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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

amosh Re:Postal is an Ideological Fanatic (454 comments)

Linking to an article that uses a sentence like this:

"This is just stupidity but it is common of the combination of ideology driven faux-science (see manmade global warming) and gaslighting that the left relies upon to influence public policy."

is probably not going to convince me that POSTOL is the ideological nutcase here.

about a month ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

amosh WUWT has a more FUD take on the calculations... (441 comments)

What the hell was that inserted for? It was an idiotic point made on a site which clearly has a political axe to grind. It wasn't made well. Anyone claiming to engage in a scientific debate with the phrase "by my own observation" deserves to be laughed out of the room.

This is supposed to be Slashdot, not Fox. Why the hell was this included?

about 2 months ago
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

amosh Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (682 comments)

I'm not sure where you see me saying "And this is all okay." Or suggesting that they didn't happen. It's obviously NOT okay, and I don't think I was unclear on that. It's a gross violation of equal protection, and it was stupid to boot. But there's a difference between stupidity and a scandal.

about 2 months ago
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

amosh Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (682 comments)

You... you know the actual story, right? Not just the fox news version?

This isn't an issue of "politicization". The IRS was finally DOING ITS JOB and reviewing the applications of groups applying for tax-exempt status. They thought it would save time to, rather than investigate, just assume that groups with certain key words in their name - among them "tea party" and "occupy" - were engaged in political activity which should deny them that status. Amazing how Fox never reports on any groups OTHER than their chosen ones having had problems due to this, isn't it? Well, it's much easier to change the facts to match your preconceived notions than to change your notions to match the facts. And yelling about impeaching Obama is just so durned much fun!

In any case, the whole issue is about two things - 1. It's bad to profile people, anyone, anywhere, and 2. There is a strong group in Washington that doesn't want the IRS to be doing ANY kind of job, let alone stopping people from improperly receiving tax breaks for influencing elections. The ability to pretend it's some type of political cover-up is just gravy.

about 2 months ago
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Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining

amosh Re:Benefits for whom ? (139 comments)

I was about to post this exact same comment when I read yours. I agree 100%, mbone.

about 3 months ago
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Why Lavabit Shut Down

amosh I'll tell you why lavabit was shut down. (304 comments)

Lavabit shut down because it was founded by a moron who was more interested in living up to his glorious libertarian ideals than actually living in the real world. I understand that in your Galtean paradise the fact that you had some neat tech was enough, but outside of Ayn Rand's masturbatory fantasies, you need to be aware of the rules of the world you live in. Rules like, "Do not give the finger to a judge." Rules like "If you want something to be secure, you need to have a legal team ready to go BEFORE, not AFTER, you are called into court."

Face it - your glorious security was defeated by social engineering, YOU were the weakest link. Goodbye!

about 3 months ago
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Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

amosh Re:Yawn. (403 comments)

If so, you're living 30 years in the past. All RMS has done in that time is valiantly fight the good fight against other people on his side who don't agree with 100% of what he says. (Citation: Slashdot's entire history)

I appreciate what he did, 30 years ago. But for my entire lifetime as a tech geek, that is literally all he has ever done. And in that time, other people have done much, much more - and done it without feeling the need to attack people who generally support their cause.

about 3 months ago
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Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

amosh Re:Yawn. (403 comments)

Right. That's what Mozilla's well thought out, well argued statement was. Them "Sacrificing their morals."

And after all, it's always more important to attack the people on your side who are not living up to YOUR blessed level of total moral purity than... you know... actually accomplishing anything.

Oh wait, did I say "more important"? I meant "easier".

about 3 months ago
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Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

amosh Yawn. (403 comments)

Yawn. RMS? Attacking a much more successful group for not living up to his perceived orthodoxy? Gasp.

Thank god this is no longer a common type of article on /., at least.

about 3 months ago
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Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

amosh It is possible... (450 comments)

That the title of this story could have been written a bit more neutrally? Or more in line with the story? Or even the summary right below it?

about 3 months ago
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Why Mobile Wallets Are Doomed

amosh Entrenched interests, is it? (272 comments)

So it has nothing to do with me not wanting to trust one lick of financial data to a device which is repeatedly proven to have massive and fundamental security holes? And nothing to do with the fact that 90% of the population would just as soon leave money in a nicely-ordered pile outside their door rather than give up their wallet in favor of something - anything - mobile.

The wallet isn't "ripe for disruption." That term refers to something which doesn't work, and can be done better with new technology. A digital wallet gives me zero net advantages.

