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All the Evidence the Government Will Present In the Silk Road Trial Is Online

Sarten-X Re:if there is no evidence presented in how they.. (46 comments)

I'd like to see a reference for that, actually.

My understanding is that if the police have a legal reason to be looking where they're looking, they can respond officially to whatever they find. To use your example, if they pulled you over for speeding because their radar gun was malfunctioning, they would have had a legal reason to stop you, and a legal reason to do a basic search (like looking in the car windows for weapons). If they see a bag of weed openly, incidental to the search for weapons, they can legally arrest you for it in a completely separate case from the speeding incident. The speeding ticket would easily be thrown out, but the fact that they found you with drugs is unrelated, because it was found during a legal search (unless the officers knew their radar gun was malfunctioning, and use it as a pretense for searching cars, but "bad cops" wasn't stated in your example).

The whole flow of logic is presented nicely at The Illustrated Guide to Law, as is often the case.

yesterday
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

Sarten-X Re:Meaningless (172 comments)

"Research" sounds too official, more like "observations in our environment"

Step #1 of real science.

3 days ago
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

Sarten-X Re:Meaningless (172 comments)

I think you missed the point. Several points, in fact...

Backblaze doesn't care about one drive. Power consumption is a complicated matter, and they have a very simple plan, so it's best for them to build a full pod for testing, and compare the power and performance at the pod level. They can extrapolate that out to their planned expansion considering pods as the units of measure, rather that having to consider drives, controllers, fans, and power supplies as extra variables. That simplification is partly why they're using a pod architecture in the first place.

Reliability doesn't matter much to Backblaze, either. They store redundant copies of data, so their risk of loss is mitigated, jjust as it should be for any enterprise use of such drives.

When you ask "who cares how much data was stored on them vs how long it was in service", clearly the answer is Backblaze, because they cared enough to study that particular metric.

Now, all of this is really only obviously useful to Backblaze. They're running tests in their environment, with their design, for their criteria. Realistically, the vast majority of Slashdotters won't ever handle anything like Backblaze's system, so they have different priorities. Backblaze still released their test results, just in case anyone cares. That's why they've gathered such a following among nerds. They've repeatedly published their research openly, contributing to the public knowledge base for system engineers. Maybe somebody finds it useful, and maybe not, but it's still a noble principle they practice.

3 days ago
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Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Sarten-X Re:Helium and the density of the disc (219 comments)

"Reduce friction" is pretty close, actually.

The platters spinning around causes a lot of air to move around, as well. If that air is helium, the effects of the turbulence are less forceful, so moving parts don't need as much buffer space between them.

The individual platters don't change density, but since they can be packed closer together without aerodynamic damage, there can be more platters in a single unit.

about a week ago
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Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

Sarten-X Re:Hiding evidence (192 comments)

If the New York branch manager is required to follow German orders through normal means, I don't actually see any inconsistency in the rebuttal. The Deutsche Bank branch acts as an agent of the Deutsche Bank, and is subject to the laws of the countries in which Deutsche Bank operates - probably many at once, and probably even some in conflict.

It is the responsibility of the corporation to ensure that its legal boundaries are determined by its establishment. Perhaps Deutsche Bank is merely an investor in an entirely-separate "Deutsche Bank USA", and all executive control is held within US boundaries, with the corporate charter expressly declaring that such foreign investors have no control. It would seem to me that the New York manager could then ignore the German orders all day, because he would be under no obligation to follow them.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

Sarten-X Re:Microsoft is an Irish company (192 comments)

Well... sort of.

They move their profits to their Irish subsidiary, but the US government may still have some legal authority to enforce their will, especially if it can be argued that the Irish branch is wholly controlled by US-based entities. Those American entities may be compelled to, in turn, force the cooperation of the Irish corporation.

about two weeks ago
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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Twitterbot

Sarten-X Re: On Caring and Relevance (54 comments)

It's actually a mild form of identity theft.

Per TFA, the username was grabbed within a day of being released. It's someone's real name, not a well-known fictional character or such, so it's most likely that the new owner was trying to capitalize on the old owner's fame. Twitter's policies prohibit exactly this kind of thing, so TFA details the process the author followed to get it shut down.

It's not particularly notable to those of us who are deep in the world of security, and probably not surprising to most savvy users, but it's informative nonetheless.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Sarten-X Re:Standard FBI followup (388 comments)

Police can even pose as a passer-by, encouraging someone to steal the car, or as a chop-shop owner offering no-questions-asked cash for cars.

In these cases, the legal system is punishing people for their antisocial behavior, just as with crimes that don't involve stings. Even if the crime actually occurred in a controlled situation, the perpetrator still fulfilled the legal requirements for culpability: They were aware that what they were doing was against the law, and they did it anyway of their own free will.

Being offered a large sum of money or a convenient opportunity doesn't magically dissolve the perpetrator's free will, despite what dbill seems to think.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Sarten-X Re:Standard FBI followup (388 comments)

You ought to learn a bit more about entrapment before trying to discuss it.

The determination of what someone would otherwise have done is based on what they do, given the means (and even encouragement). All the guy had to do was say "no".

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Sarten-X Re:See me after class... (388 comments)

Yes, there are some folks who are drawn to the Hollywood appeal of being super-secret spies. Some folks just want the money.

