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Comments

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Preventative Treatment For Heartbleed On Healthcare.gov

Ungrounded Lightning Grandparent had it right. (74 comments)

The word you are looking for is "preventive".

No, it's not. The usage you're complaining about is perfectly valid.

"Preventative" has been in use since 1666 as an alternate pronunciation and spelling for "preventive".

In some regions (including where I grew up - almost in the center of the region natively speaking the "radio accent", which has been the de facto standard speech for the U.S. since the advent of commercial broadcasting) it is the preferred form.

If you want to be a spelling NAZI, you should avoid being provincial about it. Check the online dictionaries before correcting others, to distinguish between being helpful and imposing your local speech on others.

Unlike French ("a dead language spoken by millions"), American English does not have a regulatory body prescribing an official standard (though some educators have tried, since at least Daniel Webster). It grows and changes by usage. Dictionaries play a game of catch up and try to document how it's realy used.

(Yes, I know how it grates on your nerves when someone uses a different spelling or pronunciation than you're used to. I feel the same way when my wife pronounces "legacy" as if she was talking about a ledge. But apparently that's actually the first pronunciation listed in The Oxford.)

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

Ungrounded Lightning Re:Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk (167 comments)

(Slashdot timed out on me and I lost the start of my post.)

As built the skywalk was so overloaded that eventual collapse was possible even without any load. Naturally when it did fail it would be at a time when both the upper and lower skywalks were heavily loaded with people, and the floor crowded below. 114 died, 216 were injured - many seriously.

Of course loads on things like bridges and skyways vary a lot. You can expect them to go in times of high load, which happens to be when there are a lot of people around to be injured or killed.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

Ungrounded Lightning Re:Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk (167 comments)

n this case it failed when there was a celebration in progress. The ground floor level was crammed with dancing people and the crowd had overflowed onto the skywalks. Pogo dancing was current at the time, and apparently the failure occurred when people on the bridges, synchronized by the live music, were jumping up and down in unison. (It's the inverse of the way soldiers are required NOT to march in step when crossing a bridge.)

Thus you can expect such structures to go when there are a lot of people around to get hurt.

(Interestingly, a crowd of people is MUCH more of a load, even without synchronized jumping, than vehicular traffic. San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was reported to have had its greatest load ever during its anneversary, a few years back. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and the public invited to hike over it. Normally the bridge span has a substantial arc. This stretched the springy cables and broght the span down until it was flat.

During the planning the load on the bridge had been anticipated and computed to be safe. But there were plenty of boats standing by to try to save people if the deck DID collapse, and the people had been warned of the possibility and asked not to dance or walk in step.

yesterday
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Ungrounded Lightning The courts are a different branch and not elected. (805 comments)

then why the recent decision ... that allowed individuals to contribute directly to *all* candidates, with no overall cap on contributions?

Because it'a a SUPREME COURT decision. We have three branches of government and only two are elected.

The supremes are appointed, for life (subject only to impeachment for high crimes, like the president). They have no re-election issues and can vote their mind without affecting their own tenure.

The court has repeatedly struck down campaign spending restrictions, because they're limits, not just on free speech, but on the POLITICAL speech that is the reason it is an enumerated right in the first place.

But it takes a while for a law to produce enough damage to give someone standing to challenge it, and to bring it to the supremes, and then they rule narrowly. Then, once a piece is struck down, Congress just turns around and does another version of it to evade the details of that decision, and the cycle starts over.

There are under 700 people that hit the max last time around, do you seriously think that decision will benefit the grass roots? Sounds to me like it's aimed squarely at giving the oligarchs more influence.

Of course it's the rich are the first who are bit and who have the resources to bring the suit. That's part of why the limits end up off the rich (like Soros) first, while they're still hobbling everybody else.

It isn't just the limits themselves that are an issue. There's all the reporting requirements, publication requirements, time limits, and maze of details that make compliance hard.