No, but keep telling yourself your business failed because of "entrenched interests". I'm sure that feels better.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

amosh Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (192 comments)

I really, really, really hope you're just joking/trolling. Because if not, I think "electricity is just wires" is my next "the internet is a series of tubes". :-)

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

amosh Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (192 comments)

But the OP didn't suggest that the money tap was being shut off - just that they weren't getting their RDA of head-pats.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

amosh Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (192 comments)

This has never been my experience. This sounds like the kind of thing a lot of people SAY happens - but I've worked at enough places, in and out of the server room, that I question whether it actually DOES happen. Does IT need to justify its budget? OF COURSE. Everyone does. Every single department, every year. But in most places I've been, IT budgets go in one direction only - up. (And in the federal space, where I've been working recently, they go up hugely, for a terrible product.) And I've never been in a functional company where the people making the budget decisions don't recognize that infrastructure has value.

The best IT shops - the few and far between where things truly "run without issue" (and I've never been in such a place, though I was in one or two which were pretty close) are like that because management DOES recognize the need for the proper investment and support for these mission-critical systems. Frankly, I'd LOVE to see a counterexample. While we love the idea of the bastard systems engineer who keeps his systems running like clockwork despite being hated and despised... that's not the reality. If things are working well, it's because there's support at every level.

Again, your mileage may vary - and if you have been in a shop where this was in fact the case, I'd love to hear the actual story.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

amosh Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (192 comments)

Uh, I live in the USA, and I've worked in IT or other fields in three different major metro areas, and a dozen or so smaller areas. I've never - NEVER - seen this happen. I'm not saying it never happens, just that I've never seen it. Major, crippling IT outages happen all the time.

I even live in an area right now with a power provider to my home (Pepco) who is absolutely awful. Never seen an electrical outage take out an office I worked at.

Your second point is a good one, though one that's easily generalizable. EVERYONE should get more appreciation than they do. Janitors work a lot harder than I do, their work is worse and they get paid a fraction of what I get paid. But boy do I bitch if I come into an office that looks filthy. (Although, to be fair, I do go out of my way to say thank you.) So, yes, it's true, IT should be more appreciated. So should everyone else.

And - if we're being honest - then we should ask ourselves if, in general, we deliver a product that's so good that we deserve commendation for it. In my experience, this is rarely the case. In the industry - IE, when talking to other IT people - we know the difference between a good shop and a bad shop. But for someone on the outside, 99% of IT shops provide a bad user experience. We're ALL bad shops. So yes, it might be better to pat the plumber on the head - but honestly, if I'm the CEO, I really just don't have time to salve the feelings of a whiny plumber.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

amosh So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard? (192 comments)

It sounds like you're upset because upper management is treating you like infrastructure, rather than the heroes you are?

You made the point yourself - nobody cheers when the lights come on, they get pissed when they go out. IT SHOULD be boring and dull. To an average person in your company, they shouldn't - EVER - care about how or why their systems work.

Do you think providing electricity isn't a difficult enterprise, requiring a huge number of highly-trained people doing a bunch of things right, 24/7? And I bet, a hundred years ago, people looked at people working in "electricity" the same way people looked at "IT" twenty years ago.

It's not 100 years ago. It's not 20 years ago. And we're not heroes or geniuses. We're plumbers. (Except that we're too dumb to unionize.) If anything, we are incredibly lucky that our uses are satisfied with the - in most cases - poor level of service they receive. Think about it - in all the time you've worked in IT, how many times have you seen the electricity in a building just go out, without explanation? Now, how many times have you seen major server outages, costing more than a million dollars in lost productivity? For me, I have never seen an electrical outage not related to a major disaster that kept everyone out of the building anyway. I have seen at least 5 outages that led to $1m or more in losses - and three of them were for stupid, easily preventible things. (Really? You upgraded both the primary and backup SAN at once, and killed the entire network for six hours when the patch turned out to not run properly?)

Take another look at your question. It's premised on the proposition that IT SHOULDN'T be boring and dull - which I disagree with entirely - and that IT should get more appreciation than it does, which is questionable at best. What's driving you to ask those questions, in that way?

about 4 months ago
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First Arrest In Japan For 3D-Printed Guns

amosh Re:Hurray for Japan (274 comments)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaha.... oh wait, you're serious. Jesus christ.

