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65,000 Complaints Later, Microsoft Files Suit Against Tech Support Scammers

blindseer Re:Keep them busy. (246 comments)

I'm sure he was a... very bad person.

about a month ago

65,000 Complaints Later, Microsoft Files Suit Against Tech Support Scammers

blindseer I had a few calls from these scammers (246 comments)

The first call I had from a scammer claiming to help me with a virus I strung along for a while. I told him I had six computers running Windows, I just needed him to tell me which one he was calling about. I don't remember how he reacted to that but I do remember him asking me to write down a very long number to verify something. After I started to run out of space on the scrap of paper I was scribbling this number onto I stopped him and asked him what this number was for. At that point he got frustrated and hung up.

Another call was much shorter. I got a call and the caller said that my computers were not responding to updates from Microsoft. I told him it would be odd for them to respond since none of my computers ran a Microsoft operating system (which was a lie). He was stunned into silence for a second, laughed out loud, then hung up.

My mom was taken by one of these guys. She let them remote control the computer for a bit but they were asking for money to help her out. She told them her sons helped her with the computer and didn't want to spend any money fixing it. It may have been coincidence but a week after that call the computer started to act funny. Out of an abundance of caution my brother and I wiped the drive and installed Ubuntu.

Last Christmas my brothers, sisters, and I got her an iPad. She loves it. She gets her e-mail, surfs the web, plays Candy Crush, and can do FaceTime with her grandkids. The only thing she uses the Ubuntu computer for now is to act as a print server since the printer does not do AirPrint natively, now she can print her coupons and recipes from the iPad.

They won't scam Mom again and I can't wait for them to call me again just so I can play with their heads.

about a month ago

Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

blindseer Re:Dumps, you say? From the anus? (523 comments)

I've seen some people, that might be considered conspiracy theorists, that believe this is the intent. If it is possible to remove children from foundational documents like the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Federalist Papers then it would be much easier to convince children to be quiet and obey Dear Leader.

I'm not saying it is a very convincing argument but I've seen it made many times now.

about 2 months ago

Shale: Good For Gas, Oil...and Nuclear Waste Disposal?

blindseer WAMSR (138 comments)

Instead of trying to find new ways to store nuclear waste for thousands of years we should be looking for ways to burn this stuff for energy, medical isotopes, and other useful things. One technology that comes to mind is the Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor. The people from MIT that are working on this claim WAMSR can destroy spent fuel from conventional uranium fueled reactors while also producing electricity and/or industrial heat.

There are two things that destroy radioactive waste, time and neutron bombardment. Setting this stuff aside for millennia means building structures to store the stuff and then maintaining them until the stuff is no longer a danger. Burning this so called "waste" in a reactor means getting rid of it for good while also generating valuable heat, electricity, and medical isotopes.

I believe anyone that claims we need to store radioactive material is ignorant, misinformed, or has something to sell. I think these people have something to sell.

about 2 months ago

Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

blindseer Re:There is no such thing as a "safe" fission reac (218 comments)

If it is burning, how do you put it out?

You are confusing fluorine with fluoride. A fluoride will not burn because it has already reached a state with a potential lower than that it would have with water or air.

With that said most every LFTR design I've seen does have fluorine as a gas at some point in the process but that is in the chemical processing of the fuel while outside the reactor. There is little to no fluorine in the reactor vessel.

There would not be a fire because the stuff in a LFTR does not burn. If there were things burning then the answer is to use water.

both uranium and fluorine are very toxic elements.

Uranium tetrafluoride is an insoluble salt, no more toxic than sand. Saying uranium and fluorine are very toxic is like saying sodium and chlorine are very toxic. Sodium and chlorine alone are very bad but combined they create a substance vital to life. I suppose you think we should ban the use of table salt because of the toxic materials it is made of.

What's the worst case for LFTR?

