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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Sycraft-fu Pretty much (428 comments)

If you tell me that the Earth is going to change for the worse, and there's nothing we can do to stop it, then my response is we shouldn't try. We should instead work on how to survive the change. No reason to waste resources trying to stop something that can't be, spend them on dealing with it instead.

Likewise if you tell me Earth is doomed, and there's nothing we can do to stop it, then my response is that we should just not worry about the future at all, and enjoy what time we have left because there isn't anything else to do.

However if you tell me that we are creating a problem, but we can fix that problem by changing what we are doing, then I'm interested in hearing what you propose we do, what it would cost, how it would mitigate the problem, etc, etc.

If a problem is solvable then it makes sense to talk about what it would take to solve it. If a problem is just something we can't do anything about then we shouldn't worry about trying.

9 hours ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Sycraft-fu Depends on a lot of things (313 comments)

The main question is how many channels are allocated for DOCSIS. Each channel gets you about 38mbps of bandwidth, though more can be had on newer standards with 4096QAM (if the SNR is good enough to support it). So if there's 4 downstream channels then a max of about 152mbps total down (upstream is separate).

How many channels can they add? Not sure with current DOCSIS specs, but the wire limits are either 600mhz for old systems, or 1ghz for most new ones. So you cold probably get in the range of 166 total channels or 6gbps or so. Of course in reality, some of those channels have to go to TV and so on.

Now DOCSIS 3.1 is adding new methods for operation and supposedly will pull 10gbps down. Not sure how much of that is tested and how much of that is pipe dream but it is what the spec claims.

yesterday
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"MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Sycraft-fu Re:"Fan favorites"? (358 comments)

It should be understood that while her looks surely played a part in her getting cast on a permanent basis, that wasn't how she got in the door. They didn't post an ad looking for female models/actresses. She was an intern on the show, working there because she loved creating and wanted to work for M5. She got called on camera to help with a myth (by providing a mold of her butt) and that was what started it.

Skill got her the position with the show initially,

Also as you note, personality goes a long way, and she has a very good one for the screen. That is why Adam Savage is a part of the show. Mythbusters was originally pitched to Jamie Hyneman but he knew, correctly, that he wouldn't be able to carry a show like that alone because of his dry personality. So he suggested Savage, who he'd worked with in the past, in part because he's a goofball.

With a show like that it takes a combination of skill and presentation to make it a hit, and that was what the hosts had, Byron included.

5 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

Sycraft-fu Re:No surprise here (170 comments)

The whole reason they made noise was the leak. It was public, so they had to Do Something(tm), There was no real surprise at spying allegations, just a public show.

about a week ago
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$125,000 Settlement Given To Man Arrested for Photographing NYPD

Sycraft-fu This is a civil case (231 comments)

So guilt does not apply. It is to determine responsibility, not guilt. There is a major legal difference, and trials proceed differently. Hence you can have OJ Simpson found innocent of a murder, but civilly responsible for causing wrongful death of the same individual.

about a week ago
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AMD Launches Radeon R7 Series Solid State Drives With OCZ

Sycraft-fu You've never ordered from a government contractor (64 comments)

Govconnection, which is one of our vendors, quite often has no pictures on their products, and minimal descriptions. Ordering the wrong thing because two products had a similar name would be a real possibility.

about a week ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Sycraft-fu No, he just never gets it in the first place (297 comments)

Diplomatic status is granted by the host country, it is not automatic. What happens is a country says "We want this person to be our ambassador to you." The host country, if they are ok with that person, says "Ok we grant this person status as an ambassador and the immunity that comes with that." However there's no immunity, and related things (like an amount of time to leave the country) until then.

Immunity is not a one-way street. A country can't say "This person is a diplomat, you have to give them immunity."

about two weeks ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Sycraft-fu Re:Desperate to have a wank. (297 comments)

Yep, prior to that, he wasn't in any legal trouble in the UK. They were going to ship him off to Sweden, because they'd received an extradition request that their courts had determined legal, but he was in no trouble there.

However, as soon as he fled to the embassy, he broke UK law. So now he's in trouble in the UK, if nothing else. Regardless of the validity of the allegation in Sweden, he broke UK law by fleeing the extradition.

about two weeks ago
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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo

Sycraft-fu No congress is usually more clever (115 comments)

What usually happens there is that you get a job with a lobbying firm or their clients when you leave. There is no direct tit for tat, it is just a generally understood thing. They lobby you, you do what they want. When you leave, they'll pay you very well to then go and continue lobbying the next guy. Extremely shady, but not outright illegal.

