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IE Zero-Day Exploit Used In Attack Targeting Military Intelligence

ValentineMSmith Re:VFW? Military Intelligence? IE what, sonny? (58 comments)

Not necessarily. A lot of our membership is still in the Reserves or National Guard. If they can get inside the military network, they can have a little bit of fun. When I was in, all of the truly classified stuff was on an internal network that was actually physically separated from the Real World. I can't swear that this is still the case, but I'd be greatly surprised if it wasn't.

about 7 months ago
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IE Zero-Day Exploit Used In Attack Targeting Military Intelligence

ValentineMSmith Re:VFW? (58 comments)

Uhh... No.

At least, not my post. And our post (and district, and department) are trying really really hard to break this old stereotype. Now, I'm not going to tell you that ethanol isn't ingested in a VFW club. But there's no drinking at a meeting, and many of the posts in our district are finding that those that live by the drinking club, die by the drinking club. Our post doesn't have a club, and we're in a much better financial position to help needy veterans and their families because of it.

And leadership? Fully half the leadership of my post and district are Gulf War (or later) veterans.

We exist to help each other and help other veterans. Period.

The problem is that those stereotypes still persist, because people enjoy perpetuating them. And because, in a lot of instances, the VFW (and the American Legion) don't really go out of their way to announce what they're doing. They just do what needs to be done and walk away.

We just don't drop the money on the advertising campaigns that Wounded Warrior Project does. If you take a look, though, at how much the CEO of WWP makes and compare that to the salary of the VFW National Commander (and American Legion National Commander), you'll see why most veterans' organizations are pretty irritated with WWP.

about 7 months ago
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Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

ValentineMSmith Re:Smart guns... (814 comments)

I'm going to make the assumption from your username that you're a subject of Her Majesty's government. FYI: here in the States, when using lethal force (be it firearm, slingshot, katana, whatever), current legal doctrine is such that, if you shoot a warning shot or shoot specifically to only wound, you are almost guaranteed to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for attempted murder/reckless endangerment/reckless discharge of a firearm/whatever. In the concealed carry class I took, we were told that the ONLY legally allowed reason to use deadly force is to stop a forcible felony from being perpetrated against yourself or a 3rd party. So, it logically follows that you cannot guarantee stoppage of the threat if you're shooting warning shots or shooting to wound rather than to stop the perpetrator.

All of which means that if you had time to shoot to wound or give some sort of warning shot, the threat was not violent enough to justify shooting at all.

about a year ago
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FAA Wants All Aircraft Flying On Unleaded Fuel By 2018

ValentineMSmith Re:Who's going to pay for it? (366 comments)

I went to a local airshow a couple of weeks ago, and saw a brand new Cessna 180. They're moving to Jet A now as a fuel.

http://www.cessna.com/single-engine/turbo-skylane-jta

I expect that they're really going to start trying to push engine manufacturers to develop drop-in replacements for older engines, and then just force replacement of the engine during annual.

about a year ago
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Linux Fatware: Distros That Need To Slim Down

ValentineMSmith Re:Ubuntu Core (299 comments)

And Debian is French for "I can't configure Slackware." :)

about a year ago
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Yokohama Accidentally Tweets That NK Missile Is Inbound

ValentineMSmith Re:My fellow Americans (131 comments)

I can remember my parents laughing when that happened, and I can remember the news (for some reason, ABC News REALLY sticks in my mind) was REALLY offended and angry.

Which may have been part of the reason my folks were laughing so hard.

about a year ago
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Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

ValentineMSmith Re:Why? (761 comments)

Actually, I was agreeing with you. It's unfortunate that the illiterate folks doing the interpreting right now are doing it in a silly, stupid way. And it's actually Congress that's the bigger problem. They're the ones that are writing these laws. I'm surprised more of them aren't challenged than they are.