It's hard for candidates: They need a substantial political machine right off the bat. Getting dinged for campaign finance violations is costly, may involve jail time, DOES involve court time, and produces publicity that tarnishes the candidate's image and hurts his chances in future elections. This gives the professional politicians, especially incumbents with the machine in place, a massive advantage over any grass-roots upstarts trying to replace them.

And it can bring on reprisals against donors - including carreer-killing or physical retaliation. Who contributed to what political campaigns is public record and searchable online. This is an invitation to people with opposing views to exert social pressure or take revenge. (Within the last couple weeks we saw the CEO of Netscape forced to resign by just such pressure, as a result of the McCain-Feingold reporting of a past political contribution to a "politically-incorrect" campaign.)

It's the exact opposite of a secret ballot, which is secret to prevent such reprisals so the vote can be cast in safety. Why should financial support be any different? Why would publishing the amount and beneficiary of each contributor's political contributions be any less of a bias on the political system than publishing the way each voter voted?

Further, risking a job is far more of a hardship for a little guy living hand-to-mouth than a rich executive with millions in the bank and a golden parachute. So it's another force to suppress grass-roots opinion in favor of those who are independently wealthy or well-off.

3 days ago
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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Ungrounded Lightning Can you propose one? (580 comments)

There are no reliable metrics that indicate FOSS is safer. None.

Can you propose a metric that would compare the "safety" of FOSS versus closed-source/proprietary software?

(I thought not.)

4 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Ungrounded Lightning Looks like methodology "canceled out" grass roots (805 comments)

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for,

I'm curious about what "organized interest groups" were "controlled for". Did that include things like the AARP and the NRA, the two largest public pressure groups in the country? How about the various organizations called The Tea Party?

When a lot of people at the grass roots level want to redirect the government, they often join together and form orgizations to lobby for their interests. These groups are generally what gets things done. If the study counts such organizations as "organized interest groups" and subtracts their policy impact from the impact of the "Average American", it's no wonder the latter's impact is measured as " minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant".

Also: What counts as the policy desires of the "Average American"? Are they averaging out people with opposing oppinions on government policy?

4 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Ungrounded Lightning Spending limits are aimed at grass roots. (805 comments)

You lift the limits on campaign spending, declare that corporations have the right of political speech and are now surprised that the rich people have all the say?

Actually, the campaign spending limits are aimed squarely at the grass roots.

The McCain-Feingold act of 2002, for example, was passed in reaction to the massive volunteer efforts that took down Mike Roos from the California legislature in 1991 (and caused trouble for David Roberti in 1994), and Tom Foley from the House in 1994. It makes the equivalent value of volunteer work and supplies (such as paper, envelopes, and stamps) subject to the spending limits and reporting requirements, as if they were contributions, but provides no caps for campaign spending for such people as labor unions, media conglomerates, and billionaires such as George Soros.

4 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Ungrounded Lightning Sorta like... (805 comments)

The other truth is... the American Revolution wasn't started by a bunch of serfs, it was started by rich land owners who didn't like their deal...

Like Cliven Bundy?

4 days ago
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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

Ungrounded Lightning OpenSSL can just backport anything OpenBSD fixes. (290 comments)

There's no doubt that OpenSSL needs work, but they seem to be needlessly combining actual security review with "break every platform that I don't like." At a minimum, anyone else trying to benefit from this will need to unravel the worthwhile security changes from the petty OS wars crap.

I don't see this as a problem. Since OpenBSD is working on their own, for-themselves, branch, they can fix it any way they want. If they do a good job (as expected), the OpenSSL project can then backport their fixes into their project and integrate it to their hearts' content.k (If they chose not to, someone else can chose to fork and do it, and the two versions can fight it out for acceptance.)

This is how it works in the Bazzaar.

5 days ago
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Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

Ungrounded Lightning International "ethics" (303 comments)

... as they keep saying about Jerusalem, it will go something like this: "Annexed by Russia in a move not recognized internationally."