This sounds like a straight up bribe, which is illegal, money in exchange for a contract.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Sycraft-fu Ummm, not at all (331 comments)

Anti-virus is still extremely useful. It is not an end in and of itself, it isn't a panacea that will keep you safe from everything, but it is a useful layer of security. The only true defense that has any chance is defense in depth, layers of security. So that when one layer fails, and they WILL fail there's no perfect security, other layers stop the problem.

AV is a useful layer. It screens for known threats and good AV gets that list updated multiple times per day. So it can flat out stop any known threat from getting on a system. It can scan things as they download, before they execute, and block known threats.

That is useful, particularly against the kind of threats normal users face. They don't usually face highly specialized and targeted threats, they face something that sneaks in through a bad ad in a compromised ad network or the like.

We make plenty of use of AV at work and it has done a great job cutting down on compromised systems, and cleaning up systems that do get compromised (which generally don't have AV). I certainly wouldn't rely on it as the be-all, end-all, but it is a good layer of security.

It's also a pretty cheap one. You can have MSE for free, which has about a 90% catch rate, or for $40ish per year you can get one with a much higher catch rate (NOD32 being my preference). That's not a bad price for a useful layer of security.

about two weeks ago
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Leaked Documents: GCHQ Made Port-Scanning Entire Countries a Standard Spy Tool

Sycraft-fu Ya (58 comments)

It seems like the press has run out of new interesting things to report with regards to spy agencies, so rather than do some informed discussion on the stories or something, they are digging for shit.

Yes, we know, spy agencies spy. That is their purpose, that is the reason they get funding. If this shocks you then you've had your head in the sand. Now if you think governments shouldn't have spy agencies, ok, but that is a different argument (and you might want to look in to why they do). But acting all surprised that they spy, and use known tricks to spy, is stupid.

It also takes away from the real issue, the story that needs to be discussed: That spy agencies were illegally spying on their own populace. THAT is the story that should be getting coverage. However it seems like the press did their thing on it, and now wants to move on to "something new" no matter how irrelevant it is.

If the GCHQ is spying on other countries, Brits shouldn't be concerned. That is why they have a GCHQ. If the GCHQ is spying on their own subjects, they should be concerned, since that is illegal.

about two weeks ago
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Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

Sycraft-fu Yes (127 comments)

A game engine is a very, VERY big enterprise to make, particularity if you are talking one with modern 3D graphics. It is a big undertaking even for a company who's done it before and has a decent team of people. You will spend a lot of time and effort on it, and it still might not end up being very good.

Game engines get a lot of that low level hard work out of the way. That's why they are so used. You see even large development studios with big budgets license an engine because the cost of doing so is far less than the cost of properly developing their own.

If you want to build a game engine, that's great, but make that your goal. Build an engine for its own sake then, if you have one that seems to work well, think about using it for a game. Don't set off to make a game form the ground up, it isn't likely to happen.

about two weeks ago
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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Sycraft-fu Re:Work smart not hard (418 comments)

The whole Middle East is a wonderful argument against using exposure to war as a deterrent to war. There is generational hatred there, the wish to kill people for wrongs going back decades or centuries. Conflicts that breed more hatred and new conflicts. Violence being seen not just as a feasible solution, but the first line.

If exposure to war was such a good cure for future wars, the ME would be extremely peaceful right now. Instead, it is one of the most violent places in the world.

As you say, what it does is lets people see it as a viable option. It also desensitizes them to war. You kill a man, it messes with your head. You kill your 100th man, it is just something you do. If death, destruction, and suffering is the norm, then what's it matter if you cause some?

You can see this same kind of thing in terms of kids who come from the ghetto. You might think "Man, they will really hate that and work hard to stay away from drugs and crime, get an education, and get out." Instead it is the only life they know, and they most often get caught up in it. You get generations of problems because the children grow up knowing an environment of crime, poverty, etc and that is just how things are for them.

about two weeks ago
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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Sycraft-fu Maybe you should think of the children (418 comments)

Think of the fact that something like this might give them PTSD. Dealing with a war zone can be traumatic for adults with training, experience, and perspective. It can be far worse for children.

Also it does rather seem to be an unnecessary risk. While childhood has risks to be sure, part of your duty as a guardian is to minimize those risks as feasible. You weigh risks vs rewards, and try to find safe options when possible.

So maybe taking kids to a war zone is not the best idea. Maybe a better idea is to talk to them, watch some movies, read books, perhaps have a friend who's a war vet have a conversation.