But then, when they ARE challenged, the appellate courts turn a blind eye to it, so in that case your comment about the courts is on point.

about a year and a half ago
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Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

ValentineMSmith Re:Why? (761 comments)

Frankly, I agree with you, but there's that pesky old Eighth Amendment:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Frankly, I don't think that a few days in the stocks (as opposed to 10 years in prison) would be cruel. In this day, however, it would be very "unusual".

And yeah, I know that they weren't using "unusual" in that sense. The problem in this country is that the 8th Amendment has been the most pesky of the amendments to work with. When it first came out, they were trying to ban things like breaking someone on the wheel.

Unfortunately, its got to the point now that people complain that capitol punishment using the same anesthesia used during surgeries is "cruel and unusual", because the condemned might suffer a tiny bit of discomfort somewhere.

I'm sure at this point, Franklin and Jefferson are looking down at us and sadly shaking their heads.

about a year and a half ago
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Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

ValentineMSmith Re:And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (243 comments)

I'd very much like you to use the real Constitution. Either you skimmed my post and misread what I said, or are misreading the Constitution yourself. Start with Article 1, section 8. That section very clearly delineates what CONGRESS can do, and Congress very clearly did not have the authority to give the handouts out the way they were given. That's why Congress appropriated the money and gave it to the President. Unfortunately, Article 2 (which governs the Executive) is not nearly as specific. So, in this instance, everything that was done was "Constitutional" in that Congress didn't appropriate the money and give it directly to everyone with their hat out. They used the Executive branch as a cutout to do it.

However, if you read Article 1, sections 8 and 9, you'll get a sense of where the founding fathers expected the Federal government to take the country. Heck, even read the 10th Amendment while your at it. Arguably, those three items together should produce a much weaker Federal government than we have now. But instead, folks like you, and your Congressmen and -women, have managed to convince youselves (and enough of the Supreme Court) that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people", along with "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" to get a situation where we have people fined under the interstate commerce clause because the grew too much wheat for their own use.

To a certain extent, I'll admit that the example above was a bit of a straw man in that it didn't deal directly with case at hand. But it's an example of the abuse that the Constitution sees on an ongoing basis. And while the bailouts didn't violate the word of the Constitution (due to the unregulation of the executive branch), I maintain they violated the spirit.

about a year and a half ago
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Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

ValentineMSmith Re:And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (243 comments)

Well, I'm glad you think that actually holding the government of the U.S. to the concepts expressed at its founding is "sheer stupidity."

Regardless of what you think (and frankly, regardless of what has happened historically with any of the active parties going back to the Whigs and Democrats), it is not the business of the government to invest, or to make a profit based on any perceived return on investment. There are several reasons for that:

1: It ain't Congress' job. See the Constitution (but we've covered that).
2: Once the government (in whichever branch) starts doing things like this, it's going to, by definition, be picking winners and losers. Let's say Larry Ellison decided to start up a new electric car company. Do we give him money as well? If we do, how far down the chain do we go when Bill Gates and the ghost of Steve Jobs show up with their new companies as well? If not, then we've given one (or more, depending on how far down the chain we got) an unfair advantage over the have-nots at taxpayer expense. Given all the squawking about making sure government is "fair" these days, that seems a bit counterproductive.
3: As romanval said, "traditional investors stayed away from" Musk. Why? Because it was a very risky investment. Great. We got our money back (and some profit to boot). In theory (this was just the press release: Musk hasn't actually paid us back yet). It does not strike me that loaning money to an entity that traditional investors are avoiding is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

Frankly, this is like a mother frog-marching her son back into a store to return the candy he stole, and then try to say, "It's all okay now. You got it all back, and here's a dime for your trouble."

about a year and a half ago
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Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

ValentineMSmith Re:And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (243 comments)

Yep. You're entirely correct. And the Federal Government had no business bailing out the banks and the rest, either.

about a year and a half ago
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Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

ValentineMSmith And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (243 comments)