...Then there's one guy I heard of who abruptly left his company, retired at age 40, and promptly settled down in a particularly-disliked nation with a new very-young bride.

Temptation comes in many forms.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Sarten-X Re:I hate these misleading statements... (388 comments)

No, it's called "misleading", and it's perfectly legal.

Entrapment is when the law enforcement officers don't give you the choice to follow the law. For example, if the agents had claimed to have taken this employee's family as hostages, and threatened them with harm if he didn't steal the plans, then he wouldn't have had a reasonable choice.

Rather, the agents here merely offered him a chunk of money. It may certainly be tempting, but the employee still had the ability (and the legal obligation) to decline.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Sarten-X Re:You have it backwards (388 comments)

"Greedy and gullible" makes the perfect target for actual espionage, too. Of course, even greedy and gullible people can still say "no" and follow the law.

There are proper channels for reporting such suspicious contact, and people with clearances are required by law to use them. This guy didn't. He went ahead and tried to sell secrets, compromise security, et cetera... but the key detail is that he chose to do so, rather than report the event.

Sure, he was misled. He still believed he was selling secrets to foreign nations, and chose to willfully engage in a crime.

about two weeks ago
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NSF Accused of Misuse of Funds In Giant Ecological Project

Sarten-X Re:Loss of context and common sense (116 comments)

(With the exception the lobbying, i can not think of an excuse for it in a data collection operation)

You're not thinking very hard.

"Gee, Mr. Mayor, it's really a shame that particular legislation is going to disrupt our construction. That means even more delays bringing in those new jobs and that economic boost we've been working towards. You know, with just a few small changes, that law wouldn't affect us. When's a good time to talk about that? Booked all week, huh? How about Saturday? Over a game of golf and a nice dinner? Fantastic! Glad that will work out. I'll see you then..."

about two weeks ago
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Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

Sarten-X Re:The French are the world's Standards Board (376 comments)

As is often the case, it's a little more complicated than that.

The French appreciate standardization and conformity more that Americans. Where Americans would care about getting a job done, the French care about doing the job correctly. Along with that, there is a distaste for frivolity and absurdity when those aren't the matter at hand.

about a month ago
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Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Sarten-X Re:Well that's a start... (163 comments)

I'm not sure if you're serious.

The expert system you're looking for is a "judge".

What's actually written in legislation or on a contract doesn't matter. What matters is how a judge will interpret that law or contract in the context of your particular case. Yes, there have certainly been cases where a criminal defendant has gotten away with something because it wasn't technically a crime, and many contracts have been useless because they didn't explicitly prohibit a particular interpretation.

Just like computer programs, all well-tested legal "programs" are far more complicated in detail than their basic design document. There are many edge cases and known weaknesses to account for, leading to many seemingly-irrelevant statements.

about a month ago
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A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body

Sarten-X An interesting specimen (200 comments)

I first learned about C. elegans while researching simple neural systems. There's a nice map of the neural connections available. Today, I stumbled across the name again, when Wikipedia informed me that Caenorhabditis elegans is the most primitive animal that sleeps. Now I find that there's a robot worm that I'd consider to be alive.

This guy's pretty awesome.

about a month ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Sarten-X Re:Alternative? (377 comments)

This is very much the case. Much of west Africa (Ghana in particular is mentioned in TFS) alternates between "too wet" and "too dry". In the dry season, the winds from the Sahara leave farmland covered in moisture-sapping dust, which isn't particularly fertile when the wet season comes, but it sure is good for letting the water run away downhill.

The best chance a farmer has is to have mostly-level farmland where he can control the runoff, to lengthen the short ideal growing season. There's not much land that fits those qualifications. On the other hand, West Africa has a thriving trade network, so getting chemicals and supplies is just a matter of making a deal with the local tro-tro master. Using seeds that are more likely to thrive in the harsh conditions is a pretty good bet for a farmer.

about a month ago
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Low-Cost 3D-Printed Prosthetic Hand To Be Tested On Amputees In Ecuador

Sarten-X Re:Manufacutring isn't the problem in the US. (16 comments)

So it's not exempt from environmental regulations (part 25), serial numbering regulations (subpart B of part 801, and part 830), written instruction regulations (subpart D of part 801), or reporting regulations (part 803). Then there's part 806, which requires a report to the FDA every time a design is changed. That could be interesting for a 3D-printed device.

about a month and a half ago
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New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Sarten-X Re:Old saying (249 comments)

Just as basic geometry would normally dictate, 3 satellites are sufficient to find your basic location and elevation. (There are actually 2 solutions to the equation, but one of them makes no sense because it's at some point out in space.)

This is a Slashdot discussion regarding how many clocks we need on a boat, planning on using a centuries-old navigation technique, and debating the minimal number of signals we need to receive from space, just in case every timepiece on the vessel fails. The discussion started with pithy sayings.

We cannot assume that "making sense" is a requirement.

about a month and a half ago
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New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Sarten-X Re:Old saying (249 comments)

Thanks to GPS, the accuracy has improved, but now you need four clocks to get a 3-dimensional fix, and more to improve accuracy. Fortunately, on the open sea there isn't much blocking your view of the sky.

about a month and a half ago

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