The worst case is you douse it with water for hours, maybe days, until it cools off. After it's cool you send in people with jackhammers and tractors to haul away the pieces for recycling. The mangled mess would no doubt contain radioactive material but since fission would have been stopped for days at this point the pile of scrap would be about as radioactive as a typical granite counter top. The workers would have to wear protective gear for the dust because heavy metal poisoning is a risk, just like for people that mine for gold or coal.

Perhaps I am mistaken, perhaps I exaggerated a bit, but regardless a LFTR simply cannot burn or react with water like you describe.

about 3 months ago

Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

blindseer Re:Both yes, but as Fusion-Fission hybrid (218 comments)

What's not to love? You get the cost and complexity of having both a fission and fusion reactor but no more useful work done than if the reactor did just one or the other.

I thought of how one might build a fission/fusion hybrid reactor and realized just how complex such a device would have to be to work. Everything inside the reactor would be very hot, bombarded by neutrons and gamma rays, and have to be precise and powerful enough to maintain confinement of a fusion reaction. I suspect that at some point someone will build such a hybrid reactor just because the idea is so compelling. I just think that it would never be as profitable as a much simpler device that did only fission or fusion.

A similar idea to a hybrid fission/fusion reactor are accelerator moderated fission reactors. Both ideas solve two problems inherent with fission reactors. One problem is the initial source of neutrons, the other is the problem of too many neutrons. With a fusor or particle accelerator providing the neutrons the neutron flow can be moderated by how much power is supplied to the neutron source. What many people have found out is that there are much easier ways to solve these problems.

A lack of neutrons in the fission reactor can be solved with enriching the fuel and/or control rods. Too many neutrons can be solved with control rods too, the control rods might be of a different material but it is still control rods, or by simply allowing the fissile material to heat up and expand to a lower density. Once a fission reactor gets going it naturally tends to produce enough neutrons on its own that a constant neutron source is unnecessary.

I could be wrong, maybe there is some detail I missed that makes my assumptions incorrect. I just don't see hybrid reactors as feasible outside of a research setting.

about 3 months ago

Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

blindseer Re:Fission = bad, but not super-bad (218 comments)

Because thorium might end up being cheaper and easier than uranium. The reason we were able to go from the speed of a horse to beyond the speed of sound is because we were able to find cheap and plentiful energy in coal and petroleum. As energy gets cheaper the more things become feasible.

Why is it that people don't have flying cars? We certainly have the technology for everyone to have their own personal aircraft. The limitation is the price of energy. It just costs too much to fly a helicopter for a person with an average income. But if energy were to be one tenth of what it is now then we'd be flying to get groceries instead of driving.

I believe we need to investigate every possible energy source. Solar power may last us for a billion years but I doubt it will ever be able to do so at a price as cheap as what thorium could do.

We don't burn coal because we want to live in a smog filled world. We burn coal because it gives us energy cheap enough that we can enjoy air conditioning while sitting in front of a computer. We are going to keep burning coal until something cheaper comes around. We do that because cold beer and hot pizza means more to us than some theoretical future where Florida is under water from melting the polar ice caps.

So, why thorium? Because beer, pizza, and Miami.

about 3 months ago

Fukushima Radiation Still Poisoning Insects

blindseer A steaming pile of unscientific fearmongering (119 comments)

Radiation == bad, got that. What I didn't see in the article is any mention of baseline data. What was the radiation level in the area before the reactors blew their tops? What naturally occurring radioactive material was in the leaves fed to the butterflies? How much radiation did that produce? What is the rate of naturally occurring mutations in the butterflies without the radioactive cesium in their diet?

I've got even more questions about this study but they didn't seem concerned with actually collecting data, they wanted to tell us that radioactive stuff can cause mutations. We knew that, but they neglected to state how much of a real effect this has on the environment.

This "study" would probably be good for a "B" grade in a high school science fair. This does not look like something worth publishing in a scientific journal.

A few more quick thoughts. We can detect radioactive cesium in the grass miles from Fukushima. We can also detect the radio transmissions from a space probe that has left our solar system. Just because we can detect it does not mean it has any real effect on our lives.

