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Comments

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UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

bill_mcgonigle Re:Thoughtcrime (126 comments)


Anytime someone prohibits you from viewing, listening or reading something it is thought crime, and policing thought is barbaric and unjustifiable violence against individuals.

They need to police your thoughts so you can have freedom.

1 hour ago
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China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

bill_mcgonigle Re:Nicatoids and bees (143 comments)

That is the reason.

Not every GMO contains nicatoids (engineers would know that). There are still some kids in China who could use yellow rice, and they definitely could export it to their neighbors.

Monsanto deserves a firey death for setting back non-psychopathic GMO's by 30 years or more.

yesterday
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China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

bill_mcgonigle Re:Off topic (143 comments)

I don't want to be another complainer, but this site is begging me to stop visiting. I am not very happy.

There's a town nearby that is behaving similar to Slashdot '14. They have a tax shortfall, so they raise taxes, and people move out. This creates a tax shortfall so, GOTO 1.

The property values have literally fallen in half in the past decade, while other area towns' properties have maintained or slightly increased, and there are many abandoned properties now (with associated problems).

Slashdot will seemingly keep increasing the "revenue enhancers" until everybody has moved out. At that point, I guess they declare victory and go home.

yesterday
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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

bill_mcgonigle Re:This is ridiculous. (143 comments)

If you want to get all strict-constructionist on this matter though, planes, cars, buses, and rail didn't even exist when the Constitution was written, so one could argue that there's no Constitutional protection when travelling by anything beyond horseback, carriage, or walking.

No you cannot argue that. The Constitution says nothing about technology and everything about how humans behave.

Then there's the other side, where airlines were allowed to be in charge of their own security, letting "the market" set the balance, but then nineteen men decided to kill about 3500 men, women, and children one day, and our society realized that it wasn't gonna work to let the airlines be in charge of security.

That strategy ceased to be effective at 9:03AM on 9/11/2001 over a field in Shanksville, PA. And you know who figured that out? Ordinary Americans, doing the security calculus themselves, where the government had completely failed to protect them, despite having many opportunities to do so.

To be double-sure the airlines all secured their cockpit doors. That risk no longer exists, which is why the TSA has never caught a terrorist. They do violate the human rights of Americans all day, every day. In an effort to stop the terrorists, they have become the terrorists, all because they consciously choose to violate the highest law of the land.

yesterday
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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

bill_mcgonigle Re:This is ridiculous. (143 comments)

I'm not sure voluntarily going on a plane is the government violating your right to privacy.

Be sure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated

Your houses have privacy, and so do your papers, and so do your effects, and so does your person. You do not need to keep all your things, including your body, in your house to keep your privacy. Traveling is *expected* behavior of people - it does not remove your civil rights.

Well, in theory. The Bill of Rights only says what the Government may do and not do - if it behaves otherwise it's behaving illegally, but so what? Complain and get violated some more. Just don't fool yourself into thinking the Constitution is more than a relic of a long-lost Republic. If you don't care about rule-of-law, then just go about your business and submit to virtual strip searches. Just don't act surprised when a right you do care about is violated.

yesterday
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

bill_mcgonigle Re:Thrilling Stuff (271 comments)

so some sort of article would be nice.

First you guys complain about broken links in the summaries, and now when there are no broken links in the summaries you're complaining too! Can't an editor catch a break around here?

yesterday
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Qt Upgrades From LGPLv2.1 to LGPLv3

bill_mcgonigle Re:*sigh* (114 comments)

Licensing is more complex than program itself. Everybody's getting sucked in to the lawyers' game.

This isn't surprising because one side is working with human nature - the tendency to share whatever makes them happy, and the other side is focused on battling government monopolies called "intellectual property", which is artificial scarcity enforced at the point of a gun.

Copyleft is just a hack to route around copyright damage. Absent governments enforcing it, we'd all just either release code or not release code and the licensing friction would all go away. Some dude would just issue a pull request and move on. There'd be nobody jumping up and down shouting about courts, fines, SWAT raids, caging and sexual torture over duplicating digital data.

But that's the reality we have to face. If more people chose WTFPL we'd get more done as a non-zero-sum group. The trick with the 'rising tide' analogy is that it's the sum that's non-zero; every individual value may or may not be positive, and some of those values that are currently positive might be negative and, man do humans waste time protecting their downside risks to the point of eliminating their upside potential.

2 days ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

bill_mcgonigle Re:Fusion Has Already Failed (295 comments)

It's an engineering problem now, not something that is clearly impossible.

While entirely true, I was visiting the Princeton Plasma Physics lab in 1990 and heard just that. The sad part was I'd have to wait until 2012 for the first commercial fusion reactor to be viable! It was sweet to stand in the control room while they fused a few atoms in the tokamak. And the flywheels they had were the stuff of a steampunk's wet dream!

To be fair, funding did decrease over the same time period and J.H.F.C., if the money spent on screwing up Iraq even more than it was had been spent on fusion research instead, Iraq would be much less relevant today in so many ways.

IMHO, investments in such experiments should be expanded, by both government and industry. Just like getting a man on the moon, We need a JFK'esk commitment to making this work.