So let's take a look at the things that you're saying that aren't true, first. Switzerland - Every adult MALE is issued an assault rifle, WHEN THEY GO INTO THE MILITIA, at the age of 18 - when they are trained to use them. If they want to keep them, however, they remove the autofire, so it's no longer a "true assault rifle", whatever you meant by that. If they want to actually CARRY the guns, they have to go through an extensive permitting process, where basically everyone who doesn't have a need to carry (people in the security field) get rejected. Oh, also, you know that "murder rate" might be correlated with "gun death rate", they're not the same. Right? You know that? I'm assuming you just used the murder rate because it makes your point much better than the actual GUN DEATH RATE - you know, the number that shows how many people are KILLED WITH GUNS. There, Mexico has about triple the rate of Switzerland. I know it's not as impressive as 30x the rate, but it is - you know - relevant.

Now, let's look at your interesting and - I'm sure - random and totally neutral choice of Mexico as a counterexample. I mean, you chose a failed state in the middle of a civil war with narcoterrorists - something that (one might think) would drive the gun death rate up. And, in fact, it does - Mexico's gun death rate is about 20x what it was in 2001. So it seems what you've proved - and I'm not saying that this isn't a relevant and important point - is that laws are not magic and we don't live in Hogwarts. Mexico passing restrictive gun laws does not magically make guns vanish. I look forward to reading your thesis on this brilliant insight.

I'm going to pick out some TOTALLY RANDOM AND NEUTRAL countries of my own. Israel and Japan. Both countries with INCREDIBLY restrictive gun laws, so based on what we've learned from you, they'll obviously have ridiculously high gun death rates. Hmm... looking at Wikipedia, Israel is about half of the Swiss Gun Utopia, and Japan has about 2% of the gun deaths of Switzerland. Jesus, who would have thought MY unbiased, random and neutral countries would make the exact opposite point of YOUR unbiased, random and neutral countries? Except, you know, relevant. And without the circumstances that make Mexico a terrible example. And handsomer.

So I get that Slashdot has always had a weird subculture of gun nuts - but you can be pro-gun without being a moron. Let go of the ridiculous dogma and look at the ACTUAL FACTS that support your point. I think there's a special place in hell for people who make an argument so badly [you], it actually turns someone who supports the cause that they're espousing against them [that's me.]

about 4 months ago
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Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress

amosh Re:Extra-judicial killings in the US (272 comments)

Wow, yeah, the Russians have NEVER killed anyone extrajudicially outside of their borders. Those guys are the paragons of international virtue. (oh wait, what is this... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko)

about 4 months ago
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Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress

amosh Even a stopped clock is right... (272 comments)

Now, I will be the last person who believes that Rand Paul is doing something for any reason other than his own advancement and publicity, but... I've gotta say... This is actually a legitimate and valid reason for holding up a confirmation hearing. The guy being confirmed has some controversial viewpoints about American law? That's directly relevant to whether or not he should be on the bench. I assumed this was more stupid Republican hostage-taking, but it's actually relevant. Go stopped clocks!

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Bill Watterson (briefly) returns to comics

amosh amosh writes  |  about 3 months ago

amosh (109566) writes "Bill Watterson was the author of the immensely popular "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip in the 80s and 90s, until he retired and removed himself entirely from the public eye. Since his retirement in 1995, he has become a recluse, and has not drawn a published daily comic strip — until now. This week, Watterson came out of exile to draw the 2nd panel of three of Stephan Pastis' "Pearls Before Swine" strips. Watterson has lost none of his style or talent, and a fourth strip — drawn by Pastis alone and published today, June 7 — is a lovely homage to Watterson's ending of Calvin and Hobbes. The Washington Post has the story of how it all happened."
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A geek history of the London CCTV systems?

amosh amosh writes  |  more than 6 years ago

amosh writes "I'm a law student (and former network admin) working on a paper about the effect on crime rates of the British push to put CCTVs everywhere. There's a ton of overview-type history available about the rollout of cameras in London, and a ton of people who want to spin the societal effects, but I'm interested in going a lot deeper. Somewhere out there, there are geeks that planned the system, geeks that built the back end, and geeks that deployed it. Before hundreds of millions of pounds were spent on this, some financial manager — probably dozens, actually — had to okay those plans. This kind of data — how the system grew, which neighborhoods got it first — has got to be out there, but it doesn't seem particularly easy to find. So I'm Asking Slashdot — what do you know about the topic? Where is this info? (By the way, if you actually worked on the project, or especially one of the CCTV challenges, please email me! londoncctvstudy@gmail.com)"

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