I recently too a course titled "Ethics in International Relations" at a major college. (This was to fulfill a distribution requirement for an "ethics" class and the particular course had the bonus of also fulfilling an international affairs requirement.)

One of the first points made:
  * Which regions are part of which countries is NOT a subject of international ethics.
A fait accopli is accepted as is. (This was taken as a universal, part of the definition of the boundaries of the field (as taught), which otherwise studied many different, often conflicting, schools of thought.

I interpret this as follows: "International Ethics", as a dicipline, is an attempt by academics (and the rich people who fund them - such as Andrew Carnegie, who largely founded the field) to influence governments, primarily to improve their treatment of the people they rule and otherwise use force upon. ("Improved" being viewed throught the biases of the academics in question.)

In order to sway the behavior of rulers - especially those who are oppressing their long-standing citizens, recent conquests, or those with whom they are considering resolving a dispute with force, they have to appear non-threatening to the rulers' core issue: that the ruler is in charge. So they must strictly avoid challenging WHETHER the rulers rule, sticking to issues of HOW they rule.

So don't expect academia to support any move for self-determination by the people of an occupied region. The rulers that make the claim and have the power to enforce it will be passively accepted.

DO expect them to oppose such people arming themselves to assert a right to self-determination, or even anyone speaking in a way that might "lead to conflict" rather than passification and quiet (but mainly non-violent) suffering. Thus you see them supporting things like censorship of speech an arms blockades to regions of conflict - which are then selectively enforced and lead to "ethnic clensing" genocides by the side that more successfully evades them against the side that is now largely disarmed.

(Example on censorship: During the period where the Benghazi attack was being blamed on a video posted on YouTube, Sarah Chayes, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote an op-ed for the L.A. times calling for its censorship.)

5 days ago
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AT Black Knight Transformer Hits the Road and Takes a Hop

Ungrounded Lightning Fixed the punchline link. (33 comments)

Dang. Typo broke the first, more-punchline-worthy, Schlock link.

I'm really begining to hate the keyboard on this new laptop.

about a week ago
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AT Black Knight Transformer Hits the Road and Takes a Hop

Ungrounded Lightning Not fragile: Redundant. (33 comments)

This actually looks good to me. Most helicopters can be shot down with a rifle. They are huge engines with large fuel tanks and large, whirling blades, and it is not that difficult to get them to destroy themselves with their own momentum, height, or fuel.

I concur. Helicopters are a collection of single-points-of-failure, disasters waiting to happen. (Particularly the pilot - they have to be continuously controlled and crash almost instantly if anything incapacitates him.) Their vulnerability is justified only because their extreme usefulness oughtweighs it. With eight rotors I'd be surprised if this vehicle couldn't at least come to ground safely with at least two of them destroyed, and the multicopter approach has been under autonomous computer control from the start - made practical only by the automation.

I envision this thing's missions as being primarily extreme rough-country ground transport, with short hops to bypass otherwise impassible terrain, reach otherwise inaccessible destinations or targets, attack from above, or put on a burst of speed when time is of the essence. Think a truck-sized "super jeep" ala Superman. Being primarily a ground vehicle lets it perform longer missions and reduces its visibility and vulnerability compared to a helicopter.

Just because you CAN fly doesn't mean you DO fly all the time. As is pointed out in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary: "Do you know what they call flying soldiers on the battlefield?" ... "Skeet!"

about a week ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Ungrounded Lightning Re:Hardware requirements (641 comments)

A lot of that hardware does not have Linux drivers either.

So write one!

(Ba-dah-bing! Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.)

Seriously, though. If you're buying hardware with an embedded Windows OS as a necessary component, that's what you signed up for. Take that into account when negotiating with vendors for the replacement.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Ungrounded Lightning Just at Microsoft (641 comments)

I never thought I'd see the day that anyone would claim Windows Vista was the pinnacle of OS innovation...