Of course this strikes me as a journalist being a press whore. He's doing this because he can make it a story, not because he's being a good father.

about two weeks ago
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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Sycraft-fu Yep (418 comments)

The DoD has developed one video game, America's Army. It is not particularly popular, in part because they seem to be overly concerned with keeping things somewhat true to the army. You have to do a basic training set before it'll let you play, like you have to go and qualify using the rifle in game. Can't play unless you do. Wanna be a medic? You have to take an in game class that lasts like a half an hour, and then take a test. In the game itself it works similar to actual military wargames in that you always are the US Army, and you play again "OPFOR" the Army's professional opposing force (basically you see your team as army, the enemy as OPFOR).

It isn't "realistic" because really nothing can accurately simulate the horrors of combat, but it is really not something that glorifies combat. It could be called an elaborate army training simulator. Want a taste of what training in the army might be like? This is a reasonable starting point.

As you say, CoD is NOT developed, or endorsed, by the government. Call of Duty is owned by Activision Blizzard, a public company in California. It is developed by 3 teams (alternating years) Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games, all California companies that are subsidiaries of Activision Blizzard.

about two weeks ago
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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Sycraft-fu Ya I don't understand the hate on FPS games (418 comments)

Are they realistic to war? Of course not. But then, I haven't seen any games that are realistic to anything. Their point is to be fun, not realistic.

You seem to be fairly typical for the military types I know (which is more than a couple) in that they quite enjoy the make believe of FPS games, despite having experienced the reality of combat.

While not quite as extreme, I can point to myself and enjoying computer/hacker games like Introversion's Uplink. I'm a network and systems administrator professionally. I know quite a bit about network security and how this stuff really works, and I don't at all believe black hat hackers that bust in to systems are glamours, they are criminal dickheads. However, I enjoy Uplink. It is not at ALL realistic. It is a fictional version of hacking on fictional computers ins a fictional Internet. And it's fun.

I'm not sure why people get so worked up about FPS games, like they are changing attitudes on war or anything. No, they are just games, and it turns out humans really can tell the difference between fiction and reality.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Sycraft-fu We can't do unpaid internships (561 comments)

What we can do is hire students. We rarely get female applicants. We hired the last one who applied, she was the daughter of our business manager. She stuck around for like a year, but decided she wanted a job that had night hours (we are a day only shop) and left.

We also are not allowed to discriminate and offer positions to only one gender, or race. EEOC is really big here. If we open a position, it must be open to all.

about two weeks ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

Sycraft-fu It's a mental barrier (183 comments)

The result is just one of gradually falling prices, but it is one where it is cheap enough to interest more people. At that price the drives are now "cheap enough" for them.

about two weeks ago
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The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

Sycraft-fu Not from what I've seen (248 comments)

Not the fact that wifi routers degrade, you are totally right about that, but that people will replace them. I'm amazed at how shitty someone's Internet can be and they have an "Oh well, whatever," attitude about it.

A good example near and dear to me is my parents. They moved in to their current place about 7 years ago and got a cheapass Linksys router to handle their NAT and WiFi. It has been giving them enough grief for me to hear about it for at least 3 years. They are not poor, a new router is not a big deal, yet they didn't get one. So I got tired of it, and also had an easy solution: When they were visiting me this June I upgraded my WAP to a new 802.11ac one and gave them my old one, which was working great.

They still haven't installed it. It's not like they don't have time, mom is retired and dad is semi-retired, it's not like it is hard, it is much simpler to set up than their old model and they can always call me. They just haven't bothered. Their router acts up, they go reset it, and don't bother to replace it.

Another somewhat related example would be a friend of mine. He's a young guy, under 30, and quite technically savvy. He's complained to me that the Internet at his house is not meeting advertised speeds, going quite well below it. Strange, since we are both on the same ISP, and live only a couple miles from each other and my experience has been that they always are right around max. I inquire a bit more and find out he still has a DOCSIS 2 modem. Ahh ok, well that is probably the issue. Though his connection is of a speed that a single DOCSIS channel can handle (25mbps), that modem has one one channel to choose from and it could well be too loaded down by other people on the segment. So my recommendation was to get a DOCSIS 3 modem. An 8x4 modem that is compatible can be had for like $80. That should solve any speed issues since now there's a bunch of channels to choose from, and will be compatible when they bump the speeds in the future.

He didn't want to spend the money, and so just complains occasionally about the speed.

For whatever reason, there are more than a few people who will just use old, failing, technology and bitch about it rather than fix the issue.

about two weeks ago
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The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

Sycraft-fu And how does IPv6 solve this issue? (248 comments)

This is a real question: Do you know what IPv6 does instead of BGP? Because as far as I know, IPv6 is still using BGP, and that is what this is a problem with. In fact I can only see IPv6 making things worse in that regard because tons more address space means that more AS assignments would be easy to do.

So if it really does offer a solution, please enlighten me I'd be very interested. If this is just an example of trying to use a problem to push a favoured agenda, then please knock it off.

about two weeks ago

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