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Philae Lands Successfully On Comet

WhiteDragon Re:News coverage (188 comments)

Having checked a number of on-line news sites, the best real-time coverage seems to be on XKCD

yes, that's how I found out about it.

about two weeks ago
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First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

WhiteDragon Re:Only the beginning (236 comments)

You can check if you've been scanned for exploitable CGIs using something like (adjust apache logs path accordingly):

grep cgi /var/log/apache2/access*|egrep "};|}\s*;"

Thanks for the nice grep work - found one attempt to get my box to rat itself out via ping:

/var/log/apache2/access.log:89.207.135.125 - - [25/Sep/2014:03:52:14 -0500] "GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.0" 404 1799 "-" "() { :;}; /bin/ping -c 1 198.101.206.138"

Fortunately I was patched several hours prior to that.

Would there be any way for that probe to execute against a static 404 page - no cgi executing?

yep: /var/log/apache2/access.log:89.207.135.125 - - [25/Sep/2014:09:26:29 -0400] "GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.0" 404 491 "-" "() { :;}; /bin/ping -c 1 198.101.206.138" That's pretty quick. Fortunately, I didn't have that cgi script, but still quite scary.

about a month ago
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By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem

WhiteDragon Re:AI is always (564 comments)

Algorithms are not AI. Everything you describe is simply a matter of following a human-generated set of instructions. That is not AI.

Algorithms are not AI. Everything you describe is simply a matter of following a human-generated set of instructions. That is not AI.

no, the difference is Big Data. Before "Big Data", machine translation, self-driving vehicles, chess, etc. were problems that were attempted to be solved by algorithms written by humans. These kinds of algorithms would be full of heuristics such as "if you are in situation X, perform behavior Y". This led to fragile, clunky code. Nowadays, with Big Data, the algorithms are more like, "see what everybody else is doing in situations similar to X"

about 4 months ago
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Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles

WhiteDragon possible dupe from 2001 (64 comments)

tech.slashdot.org/story/01/05/17/1452217/scaling-walls-with-suction-cups

about 5 months ago
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Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

WhiteDragon Re:Whatever you may think ... (447 comments)

It would be nice if they had some sort of code review in place for this sort of stuff. However, this isn't a paid project, so the developers writing this are doing arguably the best they can.

The code was reviewed. The commit log shows that the reviewer was Stephen Henson (thanks to slashdot user grub for pointing this out.)

about 7 months ago
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NASA's Next Frontier: Growing Plants On the Moon

WhiteDragon Re:Awesome (193 comments)

Personally I wish we'd just man up and shoot the appropriate organisms into Venus' atmosphere to start the terraforming process.

Because breathable Earth-normal atmosphere is a lifting gas on Venus, we could make a relatively low budget colony without any terraforming. Just send a big balloon. It could ride the relatively stable upper atmospheric winds on Venus, circling the planet every 4 earth days, and be at standard pressure, so any hull breach would not result in explosive decompression.

1 year,4 days
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Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet

WhiteDragon Re:Robots.txt (234 comments)

The Internet Archive says that it subscribes to the The Oakland Archive Policy which for |requests by governments" says:

Archivists will exercise best-efforts compliance with applicable court orders Beyond that, as noted in the Library Bill of Rights, 'Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.'

Seems like this may just have slipped past them. Let's make sure they know they need to sort it out... Surely they only removed it from the Wayback Machine, not from the archive itself.

That's actually a really good point. I wonder if there's any justification in the Policy for retroactively removing content based on current robots.txt

1 year,12 days
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Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet

WhiteDragon Re: Doesn't that kinda defeat the point of the arc (234 comments)

Not much of an archive if they delete the past because someone says it should be deleted. Even Wikipedia allows you to go back and see all changes to an article.

except for page deletion. In that case, only certain people can view the history.

1 year,12 days
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Movie Review: Ender's Game

WhiteDragon Re:Orson Scott Card (732 comments)

Enders Game could be the best movie ever, Orson Scott Card is not getting a dime of my money.

That's true whether or not you watch the film, due to the nature of his option-only (no royalties) contract.

1 year,19 days
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I wish my car could...

WhiteDragon Re:Missing Option (443 comments)

I chose Fly Through Space, since that option would also cover Fly.

Well, chucking a car through an airlock would make it "fly through space" but it wouldn't necessarily make it a "flying car" even should it renter Earth's or some other planet's atmosphere.
More like a rapidly disintegrating burning lump of metal.

Everything is air-droppable at least once --Schlock Mercenary

about a year ago
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NIH Studies Universal Genome Sequencing At Birth

WhiteDragon Re:Why wait for birth? (128 comments)

I was under the impression that there was a fairly simple amniotic fluid test which reveals gender. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that even if you have to resort to a genetic sample it still doesn't require DNA analysis, just a much simpler check for the existence of a Y chromosome - something that was discovered long before we even had the capacity to read the DNA itself.

However, for most cases, ultrasound is much preferred to drawing amniotic fluid (amniocentesis) due to the risk of introducing infection.

about a year ago
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The College-Loan Scandal

WhiteDragon Re:at some point... (827 comments)

Then you've got food, and even an anorexic will have to pay $40/week for food

Really? Your grocery store doesn't have beans? Potatoes? Rice? Ramen? When my wife was in college, she spent about $30 - $40 a *month* on groceries.
    I'm not saying it's great food, but it's at least some calories.

about a year ago
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My SSID Is...

WhiteDragon Re: A Series of Tubes (458 comments)

It would be nice if people understood the joke before correcting it. Google for robot chicken (and enjoy) - it's a take-off of Star Wars and what was quoted is a line from the take-off.