Nuclear power is the greenest energy source we have in carbon output per kWh produced, even better than solar and wind. Yet we hear people scream, "What about the radiation!" I thought that if we don't reduce our carbon output now every coastal city will be under water in a decade. Seems to me that a few mutated butterflies is a pretty good trade-off to having the Statue of Liberty up to her neck in sea water.

The risk of having radioactive cesium getting blown miles from a nuclear reactor accident is something inherent to solid fueled/water cooled reactors. If we use liquid fueled/gas cooled nuclear reactors we remove that risk. Molten salt reactors simply cannot melt down and blow up like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Not only do MSRs not blow up they eat radioactive waste from current solid fueled reactors.

To get rid of the scary radioactive stuff we need more nuclear reactors, not fewer. We just need the right kind of reactors.

about 4 months ago

If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

blindseer Re:What's Changed (135 comments)

I've heard an argument similar to this one to abolish the minimum wage. Pay people based on what they produce, not how many hours they work. Which is precisely how some businesses have gotten around mandates like minimum wage and Obamacare, every "employee" is an independent contractor and they get paid on units produced or other similar metric.

This does not work well for all industries. Some kinds of work just does not translate well to anything other than an hourly wage. Just about everything can translate to better work resulting in better pay.

about 6 months ago

How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

blindseer Bad idea (180 comments)

When I was in school the "computer" class was not much more than learning to type. We got to play with AppleWorks and some sort of graphics program, the best one could get with 8 bits of color.

I recall a conversation I had with a co-worker about how we need more and better computers in schools or our children will be somehow educationally stunted. I pointed out how the Apple ProDos and Microsoft DOS systems we used reflected the Windows 7, Mac OSX, and Linux systems we use today. Elementary school children don't need fancy computers. I wonder if they need computers at all. I'm sure that skills like typing will be important, I took that in high school. Students will need to understand that computers do what they are told, not what you want them to do, but that is true of many things. Mathematics, physics, and chemistry have similar rules. I could argue that law has similar rigor, words mean things. If the law does not mean what you want it to mean then change the law. Perhaps that is a rant for another time.

Point is that computers are an important part of modern life. Computer technology is still changing fast, whether it is faster or slower now than when I was in grade school is debatable. Rather than teach "computers" to children perhaps we need to find a way to work computers into every subject. Art class should have a portion where students work in PhotoShop, just like they have sections on clay, paint, or colored pencils. Shop class should have a portion on CNC milling. Mathematics has all kinds of options to work in computing. Chemistry and physics classes can work in computers to run simulations and compare to real world experimentation, or do some statistical analysis on data collected in experiments.

I believe that teaching "computer science" at too young of an age is a bad idea. It will do little to prepare children for life as an adult. I suspect most implementations of "computer science" at anything other than college or trade school levels will be twisted into something that is not "computer science". It will be much like what I had in school, an excuse to play with expensive toys and the only real skills derived from it will be learning how to type. It doesn't have to be that way but I believe that is how it will end up because real computer scientists rarely choose to teach, they make more money doing something else. Much of the issues with teachers not getting paid enough has to do with the government funded education system we have now.

about 6 months ago

Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

blindseer Re: Red Bull (511 comments)

I'd say the real gateway drug is milk. Every drug user drank milk, but that wasn't good enough so they went to alcohol.

The whole "gateway" drug idea is a farce. No one moves from one drug to another automatically like there is some progression laid out in the laws of the universe. Alcohol, marijuana, and opiates all work on different receptors in the body. Any drug can be a gateway to another if one seeks to get high and builds up tolerances to every drug they try.

about 6 months ago

Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

blindseer Re:The only good thing (511 comments)

I recall getting the "drugs are bad" slide show in grade school. Among the images were examples of how dirty and poisonous the illegal drugs were. They gave images of how clean the drugs were from hospitals and pharmacies, since they could not say all drugs were bad.