Looks to me like the claim was that XP was the pinacle of OS innovation AT MICROSOFT.

After that they jumped the shark with creeping featureitis and failure to support (or provide an adequte, clean, easy upgrade path for) important functionality.

Nothing was said about OS innovation OUTSIDE of Microsoft.

There's also the issue of whether OS innovation was even a Good Thing (TM) for the users of the functionality of the time. (It can still be enabling and yet be a net loss if its costs outweigh its benefits.)

about two weeks ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Ungrounded Lightning Re:Mod parent up. Legal point for case against Son (306 comments)

... making further distribution by Sony

or their agents (i.e. YouTube, with Sony still on the hook for the money)

subject to the $150,000 statutory damages penalty.

about two weeks ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Ungrounded Lightning Mod parent up. Legal point for case against Sony (306 comments)

That is an explicit claim associated with Sony Pictures Movies & Shows. To get that, Sony had to upload content to the YouTube content system saying "I own this content. Anyone matching it is in copyright violation."

This is a very important legal argument to make in court. By submitting content to the system - or to YouTube in a way that would be interpreted as being "Copyright Sony, rights reserved" by the system - Sony knowingly made a claim of ownership.

This both disparaged BlenderFoudation's title and voided their license to distribute the content, making further distribution by Sony subject to the $150,000 statutory damages penalty.

about two weeks ago
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Linux Developers Consider On-Screen QR Codes For Kernel Panics

Ungrounded Lightning Worst idea I've heard in years. (175 comments)

And I've heard a LOT of REALLY BAD ideas.

Most of what has gotten worse in Unix/Linux over the last couple decades has been the progressive hiding of the system admimistration mechanisms - previously built on human-readable text configuratin files - behind GUI configuration interfaces and excessive complexity. (See upstart and systemd for examples of the latter.)

Now they want to bury the kernel error messages in a QR code? That REALLY takes the cake.

about two weeks ago
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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

Ungrounded Lightning Routers are supposed to be "dumb as rocks". (149 comments)

I do not see why TCP and IP could not have been created as single layer.

That was one of the major divergences from other networking schemes of the time that gave TCP/IP an advantage.

IP is a lower layer than TCP. It's about getting the packet from router to router, and is as deep into the packet that core routers have to look to do their jobs. Core routers are supposed to be "as dumb as rocks", putting as little effort as practical into forwarding each packet, in order to get as many of these "hot potatoes" moved on as quickly as possible and keep the cost of the routers down (and to drop any given packet if there's any problem forwarding it).

TCP is one of several choices for the next layer up. It runs only at the endpoints of a link. It does several things, which are all about building a reliable, persistent, end-to-end connection out of the UNreliable, "best effort", IP transport mechanism. Among these things are:
  - Breaking a stream up into packet-sized chunks.
  - Creating reliability by hanging error detection on packets and saving a copy of the data until the far end acknowledges successful reception, retransmitting if necessary to replace lost or corrupted packets.
  - Scheduling the launching of the packets so that the available bandwidth at bottlenecks is fairly divided among many TCP sessions, while as much of it is used as practical.
  - Adding an out-of-band "urgent data", channel to the connection (for things like sending interrupts and control information).
Some other networking schemes of the time did this on a hop-by-hop basis, requiring much more work by the routers. TCP put it at the endpoints only.

about two weeks ago
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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

Ungrounded Lightning Adopton would have been far slower, too. (149 comments)

If TCP/IP had included crypto, we'd all be using IPX now days...

The reason TCP/IP proliferated was because it was light-weight and easy to implement. Crypto would have killed that.

There would have been more resistance to adopting it, too.

