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Comments

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Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

bill_mcgonigle Re:Clipper Chip Anyone? (482 comments)

Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it....even if they have to force it down our throats.

Holder doesn't fail to understand it - he and his ilk are back for Round 2. They will persist until the liberty is removed, however many rounds that takes. Then they will move on to the next liberty that still stands. If they can't win at the Federal level, they will get it done at the State level (e.g. California's back door requirements for cell phones).

That's how government works; I guess your point is well-supported by the history after all.

yesterday
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Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

bill_mcgonigle Billionaire Computer Science Major Judith Faulkner (227 comments)

billionaire computer science major Judith Faulkner

What? Who says things like that? Is there even any semantic meaning in context of the issue? </aside>

My understanding, especially from friends still-on-the-inside (of clinical information systems), is that EPIC's main product is a SEP field.

I used to work on what was once hailed as a model clinical information system, but it was killed by beancounter CIO-types, angling for bonuses on unspent budgets, and eventually they were replaced by the clinicians who just wanted something where they felt they could get features and reliability (internal requests for such were almost always turned down by management because of perverse incentives).

Not being qualified to make technical decisions, [as I understand it] the clinicians went for big & popular, as it was felt that at least that stood a good chance of being decent. But more importantly, the internal bureaucrats were always angling for budgets and lawyers while the outside vendor is able to offer relief from all of that for merely a mountain of money. Clinical functionality is somewhere down the list in terms of required features.

yesterday
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Tetris To Be Made Into a Live Action Film

bill_mcgonigle Re:Could be Good (136 comments)

Something like Metropolis?

Metropolis was all about the imagery. No matter how good this Tetris movie is or is not, it'll all be about the fifteen minutes before - filling the theatre seats is going to be great fun!

yesterday
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

bill_mcgonigle Re:I call bullshit.. (144 comments)

Can you provide citations for this?

Everybody knows that if you grow most of your own food on a 1/4 acre of yard, it's much worse for the environment than if you hire a company to maintain a pristine lawn there and drive down to the Whole Foods in your SUV to buy produce flown in from Chile.

yesterday
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

bill_mcgonigle Re:Stop blaming the Soviets (144 comments)

nature is so much worth than farming.

So stop eating farmed food. Or stop being a hypocrite - either would be acceptable.

yesterday
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

bill_mcgonigle Re:Kill two birds with one stone (144 comments)

Obvious downside: fossil fuel use to get water where it is most useful may exacerbate the problem over time.

We know just fine how to build nuclear-powered ocean vessels. Maybe Congress can give the corporate welfare to the MIC to build iceberg haulers instead of battleships.

Since we're on the subject, does anybody know how to calculate the centripetal and gravity effects of a long-range tunnel bored through the earth's crust? I suspect there must be a maximum achievable tunnel length but also maybe the rotation of the Earth could be used for pumping energy, depending on direction.

It might just be easier, though, to warm to environment and have some of Antartica melt again, and re-humidify the atmosphere. People cannot seem to wrap their heads around the ice sheets, but if you told them there was a hole bigger than the United States filled with 500 feet of fresh water that was locked away from the atmosphere - that they could get. Even fewer can understand that the oceans have risen 120m in the past 20,000 years - geologists aren't welcome in the mainstream (pundits won't even accept those graphs in the IPCC reports).

yesterday
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

bill_mcgonigle Re:The water wars are coming (144 comments)

All the water that used to be in the Aral Sea, had to go somewhere. Today it is in the oceans, raising global sea levels by several millimeters.

I can see not reading the article, it is Slashdot, but to jump to comment before even the second paragraph of the summary ... that just leads to embarrassment.

yesterday
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FCC Rejects Blackout Rules

bill_mcgonigle Re: Going Cable! (131 comments)

eh, the NFL will probably just headbutt the FCC in the bridge of the nose during a 'roid rage and forget about it next week.

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

bill_mcgonigle Re: Yawn... (497 comments)

I know many Catholics who don't believe in the literal transfiguration of the Eucharist and think the idea is rather grody.

Personally I don't accept any theology as coherent unless it can answer questions about the multiverse. :crickets:

yesterday
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Matchstick and Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle

bill_mcgonigle Re:Graphics appear to be closed/proprietary. (102 comments)

Ultimately I cannot easily reduce this to an answer here, and probably not to one that will satisfy you.

Why would this be so hard? "Cheap hardware is more important to us than open hardware" would be sufficient.

2 days ago
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California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

bill_mcgonigle Re: Oh yes, we were (111 comments)

"You have a choice: here they are." See? You have freedom so stop claiming otherwise!

