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Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records

emt377 Re:interesting though stupid comment (784 comments)

They shouldn't, but someone should have the power to exercise the "for no reason or any reason" bit.

This would violate constitutional requirements of equality before the law. If the law applies to me it applies to you, too. It's not someone's judgement call that it should be applied to me but not you.

about 10 months ago
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Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records

emt377 Re:Collusion (784 comments)

I like "the war on diginity" because it better encompasses the kafka-esque nature of the unthinking and unyielding bureaucracy that produces this sort of result.

Yes, but it's probably better than the alternative - a thinking, opinionated bureaucracy. That's just one step shy of fascism, because once it can make decisions individuals will be empowered, and they will soon structure around the exercise of power. A bureaucracy permitted to think is prone to fascism and corruption.

about 10 months ago
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Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records

emt377 Re:very understandable (784 comments)

I think you got it backwards; it's the right wing which associates what it considers vague wu-wu diagnoses of mental illness a way for a potentially tyrannical government to deny them rights. Like the right to bear arms. It's generally liberals and lefties who want to limit such rights, and if they can't get enough traction to limit them for everyone they'll settle for what they might consider a dangerous subset. The former is clearly a more theoretical concern as we don't have a tyrannical government (in fact it's pretty damn benign, obsessed with rule of law, not dictatorial), while I think the latter is a bit naive. Clearly once made law to be enforced it will include some number of people not originally envisioned. And I think this is more what we're seeing here, so I don't think we can really blame the right wing on this one.

about 10 months ago
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Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records

emt377 Re:Umm, what? (784 comments)

What sort of insane logic is at work here?

The U.S. is a country ruled by law, and the federal government is an anal-retentive regulatory machine. There is probably a rule somewhere that says entry is to be denied for the mentally ill, and that depression is a mental illness. It's not up to whoever stamps passports at entry to decide or make personal judgements - if the rules say the person can't enter, then they can't enter. This is no different than any other rules applied - be it corporate accounting, environmental protection, labor laws, etc; it doesn't matter how ridiculous it may seem on the ground, the rules will be enforced.

This is exactly why it's the only government in the world I'd trust to obey the law. It's also exactly why it's incapable of even building modest insurance retail site for less than half a billion dollars - because its regulatory system isn't compatible with the need of reality.

Once something is made law it's no longer in the domain of common sense and judgement. Laws are binary; either you're in compliance or you're not.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

emt377 Re:thats silly (215 comments)

For a lot of low-bandwidth work with I/O controllers (like I2C buses, SPI peripherals running at low clock, etc) - get a BitScope. I have a network attached one and it's very convenient and inexpensive. They have a way of doing plugins, so it should be possible for instance to do a plugin to decode captures of I2C. The nice thing is it sits right on a desktop display, next to the ICE/JTAG debugger so you can easily monitor signals in parallel with watching board console output (for instance).

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

emt377 Re:thats silly (215 comments)

Obviously, anyone designing electronics and building prototypes needs a scope. How else would you know what the ground plane looks like? Clean or noisy? Even a cheap 20-40MHz scope will show dirty signals as "fussy", and will allow identification of beat patters and cyclic issues... I suspect the OP doesn't actually do any board design, because if he did he'd be using his scopes and spending big bucks on really good ones.

about 10 months ago
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Republican Proposal Puts 'National Interest' Requirement On US Science Agency

emt377 Re:National Interest? (382 comments)

Even during its worst, CA had only a $25bn deficit. While this sounds enormous relative to the size of the state budget, note that CA provides $53bn more in federal taxes annually than it receives. And that's just the net difference! The federal government is enormously expensive for what it does! A web site for, what, $400M? And that was on the cheap! It's more than FaceBook spent in total for the first six years of its existence. The federal government is the only government in the world I'd trust to obey laws (or punish people when they break it), follow regulations to the letter, and enforce them. But what makes it so anal-retentive about those things is exactly what makes it unsuited to actually produce anything. The things it's cost-effective on it gets done by handing money to states to go do it (like it has Caltrans manage maintenance of the CA portion of the interstate system by handing it cash; Caltrans actually works very well for a government organization).

about 10 months ago
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A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

emt377 Re:How hard can that possibly be? (663 comments)

Since when is there a 9-cent coin? Jeez. If you're going to put coins in a box to get to 9 and you have 4, is that difficult? You need a penny and a nickel. 9 and 5? WTF? How can that possibly be correct?

about a year ago
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A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

emt377 Re:How hard can that possibly be? (663 comments)

Consequently, it's impossible to have an opinion on this test without knowing who it's aimed at, what their curriculum looks like, and what percentage is expected to be able to answer it. What would be the point of a test that has no difficult section that pushes the limits and only a few percent are expected to be able to answer correctly? It's also not clear how the grading is done, for instance if a wrong answer yields -1/2 point to discourage guessing (whereas "don't know" is the neutral answer); on a 4-way this means a random guess has negative expectation, whereas being certain of the wrong answer isn't too detrimental (but still not reflected as something positive, since it isn't). Tests with difficult questions and grading which penalizes guessing will quickly teach students not to jump to conclusions, to evaluate the certainty of knowledge (hmm, how do I know this? is it true?), and other good habits. Hence, the tests themselves are part of the training.

about a year ago
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A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

emt377 Re:How hard can that possibly be? (663 comments)

Question 1: You see 5 pennies, the total in the cup is 6, so the missing part is 1 (penny). How hard can that possibly be?

It's a good test if students are taught to separate quantities from units (kinds). You'd be amazed how many can't do that, even college-educated adults, and who will fail such an elementary question. They won't see past the confusing and incompatible units. It's probably not suited for 5 or 6 year olds though, unless the purpose is to identify the exceptionally gifted.

about a year ago
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EU Parliament: Other Countries Spy, But Less Than the UK, US

emt377 Re:Problem? (170 comments)

Spying on foreign countries is feasible when there is an immediate threat.