We just need "JFK" to get out of the way and stop squashing every attempt commercialize technologies that actually put a huge dent into the carbon energy industry. Big oil plus big taxes on it is the stuff of _DC_ wet dreams.

2 days ago
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Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

bill_mcgonigle Re:I'm shocked! (180 comments)

I guess you've never personally worked on a community broadband project and learned what's involved with getting pole space (in the supposed 'public' right of way).

Give it a try - you'll learn something!

2 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

bill_mcgonigle Re:Bottom line... (168 comments)

How would you replace that? How does anarchy work exactly?

There are entire sections of libraries about how this has worked in the past, works now (every unregulated transaction), and what kinds of improvements could be made in the future, but you can YouTube Bob Murphy for some gentle introductions. Just be careful of the "but who would pick the cotton?" arguments.

2 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

bill_mcgonigle Re:Bottom line... (168 comments)

Hell, if people could actually trust each other, we wouldn't *need* nation states in the first place.

Nation states killed 350 million people in the last century alone.

The onus is on nation states' defenders to show that neighborly spats and other small disputes would do worse than that. It's not like private conflict-resolution services don't already exist (and are always preferred in business contracts). Every lack-of-imagination excuse people have for "needing" nation states must be justified vis-a-vis the demonstrated body count (and that's only taking the utilitarian stance, not even the moral one).

If somebody showed up today promising peace in exchange for executing a tenth of the world's population, they'd be locked up in the psychopath ward and the religious people would call him an antichrist.

2 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

bill_mcgonigle Re:NSA Tag? (168 comments)

ob. Joker:

"Spy on entire nations and nobody bats an eye - spy on a few government officials, and suddenly everybody loses their shit."

2 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

bill_mcgonigle Re:Safety vs Law (467 comments)

When the law says X, you break it at your own risk.

When a stupid law says X, you follow it at your own risk.

2 days ago
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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

bill_mcgonigle Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (195 comments)

quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD

No doubt when film cameras were first invented people went apeshit about them too. Most aerobot operators are totally responsible, but there are always a few exceptions in every population.

Society will just accept these risks and move on, like in every other situation with new technology. Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

As the meme goes, "WTF - stop banning shit."

2 days ago
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

bill_mcgonigle Re:Dammit! Adam you rolled over... (63 comments)

Adam has been asking for more money every day for months...every episode of every show on the Carolla Digital network

Ah, there's the problem. Many of his biggest supporters in this effort have no interest in his shows at all.

2 days ago
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News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

bill_mcgonigle Re:Sigh (712 comments)

Disliking homosexuals is completely different from not liking capitalists, conservatives, liberals, etc. Disliking homosexuals is disliking people for something that they didn't choose and cannot change.

You mean like how the USSR succeeded because it worked with innate human values instead of against them?

2 days ago
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Research Unveils Improved Method To Let Computers Know You Are Human

bill_mcgonigle Re:My only question: does it work at Google-scale? (91 comments)

the finite number of minigames they set up with their finite number of items in them, rendering the whole thing pretty useless.

There might not be a benefit to that outcome, but a "good" CAPTCHA system does have a good outcome when it's broken.

I was talking to the guy who started reCAPTCHA many years ago, and his idea was that the OCR work they were farming out was too tough for algorithms to beat. As long as bots could not do better than humans, reCAPTCHA would be offering a valuable service. As soon as the bots were as good as the humans, accurate OCR had been solved, and reCAPTCHA had made that happen, so it was also a win, and he'd have to come up with another CAPTCHA.

I tend to shy away from helping Google StreetSpy on people, and use the audio CAPCHA when available now, but more people are doing the street number thing, which could still be used for good (if we trust Google). And if the bots solve that, maybe their algorithms could be applied to ambulance services, or whatever.

I'm not sure that the TFA's proposals "solve two problems" the way that great engineering solutions universally do. But there are certainly worthy ones out there.

3 days ago
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Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

bill_mcgonigle "Promoting" how? (180 comments)

Does "promoting" mean passing out some posters or getting rid of the requirement to purchase a fishing license from the State to keep the northern snakehead? There are plenty of folks out of work who could help here in a win-win situation. We already have systems in place to police the fish that people keep and removing all restrictions on invasive species taking would go a long way towards reducing their populations.

4 days ago
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Windows 8.1 Update Crippling PCs With BSOD, Microsoft Suggests You Roll Back

bill_mcgonigle Re:LOL windows restore (302 comments)

The state of engineering in PC recovery is awful, shame on software devs

What? You just power off your vm, roll back the storage to the appropriate snapshot, and turn it on again.

Wait - you let Windows touch your hardware? Oh, my.

4 days ago
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No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

bill_mcgonigle Re:We could only be so lucky (120 comments)

Sometimes I think what America needs is mother nature hitting the proverbial reset button on us.

It'll be amazing if "America" is still around in 2080, much less 2880.

The entire population of the 13 Colonies was less than the current population of Iowa and they stood up a country just fine. China doesn't keep itself together by playing nice, and we really need to avoid going the Mao Zedong route.
 

4 days 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 and a half 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 a year and a half 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  |  more than 10 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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