Would you like a left boot or a right boot on your throat?

2 days ago
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Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

bill_mcgonigle Re:So? (267 comments)

Sorry but if you can afford a Tesla you ARE on the fringe!

Not really. We had a 2005 Pontiac minivan. Between acquisition cost, gasoline, repairs (and repairs and repairs), and depreciation, it cost us $50,000 over three and a half years, and that was before the inflationary boom when steak was half the current price.. We had to unload it due to the gas and repair costs and ate it so hard on the depreciation.

The Tesla is slightly more expensive than that, and that was aimed squarely at a typical young American family. The 10-year cost on a Tesla model S is going to be a lot cheaper, not to mention the model 3. It's simply a matter of financing.

2 days ago
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Exxon and Russian Operation Discovers Oil Field Larger Than the Gulf of Mexico

bill_mcgonigle Re: Best outcome (199 comments)

when the US petrodollar is completely decoupled from oil it loses about 5/6ths of its value intrinsically. The subsequent run on the currency could be an order of magnitude higher. Putin knows this and so do the Chinese but don't look to the Chinese to suddenly weeken its largest single purchasing market. The IMF will likely try to float SDRs to replace FRNs as the world currency but Russia and China stand to gain little by supporting it. Don't keep your long term wealth in current financial instruments.

2 days ago
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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

bill_mcgonigle Re: Bash is a very crappy programming language. (326 comments)

To be fair, perl had these problems in the early 90's and "taint mode " was introduced to protect against them and unforseen future variations on them. I seem to recall a release of PHP in the past couple years has adopted some of the same techniques. Bash folks won't be able to achieve a great result over a weekend. That we're here two decades later tells you most of what you need to know about the appropriateness of selecting bash for this kind of work.

2 days ago
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Security Collapse In the HTTPS Market

bill_mcgonigle Re:If there's a systemic problem (185 comments)

If there's a single systemic problem with HTTPS, it's that we're still largely relying on Certificate Authorities which charge a lot of money. The expense and complexity discourages people from using SSL more ubiquitously.

I don't think that's really it - I can get as many commercial-grade SSL certs for 7 bucks as I want. I got a couple at Namecheap for $2 when they were running a special. That's a large coffee at McDonald's. I've purchased 5-year wildcards for $150.

How cheap does it need to be to be usable? For most people setting up a CA takes more time than $7 is worth.

If there's an immediate problem, it's the default root stores. Why would I trust the US DoD to sign certs for Google, or, heck, even my own mail server? A default install of most browsers and OS's will. Oh, but we should be afraid of the NSA exploiting heartbleed? Heh, ceilingcat don't need no protocol exploits.

5 days ago
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NSF Awards $10 Million To Protect America's Processors

bill_mcgonigle Re:Wow, a whole $10 million? (48 comments)

I suspect Intel spent $10M on chip R&D while my coffee was brewing.

about a week ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

bill_mcgonigle Emabargoed Bug? (94 comments)

Does this mean the open source release of Xen doesn't have the diff applied? Do customers of large corporate clouds now have a security advantage over other users?

about a week ago
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Euclideon Teases Photorealistic Voxel-Based Game Engine

bill_mcgonigle Re:Impressive but a bit much... (132 comments)

However, I could still easily tell that these were not real world images.

I was thinking they weren't blurry enough. The camera pans should have depth-dependent motion blur compensation to make the look more convincing. Since they have the 3D model, this is simply a matter of having the time to program the algorithm - all the parts are well-known. They'll be hearing from Hollywood when they get that and perhaps a bit more accurate lighting (but, hey, throw the thing on a tracing farm for Hollywood money). We're probably not too far from principle location photography consisting of a small crew with a .1mm laser scanner for blockbuster-level movies. Even with the cost of the render farm, it's still cheaper than housing hundreds of people for weeks or months. All the data in this video says we're only 7 Moore's doublings away from realtime photoreal, which is pretty darn amazing.

While the narrator is talking about a thousand artists on a game, I don't think he's implying that this technology replaces them all. If somebody needs the chandelier in the cathedral to swing ('cause Nightcrawler just ported onto it e.g.) then they will still need modelers to handle all the mechanics. But I bet this tech saves them a bunch of time on modeling and texturing. They can either do with fewer artists (the crawls at the end of blockbusters are insanely long) or the existing number of artists can do more amazing things.

