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Comments

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US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

belmolis Re:Obama desperate to get Snowden (176 comments)

That article doesn't discuss this scenario at all. It neither supports nor refutes the GP.

about three weeks ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

belmolis Re:Or, you could... (405 comments)

Some publishers already CAN'T sell through Amazon. For example, I have a book that is published by the College of New Caledonia. My book is not available through Amazon because Amazon demands a huge discount (70%, as I recall) from all publishers, including non-profits like this one. In order to sell its books through Amazon, they would have to hugely increase the retail price so that the heavily discounted amount they would receive from Amazon would cover their costs.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?

belmolis Re:Don't. (408 comments)

That's 150 euros, about US$225, per box, not total. It is understandable why he would balk at that.

about 2 months ago
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The Guy Who Unknowingly 'Live-Blogged' the Bin Laden Raid

belmolis Re:"Three years ago today" (142 comments)

Are you kidding? The Russians waited until the Japanese were on their last legs so that they could grab some Japanese territory. The Russians weren't much of a threat - they were exhausted by the war with Germany.

about 3 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

belmolis no flight involved? (230 comments)

When I was a grad student at Bell Labs in 1983, a senior programmer told me about how she first programmed, when the labs were in New York City. She would write her program VERY carefully, punch the cards, put them in her briefcase, and fly to Washington, D.C. where she had access to a computer. She would give the deck to the attendant, wait a few minutes, receive her output, go back to the airport, and fly back to New York.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

belmolis Algol 68 (247 comments)

How about C. H. Lindsey's Informal Introduction to Algol 68? Obviously he isn't going to be using Algol 68, but this is beautifully and wittily written, describes a language with some interesting features, and has a very unusual two-dimensional organization.

about 3 months ago
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NIST Removes Dual_EC_DRBG From Random Number Generator Recommendations

belmolis Re:What's the cost to use a real rng vs psudo (86 comments)

A technique I've seen used for scientific purposes is to run a Zener diode in the high slope region and subtract DC, leaving a residue of quantum noise. I would think that with current technology such a package could be very small and cheap, though I don't know what is involved in reshaping the spectrum from 1/f in hardware.

about 3 months ago
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Reinventing the Axe

belmolis price? (217 comments)

I wonder why it is so insanely expensive (US$250). That won't help it catch on.

about 3 months ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

belmolis Re:Over 18 (632 comments)

No. The heirs are not responsible for the debts of the estate. The debts are paid by the executor out of the assets of the estate. The heirs are paid out of what remains of the estate. If the debts exceed the assets, the heirs receive nothing, but they do not assume any part of the debt.

about 3 months ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

belmolis Re:Over 18 (632 comments)

Actually, no. The debts of the deceased are paid out of the estate. The heirs are paid out of the remainder of the estate. The heirs do not inherit the debt. If the estate is not sufficient to satisfy the debt, the heirs may receive nothing, but they never inherit any debt.

about 3 months ago
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GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

belmolis Re:Hero ? (236 comments)

What you are describing is the fact that software and to a considerable extent computer hardware do not follow standards comparable to those used in better established areas of engineering.

about 4 months ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

belmolis Re:So you CAN buy a license to speed (325 comments)

People who give to a charity for good reasons do not need special identification on their vehicles to let the police know that they deserve special treatment.

about 4 months ago
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MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

belmolis precedent (97 comments)

We don't have to speculate. California law severely limits the enforcement of non-competes. It seems to work well there, so it probably will in Massachusetts.

about 4 months ago
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To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer

belmolis Re:Bunk! (179 comments)

According to my physician father, the first proven case of an environmental cause for cancer was that of smoked meat and fish in Iceland causing colon cancer. This is a long established relationship, not a recent fad.

about 4 months ago
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Linux Developers Consider On-Screen QR Codes For Kernel Panics

belmolis simple approach (175 comments)

How about a slight modification of a classic: Just change the background color of the display. Even 1 byte RGB gives you 256 messages. (I guess lighting would affect this.)

about 4 months ago
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The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery

belmolis Re:Does it really cost $100k? (461 comments)

The other issue is, though, how much would such a system contribute to flight safety. Information about what went wrong may contribute in the long term to flight safety, but in the short term such systems won't prevent crashes. They will just tell us where to look for the bodies.

about 5 months ago
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Kentucky: Programming Language = Foreign Language

belmolis Re: headline fix (426 comments)

Actually, as I understand it, the lack of support for Unicode is a deliberate security measure. The fear is that including some "characters" would damage the page, and that, of course, malicious posters would take advantage of this.

about 6 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

belmolis teacher competence (399 comments)

While some teachers are just plain incompetent or ignorant, that is not the only factor leading to poor performance. Here are several more: (a) teacher training is poor. Far too much time is devoted to topics like philosophy of education and social issues, too little to things like subject knowledge, normal and abnormal language acquisition, how to teach reading, and so forth. For example, I know of teacher education programs in which teachers, including those destine to be elementary school teachers, are not taught how to teach children to read, which is probably the single most important thing they do. In one case, as part of a seminar, the students read and discussed two papers on approaches to the teaching of reading; that was the entire extent of their training in how to teach reading! (b) excessive diversity of students is very difficult for a teacher to deal with. You only have the time and resources to individualize instruction so much. If the students are at very different levels, even a good teacher can't do a good job. The mainstreaming of students with disabilities has exacerbated this problem. I don't mean to suggest a return to rigid tracking or to dumping all special needs kids in separate classes or schools, but we need some combination of classes that are more homogeneous as to level and ability together with adequate support (in the form of teachers' aides and other resources) for special needs students. (c) school administrations and government departments of education often impose poor curricula and materials. Greater competence and less political interference in the education bureaucracy would be a boon.