This gave rise to a few questions in my mind. Questions I kept to myself because, while I was curious, I was too timid to outright question what were were told. The first question that came to mind, why would drug dealers put the crap that was shown in the slides into the drugs they sell? I thought that if they were really putting this stuff into the drugs they people buying it would end up dead, and not give them money, or they'd go find drugs from a competing dealer that didn't give them stuff that made them sick. Even at a young age I understood some basic economics. Illegal drugs aren't free from the rules of supply and demand.

Then it came to the images of the clean drugs that came from the pharmacies. If the drug dealers were selling this dangerous stuff then why not get the drugs from the pharmacies. At that age I didn't understand all the legal barriers to get the drugs, or it was not yet explained to me. Of course that is what people are doing. These dealers will buy pills from people with prescriptions to sell it to people that don't, or they rob the pharmacies of the good stuff.

This was about the time that people were trading dirty needles to inject their drugs because the government decided that allowing pharmacies to sell clean needles without a prescription was somehow encouraging drug use. What happened is that people, like my sister with diabetes, had a hard time finding clean needles while the druggies were using dirty ones. Because of this blood born infections went up in both populations. Poor diabetics had to re-use needles because getting clean was got more expensive, and drug addicts were re-using needles because getting clean ones was now illegal.

Yes, my teachers lied to me. The drugs were not killing people, government policies were. The reason these drugs are dangerous is because they were made illegal. They were not made illegal because they were dangerous.

This continued stack of lies being given to children is just one of many reasons why I oppose government funded education. I could rant on public education for a long time but this is not the time and place.

about 6 months ago

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

blindseer Re:Vote (200 comments)

I don't see how gerrymandering has anything to do with it. Gerrymandering only works if the people vote with their party instead of with their brain. Present yourself as a better candidate than those picked by their party leaders and you are sure to win.

If only that were true. Sadly too many people do vote with their party instead of their brain.

about 6 months ago

The Army Is 3D Printing Warheads

blindseer Re:Desired lethality? (140 comments)

Have you seen the movie The Big Red One? If you haven't then you should. There is a conversation in that movie about the distinction between killing and murder. Sometimes the people in the different color uniform are acting like animals, these animals are killed, not murdered. Is killing a rabid dog murder? No, because only innocent people can be murdered. All people can be killed. Enemy combatants are not murdered, they are killed before they can murder.

about 6 months ago

One Trillion Bq Released By Nuclear Debris Removal At Fukushima So Far

blindseer Re:Bq? (190 comments)

Yes, it is important. POTUS was able to name the one American that died on an airplane shot down over disputed territory only hours after it happened. Our modern society has access to information in detail and speed that is mind boggling. If Fukushima was the disaster that people claim it was then it would seem to me that we should be able to know the names, ages, places of residence, and specific cause of death of every person that died from that disaster. If someone cannot so much as give a name then it sounds like rumor to me.

An example is that we know the names of the people that died in the collapse of the towers on 9/11. If I had to I should be able to find the name of a single person that died then and there. Fukushima is another disaster that occurred in a developed nation, with news crews in the vicinity within hours (if not minutes) and remained there for years. Someone knows who was working on that site. If someone developed radiation poisoning from this accident then someone knows and someone went to the news. They may have gone to the news because they'd get piles of cash for the scoop, or they may have gone to the news out of concern for public health. If someone, just one, died from radiation that can be attributed to Fukushima then we should know that person's name.

TLDR: Pics (or names) or it didn't happen.

about 6 months ago

Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

blindseer Re:Didn't you Know? (342 comments)

The DoE was created to fund research into alternatives to foreign oil. What has happened to our reliance on foreign energy since the DoE has been created? I'll give you a hint, it hasn't gone down.

I've been reading articles and watching YouTube videos on alternative energy for years. I've seen a common complaint from people that want to do research in energy, the Department of Energy will not approve their research. These people are not asking for money, they have private investors. What they need is permission from the government to spend their own money. This is because the government has placed restrictions on certain materials and technologies. I'm not talking about restriction on researching the best means by which we can dissolve mountain sides in radioactive acids to find the best means to kill off endangered species and conjure their tortured souls to turn generators. I'm talking about being able to mine rare earth elements so they can be turned into alloys that can make windmills more efficient. These people want to be able to dig up dirt, take out the interesting stuff, then put the dirt back and plant trees on top.