The US Government has no business playing venture capitalist to Elon Musk or anyone else. The power to act give loans to business ventures is NOT in the powers enumerated in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution. So, they went to the executive branch instead, and managed to get some money from DoE's slush fund. If they want money, they should be doing it the old-fashioned way: going to REAL venture capitalists, selling common or preferred stock, or raiding Elon's piggy bank. I'm happy that they're gonna pay back the loan 5 years early, but that doesn't change the fact that the loan should never have been made in the first place.

about a year and a half ago
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What Debris From North Korea's Rocket Launch Shows

ValentineMSmith Re:North Korea (223 comments)

China wasn't really that interested in saving Kim Il Sung's hiney back in the '50's. China got involved in the Korean war because 1) they felt they needed a buffer zone between a US-sponsored South Korea and their borders, and, perhaps more to the point, 2) Mao Zedong didn't just hold grudges. He cherished them, and he was still nine kinds of annoyed at the US for backing Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War. Yeah, Koreans fought during the Chinese Civil War, but Mao was never one to be grateful enough for someone to do something against his interest in thanks.

about a year and a half ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

ValentineMSmith Re:How to get safer guns to the market (1013 comments)

The irony of this post, along with your signature about DRM, is absolutely staggering.

As you state, we can't come with a technology that effectively prevents unlawful use of a frigging MP3 while not overburdening the lawful licensor thereof, and yet you turn right around and think you can do the EXACT SAME THING with a firearm?

No thanks. I'll keep my 110 year old design.

about a year and a half ago
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Bradley Manning (WikiLeaks Source) Given Hearing After 2 Years In Jail

ValentineMSmith Re:... likely outcome (369 comments)

That comes with caveats as well. The service member CANNOT do so in an official capacity or in uniform (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch_Act_of_1939 for more information). Political speech is even more restricted by tradition. Technically, as long as the service member is on his own time, in civvies, and not attempting to attach his/her political work to his/her office or station in the military, everything is okay.

For enlisted service members, that's what generally occurs.

For officers, there's an unwritten code (and, like most unwritten codes, fairly rigorously - if unofficially - enforced) that the officers' corp should be apolitical, to the extent that there's a pretty strict inverse correlation between the grade of officer and the likelihood that they even vote. Civillian control of the military is drummed in from the first to the last, and, for an officer, voting comes uncomfortably close to having the military take control of itself.

All of which is beside the point, of course. PFC Manning's right to free speech stopped when he publicly leaked classified information. If he had problems with the morality of what he was doing, he should have addressed them through the chain of command. If that failed, he should have addressed them through his local congresscritter. If that failed, then maybe he should have realized that he was a PFC in a war zone, and maybe not privy to all of the information required to make an intelligent disposition of the classified data of which he was a custodian.

about 2 years ago
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Bradley Manning (WikiLeaks Source) Given Hearing After 2 Years In Jail

ValentineMSmith Re:... likely outcome (369 comments)

You are both correct and incorrect. Service members do relinquish SOME constitutional rights. Most notably the right to free speech. In some circumstances the right against double jeopardy does not apply either (you can be tried in a civilian court (or foreign court), and then be tried under the UCMJ for the same offense if the military chain of command feels it is warranted). Granted, USUALLY the chain of command will not press charges against a service member if that service member is already charged with the crime in another jurisdiction.

In this case though, you are correct. PFC Manning has a right under Article 10 to "... inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.", along with an Article 13 right against "... be[ing] subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline."

I do not know PFC Manning, and am unfamiliar with his case other than what I've read and seen in the news. I do not know if the Army is guilty of the allegations PFC Manning has brought or not (unfortunately, a good chunk of the media is demonstrably anti-Military in that they love soldiers, but hate the institution), so expecting evenhanded coverage here is, in my opinion, expecting too much. I hope that the Army is not guilty, as I'd like every 'i' to be dotted and 't' to be crossed when they lock him up for the rest of his life for what he's done.

about 2 years ago
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Study Says E-prescription Systems Would Save At Least 50k Lives a Year

ValentineMSmith Re:Before Windows Vista there was... (134 comments)

I actually work (both then and now) with the guy that wrote the first iteration of VA's BCMA system in Topeka back in the mid-'90s. The original was a VA class 3 product that used handheld laser scanners with built-in VT220 LCD screens.