As it was, there was substantial resistance among people and institutions sited outside the US, because the Internet was a DARPA project, i.e. U.S. Military. Other countries, organizations within them, and even some people in the US, were concerned about things like what the US might be building in - like interception and backdoors for espionage and sabotage - or just because "Military! Bad!". Including encryption from the then officially nonexistent, deepest secret, communications spy agency would have boosted that resistance substantially.

about two weeks ago
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Interview: Ask Bruce Perens What You Will

Ungrounded Lightning Try reclaibrating your (129 comments)

.... the only group I can actively imagine making use of [2nd amendment] against the government is also the group I least want to see use it against the government.

Then perhaps you should read a little history and see who has actually used privately-owned guns against their own govrernments - and what has happened when privately owned weapons were banned and confiscated.

You should also consider that privately owned guns are "used" against governments by simply being there, rather than fired.

Example: Richard Nixon is on record, during the Vietnam conflict, as having asked a think tank what would happen if the elections were canceled and being told that this would be a likely trigger for an armed uprising to overthrow him.

You should also know that there is a certain amount of posturing involved. With using nukes to prevent nuclear war via the Mutually Assured Distruction doctrine, Presidents had to put on a show of being just crazy enough to actually USE them - whether they were or not. In the case of individuals with small arms it may not be "crazy" (as in "blow up the world") - just "dedicated". But for the threat to be effective at averting conflict it must appear to be real.

Think of gun in private hands as paying an insurance premium.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Navy is funding a polywell fusion device.

Ungrounded Lightning Ungrounded Lightning writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) writes "Just noticed that the Navy has started the contracting process to fund EMC2's construction of a polywell fusion research device. So it looks like the work on Busard's design is proceeding. This implies that the last round went well enough that the Navy thinks there's potential for a practical power generation device and is willing to fund the engineering work to get to it. From the wording it appears to be a testbed for an ion injector. Seems to me that if they're trying to get the ions into the bottle they're confident that the reaction works and are going for continuous, rather than pulsed, operation. Let's hope this is also either a full-sized prototype or at least a version scaled up enough to test the scaling laws."

Journals

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New federal "security" regs on hundreds of common chemicals

Ungrounded Lightning Ungrounded Lightning writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Big brother is at it again. The Department of Homeland Security is issuing new regulations requiring reporting on, and guarding of, hundreds of common chemicals with "terrorist applications" (such as propane, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, ...). This impacts farms, universities, industries from pool supplies to medicine to janitorial, small business, startups, and the general public.

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Total bandwidth with MIMO and "smart antennas"

Ungrounded Lightning Ungrounded Lightning writes  |  more than 6 years ago

A thread in the Slashdot article The 700MHz Question drifted into a discussion between me and rcw-home/rcw-work on using multiple antennas to synthesyze multiple patterns. This allows a particular hunk of bandwidth to be reused to generate several full-bandwidth links simultaneously - either between a base station and several remote stations or even between the base station and a single remote station that itself has multiple antennas.

The thread is beginning to horzon out on my user info history. So this journal entry is a new venue for its continuation after rcw-*'s most recent post.

I'll respond to that after he posts here to indicate that he's also making the move.

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Hollywood vs. Sealand

Ungrounded Lightning Ungrounded Lightning writes  |  about 7 years ago

In a slashdot posting titled "Hollywood vs. Sealand" on April 2 2007, I:
  - Made a movie proposal,
  - Asserted copyright,
  - Offered to license it,
  - Threatened possible infringement suits if such a movie is made sans license, and
  - Directed anyone wishing to license it to contact me by leaving a message in my journal. B-)

This journal entry is to receive such messages.

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IRS rule muzzles email legislative alerts.

Ungrounded Lightning Ungrounded Lightning writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Your Rights Online.

A new IRS rule (PDF here) would effectively ban advocacy groups from informing their members of pending legislation during the weeks before an election. This would allow legisltaors ram through unpopular legislation before their constituents find out and object.

It can be applied to groups of any political leaning, but is subjective enough to selective enforcement against only those groups unpopular with the IRS bureaucracy and/or the administration. Here is an explanation of how this would work, by one affected organization.

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