The Department of Energy won't let these people turn worthless dirt into vast piles of energy because they might dig up some thorium. Thorium is mildly radioactive, kind of like how potassium is mildly radioactive. We don't ban potassium mining. We ban rare earth mining because someone decades ago theorized it may be possible to maybe, possibly, if you work real hard at it, use thorium to make a nuclear weapon. No one has actually made a thorium bomb but in theory they are possible. But since thorium exists everywhere that the materials we need to make better magnets we can't dig it up ourselves. So, we buy it from China. Now China is doing all the research on rare earth metals. They get to find the best ways to get this valuable material from the ground and turn it into better windmills, aircraft, ships, cars, light bulbs, and all kinds of interesting ways we can reduce our dependence on foreign energy.

The Department of Energy has become the problem. Any way we can reduce their funding sounds good to me. With less money perhaps they won't be getting in the way of people that are doing the real research.

about 6 months ago

Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

blindseer Re:Someone has an agenda to push (342 comments)

The purpose of a carbon tax is to make carbon emitting-technologies more expensive, so that the market will be encouraged to find alternatives that emit less carbon.

Which raises the prices of energy for those that are already burdened with high energy prices. Where do you think the utilities get the money to pay these taxes? Leprechauns? They get the money from the people that buy the electricity, the working middle class.

Where does this carbon tax money go then? I suspect part of it goes to subsidies for people that buy solar panels to put on their roof. People wealthy enough that they can afford the upfront capital cost of installing solar panels. The carbon taxes take money from the poor to give to the wealthy.

The solution, IMHO, to carbon output is not taxes and subsidies. I believe the solution is eliminating the government nonsense that prevents research and development of alternative energy. How many government agencies need to inspect and approve the construction of a photovoltaic factory? How many different fees, fines, and taxes will they have to pay? How many lawyers and accountants will these people have to hire to keep it all straight so someone doesn't end up in jail? Perhaps the government should make the process of building solar panels cheaper rather than make using coal more expensive.

I've been seeing some very interesting things about waste annihilating molten salt reactors. These are reactors that run on the really bad radioactive stuff that the government wants to get rid of but can't find anyone willing to bury it in their back yard. They really want to get rid of this stuff but for some reason they won't let people do research on the molten salt reactors that can burn it up and make it go away. I'm not suggesting eliminating regulation, or that the government should hand out radioactive waste to anyone with a good PowerPoint presentation. I'm saying the regulations are so restrictive that people with doctorates in nuclear engineering, and piles of private funds, are dying of old age before the federal government completes all the paperwork to build a tiny little research reactor to test their theories.

I don't believe we need to subsidize competition to coal anymore. There are enough people out there that think they have the answer to our energy problems that they can find private funds. Wealthy people will give them piles of money to do their research. Why would they do this? Because if these people do find the solution to the coal problem they will get even bigger piles of money in return.

about 6 months ago

Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

blindseer Re:Price of using scientists as political pawns (342 comments)

I have heard some NPR employees say they wish the Feds would defund them.

I'm confused. Is the government somehow forcing them to take the money? If they don't want the money then they shouldn't be taking it.

I see you did say some of the employees say this. I assume these people are not in the position to refuse government funds. If these people want more editorial freedom then perhaps they should seek employment from a place not supported by government funds.

I have a theory. NPR gets funds from the government because it broadcasts what the government wants it to say. Radio stations that carry Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck broadcasts what the people want to hear. These stations get funds from advertisers, advertisers that are buying the ears of people that buy stuff. I suppose the market is people with enough money to buy stuff, the evil rich white guys I suppose.