Second System Effect took over, and we ended out going from a handheld laser to a pushcart with a permanently mounted laptop with a laser scanner (as the next version was a Win 3.1/Delphi client that used the Broker). At that point, Central Office got a whiff of it and the rest, as they say, is history.

VA's stuff has always been public domain (since taxpayers pay for the development), and anyone can file a FOIA request for the software. It will be interesting to see how well the current push to truly Open-Source VistA actually works, though.

more than 2 years ago
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Tanks Test Infrared Camouflage Cloak

ValentineMSmith Re:Scratching head ... (309 comments)

Um...

I typically don't respond to AC's, but someone may read this and actually decide you know what you're talking about. Apache pilots do NOT use image intensifier night vision devices. They use the TADS (Target Acquisition and Designation System) and PNVS (Pilot's Night Vision System), which are both mounted in turrets in the front of the aircraft. These turrets contain true IR sensors, which display the image in a mini-Heads Up Display known as the monocle, which clips to the right side of the pilot's/CPG's helmet.

Other helicopters in the army's inventory use image intensification, but the Apache doesn't (NB: I'm not sure about the Super Cobras, but IIRC, those are all used by the USMC at this point).

more than 2 years ago
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Tanks Test Infrared Camouflage Cloak

ValentineMSmith Re:How do they cool them that much? (309 comments)

Actually, if you look at a tank in thermals, the hottest thing you're gonna see is the roadwheels. The engine isn't nearly as hot. Those roadwheels get a metric buttload of friction from the tracks (which is the main reason that tank tracks have such a limited life expectancy: you'll get something like 5-10 TIMES the wear out of your car tires than an M1 does with its tracks).

However, tankers prefer to operate head-on with their enemy. All of the armor on a tank is thickest/most protective on the head-on aspect. And, with that aspect, cloaking the heat wouldn't be that bad a problem (and yes, I know the TFA showed it on a Challenger's skirts).

more than 2 years ago
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Tanks Test Infrared Camouflage Cloak

ValentineMSmith Re:And presumably this can be defeated by... (309 comments)

FYI: there ain't no such animal. The searchlight that you were seeing on the M60 was IR based, and was used by the light-amplification night vision sight used then. As an aside, the M60A3 was far enough behind the times that it had to use "frog eyes" to get the range to an enemy tank before shooting: the "frog eyes" were visible immediately above the smoke grenade launchers on the turret of the second picture on the first page of the link you sent. They actually had to use trig and parallax to determine the range before the M1 brought out the laser range finder (the M60A5 incorporated the laser range finder as well as a few of the other goodies that came out on the M1).

The first flight M1 included a true thermal night vision system for the gunner, which allowed them to shoot at night without lighting off a big "Shoot Me, Please" sign on top of the tank. The driver and loader both had light amplification viewers that could be swapped into one of the periscope mounts at night. These LA viewers worked on ambient light only (they came with IR filters for the tanks' headlights, but I think we only used 'em once or twice).

I changed my MOS from 19K to 67R before we got M1A1's (much less M1A2's, if that tells you how old I am), but IIRC, the M1A2 has a second thermal viewer that allows the TC (tank/track commander) to operate independently of the GPS, allowing hunter/killer ops between the TC and gunner. There were rumors that they were going to include true thermal systems for the driver and loader, too, but I don't personally know if that came to pass.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Axes Money

ValentineMSmith ValentineMSmith writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ValentineMSmith (670074) writes "El Reg notes that Microsoft has pulled the plug on it's Money group of products. Microsoft blames "banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances". Therefore, boxed sets in stores will no longer be sold after the end of the month, and all product activations must take place before Jan 31, 2011.

Fortunately, in addition to Intuit, several other companies make personal finance software (Moneydance comes immediately to mind, and, if you're of a Mac bent, iBank is available as well)."

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