about 6 months ago
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In Greece, 10 Months In Prison For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page

belmolis Re:Violation of ECHR (324 comments)

Actually, freedom of speech is intended to protect people who, by their speech, upset other people. Otherwise virtually any expression of an unpopular view could be prosecuted since somebody would be upset by it. The Holy Thursday and Good Friday liturgies of the Greek Orthodox Church to this day ascribe to Jews such as myself the guilt for the death of Christ. Naturally, we find this upsetting. Do you think that the Greek Orthodox Church and its priests should be prosecuted? That is why in countries with strong protection for freedom of expression there are strict limitations on the ability to retaliate for speech, e.g. requiring that defamation be objectively false in order to be actionable.

about 6 months ago
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Ancient Pompeii Diet Consisted of Giraffe and Other "Exotic'" Delicacies

belmolis exotic (172 comments)

Sea urchins aren't exotic for Italy. They may be considered an exotic food in North America, but they're indigenous to the Mediterranean and eaten in the region.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Nevada demands $10K for man to see his children's school records

belmolis belmolis writes  |  about 3 months ago

belmolis (702863) writes "The state of Nevada is demanding $10K for a man to see the school records of his four children. They claim that the state's database is not designed to produce reports on individual students. The fee is based on the claim that doing so will take 120 hours of programmer time. Is their system really so strangely designed or this an attempt to avoid providing the information? In any case, it would seem that the query would only have to be written once and could then be used for any other parent's request, so the cost should arguably be amortized over multiple requests."
Link to Original Source
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Canada to Adopt On-Line Voting?

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

belmolis writes "Here in Canada we have an old-fashioned paper ballot voting system that by all accounts works very well. We get results quickly and without fraud. Nonetheless, Elections Canada wants to test on-line voting. Is it worth trying to fix a system that isn't broken?"
Link to Original Source
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Is Algeria Deleting Facebook Accounts?

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

belmolis (702863) writes "Algeria is reported to be shutting down ISPs and deleting Facebook accounts in an effort to prevent anti-government protests from escalating as they did in Egypt. Is it likely that they are deleting FB accounts? Unless Facebook is cooperating, this would either require hacking FB to obtain administrator privileges or cracking the password of each account they wish to delete."
Link to Original Source
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US to require FM radio reception by cell phones?

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

belmolis writes "The National Association of Broadcasters is reported to be lobbying Congress to require the inclusion of FM radio receivers in all cell phones. No public benefit from this requirement is mentioned — this appears to be a pure cash grab by the broadcasters and their friends at the RIAA, with whom they have already reached an agreement regarding royalties. The FM chips apparently only cost $1, but they do take up space and add weight, and FM antennas will presumably make phones bulkier than necessary."
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Recovering cell phone video of police killing

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 5 years ago

belmolis writes "Vancouver police recently shot and killed a man whom they claim was advancing aggressively. Bystander Adam Smolcic says that he recorded the incident on his cell phone and contradicts the police account. He reports that shortly after the incident, a police officer took his phone and examined it for several minutes. When he returned it, the video was gone. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association reports that the three data recovery firms that it has had examine the phone have been unable to recover the video or to confirm or deny whether it was ever present.

How difficult is it to recover a freshly erased video from a cell phone? Should it be possible to tell whether it was present but erased?"
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What do you think of Freshmeat 3?

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 5 years ago

belmolis writes "Freshmeat has recently undergone a major revision. Most people seem to like the new look, but the functionality is arguably worse. Complaints include the elimination of both raw statistics (subscriptions and hits) and derived statistics (popularity and vitality), the replacement of ratings with an unexplained up-and-down voting system, the need to click several times to obtain information, the invisibility of URLs, the use of fixed-width pages, and the replacement of trove categories with tags. So what do you think? Is the new Freshmeat better or worse? Has it traded functionality for eye candy? What's good, what's bad?"
Link to Original Source
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Cyberwarfare in International Law

belmolis belmolis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

belmolis writes "If the CIA is right to attribute recent blackouts to cyberwarfare (Slashdot story), cyberwarfare is no longer science fiction but reality. In a recent op-ed piece and a detailed scholarly paper, legal scholar Duncan Hollis raises the question of whether existing international law is adequate for regulating cyberwarfare. He concludes that it is not:

Translating existing rules into the IO context produces extensive uncertainty, risking unintentional escalations of conflict where forces have differing interpretations of what is permissible. Alternatively, such uncertainty may discourage the use of IO even if it might produce less harm than traditional means of warfare. Beyond uncertainty, the existing legal framework is insufficient and overly complex. Existing rules have little to say about the non-state actors that will be at the center of future conflicts. And where the laws of war do not apply, even by analogy, an overwhelmingly complex set of other international and foreign law rules purport to govern IO.


and proposes a new legal framework."

Link to Original Source

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