I thought it was the Family Guy parody, not the Robot Chicken one...

about a year ago
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Photocopying Michelle Obama's Diary, Just In Case

WhiteDragon Re:Email is like sending a postcard (218 comments)

Except the USPS scans an image of every piece of mail that it processes, which is then stored in a database that law enforcement can access. So in effect, sending a postcard is very similar to an email, with regards to how the message is intercepted and stored by federal authorities.

My experience working for the USPS was that the images were kept for a very short time (a day or two max) and then deleted. It is possible that law enforcement would be able to get a copy, but they'd have to be quick. In addition, the Postal Inspection Service is pretty serious about postal employees not accessing the mail except as part of doing their jobs, but I don't know whether they give access to law enforcement.

about a year ago
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Photocopying Michelle Obama's Diary, Just In Case

WhiteDragon Re:Email is like sending a postcard (218 comments)

On the other hand I think we would be justifiably irate if it turned out that the Post Office was photographing every single postcard and processing the information it contained into a permanent database.

Except that it turns out that the Post Office is actually doing that. It is photographing EVERY piece of mail and processing the information and putting it into a database. I did not examine the articles closely enough to be sure, so I do not know if that includes evaluating what is written on postcards. I suspect not, but I also suspect that the information contained in the article would not have answered the question of whether they do or not.

Postcards are *supposed* to have a designated address area, and a designated text area. That being said, people write all over the whole thing. It can lead to some mis-sorted mail if the address recognition software happens to recognize some of the text instead of the address. The post office does indeed collect images of the front (address side) of all mail, that's how it gets sorted. (OCR, and if the computer can't read it, it goes to a graphical display for a human being to decipher).

about a year ago

Submissions

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Google Acquires BumpTop, a 3D Desktop Developer |

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 4 years ago

WhiteDragon writes "Google has acquired Bump Technologies Inc., better known as the creators of BumpTop--a freeware application that transforms one's generic, two-dimensional desktop into a walled, three-dimensional, navigable display. In addition, the software is fully compatible with multi-touch gesturing as well, provided one's hardware supports such technology."
Link to Original Source
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Girl with one eye wants webcam prosthetic

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  about 6 years ago

WhiteDragon writes "Engadget is reporting on Tanya Vlach, a San Francisco-based artist, who lost her eye in a 2005 car accident, and now keeps a blog chronicling the "monocular life." She's got a real-enough looking prosthetic peeper, but Tanya's a self-described "sci-fi geek," and, with the approval of her doctor, she's put out a call for engineers to build her a camera... for her fake eye."
Link to Original Source
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WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

WhiteDragon writes "According to the BBC, scientists at Duke University have created a cloak that wraps electromagnetic waves around a target, as if the target weren't there."
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WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

WhiteDragon (4556) writes "Accordign to this gizmodo article, Toshiba has created a hybrid disc that can play in a standard DVD player and in a HD-DVD player. The disc has one layer of DVD on the bottom, a middle layer that can be either DVD or HD-DVD content, and HD-DVD on the top."

Journals

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Toshiba Creates Three-Layered Disc

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Accordign to this gizmodo article, Toshiba has created a hybrid disc that can play in a standard DVD player and in a HD-DVD player. The disc has one layer of DVD on the bottom, a middle layer that can be either DVD or HD-DVD content, and HD-DVD on the top.

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story submission: diebold security flaw worst ever

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

The folks at Open Voting Foundation got their hands on a Diebold AccuVote TS touchscreen voting machine. They took it apart (pictures here), and found the most serious security flaw ever discovered in this machine. A single switch is all that is required to cause the machine to boot an unverified external flash instead of the builtin verified EEPROM.

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missing moderation categories

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I was posting a comment, and actually read the text at the bottom explaining how to post (that I normally just gloss over). This bit caught my eye:

Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated.

So my question is this. I've had moderator access quite a lot, but I've never seen any of these moderation categories except Offtopic. However, the capitalization suggests that those are specific categories. Were they originally categories that don't exist any more, or what?

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slashdot's robots.txt

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Why is slashdot's robots.txt file allowing msn's and yahoo's indexing bots to crawl comments, user pages, and user journals, but google is prohibited? The stranger thing is that google's ad sense bot is allowed to do so.

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subtle shashcode change

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I noticed today that my page was no longer generated by a cadre of elite llamas or any such today. When did that end?

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strangeness w/ Synaptics TouchPad and Windows XP home

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I have a Synaptics Touchpad on my laptop. The driver is version 5.9 and my OS is Windows XP Home Edition (with SP2 and latest updates). I have my screen saver set to a short timeout, (three minutes) so if I am idle for 3 minutes, the screen saver comes on. The problem is, that if I am for instance reading comments on slashdot, scrolling down using the special area on the right side of the touchpad, it does not count as an input signal for the purposes of screen saver timing. That means that the screen saver will kick on, even though I am actually moving the page even at the same time! Is this just a bug in the Synaptics driver? Anyone else see this behavior?

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Interesting discovery

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 11 years ago

It is well known that posting in a discussion that you have also moderated will cancel your moderations. It is interesting (and perhaps a bug but I am not sure) that this is still true even if you check the "post anonymously" box when posting your comment.

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vague moderation

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I had a comment get moderated as "overrated". What is that supposed to mean? Was it offtopic? Was it just because it started as 2 due to my karma?

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hi

WhiteDragon WhiteDragon writes  |  more than 12 years ago

hi, this is a test of the journalling system

*WOO HOO*, I'm editing my own journal entry!!! Are comments next? I would love to see that.

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