a friend or family member needs help in the middle of the night, I'm not gonna be the guy who says "sorry, I had my phone off."

Second, I must be able to make a call at any time. My mobile is my only phone, and if something happens where I need to call 911, I'm not going to want to wait for the damned thing to boot.

1 year,6 days

Submissions

Proteus hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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The sexist assumptions of geeks

Proteus Proteus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

It's been a running joke here on Slashdot: "no one here has a girlfriend", "anyone who's that geeky is clearly single", "I believed him until he said he had a wife", etc.. I used to find it funny, but the more I see it, the more it bugs me.

See, most of my friends are women. Many of those female friends are geeks; and all of them like geeks (obviously: the set "my friends" self-selects for liking geeks). The majority of my female, geek-liking friends are single.

The most common complaint these women have is not that the geeks they meet are "too geeky". In fact, a good number of them are actively attracted to extremely geeky guys. They like shy, they can put up with a lack of social skill, and they are turned on by intelligence.

No, the most common complaints these women have are:

  1. Lack of personal hygiene. You don't need social skills to know that you need to bathe regularly, brush your teeth, and wear clothes that are clean and in good condition. These women aren't looking for fancy clothes, just ones that aren't filthy and in disrepair.
  2. Posturing. There are plenty of single women who like geeks; but these women do not like geeks who try to pretend that they have social skills when they don't. You'd not hang out with some guy who faked his geek skills, what makes you think a woman wants to hang out with you when you're faking your social skills? You don't want any woman so dumb that she can't tell you're a geek, right?
  3. Egomania. It doesn't matter that most of these women know perfectly well that the geek guys are covering their social awkwardness with self-centered behavior; what matters is that behavior. Stop it! Make a habit of answering people's questions concisely (you're a geek, you've used Usenet, this shouldn't be a problem), and asking more questions than you answer. Make those questions you ask be things that require a bit of an answer, and/or that show you've paid attention to the other person: "so, you're a reader; reading anything good? Tell me about it." See? Not hard.
  4. Lack of courtesy. Courtesy is an incredibly easy social skill to acquire. I'm aspy, I should know. It does not require the more difficult interpersonal skills -- all you have to do is constantly think "how can I make the other person more comfortable?". It's OK to open a door for a woman (and for a guy, for that matter); it's essential to send someone a nice thank-you note when they've invited you out (it's not hard: "I had a great time, thanks for inviting me!" -> SEND). Hell, just think about it, and you'll probably do better than 90% of geek guys.

To suggest that no woman would ever fall for a geek -- or that all women want the same type of guy -- is sexism, plain and simple.

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I hate the anti-Fanboys

Proteus Proteus writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Every time there's a /. article pointing out something MS did that was inappropriate or whatnot, there are the usual MS-hater comments and the usual MS-fanboy comments.

Recently, though, there's a new class of anti-Fanboys. These are people that say something to the effect of "yes, we all hate MS, but aren't we being a little hard on them just because they're MS?" Well, maybe occasionally they are right.

BUT, it seems like lately these people pop up and raise strawmen every time MS is criticized. "Why should MS be sued over including Media Player with their OS, when Ubuntu does the same?" They aren't being sued for including software, they're being sued for including software that cannot be replaced by competitors without causing damage. That's anticompetitive. Anti-competitive behavior is illegal in most capitalist countries, and for good reason.

Christ! I'm not an MS-hater, but when they do stupid monopolistic things, they should be punished. This isn't hard to grasp, but the anti-Fanboys are so obsessed with being the voice of reason that they disengage their capacity for rational thought, if it even existed in the first place.
</rant>

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The travesty of the Electorate

Proteus Proteus writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Bush has just declared victory, and John Kerry has conceded defeat. Despite my distaste for the outcome, the current race has every appearance of being run fairly, and without any serious claims (so far) of voter fraud or underhanded disenfranchisement. Bush appears to have won not only the Electoral College, but the popular vote as well. The system has worked, even if I don't like the result.

But it isn't the outcome so much as the reasons behind it that triggers the host of emotions -- from sadness on through motivated anger -- that I've experinced in the past few days. It's not the President, but the mindest of the Electorate that has plunged to new lows. We can see this in the exit polls: the reasons why voters made the choices they made.

Of course, there are many legitimate reasons to vote for Bush. There are those who believe that the War in Iraq is going well, and was justified, and that Bush is the best man to lead our troops to stabilize Iraq. There are those who think that Bush is tougher on terrorism than Kerry would have been. And, there are those who think that Bush's tax cuts truly helped the middle class, and will help the economy recover. While I disagree with all of those positions, they are legitimate and defensible. If Bush had been elected because he and his campaign managed to convince people of such positions, I would be content -- not happy, but content.