I'd still rather see five fewer modelers and one more great writer, though.

about a week ago
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Water Discovered In Exoplanet Atmosphere

bill_mcgonigle Re: Va-Pour? (50 comments)

samzen-pous

about a week ago
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Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

bill_mcgonigle Re: This is huge (308 comments)

Antarctic ice has actually increased significantly in the recent cold period (see the ancient Asian maps), at the same time as desertification has been on the march. It's hard to comprehend just how much water is locked up in the *miles* thick ice sheets. And yes, of course no matter low the oceans get, humans will move down to the seaside and build settlements. Whenever the oceans rise again those people will be affected, inevitability, and they will be both the subsistence poor and the wealthy in their mansions.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year ago

bill_mcgonigle (4333) writes "Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D NY) disclosed that NSA analysts eavesdrop on Americans' domestic telephone calls without court orders during a House Judiciary hearing. After clearing with FBI director Robert Mueller that the information was not classified, Nadler revealed that during a closed-door briefing to Congress, the Legislature was informed that the spying organization had implemented and uses this capability. This appears to confirm Edward Snowden's claim that he could, in his position at the NSA, "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president." Declan McCullagh writes, "Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval." The executive branch has defended its general warrants, claiming that "the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants", while Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney at EFF claims such government activity "epitomizes the problem of secret laws.""
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World's First Bitcoin ATM

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year and a half ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "I just bought bitcoins from the World's first Bitcoin ATM at Liberty Forum. I created an account using an Android Bitcoin client, held up its QR code to the Raspberry Pi-based device's optical scanner, fed in a $20 Federal Reserve Note, and got back a confirmation QR code on its display (which I then scanned and checked the third-party confirmation URL). The machine can function on any wireless network and will soon be available for purchase by merchants, who can make a commission on customers' Bitcoin purchases."
Link to Original Source
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Intel to Attempt A-la-carte Television over Internet

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Updating the previous story, Forbes and Gigaom are now reporting that Intel is running an internal startup aimed at offering a Internet-connected set top box with a-la-carte 'cable' channel subscriptions. They also apparently plan to record everything and offer all content on-demand. While some are skeptical that content providers will give up their cable cash cow, perhaps the economic effects of cord-cutters are finally making this business model viable."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon Data Center Outage Takes Out Netflix & Others

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Many families sat down this evening to watch a Christmas Eve tale on their favorite streaming service to find a Grinch in their cloud computing service as both Netflix and Amazon Video services were unavailable (with error messages saying that their Internet connection was bad). It turns out that Amazon's East Coast data center is having yet another outage, causing a loss of service on several platforms. Other AWS-based sites are affected as well."
Link to Original Source
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Capitalists Who Fear Change

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "In his essay, Capitalists Who Fear Change, author Jeffrey Tucker takes on "wimps who don’t want to improve." From DMCA take-downs on 3D printing files to the constant refrain that every new form of music recording will "kill music", Mr. Tucker observes: "Through our long history of improvement, every upgrade and every shift from old to new inspired panic. The biggest panic typically comes from the producers themselves who resent the way the market process destabilizes their business model" and analyzes how the markets move the march of technology ever forward. He takes on patents, copyrights, tariffs, and protectionism of entrenched interests in general, with guarded optimism: "The promise of the future is nothing short of spectacular — provided that those who lack the imagination to see the potential here don’t get their way.""
Link to Original Source
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NASA Laptop Stolen With Space Station Command Codes

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "A year ago, NASA had an unencrypted laptop stolen, containing "algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station," according to NASA’s inspector general, Paul K. Martin. Also stolen were devices with "Social Security numbers and sensitive data on NASA’s Constellation and Orion programs." Since then, NASA has encrypted 1% of its mobile devices. Martin tells Congress, "Until NASA fully implements an Agency-wide data encryption solution, sensitive data on its mobile computing and portable data storage devices will remain at high risk for loss or theft.""
Link to Original Source
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Deterministic Multithreading Solves Race Condition

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Researchers at Columbia Engineering School have developed PEREGRINE, a system that promises to improve the reliability and security of multi-threaded programs by addressing what they claim is the root cause of data race conditions in multi-threaded programs: non-determinism. Peregrine works with existing languages and "can make threads deterministic in an efficient and stable way. Peregrine can compute a plan for allowing when and where a thread can 'change lanes' and can then place barriers between the lanes, allowing threads to change lanes only at fixed locations, following a fixed order. This prevents the random collisions that can occur in a nondeterministic system.""
Link to Original Source
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Cause of Redbox Price Increase? - Congress

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Following up on the previous story story about the Redbox price increases, Redbox's third-quarter earnings announcement ends the speculation. Redbox explains, "The change is primarily due to the increase in operating expenses, including the recent increase in debit card interchange fees as a result of the Durbin Amendment." The Durbin Amendment creates a 'debit interchange fee floor', which increases costs on small transactions made with debit cards — estimated to be an additional ten cents per Redbox transaction."
Link to Original Source
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Netflix dumps Qwikster, keeps DVD service on netfl

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "In a sudden fit of sanity, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has announced that Netflix will not be splitting its DVD service into a separate website.