Both systems are flawed because they both are based on their own variation of democracy. People vote for the people that direct the funds to those that talk on NPR. People with money buy stuff from the people that advertise on radio stations that aren't government funded. Because I enjoy torturing myself I listen to both NPR and the "conservative" talk radio station. I think Rush is an egotistical blowhard, Glenn Beck is an overly religious crybaby, and what I hear on NPR is so far to the left it's maddening. But since I want to know what's going on in the world I find it hard to just turn off the radio.

At least when I listen to privately funded radio they aren't begging me to give them money to listen to what I don't want to hear. NPR keeps asking listeners for money. Makes me wonder what kind of person donates to them. Best theory I have is its people that make money from government funds. I suppose those people are just a different breed of evil rich white guy.

about 6 months ago

For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

blindseer Re:Incomplete data (174 comments)

No, computer science should not be considered engineering. I have a BS in computer engineering and am now trying to get into a local university to take some programming classes to learn some new programming languages. It's a long story on how I ended up in the office of an academic advisor for computer science freshmen, basically they didn't know who else I should talk to for signing up for classes so they sent me there. I'm sitting in her office and we're talking about my plans while she's looking over my transcripts. I have two BS degrees in engineering, some graduate credits, which total something like 180 semester hours. After looking through the classes I took she says. "You need to take more Spanish."

Computer science is a liberal arts discipline. It's applied mathematics. The coursework is geared to teach people that want to do research, become educators, and be well rounded individuals. I've seen people with a BS or BA in computer science know next to nothing about writing good software. Those that do write good software did so because they went beyond the coursework required for their degree. I spoke with some recruiters years ago that were looking for programmers. They wanted engineering students. Engineering students were required to take courses in mathematics on par with any mathematics or computer science student. More importantly they were taught how to be an engineer.

People that want to do programming for a living should not seek out a computer science degree, they need to seek out a software engineering degree. I've seen more and more universities creating software engineering programs because they've discovered that computer science does not prepare people well for writing software.

Some schools do treat computer science like an engineering program but that seems to be the exception than the rule. While an engineering student I sat next to students that were working towards a variety of degrees in many of my classes. One thing for certain though is that while I was taking Engineering 101 there were no computer science majors in that class. That class was for people that wanted to make things. Where were the computer science students while I was in Engineering 101? Probably learning Spanish.

about 6 months ago

Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

blindseer Re:Absolutely - it is filthy (156 comments)

That is a complete lie. Bio-fuels are here right now. We would be able to buy butanol right now if not for patents.

First you say it's here then you say it is not. Well, I can take you to dozens of operating nuclear reactors in the USA, each one producing megawatts of power every day. Where can I find this megawatt butanol plant? I know the answer, there isn't one.

Nuclear power is now. It's working, making electricity and making money. Bio fuels like ethanol exist only because the government mandates it. It cannot make money because the power out from the power put in is too low to be worth it. The most energy we could get would involve burning the corn in a boiler. But burning our food is stupid, we can eat that.

Nuclear power is cheaper and more reliable energy and it does not involve burning our food. I read my history, civilizations ended by burning their food and I want no part of it.

about 6 months ago



Judge tosses evidence over GPS tracking without warrant

blindseer blindseer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

blindseer writes ""The Drug Enforcement Administration had been following Lee's car from Chicago using a GPS — a tracking device placed on the vehicle as part of a multi-state drug probe — and troopers found 150 lbs of marijuana in his car.

Now, a federal judge has ruled the stash inadmissible in the case against Lee because the DEA and troopers didn’t have a warrant to place the device on the car."

In the DEA's zeal to protect us from ourselves they forgot about the tiny little detail of following a very basic rule in the Constitution about no searches without cause or warrant. The DEA has been punished for this before, they should know better by now."

Link to Original Source

USA Federal Judge Rules Bloggers Not Protected as

blindseer blindseer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

blindseer writes "From the article:

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

If the government can define who is part of the press, and therefore gets First Amendment protections, then where does that place the freedom of the press?"
Link to Original Source


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