But Bush was elected for two reasons: his stance on "Social Morality" issues -- namely, gay marriage, reproductive rights, and stem-cell research -- and the perception of Bush as a "godly" and "devout Christian" president. Because of this, I have lost faith in and hope for the Electorate.

It isn't that the positions that Bush supports are necessarily indefensible. There are those with well-articluated reasons to believe in eliminating the right to marriage for people based on sexual orientation, classing the elimination of foetal tissue as "murder", and severely restricting important medical research. Yes, I'm biased. But, when people can support their positions, I'm willing to respect them, even when I disagree. But that's not what happened here.

People were asked to vote for Bush by churches -- oh, sure, indirectly in many cases, but still in fairly obvious ways. And all of this based on the premise that, because of a handful of issues, Bush is the "moral choice". Now, I'm somewhat an expert on Christian morality: I was an ordained minister before leaving my church. The issues in question are very much moral "gray areas", open to interpretation, yet churches felt they were important enough to elect Bush over.

I'll tell you what the vast majority of Bible translations espouse as absolutely immoral, though: lying, greed, the wonton destruction of human life, and intolerance. Even if we presume that Bush has taken the moral highroad on gay marriage, abortion, and stem-cell research, he certainly has not done so on more important matters.

Lying

Anyone who followed FactCheck.org is well aware of the lies and deceptions propagated by the Bush campaign, with GW Bush's full knowledge and approval. There is ample evidence to suggest that Bush knowingly lied about the presence of WMD's in Iraq (there were none), and about Hussein's connection to the events of Sept. 11, 2001 (there was no connection). Is deliberately lying to the American people a "moral", "Christan" thing to do?

Greed

The War in Iraq is extremly profitable for GW Bush and for Dick Cheney's friends at Haliburton. Even if we ignore evidence that strongly suggests the whole fiasco is a war over oil resources, to award the VP's former company (and huge donators to your campaign) a lucrative, exclusive contract without a competitive bid process smacks of greed and dishonesty. In most of our country, those attributes are antithetical to the concept of "morality".

Destruction of Human Life

Reliable journals have estimated the civilian mortality related to the Iraq war to be between 10,000 and 100,000. It bears repeating: these are numbers for civilian mortality. Even if we go with the most conservative estimate of 10,000 civilians killed, that is far more than were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But the death toll continues to go up. Over 1,000 more US citizens have died in the Iraq conflict; and their deaths have resulted in reducing our security, increasing the risk of terrorism, and failing to bring the acknowledged perpetrator of the WTC attacks (Usama bin Laden) to justice. Our soldiers are sent into battle without proper equipment, and our National Guard -- who are charged with protecting US borders -- are being killed in a foreign war.

President Bush's anti-abortion platform is predicated on respect for human life, but the lack of consideration for human life demonstrated in Iraq makes this utter hypocrisy.

Intolerance

Bush has publicly expressed tremendous intolerance. His faith supposedly tells him to be tolerant, to "love thy neighbor". But, when he stood up to say that those who practice Wicca or other neo-pagan faiths aren't part of a "real religion", he lay bare his intolerance. When those who disagree werre relegated to "free speech zones", and garbage trucks were run for the sole purpose of drowning out the voice of peaceful dissenters -- all with Bush's knowledge and support, he removed all doubt about his view of democracy. Failure to tolerate opposing points of view is not democratic, not Christian, and most certainly not moral.

Yet, despite all of this, Bush has been elected to serve a second term on the basis of morality. I have mixture of pity for and anger towards the Electorate. All I can feel for our great Nation is a great and heavy sadness born from the realization that an administration so immoral can position itself as a great bastion of morality. I can only hope and pray that those who see the hypocrisy and immorality of the Bush administration work hard to use their power as citizens of this great nation to mobilize their representatives. Bush may be President, but the laws and direction of this country are still guided by the people.

So, I admonish everyone to educate themselves on the issues, make their will known to their representatives, and demonstrate to this immoral administration that the people have the ability, desire, and will to run this country. Let's rekindle the power of our "Government of the People, by the People, and for the People"!

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Back in the Slash

Proteus Proteus writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Apparently kuro5hin.org is dead. Well, dying. No new user registrations. So I'm back in the Slash -- no more simple skimming, but actually enjoying the place.

I got frustrated a while back with the S/N ratio and went into serious lurk mode... but things really seem to have gotten better; new tools to filter out idiots, and such. :)

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