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Comments

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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

Sir Holo What's to be afraid of? (146 comments)

Nothing to be afraid of. They're just "back-scatter x-rays."

about two weeks ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

Sir Holo Re:Middlemen (299 comments)

It's pointless to reply in a dead thread, but oh well.

FB & Slashdot are different in most every way. Let's put that aside.

Every source (or originator, conveyer, aggregator, etc.) imposes some degree of editorial bias. Some strive to meet a specific standard, while others bias on purpose, and others to maximize economic gain. Not just websites. Also newspapers, magazines, radio, video, non-fiction books, academic journals, and so on. None is perfect.

Even those that strive for the ideal of being perfectly objective impose a bias — humans are involved. A wise citizen learns the bias(es) of each source, and works to filter that out. He also reads several sources, of known and differing bias(es), to yield a good approximation of knowing "the actual story." Better yet, he relies on rely on more than just a few dailies. Monthly, long-format journalism publications take a broader view (still with bias) that helps put the daily news (i.e., gossip) into context. Also diplomatic magazines such as Foreign Affairs, books on a topic, and so on. Primary sources should always be sought-out, but even then one must filter.

That is, read widely, filter information from anyone, to gain a reasonable understanding of any particular subject or event.

Last point: My original comment was that AOL wanted to be the sole conduit users employed when using internet mail or the web. That model failed. Contemporary aggregators, like Slashdot, don't attempt to impose themselves as the sole interface to news & discussion. FB, on the other hand, is indeed pursuing this fool's goal of luring members into eventually accepting FB as their sole conduit/source, or at least the middle-man through which all goes.

My point was just to make that distinction, as it was apropos. This also implied, then directly stated (here, where it will lay unread), that a any website aiming to be the "sole middle man" will never achieve it. Many examples from the last 20 years are well known.

Oh wait, maybe this time it's different!

about two weeks ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

Sir Holo Re:Middlemen (299 comments)

Email is from one to one/few.

Slashdot is a public forum – from one to many – repeat, thread and so on. (Moderation helps.)

30 years ago (Ah, 300-baud modems!), Public Forums existed. You'd phone in to your local BBS, read discussion threads, contribute, post messages, etc.

about three weeks ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

Sir Holo It alway comes back around... (165 comments)

Best Buy was frequently called the "Showroom for Amazon."

What goes around comes around. Eaxmple:

Amazon is my "Showroom for the local library." (Also for books, before go buy them elsewhere – used – many ex-library copies.)

about three weeks ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

Sir Holo Middlemen (299 comments)

Yes, who needs a middle-man? Or, who needs "a portal to the web?"

AOL tried for years to situate themselves between individuals and ... other individuals (early web). Didn't work.

I forget who tried it next. Didn't work.

OK, just a list is enough: MySpace, Time-Warner via a reboot of the AOL idea, .... currently it's Google+ and FaceBook.

I can use email (etc.) myself, thanks. No need to run every message and page-view through a third party. More hassle, they read them, and could disappear at a moment's notice.

In future, someone else will think they force their way in to being an uninvited middle-man. It hasn't worked yet..."

about three weeks ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

Sir Holo Re:Yep. (315 comments)

It's a fun read.

Enjoy.

about three weeks ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

Sir Holo Yep. (315 comments)

Yes, N-rays were a false pursuit. (See book "Diamond Dealers and Feather Merchants")

Cold fusion also. The palladium was soaking up hydrogen, which the original experimenters (Pons & Fleischmann?) misinterpreted as demonstrating room-temperature cold fusion.

The public needs understand that un-refereed reports are not fact. Further, even refereed journal articles are not fact. It is only after others reproduce experiments and find confirming results that we get closer to "fact." Even then, it's just "confirmed theory."

Why the popular press loves to breathlessly report on recent journal articles as "fact" only confuses the matter.

about three weeks ago
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Edward Snowden Is Not Alone: US Gov't Seeks Another Leaker

Sir Holo Re:Mole? (204 comments)

meta-monkey: ... Serve jury duty ...

I do, but always get removed in voire dire due to being "too educated." Neither side usually likes PhDs, MBAs, MDs, or JDs serving in juries. Too much potential surprise factor.

about three weeks ago
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Edward Snowden Is Not Alone: US Gov't Seeks Another Leaker

Sir Holo Re:How can there not be? (204 comments)

gstoddart: ... the surveillance state has gone way beyond what it should and is undermining everything.

Precisely.

Several foreign governments have outlawed purchase of US-designed, computer-related devices.

Several are also looking into creating their "own" internet system that is air-gapped from "the" internet.

Go NSA! Good job destroying your own country's economy!

about a month ago
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Edward Snowden Is Not Alone: US Gov't Seeks Another Leaker

Sir Holo Mole? (204 comments)

The CNN talking-head calls the leaker a "mole." WRONG.

A Federal Whistle-blower is not a "mole," but simply a whistle-blower.

This is similar to the concept of "jury nullification," whereby a jury can find an accused guilty of breaking a law, but can also recommend ZERO punishment, as jury nullification is a mechanism for citizens to nullify unjust laws.

It was used a lot in the civil-rights era, but has been buried by Attys. and judges alike, leading to a lack of awareness by potential jurors.

PS – Want to get out of jury duty? Get informed, and assert your faith in Jury Nullification in open court during voire dire.

They hate being held to account, and prefer an ignorant "jury of peers."

about a month ago
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Georgia Tech Researchers Jailbreak iOS 7.1.2

Sir Holo Why bother? (136 comments)

Really, why bother?

You can buy an unlocked iPhone directly from Apple these days.

about a month ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Sir Holo Re:NIMBY at its finest (409 comments)

sjbe: Explain to me how some leftover vials of a pathogen from decades ago has any relevance...