He writes, "It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password in other words, no Qwikster." He forgot, "one queue, one recommendation engine preference set."

Netflix had previously detailed plans to split its DVD-by-mail business into a separate business, Qwikster."

Link to Original Source
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Wired Releases Full Manning/Lamo Chat Logs

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "After more than a year, Wired has finally released the (nearly) full chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning. Glen Greenwald provides analysis of what Wired previously left out. Greenwald writes:

Lamo lied to and manipulated Manning by promising him the legal protections of a journalist-source and priest-penitent relationship, and independently assured him that their discussions were "never to be published" and were not "for print." Knowing this, Wired hid from the public this part of their exchange, published the chat in violation of Lamo's clear not-for-publication pledges, allowed Lamo to be quoted repeatedly in the media over the next year as some sort of credible and trustworthy source driving reporting on the Manning case

. Slashdot has previously covered the controversy (here, and here.)"
Link to Original Source

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Controversy over Zappos Advertising with the TSA

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "A blog post from Amazon's Zappos unit talking about its advertising on TSA collection trays has recently caught the attention of TSA critics and its customers. Zappos writes, "Since the airports that have the sponsored security bins don't have to put the money/time/energy into those efforts anymore, TSA can spend the money hiring/training more agents." Do customers really make a connection between Zappos's advertising and reduced wait times for security screenings, or is this an example of hamfisted marketing to a privacy-conscious online customer base?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Idle Friends Purge

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I'm removing non-fan friends who haven't posted in two years since I'm at my limit and I use friends to game the scoring system to see more interesting posts.

Any of you who have been discontinued - send me a note if you start posting again and I'd be happy to re-friend you.

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iPod Shuffle Clone Shown at CeBit

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 9 years ago

An outfit out of Taiwan, Luxpro, has introduced a digital music player, the Super Shuffle, that's a no-tradedress-barred physical clone of the iPod Shuffle. Available in .5 and 1GB models, it lacks AAC but adds WMA, FM Radio, and Voice Recording. Playlist has the story.

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Atlantic Mega-Tusnami to Hit North America

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 9 years ago Scientists at the Benfield Hazard Research Center have determined that a Mega-tsunami will hit the coast of North America when the Cumbre Vieja Volcano and part of the Island of La Palma in the Canary Islands collapse into the sea. The wave hitting North America will be up to 50 meters (164 feet) high and surge up to 20km (12.4 miles) inland while Brazil will see 40 meter waves with up to 100 meter waves on the West Saharan shore (ILM Rendition). Insurance losses are estimated to be in the multi-trillions, yet the landslide has been completely unmonitored since 1997. The BBC has an FAQ on the Mega-tsunami.

[edit: rejected by Slashdot 2004-12-28 17:22:50]

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Massive Solar Flare Headed Straight For Earth

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 10 years ago

At 1110 UT this morning, the third largest solar flare on record erupted from the Sun, sending a coronal mass ejection directly towards Earth at 5 Million MPH (picture, animation), and starting a solar radiation storm. We may see bright auroral activity tonight. Passengers on high-altitude airplane flights may receive chest-x-ray-level dosages of radiation.

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You're In A Political Party's Database

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 10 years ago

The Democratic and Republican parties have 158 and 165 Million voters in their databases, "DataMart" and "Voter Vault", respectively. They track how you vote, what issues you're concerned about, demographics about your home and family, and who you associate with. From it they mount door-to-door, telemarketing, spam, and junk mail campaigns offering customized versions of the political party to appeal to your passions, while avoiding issues that might offend you.

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W32.Blaster linked to Blackout

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 11 years ago The first of the problems that eventually cascaded into the blackout began at 1 p.m on August 14th. "The inability of critical control data to be exchanged quickly across the grid could have hampered the operators' ability to prevent the cascading effect of the blackout," said Gary Seifert, of DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. "It didn't affect the [control] systems internally, but it most certainly affected the timeliness of the data they were receiving from other networks. A former Bush administration adviser who has consulted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the power grid issue said the Blaster worm also hampered the ability of utilities in the New York region to restore power in a more timely manner because some of those companies were running Windows-based control systems with Port 135 open. The control systems ... are often based on Windows 2000 or XP operating systems and rely on commercial data links, including the Internet and wireless systems, for exchanging information.

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