Observing is essential to identify threats in the first place. Naively sitting and assuming that without an express threat sent to you in a pretty envelope, wrapped with a blue ribbon, all is good a fine means you'll quickly become a footnote in history. That's the sort of juvenile, childish assumption that just doesn't work in reality on any level.

Observing is essential to deescalate conflict early and maintain good relations.

Lack of response to a potential conflict means the other party may assume in return there really is no conflict and make the situation worse - until you finally wake up to a far worse problem than if you had paid close attention all along.

Observing and paying close attention is just as important with friendly nations as hostile ones.

about a year ago
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Why the FAA May Finally Relax In-Flight Device Rules

emt377 Re:GSM is the problem (278 comments)

Back when I had a GSM phone I could hear incoming calls before it rang, if I put it on the desk within a couple of feet of my computer. The speakers would buzz. It's not why I switched to Verizon but it made that particular annoyance go away. (I only use GSM these days when traveling. Usually by air. With my phone shut off.)

about a year ago
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Why the FAA May Finally Relax In-Flight Device Rules

emt377 Re:Like the reporter has a clue... (278 comments)

It's also not all about a properly functioning device, but what about a defective one? What are all the different failure modes for something containing a lipo battery, a transceiver, and an antenna? It could have a bad wifi transceiver or antenna, or poor shielding without the owner even noticing anything wrong. Or they just think poor wifi reception is normal. When turned on the owner is completely unaware it lights up the EM spectrum.

Clearly there is no way for cabin personnel or even a pilot to determine which device is a potential problem and which isn't.

about a year ago
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German NSA Critic Denied Entry To the US

emt377 Re:Remember all those times Bush blocked... (352 comments)

The U.N. should move to Geneva and we should stop paying for it. We also should make a point of denying entry to people who bitch and whine about how evil we are, then come here to shop, work, publish, and attend conferences. They can stay at home. Moving the U.N. will make this easier. We should also close all bases in Europe and leave NATO. Why is it in our interest to spend billions to be prepared to defend these ingrates? Hardly our problem that euro-fascism is on the rise and they'll end up killing each other in yet another big war. Next time we stay out of it. Repeat after me: not my problem, none of my business.

about a year ago
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Silent Circle Moving Away From NIST Cipher Suites After NSA Revelations

emt377 Re:No reason to distrust Rijndael (168 comments)

The key distribution and storage is often, but not always, the weakest point of attack. The exception is if you have plaintext or some pattern to look for (like an http or email header). This is why secure communications frequently are free of keywords and just contain a bunch of fields.

about a year ago
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Silent Circle Moving Away From NIST Cipher Suites After NSA Revelations

emt377 Re:No reason to distrust Rijndael (168 comments)

Snowden himself said it: "Encryption works.

Snowden is a clueless kid.

about a year ago
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Silent Circle Moving Away From NIST Cipher Suites After NSA Revelations

emt377 Re:No reason to distrust Rijndael (168 comments)

Why do you say the NSA "is evil"? They have no operative arm, or actually *do* anything. If they come across criminal activity they can tip off the FBI, but what they have isn't admissible evidence, so the FBI gets to do its own investigative work. Their job is to uncover and watch for activities by people who wish to harm the United States or its people - exactly what we who pay their bills want them to do, as well as to act as an expert advisor to the federal government. Do you think governments shouldn't look after the safety of their nations? Do you think any responsible government doesn't? Maybe after airplanes are flown into skyscapers, or there's a mushroom cloud over Miami, or hoover dam blows up, we go "oops, maybe we should have paid a little more attention to people who wish to harm us?" Problem is, it's a little late then.

about a year ago
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Silent Circle Moving Away From NIST Cipher Suites After NSA Revelations

emt377 Re:Marketing (168 comments)

The NSA uses AES for its own encryption systems.

You have to realize that security classifications depend on the time something needs to remain secure. For battlefield comms this might be 6-8 hours, for HQ comms 5-10 days. The classification then is used to select a cipher based on a professional estimate of how long it takes someone with the resources of a major government to break it. Information that needs remain protected indefinitely goes under lock and key, in a cabinet, safe, vault, with or without a guard stationed. Maybe inside a protected facility. Access is registered (so compromises can be tracked down) and based on whitelists. Keys are numbered and tracked. Physical protection is the only way something can be protected indefinitely. So saying something like AES is safe because "the NSA uses AES for its own encryption systems" is meaningless without knowing which security classification it's for - i.e., how long they estimate the cipher can withstand a sophisticated attack by someone with the resources of a major government.

about a year ago
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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers

emt377 Re:The trick is to avoid solving the bigger proble (157 comments)

You never want a compiler to vectorize code. You want interfaces to vectoring hardware that you use to vectorize operations on your data. Just like you don't want compilers to provide multidimensional arrays - memory isn't multidimensional, so there's no natural layout. Instead you implement the arrays you need - even if they look the same the complexity contract and implementation is completely different for statically dimensioned (e.g. template params in C++) vs dynamically dimensioned (can be resized); sparsely populated either an entire row in a dimension, by specific dimension, or by any dimension (for instance only have data in rows 0, 5, 10383484387373, colums -4948484, 0, 338383 - implying sparsely populating only the intersecting cells); where indexes are arbitrary types (say complex), etc. NONE of this has a natural representation. Just like vectored operations in a NUMA architecture require careful data management for maximum throughput - so if you want to apply this to a sparse data set for instance you need to think through how this is to be done rather than just think a compiler can spit it out for you (other than in the most trivial demos that lack real-world requirements).

1 year,2 days

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