(1) Labels fall off of vials after a decade or two.

(2) Viruses are not alive, and can remain viable indefinitely.

(3) A pathogen (e.g., influenza) from decades ago can cause another pandemic if released. No one alive will have immunity, which is built up on a per-organism basis, not genetically.

about a month ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Sir Holo Re:Thanks for the pointless scaremongering (409 comments)

sjbe: In all likelihood, nothing. The CDC handles copies of pretty much every known pathogen on the planet.

Did you read the news about two weeks ago? Smallpox has for decades been extinct, save for two frozen samples in US and Russia.

Oops! Someone cleaning out an old CDC-employee desk found vials of that and other pathogens that had been sitting there for decades.

It's known that plant seeds and bacteria can persist in viable form for millennia. Viruses, not being "alive," probably far longer.

I'm not attacking the CDC. Just you. Don't claim expertise unless you have it.

about a month ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Sir Holo COE? (409 comments)

I've known for a long time that if you want something screwed up really badly, you call in the US Army Corps of Engineers. This is not them, the "best and brightest" of the Army, but the general army. So multiply the dumb by 10X.

But what have the "best and brightest" done for us? A few examples:

* Diverted the Mississippi river by dynamiting, such that now, land subsidence on the former delta causes a retreat of coastline by about 1/4 mile per year.
* Built a seawall to protect Newport Beach, CA. It's a straight line. Do you know basic physics? Yes, deep-sea waves do indeed recombine constructively, creating monster beach-breaks (The Wedge).
* Uh, Katrina? Insisted on NO trees on Gulf-coast flood levees. Duh. Trees are what hold hillsides together.
* Katrina. Ignoring their own rules, they used landfill, construction debris, and wadded newspaper when building said levees.
* The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. These naturally have giant floodplains, hence our good farmland. COE has leveed-off almost anywhere the rivers could flood, resulting in a huge flood-risk multiplier for anyone downriver, any time it rains in the US mid-west (see above).

OK, now back up. The above were done by the Army's "brightest." The Ebola guy is being brought to the US by just the "regular" Army.

This cannot end well.

about a month ago
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Mimicking Vesicle Fusion To Make Gold Nanoparticles Easily Penetrate Cells

Sir Holo It's been done (20 comments)

It's been done already. Open access.

That is, non-toxic transfection and organelle targeting of a combination "marker & delivery vehicle" into live cells, confirmed by both optical and electron imaging. Special nanodiamonds in this case.

(Full disclosure: It was me.)

about a month ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Sir Holo Re:The Stasi & Stripes (217 comments)

How is this different from what the Stasi did?

It's not.

There is a quote from a former Stasi guy (East-German secret police) regarding the Snowden leaks of NSA capabilities: "We could only have dreamed of having such powers."

about a month and a half ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

Sir Holo Fungibility? (100 comments)

If it's not fungible, it is not a currency.

about a month and a half ago
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

Sir Holo Who ever takes an ad guy seriously? (418 comments)

FTA: "Everyone gets that advertising is what powers the internet, and that our favorite sites wouldn't exist without it,"

And all this time I thought that my paying an access provider, paying for web hosting, paying for email services (in the past), paying people for products through their web-stores, and donating to Wikipedia — I stupidly thought that was what powered the internet.

I will now dutifully watch all banner and video ads to avoid breaking the sacred "social contract" that enables the internet's existence.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Opposite of Superconductors Discovered

Sir Holo Sir Holo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Sir Holo (531007) writes "Superinsulation may sound like a marketing gimmick for a drafty attic or winter coat. But it is actually a newly discovered fundamental state of matter created by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in collaboration with several European institutions. This discovery opens new directions of inquiry in condensed matter physics and breaks ground for a new generation of microelectronics.

When they tried to pass a current through the material, the researchers noticed that its resistance suddenly increased by a factor of 100,000 once the temperature dropped below a certain threshold.

Superinsulators could eventually find their way into a number of products, including circuits, sensors and battery shields.
"

Link to Original Source
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Sir Holo Sir Holo writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Sir Holo (531007) writes "Is Time-Warner Cable intentionally degrading the internet service of customers who own cable modems, in order to force them to install a TWC-owned and throttled modem? Is this legal?

I have Time-Warner Cable service in the Los Angeles area, who inherited me from Adelphia through Comcast, and I own my own cable modem, a Motorola SURFboard. This week, my connection suddenly began exhibiting an odd behavior. A normal connection will exist, and if I use it initially (load a web page), it works fine. But then, any further usage will result in a failed connection. The connection stays off for several minutes, and eventually the modem will re-establish the connection as the line of idiot lights comes on in series. The result is a repeated, "Ah-ha, it's back on! ..... Awww, it's back out."

Upon calling Time Warner Cable tech support, I'm given a story that my modem "is on its last legs," and that I "probably have a bad modem." This is first suggested before the rep knows my account number! After "running some tests," I learn that a replacement modem is available for pickup and install from TWC office, as they don't offer a discount for customer-owned equipment. The rep does admit that it will have throttling, etc.. His pitch sounds very practiced.

Here's the odd part. Now, immediately after the call, with no "resetting the system" on TWC's end, and my same old modem installed, the connection is solid. The problem has evaporated.

As a scientist, I know that solid state electronics hardware doesn't generally "go bad" or "wear out." And non-cutting edge hardware doesn't have performance that degrades and fails over time, either.

I don't feel very good about having lost most of a day of work due to this issue. Even worse, that it might have been done on purpose.

Is TWC intentionally dropping the connection to coerce me into getting one of their modems? Wouldn't that be illegal? Will they do this intermittently until I give in? Will I notice any difference once I do? Or, is there indeed something about cable modems which can "wear out?""

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